Sufism: Veil and Quintessence (The Library of traditional wisdom)

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9780941532006: Sufism: Veil and Quintessence (The Library of traditional wisdom)

Schuon makes a critical distinction between an absolute Islam and a contingent Islam. Surveying the fundamental and thus indispensable elements of the Islamic revelation allows one to gain a perspective on its more relative aspects. The Arab style, with its pious exaggerations, ellipses, hyperbolism and love of sublimity, is seen here not only in its tendency to obscure pure sapeintial knowledge, but also in light of its profound spiritual intention. Also included is a chapter which situates philosophy with regard to the concerns of faith and theology, restoring to it its normal and legitimate meaning of love of divine and eternal Wisdom.

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From the Publisher:

In this book one can discover with greater clarity than any other available work the distinction between that quintessential Sufism which comprises the very heart of the message of Sufism and the more exteriorized forms of Islam.

About the Author:

Frithjof Schuon is best known as the foremost spokesman of the religio perennis and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. Over the past 50 years, he has written more than 20 books on metaphysical, spiritual and ethnic themes as well as having been a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon's writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities.

Schuon was born in 1907 in Basle, Switzerland, of German parents. As a youth, he went to Paris, where he studied for a few years before undertaking a number of trips to North Africa, the Near East and India in order to contact spiritual authorities and witness traditional cultures. Following World War II, he accepted an invitation to travel to the American West, where he lived for several months among the Plains Indians, in whom he has always had a deep interest. Having received his education in France, Schuon has written all his major works in French, which began to appear in English translation in 1953. Of his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (London, Faber & Faber) T.S. Eliot wrote: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion."

The traditionalist or "perennialist" perspective began to be enunciated in the West at the beginning of the twentieth century by the French philosopher Rene Guenon and by the Orientalist and Harvard professor Ananda Coomaraswamy. Fundamentally, this doctrine is the Sanatana Dharma--the "eternal religion"--of Hindu Vedantists. It was formulated in the West, in particular, by Plato, by Meister Eckhart in the Christian world, and is also to be found in Islam with Sufism. Every religion has, besides its literal meaning, an esoteric dimension, which is essential, primordial and universal. This intellectual universality is one of the hallmarks of Schuon's works, and it gives rise to many fascinating insights into not only the various spiritual traditions, but also history, science and art.

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Schuon, Frithjof
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