Examining Ibn Sīnā’s and Suhrawardī’s Notion of the Soul Reflections on Their Philosophical Contributions in the Modern Context

Main Article Content

Muhammad Taufik
Jaffary Awang
Muhammad Zainal Abidin


The intricate nature of contemporary human life has placed individuals in a paradoxical position, simultaneously serving as active agents shaping societal development and passive recipients of the outcomes of this evolution. The predominant emphasis on material and intellectual pursuits has, in some instances, resulted in the neglect of the soul as a bridge to the transcendent realm, often associated with the divine. Consequently, many modern individuals find themselves disconnected from their own existence and spiritual well-being. This research aims to address the real-world challenges faced by contemporary individuals by exploring the philosophical concepts of Ibn Sīnā and Suhrawadī, which hold significant relevance to the conditions of modern society. This study, utilizing a qualitative approach and a comparative synthesis analysis model, unveils a convergence in the conceptualization of the soul between Ibn Sīnā and Suhrawardī, particularly in their efforts to curb the influence of the animalistic soul (an-nafs al-hayāwanīyah). While their methodologies differ, reflecting their respective Aristotelian and illuminationist traditions, their shared objective remains unwavering. Ibn Sīnā emphasizes the rational soul (an-nafs al-naṭiqah) through acquired reason (al-'aql al-mustafad), striving to attain divine knowledge, a goal also pursued, albeit via a different path, by Suhrawardī through ascetic practices. The pursuit of maximal rationality and the adoption of ascetic practices offer modern individuals a potent means to combat the soul-crushing emptiness often associated with spiritual and existential crises.

Article Details

How to Cite
Muhammad Taufik, Jaffary Awang, Muhammad Zainal Abidin, and Khairiyanto. “Examining Ibn Sīnā’s and Suhrawardī’s Notion of the Soul: Reflections on Their Philosophical Contributions in the Modern Context”. ESENSIA: Jurnal Ilmu-Ilmu Ushuluddin 24, no. 1 (May 1, 2023): 65–83. Accessed June 20, 2024. https://ejournal.uin-suka.ac.id/ushuluddin/esensia/article/view/4330.


Abdul Aziz, Azlisham, Daud Mohamed Salleh, Syarifah Fadylawaty, Syed Abdullah, and Mohd Norazmi Bin Nordin. “Analysis Of Literature Review On Spiritual Concepts According To The Perspectives Of The Al-Quran, Hadith And Islamic Scholars.” Turkish Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education (TURCOMAT) 12, no. 9 (2021): 3152–59. https://doi.org/10.17762/TURCOMAT.V12I9.4790.

Ahmad, Maghfur. “Agama Dan Psikoanalisa Sigmund Freud.” RELIGIA 14, no. 2 (October 3, 2017). https://doi.org/10.28918/religia.v14i2.92.

Akbarian, Reza, and Ali Mokhber. “A Critical Look at Ibn-e Sine’s Theory of the Perfection of the Human Soul.” Avicennian Philosophy Journal 21, no. 62 (2019): 19–43.

Al-Ghazālī, Muḥammad bin Muḥammad. Iḥyā’ ’Ulūm Ad-Dīn. Beirūt: Dār al-Fikr, n.d.

Amr, Samir S., and Abdelghani Tbakhi. “Ibn Sina (Avicenna): The Prince Of Physicians.” Annals of Saudi Medicine 27, no. 2 (March 2007): 134–35. https://doi.org/10.5144/0256-4947.2007.134.

As-Sahrawardī, Yaḥya bin Ḥabsy. Ḥikmah Al-Isyrāq. Beirūt: Dār al-Ma’ārif al-Ḥikmīyah, 2010.

———. Hayākil An-Nūr. Egypt: Maṭba’ah as-Sa’ādah, 1335.

Assya’bani, Ridhatullah, and Ghulam Falach. “The Philosophy of Illumination: Esotericism in Shihāb Ad-Dīn Suhrawardī’s Sufism.” ESENSIA: Jurnal Ilmu-Ilmu Ushuluddin 23, no. 1 (August 10, 2022): 53–64. https://doi.org/10.14421/esensia.v22i2.2398.

Azadegan, Ebrahim. “On the Incompatibility of God’s Knowledge of Particulars and the Doctrine of Divine Immutability: Towards a Reform in Islamic Theology.” Religious Studies 58, no. 2 (June 27, 2022): 327–44. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034412520000414.

Azdajic, Dejan. “Longing for the Transcendent: The Role of Love in Islamic Mysticism with Special Reference to Al-Ghazālī and Ibn Al-ʿArabī.” Transformation: An International Journal of Holistic Mission Studies 33, no. 2 (April 13, 2016): 99–109. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265378815595237.

Chaleshtori, Mohammad Ali Abbasian. “The Origin of Soul and Its Relationship with God in Attar’s Manteq Al-Tayr, with a Review on Bird Treatises of Ibn Sina and Al-Suhrawardi.” Religions and Mysticism 54, no. 1 (2021): 193–171. https://doi.org/10.22059/JRM.2021.325078.630205.

Chittick, William C. “The In-Between: Reflections on the Soul in The Teachings of Ibn ’Arabi.” In The Passions of the Soul in the Metamorphosis of Becoming, edited by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. Berlin: Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht, 2003.

———. “The Perfect Man as the Prototype of the Self in the Sufism of Jami.” Studia Islamica, no. 49 (1979): 135–57. https://doi.org/10.2307/1595320.

Colvin, Geoff. Contemplative Prayer at Work in Our Lives: Resting in God’s Presence and Action. Oregon: Resource Publications, 2021.

Dastagir, Golam. “Nafs.” In Encyclopedia of Indian Religions, edited by Zayn R. Kassam, Yudit K. Greenberg, and Jehan Bagli. Berlin: Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht, 2018.

Ehsanfar, Majid, Hossein Falsafi, and Seyyed Hossein Vaezi. “Analysis of Self-Awareness Based on Suspended Man from the Perspective of Ibn Sina and Suhrawardi.” Journal of Philosophical Investigations 14, no. 32 (621): 72–82. https://doi.org/10.22034/JPIUT.2020.41090.2640.

Falsafi, Hossein. “Explaining, Analyzing and Measuring a Typical Form in the Philosophy of Ibn Sina and Suhrawardi.” Journal of Philosophical Investigations 15, no. 37 (2021): 880–902. https://doi.org/10.22034/JPIUT.2021.48315.3004.

Fuchs, Doris, Marlyne Sahakian, Tobias Gumbert, Antonietta di Giulio, Michael Maniates, Sylvia Lorek, and Antonia Graf. Consumption Corridors: Living a Good Life within Sustainable Limits. New York: Routledge, 2021.

Gani, A. “Urgency Education Morals of Sufism in Millennial Era.” Journal for the Education of Gifted Young Scientists 7, no. 3 (September 15, 2019): 499–513. https://doi.org/10.17478/jegys.603574.

Gutas, Dimitri. Greek Thought, Arabic Culture: The Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement in Baghdad and Early Abbasid Society (2nd-4th/8th-10th Centuries). New York: Routledge, 1998.

Heriyanto, Husain. “Spiritualitas, Transendensi Faktisitas, Dan Integrasi Sosial.” Khazanah: Jurnal Studi Islam Dan Humaniora 16, no. 2 (January 7, 2019): 145. https://doi.org/10.18592/khazanah.v16i2.2384.

Ibn Manẓūr, Jamāl ad-Dīn. Lisān Al-’Arab. Beirut: Dār al-Ṣādir, 1414.

Ibn Sīnā, al-Ḥusain bin ’Abd Allah. Aḥwāl An-Nafs. Paris: Dar Byblion, 2007.

———. An-Najāh Fī Al-Mantiq Wa Al-Ilahīyāt. Libanon: Dār al-Jail, 1992.

———. Asy-Syifā’. Cairo: al-Hay’ah al-Miṣriyah al-’Ammah li al-Kitāb, 1975.

Ihsan, Nur Hadi, Amir Maliki Abitolkhah, and Indah Maulidia Rahma. “The Concept of Mahabbah of Abdus Shamad Al-Palimbani in Facing the Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man.” Khazanah: Jurnal Studi Islam Dan Humaniora 20, no. 1 (July 30, 2022): 67. https://doi.org/10.18592/khazanah.v20i1.6328.

Inati, Shams. “Ibn Sīnā.” In History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Jaffer, Tariq. “Fakhr Al-Dīn Al-Rāzī on the Soul ( Al-Nafs ) and Spirit ( Al-Rūḥ ): An Investigation into the Eclectic Ideas of Mafātīḥ Al-Ghayb.” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 16, no. 1 (February 2014): 93–119. https://doi.org/10.3366/jqs.2014.0133.

Jumhur, Jumhur, and Wasilah Wasilah. “Constitute-Based Religious Moderation Education.” Al-Hayat: Journal of Islamic Education 7, no. 2 (2023): 370–80. https://doi.org/10.35723/AJIE.V7I2.365.

Kömbe, İlker. “Müneccimbaşı Ahmed Dede’s Thoughts on Ethics: Synthesizing Peripatetic Philosophy and Sufi Thought in Ishrāqī Wisdom.” Nazariyat İslam Felsefe ve Bilim Tarihi Araştırmaları Dergisi (Journal for the History of Islamic Philosophy and Sciences) 7, no. 2 (May 15, 2021): 159–86. https://doi.org/10.12658/Nazariyat.7.1.M0118en.

Najātī, Muḥammad ’Uṡmān. Ad-Dirāsāt an-Nafsāniyah “inda Al-’Ulamā” Al-Muslimīn. Cairo: Dār asy-Syurūq, 1993.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islam and the Plight of Modern Man. Chicago: ABC International Group, 2001.

———. Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man. London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1987.

———. Three Muslim Sages. New York: Caravan, 1997.

Nuseibeh, Sari. “Al-’Aql Al-Qudsi: Avicenna’s Subjective Theory of Knowledge.” Studia Islamica, no. 69 (1989): 39–54. https://doi.org/10.2307/1596066.

Obaidullah, Muhammad. “Philosophical Sufism: An Analysis of Suhrawardi’s Contribution with Special Reference to His School of Illumination (Ishraqi).” Jurnal Akidah & Pemikiran Islam 16, no. 1 (June 1, 2015): 135–58. https://doi.org/10.22452/afkar.vol16no1.5.

Pennings, Paul, Hans Keman, and Jan Kleinnijenhuis. Doing Research in Political Science. New York: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2006. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781849209038.

Perez-De-Albeniz, Alberto, and Jeremy Holmes. “Meditation: Concepts, Effects and Uses in Therapy.” International Journal of Psychotherapy 5, no. 1 (March 21, 2000): 49–58. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569080050020263.

Razavi, Mehdi Amin. Suhrawardi and The School of Illumination. Richmond: Curzon Press, 1997.

Sabry, WalaaM, and Adarsh Vohra. “Role of Islam in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 55, no. 6 (2013): 205. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.105534.

Sepah, Shabnam, Seyed Mohammad Sajadi, and Alireza Ebrahim. “An Approach to Reincarnation from the Perspective of Sheikh Eshraq and Ibn Sina.” Journal of Critical Reviews 7, no. 8 (2020): 3510–20. https://doi.org/10.31838/jcr.07.08.557.

Tajer, Leyla H, and Amir H Zekrgoo. “Wisdom (Hikmah) as Perceived by Iranian Muslim Scholars: Reflections on Ibn Sina, Ghazali, and Suhrawardi.” Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Multidisciplinary Studies: Mathal 6, no. 1 (2019): 1–10. https://doi.org/10.17077/2168-538X.1104.

Umam, Hoerul, and Iyad Suryadi. “Sufism as a Therapy in the Modern Life.” International Journal of Nusantara Islam 7, no. 1 (June 15, 2019): 34–39. https://doi.org/10.15575/ijni.v7i1.4883.

Ushuluddin, Achmad, Abd Madjid, Siswanto Masruri, and Iswandi Syahputra. “Understanding Ruh as a Source of Human Intelligence in Islam.” The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 11, no. 2 (2021): 103–17. https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v11i02/103-117.

Ziai, Hossein. “Shihāb Al-Dīn Suhrawardī: Founder of the Illuminationist School.” In History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman. London: Routledge, 2020.