The theory of the reverse process and its application in explaining the way of observing and knowing about occult matters by Ibn Sina and Sheikh Ashraq

Document Type : Research Paper


Allameh Tabataba'i University



Ibn Sina considered the way of viewing non-material (rational) beings to have a reverse process of viewing material beings. After him, Sheikh Eshraq also explained the way of observing the creatures of the imaginal world with the help of this process. Instead of the five external sensors sending information to common sense, this information is transferred from the soul or from the imagination to common sense. The necessary condition for this to happen is that the external and internal powers are not busy, and there is an opportunity for sensual perception to affect the brain and common sense. In this way, an unseen being is represented by the person. This process, in some cases, requires an interpretation, and in this article, the conditions and how to explain them have been examined. Also, this process has various applications in Islamic philosophy. With its help, the method of observing and representing angels, jinn, and demons, as well as the method of inspiration and the descent of revelation, seeing a veridical dream, and some types of magic and knowledge of the occult, as well as some delusions It has been explained to patients. In this way, it is also possible to explain the observations and sensory perceptions and hear the sounds described by Sheikh Ashraq in the stages of treading a path. This article describes and criticizes the reverse process and its applications. And it has been shown that Suhrawardi is influenced by Avicenna in this discussion.


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Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 26 November 2022
  • Receive Date: 07 September 2022
  • Revise Date: 20 November 2022
  • Accept Date: 26 November 2022