Stages of the Soul, Singing Last Day Stars, and Divine Love

Welcome to our newsletter, dear reader,

• Our first new library addition this month is an article on one of the works by Sanai of Ghazna, “The Stages of the Soul Through the Path of Perfection: The Journey of the Servants to the Place of Return” (Seyr al-‘Ibad ila al-Ma‘ad), presenting a detailed view of how study and knowledge of cosmology are intertwined with the gnosis and practice of mysticism, and how they progress and grow in “stages” through life.

The poet states that if man understands the world and its order, he will know himself because each characteristic in man’s soul has a symbol in the corporal world that man must endeavor to understand. Understanding the symbols of the world is likened to a journey because the journey is acquiring knowledge and Gnosis.

• In his article “Will the Stars Sing on the Last Day?”, Michael Root offers a careful reflection on a textual passagge from Job. Based on Biblical and doctrinal norms, he develops a theological exploration of the ultimate destiny of the material universe, taking into account shifts in recent physics and astronomy.

What I am convinced of is that the evening stars will sing at the consummation of all things. Their song may not be as complex as the song of the angels or of the saints, but it will make its own contribution to the chorus gathered around the throne of God.

• And we complete our selection with a Foreword by S.H. Nasr to W. Chittick’s Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God, presenting in a few masterful and concise pages the basics of the ever-fruitful discourse on love in Islamic writings and mysticism.

The process of realization in Islamic spirituality involves becoming aware of the ever-expanding circle of what one loves until that ever-widening circle reaches the shore of Divinity and one realizes the love of God and, moreover, becomes aware that this love is the only real love (al-ishq al-haqiqi), while all other love is metaphorical love (al-ishq al-majazi) and a reflection of that one real love that, in the words of Dante at the end of his Divine Comedy, “moves the sun and the stars.”