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Al-Kindi-From the ‘De Radiis’


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of HYGEIA are two quotes from polymath AL KINDI’s ‘De RADIIS’ (About the Stellar Rays) about the Heart and about Prayer. ‘De Radiis’, pages 57 to 59, then 63 to 65, Allia Edition_2003. Our English working translation from Didier Ottaviani’s French translation of the XII century Latin manuscript (the original Arabic is missing).

Al Kindi, a prominent figure of the House of Wisdom in Bagdad, is considered, together with Farabi, Al Razi, Avicenna and Averroes, as the founding father of Islamic Philosophy, picking up the torch of Philosophy from the ruins of the classical world. We will share much more, as it flows, from these fascinating luminaries.


‘…In fact, the human desire dwells in the heart, which is the center from where all the voluntary actions originate; and this center owns its own centric nature, in a certain manner alike the center of the world. As Man, individuated by his own complexion, is born in conformity to the world, because each parts of the world are participating into his individuation. From there comes the fact that the center of the world produces, in its own manner, a centricity in each individual human being-and even in each animal. This is why the center of Man rules him in his movements, alike the center of the world. And this is why the rays that originate from the property of the center of Man, that are from his desire, are more able to produce a movement in a proper manner than the rays that originate from other parts of the Human being or from properties of these parts.

And one must know that the desire of a man is naturally more able to produce external movements than another because each person’s complexion limits the quantity and the quality of his strength, even when the will and the desires are found in both in equal intensity. Also, when the desires are even, due to the nature of the complexion, if the desire of one person is produced more intensively in act than the desire of the other, it is the more intensely produced that owns the capacity to manifest external movements.

Furthermore, when someone’s desire is so intense that it produces the diverse actions necessary to the effect, the rays of this desire receive, by the uttering of sounds, a power of accomplishment over the external things, and this power is found stronger in the aerial bodies. These rays produce more or less important movements due to location, time and other circumstances that favor the effects of this desire-the celestial harmony producing all things in the elemental matter, which is on one side patient and on the other side active, due to the formative power of this harmony.’


‘…Prayers to God are necessary to men, so to favorize good and avoid evil, due to their ignorance concerning harmony and its order; in which is often seen the fact that a thing does not happen if prayers and other means don’t participate to the making of this thing in the elemental world.

But one must not think that God, who is totally immutable, may be moved in any manner by the prayers of men, however big the desire with which they were pronounced. Nevertheless, once that he was begged, the elemental matter is drawn into movement through prayers, to use the language of physics, and to express simply the effect of a metaphysical cause, this matter receives first and mainly such a movement due to the heavenly disposition. Therefore, when these supplications are directed towards God with the required solemnity by men whose spirits are devoted, whose desires are bent, so to induce a certain movement in a certain matter, the desired effect follows, harmony dealing first with everything in all things.

Furthermore, the supplications are not only directed towards God, but also towards the spirits that some men believe exist, even though their existence is not noticeable to the naked eye. In fact, many people believe that the angels are separated substances that possess the power to produce movements in the things composed of elemental matter. They believe also that some men, once liberated from their bodies, maintain a spiritual existence and produce, sometimes, movements in this world, lead to do so by the affectionate prayers of men.’


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Al-Kindi-From the ‘De Radiis’

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