|05-26-2012, 10:20 PM||#11|
Join Date: May 2011
In fact often they do not promote Islam.
There are istances in which people asking one organization of theirs for help in embracing Islam, have been told to rather start re-attending the church and strenghten one's knowledge of one's "originary religion" without having to embrace another religion. This - ironically - was said by "converts" themselves (converts to perennialism, not to Islam, even if they call themselves muslims).
|05-26-2012, 10:31 PM||#12|
Join Date: May 2011
The Swiss-German philosopher Frithjof Schuon, also known as Shaykh `Isa Nur al-Din Ahmad to his followers, is perhaps the foremost representative of the mystical perennialist school*. He is the founder of "The path of Mary" (Tariqah Maryamiyyah) and among his well-known disciples are people like Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Martin Lings and Rama Coomaraswamy.
|05-27-2012, 05:22 PM||#13|
Join Date: May 2011
As perennialists claim that their perspective allows them to “understand” why “exoteric” or “average” Muslims believers think the way they do (which they illustrate for us very politely), I thought maybe it would be a fun idea to apply some reverse-psychology, so to speak.
It seems that the situation for the perennialist of Muslim background is that he is constantly exposed to the potentially destabilizing effects of cognitive dissonance (i.e. simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs). On the one hand he believes himself to be a traditional Muslim, who follows strictly orthodox beliefs and the dictates of the Shari’ah. On the other hand, he has taken, directly or indirectly, Schuon as his Spiritual Master, who tells him that his own aqeedah is the Advaita Vedanta and paints colourfully realistic pictures with content that “departs” from the Shari’ah of the Din of which Haya’ is an essential element.
To overcome the effects of the situation he finds himself in, the perennialist becomes mentally adept at switching between “exoteric” mode (when in the mosque and hearing the Imam’s khutba of “exclusivist” content, meeting his “exoteric” Muslim friends and family) and “esoteric” mode (when beholding the works of his Master which powerfully symbolize the absolute, naked truth (in a literal way, if you know what I mean) or when appreciating the subtleties of the doctrine of the Trinity or Hindu metaphysics).
This constant mental switching probably becomes tiring after a while, though, so another way to relieve the tension is self- justification, which may explain the frequency of long (this seems to be a very common characteristic), elaborately reasoned and copiously referenced perennialist posts on forums such as this one to prove that, despite appearances to the contrary, perennialism truly, really, actually is a legitimate Islamic belief.
The dangers of cognitive dissonance may be further exacerbated for the perennialist of Muslim background if he also raises his family on perennialist principles and inculcates in them, as encouraged by Schuon, the love and respect of all traditional religious forms and “manifestations of the Logos”- of which he counts the Prophet of Islam as one but who, for the true esoterist, is not really superior to others such as Krishna (and, in case you’re in any doubt, he’s especially not superior to Christ-geddit?). As previously pointed out, Schuon has helpfully clarified the orthodox Islamic belief of the status of the Prophet as being an “illusion” of exoteric Muslims .
After some time growing up in this traditional home environment, the perennialist’s oldest son announces that he is “settling into” (perennialists do not convert) Orthodox Christianity, which Schuon had praised so effusively in his books. He also develops a taste for French red wine and bacon sandwiches, which as an Orthodox Christian, he can now happily indulge in (in moderation, of course). Although the father does feel a tinge of unease at this development (and at the strange smells that now emanate from his kitchen in the morning) he quickly switches into “esoterist” mode and convinces himself to rejoice in the fact that his son has seen through the “transparency of forms” to the common transcendent truth that underlies all.
Then, a few months later, the perennialist’s teenage daughter confesses that she is so touched by the teachings in the Buddhist Pali Canon, which she found(next to the Quran) in the “Traditional Scriptures” section of her father’s library, she will “settle into” Buddhism (while, like a good perennialist, still equally loving and not rejecting the traditional Islam her father raised her in). She also feels her daily morning meditation would be much improved if her male school friend, who also happens to be a practicing Buddhist, moves in with her (they have a mutually loving relationship and would not dream of harming any living being). Again, the father dismisses from his mind any awkward feelings by recollecting how Coomaraswamy’s forceful arguments had compelled Guenon to correct his initial error regarding Buddhism where he had mistakenly classified Buddhism as heterodox in relation to Hinduism; imagine that!)
Not to be outdone by his older siblings, the perennialist’s youngest son- his mind and temperament from childhood moulded by the rich and diverse metaphysical doctrines and sacred art of traditional cultures he had imbibed from his surroundings- finds himself irresistibly attracted to the world’s most primordial religion, Hindusim, and especially to practice of the Tantra Yoga, for which he keeps a statue of the goddess Kalli in his room (for the purposes of darshan). At this point, the father wistfully recalls how Schuon had so much wanted to be a Hindu at first, but his plans were cruelly thwarted and he “settled” into (for?) Islam. Was this act of his youngest son full of some kind of mysteriously symbolic, esoteric meaning?
To protect against syncretism or the “mixing of forms” so vehemently disliked by Schuon (who kept his own statue of the Virgin Mary in a different room to the zawiyyah in which he as a Shadhili Shaykh led dhikr sessions of his fuqara) the father strictly instructs his children to confine their respective Hindu, Buddhist and Christian rituals to their bedrooms, while the living room was the place where the father could offer his salat - thankful that none of his children had strayed from the path(s) of perennialism, which, Schuon had assured him, all led to the same place anyway.
Is the above sketch of a perennialist family an absurd scenario or a realistic consequence of “applied perennialism”? My view? Nowadays, don’t be surprised by anything….
Last edited by abdarrashid : 05-27-2012 at 05:32 PM.
|05-27-2012, 05:43 PM||#14|
Join Date: May 2011
another perenialist trying to prove his religion from the following:
According to ‘Abd Allah ibn Tahir Azdi:
I was quarreling with a Jew in the market of Baghdad, and I blurted out “dog!” Passing then by my side [Hallaj] regarded me with an angry air and told me: “Don’t make your dog bark so!” and he withdrew in haste. My quarrel ended, I went to find him and entered his home; but he looked away from me. I apologized and he calmed down. The he said to me “My son, the religious faiths, all of them, arise from God the Most High; He assigned to each group a creed, not of their own choice, but of His choice imposed on them…I would have you know that Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the other religious denominations may be different names and contrasting appellations, but that their Goal, Himself, suffers neither difference nor contrast.”
Trans. Louis Massignon, Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr, p. 104.
Then Mansur Hallaj recited the following poem:
Earnest for truth, I thought on the religions:
They are, I found, one root with many a branch.
Therefore impose on no man a religion,
Lest it should bar him from the firm-set root.
Let the root claim him, a root wherein all heights
And meanings are made clear, for him to grasp.
Diwan al-Hallaj, trans. Martin Lings, Sufi Poems, p. 34.
Farid al-Din 'Attar writes (and this is very mild compared to other parts of the poem),
They left the Ka'bah for Rome’s boundaries.
A gentle landscape of low hills and trees,
Where, infinitely lovelier than the view,
There sat a girl, a Christian girl who knew
The secrets of her faith’s theology.
A fairer child no man could hope to see—
In beauty’s mansion she was like the a sun
That never set—indeed the spoils she won
Were headed by the sun himself, whose face
Was pale with jealousy and sour disgrace
The man about whose heart her ringlets curled
Became a Christian and renounced the world…
In turn the Shaykh’s disciples had their say,
Love has no cure, and he could not obey.
Mantiq al-tayr, trans. by Afkham Darbandi and **** Davis, pp. 58-60.
Jalal al-Din Rumi writes:
Having the same tongue is kinship and affinity,
With those with whom no intimacy exists, a man is in prison.
There are many Hindus and Turks with the same tongue,
And oh, many a pair of Turks, strangers to each other.
Hence the tongue of intimacy is something else,
It is better to be of one heart than of one tongue.
Without speech, without oath, without register,
A hundred thousand interpreters from the heart arise.
Mathnawi, trans. by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Pilgrimage of Life and the Wisdom of Rumi, pp. 96-97.
Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi writes:
Receptive now my heart is for each form;
For gazelles pasture, for monks a monastery,
Temple for idols, Ka’bah to be rounded,
Tables of Torah and script of Quran.
My religion is love’s religion; where’er turn
Her camels, that religion my religion is, my faith.
An example is set us by Bishr, lover
Of Hind and her sister, and likewise the loves
Of Qays and Layla, of Mayya and Ghaylan.
Tarjuman al-ashwaq, trans. by Martin Lings, Sufi Poems, p. 62.
Mahmud Shabistari writes:
I have seen that Christianity’s aim is real detachment;
I’ve seen it as the breaking of the bonds of imitation.
Sacred Unity’s courtyard in the monastery of Spirit
where the Simurgh of the Everlasting makes Its nest.
From God’s Spirit, Jesus, this work of detachment appeared,
since he was manifested from the sacred Spirit.
There is also a spirit from God within you;
in which is found a trace of the Most Holy.
If you should seek extinction of the earthly self,
come into the chamber of the Holy Presence.
Anyone who, angel-like, has detached from the earthly soul
Will be risen, Jesus-like, to the fourth celestial realm.
Gulshan-i raz, trans. Robert Darr, pp. 106-107.
And finally, the eminent Amir ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri:
“Your God is One God; there is no god but He.” (Quran 2:163)
“Say: It has been revealed unto me that you God is One God.” (Quran 21:108)
“Say: I am only a man like you; it is revealed to me that your God is One God.”
“Proclaim that there is no god but Me.” (Quran 16:2)
In these verses and in other analogous verses, God addresses all those who have been reached by the Quranic revelation or earlier revelations—Jews, Christians, Mazdeans, idolaters, Manicheans and other groups professing varied opinions and beliefs with respect to Him—to teach them that their God is One is spite of the divergences of their doctrines and creeds concerning Him. For His Essence is unique, and the divisions in relation to Him do not involve divisions of His Essential Reality. All the beliefs which are professed about him are for Him just different names. Now, the multiplicity of names does not imply multiplicity of the Named! He has a Name in all languages, which are infinite in number, but that does not affect His unicity.
The preceding verses allude to that which is taught by the elite—that is, the Sufis—namely the transcendent unity of Being (wahdat al-wujud) and the fact that He is the Essence of everything “worshipped’ and that, consequently, whatever he may take as the object of his worship, every worshipper worships only Him, as is proved by the following verse: “And your Lord has decreed that you will worship only Him.” (Quran 17:23)…
If what you think and believe is the same as what the people of the Sunnah say, know that He is that—and other than that! If you think and believe that He is what all the schools of Islam profess and believe—He is that, and He is other than that! If you think that He is what the diverse communities believe—Muslims, Christians, Jews, Mazdeans, polytheists and others—He is that and He is other than that! And if you think and believe what is professed by the Knowers par excellence—prophets, saints and angels—He is that! He is other than that! None of His creatures worships Him in all His aspects; none is unfaithful to Him in all His aspects. No one knows Him in all His aspects; no one is ignorant of Him in all His aspects…
All of this is part of the secrets which it is proper to conceal from those who are not of our way…
Kitab al-mawaqif, trans. by Michel Chodkiewicz, The Spiritual Writings of Amir ‘Abd al-Kader, pp. 130-132.
It is possible to supply you with numerous other sources of this nature. However, due to time constraints, I would recommend that the person who really wants to discover the pre-modern exposition of the perennial philosophy in Islam and among Muslims read:
1) The Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Koran and Hadith edited by Judith and Michael Fitzgerald
2) The Other in the Light of the One: The Universality of the Qur’an and Interfaith Dialogue by Reza Shah-Kazemi
3) “Islam and the Encounter of Religions” in Sufi Essays by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
4) Universal Dimensions of Islam edited by Patrick Laude
5) The Religious Other: Towards a Muslim Theology of Other Religions in a Post-Prophetic Age edited by Muhammad Suheyl Umar
|05-27-2012, 05:54 PM||#15|
Join Date: May 2011
These comments seem to imply that any objection to Schuon is baseless, primarily emotional and/or irrational. This, however, is not the case. Simply put, it is essentially untenable that a man who:
- Takes as his “point of departure” the aqeedah of the Hindus
- Declares Jesus to be God
- Is obsessed with nudity (both his own and one of the most honored woman in our Din)
- Declares himself “more or less independent” of the Shariah
would be in a position to offer any reliable or valuable insights (to put it mildly) into the character of the Best of Creation (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). And his “views” are then solemnly compared to the true giants of Islamic spirituality???
For the non-perennialists reading this thread, I would refer you to this document, which I recently came across: http://dossierschuon.jimdo.com/ (also available on google books at http://books.google.ae/books?id=vqsx...page&q&f=false) to get a better idea of Shuonic perennialism in action (be warned – you’ll need a strong stomach to digest the images and statements). Also be quick to view/save it before the perennialists get the site closed down.
Perennialists are desperate to prevent the true picture of Schuon and his cult emerging because, among other things, it will destroy the reputation of perennialists like Nasr himself who has spent a lifetime promoting Schuon as a “spiritual genius”. Is it credible that every critic that emerged from Schuon’s inner circle was “insane”?
The fact that people who consider themselves traditional Muslims are (willfully?) blind to all of this and continue to rationalize any belief or behavior of this man is both baffling and depressing. I believe a previous poster referred to the presence of sihr in these- superficially attractive but essentially deviant- writings and this is beginning to sound like a plausible explanation.
|06-11-2012, 09:58 PM||#18|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Birmingham, UK
Hmm ... Interesting ...
"Behold! Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear nor shall they grieve"
|06-24-2012, 07:13 PM||#20|
Join Date: May 2011
Some excellent posts by Dr. Adi Setia on this link, who is quoting Dr. Sayyid Naquib al-Attas on the perennialists, of the TUR variety.
Last edited by abdarrashid : 06-24-2012 at 07:15 PM.
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