The Science of Mystic Lights: Qutb al-Din Shirazi and the Illuminationist Tradition in Islamic Philosophy

Overview

In the late twelfth century the mystical philosopher Suhrawardi developed a metaphysics based on metaphysical light that combined the Islamic Neoplatonism of Avicenna with ideas and symbols drawn from Islamic mysticism, classical Platonism, and Iranian mythology. This book analyzes how Qutb al-Din Shirazi, an Iranian scientist and philosopher of the thirteenth century and a leading exponent of Suhrawardi's thought, understood Suhrawardi's metaphysics of light and how he applied it in his own writings. Also ...

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Overview

In the late twelfth century the mystical philosopher Suhrawardi developed a metaphysics based on metaphysical light that combined the Islamic Neoplatonism of Avicenna with ideas and symbols drawn from Islamic mysticism, classical Platonism, and Iranian mythology. This book analyzes how Qutb al-Din Shirazi, an Iranian scientist and philosopher of the thirteenth century and a leading exponent of Suhrawardi's thought, understood Suhrawardi's metaphysics of light and how he applied it in his own writings. Also discussed are Shirazi's own views on such subjects as the nature of existence, reincarnation and the transmigration of souls, and the spiritual universe known as the "World of Image." The book contains several appendices, including a detailed bibliography of Shirazi's writings and the text and translation of Shirazi's essay on the World of Image.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780932885067
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1992
  • Series: Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Walbridge is Assistant Editor of the Encyclopaedia Iranica.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures

Preface

Note on Terminology

Acknowledgments

Qutb al-Din's Life and Times

ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY BEFORE THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY

SUHRAWARDI

ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY

QUTB AL-DIN'S FAMILY AND EDUCATION

QUTB AL-DIN'S HABITS AND CHARACTER

THE LAST YEARS

STUDENTS AND INFLUENCE

Suhrawardi's Science of Lights

STRUCTURE AND METHOD OF SUHRAWARDI'S THE PHILOSOPHY OF ILLUMINATION

The Commentary on The Philosophy of Illumination

Suhrawardi's System

Modern Scholarship on The Philosophy of Illumination

Suhrawardi and Qutb al-Din on The Philosophy of Illumination

The Structure of Sciences According to Classical Logic

The Science of Lights

Sound Peripatetic principles

Mystical intuition (mukashafat, dhawq)

Language and Symbols

The Science of Lights and Peripatetic Philosophy

The Structure of The Philosophy of Illumination

THE ONTOLOGY OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF ILLUMINATION

The Concept of Light

Mystical

Symbolic

Critical

The Exposition of the Concepts of Light and Darkness

That the Fundamental Reality Is Light

COSMOLOGY: THE GENERATION OF THE MANY FROM THE ONE

The Problems of Cosmology

The principle of sufficient reason

The impossibility of an actual ordered infinity

Illuminationist Bases of Cosmology

The Emanation of the Cosmos from the One

The Bases of the Doctrine of the Platonic Forms

The Lights as Causes of the Physical Universe

God's Knowledge and Providence

PHYSICAL QUESTIONS

SUMMARY: THE STRUCTURE OF THE SCIENCE OF LIGHTS

Illuminationist Elements in Qutb al-Din's The Pearly Crown

THE PEARLY CROWN

THE ILLUMINATIONIST THEORY OF REALITY

Illuminationist Themes in The Pearly Crown

The First Philosophy

Existence

THE STATUS OF UNIVERSALS

Quiddity

Other General Concepts

What Difference Does It Make?

Forms and Bodies

Knowledge

Definition

Sense Perception

Self-Consciousness

THE PLATONIC FORMS AS THE BASIS OF ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE

The Intellects and the Creation of the Cosmos

Qutb al-Din's Demonstrative Method

The Properties of the Intellects

The Horizontal Order of Intellects

The Necessary Existent and the Details of the Emanation of the Intellects

SUMMARY: THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ILLUMINATIONIST PHILOSOPHY

The Career of the Soul and the World of Image

INTRODUCTION

TIME

THE PREEXISTENCE OF THE SOUL

REINCARNATION

THE HISTORY OF THE CONCEPT OF THE WORLD OF IMAGE

The Philosophical Assumptions behind the Questions

The Questions

Qutb al-Din's Reply

Conclusion

THE VALUE OF THIS PHILOSOPHY

Appendixes

QUTB AL-DIN'S LIFE: SOURCES

Ancient Sources

Modern Biographies

QUTB AL-DIN's STUDENTS

QUTB AL-DIN'S WORKS

Philosophical Works (nos. 1-13)

Astronomical Works (nos. 14-24)

Mathematical Works (nos. 25-28)

Medical Works (nos. 29-36)

The "Arab Sciences" and Religion (nos. 37-48)

Miscellaneous (nos. 49-55)

QUTB AL-DIN AND IBN 'ARABI

ILLUMINATIONIST TERMS AND THEIR PERIPATETIC EQUIVALENTS

"AN EPISTLE OF THE 'ALLAMA AL-SHIRAZI ASCERTAINING THE REALITY OF THE WORLD OF IMAGE AND ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF A CERTAIN SCHOLAR"

The Manuscripts and Authorities

Principles of the Edition and Translation

Symbols and Signs

Translation Notes

Translation

Text

Bibliography

HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHICAL, AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOURCES

PHILOSOPHICAL SOURCES

Index

PASSAGES CITED

SUBJECTS

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