Sufism Love And Wisdom
Sufism, one of the richest of living esoteric traditions, has been referred to as the heart of Islam. It transmits the science of Union, a state that, when arrived at, transcendends the subject/object polarity and subsists in the eternal Presence of the Absolute. This science, first explicated by the Prophet to certain of his close companions, chief amongst whom were Abu Bakr and ‘Ali, is explored in the beautiful essays which comprise this volume. The essays presented here are without doubt the most precise and lucid in the English language, focusing not so much on the historical unfolding of Sufism, but on Sufi doctrine and method. Within this they center not so much on popular or devotional Sufism and its “cult of the saints”, but on what Schuon has identified as “Quintessential Sufism”. This “Quintessential Sufism” consists of what are the most essential doctrines and methods which animate the myriad expressions of authentic Sufism. They treat nearly every aspect of Sufi doctrine and method, from metaphysics and cosmology to the invocation of the Supreme Name of God and ceremonial Remembrance.
This volume comes at a point when Muslims in the West, fatigued by an ideological and sacreligious fanaticism parading itself as Islam, have begun turning in droves back to its spiritual tradition. It is hoped that this volume will assist these Muslims, and non-Muslims who find themselves sensitive to Sufi discourse, in finding their way to the Path. Some of the most important essays contained in this collection are Burckhardt’s “Sufi Doctrine and Method”, Nasr’s “The Spiritual Needs of Western Man and the Message of Sufism”, Schuon’s “The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam”, Kazemi’s “Jesus in the Qur’an: Selfhood and Compassion–An Akbari Perspective”, Schaya’s “On the Name Allah”, and Chodkiewicz’s “The Vision of God according to Ibn ‘Arabi”. All in all this is a feast for those inquiring into Islamic spirituality. To quote the back of the book: “These essays go beyond the endless fascination with forms: they always orient and re-orient themselves to the intrinsic Beauty of the Truth, the Truth that lives within the forms of Sufism and within the saints who have lived it.” (amazon review)