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Ikhwan Us Safa (Brethren Of Purity)

             The Monotheistic conquests brought the Arab Muslims into contact with various types of people and cultures that challenged their assumed Monotheistic method of thinking. Amongst these was the Hellenistic type, from which they received the philosophical heritage of Greek thinkers, like Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plato, who proposed that "reason and intellect are the highest tools and guiding principles in a human being's search for truth and salvation"[Ikh14]1, [Ent]1.
             Vital works of those philosophers were translated into Arabic that made them accessible to the Muslim world. This heritage elicited two extreme antagonistic reactions from the Muslim world. On one hand, there were those who were thoroughly convinced of the translated literature and elevated its importance to exalted heights, like the Abbasid Caliph Al Mamun. Mamun was greatly affected with these new Philosophical ideas and promoted them in each manner possible, to the extent that he was able to declare that reason and not faith ought to be the best tenet of human life.
             On the opposite hand, the majority of the Sunni Ulma had an awfully tough time reconciling this knowledge with their understanding of Islam. So they branded "Philosophy" as heterodox and bidat (anti Shariah innovation). In spite of sturdy disapproval and opposition from the Sunni body, intellectual and philosophical activity flourished in the Islamic world. Due to this, a number of questions and confusion started to arise amongst the Muslim population, like: .
             What was the relation of Islam with philosophy?.
             What is the ideal Muslim Ummah?.
             What is the best tenet of life?.
             How can we incorporate the philosophical theories into religion?.
             So, when Philosophy as an alternate to faith was gaining ground among people and that the faith i.e. Islam was threatened, the Rasail Ikhwan us Safa were written and distributed anonymously in Masjids everywhere in the Muslim world by some writers who kept themselves anonymous.

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