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Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul: The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1851684953
ISBN-10: 1851684956
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  • Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul: The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most original and thought-provoking contributions to genuinely Islamic thought in the past half-century." -- James Morris - Professor and Chair of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter

"This book has the power of a complete re-evaluation of the Islamic intellectual tradition. Highly recommended." -- Ravi Ravindra - author of /Science and the Sacred/ and Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada

"William Chittick is the most exciting writer on Sufism today, combining as he does a genuine passion for the subject with a scholarly objectivity that is truly impressive." -- Oliver Leaman - Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Kentucky

"He is the most prolific scholar of Islamic philosophy and Sufism in the West. In this marvellous and original collection of essays for the first time Prof. Chittick offers his own personal reflections on the Science vs. Religion, Modernity vs. Tradition, and Reason vs. Revelation debates in Islam." -- Leonard Lewisohn - Author of The Heritage of Sufism, and Iran Heritage Foundation Fellow in Persian and Sufi Literature, Exeter University

"William Chittick exploits his studied familiarity with Islamic intellectual tradition to offer a striking alternative: a mode of knowing which cannot escape the interior disciplines of knowing the self. Islam can return us to Socrates and to our own souls; are we ready?" -- David Burrell -

William Chittick is the most exciting writer on Sufism today, combining as he does a genuine passion for the subject with a scholarly objectivity that is truly impressive. -- Oliver Leaman - Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Kentucky

About the Author

William C. Chittick is professor of Persian Languages at Stony Brook University, New York. He is the author and translator of twenty-five books and one hundred articles on Islamic thought, Sufism, Shi'ism, and Persian literature, including Oneworld's Sufism: A Short Introduction.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (June 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851684956
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851684953
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Chittick distills a lifetime of reading and translating masters of Islam and Sufism into a fine, clear liquid to be sipped and savored. His clear thought and writing cuts through the Gordian knot of modern confusion and 'scientism'. Chittick sets himself the daunting task of revivifying a worldview and holistic philosophy that is barely a rumor in the 21st century. He clearly shows what we moderns have lost in our headlong rush to 'progress' and deification of 'science.'

What were the revered masters of the tradition seeking? What is the relevance today? To me? What is the place in this for individual thought? Are only the transmitted traditions of a revealed tradition valid? What is man's place and purpose in creation?

Lest you think that this is another 'modernity is wrong, we need a return to ______', here is a short excerpt on a key difference from modern thought (and thinking): "Another characteristic of the intellectual tradition that places it in stark contrast with modern learning is the intensely personal nature of the quest. Tahqiq aims at the discovery of the haqq within the seeker's own intelligence. That intelligence was understood, and, indeed, experienced, as the supra-individual, transpersonal, universal breath of awareness."

In my humble opinion, in order to comprehend what great souls like Muhyidin Ibn al'Arabi The Sufi Path of Knowledge or Mevlana Jelaladin Rumi The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (Suny Series, Islamic Spirituality) wrote, one must fundamentally change one's mind.
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Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading this fabulous work of W. Chittick and I think that he has reached his purpose; it' a really inspiring book which oneself to reflect about Islam, its tradition and what it is its object.
I have read some books of W. Chittick, including Sufi Path of Knowledge, The Self Disclosure of God, Imaginal Worlds, and his quality as translator shows his great compression about Islam. And also "Vision of Islam" which he wrote with Sachiko Murata its a must read for everyone who wants to know what Islam really means, specially for converts like me I think it very profitable.
But this works goes a little bit farther. This compilation and re-elaboration of talk and paper on Sufism and Islamic philosophy it's, in fact, a real light to follow in dark times. He takes out a lot of veils that the modern world has put on traditional though and shows what it is the importance of the traditional way in our days, specially what Islam can give back to our thirsty souls.
I know that Chittick doesn't mentions him in his book, but I can feel that this is the legacy of Rene Guenon, put in the Islamic way this book follows the mains tenets of "Reign of Quantity". Maybe it's not so deep -some guenonian may put some points on it, but it doesn't matter-, but I think that this is a great job done for showing that it is possible to find a way back and to find solutions to our situation (as humankind) and that still there is hope in the places where the men of the unseen keep contact with the ones who have enough spiritual aspiration.
for me shows also that W. Chittick has gone farther than an "simple" Orientalist, and has reached the core of what he was studying.
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Format: Paperback
Chittick begins this masterful and needed book crushing all of our false idols. In a matter of a few pages democracy, freedom, progress, and "science" are shown to be our idols and then they are systematically destroyed. How many of us have tried to see if God is compatible with these pseudo-Absolutes. Surely if God and our new idols are incompatible, we know which one must go. Do you think like this? I think Chittick has a few words for you.

In this book Chittick proposes that most of the ills of modern society, even things we sometimes don't think of as ills, have everything to do with the way we view the world. In making God totally other than the world, we have denuded the world of its sacred character, and in some sense, set up others besides God. The doctrine of Wahdat Al-Wujud, though Chittick points out was not accepted by "mainstream" theologians, is in fact tawhid through and through.

"Wherever ye turn there is the face of God" Chittick explains in this book how this is the case. Attending a conference on this book I found many people wanting a "So what? What do I do now?" as if the truth itself is not an ends. I have a firm belief that the cosmology in this book has the power to transform societies if adopted at large. I am also quite certain that that will not be the case. But as Socrates said if you can't live in the ideal city, surely you can make it live in your heart.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clearly it's going to be very tough to convey the centrality of an "ethereal" innate consciousness through the limited "transmitted" medium of a book. But Chiddick manages to accomplish just that. This is a transformational book without using the usual forms of a novel or else pithy, inspirational and emotional content. Chiddick manages to balance the scholarly and analytic with the mystic and evocative thus capturing the spirit of the very Islamic intellectual tradition that he seeks to describe and revive.

The book can be finished in a couple of hours if the subject ie the reader and the object Ie the book are divided and distinct. But if one truly immerses oneself, and the observer and observed become one, as in traditional scholarship, then this book should take a couple of weeks. That is the respect due to it. This is not a book for the novice, but for those who have pondered and witnessed mysticism.
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