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Imaging Islam: Intellect And Imagination In Islamic Philosophy, Poetry, And Painting

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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly introduces the approaches of four classical Muslim philosopher-theologians to the understanding of Islamor rather, since their subject is the universal human reality of dīn, of religion in the widest possible senseto the subsequent artistic integration of their perspectives in two later paragons of Islamic mystical poetry (Hafiz) and painting (Sultan Muhammad). The chapter format allows only a brief vignette for each of these fascinatingly complex thinkers and artists. But at least these glimpses should be sufficient to highlight the profound gulf that separates all the Islamic humanities and premodern Islamic thought in general from the very recent hybrids of materialism, historicism, and nationalism that characterize this past centurys newly-forged Islamist political ideologies. Ibn ʿArabi, unlike Biruni and Farabi, is not just a noteworthy pioneer and historical exemplar when it comes to articulating the roles of imagination and intellect in religious understanding.

Keywords: Biruni; Farabi; Hafizs ghazals; Ibn Arabi; Islamic mystical poetry; Islamic philosophy; Sultan Muhammads painting



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