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Hikmat al-Ishraq


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Wisdom by illumination. In the Sufi and later philosophical traditions in Islam, ishraq referred to the apprehension of truth through a light emanating from God, who is described in the Quran (24:35) as “the Light of the heavens and the earth.” For the more mystically inclined philosophers, such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the ultimate stage in the process of philosophical development is a nondiscursive stage whose roots ought to be sought in the East (al-sharq). A century and a half later, al-Suhrawardi (d. 1191) made ishraq the pivotal point of his philosophy, embodied in a famous treatise entitled Hikmat al-ishraq (The wisdom of illumination). Here al-Suhrawardi claims to go beyond rational (Hellenistic) philosophical methods to more direct, experiential modes of insight deriving from ancient Eastern, predominantly Persian, sources. The Ishraqi tradition reached its zenith in the work of the Persian philosopher Sadr al-Din al-Shirazi, known also as Mulla Sadra (d. 1641), generally regarded as the greatest exponent of the philosophy of ishraq, which continues to have a significant following in Iran today.

See also Neoplatonism

Subjects: Islam.


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