A Critical Edition and Analysis of Sharĥ al-Mawādi‘ al-Mushkila min al-Risāla al-Shamsiyya fi al-Qawā‘id al-Mantiqiyya by Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī, the Selfsame Author of al-Risāla al-Shamsiyya


Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī’s (d. 675/1277) work on logic entitled al-Shamsiyya is a popular book alongside al-Īsāghūjī in the tradition of Islamic logic. It is known for its inclusion in the madrasa curriculum as a standard textbook for many a century. As a result, Kātibī’s Shamsiyya has elicited a plethora of commentaries, glosses, interpretations, and translations throughout history. The work that we will be analyzing in this study, Sharĥ al-Mawādi‘ al-Mushkila min al-Risāla al-Shamsiyya fi al-Qawā‘id
al-Mantiqiyya, is a part of the aforementioned commentary literature. In this article, we will begin by examining the veracity of the authorial attribution of the Sharĥ based on our collected findings. To do this, we evaluate the main bio-bibliographical
sources in order to decide whether there are any references to the work or its (purported) author. Subsequently, we compare the content of the commentary with that of the works on logic by al-Kātibī, to whom we speculate the work actually belongs.
We present the similarities that we have identified between the two texts by utilizing tables. We then describe the codicological features of the manuscript, which also happens to be a unique copy of the work. In the second part of the article, we analyze the work’s content. In addition to examining the author’s clarification on commentaries in which vague points are made in the main text, we also endeavor to identify the original contributions of the commentator that are not found in the main text. In the third part, we analyze the commentary methods of the author and the functions of the commentary. It appears that not only does the commentary interpret the text verbally but it also functions in different ways as it, for instance, visualizes the content, mentions the sources used as references in the text, and contextualizes the problems. And finally, in the last part, we present a critical edition of the said work. This study carries out a comparative textual analysis between the commentary under discussion and Kātibī’s works. Throughout this process we have identified countless similarities between many of these works. One of the similarities include the peculiar chapter on five popular, sophistical arguments. In the last chapter of his ‘Ayn al-Qawā‘id, Kātibī enumerates five sophistical arguments and presents their solution one by one. Even though there is no such chapter in al-Shamsiyya, our commentary includes the same five sophistical arguments alongside their solutions. Our second finding is that Kātibī mentions Avicenna and al-Fārābī under the topic that discusses the conversion of propositions in his Baĥr al-Fawā’id, Jāmi al-Daqā’iq, and Sharĥ Kashf al-Asrār. Kātibī distinguishes the opinions of Avicenna and Fārābī with respect to this subject, stating that Fārābī sees that the proposition is valid with the possibility (bi imkān ‘āmm) that it has been converted, while Avicenna prefers the position that it is valid in act (bi’l-fi‘l). On the same subject, our commentary also mentions this distinction juxtaposing Avicenna’s opinion with Fārābī’s. Thirdly, Kātibī discusses in his Sharĥ Kashf al-Asrār that there is an error (alteration) in some of the copies of Avicenna’s al-Ishārāt on the subject of the conversion of propositions. The same criticism with different wording is made in our commentary in the exact same part of the text. Fourthly, in his Baĥr al-Fawā’id, Kātibī says that the fourth type of syllogism (al-shakl al-rābi‘) had five subtypes (đurūb) until his teacher Abharī’s innovation in the field of logic. He says that Abharī himself invented the three additional subtypes of the fourth type of syllogism. This same sentence exists in our commentary word for word. Besides these four findings, there are many other similarities between the works which we have included in the present article. All of these findings support our initial speculation that the commentary belongs to Kātibī. As for the function of the commentary, which deals with the main text al-Shamsiyya in different ways, we have identified twelve different functions in total: The commentator (1) discloses the reasons behind the opinions (31a), (2) exemplifies the claims and ideas (3b), (3) details the subject (16a), (4) paraphrases the sentences (10a), (5) defines the main concepts (3b-4a), (6) condenses (13b) or (7) elaborates on the meaning of sentences (34b), (8) makes explicit pronouns that were hidden (15b), (9) brings quotes from different scholars to support or oppose the idea of the author (5a), (10) shows the sources of opinions which were not cited by the author (19a, 24b), (11) contextualizes the subject being discussed (15a), (12) visualizes the concepts that requires clarification for the reader’s understanding (8a). In the last part of the article, we present a critical edition of the commentary based on the only surviving copy of the text located in the Süleymaniye Library, Fazıl Ahmed Paşa Collection, no. 1612.


Najm al-Dīn al-Kātibī al-Shamsiyya logic commentary Sharĥ al-Mawādi‘ al-Mushkila