Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
25498942 Schuon F the Quintessential Esoterism of Islam

25498942 Schuon F the Quintessential Esoterism of Islam

Ratings: (0)|Views: 35|Likes:
Published by Tahir Ali

More info:

Published by: Tahir Ali on Jul 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/08/2013

pdf

text

original

 
 
From the World Wisdom online library:
www. worldwisdom.com/public/library/default.aspx
The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam
The Islamic religion is divided into three constituent parts:
Ī 
ā 
,Faith, which contains everything one must believe;
Isl 
ā 
, the Law,which contains everything one must do;
Ihs 
ā 
,
1
operative Virtue,which confers upon believing and doing the qualities that make themperfect—in other words, that intensify or deepen both faith andworks.
Ihs 
ā 
, in short, is the sincerity of the intelligence and the will:it is our complete adherence to the Truth and our total conformity tothe Law, which means that we must on the one hand know the Truthentirely, not only in part, and on the other hand conform to it withour deepest being and not only with a partial and superficial will. Thus
Ihs 
ā 
opens onto esoterism—which is the science of the essential andtotal—and is even identified with it; for to be sincere is to draw fromthe Truth the maximal consequences from the point of view of bothintelligence and will; in other words, it is to think and will with theheart, hence with our entire being, with all we are.
Ihs 
ā 
is right believing and right doing, and it is at the same timetheir quintessence: the quintessence of right believing is metaphysicaltruth,
Haq 
ī 
qah 
, and that of right doing is the practice of invocation,
Dhikr 
.
Ihs 
ā 
comprises as it were two modes, depending on its appli-cation: the speculative and the operative, namely, intellectual discern-ment and unitive concentration; in Sufi language this is expressedprecisely by the terms
Haq 
ī 
qah 
2
and
Dhikr 
or by
Tawh 
ī 
, “Unifica-tion”, and
Ittih 
ā 
, “Union”. For Sufis the “hypocrite” (
mun 
ā 
 fiq 
) is notmerely someone who gives himself airs of piety in order to impresspeople, but it is the profane man in general, someone who fails todraw all the consequences implied in the Dogma and Law, hence theman who is not sincere since he is neither consequential nor whole;
1
Literally
Ihs 
ā 
means “embellishment”, “beautiful activity”, “right doing”, “charitableactivity”; and let us recall the relationship that exists in Arabic between the notionsof beauty and virtue.
2
It is to be noted that in the word
haq 
ī 
qah 
, as in its quasi-synonym
haqq 
, the mean-ings “truth” and “reality” coincide.
101
 
 
Su 
 fi 
sm: Veil and Quintessence 
now Sufism (
tasawwuf 
) is nothing other than sincerity (
sidq 
), and the“sincere” (
sidd 
ī 
ū 
) are none other than Sufis.
Ihs 
ā 
, since it is necessarily an exoteric notion as well, may beinterpreted at different levels and in different ways. Exoterically it isthe faith of the fideists and the zeal of the ritualists; in this case it isintensity and not profundity and thus has something quantitative orhorizontal in it when compared with wisdom. Esoterically one candistinguish in
Ihs 
ā 
two accentuations: that of 
gnosis 
, which impliesdoctrinal intellectuality, and that of love, which requires the totalityof the volitive and emotive soul, the first mode operating with intel-lectual means—without however neglecting the supports that maybe necessitated by human weakness—and the second with moraland sentimental means. It is in the nature of things that this love canexclude every element of intellection and that it can readily if notalways do so—precisely to the extent it constitutes a way—whereas
gnosis 
on the contrary always contains an element of love, doubtlessnot violent love but one akin to Beauty and Peace.** *
Ihs 
ā 
includes many ramifications, but it is obviously constitutedmost directly by quintessential esoterism. At first sight the expres-sion “quintessential esoterism” looks like a pleonasm; is esoterismnot quintessential by definition? It is indeed so “by right” but notnecessarily “in fact”, as is amply proven by the unequal and oftendisconcerting phenomenon of average Sufism. The principal pitfallof this spirituality—let it be said once again—is the fact that it treatsmetaphysics according to the categories of an anthropomorphist andvoluntaristic theology and of an individualistic piety that is above allservile in character. Another pitfall, which goes hand in hand with thefirst, is the insistence on a certain hagiographic “mythology” and otherpreoccupations that enclose the intelligence and sensibility within thephenomenal order; finally there is the abuse of scriptural interpreta-tions and metaphysico-mystical speculations, which are derived froman ill-defined and poorly disciplined inspirationism or from an esot-erism that is in fact insufficiently conscious of its true nature.An example of “moralizing metaphysics” is the confusion betweena divine decree addressed to creatures endowed with free will and
102
 
 
The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam 
the ontological possibility that determines the nature of a thing; as aresult of this confusion one asserts that Satan, by disobeying God—orPharaoh, by resisting Moses—obeyed God in that by disobeying theyobeyed their archetype, hence the existentiating divine “will”, andthat they have been—or will be—pardoned for this reason. Now theideas of “divine will” and “obedience” are being used here improp-erly, because in order for an ontological possibility to be a “will” oran “order” it must emanate from the legislating 
Logos 
as such, andin this case it is expressly concerned with free and therefore respon-sible creatures; and in order for the submission of a thing or a being to constitute an “obedience”, it is clearly necessary for there to be adiscerning consciousness and freedom, hence the possibility of notobeying. In the absence of this fundamental
distinguo 
there is merelydoctrinal confusion and misuse of language, as well as heresy from thelegitimate point of view of theologians.The general impression given by Sufi literature must not cause usto forget that there were many Sufis who left no writings and werestrangers to the pitfalls we have just described; their influence hasremained practically anonymous or blends with that of well-knownindividuals. Indeed it may be that certain minds instructed in the“vertical” way—which refers to the mysterious filiation of al-Khidr— and outside the requirements of a “horizontal” tradition shaped byan underlying theology and dialectical habits, may have voluntarilyabstained from formulating their thought in such an environment,without this having prevented the radiance proper to every spiritualpresence.To describe known or what one may call literary Sufism in allits
de facto 
complexity and paradoxes would require a whole book,whereas to give an account of the necessary and therefore concisecharacter of Sufism, a few pages can suffice. “The Doctrine—and theWay—of Unity is unique” (
al-Tawh 
ī 
du
ā 
hid 
): this classic formulasuccinctly expresses the essentiality, primordiality, and universality of Islamic esoterism as well as esoterism as such; and we might even saythat all wisdom—all
 Advaita Ved 
ā 
nta 
if one prefers—is contained forIslam within the
Shah 
ā 
dah 
alone, the twofold Testimony of faith.Before going further and in order to situate Islam within thetotality of Monotheism, we wish to draw attention to the following:from the point of view of Islam, which is the religion—analogicallyand principially speaking—of the primordial and universal, Mosaism
103

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->