Chapter Two – Nasir al Din al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami

Chapter One – The catastrophe of Baghdad and the collapse of the caliphate
August 19, 2022
Chapter Three – The Shia Creed
August 19, 2022

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Chapter Two

Nasir al Din al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami


After mentioning these horrific incidents, we now come to the objective of this book which is the role of Nasir al Din al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami in these happenings and their level of commitment to the creed they adhered to. It was none other than the creed of the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah which we will discuss.


1. Nasir al Din al Tusi

His was Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Tusi. He was commonly known as Muhaqqiq al Tusi or Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi. He was born in Tus (a city in Iran) in 597 AH and passed away in Baghdad in 672 AH.

Due to his proficiency in the science of philosophy, his wisdom, and elocution, the Ismaili ruler of Quhistan (a province in Iran), Nasir al Din ‘Abdur Rahim ibn Abi Mansur, in his honour requested that he reside with him. He later on took up residence by the Ismaili authority, ‘Ala’ al Din acting as the Wazir. After the demise of ‘Ala’ al Din, He remained the wazir in the rule of his son Rukn al Din Khur Shah who was the last ruler of the Ismaili empire prior to it being overturned by Halaku. Thereafter, he was granted honour and position by Halaku and acted as the Wazir in his era and the era of his children until his demise in 672 AH.[1]


His status in the eyes of Halaku

The rank of al Tusi in the eyes of Halaku is an important factor in the topic of our discussion due to his participation in what happened to Baghdad. In this regard, I will not depend on Sunni historians, but I will rather depend on unbiased historians of a similar era and Shia historians.

Al Hamdhani mentions:


ولما تأكد هولاكو من صدق و إخلاص الخواجة نصير الدين الطوسي و … شملهم بعطفه وإنعامه وأعطاهم … وألزمهم حضرته هم و أبناؤهم حتى اليوم…

When Halaku became convinced of the truthfulness and sincerity of Khawajah Nasir al Tusi and… he showered them with kindness and favours, and gifts… compelling them and their children to remain with him up and until this day.[2]


He also mentioned:


ذلك لأنه أي هولاكو كان قد أطلع على حسن سريرته فكان يريد أن يظل ملازماً له

Halaku became apprised of the beauty of his heart, so desired that he remain close to him.[3]


Al Nuri al Tabarsi (a Shia scholar) mentions in Khatimah al Mustadrak:


وكان ذا حرمة وافرة عند هولاكو وكان يطيعه فيما يشير به عليه والأموال في تصرفه

He was greatly revered in the eyes of Halaku. He would give him anything he asked for. Wealth was at his disposal.[4]


‘Ali al Tabataba’i narrated a similar quotation affiliating it to al Kitbi.[5]

Al Mirza al Nuri al Tabrasi also mentions:


أكرم هولاكو المحقق الطوسي غاية الإكرام والإعزاز وصبحه و ارتكب الأمور الكلية حسب رأيه وإجازته …

Halaku went all out in honouring and revering Muhaqqiq al Tusi. He would keep him by his side and ensure that every matter was decided with his advice and blessings.[6]


Ibn al ‘Abri (a Jewish historian who died in 685 AH) mentions in his book Tarikh Mukhtasar al Duwal:


وأصبح نصير الدين بعد ذلك اليد اليمنى لهولاكو ووزيراً له

Nasir al Din became the close confidant and Wazir of Halaku.[7]


Due to the position and authority he enjoyed by Halaku:


فقد أقنعه بأن يعهد إليه بالإشراف على الأوقاف الإسلامية والتصرف بمواردها بما يراه فوافق هولاكو

He managed to persuade Halaku to entrust him with the supervision of the Islamic endowments and the regulation of resources without accountability.[8]


Hassan al Amin mentions in his father’s book, A’yan al Shia:


وقال محمد مدرسي زنجاني … فضلاً عن مقام الطوسي العلمي استطاع بتأثيره على مزاج هولاكو أن يستحوذ تدريجياً على عقله وأن يروض شارب الدماء…

Muhammad Mudarrisi Zinjani mentioned, “Let alone his intellectual authority, al Tusi managed to have such an influence on the disposition of Halaku that he gradually captured his mind and turned him into the drinker of blood.”[9]


This was the rank of al Tusi in the eyes of Halaku after being the Wazir. As a matter of fact, the association continued after the demise of Halaku in 663 AH and al Tusi acted as Wazir for his successor who was his son Abaqa Khan. Al Tusi remained the Wazir until his demise in 672 AH. But even his death did not end the relationship and his son, Sadr al Din ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al Tusi became the Wazir of this perfidious empire. Upon his demise, his brother Asil al Din Hassan ibn Muhammad al Tusi was entrusted with his position.[10] After all of this, is it still possible to say, “Al Tusi became the Wazir of Halaku due to fearing his tyranny”?


The Creed of al Tusi

Determining a person’s creed plays a vital role in understanding his principles which dictates his life, his conduct, and his jurisdiction over others. Similarly, his status and rank in the creed plays a role in judging his disposition considering the fact that he will not compromise his position and rank. Likewise, the creed can gain dominance over his character even if his participation is partial.

Al Tusi was torn between the two Shia groups, the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah and Ismailiyyah due to the following two reasons:

  1. He was the Wazir for Ismailiyyah.
  2. He assisted the Ithna ‘Ashariyyah creed after the Mongol invasion.


Looking at the reasons below, it appears that he was Ithna ‘Ashari:


  1. As previously mentioned, He assisted the Ithna ‘Ashari creed after gaining authority in empire of Halaku.
  2. He published a work on the Ithna ‘Ashari creed affirming his affiliation with them.
  3. There isn’t anything contrary to this belief. Acting as Wazir for Ismailiyyah does not necessitate his affiliation to their creed. He al Tusi sought assistance from Ibn al ‘Alqami to get close to the Khalifah as will be discussed [indicating that he had a good relationship with Ibn al ‘Alqami.


The biography of al Tusi is mentioned in the books of Imamiyyah, in which he has been highly praised. A few examples are as follows:

The statement of al Hilli (known as al ‘Allamah amongst the Shia) in his correspondence to the Banu Zuhrah, when mentioning the name of al Tusi:


وكان هذا الشيخ محققاً … و له مصنفات كثيرة … على مذهب الإمامية

He was a great scholar… he authored many works… on the creed of the Imamiyyah.[11]


As well as in Khatimat al Mustadrak of al Tabarasi (al Shia), volume 2, page 424; and Tara’if al Maqal of ‘Ali al Burujirdi, volume 2, page 444.

His biography is also mentioned in A’yan al Shia of Muhsin al Amin; however, the biography was written by his son Hassan al Amin, as Muhsin al Amin left some of the biographies incomplete which his son later completed.[12]


The status of al Tusi amongst the Shia

Hassan Beg Rumlu mentions in his historiography:


لم يسع أحد بعد الخواجة نصير الدين الطوسي مثل ما سعى الشيخ علي الكركي هذا في إعلاء أعلام المذهب الجعفري وترويج دين الحق الاثنى عشر

After Khwajah Nasir al Din al Tusi, none has adequately advocated the banner of the Jafari creed and the propagation of the true Ithna ‘Ashari creed in a manner similar to that of ‘Ali al Karaki.[13]


Al Shahid al Thani—as he is referred to by the Shia—regarded him to be the “Reviver of the seventh century”.[14] He also mentions in Rawd al Janan:


العلامة السعيد سلطان العلماء المحققين خواجة نصير…

The auspicious scholar, the ruler of all scholars and experts, Khawajah Nasir…


‘Allamah al Hilli of the Shia mentions in his correspondence with the Banu Zuhrah:


وكان هذا الشيخ أفضل أهل عصر في العلوم العقلية و النقلية وكان أشرف من شاهدناه في الأخلاق نور الله ضريحه

He was the most knowledgeable of his era in rational sciences and transmitted knowledge. He was also the most noble in character among those we have observed. May Allah fill his grave with nur.[15]


Al Nuri al Tabarasi mentions:


ناموس دهره وفيلسوف عصره وعزيز مصره سلطان المحققين الخواجة نصير الملة والدين الأعظم محمد بن محمد بن الحسن الطوسي الحكيم المحقق الجليل الذي شهد بعلو مقامه في مراتب العلوم المخالف فضلاً عن المؤالف

The honour of his era, philosopher of his time, leader of his capital, head of the scholars, al Khawajah, the aid of the sect and elevated religion; Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al Hassan al Tusi, the wise, esteemed researcher. Attesting to his great stature in the various sciences were the opposition [referring to the Ahlus Sunnah] over and above that of his partisans.[16]


Al Hurr al ‘Amili mentions:


… كان فاضلاً ماهراً عالماً متكلماً محققاً في العقليات

… He was outstanding, proficient, knowledgeable, theologist, and researcher in the rational sciences.[17]


Khomeini sang his praises, saying:


وإذا كانت ظروف التقية تلزم أحداً منا بالدخول في ركب السلاطين فهنا يجب الامتناع عن ذلك حتى لو أدى الامتناع إلى قتله إلا أن يكون في دخوله نصر حقيقي للإسلام والمسلمين مثل دخول علي بن يقطين ونصر الدين الطوسي

When the circumstances of Taqiyyah demand one of us to enter into the cavalry of the rulers, then in this case it is compulsory to desist from this Taqiyyah, even if it may lead to being slain. Unless adopting it will truly assist Islam and the Muslims, like it was in the case of ‘Ali ibn Yaqtin and Nasir al Din al Tusi.[18]


I have no clue as to how his disposition and conformance to Halaku can be interpreted in way proving that he was compelled or in his ministry, he assisted Islam and Muslims, unless the implications of Khomeini’s statement—as well as the others who praised him like al Khuwanasari—is that he assisted the Shia creed during the Mongol rule. In no way, can the catastrophe of Baghdad and the fall of the caliphate possibly be termed assisting Islam and the Muslims. It is now prevalent that this was the master plan. We will discuss later, Allah willing, the stance of the Shia during the invasion of Baghdad and what they achieved thereafter.

Contemporary Shias glorified this individual by holding a ceremony commemorating the lapse of seven centuries after his death. This took place in Iran on 26 Iyar (second month of the Hebrew calendar) which corresponded to 2 June 1956, in the windy season, and with the Persian spirit as mentioned by Professor Muhammad al Mashhadani.[19]


2. Muhammad ibn al ‘Alqami

He was Mu’ayyid al Din Abu Talib Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al ‘Alqami. He died in 656 AH.[20]

Ibn Tabataba’i mentions:


كان رجلا فاضلا كاملا لبيبا كريما وقورا محبا للرئاسة كثير التحمل متمسكا بقوانين الرئاسة خبيرا بأدوات السياسة

He was an outstanding, idyllic, wise, notable, dignified, and loved individual who endured a lot for leadership, adhering to its statutes and cognizant of management requirements.[21]


Muhammad Mudarrisi mentions, in in his book about al Tusi and his life, regarding Ibn al ‘Alqami:


وأقام عند خاله عضد الدين القمي الذي كان يشغل يومئذ منصب رئاسة دار الإنشاء للحاكم العباسي ثم أنتقل هذا المنصب بعد مدة إلى شمس الدين ناقد و أنيط بعد فتره بابن العلقمي ومات ابن الناقد الذي كان وزيرا سنة ٦٤٢ه وبعد وفاة المستنصر وتسلم المعتصم زمام الأمور فانتقلت الوزاة إلى ابن العلقمي الذي ظل فيها أربع عشرة سنة من سنة ( ٦٤٢ ) إلى سنة ( ٦٥٦ ) إلى أن غزا هولاكو بغداد ونسف قواعد الحكم العباسي وقتل المستعصم وأسند إلى ابن العلقمي حكومة بغداد فظل فيها وبعد أ شهر اعتلت صحته حتى أسلمه الداء إلى المنون ….وتولى نجله رف الدين أبو القاسم على حكومة بغداد بعد أبيه

He resided by his maternal uncle ‘Adud al Din al Qummi who was at that time assigned to supervise the development sector for the ‘Abbasi ruler. After some time, this position was assigned to Shams al Din Naqid, and later on the responsibility was bestowed upon Ibn ‘Alqami. Ibn al Naqid passed away while acting as Wazir in 642 AH. The position of Wazir was assigned to Ibn ‘Alqami when Mu’tasim assumed responsibility of the empire after the demise of Mustansir. He remained the Wazir for fourteen years, from 642 AH till 656 AH, up until Baghdad was invaded by Halaku. Following the invasion, Halaku obliterated the foundations of the ‘Abbasi rule, killed Mu’tasim, and handed the rule of Baghdad over to Ibn ‘Alqami. Ibn ‘Alqami then ruled Baghdad for a few months prior to contracting a disease which proved fatal… His son, Sharaf al Din Abu al Qasim, being his successor thereafter took charge of the affairs of Baghdad.[22]


The status of Ibn al ‘Alqami in the eyes of the Khalifah

Ibn al ‘Alqami serving as the Wazir for 14 years (624-656 AH) clearly indicates to the status and authority he enjoyed. But even then, some Shia attempt to prove the absence of this status and authority by describing him as being weak and incompetent in influencing the Khalifah. So, to ascertain the truth of this opinion, I will present reports of historians regarding his status in the eyes of the Khalifah.

Ibn Tabataba, known as Ibn al Tiqtaqa mentions:


وكان الخليفة يعتقد فيه ويحبه

The Khalifah had faith in him and loved him dearly.[23]


Al Suyuti mentions:


ثم ركن المستعصم إلى وزيره مؤيد الدين العلقمي … والعب بالخليفة كيف أراد

Al Musta’sim had complete reliance on his Wazir Mu’ayyid al Din al ‘Alqami … and al ‘Alqami would interact with the Khalifah in the manner he desired.[24]


Al Khuwanasari cites a correspondence between al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami which also attests to his status. In it, Al Tusi requests the help of Ibn al ‘Alqami to arrange a meeting with the khalifah indicating his knowledge of Ibn al ‘Alqami’s status in the eyes of the Khalifah. Similarly, the stance of Ibn-’Alqami informs us of the same as he did not award al Tusi proximity to the khalifah fearing his lofty status, had he not had any lofty position he would not have feared being close to him.[25]

There is an incident which attests to the same, where Halaku got in contact with the Khalifah of Hamedan (city in Iran) requesting that all the Wazir’s be sent to him, Ibn al ‘Alqami, Sulaiman Shah, and al Dawidar, as he was aware of their ranks.[26]

Ibn al ‘Alqami, however, enjoyed the highest rank from the three. The Khalifah himself attested to it as he sent him off to Halaku saying, “You requested any one of them, whereas I have sent you the Wazir who is the most talented from them.”[27]

‘Abdullah al Shirazi, who was Shia, mentions:


وكان الذي يدير الأمور وينظم الأعمال مؤيد الدين ابن العلقمي

Mu’ayyid al Din ibn al ‘Alqami had authority over all matters and control over all districts.[28]


There are other aspects that also indicate to his status like the course of events, his presence at the Khalifah’s side right until the end, and the Khalifah only setting out after he (Ibn ‘Alqami) consulted with Halaku. All this clearly attests to his status. Therefore, the claim of some Shia, like that of Ibn al Tiqtaqa and Jafar Khisbak, is unfounded.[29]

Even if he had no authority and power, and his opinion was not given much consideration by the khalifah, he is still responsible for the events that transpired in Baghdad as he was the Wazir and second in charge of stately matters.


The Creed of Ibn ‘Alqami

Due to no opposing views of him being a Shia, I shall suffice on just a few supporting statements below.

Al Khuwanasari mentions:


ولما كان مؤيد الدين العلقمي الذي هو من أكابر الشيعية في ذلك الزمان …

Mu’ayyid al Din al ‘Alqami was amongst the seniors of the Shia creed in his era.[30]


Al Majlisi mentions:


وكان رضي الله عنه إمامي المذهب صحيح الاعتقاد …

He was the leader of the creed, a person of correct beliefs, May Allah be pleased with him.[31]


His biography is mentioned in A’yan al Shia, volume 9, page 82.


Shia adoration for him

It is mentioned in A’yan al Shia:


وكان عالما فاضلاً أديباً وجاء في كتاب الإجازات من بحار الأنوار ومات الوزير السعيد مؤيد الدين أبو طالب محمد بن أحمد العلقمي  وكان رحمه الله إمامي المذهب صحيح الاعتقاد رفيع الهمة  ولأجله صنف  ابن أبي الحديد شرح النهج

He was a learned and cultured scholar. It is mentioned in Kitab al Ijazat in Bihar al Anwar that the auspicious Wazir Mu’ayyid al Din Abu Talib Muhammad ibn Ahmed al ‘Alqami passed away as the leader of the creed. He was a man of correct beliefs and high ambitions and due to him, Ibn Abi al Hadid authored Sharh al Nahj.[32]


The statement of al Khuwanasari has already passed which mentions that he was amongst the seniors of the Shia creed.

Ibn Abi al Hadid mentions:


وبعد فإن مراسم المولى الوزير الأعظم الصاحب الصدر الكبير المعظم العالم العادل المظفر المنصور المجاهد المرابط مؤيد الدين عضد  الإسلام سيد وزراء الشرق والغرب أبي محمد ابن العلقمي …

The ceremonial of the leader, the great Wazir, the magnificently generous man, the supported and triumphant righteous scholar, the soldier who fought for Islam, the helper of Din, the support of Islam, the leader of the Wazir’s of the east and west, Abi Muhammad ibn al ‘Alqami …[33]


Relationship between al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami

Other aspects that provides insight into the incidents of Baghdad is the mutual relationship between these two individuals, their mutual understanding and recognising the common factor among their objectives. So, is there any mention of the relationship between these two individuals, what the nature of their relationship was, and what were its objectives?

It is mentioned in A’yan al Shia:


قال الخوانساري في ترجمة نصير الدين الطوسي ولما كان مؤيد الدين العلقمي الذي هو من أكابر الشيعة في ذلك الزمان وزير المستعصم الخليفة العباسي في بغداد أراد المحقق (الطوسي) دخول بغداد ومعارضته بما أختلج بداخله من ترويج المذهب الحق بمعاونة الوزير المذكور

Al Khuwanasari mentions in the biography of Nasir al Din al Tusi, “When Mu’ayyid al ‘Alqami, one of the senior Shia’s of his era, was the Wazir for al Musta’sim, the ‘Abbasi Khalifah in Baghdad, Muhaqqiq al Tusi wanted to visit Baghdad with the objective of permeating the true creed utilizing the assistance of Wazir al ‘Alqami.


So, a mutual relationship definitely existed between them, furthermore their objectives were common in the interest of the creed, otherwise he would not have disclosed his motive to him. It is mentioned that Wazir did not accede to the request as he feared his position.

Al Khuwanasari makes mention of this mutual relationship in Rawdat al Jannat, pg. 610 of the first edition as it is referred to in the footnotes of A’yan al Shia. Al Nuri al Shia makes mention of it in Khatimat al Mustadrak, vol. 2 pg. 442 and al Burujirdi makes mention of it in Tara’iq al Maqal, vol. 2 pg. 447.

The mutual relationship of Ibn al ‘Alqami and al Tusi was unharmed, even though Ibn al ‘Alqami refused to accede to al Tusi’s wish. We gather this about their relationship as it was al Tusi, as the Shia claim, who elevated the status of Ibn al ‘Alqami in the eyes of Halaku.

Ibn Tabataba (known as Ibn al Tiqtaqa’) mentions in his book, Al Fakhri fi al Adab al Sultaniyyah:


وكان الذي تولى تربيته في الحضرة السلطانية الوزير السعيد نصير الدين محمد الطوسي …

The one who supported him into the royal presence was the blessed Wazir Nasir al Din Muhammad al Tusi.[34]


It is mentioned in the biography of Ibn al ‘Alqami:


والأرجح أن شفاعة نصير الدين الطوسي كانت أهم سبب في نجاته

The advocacy of Nasir al Din al Tusi was most likely the key factor in the success of Ibn al ‘Alqami.[35]


We are not highlighting here the actual reason for Ibn al ‘Alqami’s salvation, but rather just determining the extent of the relationship between these two individuals.

Al Majlisi mentions the correspondence between them discussing the religious verdict (according to Shia) regarding the collapse of the ‘Abbasi empire, justifying it and the permitted ways of achieving it. He mentions:


لقول أبو جعفر عن العباسين : لا يزال القوم في فسحة من ملكهم ما لم يصيبوا منا دماً حراماً

Abu Jafar has stated regarding the Abbasids, “They will live without fear in their land as long they do not shed our blood unjustly.”[36]


Al Majlisi mentions:


ويحتمل أن يكون إشارة إلى قتل رجل من العلويين قتلوه مقارناً لانقضاء دولتهم كما يظهر مما كتب ابن العلقمي إلى نصير الدين الطوسي …

As it appears in the correspondence between Ibn al ‘Alqami and Nasir al Din al Tusi, this was possibly referring to the murder of an Alawite man which the Abbasids had killed in retaliation of the destruction of their state.


‘Arif Tamir also mentions the possibility of this liasion between them.[37]


The Shia Creed

As previously mentioned, al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami belonged to the Shia creed which constitutes belief in the Twelve Imams. Manifesting the creed of these two individuals is of utmost importance, as the intellectual, cultural, and sociological background is a key factor in understanding a person’s influence, recognising the motives behind their disposition, the measures undertaken, and their outlook and perspective of those around them, be it individuals, groups, or nations. Due to this significance, I would like to mention some of the fundamental rules and beliefs of the Shia creed which I believe will be of assistance in understanding the stance of these individuals. Similarly, the stance of the Shia will become manifest regarding the accusations made against al Tusi and Ibn al ‘Alqami. Surprisingly, you will notice that despite their conflicting stances, they were harmonious in the beliefs and principles of this creed. Allah willing, this will soon become apparent upon examining the statements of their scholars. I say seeking help from Allah.


NEXT⇒ Chapter Three – The Shia Creed

[1] A’yan al Shia, 9/114.

[2] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 245.

[3] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 304.

[4] Khatimah al Mustadrak, 2/323.

[5] Riyad al Masail, 2/26.

[6] Khatimah al Mustadrak, 2/425.

[7] Tarikh Mukhtasar al Duwal, pg. 250.

[8] Al Ghazw al Maghuli li-Hassan al Amin; Tarikh Mukhtasar al Duwal, pg. 250.

[9] A’yan al Shia, 9/417.

[10] Jami’ al Khilaf wa al Wifaq li ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al Qummi, pg. 10; Al Durar al Kaminah, 1/390; A’yan al ‘Asr li al Safdi, 1/541; A’yan al Shia, 5/269.

[11] Al Hurr al ‘Amili: Amal al Amil, 2/299.

[12] A’yan al Shia, 9/414.

[13] Muqaddamah Jami’ al Maqasid, 1/33.

[14] Sharh al Lum’ah, 1/298.

[15] Al Ardabili: Majma’ al Fa’idah, 1/17; Bihar al Anwar.

[16] Khatimat al Mustadrak, 2/422.

[17] Amal al Amil, 2/299.

[18] Al Hukumah al Islamiyyah, pg. 142, don’t be deceived by pg. 47.

[19] Mahkamah al Tarikh, pg. 13.

[20] A’yan al Shia, 9/82.

[21] Al Fakhri, pg. 312.

[22] Muhammad Taqi Mudarrisi: Al ‘Allamah al Khawajah Nasir al Din al Tusi Hayatuhu wa Atharuhu, pg. 110.

[23] Al Fakhri, pg. 313.

[24] Tarikh al Khulafa’, pg. 401.

[25] A’yan al Shia, 9/86.

[26] Jami’ al Tawarikh, pg. 268; Ibn al ‘Ubri: Mukhtasar al Duwal, pg. 235.

[27] Mukhtasar al Duwal, pg. 236; A’yan al Shia, 9/88.

[28] Mahkamah al Tarikh, pg. 57.

[29] Al Fakhri, pg. 308 & 313; A’yan al Shia, 9/99.

[30] A’yan al Shia, 9/68.

[31] Bihar al Anwar, 14/31.

[32] A’yan al Shia, 9/82.

[33] Muqaddamah Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, 1/3.

[34] Al Fakhri, pg. 313.

[35] A’yan al Shia, 9/101.

[36] Bihar al Anwar, 64/341.

[37] Murabi’ ibn Sina, pg. 73.