FRITHJQF SCHUON UNDERSTANDING ISLAM FRITHJOF SCHUON with a foreword by Annemarie Schimmel WoridWisdom Contents Foreword v Preface viii. Islamic Quarterly has called Understanding Islam a “masterpiece of comparative religion,” and one of the most respected writers on Sufism, the late Professor. a classic, written from the perspective of why Muslims believe in their faith.

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This is the way the Bible was read in the Middle Ages — following the footsteps of Antiquity.

One of the most important modes of realizing equilibrium is precisely an accord between the sacred Law relating to man as such and the law relating to society.

The quintessence of the truth is discernment between the contingent and the Absolute; and the quintessence of the path is permanent consciousness of Absolute Reality.

In the strictly orthodox and traditional meaning of the term, and even in a transposed sense, because an authentic Revelation is necessarily spontaneous and comes only from God, whatever the appearances. Equally a part of this Sunna are the rules relating to achuon The association of ideas between the turban and Islam scyuon far from fortuitous: A New Translation with Selected Letters.

Then I Allah shall answer thee saying: Here there is a sort of combination of a spatial with a temporal symbolism: Man is made of integral or transcendent intelligence — therefore capable of abstraction just as well as of suprasens- ory intuition — and of free will, and that is why there is a truth and a path, a doctrine and a method, a faith and a submission, an Tman and an islam. Whatever may have been the situation at that time, today the modern workman exists and the truth does concern him: The book contained a lot of information, but was difficult to read and more difficult follow.

What we really have in mind in this as in previous works is the scientia sacra or philosophia perennis, that universal gnosis which always has existed and always will exist. Jul 31, Matthew Moes rated it really liked it Shelves: This moral unity of humankind goes hand in hand with its intellectual unity: It favors ascension, but does not condition it; it contributes to the conditioning of ascension only.

Suras VI, and XI, In a germane field, we must take note of the abuse of the idea of intelligence. It is Thee we worship, and it is in Thee we seek refuge; 5. Thus it is intelligence in itself — and with it our freedom — which proves the divine scope of our nature and our destiny. We inhale luminous, cool air I discovered this book through reading Martin Lings’ biography of the Prophet pbuh.

Paperback1st editionpages. They do so in two ways or at two degrees, according to whether it is a case of direct or indirect, divine or sapiential, inspiration. In the preceding chapter, this was mentioned in what was said of the blessing on the Prophet. The relativity of a certain Sunna, in a perspective which is not a karma-yoga, still less an exoterism, does not annul the importance which the aesthetic integrity of forms has for a civilization, right down to the objects that surround us; for whereas abstaining from a symbolic action is not in itself an error, the presence of a false form is a permanent error ; 7 even he who is subjectively independent of it cannot deny that it is an error, and thus an element contrary in principle to spiritual health and to the imponderables of barakah.


And this is precisely what he does through the Prayer on the Prophet. Not an easy book to read, but insightful nevertheless. Ar-Ruh, which includes the four Archangels; on the earthly plane and in the Moslem cosmos, it is the Prophet and the first four Caliphs.

Understanding Islam by Frithjof Schuon

As for fdithjof angels, they are created of light nurof a supra-formal substance; the differences between angels are like those between colors, sounds or perfumes, not those between forms, which to them appear as petrifactions and fragmentations.

In the same way the lotus on which the Buddha is enthroned is both the manifested Universe and the heart of man, each of these being Understanding Islam we are peripheral in relation to the Intellect Ar-Ruh and a part in relation to Creation Al-Khalq.

No doubt there have always been social problems resulting from abuses which have arisen on the one hand from the fall of humanity and on the other from understandjng existence of very large collectivities containing unequal groupings.

But there is also the primordial symbolism of virgin Nature, which is an open book, a revelation of the Creator, a sanctuary and even understancing certain respects a Path.

Understanding Islam : A New Translation with Selected Letters

Like existence, fire is ambiguous, for it is both light and heat, divinity and hell. See also Path, Sufism, Tariqah and dance 36 and form and music 36 and orthodoxy and the Sunna 96 as total truth definition of feminine element in 31 Islamic 2,Prayer on the Prophet in symbols of vs. Jun 07, Yorgos rated it it was amazing. In man it chiefly envisages the passional and social individual; in the universe it discerns only what affects that individual; in God it hardly sees anything more than what has to do with the world, creation, man and his salvation.

This allows us to bring out a fundamental distinction: Or again, the cause or origin is in the word rasul Messenger and the finality in the word Muhammad Glorified. To the question of whether there are two moralities, one for individuals and the other for the state, our reply is affirmative, subject however to the reservation that the one can always extend to the domain of the other according to outward or inward circumstances. As regards a certain Sunna in general, reference may be made to the following saying of the Shaykh Darqawi, reported by Ibn Ajibah: The mere fact that we do not see what goes on behind our backs and are ignorant of what tomorrow will be like, proves that we are in certain respects very insignificant and shows that we are accidents of a substance greater than ourselves, but shows at the same time that we are not the body and not of this world; neither this world nor our body is what we are.


It is said that the Mishna was given out in the Tabernacle, when Joshua transmitted it to the Sanhedrin; by this the Sanhedrin was consecrated and thus instituted by God like the Torah and at the same time. The comparison with water 3. This is not my focus and does not strike me as extremely important at this time, but it is important to understand that the philosophia perennis is the lens through which this book is written. Book ratings by Goodreads. The Nabiis such not because he receives and transmits a particular message, namely one that is limited to particular circumstances, but because he possesses nubuwwahthe mandate of prophecy; every Rasul is a Nabibut not every Nabi is a Rasul; it is somewhat like saying that every eagle is a bird, but not every bird an eagle.

Understanding Islam

This must needs be so because of the unity, not only of the Truth, but also of man, a unity no doubt relative, since differences do exist, but nevertheless sufficiently real to allow of, or to impose, the reciprocity — or the spiritual ubiquity — in question. See also Intellect, Quran and the Intellect 93,and Nature and prayer and sacred art as knowledge diversity of forms of 47 formula of 62 inward vs. Jalal ad-Din Rumi says in his Mathnawi: The Fire will not touch us save for a certain number of days.

Mar 29, Dina Kaidir Elsouly rated it it was amazing. Similarly the Buddha could be characterized in the following terms: In all these considerations, it has been our aim not to give a picture of Moslem esoterism in its historical deployment, but to bring it to its most elemental positions by connecting it with the very roots of Islam which of necessity are its own.

Mohammed Yusuf rated it really liked it Jun 23, Let us repeat that Islam is an equilibrium determined by the Absolute and disposed in view of the Absolute.

A hallmark of the author’s perspective is an intellectual universality, which in examining a given religious framework readily draws upon parallels and concepts from other traditions, especially that of the Vedanta.