Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Understanding Islam

What constitutes the originality of Islam is not the discovery of the saving function of intelligence, will and speech - that function is clear enough and is known to every religion - but that it has made of this, within the framework of Semitic monotheism, the point of departure in a perspective of salvation and deliverance. Intelligence is identified with its content which brings salvation; it is nothing other than knowledge of Unity, or of the Absolute, and of the dependence of all things on it; in the same way the will is al-islam, in other words conformity to what is willed by God, or by the Absolute, on the one hand in respect of our earthly existence and our spiritual possibility, and on the other in respect both of man as such and of man in a collective sense; speech is communication with God and is essentially prayer and invocation. When seen from this angle, Islam recalls to man not so much what he should know, do and say, as what intelligence, will and speech are, by definition. The Revelation does not superadd new elements but unveils the fundamental nature of the receptacle.

This could also be expressed as follows: if man, being made in the image of God, is distinguished from the other creatures by having transcendent intelligence, free will and the gift of speech, then Islam is the religion of certainty, equilibrium and prayer, to take in their order the three deiform faculties. And thus we meet the triad traditional in Islam, that of al-Iman (the "Faith"), al-Islam (the "Law", literally "submission") and al-Ihsan ( the "Path", literally "virtue").

... Understanding Islam, Frithjof Schuon


Third Rail said...

Call in and check out our interview tonight at 8PM EST with Dr. Paul L. Williams, author of The Day of Islam at

esprit said...

while washing up before fajar jz now, i had these exact thoughts about our capacity, being the best of Allah's creations, salvation and performance/deed ... i can't describe it, but the author did so well so.

thank u for de entry, mashaallah!

TheHoopoe said...

Mr Schuon is a genious indeed :)