The Ikhwan-al-Safa, The Brethren of Purity, warn their brothers to avoid ta’assub (prejudice) against any faith or any of the sciences in their intellectual pursuits as it blinds men to the truth. This open-mindedness, this willingness to see the good in all schools of thought, this spirit of understanding and learning, was unheard of at that time and place, and is one of the fundamentals that make the Rasail Ikhwan-al-Safa unique. They bridged the isolation and antagonism of human differences and demonstrated the larger truth behind fragmentations of race, culture, religion and country. The Ikhwan were dedicated to embracing all available knowledge and to shunning none of the sciences. In this they embodied and cultivated an attitude that made them not only unique at the time, but also forerunners of today’s modern philosophy which idealises this unbiased and all-embracing approach to knowledge.
- Books written by the philosophers and sages.
- Divine books revealed to the prophets through wahye.
- Books based on studies of the natural sciences.
- Divine ‘books’ in the hearts of the Awliyah-ul-Allah.
Although the final goal of the Ikhwan is purely spiritual, they have a very realistic view towards the material needs of man and lay equal emphasis on worldly life. They include in their curriculum of subjects sciences pertaining to agriculture, economic and political organization. The immediate practical purpose of learning skills and sciences is also to organise and pursue a prosperous and fulfilling life