Ahmad Ibn Muhammed Razi known as Ibn Miskaway, the famous philosopher, historian, physician, and literary man of the fifth century, lived in Isfahan during the last years of his life. He passed away in the same city. His ideas regarding theoretical wisdom are gathered in his al-Fawz al-asghar, and those related to his practical wisdom are recorded in the book Tahdhib al-akhlaq.
One of Ibn Miskaway’s philosophical ideas is rooted in his belief in the organic connection and unity among the natural existents of the world. He views the corporeal worlds, similar to the spiritual world, as a labyrinth with certain grades that encompass each other and are connected to each other. In fact, he draws a comprehensive map of all these grades. In his view, it seems as if the movement of each moving thing is intelligently directed towards its own totality and everything that agrees with its perfection. This motion is rooted in enthusiasm, in which the lover is the effect of its beloved. He believes that, in order to specify the stages of the prophets’ evolution, it is necessary to clarify the quality of the connection of existents to each other.
He argues that God has divided each species into different groups and types through His certain wisdom and prudence. He has also established a vertical order among species so that each is more perfect comparing to the previous one until we come to the last type of the last species. It is at this point that the end of this species is connected to the beginning of the next species. By going through the various stages and levels in this direction, vegetation becomes animal, and animal turns into human being. According to Miskaway, after traversing the levels of biological perfection, man attains spiritual perfection and finally reaches the last level of human perfection, which is prophethood. The prophet, too, is promoted to the level of the next species, which is the intellect or angel.
Given the situation of empirical sciences in Ibn Miskaway’s time and the prevailing philosophical school of that time, it seems that his philosophical system was not capable to clarify the theory of perfection from a philosophical standpoint. This was because philosophy did not have the required capacity for explaining such problems yet. This view had been posed before him by Ikhwan al-Safa and also by some of his contemporary thinkers such as Aburayhan Biruni and Ibn Sina with some changes. However, it was Ibn Miskaway’s thoughts that were transferred to later thinkers such as Mulla Sadra, so that he would be able to clarify it philosophically. Perhaps, if Ibn Miskaway had shared the same philosophical principles of Mulla Sadra, he would have been able to explain biologists’ theory of evolution from a philosophical point of view.