Mulla Sadra and Suhrawardi's Hikmat al-ishraq

Prof. Seyed Hossein Ziai

 The systematic side of the philosophy of Illumination has played a significant role in the development of the logical foundations of  ontology and epistemology in Islamic-Iranian philosophy. The impact of  Suhrawardi's novel constructions of holistic a philosophical system is  manifest in the work done by a number of philosophers who wrote major  commentaries on Hikmat al-ishraq and on Kitab al-talwihat wa al-muqawamat. In the 7/13th century Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Mahmud Shahrazuri and al-'Allama Qutb al-Din Shirazi wrote long commentaries on the Arabic text of Hikmat al-ishraq. During the same period Shahrazuri and Sa'd ibn Mansur Ibn Kammunah wrote long commentaries on the Arabic text of Kitab al-talwihat. A few centuries later Ghiyath al-Din Mansur Dashtaki and Jalal al-Din Dawani wrote long commentaries on the Arabic text of al-Hayakil al-nur; and during the late 10/16th c Nizam al-Din Harawi wrote a Persian commentary on Hikmat al-ishraq based mainly on Qutb al-Din's commentary. The great significance of all the mentioned commentaries aside, perhaps the most philosophically significant sturdy ever completed on the text of Hikmat al-ishraq is Sadr al-Muta'allihin's Ta'liqat based primarily on Qutb al-Din's Sharh hikmat al-ishraq. However, the Ta'liqat extends the fundamental philosophical arguments of Hikmat al-ishraq well beyond that of the mentioned 13th century commentary. In fact, the Ta'liqat must be considered one of Islamic philosophy's outstanding analytic and systematic works encompassing the entire corpus of logic, physics, metaphysical generalis (al-umur al-'amma) and metaphysica specialis (al-ilahi bi-ma'na al-akhass). In this highly engaging and refined philosophical text, Mulla Sadra transcends the arguments of Hikmat al-ishraq and also the commentators additions to the text, and by incorporating the quintessence of the entire corpus of the  then known philosophical corpus in Arabic and Persian, presents major refinements in the fundamental structure of the entire range of  theoretical Islamic philosophy covering both the Peripatetic as well as the Illuminationist Schools. The sources he employs as basis for his philosophical refinements of the classical as well as in many cases novel arguments are almost represent an almost exhaustive list of Arabic and Persian genuinely philosophical texts. The Ta'liqat though due to both its difficulty and advanced level of arguments as well as due to its highly terse style meant not for the novice as in some other of  his works, but for the few philosophers who could fathom the depth of the arguments has remained relatively unknown. It is hoped that this paper will initiate further study on this magnificent text and be the beginning small first step towards lending the text the recognition it deserves in world philosophy


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