It is commonly said in the West that the Quran contains nothing of a mystical or philosophical nature, and that philosophers and mystics are not indebted to it in any way. Our concern here is not to argue about what Westerners find or fail to find in the Quran, but to know what it is that Muslims themselves have actually discovered in it. Islamic philosophy may be seen, first and foremost, as the work of thinkers belonging to a religious community characterized by the Quranic expression ahl al-kitab : a people in possession of a sacred Book, a people whose religion in founded on a Book that ‘came down from Heaven’, is revealed to a prophet and is taught to the people by that prophet. Properly speaking, the ‘peoples of the Book‘ are the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. The Zoroastrians, thanks to the Avesta, have partially benefited from this privilege, while the so-called Sabians of Harran have been less fortunate.
All these communities are faced with the problem of the basic religious phenomenon which is common to them all : the phenomenon of the Sacred Book, the law of life within this world and guide beyond it. The first and last task is to understand the true meaning of this Book.
But the mode of understanding is conditioned by the mode of being of him who understands; correspondingly, the believer’s whole inner ethos derives from his mode of understanding. The lived situation is essentially hermeneutical, a situation, that is to say, in which the true meaning dawns on the believer and confers reality upon his existence. This true meaning, correlative to true being -truth which is real and reality which is true- is what is expressed in one of the key terms in the vocabulary of philosophy : the word haqiqah.
The term designates, among many other things, the true meaning of the divine Revelations : a meaning which, because it is the truth of these Revelations, is also their essence, and therefore their spiritual
meaning. One could thus say that the phenomenon of the ‘revealed sacred Book’ entails a particular anthropology, even a certain definite spiritual culture, and that it postulates, at the same time as it stimulates and orientates, a certain type of philosophy.
Taken from the Henry Corbin Facebook page