Illuminationism

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Illuminationist or ishraqi philosophy is a type of Islamic philosophy introduced by Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi in the twelfth century CE.

Islamic philosophy

Islamic philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from an Islamic tradition. Two terms traditionally used in the Islamic world are sometimes translated as philosophy—falsafa, which refers to philosophy as well as logic, mathematics, and physics; and Kalam, which refers to a rationalist form of Islamic theology.

Contents

History

Influenced by Avicennism and Neoplatonism, the Persian [1] [2] [3] [4] or Kurdish, [5] [6] [7] [8] philosopher Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (11551191), who left over 50 writings in Persian and Arabic, founded the school of Illumination. He developed a version of illuminationism (Persian حكمت اشراق hikmat-i ishrāq, Arabic: حكمة الإشراق ḥikmat al-ishrāq). The Persian and Islamic school draws on ancient Iranian philosophical disciplines, [9] [10] Avicennism (Ibn Sina’s early Islamic philosophy), Neoplatonic thought (modified by Ibn Sina), and the original ideas of Suhrawardi.

Avicennism is a school in Islamic philosophy which was established by Avicenna. He developed his philosophy throughout the course of his life after being deeply moved and concerned by the Metaphysics of Aristotle and studying it for over a year. According to Henry Corbin and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, there are two kind of Avicennism: Islamic or Iranian Avicennism, and Latin Avicennism. According to Nasr, the Latin Avicennism was based on the former philosophical works of Avicenna. This school followed the Peripatetic school of philosophy and tried to describe the structure of reality with a rational system of thinking. In the twelfth century AD, It became influential in Europe, particularly in Oxford and Paris, and affected some notable philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus. While the Latin Avicennism was weak in comparison with Latin Averroism, according to Étienne Gilson there was a "Avicennising Augustinism". On the other hand, Islamic Avicennism is based on his later works which is known as "The oriental philosophy". Therefore, philosophy in the eastern Islamic civilization providing became close to gnosis and tried to provide a vision of a spiritual universe. This approach paved the road for the Iranian school of Illuminationism by Suhrawardi.

Neoplatonism

Neoplatonism is a term used to designate a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonius Saccas and his student Plotinus and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to neoplatonic systems, for example, the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One".

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

In his Philosophy of Illumination, Suhrawardi argued that light operates at all levels and hierarchies of reality (PI, 97.798.11). Light produces immaterial and substantial lights, including immaterial intellects (angels), human and animal souls, and even 'dusky substances', such as bodies. [11]

Angel Supernatural being in various religions and mythologies

An angel is generally a supernatural being found in various religions and mythologies. Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between God and humanity. Other roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out tasks on behalf of God. Abrahamic religions often organize angels into hierarchies, although such rankings may vary between sects in each religion. Such angels may receive specific names or titles. People have also extended the use of the term "angel" to various notions of spirits or figures found in other religious traditions. The theological study of angels is known as "angelology". Angels expelled from Heaven are referred to as fallen angels as distinct from the heavenly host.

Suhrawardi's metaphysics is based on two principles. The first is a form of the principle of sufficient reason. The second principle is Aristotle's principle that an actual infinity is impossible. [12]

The principle of sufficient reason states that everything must have a reason or a cause. The modern formulation of the principle is usually attributed to Gottfried Leibniz, although the idea was conceived of and utilized by various philosophers who preceded him, including Anaximander, Parmenides, Archimedes, Plato and Aristotle, Cicero, Avicenna, Thomas Aquinas, and Spinoza. Some philosophers have associated the principle of sufficient reason with "ex nihilo nihil fit". Hamilton identified the laws of inference modus ponens with the "law of Sufficient Reason, or of Reason and Consequent" and modus tollens with its contrapositive expression.

In the philosophy of mathematics, the abstraction of actual infinity involves the acceptance of infinite entities, such as the set of all natural numbers or an infinite sequence of rational numbers, as given, actual, completed objects. This is contrasted with potential infinity, in which a non-terminating process produces a sequence with no last element, and each individual result is finite and is achieved in a finite number of steps.

None of Suhrawardi's works were translated into Latin, and so he remained unknown in the Latin West, although his work continued to be studied in the Islamic East. [13] According to Hosein Nasr, Suhrawardi was unknown to the west until he was translated to western languages by contemporary thinkers such as Henry Corbin, and he remains largely unknown even in countries within the Islamic world. [14] Suhrawardi tried to present a new perspective on questions like those of existence. He not only caused peripatetic philosophers to confront such new questions but also gave new life to the body of philosophy after Avicenna. [15] According to John Walbridge, Suhrawardi's critiques of Peripatetic philosophy could be counted as an important turning point for his successors. Although Suhravardi was first a pioneer of Peripatetic philosophy, he later became a Platonist following a mystical experience. He is also counted as one who revived the ancient wisdom in Persia by his philosophy of illumination. His followers, such as Shahrzouri and Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi tried to continue the way of their teacher. Suhrewardi makes a distinction between two approaches in the philosophy of illumination: one approach is discursive and another is intuitive. [16]

Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian, Iranologist and professor of Islamic Studies at the École pratique des hautes études in Paris, France.

Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi 13th and 14th-century Persian philosopher and scientist

Qotb al-Din Mahmoud b. Zia al-Din Mas'ud b. Mosleh Shirazi (1236–1311) was a 13th-century Iranian polymath and poet who made contributions to astronomy, mathematics, medicine, physics, music theory, philosophy and Sufism.

See also

Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, also called Mulla Sadrā, was an Iranian Twelver Shi'a Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. According to Oliver Leaman, Mulla Sadra is arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years.

Enlightenment (spiritual) Notion in spirituality of full comprehension of a situation

Enlightenment is the "full comprehension of a situation". The term is commonly used to denote the Age of Enlightenment, but is also used in Western cultures in a religious context. It translates several Buddhist terms and concepts, most notably bodhi, kensho and satori. Related terms from Asian religions are moksha (liberation) in Hinduism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, and ushta in Zoroastrianism.

Notes

  1. John Walbridge, “The leaven of the ancients: Suhrawardī and the heritage of the Greeks”, State University of New York Press, 1999. Excerpt: “Suhrawardi, a 12th-century Persian philosopher, was a key figure in the transition of Islamic thought from the neo-Aristotelianism of Avicenna to the mystically oriented philosophy of later centuries.”
  2. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, “The need for a sacred science”, SUNY Press, 1993. Pg 158: “Persian philosopher Suhrawardi refers in fact to this land as na-kuja abad, which in Persian means literally utopia.”
  3. Matthew Kapstein, University of Chicago Press, 2004, "The presence of light: divine radiance and religious experience", University of Chicago Press, 2004. pg 285:"..the light of lights in the system of the Persian philosopher Suhrawardi"
  4. Hossein Ziai. Illuminationsim or Illuminationist philosophy, first introduced in the 12th century as a complete, reconstructed system distinct both from the Peripatetic philosophy of Avicenna and from theological philosophy. in: Encyclopaedia Iranica. Volumes XII & XIII. 2004.
  5. R. Izady, Mehrdad (1991). The Kurds: a concise handbook.
  6. Kamāl, Muḥammad (2006). Mulla Sadra's transcendent philosophy.
  7. C. E. Butterworth, M. Mahdi, The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy, Harvard CMES Publishers, 406 pp., 1992, ISBN   0-932885-07-1 (see p.336)
  8. M. Kamal, Mulla Sadra's Transcendent Philosophy, p.12, Ashgate Publishing Inc., 136 pp., 2006, ISBN   0-7546-5271-8 (see p.12)
  9. Henry Corbin. The Voyage and the Messenger. Iran and Philosophy. Containing previous unpublished articles and lectures from 1948 to 1976. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, California. 1998. ISBN   1-55643-269-0.
  10. Henry Corbin. The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism. Omega Publications, New York. 1994. ISBN   0-930872-48-7.
  11. Philosophy of Illumination 77.178.9
  12. Philosophy of Illumination 87.189.8
  13. Marcotte, Roxanne, "Suhrawardi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2012/entries/suhrawardi/>.
  14. Hosein Nasr, 1997 & three muslin sages , p. 55
  15. Nasr, 2006 & Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present , p. 86
  16. Walbridge in Adamson & and Taylor 2005 , pp. 201–223

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