Cf. 3:275, below. With its component parts
inverted, the statement appears in at-Tabari, Firdaws al-hikmah,
ed. M. Z. Siddiqi, p. 6; Ibn Qutaybah, Adab al-katib,
ed. M. Grunert (Leiden, 1901), pp.
4 f.; asSamaw'al al-Maghribi, al-Bahir, MS. Istanbul,
Aya Sofya, 2718, fol. 26b. The first half of the
statement is found in Pseudo-Majriti, Ghayah, ed. H.
Ritter, p. 319, and in Ibn Sina, Ta'liqat 'aid hawashi Kitab an-Nafs
li-Aristu, ed. 'Abd-ar-Rahman Badawi, in
Aristu 'inda l-'Arab (Cairo, 1947),
p. 112. A related remark appears in
the Theology of Aristotle, ed. F. Dieterici (Leipzig, 1882), p.
Further references in M. Steinschneider, Gesammelte Schriften
(Berlin, 1925), I, 62.
Some of the authors who quote the statement
ascribe it to the Sage or the Philosopher, and, in fact, it goes
back to Aristotle. In the Eudemian Ethics 12276
32 f., Aristotle says: "Thus, the End is the beginning of
thinking, but the conclusion of thinking is (the beginning) of
action." This statement is quoted by loannes Philoponus in his
commentary on Aristotle Physics 200' 22-24; see the ed.
Vitelli (Berlin, 1887), p.
336: Commentaria in
Aristotelem Graeca, XVI. There it is
followed by a statement almost exactly corresponding to the
Arabic quotation: "Theory starts where action ends, and action
starts where theory ends." * Cf. In Cat., pp. 115 ff.
Moreover, in De anima 433' 16 f., speaking
about appetite, Aristotle says: "The terminal point (of the
practical intellect) is the beginning of action." In his
commentary on De anima, loannes Philoponus succinctly
explains this as "The end of the intellect is the beginning of
action" (ed. Hayduck, Berlin, 1897, p. 585:
Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca,
This corresponds to the form of the statement we
find in Ibn Sina and Pseudo-Majriti.
The entire passage is based upon an idea that we
find developed, for instance, by Simplicius in his
Commentary on the Categories, ed. Kalbfleisch
(Berlin, 1907), p. 14: Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca,
VIII. Simplicius states that theory and practice proceed in
opposite directions, since theory proceeds from the end to the
beginning, and practice from the beginning to the end. Theory
realizes that man needs a house as a shelter, that a house
cannot be built without walls, that walls need foundations, and
that foundations require an excavation. Now, practice starts
with the excavation, etc. It remains to be investigated through
which intermediary this material from Simplicius (and other
introductions to Aristotelian philosophy that were translated
into Arabic) reached Ibn Khaldun, Averroes was probably, one of
them. Cf. S. M. Stem, in Journal of Sent. Studies, VII