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Author: Sayeh Meisami

This article presents the manner in which Mullā Ṣadrā explains the influence of prayer (duʿā) on the world, drawing as he does on Ibn ʿArabī’s ideas against the backdrop of his own dynamic metaphysical psychology. Mullā Ṣadrā eventually distances himself from Ibn Sīnā’s position on the passive nature of prayer, and instead opts for Ibn ʿArabī’s reading of the intimate divine–human interplay in prayer itself. In doing so, Mullā Ṣadrā provides a formulation of prayer in which the supplicant plays an active role in eliciting the divine response to her prayer. For Mullā Ṣadrā, prayer therefore fashions the human soul, while the human soul also fashions the outcome of prayer.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies
Author: Sayeh Meisami

Philosophical hermeneutics of the Qurʾān in the classical period has three major characteristics that are discussed in this paper in light of Ibn Sīnā’s work. First, philosophical hermeneutics falls under the category of symbolic interpretation (taaʾwīl) rather than technical/linguistic exegesis (tafsīr). Second, it selectively chooses Qurʾānic passages that lend themselves to philosophical interpretations. Third, it tends primarily towards metaphysical and moral issues, and is, for the most part, disinterested in ideological biases. This paper examines Ibn Sīnā’s interpretation of sūrat al-Falaq (Kor 113), and has two objectives: to elucidate the hermeneutical methodology adopted by Ibn Sīnā, and to investigate the consistency between the philosopher’s understanding of evil as well as the discourse used in his interpretation of al-Falaq and the treatment of the same issue in his major and minor philosophical writings. It demonstrates that, in the commentary on al-Falaq, evil emerges at the level of “particular realization” (qadar), while at the level of predetermination (qaḍā) evil is only a latent potentiality. Ibn Sīnā, in both his commentary on al-Falaq and his philosophical texts, tries to prove that evil at the level of predetermination can be explained as intended by accident (bi- al-ʿaraḍ).

In: Al-Bayan: Journal of Qur'an and Hadith Studies
Author: Sayeh Meisami

Abstract

This article explains three major Sufi themes of Maḥmūd Shabistarī’s Gulshan-i rāz as connected by the point-circle metaphor that captures the illusory state of a circle formed by the fast motion of a point. Inspired by Ibn ʿArabī, Shabistarī employs this metaphor in his poetic presentation of the unity of being, the existential state of the human soul, and the bifurcation of religious knowledge and practice into exoteric and esoteric with its implications for the relation between prophethood and sainthood. The article explains these themes mostly in light of Shams al-Dīn Lāhījī’s renowned commentary, Mafātīḥ al-iʿjāz. The analysis of some key verses on the above themes in Shabistarī’s Gulshan-i rāz and the corresponding comments from Lāhījī demonstrates the significance of Akbarian Sufi philosophy in the intellectual and literary life of Persians since late medieval times.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies