SUHRAWARDI AND THE SCHOOL OF ILLUMINATION – Book Sample
About the Book – SUHRAWARDI AND THE SCHOOL OF ILLUMINATION
Shihab al-Din Yahya Suhrawardi, also known as Shaikh al-ishraq or the Master of Illumination, lived in the sixth century AH / twelfth century CE. His thoughts form a consistent and coherent philosophical system, and a close study of his writings in Persian reveals a theory of knowledge generally called ‘Knowledge by Presence’.
The elaborate web of myth and symbolism in Suhrawardi’s philosophy articulates his theory of knowledge, an important subject in the ishraqi school of thought. Suhrawardi, who claims first to have discovered the truth and then embarked on a path to find the rational basis of his experiential wisdom, represents a thinker who tried to reconcile rational discourse and inner purification.
This work discusses the mystical dimension of Shihab al-Din YaJ:ıya Suhrawardi, the philosopher-mystic and the founder of the School of Illumination ( ishraq) in the tradition of Islamic philosophy.
Suhrawardi is one of the most influential fıgures in the history of Islamic philosophy, because of the significance of his intellectual contributions and because of the impact he had on his succes- sors, in particular later Islamic philosophy which culminated in the “School oflsfahn”.
Despite the existing diversity of intellectual inquiries within lsla.m which range from the rationalistic philosophy of the peripatetics ( mashsha’is) and the intellectual intuition of the illuıninationists ( ishriupyyün) to the ascetic and inner journey of the Sufis, there have been few philosophers who have made an attempt to synthesize these diverse schools of thought into a unified philosophical paradigm.
Amirak MuJ:ıammad ibn Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi, the Persian philosopher of the 6/12 century and an advocate of what he called “ancient wisdom” ( !ıi}ımat al-‘atiq), made an attempt to unify various schools of wisdom in order to demonstrate the universal truth that lies at the heart of ali divinely revealed religions. Unlike earlier Sufis and gnostics in Islam, Suhrawardi maintained that philosophical discourse was a necessary training for those seeking to pursue the path of illumination.
This was quite revolutionary since Sufis rejected rationalistic philosophy as exemplifıed by the Peripatetics who in tum rejected Sufism. The significance of Suhrawardi becomes more clear when he is viewed as a gnostic who advocates both philosophical discourse and asceticism as an essential part of the path of illumination. He also incorporates various elements from such traditions of wisdom as the Egyptians, Greeks and Persians in order….
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