Avicenna on the Angelological Relevance of Mystical Experience

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD candidate in Philosophy of Religion and New Issues in Islamic Theology, Science and Research Branch of Islamic Azad University, Iran

2 Central Tehran Branch of Islamic Azad University, Iran

3 Qom University, Iran


Avicenna is a renowned peripatetic philosopher whose rationality continuously draws the attention of many scholars. In many of his works, he resorts to the hierarchy of intellects (angels) to explain the process of the emanation of the multiplicity from the One, as well as the emergence of beings. As these intellects are among the ontological causes of the human soul in the arc of descent, they also guide human individuals through the arc of ascent. Angels are of two types according to Avicenna: (1) the intellects who reveal themselves to human beings via mystical experience and endow them with all the necessary means of intellectual and spiritual transcendence and (2) the celestial or heavenly souls who serve them as an examples of vision and intuition. The manifestation of intellects plays a key role in the explanation of mystical experience, because they account for the rationality of mystical experience, on the one hand, and provide a typology of mystical experiences, on the other hand, based on human existential status. Moreover, one can recognize and tackle the existing obstacles before pure vision and intuition via a study of Avicenna's ideas.


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