In an interview with Iran Book News Agency (IBNA) this scholar and editor about the abstractness of Eshragh (intuition) as the basis of Sohrevardi’s wisdom and the possibility of relying on it in the modern time said: Eshragh is by no means an abstract and insecure issue in today’s world. The issue of Eshragh (intuition) is even discussed among the new Western philosophies as well.
When I was a student of philosophy there was a philosophy professor in our university who was a materialist, but his remarks clearly showed that even he himself with such beliefs, believed in Eshragh. I clearly remember that, the materialist professor considered the discovery of gravitation by Newton as a kind of Eshragh and said that Newton had frequently seen the falling of an apple to the earth, but he realized the influence of gravitation just once. According to the materialist professor it was Eshragh indeed that made Newton to attend to the earth gravitation.
Considering the Eshragh of Sohrevardi he said: the philosopher believed that the truths of the universe-from the reality of God to the other affairs- are all located in the sublime world which is equal with the “the Platonic ideas ".It is just through being reformed that people can reach the truths and obtain the knowledge belonged to the sublime world.
Habibi continued: the discussion of Eshragh is still continued, and its footprint is still detectable today in the West philosophy. Sohrevardi in the book entitled “Hikmat Al-Eshragh” (philosophical system of intuition) numerates several ways for acquiring knowledge one of which is indigenous (obvious). He considers deduction and experience as another way of obtaining knowledge. The third way to acquire knowledge is intuition according to Sohrevardi the way benefited by the prophets and Hakims (theologist). Thus, he accepts intuition as an independent way to obtain knowledge.
He added: at the beginning of the monograph entitled: “Hikmat – Alashraq” (the Wisdom of intuition) this Eshraghist Hakim states that he had obtained the materials intuitively and then he expressed them in the form of reasoning. He does not call argumentation as the "proof", instead he uses the word “agument “which in comparison with “proof” enjoys less perfection and neatness. In this book he tells the audience: if my arguments do not convince you, use the elders’ method which is intuition itself. He emphasized that how it is possible to accept astronomers’ remarks on planets and stars, but not to believe the words of Eshraghist Hakims who are the followers of prophets’ method.
Considering the effect of Eshragh and believing in it the faculty member of Tehran University said: the knowledge and the modern achievements is not depend merely on experience, experiment, intellect and reasoning, but part of it such as what occurs to the minds of artists can be considered as the result of Eshragh. David Hume, the European intuitive philosopher who does not believe causality, refers to the role of sense and intuition in rationality. However, several years before him, Ibn Sina (Avicenna) had stated that causality cannot be understood through the senses, but senses just help the intellect to understand it.
He added: So, the philosophers like Hume who seek to obtain knowledge through senses and are not dealt with Eshragh, encounter problem. It is obvious that a human being will not be able to discover the whole body of truth through his senses and it has been accepted by the sound philosophers of the West.
Habibi believes that the Eshraghist philosophers have nothing to do with seclusion and cloistering at all and said: based on this philosophy, the human soul reaches the mysteries of existence through reformation or self-purification. The soul mustn’t be infected with the mundane affairs; but not with the sense that the world does not work and he must have nothing to do with the world and everyday life at all. Self-purification does not mean seclusion (E’tekaf or religious retreat).
Although Sohrevardi committed himself in seclusion and believed that to reach the shining divine lights, one should do fast for forty days, shouldn’t eat meat, should do prayer and worship and read the Quran, but this seclusion doesn’t mean leaving the world. We know many people who reach the highest degrees of spirituality, but they were constantly among communities and were engaged in studying, debating, and educating students.
He knew the concept of self-purification and seclusion in the philosophy of Eshragh as different from what is usual in Sufism and said: Of course, the great Sufis also did not bind themselves within the monasteries’ walls and were involved in their daily works and lives, such as Abu-Sa'eid Abolkheir and Bayazid Bastami who were considered amongst Hakims by Sohrevardi.
Referring to the impact of ancient Iranian wisdom on Sohrevardi, Habibi said: It is still has not historically been clear that based on which documentary evidences he has been acquaintance with the ancient Iranian wisdom and thoughts, but this impact is not too far-fetched because he was exposed to Zoroastrians’ Fire-temples and the books which revealed their thoughts was available to him. Sohrevardi in the book entitled: “Kalemat A-Tasavof” i.e. the words of Sufism, specifies that there is just a single “Truth” and it cannot be manifold, but this single “Truth”, is expressed in the framework of different streams of thought. In his belief, some of these thoughts contained a brighter expression of the Truth and some did not. Therefore, their mysteries should be realized.
He added: The ancient Iranian wisdom was also of interest to pre-Sohrevardi scholars, but he tried to interpret this thought as well as the Greek one, based on the singleness of the Truth. In the Islamic tradition of those days, Greeks were deemed unbelievers, but Sohrevardi considered them unitary. He even believed that in the past times, the human mind was more pure and therefore, could have more access to the truth.
Habibi continued: in Sohrevardi’s belief, the Greek gods and godheads are those which are refer to by Muslims as angels. He defines this singleness of Truth in the Zoroastrian thought as well and states that, “Izadan,” Forouharan” and “Amshaspandan”, the different-ranking Zoroastrian gods can be compared to the Muslim’s angles who enjoy different-rankings too.
It is realized from the philosophy of Sohrevardi that just a few of the angels are high-ranking and are responsible for doing important affairs of the world and they are not all at the same level of significance. According to him, Aristotle Ten Intelligences can be resembled with the angels in the Muslim thoughts and with Amshaspandan in Zoroastrian thought as well.
Regarding the correction and publication status of Sohrevardi’s works he said: Sohrevardi is a lucky philosopher in sense of correction of publication of his books, and four-volume collections of his works have been published. The first set consists of Eilahiyat, Al-Talvihat, Al-Moqavemat, and Al-Mashare’ and Al-Motarehat, was released by the efforts of Henry Corbin in 1945, in Turkey, and then released in Iran several times.
He added: the second set, includes the dissertations entitled: "Hikmat Al-Eshraq” "E’teqad Al-Hokama" and "Al-Qorbat Al-Qarbiyeh" along with the Arabic and ancient Persian texts. Thirteen of the essays in the third set of Sohrevardi’s works, has been corrected by Seyyed Hussein Nasr most of which enjoy mystic and Eshraghism color. The fourth collection includes three of his essays which have been corrected by me.
Habibi pointed out to some unpublished dissertations of Sohrevardi and said: the treatises are of less importance, and all the most important of his works have been published in the above mentioned Four-volume collection. “Al-Talvihat” written on methodology is of his last published treatises, which was published in Saudi Arabia as well. This paper shows that Sohrevardi has some ideas about methodology in science.
Regarding the remarkable issues he encountered when reviewing the manuscripts about Sohrevardi Habibi said: reviewing one of these manuscripts in Istanbul libraries it was read that Sohrevardi had visited Mecca, because there has been mentioned something about Sohrevardi’s meeting with Ibn Farez, the great Arab mystic in Mecca, and his praise of the young Sohrevardi.
He added: in the book entitled: “Oyoun Al- Anbia" Sohrevardi has talked about his biography and talking with one of the elders, speaks about the globalization of his ideas. The Master asks him about the reason for the claim, and Sohrevardi answers that the he had dreamed of Prophet (PBUH), and he said a point to him which can be interpreted as such a claim. Now, after the passing of so many years from the appearance of Eshragh philosophy we witness the correctness of Sohrevardi’s claim, the thought which has stepped beyond the borders of Islamic world and has become globalized.