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


Influenced by Avicennism and Neoplatonism, the Persian[1][2][3][4] or Kurdish,[5][6][7][8] philosopher Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi (1155–1191), 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.

In his Philosophy of Illumination, Suhrawardi argued that light operates at all levels and hierarchies of reality (PI, 97.7–98.11). Light produces immaterial and substantial lights, including immaterial intellects (angels), human and animal souls, and even 'dusky substances', such as bodies.[11]

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]

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]

See also


  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 77.1–78.9
  12. ^ Philosophy of Illumination 87.1–89.8
  13. ^ Marcotte, Roxanne, "Suhrawardi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <>.
  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

Further reading

  • Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination by Mehdi Amin Razavi
  • Islamic Intellectual Tradition in Persia by Seyyed Hossein Nasr

External links

  • "", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Australian philosophy

Australian philosophy refers to the philosophical tradition of the people of Australia and of its citizens abroad.


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" (حکمت المشرقیین). 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 (حکمت الاشراق) by Suhrawardi.Henry Corbin referred to divergences between Iranian Avicennism and Latin Avicennism. Besides he showed that we can see three different schools in Avicennism, which he called Avicennising Augustinism, Latin Avicennism and Iranian Avicennism.

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Philosophical cosmology, philosophy of cosmology or philosophy of cosmos is a discipline directed to the philosophical contemplation of the universe as a totality, and to its conceptual foundations. It draws on several branches of philosophy—metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of physics, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, and on the fundamental theories of physics. The term cosmology was used at least as early as 1730, by German philosopher Christian Wolff, in Cosmologia Generalis.

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Danish philosophy has a long tradition as part of Western philosophy.

Perhaps the most influential Danish philosopher was Søren Kierkegaard, the creator of Christian existentialism, which inspired the philosophical movement of Existentialism. Kierkegaard had a few Danish followers, including Harald Høffding, who later in his life moved on to join the movement of positivism. Among Kierkegaard's other followers include Jean-Paul Sartre who was impressed with Kierkegaard's views on the individual, and Rollo May, who helped create humanistic psychology.

Divine illumination

According to divine illumination, the process of human thought needs to be aided by divine grace. It is the oldest and most influential alternative to naturalism in the theory of mind and epistemology. It was an important feature of ancient Greek philosophy, Neoplatonism, medieval philosophy, and the Illuminationist school of Islamic philosophy.

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Iranian philosophy

Iranian philosophy (Persian: فلسفه ایرانی) or Persian philosophy can be traced back as far as to Old Iranian philosophical traditions and thoughts which originated in ancient Indo-Iranian roots and were considerably influenced by Zarathustra's teachings. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the chronology of the subject and science of philosophy starts with the Indo-Iranians, dating this event to 1500 BC. The Oxford dictionary also states, "Zarathustra's philosophy entered to influence Western tradition through Judaism, and therefore on Middle Platonism."

Throughout Iranian history and due to remarkable political and social changes such as the Arab and Mongol invasions of Persia, a wide spectrum of schools of thoughts showed a variety of views on philosophical questions extending from Old Iranian and mainly Zoroastrianism-related traditions, to schools appearing in the late pre-Islamic era such as Manicheism and Mazdakism as well as various post-Islamic schools. Iranian philosophy after the Arab invasion of Persia, is characterized by different interactions with the Old Iranian philosophy, the Greek philosophy and with the development of Islamic philosophy. The Illumination School and the Transcendent Philosophy are regarded as two of the main philosophical traditions of that era in Persia.

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Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

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Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi

Other important Muslim mystics carry the name Suhrawardi, particularly Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi and his paternal nephew Shahab al-Din Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi."Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardī (Persian: شهاب‌الدین سهروردی‎, also known as Sohrevardi) (1154-1191) was a Persian philosopher and founder of the Iranian school of Illuminationism, an important school in Islamic philosophy that drew upon Zoroastrian and Platonic ideas. The "light" in his "Philosophy of Illumination" is a divine and metaphysical source of knowledge. He is referred to by the honorific title Shaikh al-ʿIshraq "Master of Illumination" and Shaikh al-Maqtul "the Murdered Master", in reference to his execution for heresy. Mulla Sadra, the Persian sage of the Safavid era described Suhrawardi as the "Reviver of the Traces of the Pahlavi (Iranian) Sages", and Suhrawardi, in his magnum opus "The Philosophy of Illumination", thought of himself as a reviver or resuscitator of the ancient tradition of Persian wisdom.


Suhrawardy redirects here. For the Bengali politician and Prime Minister of Pakistan, see Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. The well-known Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash Suhrawardi "the Executed" (1153 - 1191CE), the founder of Illuminationism, is unconnected and unrelated.

The Suhrawardiyya (Arabic: سهروردية‎) is a Sufi order founded by the Sufi Diya al-din Abu 'n-Najib as-Suhrawardi (1097 – 1168 CE). It is a strictly Sunni order, guided by the Shafi`i school of Islamic law (madhhab), and, like many such orders, traces its spiritual genealogy (silsila) to Ali ibn Abi Talib through Junayd Baghdadi and al-Ghazali. It played an important role in the formation of a conservative ‘new piety’ and in the regulation of urban vocational and other groups, such as trades-guilds and youth clubs (see Futuwwa), particularly in Baghdad.

Turkish philosophy

Turkish philosophy has long been affected by Islam and the country's proximity to Greece and ancient Greek philosophy.

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