Other important Muslim mystics carry the name Suhrawardi
Suhrawardi or al-Suhrawardi is a name that may refer to:** Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi , Iranian philosopher also known as Sohrevardi* The Suhrawardiyya order of Sufism...
Abu 'l-Najib al-Suhrawardi and his paternal nephew Abu Hafs Umar al-Suhrawardi
Abu Hafs Umar al-Suhrawardi was a Persian Sufi from Chorasmia and nephew of Abu al-Najib al-Suhrawardi....
"Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yahya ibn Habash as-Suhrawardī was a Persian
philosopher, a Sufi
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...
and founder of the Illuminationist philosophy or "Oriental Theosophy", an important school in Islamic mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...
that drew upon Zoroastrian and Platonic
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...
ideas. The "Orient" of his "Oriental Theosophy" symbolises spiritual light and knowledge.He is sometimes given the honorific title Shaikh al-Ishraq
or "Master of Illumination" and sometimes is called Shaikh al-Maqtul
, the "Murdered Sheikh", referring to his execution for heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...
is a village located between the present-day towns of Zanjan
Zanjan is the capital of Zanjan Province in northwestern Iran. It is an Azeri inhabited city. It lies 298 km north-west of Tehran on the main highway to Tabriz and Turkey and approximately 125 km from the Caspian Sea...
Bijar is a city is a city in and capital of Bijar County, Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 46,156, in 12,312 families...
where Suhrawardi was born in 1155. This Azerbaijani inhabited town was then part of Bijar province despite its non-Kurdish population but it is today part of Zanjan province
Zanjan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. Located in the North West of Iran, its capital is Zanjan city. Zanjan province with an area of 36,400 km² has a mostly rural, population of 964,601 . The province lies 330 km northwest of Tehran, connected to it via a freeway.Zanjan...
in Azarbaijan region and is inhabited by Azerbaijani people as it is the case of all Zanjan province. , and its inhabitants were mainly mystics..There are still villages and towns with Azerbaijani population in Bijar county due to administrative reasons.The district (Bakhsh) of Karani with the town of Yasukand as its center are today part of Bijar but are Azerbaijani Turkic speaking.
He learned wisdom and jurisprudence in Maragheh
Maragheh also Romanized as Marāgheh and Marāghen) is a city in and the capital of Maragheh County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 146,405, in 38,891 families....
(located today in the East Azarbaijan Province
East Azerbaijan Province or East Azarbaijan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the northwest of the country, bordering Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the provinces of Ardabil, West Azerbaijan, and Zanjan...
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...
). His teacher was Majd al-Din Jaili who was also Imam Fakhr Razi’s teacher. He then went to Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....
for several years and developed his knowledge while he was there.
His life spanned a period of less than forty years during which he produced a series of highly assured works that established him as the founder of a new school of philosophy, sometimes called "Illuminism" (hikmat al-Ishraq). According to Henry Corbin
Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France.Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. As a boy he revealed the profound sensitivity to music so evident in his work...
, Suhrawardi "came later to be called the Master of Oriental theosophy (Shaikh-i-Ishraq) because his great aim was the renaissance of ancient Iranian wisdom".
In 1186, at the age of thirty-two, he completed his magnum opus “The Philosophy of Illumination.” He was executed in 1191 in Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...
on charges of cultivating Batini
Batiniyya is a pejorative term to refer to those groups, such as Alevism, Ismailism, and often Sufism, which distinguish between an inner, esoteric level of meaning in the Qur'an, in addition to the outer, exoteric level of meaning Zahiri...
teachings and philosophy by the order of al-Malik al-Zahir, son of Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...
Arising out of the peripatetic philosophy as developed by Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Suhrawardi's illuminationist philosophy is critical of several of his positions and radically departs from him in the creation of a symbolic language (mainly derived from ancient Iranian culture or Farhang-e Khosravani
) to give expression to his wisdom (hikma
Suhrawardi taught a complex and profound emanationist cosmology
Esoteric cosmology is cosmology that is an intrinsic part of an esoteric or occult system of thought. It almost always deals with at least some of the following themes: emanation, involution, spiritual evolution, epigenesis, planes of existence or higher worlds , hierarchies of spiritual beings,...
, in which all creation is a successive outflow from the original Supreme Light of Lights (Nur al-Anwar
). The fundamental of his philosophy is pure immaterial light, than which nothing is more manifest, that unfolds from the light of lights in a descending order of ever-diminishing intensity and, through complex interaction, gives rise to a "horizontal" array of lights, similar in conception to Platonic forms, that governs the species of mundane reality. In other words, the universe and all levels of existence are but varying degrees of Light - the light and the darkness. In his division of bodies, he categorizes objects in terms of their reception or non-reception of light.
Suhrawardi considers a previous existence for every soul in the angelic domain before descending to the realm of the body. The soul is divided into two parts, one remaining in heaven and the other descending into the dungeon of the body. The human soul is always sad because it has been divorced from its other half. Therefore, it aspires to become united with it again. The soul can only reach felicity again when it is united with the celestial part, which has remained in heaven. He holds that the soul should seek felicity by detaching itself from its tenebrous body and worldly matters and access the world of immaterial lights. The souls of the gnostics and saints, after leaving the body, ascend even above the angelic world to enjoy proximity to the Supreme Light, which is the only absolute Reality.
Suhrawardi elaborated the neo-Platonic idea of an independent intermediary world, the imaginal world (alam-e mithal
). His views have exerted a powerful influence down to this day, particularly through Mulla Sadra
Ṣadr ad-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī also called Mulla Sadrā was a Persian Shia Islamic philosopher, theologian and ‘Ālim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century...
’s combined peripatetic and illuminationist description of reality.
Suhrawardi's Illuminationist project was to have far-reaching consequences for Islamic philosophy in Shi'ite Iran. His teachings had a strong influence on subsequent esoteric Iranian thought and the idea of “Decisive Necessity” is believed to be one of the most important innovations of in the history of logical philosophical speculation, stressed by the majority of Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...
logicians and philosophers. In the seventeenth century it was to initiate an Illuminationist Zoroastrian revival in the figure of Azar Kayvan
Āzar Kayvān , was a Zoroastrian high priest of Istakhr and native of Fars who emigrated to the Gujarat in Mughal India during the reign of the Emperor Akbar and became the founder of a Zoroastrian school of ishraqiyyun or Illuminationists...
Suhrawardi and pre-Islamic Iranian Thought
Suhrawardi uses pre-Islamic Iranian gnosis, synthesising it with Greek and Islamic wisdom. He believed that the ancient Persians' wisdom was shared by Greek philosophers such as Plato as well as by the Egyptian Hermes and considered his philosophy of illumination a rediscovery of this ancient wisdom. According to Nasr, Suhrawardi provides an important link between the thought of pre-Islamic and post-Islamic Iran and a harmonious synthesis between the two.
In the Alwah Imadi
he offers an esoteric intrepretation of Ferdowsi's Epic of Kings
) in which figures such as Fereydun, Zahak, Kay Khusraw and Jamshid are seen as manifestations of the divine light. Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Seyyed Hossein Nasr is an Iranian University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University, and a prominent Islamic philosopher...
states: "Alwah 'Imadi is one of the most brilliant works of Suhrawardi in which the tales of ancient Persia and the wisdom of gnosis of antiquity in the context of the estoteric meaning of the Quran have been synthesized.".(pg16).
In the Partwa Nama
he makes extensive use of Zoroastrian symbolism and his elaborate anegeology is also based on Zoroastrian models. The supreme light he calls both by its Quranic and Mazdean names, al-nur al-a'zam
(the Supreme Light) and Vohuman
). Suhrawardi refers to the hukamayi-fars (Persian Philosophers) as major practitioners of his Ishraqi
wisdom and to Zoroaster, Jamasp, Goshtasp, Kay Khusraw, Frashostar and Bozorgmehr as possessors of this ancient wisdom.
Among symbols and concepts used by Suhrawardi are: minu (incorporeal world), Giti (Corporeal World), Surush (messenger, Gabriel), Farvardin (the lower world), Gawhar (Pure sessense), Bahram, Hurakhsh (the Sun), Shahriyar (archetype of species), Isfahbad (Light in the body), Amordad (Zoroastrian Angel), Shahrivar (Zoroastrian Angel), and the Kiyyani Khwarnah. According to Suhrawardi: "Once the soul becomes illuminated and strong through the rays of divine light, it reachers the throne of Kiyani and becomes fully grounded in power and prosperity".
- Partaw Nama ("Treatise on Illumination")
- Hayakal al-Nur" al-Suhrawardi [Sohravardi, Shihaboddin Yahya] (1154–91) Hayakil al-nur (The Temples of Light), ed. M.A. Abu Rayyan, Cairo: al-Maktaba al-Tijariyyah al-Kubra, 1957. (The Persian version appears in oeuvres vol. III.)
- Alwah-i imadi ("The tablets dedicated to Imad al-Din")
- Lughat-i Muran ("The language of Termites")
- Risalat al-Tayr ("The treatise of the Bird")
- Safir-i Simurgh ("The Calling of the Simurgh
Simurgh , also spelled simorgh, simurg, simoorg or simourv, also known as Angha , is the modern Persian name for a benevolent, mythical flying creature...
- Ruzi ba jama'at Sufiyaan ("A day with the community of Sufis")
- Fi halat al-tifulliyah ("Treatise on the state of the childhood")
- Awaz-i par-i Jebrail ("The Chant of the Wing of Gabriel")
- Aql-i Surkh ("The Red Intellect")
- Fi Haqiqat al-'Ishaq ("On the reality of love")
- Bustan al-Qolub ("The Garden of the Heart")
- Kitab al-mashari' wa'l-motarahat, Arabic texts edited with introduction in French by H. Corbin, Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, and Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1976; vol II: I. Le Livre de la Théosophie oriental
- (Kitab Hikmat al-ishraq). 2. Le Symbole de foi des philosophes. 3. Le Récit de l'Exil occidental, Arabic texts edited with introduction in French by H. Corbin, Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, and Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1977; vol III: oeuvres en persan, Persian texts edited with introduction in Persian by S.H. Nasr, introduction in French by H. Corbin, Tehran: Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy, and Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1977. (Only the metaphysics of the three texts in Vol. I were published.) Vol. III contains a Persian version of the Hayakil al-nur, ed. and trans. H. Corbin
- L'Archange empourpré: quinze traités et récits mystiques, Paris: Fayard, 1976, contains translations of most of the texts in vol. III of oeuvres philosophiques et mystiques, plus four others. Corbin provides introductions to each treatise, and includes several extracts from commentaries on the texts. W.M. Thackston, Jr, The Mystical and Visionary Treatises of Shihabuddin Yahya Suhrawardi, London: Octagon Press, 1982, provides an English translation of most of the treatises in vol. III of oeuvres philosophiques et mystiques, which eschews all but the most basic annotation; it is therefore less useful than Corbin's translation from a philosophical point of view)
- Mantiq al-talwihat, ed. A.A. Fayyaz, Tehran: Tehran University Press, 1955. (The logic of the Kitab al-talwihat (The Intimations)
- Kitab hikmat al-ishraq (The Philosophy of Illumination), trans H. Corbin, ed. and intro. C. Jambet, Le livre de la sagesse orientale: Kitab Hikmat al-Ishraq, Lagrasse: Verdier, 1986. (Corbin's translation of the Prologue and the Second Part (The Divine Lights), together with the introduction of Shams al-Din al-Shahrazuri and liberal extracts from the commentaries of Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi and Mulla Sadra. Published after Corbin's death, this copiously annotated translation gives to the reader without Arabic immediate access to al-Suhrawardi's illuminationist method and language)