As the specter of religious extremism has become a fact of life today, the temptation is great to allow the evil actions and perspectives of a minority to represent an entire tradition. In the case of Islam, there has been much recent confusion in the Western world centered on distorted portrayals of its core values. Born of ignorance, such confusion feeds the very problem at hand.

In The Heart of Islam one of the great intellectual figures in Islamic history offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.

Nasr challenges members of the world's civilizations to stop demonizing others while identifying themselves with pure goodness and to turn instead to a deeper understanding of those shared values that can solve the acute problems facing humanity today. "Muslims must ask themselves what went wrong within their own societies," he writes, "but the West must also pose the same question about itself . . . whether we are Muslims, Jews, Christians, or even secularists, whether we live in the Islamic world or in the West, we are in need of meaning in our lives, of ethical norms to guide our actions, of a vision that would allow us to live at peace with each other and with the rest of God's creation." Such help, he believes, lies at the heart of every religion and can lead the followers of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as well as other religious and spiritual traditions to a new future of mutual respect and common global purpose.

The Heart of Islam is a landmark presentation of enduring value that offers hope to humanity, and a compelling portrait of the beauty and appeal of the faith of 1.2 billion people.

The headlines are filled with the politics of Islam, but there is another side to the world's fastest-growing religion. Sufism is the poetry and mysticism of Islam. This mystical movement from the early ninth century rejects worship motivated by the desire for heavenly reward or the fear of punishment, insisting rather on the love of God as the only valid form of adoration. Sufism has made significant contributions to Islamic civilization in music and philosophy, dance and literature. The Sufi poet Rumi is the bestselling poet in America. But in recent centuries Sufism has been a target for some extremist Islamic movements as well as many modernists. The Garden of Truth presents the beliefs and vision of the mystical heart of Islam, along with a history of Sufi saints and schools of thought.

In a world threatened by religious wars, depleting natural resources, a crumbling ecosystem, and alienation and isolation, what has happened to our humanity? Who are we and what are we doing here? The Sufi path offers a journey toward truth, to a knowledge that transcends our mundane concerns, selfish desires, and fears. In Sufism we find a wisdom that brings peace and a relationship with God that nurtures the best in us and in others.

Noted scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr helps you learn the secret wisdom tradition of Islam and enter what the ancient mystics call the "garden of truth." Here, liberate your mind, experience peace, discover your purpose, fall in love with the Divine, and find your true, best self.

Table of Contents The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr by Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Smith, Huston (Foreword by) Terms of Use Foreword Huston Smith p. vii Introduction William C. Chittick p. ix Religion 1 Living in a Multi-Religious World p. 3 2 The Traditionalist Approach to Religion p. 21 3 Religion and the Environmental Crisis p. 29 Islam 4 One God p. 43 5 Many Prophets p. 53 6 The Nature of Man p. 65 7 The Integration of the Soul p. 73 8 The Throne of the All-Merciful p. 85 9 The Role of Philosophy p. 97 10 Suhrawardi p. 111 11 Mulla Sadra p. 115 12 Existence and Quiddity p. 119 Tradition 13 Scientia Sacra p. 131 14 Renaissance Humanism p. 139 15 God as Reality p. 153 16 Time and Eternity p. 159 17 Pontifical and Promethean Man p. 171 18 The Cosmos as Theophany p. 189 19 Traditional Art p. 203 20 The Wisdom of the Body p. 215 21 In the Beginning was Consciousness p. 223 Sources p. 231 Selected Bibliography p. 233 Biographical Notes p. 237 Index p. 239 Descriptive content provided by Syndetics"! a Bowker service. Summary The Essential Seyyed Hossein Nasr by Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Smith, Huston (Foreword by) Terms of use "The highest honor a philosopher can receive is to be nominated by his peers for inclusion in the series of The Library of Living Philosophers [for which the] latest entry is The Philosophy of Seyyed Hossein Nasr. And the highest honor a theologian can receive is to be invited to deliver the Gifford Lectures in Glasgow, Scotland. Seyyed Hossein Nasr is the only person ever to have received both of these honors ... This valuable book distills the essence of the thought of one of the most important thinkers or our times." Book jacket. Descriptive content provided by Syndetics"! a Bowker service.
With remarkable breadth of vision, Seyyed Hossein Nasr reveals for both Western and Muslim readers how each art form in the islamic tradition is based upon a science of nature concerned, not with the outer appearance of things, but with their inner reality. Ranging across calligraphy, painting, architecture, literature, music, and the plastic arts, Nasr penetrates to the inner dimension of Islam and shows the role art plays in the life of individual Muslims and the community as a whole—the role of inspiring the remembrance and contemplation of God.

Once the author establishes art as an aid and support to the spiritual life, he traces the creative act to its ultimate source: inner knowledge and barakah, or grace, which make the crystallization of inner realities in form and space and time possible. Through this knowledge and grace, the author asserts, unity manifests upon the plane of multiplicity, making archetypal realities perceivable by the senses. Through this knowledge and grace, art functions as a ladder for the journey of the soul from the visible to the invisible. How Islamic art leads man to the inner chamber of divine revelation forms the substance of much of this important work.

An especially close look is given to the Sufi tradition within Islam, for its mystical teachers have often clearly demonstrated in their works the spiritual significance of beauty and served as the source of inspiration for art.

By rediscovering the root of art in the Islamic tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr opens doors to new dimensions of unity which have seemingly been obscured in recent Western art. In so doing, he extends the significance of this book beyond the Islamic belief system to touch the hearts and creative impulses of readers from all traditions.
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