Shihab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash ibn Amirak Abul-Futuh Sohravardi was born in Sohravard in northwestern Iran in 549/1154. He is one of the best known figures in the history of Islamic philosophy, his status as founder of philosophy of illuminations earned him the honorific title, Master of Illumination (Shaykh al-Ishraq). This book, Partow Nameh , or The Book of Radiance is his major theoretical work in Persian. His important writings on the philosophy of illumination are The Intimations (al-Talwihat), The Apposite (al-Muqawamat), The Paths and Havens (al-Mashar wa l-Mutarahat), and The Philosophy of Illumination (Hikmat al-Ishraq). These four major works constitute an integral corpus.
Philosophy of illumination has played an essential role in the development of systematic thought in Iran, where its impact on intellectual history has been equal to, if not greater than, Avicenna s peripatetic thinking. The present volume is a short epitome of illuminationist philosophy, and applies the terminology and other elements of Sohravard s new illuminationist arguments. The work is cited by his chief biographer, Shams al-Din Muhùammad Shahrazur, in a list of forty-six other treatises by Sohravardi.
The Book of Radiance was composed for the Seljuk ruler Sulayman Shah, who is said to have been a great patron of philosophy. The work is in an elegant philosophical Persian in ten chapters in which topics selected from logic, physics, and metaphysics are presented.
One of the significant components of The Book of Radiance is Sohravard s use of the ancient Persian concepts of Kiyan Kharreh (Kayanid Glory) and Farreh-ye Izai (Divine Glory), in describing manifest qualities of just rule. These concepts are integral to Sohravardi s political doctrine, which associates wisdom, as well as clairvoyance, true dreams, divine inspiration, and other such extraordinary qualities with the just rule of the philosopher-king.
The present volume is the first English translation of Partow Nameh which is presented in a parallel English-Persian edition. Students of Islamic philosophy have now access to a complete epitome of illuminaitonist philosophy the most significant development in the post Avicennan period in English. The Book of Radiance has been discussed in historical studies on Islamic philosophy notably by Henry Corbin and Seyyed Hossein Nasr.