ABSTRACT

According to al-Fārābī, then, the ordinary thinking human mind reaches its perfection when it becomes ‘aql mustafād as above des­ cribed. And, although the ‘aql mustafād is lower in rank than the separate Active Intelligence which has produced it, it is neverthe­ less pure activity in its own way no longer needing the faculties of the lower soul for its operations. It is, therefore, comparable from this point of view with the Active Intelligence. Moreover, at this stage, it is capable of contemplating the Active Intelligence itself which had so far been only its productive agent.17 In a few unique cases, when this happens, the Active Intelligence becomes the form of the ‘aql mustafād and the perfect philosopher, or the Imam (or the Prophet) comes into existence.18 Only, even in these cases, a certain part or degree of the Active Intelligence (called the Holy

2. Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā)

According to Avicenna, the potential intellect, although it comes into existence (and is, therefore, generated) as something personal to each individual, is, nevertheless, an immaterial and immortal substance.20 Its actualization begins when man conceives the primary general truths which are the basis of all demonstration (Aristotle’s τά πρώτα, Anal. Post, 1, 2, 71 b 20 sq.) e.g. that the whole is greater than its part and that two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other-truths, that is, which we do not acquire either by induc­ tion or by deduction.21 This stage is called ‘aql bi’l-malaka (intell. in habitu). When, by means of these primary truths, we acquire also the secondary ones and when, on the whole, our mind can operate by itself without any more help from the sensitive and imaginative

Ghost = θ ϵιov πνϵvμα ) is involved, a part remaining completely beyond and transcendent to man.19 Al-fārābī’s classification of the intellect (excluding those above the Active Intelligence) is five­ fold, as follows:—

THE DOCTRINE OF INTELLECT 15 faculties, we reach the stage of development called by Avicenna the ‘actual intellect’ (intell. in actu)22. And when we do actually operate with this newly acquired power, our mind becomes ̔aql bi’l-fi̔ l almuṭlaq (intell. in actu absoluto) or ̔aql mustafād (intell. acquisitus or adeptus).23