Sufi Essays

SUNY Press
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This book combines scholarly research into certain aspect of Sufi doctrines and history with a penetrating account of the spiritual and metaphysical message and significance of Sufism as a living spiritual tradition. In an original discussion, unlike anything that has appeared before in studies of Sufism, the author places special accent on the pertinence of Sufi teachings to the most acute contemporary problems. The book addresses itself to both the ever-increasing Western public interested in Sufism and to the Western-educated Muslim interested in his own spiritual heritage. Dr. Nasr draws on his intimate knowledge of the Sufi literature in Arabic and Persian as well as his first-hand knowledge of Sufi tradition itself to produce this further volume in his numerous studies on the different facets of Islam.
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About the author

Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Tehran where he received his early education. He later studied in the U.S.A., graduating with honors in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he studied the History of Science and Learning with special concentration on Islamic science and philosophy. Since 1958 he has been teaching at Tehran University, where he is now Professor of the History of Science and Philosophy. In 1962 he was visiting lecturer at Harvard University and he also taught there during the summer of 1965. During 1964–5 he was the first holder of the Aga Khan Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Nasr has lectured throughout America, Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Australia. He is the author of more than a dozen books and numerous articles, and his works have appeared in over ten languages.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Jan 1, 1991
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Pages
184
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ISBN
9781438414256
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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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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