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Āzar Kayvān was a sixteenth-century Zoroastrian gnostic philosopher who gravitated towards the philosophical school of Shihāb al-Dīn Suhrawardī. His followers regarded him as the reviver of Illuminationist Philosophy (al-Ḥikmat al-Ishrāqiyya) within the context of Zoroastrianism. One major belief by this group was metempsychosis (tanāsukh), which they attributed to ancient Persian sages. In this paper, we will compare Āzar Kayvān’s account of metempsychosis with the views of Illuminationist doctrine in order to examine how close are the views of Āzar Kayvān and his followers to those of earlier Muslim Illuminationists. It is the opinion of the authors of this article that even though Āzar Kayvān is often viewed as a commentator on Suhrawardī’s philosophy, his view of metempsychosis is in fact different from Suhrawardī’s own account and is closer to the views of other commentators of the illuminationist doctrine, such as Shahrazūrī.


Āzar Kayvān, Suhrawardī, Zoroastrianism, Dasātīr, Illuminationists, metempsychosis.


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