the influence of Suhrawardi on philosopical thought of Inda and Anatolia

فارسی English 1780 Views |

In India, Suhrawardi’s The Philosophy of Illumination was translated into Sanskit and welcomed especially by the Zoroastrian community. Besides the hakims and learned individuals who traveled to India, the keep interest of Sultan Muhammad ibn Tughlug (725/1325) in philosophical and intellectual discussions helped to spread the school of ishraqi. The Sultan, who had allocated large sums of money for the building of a library, was particularly interested in the works of Ibn Sina. Sayyid Athar Abbas Rizvi maintains in his book A Socio-Intellectual History of the Isna Ashari Shi’ism in India that most likely the works of Khwajah Nasir al- Din Tusi and Qutb al- Din Shirazi were amongst the ishraqi texts that had been taken to India by the followers of Suhrawardi. If Durrat al-Taj, the central work of Shirazi, were available in India as Rizvi indicates, then it is likely that other ishraqi works may have been available as well. Therefore, it appears that the ideas of Suhrawardi may have been discussed amongst the intellectual circles of India through the existing commentaries on the ishraqi doctrine.

A. Jalal al Din Davani and his Students in India
Another example of the spread of Suhrawardi’s ideas can be seen in the fact that several theological centers were established by Sand Nizam al-Din in the early fifteenth century. His interest in these matters made the prominent ishraqi scholar, Jalal al Din Dawani, consider moving to the area. However, Dawani died while he was waiting for two of his students who had gone to the area for further investigation. Dawani, famous commentator of Suhrawardi, wrote Lawami al-ishraq fi makarim al-ikhlaq, and Shawakil al-nur fi sharh-i hayakil al-nur, the latter is a commentary upon Suhrawardi’s Hayakil al-nur. Although Dawani did not go to India many of his students did. Such figures as Mir Mu’in, Mir Shams al Din, and in particular Abu’l Fadl Kaziruni continued on the path of their teacher by propagating the transcendental theosophy of Suhrawardi. Suhrawardi’s school continued to flourish in India. And with the rise of Akbar to power, the spread of ishraqi ideas reached its climax. Akbar’s enthusiasm and tolerance for new ideas and religions provided the kind of ambience that the hakmat needed to freely teach the ishraqi doctrine, which had found a new home in the rich spiritual landscape of Indian culture. It was for this reason that a large number of kakims moved from Iran to India, where they settled in numerous intellectual centers. Bada ‘uni, in his book, Muntakhab al-tawarikh, offers an account of some of these masters, There he says:

Some of the physicians in this region were so learned in the theory and skilled in the practice of medicine that they performed miracles like those of Moses and brought to mind the miraculous breath of the Lord Jesus.

Among the most notable masters of the ishraqi school in this period were. Khatib Abul’- Fadl Kaziruni, who settled in Ahmad Abad,Shykh Mubarak Nagori and his Shaykh Fadl, and finally Bada’uni himself. The tradition of hikmat has continued to flourish in India up to the contemporary period, even in the most orthodox centers. In fact, it was the result of the influx of so many hikmats that many works were written on Suhrawardi, the best example of which is the commentary of Ahmad ibn al- Harawi, Anwariyyah. This commentary, which is a classical work on Suhrawardi written in Persian, provides an overall account of Suhrawardi’s The Philosophy of Illumination. Harawi, who lived in the 11/17 century in India, made use of other commentaries such as those of Qutb al- Din al- Shrazi and Shahrazuri, which indicates that these commentaries must have been available in India at the time through the followers of Suhrawardi.

Suhrawardi’s influence in India went beyond the circle of ishraqi figures to become a profound influence on the Sufi tradition of the Chisti order. There are a number of other mystical schools that were influence by Suhrawardi, such as the “Khayrabadi” school with its strong logico-philosophical tendency. Also, such grand masters as Shah Waliallah and Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi and their mystical schools came to be influence by the illuminationst ideas of Suhrawardi, although the link with Suhrawardi requires further exploration.

M. the Ishraqi teachings of school of Isfahan in India
The intellectual scene of Indian culture came to know of Suhrawardi in two separate periods. The first was in the first two centuries after Suhrawardi’s death, as has been discussed. The second encounter of India with the illuminationist ideas of Suhrawardi was through the sages of the Safavid period, who belong to the school Isfahan.

During this period many of the great masters of the ishraqi tradition traveled to India. Some of them who wrote important works on Suhrawardi and the doctrine of illumination include Qadi Nurallah Shustari, who authored two major book on the Philosophy of illumination, Majalis al-mu’minin and Ihqaq al-haqq ,and Muhammad Dihdar Shirazi, the author of Ishraq al- nayyirayn. In addition, there were such notable scholars as Mir Findiriski and Baha’ al- Din Isfahani, also known as Fadil-i Hindi, who not only taught the Peripatetic Philosophy, especially the Shifa, but also knew the works of other commentators on the ishraqi tradition. Gradually, the teachings of Mulla Sadra and his teacher, Mir Damad, became extremely popular, even overshadowing the works of Suhrawardi. For instance, Mulla Sadra’s book, Sharh al- hidayah, became an official text in the traditional school (madrasahs).

The school of ishraqi and texts that deal with the illumintionist doctrine are being taught even today in the traditional centers of learning in the Indo- Pakistani sub-continent. Outside of Iran, the sub-continent is the only region that is to this day receptive to the teachings of Suhrawardi

The existence of large number of ishraqi manuscripts in Turkish libraries is an indication that Suhrawardi was studied by Turkish scholars. In fact, the Turkish libraries contain such an abundance of ishraqi text of Ibn Arabi and others that such notable scholars as A.M Schimmel and H. Cordin spent a number of years in Turkey to complete their research on Muslim gnostics and other ishraqi figures.

As far as spread of Suhrawardi’s ideas in Syria is concerned, his presence there and his numerous students and companions is Syria may have been instrumental in the spreading of his ideas. Suhrawardi does not mention the names of these associates but alludes to them as those who repeatedly repeated of him to write various treatises. in particular The Philosophy of Illumination. In fact, towards the end of this book he leaves a will asking his circle of friends to safeguard its content. This indicates the existence of a circle of ishraqis who benefited from the esoteric teachings of Suhrawardi. It is reasonable to assume that they must have continued his work after Suhrawardi’s death. One figure who may have among his associates was Shahrazuri. Although the date of his life makes it possible that he might have known Suhrawardi himself, it is likely that he was a disciple of one of Suhrawardi’s students. It is certain that Shahrazuri’s commentary on The Philosophy of Illumination and the al-Talwihat (680/ 1281) were among the texts circulating within the group of ishraqis in Syria.

The discussions and debates of Suhrawardi with the learned men of his time in Syria, the bulk of his writing having been completed in Syria, and his circle of friends provide reasonable grounds to conclude that his ideas may have been studied by the intellectual community in Syria even though they were suppressed for political reasons.


suhrawardi and illumination school


0 Comments Send Print Ask about this article Add to favorites