chapter  2
12 Pages

The School of Illuminationism and the Doctrine of the Primacy of Essence

Suhrawardi died young but the impact of his philosophy on Muslim intellectual life was outstanding. He advocated the doctrine of the primacy of essence and established harmony between discursive and intuitive knowledge, with an emphasis on the latter as a reliable source of knowing the Truth. The predominance of Suhrawardi's philosophy was greatly felt in Persia and his school, namely Illuminationism, flourished in Isfahan during the Safawid dynasty (1051-1732), attracting a number of Shi'ite thinkers, including Mulla Sadra. During the Safawid dynasty, the hostility towards intellectual discourse continued and the Shi'i clergy, like the Sunni clergy, expressed no sympathy with philosophy. The establishment of the School of Isfahan can be attributed less to intellectual tolerance and freedom of expression in the Safawid dynasty than to other factors such as the political position and power of the families of Muslim thinkers like Mir Damad and Mulla Sadra in Shiraz and Isfahan.