Symbolism: Suhrawardī And Jāmī On Wujūd

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Suhrawardī and Jāmī on Wujūd
Shahāb al-Dīn Yaḥyā al-Suhrawardī (d. 1191) in his Philosophy of Illumination proposes this radical view that wujūd is merely a being of reason (iʿtibār aqliyya) which does not exist (laysa bi-mawjūdin) in the extra-mental, concrete world. This view, however, was rejected by the fifteenth-century Persian poet and Sufi master in the Akbarian tradition, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Jāmī (d. 1492) of Herat in his Treatise on Existence. In this short essay, I begin by trying to unpack Suhrawardī’s complicated argument concerning wujūd as a being of reason in his aforementioned work, and then explain how Jāmī argued to the contrary to demonstrate that wujūd really exists.
I
Suhrawardī begins his discussion on beings of reason
…show more content…
But we know that things exist in the world and therefore we must admit the falsity of Suhrawardī’s theory. Jāmī’s first premise requires more elaboration. For him, the idea that wujūd is a mental concept and the principle that quiddity prior to receiving wujūd is non-existent are incompatible. We know that there is a substantial-accidental correspondence between wujūd and quiddity; this means that one of the two subsist in the other accidentally. Given the fact that quiddity is non-existent if we assume that wujūd is also non-existent then subsistence of each one in the other would never happen. For subsistence of a thing in another thing requires that the locus must already exist. Thus it is false to believe that wujūd is a being of reason. Jāmī, following the School of Unity of Existence, believe that quiddity does not exist, rather it is only as an accident of …show more content…
In other word, for subsistence of external wujūd in quiddity, there is no need that quiddity itself exist in the extramental world. Jāmī agrees to shift the discussion to the mental world, but tries to show that this claim would lead to infinite regress. According to him, even if we accept that quiddity exists mentally, subsistence of a mental wujūd in mental quiddity depends upon another wujūd that already exists in the mind, and subsistence of this prior wujūd itself depends on another wujūd and this leads to infinite regress. In the case of beings of reason, we can break regression by stop thinking, but unlike mental notions, this chain of infinite regress in the case of extra-mental wujūd is unbreakable. Since the second assumption is also false, Jāmī concludes that wujūd really

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