Islam without Sufism, Leibniz and an Old Master

New to our library is a recent talk by Abdal Hakim Murad (T.J. Winter), answering the question “Is Orthodox Islam Possible without Sufism?”

The basic principle of self-awareness, of awareness of the needs and vulnerabilities of others, the duty to see the hand of God in nature and in other human beings, the obligation to be reflective about oneself and one’s motivations, the basic responsibilities of having a dhikr, of reading Qur’an, of being a kind of luminous person who walks “lightly on the earth” as the Qur’an says: these are incumbent whether or not we have the convenience of a Sufi lodge or a shaykh down the road.

• Also new to our shelves is an article on Leibniz and his theory of an innate, universal “rational religion” that would not supersede revelations, elucidating in a way the relations between universal esoterism and its manifold exoterisms.

Natural theology originates in the “seeds of truth embedded in the mind by God”… The religion of reason is eternal, and God engraved it into our hearts, our corruptions obscured it, and the goal of Jesus Christ was to restore its luster, to bring men back to the true knowledge of God and the soul, and to make them practice the virtue which constitutes true happiness.

• In his lecture “A New Encounter with an Old Master”, Roger Lipsey draws an intellectual and heartfelt portrait of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, “that noble scholar upon whose shoulders we are still standing.”

Coomaraswamy’s passionate intellectuality is memorable. It presses against one, implicitly asks where one stands, what one cares for without compromise. It asks what, in our experience and intent, is the central cultural act. And among his many replies is this one: “It is not to enlarge our collection of bric-à-brac that we ought to study ancient or foreign arts, but to enlarge our own consciousness of being.”

• There are still places left for the Sacred Gardens course, a practical and philosophical workshop led by Emma Clark, taking place this year from 4th to 5th June in Wells, Somerset. Please follow this link for details.