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PHILOSOPHY. From its genesis twelve hundred years ago to today, Islamic philosophy (al-hikmah; alfalsafah) has been one of the major intellectual traditions within the Islamic world, and it has influenced and been influenced by many other intellectual perspectives including scholastic theology (kalam) and doctrinal Sufism (al-ma’rifah; `irfan). The life of Islamic philosophy did not terminate with Ibn Rushd nearly eight hundred years ago, as thought by Western scholarship for several centuries; rather, its activities continued strongly during the later centuries, particularly in Persia and other eastern lands of Islam, and it was revived in Egypt during the last century.

Islamic philosophy was born of philosophical speculation on the heritage of Greco-Alexandrian philosophy, which was made available in Arabic in the third century A.H./ninth century CE by Muslims who were immersed in the teachings of the Qur’an and lived in a universe in which revelation was a central reality. In contrast to the Greeks, Islamic philosophers concentrated on “prophetic philosophy,” which in turn influenced deeply the philosophical life of the other two members of Abrahamic monotheism, namely, Judaism and Christianity. The Qur’an, as well as hadiths, served as the central source of Islamic philosophical speculation for centuries. In later Islamic philosophy the sayings of the Shi`i imam also played a major role, especially in the works of Sadr al-Din Shirazi (Mulls Sadra). Far from being simply Greek philosophy in Arabic and Persian, Islamic philosophy integrated certain elements of Greek philosophy into the Islamic perspective, creating new philosophical schools. Although Islamic philosophy drew from the Greek sources, which Muslims considered to be the fruit of earlier revelations associated with such figures as the prophet Idris (Hermes), it belonged to an independent philosophical universe of discourse.

The Early Peripatetics. The early centuries of Islamic philosophy were marked by the appearance of several schools of thought. The most prominent school, which is often identified with Islamic philosophy as such in Western sources, is the mashsha’un (Peripatetic). This school is not simply Aristotelian, as the name might indicate, but marks a synthesis of Islamic tenets, Aristotelianism, and Neoplatonism. Its founder is Abfi Ya’qub al-Kind! (d. around AH 260/873 CE), the “Philosopher of the Arabs.” Some Islamic sources have spoken of the Persian philosopher Abu al-`Abbas Iranshahri as the first Muslim to have written on philosophy, but nothing survives of his works save a few fragments. In contrast, a number of al-Kindi’s works have reached us, some only in Hebrew and Latin, for he was well known in the West. Al-Kindl, like most of the early Peripatetics, was at once a philosopher and scientist. Although much of his voluminous corpus has been lost, enough has survived to reveal his mastery in both domains. Al-Kind! was the first Islamic thinker to grapple with the problem of the expression of Peripatetic thought in Arabic. He also confronted one of the central problems of philosophy in the monotheistic world, namely, harmonization of faith and reason. Among his philosophical works his treatises on the intellect, Fa al-`aql (The Intellect), and metaphysics, Fi al -falsafah al-ula (On Metaphysics), were particularly influential in the Muslim world; Fi al`aql, known as De Intellectu in Latin, also had a widespread influence in medieval Europe.

Most of al-Kindi’s immediate students were more significant as scientists than philosophers, and his real successor on the scene was not among them; rather, this title must be given to Abu Nasr al-Farabi (d. 339/950) who hailed from Khurasan in Central Asia. Many consider al-Farabi to be the real founder of Peripatetic philosophy, and it was he more than al-Kind! who formulated Arabic philosophical language and wrote about the relation between the Arabic language and the expression of Aristotelian logic. He commented on Aristotle’s Organon and is the father of formal logic in the Islamic world. He also sought to synthesize the political philosophy of Plato and Islamic political thought in his masterpiece, Kitab ard’ ahl al-madinah al fadilah (The Book of the Opinions of the Citizens of the Virtuous City), and is considered to be the founder of Islamic political philosophy. Al-Farabi also wrote of the harmony between the views of Plato and Aristotle and on various metaphysical and epistemological questions. He is, moreover, the first Islamic philosopher to systematize the emanation scheme (fayd) of the ten intellects from the One, by which Peripatetic philosophy is known.

After al-Farabi, Khurasan gradually became the major center of philosophical activity, but throughout the fourth century AH/tenth century CE Baghdad continued as an important center, following the earlier activities of al-Kindi. In the second half of the tenth century, however, the philosophical scene in Baghdad turned mostly to the study of logic under the guidance of Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani, who was known as al-Mantiqi (“the Logician”). Meanwhile Abu al-Hasan al-`Amiri from Khurasan was developing the Farabian teachings further and adding a new chapter of his own to Islamic philosophy by attempting to incorporate certain pre-Islamic Iranian ideas into his political philosophy.

Early Peripatetic philosophy reached its peak soon after al-`Amiri with another Persian philosopher, Abu ‘Ali al-Husayn ibn `Abd Allah ibn Sina (369-428/980-1037), usually known as Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Often considered the greatest Islamic philosopher, Ibn Sina created a vast synthesis of Peripatetic thought in his Kitdb al-shifa’ (The Book of Healing), which dominated many dimensions of Islamic thought for centuries. His ontological distinction between wujub (necessity) and imkan (contingency) became central to Islamic thought and also deeply influenced Jewish and Christian philosophy and theology, as did his integration of the study of the three kingdoms within the scheme of the great chain of being (that is, the scheme that places all creatures in a chain or levels of being stretching from the dust to the highest angel).

Ibn Sina’s major works, which also included Kitab alnajdh (The Book of Salvation) and his last philosophical masterpiece, Kitab al-isharat wa-al-tanbihat (The Book of Directives and Remarks), were widely read by defenders and opponents of Islamic philosophy alike. Moreover, Ibn Sina also wrote certain “visionary recitals” and philosophico-mystical treatises that contain what he called al-hikmah al-mashriqiyah (“Oriental philosophy”), which is of great importance if one looks upon the later tradition of Islamic philosophy.

Isma’ili Philosophy. Featuring an emphasis on ta’wil (spiritual hemeneutics), the Isma’ili school of philosophy, associated with the Isma`ili branch of Shiism, saw philosophy as an esoteric knowledge associated with the inner meaning of religion. It drew its ideas from Islamic esoterism and Neoplatonism, as well as both Hermeticism and Neopythagoreanism. The first work of this school, the Umm al-kitdb (The Archetypal Book), belongs to the second century AHVeighth century CE and is supposed to be the record of conversations between the fifth Shi’i imam, Muhammad al-Baqir, and his students. On the basis of this early Shi’i gnosis, Isma’ili philosophy developed during the next two centuries and reached its full flowering in the tenth and eleventh centuries with such figures as Abu Ya’qub al-Sijistani, Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (often called the Isma’ili Ibn Sina), the author of Rahat al-`aql (Repose of the Intellect), and finally Nasir-i Khusraw (d. around 470/1077), perhaps the greatest of the Isma’ili philosophers. The Isma`ili philosophers played an important role in the rise of Persian as the second major philosophical language of Islam, and Nasir-i Khusraw, the author of the major work Jami` al-hikmatayn (The Sum of Two Wisdoms), wrote all of his works in Persian. Ibn Sina, however, was the pioneer in the use of Persian as a philosophical language, having written Danish-namah -yi `ala’i (The Book of Science Dedicated to ‘Ala’ al-Dawlah), the first work of Peripatetic philosophy in Persian.

The Rasd’il (Treatises) of the Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Brethren of Purity) is a collection of fifty-one treatises closely associated with Isma’ili circles. These treatises, which appeared in the tenth century in Basra, have a strong Neopythagorean color. They were widely read by later philosophers and even theologians such as al-Ghazali who wrote against the Peripatetics.

Independent Philosophers during the Early Centuries. Although Islamic philosophy is predominantly associated with schools which transcend the individual, the early centuries did produce a few independent philosophers who wielded some influence. The first among them is Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (d. around 320/932), known in Latin as Rhazes, the greatest Muslim physician after Ibn Sina, who was also a philosopher known especially for his denial of the necessity of prophecy. He was strongly attacked by the Isma’ilis for this view, as well as for positing “five eternal principles” consisting of the Demiurge, the Universal Soul, Materia Prima, Space, and Time. Another independent philosopher and one of Islam’s greatest scientists, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (d. 421/1030), held another philosophical view but admired al-Razi’s scientific works. Al-Biruni’s most important philosophical contribution was his criticism of Avicennian natural philosophy, as well as his introduction of Hindu philosophy into the Islamic world. Finally, an important independent philosopher Ahmad Ibn Miskuyah (Miskawayh; d. 421/1030) wrote the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics, Tahdhib alakhldq (Purification of Morals), as well as a book entitled Javidan khirad (Philosophea Perennis).

Theologians against Philosophers. From the eleventh to the thirteenth century, the domination of Western Asia by Seljuks led to the eclipse of philosophy in the eastern lands of Islam. The caliphate, supported by the Seljuks, preferred the teaching of kalam in the madrasahs (Islamic schools) to philosophy, although kaldm itself developed over time in a more philosophical form. During this period, the only notable philosopher in the eastern lands was the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. The major theologians of this era, such as Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), Abu al-Fath al-Shahrastani (d. 548/1153), and Fakhr alDin al-Razi (d. 606/1210), wrote treatises against Peripatetic and Isma’ili philosophy.

The most famous attack against the falasifah came from the great Sufi theologian al-Ghazali, who, however, dealt with philosophical themes himself and even composed treatises on formal logic. In his autobiography, Al-munqidh min al-daldl (The Deliverance from Error), al-Ghazali criticized the Peripatetic philosophers severely. Then he summarized their views in his Maqdsid al falasifah (The Purposes of the Philosophers), which caused the Latin Schoolmen to think of al-Ghazali himself as a Peripatetic. Finally, in his Tahdfut alfalasifah (Incoherence of the Philosophers), he sought to demolish the views of the philosophers, accusing them of deviating from Islam in their denial of the created-ness of the world, God’s knowledge of particulars, and bodily resurrection. Al-Ghazali’s attack had the effect of curtailing the power of rationalism in Islamic philosophy, but it did not bring rational philosophy to an end, as some have thought. [See the biography of Ghazali.]

The influence of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on the technical discussions of later Islamic philosophy was even greater than that of al-Ghazali. Al-Razi’s most important attack against Peripatetic philosophy came in the form of his detailed criticism of Ibn Sina’s Kitab al-isharat in a work entitled Shahr al-isharat (The Commentary upon the Isharat), to which Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 672/1274) was to write the celebrated response that resuscitated Avicennian philosophy. In the fourteenth century this central debate was carried further by Qutb al-Din alRazi in his Al-muhdkamat (Trials), in which he sought to judge between the commentaries of Fakhr al-Din alRazi and al-Tfisi.

Islamic Philosophy in Spain. While philosophy was in eclipse in the eastern lands of Islam, it flourished in Islamic Spain. Islamic philosophy in the western lands of Islam actually began with the Sufi philosopher Ibn Masarrah (d. 319/931), who profoundly influenced later thinkers. Another early thinker, Ibn Hazm (d. 454/ 1064), jurist, theologian, philosopher, and the author of one of the first Muslim works on comparative religion, also composed a famous treatise on Platonic love entitled Tawq al-hamamah (The Ring of the Dove).

The first major philosopher in Spain and Morocco to follow the eastern mashsha’i school was Ibn Bajjah (d. 533/1138), known both for his significant commentaries on Aristotelian physics and his philosophical masterpiece, Tadbir al-mutawahhid (The Regimen of the Solitary), which maintains that the perfect state can come about only through the perfection of individuals who can unite their intellects to the Active Intellect. His successor, Ibn Tufayl (d. 580/1185), who like Ibn Bajjah was also a political figure and scientist, is likewise known for one major opus, Hayy ibn Yaqzan (Living Son of the Awake), which bears the name of Ibn Sina’s visionary recital but with a different structure. The work deals in a symbolic language with the harmony between the inner illumination received by the intellect and the knowledge revealed through revelation. Ibn Tufayl’s philosophical novel was translated immediately into Hebrew but not into medieval Latin until the seventeenth century, when it became famous in Europe as Philosophies Autodidactus and exercised wide influence in both philosophical and literary circles.

The most famous Islamic philosopher of the Maghrib, Ibn Rushd (523-595/1126-1198), known in Latin as Averroes, chief religious judge of Cordoba and a physician, wrote the most famous medieval commentaries on the Aristotelian corpus and was referred to in the West as “The Commentator.” He set out to revive Peripatetic philosophy by responding to al-Ghazali’s Tahafut in his own Tahafut al-tahafut (Incoherence of the Incoherence). In contrast to his image in the West as a rationalist “free-thinker” and author of the double-truth theory, Ibn Rushd was a pious Muslim who set out to harmonize faith and reason, especially in his Fasl al-maqal (The Decisive Treatise). His influence in the West, however, was greater than in the Islamic world, where the later destiny of philosophy was more closely associated with the name of Ibn Sina.

After Ibn Rushd, Islamic philosophy began to wane in the Maghrib but did not disappear completely. `Abd al-Haqq ibn Sab’in (d. 669/1270) wrote a number of important treatises based on the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud (the transcendent unity of being), and the Tunisian `Abd al-Rahman Ibn Khaldun (d. 780/1379) established the philosophy of history in his Al-muqaddimah (Prolegomena). The most important of these later figures from the Maghrib, however, was Muhyi al-Din ibn `Arab! (d. 638/1240), expositor of Sufi metaphysics. Although not a philosopher in the sense of faylasuf, he is one of the greatest expositors of mystical philosophy in any time and clime, and he exercised a profound influence on Sufism as well as Islamic philosophy. [See the biographies of Ibn Khaldun and Ibn al-`Arabi.]

Suhrawardi and the School of Illumination. A new school of philosophy, which can more properly be called theosophy in the original sense of this term, was established by Shihab al-Din Suhraward! (d. 587/1191), who considered discursive philosophy as developed by Ibn Suns to be only the first, necessary step in the attainment of true philosophy, which must also be based on intellectual intuition or ishrdq (illumination). Suhraward! integrated Platonic philosophy, Neoplatonism, the wisdom of the ancient Persians, especially Mazdaean angelology, and Avicennian philosophy in the matrix of Islamic gnosis to create a powerful new school of thought. His works, written in both Arabic and Persian, include many treatises written in a symbolic rather than discursive language, and they culminate in his masterpiece, Hikmat al-ishrdq (Theosophy of the Orient of Light). When he was executed in Aleppo, his followers went underground, but commentaries by Shams al-Din Muhammad Shahrazuri a generation later, followed by the better-known commentary of Qutb al-Din Shiraz! (d. 710/1311), revived the teachings of ishrdq. Henceforth, the school exercised a deep influence not only in Persia but also in Ottoman Turkey and the Indian subcontinent, and it continues as a living school of thought to this day.

Rapproachment between Various Schools of Thought. The period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century marks the coming together of various schools of thought. The main arena of philosophical activity was Persia. Iraq and eastern Anatolia, which were closely related culturally to Persia, were also important centers. This period is witness to the revival of Ibn

Sina’s philosophy by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 672/1273), who also wrote the most famous work on philosophical ethics in Persian, Akhldq-i nasiri (The Naserean Ethics). Other notable figures of this rapproachment, such as Qutb al-Din Shirazi, sought to integrate mashshd’i and ishrdgi doctrines. These centuries also mark the spread of the doctrinal school of Sufism of Ibn `Arab!, mostly through his foremost student Sadr al-Din Qunawi and the latter’s students and successors, such as Mu’ayyid al-Din al-Jandi, `Abd al-Razzaq al-K ashani, and Da’ud al-Qaysari. Likewise this period coincides with the spread of the school of ishrdq and philosophical kalam associated with such figures as Sayyid Sharif Jurjani.

During this era philosophers appeared who sought to synthesize these various schools together. One such figure is Ibn Turkah Isfahan! (d. 830/1427), who was at once an ishrdgi, a mashsha’i and an `arif of the school of Ibn `Arab!. There was also a closer integration of philosophical activity and Twelver ShH theology, as seen in the works of NasIr al-Din al-Tusi, who, besides being a philosopher, was also the author of Kitab tajrid al`aqa’id (The Book of Catharsis of Doctrines), which is the major work of Shi’i kalam. The background was thus set for the synthesis associated with the Safavid period.

The School of Isfahan. In the sixteenth century, with the establishment of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, there began a new phase in Islamic philosophy associated with the School of Isfahan. Its founder, Mir Damad (d. 1041/1631), taught in that city, although students came to him from all parts of Persia and many other lands. His most famous student, Sadr al-Din Shiraz! (Mulls Sadra; d. 1050/1640), is considered by many to be the greatest of all Islamic metaphysicians. In what he called the “transcendent theosophy” or alhikmah al-muta’aliyah, he integrated the schools of mashshd’, ishrdq, `irfan, and kaldm in a vast synthesis which has influenced most Islamic philosophy to this day. The message of his magnum opus, Al-asfar al-arba’ah (The Four journeys), a veritable summa of Islamic philosophy, came to be known gradually as al-hikmat al-ildhiyah, literally “divine wisdom” or “theosophy.”

Mulls Sadra and his followers exercised much influence in Persia, Muslim India, and Shi’i circles in Iraq. His philosophy was taught in India and known to such figures as Shah Wali Allah of Delhi. It was revived in Qajar Persia by Mulls `Ali Nuri, Hajji Mulls Hadi Sabzavarl, Aqa `Ali Mudarris Zunfizi, and others and has important philosophical contribution was his criticism of Avicennian natural philosophy, as well as his introduction of Hindu philosophy into the Islamic world. Finally, an important independent philosopher Ahmad Ibn Miskuyah (Miskawayh; d. 421/1030) wrote the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics, Tahdhib alakhlaq (Purification of Morals), as well as a book entitled Javidan khtrad (Philosophea Perennis).

Theologians against Philosophers. From the eleventh to the thirteenth century, the domination of Western Asia by Seljuks led to the eclipse of philosophy in the eastern lands of Islam. The caliphate, supported by the Seljuks, preferred the teaching of kalam in the madrasahs (Islamic schools) to philosophy, although kalam itself developed over time in a more philosophical form. During this period, the only notable philosopher in the eastern lands was the Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. The major theologians of this era, such as Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111), Abu al-Fath al-Shahrastani (d. 548/1153), and Fakhr alDin al-Razi (d. 606/1210), wrote treatises against Peripatetic and Isma’ili philosophy.

The most famous attack against the falasifah came from the great Sufi theologian al-Ghazali, who, however, dealt with philosophical themes himself and even composed treatises on formal logic. In his autobiography, Al-munqidh min al-dalal (The Deliverance from Error), al-Ghazali criticized the Peripatetic philosophers severely. Then he summarized their views in his Magdsid al falasifah (The Purposes of the Philosophers), which caused the Latin Schoolmen to think of al-Ghazali himself as a Peripatetic. Finally, in his Tahafut alfalasifah (Incoherence of the Philosophers), he sought to demolish the views of the philosophers, accusing them of deviating from Islam in their denial of the createdness of the world, God’s knowledge of particulars, and bodily resurrection. Al-Ghazali’s attack had the effect of curtailing the power of rationalism in Islamic philosophy, but it did not bring rational philosophy to an end, as some have thought. [See the biography of Ghazdli.]

The influence of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi on the technical discussions of later Islamic philosophy was even greater than that of al-Ghazali. Al-Razi’s most important attack against Peripatetic philosophy came in the form of his detailed criticism of Ibn Sina’s Kitab al-ishdrdt in a work entitled Shahr al-isharat (The Commentary upon the Isharat), to which Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 672/1274) was to write the celebrated response that resuscitated Avicennian philosophy. In the fourteenth century this central debate was carried further by Qutb al-Din alRazi in his Al-muhakamat (Trials), in which he sought to judge between the commentaries of Fakhr al-Din alRazi and al-Tusi.

Islamic Philosophy in Spain. While philosophy was in eclipse in the eastern lands of Islam, it flourished in Islamic Spain. Islamic philosophy in the western lands of Islam actually began with the Sufi philosopher Ibn Masarrah (d. 319/931), who profoundly influenced later thinkers. Another early thinker, Ibn Hazm (d. 454/ 1064), jurist, theologian, philosopher, and the author of one of the first Muslim works on comparative religion, also composed a famous treatise on Platonic love entitled Tawq al-hamdmah (The Ring of the Dove).

The first major philosopher in Spain and Morocco to follow the eastern mashshd’i school was Ibn Bajjah (d. 533/1138), known both for his significant commentaries on Aristotelian physics and his philosophical masterpiece, Tadbir al-mutawahhid (The Regimen of the Solitary), which maintains that the perfect state can come about only through the perfection of individuals who can unite their intellects to the Active Intellect. His successor, Ibn Tufayl (d. 580/1185), who like Ibn Bajjah was also a political figure and scientist, is likewise known for one major opus, Hayy ibn Yaqzan (Living Son of the Awake), which bears the name of Ibn Sina’s visionary recital but with a different structure. The work deals in a symbolic language with the harmony between the inner illumination received by the intellect and the knowledge revealed through revelation. Ibn Tufayl’s philosophical novel was translated immediately into Hebrew but not into medieval Latin until the seventeenth century, when it became famous in Europe as Philosophies Autodidactus and exercised wide influence in both philosophical and literary circles.

The most famous Islamic philosopher of the Maghrib, Ibn Rushd (523-595/1126-1198), known in Latin as Averroes, chief religious judge of Cordoba and a physician, wrote the most famous medieval commentaries on the Aristotelian corpus and was referred to in the West as “The Commentator.” He set out to revive Peripatetic philosophy by responding to al-Ghazali’s Tahafut in his own Tahafut al-tahafut (Incoherence of the Incoherence). In contrast to his image in the West as a rationalist “free-thinker” and author of the double-truth theory, Ibn Rushd was a pious Muslim who set out to harmonize faith and reason, especially in his Fasl al-maqal (The Decisive Treatise). His influence in the West, however, was greater than in the Islamic world, where the later destiny of philosophy was more closely associated with the name of Ibn Sina.

After Ibn Rushd, Islamic philosophy began to wane in the Maghrib but did not disappear completely. `Abd al-Haqq ibn Sab’In (d. 669/1270) wrote a number of important treatises based on the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud (the transcendent unity of being), and the Tunisian `Abd al-Rahman Ibn Khaldun (d. 780/1379) established the philosophy of history in his Al-muqaddimah (Prolegomena). The most important of these later figures from the Maghrib, however, was Muhyi al-Din ibn `Arab! (d. 638/1240), expositor of Sufi metaphysics. Although not a philosopher in the sense of faylasuf, he is one of the greatest expositors of mystical philosophy in any time and clime, and he exercised a profound influence on Sufism as well as Islamic philosophy. [See the biographies of Ibn Khaldun and Ibn al-`Arabi.]

Suhrawardl and the School of Illumination. A new school of philosophy, which can more properly be called theosophy in the original sense of this term, was established by Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi (d. 587/1191), who considered discursive philosophy as developed by Ibn Sina to be only the first, necessary step in the attainment of true philosophy, which must also be based on intellectual intuition or ishraq (illumination). Suhraward! integrated Platonic philosophy, Neoplatonism, the wisdom of the ancient Persians, especially Mazdaean angelology, and Avicennian philosophy in the matrix of Islamic gnosis to create a powerful new school of thought. His works, written in both Arabic and Persian, include many treatises written in a symbolic rather than discursive language, and they culminate in his masterpiece, Hikmat al-ishrdq (Theosophy of the Orient of Light). When he was executed in Aleppo, his followers went underground, but commentaries by Shams al-Din Muhammad Shahrazuri a generation later, followed by the better-known commentary of Qutb al-Din Shirazi (d. 710/1311), revived the teachings of ishraq. Henceforth, the school exercised a deep influence not only in Persia but also in Ottoman Turkey and the Indian subcontinent, and it continues as a living school of thought to this day.

Rapproachment between Various Schools of Thought. The period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century marks the coming together of various schools of thought. The main arena of philosophical activity was Persia. Iraq and eastern Anatolia, which were closely related culturally to Persia, were also important centers. This period is witness to the revival of Ibn

Sina’s philosophy by Nasir al-Din al-Tfisi (d. 672/12’73), who also wrote the most famous work on philosophical ethics in Persian, Akhldq-i ndsiri (The Naserean Ethics). Other notable figures of this rapproachment, such as Qutb al-Din Shirazi, sought to integrate mashshd’i and ishraqi doctrines. These centuries also mark the spread of the doctrinal school of Sufism of Ibn `Arab!, mostly through his foremost student Sadr al-Din Qunawi and the latter’s students and successors, such as Mu’ayyid al-Din al-Jandi, `Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani, and Da’ud al-Qaysari. Likewise this period coincides with the spread of the school of ishrdq and philosophical kalam associated with such figures as Sayyid Sharif Jurjani.

During this era philosophers appeared who sought to synthesize these various schools together. One such figure is Ibn Turkah Isfahan! (d. 830/1427), who was at once an ishraqi a mashshd’i, and an `arif of the school of Ibn `Arabi. There was also a closer integration of philosophical activity and Twelver Shi’i theology, as seen in the works of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, who, besides being a philosopher, was also the author of Kitab tajrid al`aqa’id (The Book of Catharsis of Doctrines), which is the major work of Shi’i kalam. The background was thus set for the synthesis associated with the Safavid period.

The School of Isfahan. In the sixteenth century, with the establishment of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, there began a new phase in Islamic philosophy associated with the School of Isfahan. Its founder, Mir Damad (d. 1041/1631), taught in that city, although students came to him from all parts of Persia and many other lands. His most famous student, Sadr al-Din Shirazi, (Mulls Sadra; d. 1050/1640), is considered by many to be the greatest of all Islamic metaphysicians. In what he called the “transcendent theosophy” or alhikmah al-muta’aliyah, he integrated the schools of mashsha’, ishraq, `irfan, and kalam in a vast synthesis which has influenced most Islamic philosophy to this day. The message of his magnum opus, Al-asfdr al-arba’ah (The Four journeys), a veritable summa of Islamic philosophy, came to be known gradually as al-hikmat al-ildhiyah, literally “divine wisdom” or “theosophy.”

Mulls Sadra and his followers exercised much influence in Persia, Muslim India, and Shi`i circles in Iraq. His philosophy was taught in India and known to such figures as Shah Wali Allah of Delhi. It was revived in Qajar Persia by Mulls ‘Ali Nuri, Hajji Mulls Hadi Sabzavari, Aqa `Ali Mudarris Zunuzi, and others and has continued as a powerful intellectual tradition into the late twentieth century.

Islamic Philosophy in the Contemporary Islamic World. Islamic philosophy has continued as a living intellectual tradition and plays a significant role in the intellectual life of the Islamic world. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, a student when in Persia of the school of Mulla Sadra, revived the study of Islamic philosophy in Egypt, where some of the leading religious and intellectual figures, such as `Abd al-Halim Mahmud, the late Shaykh al-Azhar, have been its devotees. In the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent, Muhammad Iqbal was a student of Islamic philosophy, and even Mawlana Mawdudi, the founder of the Jama`at-i Islami of Pakistan, translated some of Mulla Sadra’s Al-asfar into Urdu in his youth. [See the biographies of Afghani and Mawdudi]

In Persia Islamic philosophy has continued to play an especially important role despite the opposition of a sector of the Shi’ 1 `ulama’ Toward the end of the Qajar period a number of outstanding philosophers appeared, such as Mirza Mahdi Ashtiyani and Mirza Tahir Tunikabuni, who were active into the Pahlavi period, when such outstanding teachers as Sayyid Abu al-Hasan QazvIni, Sayyid Muhammad Kazim `Assar, and `Allamah Tabataba’i came to dominate the scene. From the 1960s onward a veritable revival of Islamic philosophy occurred in the traditional schools as well as in circles of Western-educated Iranians, a revival that continues to this day. It must be remembered that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini studied and taught hikmat for decades in Qom before entering the political arena and that the first head of the Council of the Islamic Revolution after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Murtaza Mutahhari, was a noted philosopher. Likewise in Iraq Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the well-known religious and political leader, belonged to the tradition of Islamic philosophy. [See the biographies of Khomeini, Mutahhari, and Sadr.]

In most Islamic countries today there is renewed interest in various aspects of the Islamic intellectual tradition in which Islamic philosophy plays a central role. This philosophy is being studied and developed to an ever-greater degree to provide responses to the intellectual challenges from the West. It is also appealing to an ever-greater number of Western students, who are interested in it not only historically but as a living philosophy. In Islamic philosophy one can discover harmony between reason and revelation and the fruits of inner vision and ratiocination. Islamic philosophy is the repository of a knowledge that, on the basis of rational thought, leads ultimately to illumination and that is never divorced from the sacred.

[See also Theology.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Atiyeh, George. AI-Kindi: The Philosopher of the Arabs. Rawalpindi, 1966. Systematic treatment of the life, works, and main philosophical ideas of al-Kind-1.

Corbin, Henry, in collaboration with Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Osman Yahya. Histoire de la philosophie islamique. Paris, 1986. Translated by Liadain Sherrard as History of Islamic Philosophy. London, 1992. Treats the whole of the Islamic philosophical tradition to the present day and in its relation to the Islamic revelation and various Islamic religious schools.

Corbin, Henry. En Islam iranien. 4 vols. Paris, 1991. Monumental work on Islamic philosophy, Shi’ism, and Sufism as they have developed in Persia up to recent times, including chapters on many important intellectual figures of the later period not treated in other books.

Cruz Hernandez, Miguel. Historia del pensamiento en el mundo isldmico. 2 vols. Madrid, 1981. Contains a particularly detailed account of Islamic philosophy in Spain and also late Islamic philosophy down to the present day in both the Arab and Persian worlds.

Fakhry, Majid. A History of Islamic Philosophy. 2d ed. New York, 1983. Systematic history of Islamic philosophy in its relation to theology, with emphasis on the early period of Islamic thought. Also contains a useful summary treatment of philosophical thought in the Arab world in the modern period.

Gutas, Dimitri. Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition: Introduction to Reading Avicenna’s Philosophical Works. Leiden, 1988. Thorough, rationalist analysis of Ibn Sina’s Peripatetic thought which, however, belittles his “Oriental philosophy.” Opposes the views presented by Henry Corbin in his Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, translated by Willard R. Trask (Irving, Tex., 198o), and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines (Albany, N.Y., 1993)

Ha’iri Yazdi, Mehdi. The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy: Knowledge by Presence. Albany, N.Y., 1991. In-depth analysis of the subject of knowledge by presence in Islamic philosophy from Suhrawardi to the present, with many comparisons to Western thought, the whole treatment being from the perspective of traditional Islamic philosophy.

Izutsu, Toshihiko. The Concept and Reality of Existence. Tokyo, 1971. Philosophical analysis of the structure of ontology in later Islamic philosophy as developed by Sabziwari on the basis of the teachings of Mulla Sadra.

Leaman, Oliver, and Seyyed Hossein Nast, eds. A History of Islamic Philosophy. London, 1993. Detailed study of Islamic philosophy from its origin to the present and in relation to the Islamic revelation, the heritage of antiquity, and other related disciplines such as science and mysticism.

Mahdi, Muhsin. Ibn Khaldun’s Philosophy of History: A Study in the Philosophic Foundation of the Science of Culture. Chicago, 1964. Thorough and critical study of Ibn Khaldun’s philosophy of history and its significance for Islamic thought.

Marmura, Michael E., ed. Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani. Albany, N.Y., 1984. Contains a number of seminal essays in specific aspects of the philosophy of Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, as well as the first essay in English on Afdal al-Din Kashani.

Morewedge, Parviz, ed. Neoplatonism and Islamic Thought. Albany, N.Y., 1992. Contains several in-depth studies of the relation of Neoplatonism to al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Nasir al-Din Tusi, and the Isma’ili philosophers, as well as certain Sufi figures.

Mulls Sadra. The Wisdom of the Throne: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mulld Sadra. Translated by James Winston Morris. Princeton, 1981. Careful translation of one of Mulla Sadra’s major works, with a long introduction on his school of thought and copious notes.

Nast, Seyyed Hossein. Three Muslim Sages. Delmar, N.Y., 1975. Introduction to the Islamic intellectual tradition through the study of Ibn Sina, Suhrawardi, and Ibn al-`Arabo.

Nast, Seyyed Hossein, ed. Isma’ili Contributions to Islamic Culture. Tehran, 1977. Contains essays on many different aspects of Isma’ili philosophy and thought by such scholars as Henry Corbin, Wilferd Madelung, Pio Filippani-Ronconi, Alessandro Bansani, Aziz Esmail, and Azim Nanji.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Life and Thought. Albany, N.Y., 1981. Contains chapters on Islamic hermeticism as well as later Islamic philosophy in Persia, particularly Mulls Sadra and his school.

Netton, Ian Richard. Allah Transcendent: Studies in the Structure and Semiotics of Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Cosmology. London, 1989. Analyzes the relation between the Qur’anic doctrine of Allah and how the problem of God and the emanation of the intellects is perceived by Islamic philosophers, from al-Kind! to Suhraward! and Ibn a1= `Arabi. Author uses current semiotic theories of Western philosophy.

Netton, Ian Richard. Al-Farabi and His School. London, 1992. Deals with al-Farabi and his contemporaries and especially the epistemological substrate of al-Farabi’s philosophy.

Sharif, M. M., ed. A History of Muslim Philosophy. 2 vols. Wiesbaden, 1963-1966. Treats the whole of Islamic thought from its beginnings to the modern period, with greater emphasis on early Islamic philosophy and Islamic thought in the Indian subcontinent. The quality of the essays is rather uneven.

Urvoy, Dominique. Ibn Rushd. London, 1991. Thorough analysis of the various aspects of the philosophy of Ibn Rushd and its later significance.

Ziai, Hossein. Knowledge and Illumination: A Study of Suhrawardi’s Hikmat al-Ishrdq. Atlanta, 1990. Analysis of the philosophy of Suhrawardi, emphasizing mostly his logic and epistemology.

SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/philosophy/
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