al-Shirazi, Qutb al-Din


al-Shirazi, Qutb al-Din
(634–710/1236–1311)
   A man of many interests and talents, Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi was a physician, an astronomer, a judge, a Sufi, a dedicated student of traditional Islamic sciences such as hadith (the study of traditions, or reports of Muhammad’s sayings and actions) and tafsir (Qur’anic commentary), an avid chess player and a musician (he played the rababa, a small viol). He was also a philosopher of broad intellectual sympathies. The ‘polymath’ (al-mutafannin), as he was fittingly called, is typically placed within the lineage of Illuminationist thinkers, having written what is perhaps the best-known commentary on al-Suhrawardi’s Philosophy of Illumination. In terms of his intellectual orientation, al-Shirazi might be situated somewhere between his two main ishraqi predecessors, al-Shahrazuri and Ibn Kammuna. On the one hand, he is representative of what Hossein Ziai has called the more ‘popular’ strain of Illuminationism. In this respect, he has more in common with al-Shahrazuri’s mystical-experiential orientation than with the more logically and analytically inclined Ibn Kammuna. On the other hand, al-Shirazi does not share al-Shahrazuri’s anti-Peripatetic bent. In fact, he was a student of al-Tusi, and as a result, acquired a deep understanding and profound respect for Aristotelian thought and for Ibn Sina in particular. Al- Shirazi’s main independent philosophical text, the encyclopedic and very influential Pearly Crown (Durrat al-taj), was arguably the first work to attempt a thorough harmonization of mashsha’i methodology and metaphysics with ishraqi epistemology and psychology. Into this synthesis he also added Ibn al-‘Arabi’s monistic Sufism, thus setting the stage for the even more ambitious gnostic syntheses of the School of Isfahan.
   See Aristotle; Ibn al-‘Arabi; Ibn Kammuna; Ibn Sina; Illuminationism; Mir Damad; al-Shahrazuri; al-Suhrawardi; al-Tusi
   Further reading: Aminrazavi 1997; Nasr 2006; Walbridge 1992, 2000b

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

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