The Philosophy of Illumination


THE PHILOSOPHY OF ILLUMINATION -(Hikamat al-Ishrāq by Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī)

THE PHILOSOPHY OF ILLUMINATION -(Hikamat al-Ishrāq by Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī)

Suhrawardī’s Hikmat al-Ishrāq is counted among the most influential texts of Islamic intellectual history. The subject of Hikmat al-Ishrāq is the “science of lights”– a science that Suhrawardī first learned through mystical exercises reinforced later by logical proofs and finally confirmed by what he saw as the parallel experiences of the Ancients.

Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī was born around 1154, probably in northwestern Iran. Spurred by a dream in which Aristotle appeared to him, he rejected the Avicenna’s Peripatetic philosophy of his youth and undertook the task of reviving the earlier philosophical tradition of the “Ancients.” Suhrawardī’s philosophy grants a fundamental epistemological role to immediate and atemporal intuition. It is explicitly– often stridently– ­anti-Peripatetic and is identified with the pre­ Aristotelian sages, particularly Plato. He was con­vinced that the same wisdom was also to be found among other nations, including the Egyptians (as represented most prominently by Hermes Trismegistus) and the pre-Islamic sages and righteous kings of Persia. The translators present the first English edition of Hikmat al-Ishrāq with a sensitivity that conveys both the metaphysical richness and the philosophic subtleties of the work.


Johan Walbridge & Hossein Ziai


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