BAHMANYĀR, KĪĀ RAʾĪS ABU’L-ḤASAN B. MARZBĀN AʿJAMĪ ĀḎARBĀYJĀNĪ (d. 458/1066), one of Ebn Sīnā’s pupils during his stay in Hamadān (405/1015-415/1024) and Isfahan (415/1024-428/1037). Very little is known about his life. Originally a Zoroastrian converted to Islam, his knowledge of Arabic was not perfect (ḡayr māher fī kalām al-ʿarab; see Bayhaqī, p. 97 end; Ḵᵛānsārī, II, pp. 157.18f., 160.16). Bahmanyār is known mainly as a commentator and transmitter of Ebn Sīnā’s philosophy. His main work, the Ketāb al-taḥṣīl (see the Bibliography) was compiled in Isfahan between 415/1024 and 428/1037 for his uncle, the Zoroastrian Abū Manṣūr b. Bahrām b. Ḵᵛoršīd b. Yazdyār. It offers the quintessence of Ebn Sīnā’s logic, physics, and metaphysics according to his Šefāʾ, Najāt, and Ešārāt wa’l-tanbīhāt, and also contains, as he informs us (Ketāb al-taḥṣīl, p. 1.7), results of his discussions with Ebn Sīnā. This book, which follows Ebn Sīnā’s Dāneš-nāma-ye ʿalāʾī in structure, is said to have been translated into Persian (Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 157.19f.) and summarized (Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, II, p. 204.5f) by ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf Baḡdādī (d. 629/1231-32). The preserved manuscripts of the Taḥṣīl differ in length; see Anawati, p. 19; further mss. Ragıp Paşa 880, copied 1118/1706; B.M., add. 16.659, fols. 201r(197r)-228v(224v).
The discussions between Ebn Sīnā and Bahmanyār during the time of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla (cf. Neẓāmī ʿArūżī, Čahār maqāla, tr. Browne, pp. 126f.) also resulted in a collection of answers by Ebn Sīnā on questions by his pupils, mainly by Bahmanyār. In this collection, called Mobāḥaṯāt (Gohlman, pp. 100f.; Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, II, p. 19.20), Ebn Sīnā comments on difficulties of his Šefāʿ, Ešārāt wa’l-tanbīhāt, and Enṣāf. The text is transmitted in different versions; the only available edition (see Bibliography) does not include all manuscripts and versions, some of which contain answers on questions by other pupils of Ebn Sīnā, namely Abū Manṣūr b. Zayla and Abū Jaʿfar Moḥammad b. Ḥosayn b. Marzbān (Mahdawī, p. 202). On the varying manuscripts see Mahdawī, pp. 202-12; Anawati, pp. 82-85; further mss.: B.M., 8069 [18th-19th cent.], fols. 17v-21); Feyzullah Efendi, 2188, fols. 211r-220r (starts with nr. 5 of Mahdawī, p. 210). Two letters by Ebn Sīnā appended to the manuscript preserved in Egypt are written to a person addressed as Šayḵ al-fāżel which apparently means Bahmanyār (Čahār maqāla, ed. Qazvīnī and Moʿīn, p. 446 n. 5).
Akin to the above-mentioned texts is a collection of notes (Taʿlīqāt) on fundamental terms of metaphysics, physics, and logic taken by Bahmanyār from explanations given by Ebn Sīnā. It is not yet clear whether the Taʿlīqāt are the result of Bahmanyār’s discussions with Ebn Sīnā in Hamadān (Gohlman, pp. 54f.) during the reign of Šams-al-Dawla (so Badawī in his edition, p. 6) or have been compiled later in Isfahan during the reign of ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla. On mss. see Mahdawī, pp. 60-64; Anawati, pp. 19-21. An excerpt of the text appears under the name of Fārābī (v. Michot, MIDEO 15, 1982, pp. 231-50).
Three more treatises are attributed to Bahmanyār. They too follow Ebn Sīnā and contain short descriptions of metaphysics (Resāla fī mawżūʿ ʿelm mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿ), of the degrees of beings (Resāla fī marāteb al-mawjūdāt), and of the perceiving powers of the soul according to Peripatetic philosophy (Maqāla fī ārāʾ al-maššāʾīn fī omūr al-nafs wa qowāhā). The fact that Bahmanyār’s books in the first place aim at explicating and summarizing ideas of his teacher Ebn Sīnā and that they to some extent may be based on notes taken from his master’s lectures makes it difficult to differentiate between the writings of Ebn Sīnā and those of his pupils, and explains why the above-mentioned summary of metaphysics (following the Šefāʾ) has often been attributed in manuscripts to Ebn Sīnā (also called Eṯbāt al-mabdaʾ al-awwal; cf. Mahdawī, pp. 259f.; Anawati, pp. 235f.). In an analogous manner we can explain why the above-mentioned Resāla fī marāteb al-mawjūdāt has also been attributed at least in one case (ms. Berlin 3058), under the title of Resāla fī eṯbāt al-mofāraqāt, to another pupil of Ebn Sīnā, namely to Abū ʿAbd-Allāh Maʿṣūmī. Two manuscripts have ascribed the text to Bahmanyār (Anawati, p. 19), as well as a third, incomplete manuscript (Köprülü, Istanbul 1604; see Anawati, p. 19) which has the title Faṣl men Ketāb fī eṯbāt al-ʿoqūl al-faʿʿāla wa’l-dalāla ʿalā ʿadadehā wa eṯbāt al-nofūs al-samāwīya. However, to make matters more complicated, the Resāla fī eṯbāt al-mofāraqāt, which is identical with the Resāla fī marāteb al-mawjūdāt is ascribed to Fārābī in numerous manuscripts and publications (Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Maḥfūẓ and Jaʿfar Āl-Yāsīn, Moʾallafāt al-Fārābī, Baghdad, 1395/1975, p. 309).
A more autonomous treatise is Bahmanyār’s Maqāla fī ārāʾ al-maššāʾīn fī omūr al-nafs wa qowāhā (ms. Nafiz Paşa, Istanbul, 1350, fols. 54v-57r). It is a supplementary treatise on what has been said by Ebn Sīnā in his Šefāʾ (Ṭabīʿīyāt, Nafs; ed. Anawati and Saʿīd Zāyed, Cairo, 1395/1975, pp. 27ff., esp. 50ff.) and deals mainly with the perception (edrāk) of the souls of man and stars.
Further writings by Bahmanyār which seem to be lost include: Ketāb al-bahja fī manṭeq wa’l-ṭabīʿī wa’l-elāhī (Baḡdādī, I, p. 244; Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 157) = (?) Ketāb al-rotba fi’l-manṭeq (Bayhaqī, p. 98.3) = Ketāb al-zīna fi’l-manṭeq (Šahrazūrī, II, p. 38, 11); a fragment of the Ketāb al-bahja on God’s (al-wājeb) knowledge of himself has been preserved by Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 158.15-18); Ketāb al-saʿāda (Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 157 end; Baḡdādī, I, p. 244); Ketāb fi’l-mūsīqā (Bayhaqī, p. 98.4 = Šahrazūrī, II, p. 38.11). Several gnomological sayings are ascribed to Bahmanyār in Bayhaqī, pp. 98.5-99.2 (taken over, with omissions, by Šahrazūrī, II, pp. 38.12-39.2 and Ḵᵛānsārī, II, p. 158.19-21).
Bahmanyār’s extant works give the impression that he was very much interested in Ebn Sīnā’s Neoplatonic teaching of the divine uncaused, self-sufficing, and necessary first cause and the creation caused by it through emanations (fayż). Moreover, he paid much attention to the soul of man and stars, its perceiving powers and afterlife. According to one report (Ḵᵛānsārī II, p. 158) Bahmanyār differed from Ebn Sīnā in his teaching of the soul; contrary to Ebn Sīnā he maintains that the soul is not unchanged in its afterlife—as plants and living beings change in the course of time—but is similar (šebh, naẓīr) to what it has been before. This difference between Bahmanyār and Ebn Sīnā can not modify our view that Bahmanyār stands in the shadow of his great master. He has become known to posterity as commentator of Ebn Sīnā, but seems not to have had much influence; we only hear that Bahmanyār’s pupil Abu’l-ʿAbbās Lawkarī has taken care for the propagation of his ideas and thus of Ebn Sīnā’s philosophy in Khorasan (Bayhaqī, p. 126.10f.; Ḵᵛānsārī, VI, p. 314.12).
Printed works by Bahmanyār: Resāla fī marāteb al-mawjūdāt, ed. and tr. S. Poper, in Behmenjār Ben El-Marzubān, der persische Aristoteliker aus Avicenna’s Schule: Zwei metaphysische Abhandlungen von ihm Arabisch und Deutsch mit Anmerkungen, Leipzig, 1851, pp. 17-28 (tr. pp. 24-47), ed.
ʿAbd-al-Jalīl Saʿd in Bahmanyār, mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿa, Cairo, 1329/1911, pp. 12-19.
Resāla fī mawżūʿ ʿelm mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿa, ed. and tr. S. Poper, ibid., pp. 2-16 (tr. pp. 1-23) = ed. Saʿd, pp. 2-11.
Al-Mobāḥaṯāt (with answers by Ebn Sīnā), ed. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Badawī, in Aresṭū ʿend al-ʿarab I, Cairo, 1947 (2nd ed., Kuwait, 1978), pp. 119-246.
Taḥṣīl, Cairo, 1329/1911; new ed. by Mortażā Moṭahharī, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970; partial Russ. tr.
A. V. Sagadeeva, Kniga pervaya. Perevod s arabskogo, vvodnaya stat’ya i kommentarii, Baku, 1983.
Taʿlīqāt (compilation of Ebn Sīnā’s text in the recension of ʿAbd-al-Razzāq), ed. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Badawī, Cairo, 1392/1973; an excerpt of this text (ed. Badawī, pp. 16.2-193-19) is ascribed to Fārābī (ed. Hyderabad, 1346/1927).
Primary sources: Esmāʿīl Pasha Baḡdādī, Hadīyat al-ʿārefīn I, Istanbul, 1951, col. 244.
Moḥammad Bāqer Ḵᵛānsārī, Rawżāt al-jannāt fī aḥwāl al-ʿolamāʾwa’l-sādāt II, Tehran and Qom, 1392/1972, pp. 157-61.
Ebn Abī Oṣaybeʿa, ʿOyūn al-anbāʾ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭebbāʾ, ed. A. Mueller, Koenigsberg, 1884, repr. 1972.
Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Bayhaqī known as Ebn Fondoq, Tatemmat ṣewān al-ḥekma = Taʾrīḵ ḥokamāʾ al-eslām, ed. Moḥammad Kord ʿAlī, Damascus, 1946, pp. 97-99.
Abū ʿObayd Jūzjānī, Sīrat al-Šayḵ al-Raʾīs; Fehrest kotob Ebn Sīnā, ed. and tr. W. E. Gohlman, The Life of Ibn Sina, Albany, New York, 1974; the text has been used by Qefṭī, Taʾrīḵ al-ḥokamāʾ, ed. J. Lippert, Leipzig, 1903, pp. 413ff.
Neẓāmī ʿArūżī, Čahār maqāla, ed. Moḥammad Qazvīnī, rev. Moḥammad Moʿīn, 3rd ed., Tehran, 1333 Š./1954, text p. 124, notes pp. 444-47; Eng. tr. E. G. Browne, London, 1921, 2nd ed., 1978.
Šams-al-Dīn Moḥammad b. Maḥmūd Šahrazūrī, Nozhat al-arwāḥ wa rawżat al-afrāḥ, Hyderabad, 1396/1976, II, pp. 38f.
Secondary sources: S. M. Afnan, Avicenna, His Life and Works, London, 1958, pp. 233f.
G. C. Anawati, Moʾallafāt Ebn Sīnā, Cairo, 1950.
T. J. de Boer, The History of Philosophy in Islam, tr. E. R. Jones, 2nd ed., New York, 1967, pp. 146f.
Brockelmann, GAL I, p. 458, S. I, p. 828. EI2 I, p. 926.
ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Ḥalabī, Tārīḵ-efalāsefa-ye īrānī az āḡāz-e eslām tā emrūz, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972, pp. 365-68.
Kaḥḥāla, III, Beirut, 1376/1957, p. 81.
Yaḥyā Mahdawī, Fehrest-e nosḵahā-ye moṣannafāt-e Ebn Sīnā, Tehran, 1333 Š./1954.
ʿAbd-Allāh Naʿema, Falāsefat al-Šīʿa: Ḥayātohom wa ārāʾohum, Beirut, ca. 1960, p. 263.
Ṣafā, Adabīyāt I, pp. 318-19.
Umarbek Sultonov, Muosiri Abuali ibni Sina [Moʿāṣerān-e Abū ʿAlī Ebn-Sīnā], Dushanbe, 1980, pp. 64-66.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 24, 2011
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