In this deeply learned work, Toshihiko Izutsu compares the metaphysical and mystical thought-systems of Sufism and Taoism and discovers that, although historically unrelated, the two share features and patterns which prove fruitful for a transhistorical dialogue. His original and suggestive approach opens new doors in the study of comparative philosophy and mysticism. Izutsu begins with Ibn 'Arabi, analyzing and isolating the major ontological concepts of this most challenging of Islamic thinkers. Then, in the second part of the book, Izutsu (...) turns his attention to an analysis of parallel concepts of two great Taoist thinkers, Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. Only after laying bare the fundamental structure of each world view does Izutsu embark, in the final section of the book, upon a comparative analysis. Only thus, he argues, can he be sure to avoid easy and superficial comparisons. Izutsu maintains that both the Sufi and Taoist world views are based on two pivots--the Absolute Man and the Perfect Man--with a whole system of oncological thought being developed between these two pivots. Izutsu discusses similarities in these ontological systems and advances the hypothesis that certain patterns of mystical and metaphysical thought may be shared even by systems with no apparent historical connection. This second edition of Sufism and Taoism is the first published in the United States. The original edition, published in English and in Japan, was prized by the few English-speaking scholars who knew of it as a model in the field of comparative philosophy. Making available in English much new material on both sides of its comparison, Sufism and Taoism richly fulfills Izutsu's motivating desire "to open a new vista in the domain of comparative philosophy.". (shrink)
"Henry Corbin's works are the best guide to the visionary tradition.... Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius. He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality."--From the introduction by Harold Bloom Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made (...) a unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines. Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Su fi treatises. Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet . These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls. (shrink)
Sufism - spiritual practice, intellectual discipline, literary tradition, and social institutionhas played an integral role in the moral formation of Muslim society. Its aspiration toward a universal kindness to all creatures beyond the requirements of Islamic law has added a distinctly hypernomian dimension to the moral vision of Islam, as evidenced in a wide range of Sufi literature. The universal perspective of Sufism, fully rooted in Islamic revelation, yields a lived (and not just studied) ethics with the potential (...) to view and embrace all creatures through a single ethical vision, regardless of religious or other affiliation. This side of Islam, both acknowledging and surpassing the outlook of the legal heritage, offers important insight into understanding the nature of Muslim society as both Islamic and metaIslamic in religious orientation. Sufism, still significant in today's Islamic world, thus offers important material for locating Islam as part of an international order with principles and standards that resonate deeply with the moral vision of Islam itself. (shrink)
This book examines a series of common metaphors in the works of Derrida and the Sufism of Muhyddin Ibn 'Arabi, considered to be of the most influential figures in Islamic thought. The author addresses the significant absence of attention on the relationship between Islam and Derrida and also provides a deconstructive perspective on Ibn 'Arabi.
Sufism, as a mystic sect of Islam, can be defined as a philosophy of inner experience. The process of inner thought and experience plays an important role in sufism. Existentialism is also a philosophy of being. In existentialism being cannot be rationalized; it can be experienced in a personal venture which philosophy is the way to achieve. The aim of this paper is to compare sufi philosophers with theist existentialist philosophers mainly on the concept of person. How religious (...) elements play a role in forming the concept of person in each philosophical system is investigated by means of several basic parameters such as being, existence, transcendent self, despair, death, knowledge and freedom. Both in sufism and theological existentialism a religious significance is given to the concept of existence. In both philosophical systems, the finitude a person experiences in this world drives one to an alienation from one's essential being to the more profound dread of guilt and anxiety, and salvation can be reached by the unification of oneself with God. (shrink)
The fact that Sufi metaphysics were so far taken to be merely writings of Islamic philosophers, like Ibn al-'Arabi, seems to underestimate the philosophical indications of literary texts in the Sufi tradition. When Sufi literary texts are examined for philosophical content, that content is sought within and through the traditional Sufist approach. However, there appears to be a lack of correspondence between the traditional approach on the main conceptions (of God, of the universe, etc.) in Sufism and what literary (...) texts can offer regarding those, when some literary texts are to be examined in a way in which an underlying philosophical system can be extracted from them. In this paper, I present a brief analysis of The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar, one of the most significant works focusing on God and written in Sufi tradition. I suggest an alternative framework for Sufi metaphysics, which overlaps with the metaphysical connotations of The Conference of the Birds, via some Spinozistic ideas on God and on God’s relationship to the rest of the universe. Since The Conference of The Birds represents a metaphysical doctrine that is apart from the traditional approach, I argue that we are not justified in thinking that Sufi metaphysics is only what Islamic philosophers so far offered us. (shrink)
Music, according to Sufi teaching, is really a small expression of the overwhelming and perfect harmony of the whole universe--and that is the secret of its amazing power to move us. The Indian Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), the first teacher to bring the Islamic mystical tradition to the West, was an accomplished musician himself. His lucid exposition of music's divine nature has become a modern classic, beloved only by those interested in Sufism but by musicians of all (...) kinds. (shrink)
This book introduces the work of an important medieval Islamic philosopher who is little known outside the Persian world. Afdal al-Din Kashani was a contemporary of a number of important Muslim thinkers, including Averroes and Ibn al-Arabi. Kashani did not write for advanced students of philosophy but rather for beginners. In the main body of his work, he offers especially clear and insightful expositions of various philosophical positions, making him an invaluable resource for those who would like to learn the (...) basic principles and arguments of this philosophical tradition but do not have a strong background in philosophy. Here, Chittick uses Kashani and his work to introduce the basic issues and arguments of Islamic philosophy to modern readers. (shrink)
Study that try to expose and to define the different types of the language as the juridical, theological, and ascetic-mystical in Miftāḥ al-sa‘āda [Key of Happiness] of Ibn al-‘Arīf. Types that are analyzed in details, to conclude with the influence of the Sufi language of Ibn al-‘Arīf in Ibn ‘Arabī’s work, supporting on considerations of semantic as well as mystical nature.
Originally published in France in 1969 and in America in 1972 and again in 1995, To Live Within is a thoughtful, beautifully written record of Lizelle Reymond’s five years spent in a hermitage in Northern India. Reymond studied with guide and mentor Shri Anirvan, a master of the ancient Samkhya tradition. As presented to Reymond, Samkhya is a source teaching previously unknown in the West and universally relevant regardless of one’s tradition or cultural background. Anirvan’s teachings of this discipline centered (...) on the concentrated purity of silence that nourishes the Self, allowing his pupil to achieve an unfettered understanding of her life and achieve an inner awakening. In five parts, the book covers Reymond’s life in the Himalayan hermitage; lessons for a spiritual life; facing reality; rambling thoughts; and mystic poetry of the Bauls. This new edition contains two additional chapters drawn from Reymond's lifelong correspondence with Shri Anirvan after the retreat. (shrink)
Cette tentative de rapprochement entre l'auteur de la célèbre formule "Dieu est mort" et le soufisme, la gnose et l'hermétisme, trois courants mineurs issus des grandes religions monothéistes, préoccupés par la notion de connaissance, ...