Tag Archive for: metaphysics

The Importance of Sufism in Chinese Islam (with Sachiko Murata)


Cemalnur Sargut Hocam asked us to say something about the significance of the Kenan Rifai Chair of Islamic Studies at Peking University, which we inaugurated in the Spring of 2012. As many of you know, the Kenan Rifai Chair is housed in Te Institute of Advanced Humanistic Studies. The Institute was founded by Professor u Weiming in 2010 shortly after he retired after thirty years at Harvard. During our timein China we taught one course at Peking University, another at Minzu University, and we participated in several conferences and workshops. We met many of the foremost Chinese scholars of Islam and we had a number of talented students


Actionless Action – Mohammed Rustom


“It has indeed been a blessing to sit with the great Kenan Rifai’s commentary upon book one of Mevlana’s Mesnevi .Spending time with this book naturally led me to Kenan Rifai’s explanation of a famous tale in the Mesnevi  centered around ‘Ali b. Abi Talib tale is retold from Islamic tradition and is cast in Mevlana’s unique terms and worldview. The long and short of the story is as follows: in the heat of a one-on-one encounter with an enemy of Islam, ‘Ali gained the upper hand and thru this opponent to the ground. Just as he was about to finish him off withone blow from his sword, the enemy spat at ‘Ali’s face. When this happened, ‘Ali immediately dropped his sword and walked away. This per-plexed his enemy, and led him to ask ‘Ali in earnest why he had not killed him at that very moment. ‘Ali then speaks, telling the enemy that he only fights for the sake of God. But, when the man insulted him by spitting at him, the possibility that it would become a personal affair had presented itself to him. So he walked away from the situation. ‘Ali then explains that he never acts out of self-interest, but only for, in, and through God


The Set of the Real: Mathematical Implications of the Metaphysics of René Guénon – Peter Samsel


“René Guénon, the seminal founder of the Traditionalist School, was also perhaps its preeminent metaphysician. More particularly, he was the plenary expositor of a metaphysics through which mathematical conceptualization runs like a golden thread. As Frithjof Schuon, another remarkable metaphysician, has observed, “Guénon was like the personification, not of spirituality as such, but uniquely of metaphysical certainty; or of metaphysical self- evidence in mathematical mode…”2 As is well known, Guénon’s primary intellectual formation prior to his plunge into the esoteric was that of mathematics, which he both studied and taught for many years.3 In this, he followed a well established tradition of linkage between mathematics and metaphysics extending back to such figures as Pythagoras and Plato.4 Indeed, mathematics in”

The Set Of The Real (Samsel)

Metaphysical Themes 1274–1671 – ROBERT PASNAU


“The present study seeks to learn something about the metaphysics of substance in light of four rich but for the most part neglected centuries of philosophy, running from the late medieval period to the early modern era. At no period in the history of philosophy, other than perhaps our own, have metaphysical problems received the sort of sustained attention they received during the later Middle Ages, and never has a whole philosophical tradition come crashing down as quickly and completely as did scholastic philosophy in the seventeenth century. My hope is to understand the nature of the late medieval project, and the reasons for its demise”

Pasnau, Metaphysical Themes

The Sufi Doctrine of Man – Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī’s Metaphysical Anthropology


“Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī (d. 673/1274) was the foremost disciple of the great Andalusī mystic, Muḥyī-l-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) and played a pivotal role in disseminating his teachings. Although less famous than his master, Qūnawī has traditionally been recognised both as a key interpreter of Ibn ʿArabī’s work and as a sophisticated metaphysician in his own right. Yet for almost half a century now, since Osman Yahia’s1 and Henri Corbin’s2 respective studies on Ibn ʿArabī first brought the figure of his chief disciple to the wider attention of western scholarship, there has emerged no full-length examination of Qūnawī’s thought.”

Todd, The Sufi Doctrine Of Man

‘AYN AL-QUDAT’S QUR’ANIC VISION From black words to white parchment* – Mohammed Rustom


“‘Ayn al-QuঌƗt HamadƗnƯ (d. 1131) was a mystic, philosopher, theologian, and judge who was born in the western Iranian city of Hamadan. He was the student of Aতmad al-GhazƗlƯ (d. 1126),1 the brother of Abnj ণƗmid al-GhazƗlƯ (d. 1111), and is best known as a maverick-like figure who was put to death by the Seljuq government at the tender age of 34, ostensibly on charges of “heresy”.2 Looking beyond the causes surrounding his state-sponsored execution and to his writings, ‘Ayn al-QuঌƗt emerges as a first-rate thinker who was thoroughly con- versant in the Islamic intellectual sciences, along with Arabic and Persian poetry. One of ‘Ayn al-QuঌƗt’s greatest achievements was the original manner in which he tied the seemingly”

'Ayn Al-Qudat's Qur'anic Vision (Routledge Handbook On Sufism) (1)

The Epistle of Ya qub ibn Isha¯q al-Kind on the Device for Dispelling Sorrows


Although less technical philosophically than many of al-Kind‡
¯’s known treatises, this Epistle remains basic for understandin g the spirit that
underlies his thinking. Socratic, yet very Kindian in spirit, this Epistle displays
its author’s tendency to harmonize Greek philosophy and Islam, particularl y as
this relates to ethics, and his belief in man’s free will and reason. To him,
sorrows may be caused either by our own actions or by the actions of others.
It is up to us to choose to do or not to do what saddens us. Through reason we
can eliminate some of the causes of sorrow when we perceive the intellectual
world, and derive from it things desired. Though this Epistle has a signiŽ cant
share of the linguistic and stylistic complexities characteristi c of al-Kind……

Al-Kindi, On The Device For Dispelling Sorrows (trans. Jayyusi-Lehn)

Aḥmad al-Ghazālī, Remembrance, and the Metaphysics of Love

To understand the content of Aḥmad al-Ghazālī’s writings and sermons, one must also examine their form. In his attempts to transport……………………….


Roads to paradise : Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam

Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam offers a multi-disciplinary study of Muslim thinking about paradise, death, apocalypse, and the hereafter. It focuses on eschatological concepts in the Quran and its exegesis, Sunni and Shi‘i traditions, Islamic theology, philosophy, mysticism, and other scholarly disciplines reflecting Islamicate pluralism and cosmopolitanism……………..

A Philosopher’s Itinerary For The Afterlife (Roads To Paradise, 2017)

Mulla Rajab, On the Necessary Being and The Fundamental Principle


Translated for this volume by Mohammed Rustom from Mullā Rajab ʿAlī Tabrīzī,
Ithbāt-i wājib in Sayyid Jalāl al-Dīn Āshtiyānī and Henry Corbin, ed., Anthologie des philosophes
iraniens depuis le XVII siècle jusqu’à nos jours (Tehran, 1972–1975),
vol. 1, pp. 220–243.e


Islam and the Problem of Evil by Timothy Winter


“Islam’s theological, ethical and mystical traditions have adopted a range of approaches to the question of evil. They share, however, a rootedness in the Qur ’ān, a text which repeatedly attends to the fact of human suffering, having emerged in a society which it proclaimed to be miserably deluded by false belief and custom and in which the physical”


An Interview with Ekrem Demirli, Turkey’s Leading Scholar of Ibn ʿArabi and Qunawi


“Ekrem Demirli (www.ekremdemirli.com/) is Professor of SufiStudies at Istanbul University (Faculty of Theology, Department of Tasawwuf), and Turkey’s foremost scholar of IbnʿArabi and Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi. Below is the edited transcript of an interview which I conducted with him concerning his life and work. Professor Demirli’s responses were given in Turkish and translated into English by Sultan Adanir Salihoglu”