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Sufism: Veil and Quintessence A New Translation with Selected Letters (The Writings of Frithjof Schuon) Paperback – December 11, 2006


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Sufism: Veil and Quintessence A New Translation with Selected Letters (The Writings of Frithjof Schuon) + Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism + The Eye of the Heart: Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spiritual Life (Library of Traditional Wisdom)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Writings of Frithjof Schuon
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: World Wisdom (December 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933316284
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933316284
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... one can discover ... the distinction between ... the very heart of ... Sufism and the more exteriorized forms of Islam." -- Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University

"Any serious person will feel grateful to be confronted by such a generously discerning intellect ... in this darkening time." -- Jacob Needleman, San Francisco State University

"Schuon is unsurpassed—-and I would add unequalled—-as a writer on comparative religion." -- Martin Lings, former Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts at the British Museum, and author of What is Sufism?, and A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century

"The man is a living wonder ... I know of no living thinker who begins to rival him." -- Huston Smith, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Syracuse University --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Born in Basle, Switzerland in 1907, Frithjof Schuon was the twentieth century's pre-eminent spokesman for the perennialist school of comparative religious thought.
The leitmotif of Schuon's work was foreshadowed in an encounter during his youth with a marabout who had accompanied some members of his Senegalese village to Basle for the purpose of demonstrating their African culture. When Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew a circle with radii on the ground and explained: "God is the center; all paths lead to Him." Until his later years Schuon traveled widely, from India and the Middle East to America, experiencing traditional cultures and establishing lifelong friendships with Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and American Indian spiritual leaders.
A philosopher in the tradition of Plato, Shankara, and Eckhart, Schuon was a gifted artist and poet as well as the author of over twenty books on religion, metaphysics, sacred art, and the spiritual path. Describing his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions, T. S. Eliot wrote, "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion", and world-renowned religion scholar Huston Smith said of Schuon, "The man is a living wonder; intellectually apropos religion, equally in depth and breadth, the paragon of our time". Schuon's books have been translated into over a dozen languages and are respected by academic and religious authorities alike.
More than a scholar and writer, Schuon was a spiritual guide for seekers from a wide variety of religions and backgrounds throughout the world. He died in 1998.

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Haqq on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
"There is a "contingent" Islam just as there is an "absolute" Islam. In order to separate the second from certain debatable elements pertaining only to the human clothing of the Message and not to the Message in itself, we are obliged also to give an account of the first, especially since esoterism is at stake, but it is obviously "absolute" Islam that matters to us..."

This ambitious and sublime treatise on the nature of Sufism is, according to my knowledge, unprecedented; and no wonder, since it was penned by the enigmatic spiritual genius Frithjof Schuon. What Schuon seeks to convey to his reader is that Sufism is comprised of an essential doctrine and practice which must be intuited and distinguished from its historical character, or its Semitic vestment. He begins by saying: ""Veil" (hijab) and "quintessence" (lubab): two words which are opposite in meaning, both as symbols and as doctrinal expressions, and which refer respectively to the outward and the inward, or to contingency and necessity. When we discern in Sufism a "veil," this must here be understood, not in the completely general sense that applies to every expression of the transcendent, but in a particular sense that pertains to historical Sufism by reason of its being bound up with a denominational psychology and an ardent temperament."

Throughout the work Schuon draws up the implications of a Sufism that remains imprisoned in certain unnecessary encumbrances which are related to its historical form on the one hand, and what might be called Sufism as such, or quintessential Sufism on the other - obviously siding with Sufism in its quintessence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Now in a revised and expanded edition, Sufism Veil and Quintessence: A New Translation with Selected Letters presents a new translation from the original French of the classic theological work by philosopher Frithjof Schuon. Composed of seven articles including "Ellipsis and Hyperbolism in Arab Rhetoric" and "The Quintessential Esoterism of Islam", Sufism Veil and Quintessence presents Schuon's crucial distinction between an "absolute" Islam and a "contingent" Islam, examining differences between the message of Islam itself and the pious Arab expressions of that message, which tend to be veiled beneath rhetorical style. Featuring an extensive appendix with previously unpublished selections from Shuon's letters and private writings, Sufism Veil and Quintessence is an invaluable classic philosophical treatise, recommended for libraries, religious studies shelves and advanced students and theologians seeking to explore the higher aspects of Sufism.
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By Tomaj on April 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
This work is unparalleled in the Islamic world. It is a unique perspective on Islam that has its eye constantly of the essence of the Massage and not the variety of forms and "human clothing of the massage." In a world with so much bias against Islam, which is understandable but not entirely justified, this book is a gem that every Muslim or spiritual man must read and think through. This to be said, it is important to understand that the Absolute version of Islam that Scheuon unveils barely exists among practicing Muslims and even Islamic scholars. What is seen in real world in unfortunately contingent Islam which has its defects and imperfections precisely because it is contingent of the particular human clothing of it; this contingent Islam has nothing to do with the absolute Islam. What is frequently observed among Muslims, if viewed from the point of view of absolute Islam and even with reference to Koran itself, is nothing but Shirk and Kufr. The contingent Islam associates to The Absolute what is essentially human and defective, and it substitutes his own worldly visions of good and evil for what is transcendent to world. It is not a surprise that Koran refers to The Absolute, besides its name Allah, the attribute "Haq," which means precisely truth and absolute truth. There is nothing worldly in this conception of The Absolute, which pertains to Absolute Islam.
Schuon beautifully explicates these matter and differences, and he does in such an unparalleled way that can appeal to the Eastern moralist as it can to the Western intellectual.
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