FĀŻEL TŪNĪ, MOḤAMMAD-ḤOSAYN, (b. Tūn, 25 Moḥarram 1288/15 April l871; d. Tehran, 13 Bahman 1339 Š./2 February 1960; Figure 1), scholar and teacher of Islamic philosophy. Like Sayyed Moḥammad Kāẓem ʿAṣṣār and Jalāl-al-Dīn Homāʾī, two other prominent men of learning, Fāżel Tūnī belonged to a generation of scholars who had received a traditional Islamic education and subsequently went on to teach at the newly founded University of Tehran. His early life followed the familiar pattern of peregrinations as a student (ṭalaba). At the age of seventeen, he went to Mašhad where he stayed for six years and attended the classes of Adīb Nīšābūrī (q.v.) at the Nawwāb madrasa. He next moved to Isfahan, another of the contemporary centers of traditional learning, and joined the classes of the eminent philosopher Jahāngīr Khan Qašqāʾī in Islamic philosophy (ḥekmat). Eleven years later, he went to Tehran and studied with another noted philosopher, Mīrzā Hāšem Eškavarī. In 1333/1915, he began teaching Arabic at the College of Political Science (Madrasa-ye ʿolūm-e sīāsī; q.v.). He later taught Arabic language, Islamic jurisprudence, and logic at various institutions including the Dār al-fonūn (q.v.) and the Teachers’ College (Dār al-moʿallemīn-e ʿālī; see EDUCATION xix). From the beginning of the academic year 1313 Š./1934, he taught Arabic language and literature and Islamic philosophy at the University of Tehran, becoming a full professor two years later. He retired from teaching in 1337 Š./1958. Fāżel Tūni was known for his prodigious memory, his infectious sense of humor, and his ability to debate and to form friendships with colleagues trained in different disciplines. He collaborated with Moḥammad ʿAlī Forūḡī (q.v.) in his work on Avicenna. He wrote a short autobiographical sketch of his formative education for the yearbook of the University of Tehran, listing his teachers and the texts that he had studied with them (Sālnāma-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehran 1334-35 Š., Tehran, 1335 Š./1956, pp. 308-11).
Yād-nāma-ye marḥūm Fāżel Tūnī, a special issue of MDAT 9/3, 1341 Š./l962, contains a chronology of his life as well as several articles about him by his colleagues, including an informative biography by Moḥammad Ḵᵛānsārī, “Tarjoma-ye aḥwāl-e marḥūm Fāżel,” pp. 45-62 (where a full bibliography of his works is given, pp. 54-55).
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 24, 2012
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Vol. IX, Fasc. 5, p. 461