Islamic philosophy

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H057-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 21, 2024, from

3. Mystical philosophy

Mystical philosophy in Islam represents a persistent tradition of working philosophically within the Islamic world (see Mystical philosophy in Islam). Some philosophers managed to combine mysticism with Peripatetic thought, while others saw mysticism as in opposition to Peripateticism. Al-Ghazali had great influence in making mysticism in its Sufi form respectable, but it is really other thinkers such as al-Suhrawardi and Ibn al-‘Arabi who produced actual systematic mystical thought. They created, albeit in different ways, accounts of how to do philosophy which accord with mystical approaches to reality, and which self-consciously go in opposite directions to Peripateticism. Ibn al-‘Arabi concentrated on analysing the different levels of reality and the links which exist between them, while al-Suhrawardi is the main progenitor of Illuminationist philosophy (see Illuminationist philosophy). This tries to replace Aristotelian logic and metaphysics with an alternative based on the relationship between light as the main principle of creation and knowledge, and that which is lit up – the rest of reality. This tradition has had many followers, including al-Tusi, Mulla Sadra, Mir Damad and al-Sabzawari, and has been popular in the Persian world right up to today. Shah Wali Allah extended this school of thought to the Indian subcontinent.

Citing this article:
Leaman, Oliver. Mystical philosophy. Islamic philosophy, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H057-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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