Book Review: L.W.C. van Lit. The World of Image in Islamic Philosophy: Ibn Sina, Suhrawardi, Shahrazuri and Beyond. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.
Journal Title:NETSOL: New Trends in Social and Liberal Sciences
L.W.C. Van Lit covers a rarely studied topic of Islamic theology, eschatology. The book hovers around a single statement written by medieval Islamic scholar Suhrawardi in his magnum opus, Hikmat al-Ishraq [The Philosophy of Illumination, 1186]: “Whoever sees that place is certain of the existence of another world different from the [world of] bodies, in which are suspended images” (p. 1). Van Lit points out that the whole book can be considered as one giant explanation of this quote. By analyzing the works of previous scholars, starting with the famous polymath Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, Van Lit paints a detailed and elaborate picture of a once infamous idea within the Islamic world and systematically traces its progression and development up to the current age in Shia Islamic thought. Before doing so, he walks the reader through the technical terminology and intricate methodology in his introduction. In this first chapter, he introduces the prominent scholars covered in the text and provides a brief outline of his work. Despite all the explanations, some concepts and lines of logic might be challenging for novice readers of this topic.