The statement, “Reason was the first thing that God created”, which has been mentioned in several Islamic texts and has been quoted and emphasized by some great philosophers such as Suhrawardī and Mullā Ṣadrā (in Sharḥ-i uṣūl al-kāfī), is a well-known narration in Islam More
The statement, “Reason was the first thing that God created”, which has been mentioned in several Islamic texts and has been quoted and emphasized by some great philosophers such as Suhrawardī and Mullā Ṣadrā (in Sharḥ-i uṣūl al-kāfī), is a well-known narration in Islamic ḥadīths. A similar statement with a clearer meaning is: “The Glorious God created the intellect, which was the first heavenly created”. Such statements gain more significance when we compare them with similar statements regarding the place of the intellect, which is equal to being, in Greek philosophy. As the master of all Iluminationist philosophers, Suhrawardī, as he has emphasized in his treatise of Fī ḥaqīqat al-‘ishq (On the Truth of Love) (p. 268), was well-aware of this famous narration. Given Suhrawardī’s explicit reference to this statement and his clear indication in Ḥikmat al-ishrāq, in which he calls himself the reviver of ancient Iranian philosophy (or at least introduces the wisdom of ancient Iranian philosophers (fahlavīūn) as one of the main sources of his own philosophy), this study aims to provide an answer to the question of how we can trace the effects of ancient Iranian wisdom in Suhrawardī’s philosophy. One of the most important factors linking his philosophy to ancient Iranian philosophy is his reference to the place of such Amesha Spenta as Bahman or Urdībihišt in Avestan and Pahlavi texts and considering them as the pillars of the nūrī (illuminative) and ontological system in his philosophy. Here, based on the principle of “Nothing is emanated from the one but one”, he calls the first-emanated from the light of lights (al-nūr al-anwār) the closest light (al-nūr al-aqrab) and, based on ancient Iranian philosophy, he calls it Bahman. However, one might inquire about the relationship between Bahman and the first-emanated, particularly if the first-emanated in Islamic philosophy is the intellect. Following a historical and analytic approach, this paper investigates the philosophy of choosing Bahman as the first-emanated in Suhrawardī’s philosophy and examines his particular choice of Bahman as the god of wisdom and knowledge as tantamount to the intellect in Islamic ḥadīths, which demonstrates Suhrawardī’s profound knowledge of ancient Iranian wisdom.