Shihabuddin Yahya al-Suhrawardi


Born in Iran, he taught in Anatolia at the court of the Seljuk sultan and then moved to Aleppo, where he was granted patronage by King Zahir, a son of Saladin. He wrote several works on the metaphysics of illumination (ishrāq) and founded what became known as the Ishraqi School of philosophy. According to him, the universe and all levels of existence are successive degrees of Absolute Light. He saw himself as the reviver of the ancient tradition of Persian wisdom, which was shared by Greek writers such as Plato and the Egyptian Hermes. His combining of Greek, Zoroastrian and Islamic thought, however, provoked such a severe reaction that he was condemned to death (hence his epithet, “the executed one”, al-Maqtul).