Intention, “Son of God”, al-Shadhili and Om and Amen

• Our first new work for this week is an article by Elliot R. Wolfson, “Iconic Visualization and the Imaginal Body of God”, on the role of kawwanah or “intentionality” in prayer, affording precious glimpses into the Jewish life of prayer:

“Through the proper kawwanah the heart of the devotee becomes the throne upon which God dwells at the same time that God is transformed into the throne upon which the devotee dwells.”

• In a new contribution by Joseph Cumming, “The Meaning of the Expression ‘Son of God’” is examined, with reference to Greek and Arabic texts, clearing the linguistic sources of many misunderstandings, because, for example, “everyone knows the term ‘son of the road’ (ibn al-sabil),… does not mean literally that the road took a wife and sired a son by her!”

• Prof. Kenneth Honerkamp summarises the contents of a rare manuscript found in Fes, containing hitherto unknown materials on the life of Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, the founder of one of the most vital and widespread Sufi orders.

“Why do you ponder the state of the wali?… I would say, “It is greater than you imagine, the dust or even the least of his words on traditional views of divine unity (tawhid) would suffice you. The Law outwardly conceals him. If you ask him of subtleties of journeying (raqa’iq), he will efface them for you with subtleties of divine realities (daqa’iq).”

• Finally, in a new translation, Michel Valsan explains with many illustrations how the “two sacred terms Om and Amen coincide both in their adverbial meaning (of affirmation or confirmation) and the corresponding ritual use, and in the meaning of the symbol of the universal Word and the name of the supreme Truth.” Click here to read the PDF in A4 or e-book format.