Medieval Islamic philosophers were deeply occupied with questions of predestination and salvation. Debates surrounding human responsibility for their actions, together with issues of cosmology, the notion of imamate and the eschatological role of the prophets and Imams were central Ismaili concerns. These were also a matter of doctrinal controversy within the so-called Iranian school of Ismaili philosophical theology. Ḥamīd al-Dīn al-Kirmānī (d. after 411/1020) was one of the most important theologians in the Fatimid period, who rose to prominence during the reign of the Imam-caliph al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh (r. 386/996-411/1021). He is renowned for blending a number of philosophical traditions, including Neoplatonism, with Ismaili religious tradition.
This book provides an analysis of al-Kirmānī’s thought and sheds new light on the many layers of allusion which characterise his writings. Through a translation and analytical commentary of the eighth chapter of al-Kirmānī's Kitāb al-Riyāḍ (Book of Meadows), which is devoted to the subject of divine preordination and human redemption, Maria De Cillis shows readers first-hand his theologically distinctive interpretation of qaḍāʾ and qadar (divine decree and destiny). Here, al-Kirmānī attempts to harmonise the views of earlier renowned Ismaili missionaries, Abū Ḥātim Aḥmad b. Ḥamdān al-Rāzī (d. 322/934), Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Nasafī (d. 332/943) and Abū Yaʿqūb Isḥāq b. Aḥmad al-Sijistānī (d. c. 361/971). De Cillis skillfully guides the reader through al-Kirmānī's metaphysical and esoteric correspondences, offering new insights into Shiʿi/Ismaili philosophical thought which will be of great interest to those in the field of Shiʿi studies and, more broadly, to scholars of medieval philosophy.