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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Louis Massignon answers this question in the affirmative.

On the one hand the end sanctifies the means, and on the other hand the means may profane the end, which signifies that the means must be found prefigured in the Divine Nature. 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.

The association of ideas between the turban and Islam is far from fortuitous: It is composed of several propositions or verses: The conclusion to be drawn from this is that not every element of Sunna imposes itself in the same way or with the same certainty, and that in many cases the teaching lies in the intention rather than in the form.

Understanding Islam by Frithjof Schuon

Jalal ad-Din Rumi said: And, if in the synagogue we feel the perfume of union with Him, the synagogue is our Kaaba. Moralities are diverse, but virtue as it has been here defined, is everywhere the same, because man is everywhere man.

As for the Moslem, he hates the rejection of Allah and of Islam because the supreme Unity and its absoluteness and transcendence appear to him dazzlingly evident and majestic, and because for him Islam, the Law, is the divine Will and the logical emanation, in the mode of equilibrium, of that Unity. It is true that such confrontations are rarely entirely satisfactory insofar as they concern cosmology, and every added preci- Islam is often reproached with having propagated its faith by the sword.

It will doubtless be said that every gesture is a symbol; with this we agree, on two express conditions: The creation is good because it is made in the image of God and because it compensates disequilibriums — which are ontologically necessary, otherwise they would not exist by the total equilibrium, which indirectly transmutes them into factors of perfection.

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Suffice it to point out that in our times the devil has not only laid hold on charity, which he seeks to reduce to an atheistical and materialistic altruism, but has also taken hold of the exegesis of Holy Writ.

Had destiny not so willed — and destiny does not depend on our doctrinal When an enemy territory was conquered the religious convictions of the population were respected as much as possible; let us here only recall that Al-Mansur — in general a man of few scruples — took pains, at the assault on Santiago, to protect against any profanation the church containing the tomb of the Apostle, and that in many other cases the Caliphs seized the chance to show respect for the sacred objects of the enemy; in similar circumstances the Christians adopted a like attitude.

The Best Books of On this point, as on others, there is nothing absolute about the divergence in perspective, but the differences of accent are nonetheless real and profound. In man the Spirit becomes the ego in order that the ego may become pure Spirit; the Spirit or the Intellect Intellectusnot mens or ratio becomes ego by incarnating in the mind in the form of intellection, of truth, and the ego becomes the Spirit or Intellect through uniting with It.

This means that you accept willingly and lovingly whatever God has decreed. The world is a fabric woven of threads of ether; into it we and all other creatures are woven.

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This is the type of foundational esoteric understanding and recognition that is critical to defuse existential crises in today’s world. Al-Isldm is the human condition brought into Only this power can explain the importance of the recitation of the Quran.

However, since the first error is more dangerous than the second — the second moreover hardly arises in pure metaphysics and, if it does, consists in overestimating the letter of the doctrine in its formal particularism — we would recall for the glory of the doctrine this saying of Christ: Christianity, 56, 70, frtihjof,, vs.

This new edition of Understanding Islam features a fully revised translation from the French original and contains an extensive Appendix with previously unpublished selections from Schuon’s letters and other private writings. 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 Amidism as well as in japa-yoga9 the initiate must abandon all other religious practices and put his faith in quintessential orison frithjjof this is the expression, notof an arbitrary opinion, but of an aspect of the nature of things; and this aspect is reinforced in the case of men who, in addition to this reduction as to method, base themselves on pure and total metaphysics.


Paperback1st editionpages. There is in this call no egoism, for pure prayer is the most intimate and most precious form of the gift of self.

Understanding Islam

This is understading 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. Come come whoever you are, Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. This is a symbolic njanner of speech, for ether being perfect plenitude is motionless and could not move.

For Dante, the damned are those who have lost the good of the Intellect Inferno, III, 18 and this can be related to the microcos- mic and human reflection of the Divine Intellect as well as to that Intellect Itself. And nothing is more vain than in the name of the former to raise a barrier of principle against the latter; the most profound proof of Revelation — frithjoof its name — is Its eternal prototype which we bear within ourselves, in our own essence.

Here we see in a sense the confrontation between the perfections of incorruptibility and of life: Oct 31, Tim rated it it was amazing Uderstanding As a Traditionalist who’s stuck between Christianity and Islam, I can’t help but see Islam as both a spiritual tradition and No other book has helped me understand the distinctive attitude of Islam as well as the metaphysical and symbolic undertones of its practices and its relationship to other spritual traditions.

Understanding Islam : A New Translation with Selected Letters

So throughout, the reader will find deep comparisons between metaphysical concepts across a variety islwm religions which gives this particular book such a unique perspective. In this case, the Shahadah is the Message made manifest; on the other hand, when it was said above that the Basmalah is contained in the first Shahadah — like the second Shahadah in the word ilia — this referred to the Undfrstanding in divinisenvisaged, that is to say, as the Unmanifest Truth.

See alsoDkikr and Revelation and truth as concentration canonical 3, 18, 22, 33,in Islam 4, 30, invocatory 4, quintessentialUnderstanding Islam sincerity ofunitivc sfhuon the Prophet wheels Principle, the 61, 65, This question could also be approached from a rather different angle: