Author Topic: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?  (Read 3488 times)

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #90 on: July 13, 2019, 02:51:13 AM »
Here's another excellent lecture that touches on a fundamental point of Islamic theology with many ramifications to everyday life... the acceptance, satisfaction or perfect contentment with God's will or decree.

I don't understand why any Catholic would feel the need to go to a different religion than traditional Catholicism, which teaches precisely that.  The great spiritual doctors and wise souls -- Alphonse Liguori, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, many more -- all speak of acceptance and perfect contentment with God's will.  And while the ultimate attempt at that is pursued in vowed religious life, it is similarly a goal for the devout lay person in the spiritual journey.  It is not just for the Religious that it is possible and recommended; St. Francis de Sales and Garrigou-LaGrange make the same very clear in their writings.

But if someone hangs out in a N.O. parish and eats the pablum cooked up there, without investigating the Church's far richer treasures than anything Islam can offer, I guess by contrast Islam looks great.
 

Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #91 on: July 13, 2019, 03:01:43 AM »
there is nothing for the Christian to learn from Islam,

because all this part:

My point about the acceptance of the divine will, being applicable to Christianity deserves further elaboration, though. I believe it is an integral part of the Christian faith that somehow got lost when we fully transitioned into modernity in the 17th and 18th centuries. I still find remnants of it in the popular psyche of Iberian Catholicism, for instance, where you have a strong emphasis on fate and the notion that when bad things happen, it is also God's will that we must accept with humility and docility. Indeed, man may propose, but it is God alone who disposes.

...is not original, not invented by Islam, and not "lost to modernity." 
It has been and still is part of lived Catholic tradition, and it certainly is in my parish.

And if you don't happen to see it in a particular Catholic location, that is not evidence that it "somehow got lost." 

Vetus and Pon don't get out enough -- not among believing, practicing Catholics.  That's quite obvious. 

 :violin:
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #92 on: July 13, 2019, 07:19:14 AM »
I think what you describe fits virtually every culture, including pre-Christian desert ones. You even see it in Africa with “monotheistic” beings like Nzambi or Bondye alongside the “polytheistic” Orisha and Lwa. The concept of “monotheism” opposed to “polytheism” is basically a Western invention, a load of bollocks and a nonsense that bears little relation to the historical and current realities of religion and, frankly, isn’t even Hebraeo-Christian: the Christian distinction is between worship of the Trinity on the one hand and idolatry on the other, with licit veneration of creatures forming a middle ground between the two. To take it back to two examples, Zoroastrianism is supposedly “monotheistic”, yet spirits like the Yazata and ones personal Fravashi are venerated in it; on the other hand, Vodou is seen as “polytheistic”, yet alongside what generally amounts to idolatry of the Lwa, these are in fact seen as either ancestors or divine messengers of God, or Bondye, who is also worshipped, in fact often in syncretism with Catholicism.

Peace be with you, Kreuzritter.  I was speaking more in terms of our Western intellectual inheritance, which is Greek philosophy up through its Roman branches.  Christianity would probably not have gotten far past converting slaves, women, and lower classes had the Fathers not diluted its Semitism with liberal infusions of Hellenism.  Tertullian seems to be the only one who resisted the trend.  But even among the less philosophically-inclined tribes of Europe, Christianity was not an easy sell.  Consider the Saxons who resisted Charlemagne's demands for their conversion.  They were having none of it.  When it was brought to my own ancestors in the isles, the evangelization went smoother there, but not without generous concessions to paganism, where certain gods were demoted to saints, and their rites transferred to a cultus.  St. Brigid is the best-known example.  In many respects, the Semitism had to bend to the European character in order to be successfully taken on.

By comparison, the sweep of Islam through Christian N. Africa went with a surety Charlemagne would've envied, but this was because those people had already been primed with a Semitic religion.  (The confusion of successive Christological controversies probably didn't help them much in withstanding a more streamlined doctrine).  This isn't to say I don't lament the conquest.  The armies of the Prophet snuffed out the Alexandrian Christianity of Clement and Origen, which was surely one of its most beautiful strains.  Only meager vestiges of it survive among the Copts.


« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 07:35:02 AM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #93 on: July 13, 2019, 07:25:16 AM »
Vetus and Pon don't get out enough -- not among believing, practicing Catholics.  That's quite obvious.

Given almost twenty years spent in traditional Catholicism, and having met many good and faithful people during that time, I would have to disagree.  However, not wishing to argue what you are in no position to know about me from your vantage point of a stranger on the internet, I will concede the point.  But be of good cheer, Miriam: God wills it.  After all, God willed Vatican II.
 
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Offline mikemac

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #94 on: July 13, 2019, 05:04:59 PM »
... When it was brought to my own ancestors in the isles, the evangelization went smoother there, but not without generous concessions to paganism, where certain gods were demoted to saints, and their rites transferred to a cultus.  St. Brigid is the best-known example. ...

St. Brigid of Ireland was not the Celtic goddess Brigid.  St. Brigid became a nun.  She founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak.  She eventually founded two monastic institutions, one for men and one for women.  She later founded a school of art, where the Book of Kildare was illuminated.  There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick's and that the Trias Thaumaturga claimed, "Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works."  Sheesh.

https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=453

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Offline Gardener

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #95 on: July 13, 2019, 05:27:31 PM »
I suspect that Vetus' point of this thread isn't to learn from Islam but to learn about Islam.

In doing so, one must put aside the Western notions of Islam and look at it from the Islamic perspective so that the reader does not learn about it incorrectly.

While we do not have anything to learn from Islam, being that any good it can be said to contain is demonstrably in the Christian Tradition literally almost a full 6 centuries prior to Mohammed, if we are to truly evangelize Muslims we should know what they actually believe. To do so is a service to them, and respectful of the position in which they find themselves.

But knowing what they believe, as beautiful as any good aspect to it may be, should not threaten any well catechized Catholic.

Islam is ultimately, and demonstrably, syncretic in its views, practices, etc. Very little is original to Mohammed, and what is seems to be evident by how utterly weird it is.

From the mosaic work to the adhan (call to prayer) and qira'at and its tajwid (manner in which the Quran is recited), even to the prayer postures, all is antecedent to Mohammed and at best, modified.

The Sufi wine poetry, which has secular and religious roots prior to Islam, is very much a situation of "deep calling to deep". All humans are created with a desire to "know, love, and serve God", and while they get the object wrong in many manners of understanding, their intention is correct.

It is from these things which are beautiful, aesthetically and philosophically, that one can begin to pull out the splinter of the muslim's misunderstanding. So much of this is problematic for the Western mind because of a cultural disparity. The occidental mind has no experiential knowledge of the harshness of the typical Arab environment. They don't understand the "feeling" of coming out of the hot sun into comparatively cooler buildings, like mosques, and having an hour of respite. In doing so, going from the blaring sun into shaded tranquility. From rock and sand into tile mosaics extolling the glories of Allah. From the incessant wind to the mournful/hopeful/devoted strains coming from the mouth of the Qari (the one who recites the Quran). It is their entire life.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #96 on: July 14, 2019, 03:08:08 AM »
At least 2 of my Muslim friends I've spoken to have accepted Baptism and Jesus Christ, have become Catholic and entered the Church. Let me share their amazing stories, wondrous spiritual journeys, and life testimony for Jesus and Mary as we reflect on what helps our friends see the Light of Truth and by God's Grace and Christ's favour become Catholic Christians.

One of them, a good friend of mine, was a dear Muslim girl, now a Sister in Christ, named Siras Banu. I spoke to her gently many times about the love of Jesus. Because Muslims believe Jesus was the Virgin-Born Messiah and a Miracle-Working Prophet, Who even miraculously breathed life into a bird, in the way God had done into Adam in Eden of old (this story is found in some ancient Christian sources and was replicated in the Quran), one can often begin presenting the Gospel from that inciden. Now, Sacred Theology teaches us that only God can create life by breathing in the soul, as indeed early revelation accepted by Muslims shows, and as even natural reason can prove; and hence it must necessarily follow from this miracle which has found it's way into the Quran that Jesus must be God. So, a good way for sharing the Treasures of the Gospel and our holy Catholic Faith with our dear Muslim friends is to begin with the Person of Jesus. For although indeed at first they will say He was only a Prophet, and perhaps they will confess He was among the very greatest of the Miracle-Working Prophets that God ever sent for humanity's salvation; it is the task of the Apostle and Evangelist of Jesus Christ to lead from that relatively weak confession to the saving confession that He is the Son of God. As we see in Mat 16, the assertion that He was but One of the Prophets was not yet fully pleasing to Jesus; however the salutary confession that He, Jesus Christ, was the Son of God, so greatly pleased the Son of God that for it the Lord of Truth declared Simon Peter the Rock of His Church and His Vicar, and said this confession was the supernatural revelation of His Father, and a proof of supernatural grace in St. Peter; as St. Paul later would say no one can confess that Jesus is the Lord our God save only through the revelation of the Spirit of Truth; and St. John the Apostle teaches it is one of the criteria for a true prophet of the Lord that he confessed that Jesus Christ is the True God Who has come in the flesh.

I can't really recall speaking much to her about the person of Mohammed. My advice for all those who aspire and are called to be evangelists for Jesus Christ, is to speak as little about Mohammed as is reasonably possible. Nevertheless, I am very sure I never insulted Mohammed before her because, after all, for better or worse (worse, but still!),Muslims do highly respect Mohammed, as we know; that doesn't mean we try to deny the truth of what Mohammed did and was, but try to direct the conversation to Our Lord Jesus. The best evangelism is a person to person conversation in love, perhaps with Bible in hand for study, but mostly focused on discussion on the Person and Love of Our Lord Jesus.

The second approach to evangelizing Muslims I will illustrate with the second testimony of another former Muslim known to me, now Catholic, formerly called Maulvi Suleiman, now called Mario Joseph. And if those are the second and third most beautiful Names in existence after the Name of Our Lord Jesus, this second stratagem of love bears that most sublime and divinized Name: the Virgin Mary, the divine Mother of the Divine Lord. Maria, as we call Her in the Sacred Latin tongue, and Myriam, as She is called in the Arabic tongue and Quran - which devotes an entire chapter only to Her, the only Woman ever to be named in the Quran.

And, as Jesus is called the Word of God in the Quran, even bearing the Spirit from Him, which Mohammad appears not to have understood are Divine titles of the Divine Lord and proofs of His Divinity; so also the divine Mother Myriam is said, in the Quran, the Hadees and the Tafsirs to be (1) the holiest and greatest of all Women (2) to be and have ever been the ever-Virgin Mother of Jesus of Perpetual Virginity (3) and there are even distinct traces and faint echoes of the ancient revelation that this Mother and Son are alone without original sin! For, as the Hadiths explained it, perhaps crudely, Satan attacks every child near the time of its birth. But he could not do this and failed to do it for Jesus and Mary only.

Anyway, Suleman was born in a Muslim family, and he came to Our Lord Jesus through reading and being curious about Mary Immaculate! He is now Catholic and has led 100s of Muslims to Christ, by the Grace of God! He has also faced terrible, terrible persecution from his very own family, including some things almost too horrible to mention. So pardon me for going ahead to describe it, but it is necessary so we know what Islamism is: his own brother, the better to humiliate and shame him, tied him up, shaved his hair almost bald, and (he told me this with tears in his eyes, and I hugged him tightly, felt really bad for him and marveled at his courage as a Catholic Soldier of Jesus Christ) passed urine in his mouth. And they did many other things; they took a knife, and were planning either to kill him or at least to scare him into denying Jesus: but then the Lord Jesus, Who works miracles for His apostles who bear crosses for Him, intervened.

Mario told me only remembers just screaming the Holy Name, Jesus. The knife which was supposed to go into him, probably into his heart, incredibly turned back and pierced the brother wielding it, to the utter shock and confusion of the whole family who were planning to kill Suleiman! The brother was rushed to the hospital; it was not fatal, but only a divine Warning against daring to touch the Annointed of the Lord.

Mario Joseph was able to escape, the Lord delivering Him miraculously as He has delivered countless apostles in 20 centuries, for His Glory; and still lives giving testimony to His Name, especially telling Muslims of the love of Jesus. He forgave his family, prayed for their conversion, and some of them have become Christians. Our Lord still does things like this just as He did in Acts. What He asks of us, as He asked of Suleiman,  is we consider even the labours and tears of even 10,000 lifetimes to be too little and too less, if it is necessary to purchase the salvation of 1single soul, for love of whom Jesus Christ has shed every last drop of His Precious Blood.
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A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. Please also offer the Precious Blood of Jesus' Heart to the Eternal Father, and our Lives in Sacrifice in Union with It, and with Mary's Immaculate Heart, that Jerusalem may be saved, Judah be restored, and the Jews may at long last happily be returned to saving Faith in Jesus Christ.
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #97 on: July 14, 2019, 03:38:32 AM »
Vetus and Pon don't get out enough -- not among believing, practicing Catholics.  That's quite obvious.

Given almost twenty years spent in traditional Catholicism, and having met many good and faithful people during that time, I would have to disagree.  However, not wishing to argue what you are in no position to know about me from your vantage point of a stranger on the internet, I will concede the point.  But be of good cheer, Miriam: God wills it.  After all, God willed Vatican II.

When you say I am "in no position to know about" you from my vantage point, my vantage point, and the limits of that knowledge, are simply what your words patently reveal about how impressed you are with the supposed different, deeper, more beautiful, whatever message of Islam than that of the Traditional Catholic Church, not the modern Catholic Church.  And if you don't know my own position on the latter, my words are also patently clear over 6 years on this forum about the rotten fruits of that modernism, being born from Sloth, Pride, and Human Respect, and producing Sloth in abundance as a chief fruit of the Council.  If you think that God willed either the Council as it actually materialized, or its much later fruits, your belief is subject to error. All of that can be concluded from both public and that private revelation (Fatima, especially) which the hierarchy of Church, including recent popes, have spoken about. One could argue that it was not the original papal intent (JXXIII, Paul VI) that the Council proceed as it did, in steamroller fashion; there would be some basis of belief in that. (i.e., that the original intent was benign, restrained, and within Catholic Tradition --thus, loosely, "God's Will"-- but that neither pope was able to control the direction or consequences).

I have a lifetime of study with Religious and Priests within the Traditional Church, into which I was born (did not have to convert or try to piece together "against" what the modern Church professes or fails to profess).  It is a lot more than 20 years.  The very fact that you claim to have a credibly universal knowledge of all traditional Catholic parishes (as Vetus also implies he has), and that you would know (therefore) that there simply is nothing in the Church today resembling the acceptance of God's will which is ancient, medieval, and continuous Catholic spirituality -- evidenced by saints both ancient and some modern -- does demonstrate that you have not visited all the apostolates in the Western world nor all the parishes in the Western world.  All you can say is what you personally have seen. For sure you haven't visited my parish, and by visiting any parish is meant actually getting to know parishioners over a period of time.  When one does bother to get to know these parishioners deeply, one learns their spirituality and sees that they are committed to it.

I will estimate after many years at my own parish that easily (conservatively) 50% of our parishioners genuinely try to submit to the will of God and take sufferings in stride as God's will, as fully as possible -- using all the spiritual resources the Church makes available and has always made available for those who seek them.  Their chief aim is to submit to the will of God in all things -- family life, parish life, social life, work life. About a third of us parish regulars are in spiritual direction to help us maintain that resolve of abandonment to the Divine will, which is actually a pretty high figure. 

The traditional apostolates that serve the Latin Mass community -- actual apostolates now; I am not talking about priests ordained in the diocesan structure, able to say the TLM but not trained in Traditional seminaries -- are fully committed to the abandonment to God's will and to forming their parishioners in the same vein.  They build their own training out of the pattern of the monastic rule. The monastic rule and way of life has abandonment and self-emptying as its center. Muslims did not invent the monastic rule. Many of us who grew up with Tradition from the cradle are quite acquainted with this because we were taught by traditionalist Religious, who lived that very life. (Certain principles of the monastic life operate in active traditionalist orders as well as the contemplative orders.)

The idea that it has "vanished" has no basis in lived fact.  If you're expecting an extremely high figure of spiritual progress among all trads you meet (e.g., a majority of them spiritually committed), any priest would say you are being unrealistic and setting yourself up for disappointment.  Comparing my childhood as a trad with my adulthood as a trad, I can say that although commitment to traditional doctrine among practicing Catholics in my childhood (all of whom were trads) was nearly universal during that childhood, commitment to traditional spirituality was a smaller figure than I've seen today in trad parishes, which are much smaller as communities, of course, but contain higher percentages of those committed to the spirituality and to all of the discipline that entails.

Unrealistic expectations can be dangerous to the soul because they can easily lead to disillusionment. ("A majority is not ____; therefore, the movement has failed. Let's go look for another religion at the store.")

I doubt that either you or I knows from a distance the percentage of spiritually committed Muslims to the percentage of those who were no more rigorous about the faith than many Catholics I encountered in my childhood and early adolescence, and for that reason perception (watching a YouTube video) is prone to distortion as to whether that ideal represents a tiny number of practitioners or a majority of them.  Investigating another religion from the outside is fraught with a tendency to romanticize and idealize what it is quite easy to be impressed with.  If a non-Catholic reads sermons and books of the Catholic saints, expecting such lives and ideas to represent a majority of Catholic laypeople, one is going to be in for a very big surprise.

I have mentioned at least twice on this board my familiarity with Sufis.  What I didn't say is that the Sufis I met (small sample of them -- maybe 30-40) seemed to be 100% spiritually committed, and I've mentioned on the forum also that I felt very comfortable with them and as if I had a lot in common with them.  Well, you can't get higher than 100% !   And Sufis are represented variously throughout Islam.  But overall, their commitment level may match the commitment level of only 10% of all Muslims, or it may represent 40-60%.  Let's say that it's much more -- that 80% of all Muslims are working rigorously toward abandonment of their wills to "Allah" and that "therefore" Islam is "superior" to Catholicism -- that is, it is supposedly more persuasive and succeeds in higher numbers of committed followers than does traditional (not modern) Catholicism.

Again, an analogy would be a non-Catholic meeting all the members of a traditional Catholic community of women or men, observing their holiness and joy, and assuming that such a segment is a representative mirror of traditional Catholicism.  Of course it isn't, anymore that some YouTube scholar or Imam represents the majority of Muslims.

If that's the comparative reasoning, that's a shaky reason to have such a high regard for a religion.  After all, evangelical Protestantism, in the last 70 years, has proven itself to have done a better sales job than has Catholicism.  Far more numbers among evangelicals, and many of those are fall-offs from Catholicism, especially in Latin America.

So?

Trads should seriously look at evangelical Protestantism, too, and "see what it has to offer?"  Here's a better concept:  trads easily disillusioned might actually engage a well-trained traditionalist priest to direct them in a systematic way to reading about the rigors of the spiritual life, from the Doctors of the early Church to Saints of the 19th century who walked the walked of self-denial, founded monasteries and orders, and evangelized their brains out regarding the purity of the faith.  Unfortunately, there is a ton of misguided independence among a large segment of the traditionalist movement, which thinks it can self-teach by reading random books about the faith.  That piecemeal method has never been recommended by any trad priest I have ever known -- in childhood or in adulthood. It doesn't produce an integrated sense of the doctrine + the liturgy + the spirituality, so Catholicism is not sufficiently understood as an organic whole.  And it leaves out, as we can see in these threads, a deep knowledge of the rich spiritual history of the Church which those who actually know what Tradition is (I'm speaking especially of certain priests) are so familiar with that the idea of "learning about abandonment to God's will" from Islam would be preposterous and laughable.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #98 on: July 14, 2019, 08:41:06 AM »
St. Brigid of Ireland was not the Celtic goddess Brigid.

Yes, and I wasn't clear on that.  When I said the goddess was demoted to a saint, I meant that the worship of her was suppressed, but that many of her attributes were found in the stories of the saint, so that there was a transference from the one to the other.  It is difficult to see the communion of saints (and the intercession of the saints) as something other than a transferal of the pagan pantheons, especially in that so many of the feast days coincide with the ancient holidays.  Praying to the saints for certain causes replaced the practice of praying to the old gods.  I was just using it as example of how the Semitism had to be diluted.

But I don't mean to say that all hagiographies are based on non-existent people (though a few possibly were).  Most were actual saints who simply accrued certain pagan associations posthumously.
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #99 on: July 14, 2019, 08:42:59 AM »
Here's a better concept:  trads easily disillusioned might actually engage a well-trained traditionalist priest to direct them in a systematic way to reading about the rigors of the spiritual life, from the Doctors of the early Church to Saints of the 19th century who walked the walked of self-denial, founded monasteries and orders, and evangelized their brains out regarding the purity of the faith.  Unfortunately, there is a ton of misguided independence among a large segment of the traditionalist movement, which thinks it can self-teach by reading random books about the faith.  That piecemeal method has never been recommended by any trad priest I have ever known -- in childhood or in adulthood. It doesn't produce an integrated sense of the doctrine + the liturgy + the spirituality, so Catholicism is not sufficiently understood as an organic whole.  And it leaves out, as we can see in these threads, a deep knowledge of the rich spiritual history of the Church which those who actually know what Tradition is (I'm speaking especially of certain priests) are so familiar with that the idea of "learning about abandonment to God's will" from Islam would be preposterous and laughable.

Okay, but I never suggested traditional Catholics should learn about surrendering to God's will from Muslims.  The video is relevant because according to the speaker, many Muslims these days are lacking in rida, and he sees this as the cause of much anxiety and anger among them.  He sees rida as something that ought to be more widely understood and appreciated among his brethren, so that Islamic communities might be better-poised to welcome inquirers from other religions if Muslims are contented rather than cranky.

No one here has said that Catholicism does not teach an abandonment to God's providence.  Certainly it does.  And Catholics should surely learn about surrender to God's will from their own tradition, where it is ample.  I would only suggest that the sheikh's concerns mirror a similar trend in traditional Catholicism, where (in my experience) there is also a fair amount of anxiety and anger, and where the sense of contentment can often seem missing.  Let it be known: I'm not saying that all traditional Catholics are anxious and angry all the time, or lacking in holiness.  Many of them are kind and pious people—but at the same time, I think there is a quality of peevishness which permeates the scene, directed at the hierarchy, and this can distract them.  It's more Martha than Mary.  It seemed to be at its most pronounced in both ecclesial politics and secular politics.  We can say things like, "well, in my experience, that's not the case, very few are anxious and angry, and virtually all of us are contented," but then we are committing the anecdotal fallacy, where our own experience is mistaken for fact.  Conversely, I won't claim my own experience for fact.

So maybe instead of comparing parishes, we can look at a more objective set and see whether, when they write things on the internet, traditional Catholics express a serene contentment with God's will in all things (seeing Vatican II and Pope Francis as the will of God).  Or whether there is a "Fox News" quality of perpetual complaining and casual outrage.  Of course, it's also possible that the cranky ones are disproportionate on the internet, and that the holy ones are more likely to be unplugged.  There's really no way to get an accurate sampling.


« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 12:40:58 PM by Pon de Replay »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #100 on: July 14, 2019, 09:09:09 AM »
Islam is surely Semitic in spirit. One cannot fail to feel the dry wind of the desert and the beauty of Arabic chant when listening to the Koran. But its philosophy is perhaps more adaptable than what you may initially think. Look at Zaytuna College in California, for instance. It presents a successful blend of traditional Islamic thought with Western scholarship. In a sense, these are serious attempts to create an indigenous Western Islam.

I forgot to respond to this earlier.  It's true that Islamic theologians, during that religion's Golden Age, assimilated Greek philosophy into their program.  It is sometimes said that Aristotle was returned to the West via a Muslim (Avicenna).  But it didn't seem to have the same effect on Islam.  Islam's Semitic-to-Hellenistic ratio is far greater than Christianity's.  Here is something I agree with Kreuzritter on:

Or: when Aristotelianism became quasi-dogma and a source of truth practically placed above revelation by being the lense through which it is interpreted and language wherein it is expressed. And lest one think I exaggerate, remember the Summa upon the altar next to the Bible at Trent. Seriously, is nobody else even a little disturbed by that image?

If Thomism is so formidable, why did it fail to successfully combat and hold back the Cartesian revolution, the Enlightenment, and Modernism? Maybe because its rationalistic spirit actually set the stage for these?

The Enlightenment, in this sense, can be seen as Greek philosophy's revenge on Christianity.  (Perhaps Tertullian was correct: "what hath Jerusalem to do with Athens?  What concord hath Christ with Belial?")  But why do you suppose the influence of Aristotle didn't equally corrupt Islam?  Was its portion within Islamic thought quashed by the imams, whereas in Catholicism the Summa was enthroned next to the bible on the high altar?


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Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #101 on: July 14, 2019, 03:39:24 PM »
I forgot to respond to this earlier.  It's true that Islamic theologians, during that religion's Golden Age, assimilated Greek philosophy into their program.  It is sometimes said that Aristotle was returned to the West via a Muslim (Avicenna). But it didn't seem to have the same effect on Islam. Islam's Semitic-to-Hellenistic ratio is far greater than Christianity's.

That's true.

Hellenic philosophy did not have the same influence in Islamic thought as it had in Christianity. While you had famous Neoplanonists like Avicenna and Aristotelians like Averroes, the dominant schools of kalam of Ash'ari and Maturidi thought prevailed to this day in shaping Sunni Orthodox thought. Nevertheless, Islam is not impervious to external influences and, despite its unmistakable Semitic quality, has shown a remarkable degree of adaptation to different cultural settings. You just have to look at the amazing conversion and absorption of Persian civilization, for instance, by the creed of Muhammad in a very short period of time with profound and lasting effects, a civilization that to that day (7th century) remained unconquered and unswayed in any significant extent by Orthodox Christianity. Persians, in turn, also shaped Islam and produced a vast array of brilliant scholars. So there's a blend of Semitic and Aryan ethos at the heart of Classical Islamic theology and culture. Or, conversely, you can consider how successful Islam was in penetrating and adapting to the Far Eastern spirit of Indochina and Indonesia.

The Enlightenment, in this sense, can be seen as Greek philosophy's revenge on Christianity.  (Perhaps Tertullian was correct: "what hath Jerusalem to do with Athens?  What concord hath Christ with Belial?")  But why do you suppose the influence of Aristotle didn't equally corrupt Islam? Was its portion within Islamic thought quashed by the imams, whereas in Catholicism the Summa was enthroned next to the bible on the high altar?

Certainly, Aristotle did not rise to any comparable height in Islam as it rose in Western Christianity. Simply put, Islamic theology seems to have had little need or even the space for rationalism that we have had in Catholicism. However, you do see some influence of it in Asha'rites famous doctrine of occasionalism, for instance, which is in itself a reaction against Neoplatonism. For all its merits, Scholastic philosophy falls short in may respects, as does any human philosophy. The enthronement of scholasticism after Aquinas was understandable at the time but, in the long run, also unfortunate. It is telling, as you and Kreuzritter have already rightly pointed out, that it could not counter the onslaught of Enlightenment thought. When you dogmatically rationalize mysteries such as the Eucharist in Aristotelian metaphysics, ending up having to affirm an object without substance (bread) and a body without accidents that is really present in substance but not locally in the species, you run into unfathomable riddles that strain credulity and do more harm than good, in my view. Some infamous proponents of the Nouvelle Théologie, like Congar, Rahner and De Lubac, tried to address this limitation and to give Catholic theology a new impetus but without much success, given the chaotic aftermath of Vatican II.
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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #102 on: July 14, 2019, 06:20:07 PM »
Gracias.  My mistake, though: it was Averroes, then, and not Avicenna, from whom the Scholastics received the Trojan horse of Aristotle.
 

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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #103 on: July 16, 2019, 03:51:17 PM »
Another interesting read, directly related to the topic at hand.

Islam and Tradition: Evola’s Thoughts on Islam

In Kali-Yuga.

While he examined various traditions around the world, both occidental and oriental, Julius Evola also had things to say on the tradition of Islam that is predominant in areas between those two regions. In his valuable article Islam in the Eyes of Julius Evola, the Italian Muslim Claudio Mutti pays homage to his ideological father in regards to the latter’s views on Islam. Among the aspects he points to in Evola’s work is “a direct connection of this tradition to the Primordial tradition itself, such that Islam is independent from both Judaism and Christianity, religions whose characteristic themes he rejects (original sin, redemption, sacerdotal meditation, etc.).”

This conclusion is essential, for it demonstrates the lengths to which Evola not only rejected those who want to separate Islam from the Primordial tradition as something “foreign,” but even that he regarded it as superior in certain aspects to other traditions. So from the outset we must not make the mistake of viewing Islam as a distinct culture, but rather as a filter of cultures that inevitably takes on the vibrant coloring of the people who accept it without detracting any from the message. With this brief but important backdrop to the Islamic tradition, let us now examine how Evola viewed different aspects of Islam.

Islam as Tradition

Evola characterized Islam as “a tradition at a higher level than both Judaism and the religious beliefs that conquered the West.” Despite Islam as a message based on the Qur’an and the sunna, or way, of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) being a relatively recent phenomenon, Evola clearly includes it as a manifestation of Tradition. Islam as an expression of the primordial din al-fitra, or natural way of disposition, is a reality expressed throughout the Qur’an. It recognizes the spiritual foundations of humanity as one, with the various traditions of the world being local expressions of a common primordial origin. “Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other.” The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is regarded by Muslims as last in a line of 124,000 prophets, each sent to a distinct nation and tribe. “Every nation has a Messenger and when their Messenger comes everything is decided between them justly. They are not wronged.” Whereas their messages differed according to time and place, the core message remained the worship of the One God as the basis of human endeavors. Muhammad (peace be upon him) was not only the last prophet, but also the one whose scope was universal such that the Qur’an identifies him as being sent “as a mercy to all the worlds.”

There are a number of aspects Evola identifies as part of Islam’s primordial links to Tradition. “Although Islam considers itself the ‘religion of Abraham,’ even to the point of attributing to him the foundation of the Kaaba (in which we find again the theme of the ‘stone,’ or the symbol of the ‘center’), it is nevertheless true that (a) it claimed independence from both Judaism and Christianity; (b) the Kaaba, with its symbolism of the center, is a pre-Islamic location and has even older origins that cannot be dated accurately; (c) in the esoteric Islamic tradition, the main reference point is al-Khadir [Khidr], a popular figure conceived as superior to and predating the biblical prophets (Koran 18:59-81).” Indeed, a popular tradition identifies the foundations of the Ka’aba being raised by Adam. There is also interesting evidence to consider of the holy city of Makka being described in the Bible, thus linking the final relevation to those of the earlier Biblical prophets. As for what Evola terms “symbolism of the center,” then this is interesting to compare with the legend of the Grail as the Scottish Sufi master, Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi (Ian Dallas) writes:

“….as the occidental world, unsatisfied spiritually, reached out past Rome and Pope to find its source of healing in the tomb of the redeemer at Jerusalem, as, unsatisfied even there, it cast its yearning gaze, half spiritual, half physical, still further towards the East to find the primal shrine of mankind, so the Grail was said to have been withdrawn from our cynical West to the pure chaste unattainable birthplace of all nations. And so, the Grail was nothing other than the Black Stone of the Ka’aba, the central shrine of the world’s largest religion, purified judaeo-christianity, Islam. Makkah is named in the Qur’an as the Mother of Cities, and thus the ‘birthplace of all nations’ and the Ka’aba is named the ‘primal shrine of all mankind.’ Embedded in one corner of the Ka’aba stands the Black Stone which every Muslim raises his lips to and kisses when he arrives dusty and exhausted as a pilgrim, kisses as if quenching his thirst.”

The Holy Grail can thus be viewed as a metaphor for the spiritual quest, which in Europe extends back to pre-Christian Indo-European and other indigenous traditions. It is certainly no coincidence that Celtic, Germanic and Iberian tribes tended to adopt the gnostic and unitarian expressions of Christianity which can be traced back to remnants of the Primordial Tradition. “According to the pure doctrine of the huda, or ancient guidance that has adhered from the time of our father, Sayyidina Adam, peace be upon him, gnosis lies in the hands of the Prophet of the time….For six hundred years [before the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad] there was a living christian gnostic tradition.” Sufism is the carrier of the primordial spiritual wisdom, as bounded within the final message of that Tradition which is Islam. The inner wisdom was transmitted by the prophets to gnostic communities, and with the end of the line of prophethood this is now transferred to the spiritual pole of the age, or the qutb. The legend of Khidr can be seen here in a similar light as the “Green Man” who transmitted wisdom to seekers in medieval Europe. As we will see later, Islam and specifically Sufism played an important role in shaping European chivalry.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called others to the worship of the One God, in other words to recapture the primordial Covenant of Alast. Towards this end he also sent out letters to leaders, including the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Although he refrained from accepting Islam, deep within his heart Heraclius felt drawn towards it and kept the letter in a golden casket that was passed down and gave rise to a legend that as long as the letter remained, so too would the kingdom. One Islamic scholar has identified this letter with the Holy Grail.

Doctrines

Evola then moves to the spiritual doctrines of Islam, the highest pillar of which is to testify that there is only one God to be worshipped, without associating any partners to Him. Islam is distinct from all other faiths in how absolute it is in its doctrine of Divine Unity, or tawhid:

“Islam also not only rejected the idea of a Redeemer or Savior, which is so central in Christianity, but also the mediation of a priestly caste. By conceiving of the Divine in terms of an absolute and pure monotheism, without a ‘Son,’ a ‘Father,’ or a ‘Mother of God,’ every person as a Muslim appears to respond directly to God and to be sanctified through the Law, which permeates and organizes life in a radically unitary way in all of its juridical, religious, and social ramifications.”

As we shall see, Evola also admires Islam for its action and it is exactly this reality that distinguishes tawhid from monotheism. “Tawhid is not monotheism, it is not a metaphysical principle. Allah is beyond what is attributed to Him, therefore beyond logos. Allah is not a mono-theos, nor poli-theos, or tri-theos, or a-theos. Allah is not theo-logical or onto-logical. Allah is neither a theory nor a principle. Allah is not contained by definition.” Islam is not a “religion” that is confined to the realm of ideas and principles, but rather a din or a higher wisdom that is organic in every sense of the word. It is a life transaction between an individual and their Lord, the simplicity of which serves as its greatest strength. It certainly appealed to the French anarchist Gustave-Henri Jossot, who converted to Islam and became a student of the Algerian Sufi master Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, as “the most rational religion in the world” because it had “no mysteries, no dogmas, no priests, almost no ceremonies.”

The Tradition of Scholar-Warriors

“As in the case of priestly Judaism, the center in Islam also consisted of the Law and Tradition, regarded as a formative force, to which the Arab stocks of the origins provided a purer and nobler human material that was shaped by a warrior spirit.” One distinguishing feature of Islam is the access given to the Law, or Shari’a, such that every sincere seeker has the potential within themselves to become scholars of their own right. This is indeed the primary task of Sufism, which is to equip the seekers with the means to triumph over their own ego and through this against their external enemies. This is why the Sufi shaykhs have always been at the forefront of the struggle against temporal enemies as surely as they provided the wisdom necessary for the seekers to defeat their inner spiritual enemies:

“Such men as the Naqshbandi sheikh Shamil al-Daghestani, who fought a prolonged war against the Russians in the Caucasus in the nineteenth century; Sayyid Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-Somali, a sheikh of the Salihiyya order who led Muslims against the British and Italians in Somalia from 1899 to 1920; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Uthman ibn Fodi, who led jihad in Northern Nigeria from 1804 to 1808 to establish Islamic rule; the Qadiri sheikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri, who led the Algerians against the French from 1832 to 1847; the Darqawi faqir al-Hajj Muhammad al-Ahrash, who fought the French in Egypt in 1799; the Tijani sheikh al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal, who led Islamic Jihad in Guinea, Senegal, and Mali from 1852 to 1864; and the Qadiri sheikh Ma’ al-‘Aynayn al-Qalqami, who helped marshal Muslim resistance to the French in northern Mauritania and southern Morocco from 1905 to 1909.
 
Among the Sufis whose missionary work Islamized entire regions are such men as the founder of the Sanusiyya order, Muhammad ‘Ali Sanusi, whose efforts and jihad from 1807 to 1859 consolidated Islam as the religion of peoples from the Libyan Desert to sub-Saharan Africa; [and] the Shadhili sheikh Muhammad Ma‘ruf and Qadiri sheikh Uways al-Barawi, whose efforts spread Islam westward and inland from the East African Coast.”


Although it is a complex matter whose essence has been distorted by Islamophobes and extremist Wahhabis alike, we must also caution against those modernists who subvert Islam and seek to “pacify” it in service of their Zionist and Globalist masters, in order to accomodate it to the global banking system. But as a corollary to this, they also deny the spiritual struggle as this primordial wisdom is contrary to any consumerist vision they support. As Evola writes,

“Islam presents a traditional completeness, since the shariah and the sunna, that is, the exoteric law and tradition, have their complement not in vague mysticism, but in full-fledged initiatory organizations (turuq) that are categorized by an esoteric teaching (tawil) and by the metaphysical doctrine of the Supreme Identity (tawhid).”

It is no accident that these same modernists are generally the same individuals who seek to distort the Sufi Path as not being bounded within orthodox Islam. There is indeed some parallel between Wahhabis and Orientalists who seek to deny that Sufism is founded upon the Prophetic Sunna and the Islamic Shari’a. Sufism is the fulfillment of tawhid, to purify one’s lower self or ego and to elevate the soul to attain true gnosis, or ma’rifa in the Islamic tradition. The four stages of understanding within Sufism are the (1) Shari’a, the Law which is the foundation for the next three stages and provides guidance within this world; (2) Tariqa, the inner practices as instructed by a Shaykh with a true path of initiation; (3) Haqiqa, the inner meaning of the practices and guidance found within the Shari’a and Tariqa; and (4) Ma’rifa, the highest stage or gnosis which is superior wisdom or knowledge of spiritual truth. It is a deeper level of knowing beyond haqiqa and is the highest stage of Reality attained by few although each have the potential.

The great Sufi Imam Junayd of Baghdad, who has truly defined the essence of Sufism to an extent that even modern seekers describe themselves as following the path of Junayd, said: “Surely all the paths (turuq) are choked off by the creation except those following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, those following his Sunna and his Tariqa.” One later Sufi who treaded this path of a scholar-warrior, or what Evola would admire as the “asceticism of action,” was the Shehu Uthman dan Fodio of West Africa. He defined the scholar-warrior as the one who lived in simplicity and among the people, like all true zahids (people of asceticism) and awliya (friends of Allah). They walked the path and actually lived the Qur’an through their actions.

Umma as a Race of the Spirit

“It is precisely through the holy war, and not through preaching or missionary endeavor, that Islam came to enjoy a sudden, prodigious expansion, originating the empire of the Caliphs as well as forging a unity typical of a race of the spirit, namely, the umma or ‘Islamic nation’.” This spiritual nation called the Umma is, in every sense of the word, the fullest expression of the race of the spirit as it is founded on the Idea that is superior to and transcends the blood: “The Idea, only the Idea must be our true homeland. It is not being born in the same country, speaking the same language or belonging to the same racial stock that matters; rather, sharing the same Idea must be the factor that unites us and differentiates us from everybody else.” As Claudio Mutti said about the Islamic stance on race:

“Islam affirms in a radical way the prominence of the spiritual factor over the biological; but that does not mean that Islam does not recognize the racial differences at all and does not hold it in account. The Islamic doctrine relative to this argument is expressed synthetically in the following Qur’anic verse: ‘Among his signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences of your languages and colors’ (XXX, 22). Islam therefore considers ‘languages and colors’, that is, the factors of cultural and racial identity, as ‘divine signs’.”

The Islamic Roots of Medieval Chivalry

In his work, The Mystery of the Grail, Evola describes parallels between Sufis and Gnostic communities that survived in Europe into the medieval times. He identified the legend of the Grail with the Ghibelline tradition, as represented by Friedrich II der Hohenstauffen, who built a pan-European imperium and refused Crusades against Muslims and the Cathars in opposition to the Papacy. He then makes reference to the Knights Templars:

“Moreover, the Templars were charged with keeping secret liaisons with Muslims and being closer to the Islamic faith than to the Christian one. This last charge is probably best understood by remembering that Islam too is characterised by the rejection of Christ worship. The “’secret liaisons’ allude to a perspective that is less sectarian, more universal, and thus more esoteric than that of militant Christianity. The Crusades, in which the Templars and in general the Ghibelline chivalry played a fundamental role, in many respects created a supra-traditional bridge West and East. The crusading knighthood ended up confronting a facsimile of itself, namely, warriors who abided by corresponding ethics, chivalrous customs, ideals of a ‘holy war,’ and initiatory currents’.”

Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi described how these knights were devoted to honor, valor, and victory. The Crusades were partly an effort by the Church to break the chivalry code, but interaction with the Middle East intensified it. This took the form of efforts to break the knights’ tournament. In the ninth canon of the Council of Clermont in 1130, Pope Innocent II condemned the tournament and commanded knights killed in them not be given Christian burials. But the effort was largely unsuccessful and Pope John XXII reluctantly lifted the ban in 1316. Chivalry, or what Evola would undoubtedly identify as the struggle between the Ghibelline Hohenstauffens and the Papacy, was also symbolized in treatment of women:

“The final element of the new chivalric religion, having replaced a celibate and misogynist priesthood with a new elite brotherhood of warriors, was to introduce the honour due to women. Women were pure by nature and not, as the priests claimed, corrupted vessels of the flesh pulling men down to punishment and death. Part of chivalry was not only the respect due to good women but also the task of protecting them from slander and danger.”

Thus, the medieval Christian “knightly attitude towards women is Islamic in origin.” In his book on the history of medieval literature, the early nineteenth century French-Swiss historian Jean Charles de Sismondi described how Arabic literature and specifically that written by Sufis, was the source for “that tenderness and delicacy of sentiment and that reverential awe of women….which have operated so powerfully on our chivalrous feelings.” Chivalry manifested within the Indo-European traditions, but experienced decline over the centuries. Just as the Muslims preserved and transmitted ancient texts back to the Europeans, so too was it revived by the Muslims and passed back to the Europeans. “Between the seventh and twelfth centuries it was known among the Arabs, who became the instruments of the revival, in the medieval West, of the older legacy of the pre-Christian wisdom tradition.”

Love Is Divine

Islam does not hold “the idea of sexuality as something blameworthy and obscene,” to the extent that the Spanish Sufi Shaykh al-Akbar (Great Shaykh) Ibn al-Arabi “goes so far as to speak of a contemplation of God in woman, of a ritualisation of the sexual orgasm in conformity with metaphysical and theological values.” In The Metaphysics of Sex, Evola describes the important role that Love plays in the Sufi Islamic tradition. Ibn al-Arabi says in Fusus al-Hikam that “the dissolution through woman” is the symbol of extinction in Divinity. In applying the masculine symbolism to the seeker’s soul, “divinity is considered as a woman: she is not the ‘celestial bride’, but the ‘Beloved’ or the ‘Lover’. That is, for instance, the case in Attar, Ibn Farid, Gelaleddin el-Rumi, etc.” Evola admires the idea of love as a “force that kills” the individual self or ego. He then quotes the Persian Sufi Shaykh and poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi, “He who knows the power of the dance of life does not fear death, because he knows that love kills,” as representing “the key to the practices of a chain or school of Islamic mysticism that has been transmitted for centuries and which considers Jalal ad-Din Rumi as its master.” Evola concludes about divine love:

“In this Sufistic theology of love, one must see the amplification and the elevation to a more lucid conscience of the ritual world with which man from that civilisation has more or less distinctly assumed and experienced conjugal relationships in general, starting from the sanctification which the Qur’anic Law confers to the sexual act in not only a monogamist, but also polygamist structure. Whence derives the special meaning which procreation can acquire, understood precisely as the administration of the prolongation of the divine creating force existing within man.”

Imam Ali: A Perfect Example of Chivalry

The Sufis have a culture of chivalry (futuwwa) and courtesy (adab) consciously woven into nearly every aspect of their lives. The key to Islamic chivalry and good manners is to struggle against the ego. “Our master, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘The truly sincere faqir [impoverished one] is the one who is such that his enemy cannot find a way to injure him. This is his sign since his only constant occupation is his Beloved. His occupation with his Beloved veils him from his enemy. The Lover and the enemy are never joined’.” The Islamic Guilds were based upon futuwwa, and out of this futuwwa grew the tariqas or the orders of Sufism. Many of these guilds were founded by the Caliph An-Nasir and modelled after the character of Imam Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who served as the fourth caliph. The descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali, are called the Ahl al-Bait (people of the Household) and hold a special place within Islam. In addition to his prophethood (nubuwwa) and receiving revelation (wahy), the Prophet (peace be upon him) also possessed the spiritual guidance and initiation (walaya) which he transferred to his Household. This is why the spiritual lineage, or silsila, of nearly all the major Sufi tariqas are transmitted from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through Ali and the Household. The earliest Sufi ascetics surrounded themselves with the company of the Household. This is what Evola would consider a true chain of orthodox initiation. Within the Islamic tradition, what Evola called the “divine kingship” was manifested in the khilafa (caliphate), which was the political leadership. However, there was a second which was the wilaya (spiritual leadership) that manifested within the character of the Prophetic Household. The manifest caliphs coexisted with the hidden caliphate of Ahl al-Bait, that was a spiritual position designed to transmit the spiritual wisdom down to succeeding generations of seekers.

The perfect combination of physical heroism on the battlefield with a sanctity wholly detached from the worldly life, was personified in the character of Imam Ali. The Qur’anic verse, “You did not kill them; it was Allah who killed them; and you did not throw, when you threw; it was Allah who threw”, was revealed during a battle when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) threw a handful of dust towards the enemy. Rumi also explains it as an inner reality that all actions derive from Allah; actions are “good” only if one is conscious of this reality, and one is effaced in this consciousness. This is similar to a verse from the Bhagavad-Gita: “Who thinks that he can be a slayer, who thinks that he is slain, both these have no (right) knowledge: He slays not, is not slain.” Rumi devotes a poem in his Mathnawi to Imam Ali:

“He said, ‘I am wielding the sword for Allah’s sake, I am the servant of Allah, I am not under the command of the body.

“I am the Lion of Allah, I am not the lion of my passion: my deed bears witness to my religion.

“I have removed the baggage of self out of the way, I have deemed (what is) other than God to be non-existence.”


These lines allude to an incident one day when Imam Ali was in battle and his opponent’s sword broke. The man fell and Ali stood above him, holding his sword to the man’s neck but refusing to kill him, despite the opponent’s personal insults. Ali then told him: “I am not your enemy. The real enemies are the evil qualities within us. You are my brother, yet you spit in my face. When you spat upon me, I became angry, and the arrogance of that came to me. If I had killed you when I was in that state, then I would be a sinner, a murderer. I would have become the very thing I was fighting against. That crime would be recorded against my name, and I would have to answer for it later, when Allah questions me. That is why I cannot slay you.”

Imam Ali described the battle that is waged in the soul: The intellect is the leader of the forces of ar-Rahman (the Compassionate); al-hawa (whim, caprice, desire) commands the forces of ash-shaytan (the devil); the soul itself is between them, undergoing the attraction of both (mutajadhiba baynahuma). The soul “enters into the domain of which ever of the two will triumph.”

The Greater Jihad

In another section of Revolt Against the Modern World, Evola discusses the hadith (narration from the Prophet), “Raja’na min al-jihad al-asghar ila-l jihad al-akbar” (“You have returned from the lesser struggle to the greater struggle”). While the chain of narrators (isnad) for this hadith has been considered by classical Islamic scholars as being inauthentic, the essence of its meaning is confirmed in several verses from the Qur’an, as well as several sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that scholars of hadith have classified as authentic: “The mujahid is he who makes jihad against his nafs (ego) for the sake of obeying Allah.” “The strong one is not the one who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his nafs [ego].”

It is the inner warfare that distinguishes the true “warriors of the spirit” form the mass of ordinary believers. The Qur’an describes the companions of the right (ashab al-yamin) and the foremost (as-sabiqun). The spirituality of jihad, which is conducted within an established framework, is not synonymous with the modern nihilistic ideology of Jihadism, exactly because in Islam the ends do not justify the means: “The true warrior of Islam smites the neck of his own anger with the sword of forbearance; the false warrior strikes at the neck of his enemy with the sword of his own unbridled ego. For the first, the spirit of Islam determines jihad; for the second, bitter anger, masquerading as jihad, determines Islam. The contrast between the two could hardly be clearer.” For Evola, this greater and lesser jihad “represents the general conception that the world of Tradition attributes to the warrior experience, and, generally speaking, to action as a path to realisation.” As Evola writes in Revolt Against the Modern World:

“The relationship between the ‘greater’ and the ‘lesser holy war,’ however, mirrors the relationship between the soul and the body; in order to understand the heroic asceticism or ‘path of action,’ it is necessary to recognize the situation in which the two paths merge, ‘the lesser holy war’ becoming the means through which ‘a greater holy war’ is carried out, and vice versa: the ‘little holy war,’ or the external one, becomes almost a ritual action that expresses and gives witness to the reality of the first. Originally, orthodox Islam conceived a unitary form of asceticism: that which is connected to the jihad or ‘holy war’.

“The ‘greater holy war’ is man’s struggle against the enemies he carries within. More exactly, it is the struggle of man’s higher principle against everything that is merely human in him, against his inferior nature and against chaotic impulses and all sorts of material attachments.”


This inner struggle is the animalistic instinct, the disorganized multiplicity of impulses, the limitations imposed on us by a fictitious self, and thus also including fear, wickedness, and uncertainty. Subduing the internal enemy is the only way to achieve inner liberation or the rebirth in a state of deeper inner unity and “peace” in the triumphal sense of the world. In the midst of external jihad, the inner enemy emerges and puts up a fierce resistance through these instincts; it is the task of the true warrior to overcome these instincts before entering the battlefield if he hopes to triumph over his enemies. The intention (niya) is what preserves the sacred character and heroism of jihad.

Parallels with the Indo-European Tradition

Just as with the role of Islamic mysticism in transmitting ancient Indo-European chivalry, so too did Evola see in jihad a “late rebirth of a primordial Aryan heritage,” such that “the Islamic tradition serves here as the transmitter of the Aryo-Iranian tradition.” There is mention of this reality of the inner struggle in the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita: “Know Him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and kill desire, the powerful enemy of the soul”(Bhagavad-Gita, 3:43). Throughout the Qur’an, the verses about striking against the enemies and maintaining the upper hand are presupposed on the verses about sacrificing the illusions of this worldly life for the truth of the struggle. The Hereafter is regarded as the ultimate destination, and those who fall in battle are promised heavenly rewards so long as their intention was pure and they fought within the balance and justice of Shari’a.

There is a parallel here to a saying from the Bible, “Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Similar to the saying of the Qur’an that those who are slain are alive in Paradise, is a saying from Plato’s The Republic: “And of those who are slain in the field, we shall say that all who fell with honor are of that golden race, who when they die, according to Hesiod, ‘Dwell here on earth, pure spirits, beneficent, Guardians to shield us mortal men from harm.” Throughout Indo-European traditions can be found this view that the slain warrior becomes immortal. Evola draws parallel between the Islamic view of the martyr (shahid) with the mors triumphalis of the Roman tradition.

Distinguishing Features of Islamic Mysticism

Comparing Christian and Islamic mysticism, Evola notes that what lacks among Christian ascetics is going further than the vows of silence, “the practice of the most interiorised degree of this discipline, that does not only consist of putting an end to the spoken word, but also to thought (Ibn ‘Arabi’s notion of ‘not speaking with oneself’).” He compares the practice of Sufi dhikr (remembrance of Allah) with the Hindu mantra and the repetition of sacred names practiced in the Hesychasm of some of the Orthodox Christian and Eastern Catholic churches. Evola describes these doctrines as “recognizing in man the condition in which the Absolute becomes conscious of itself, and that professes the doctrine of Supreme Identity,” so that Islam constitutes “a clear and eloquent example of a system that, although including a strictly theistic domain, recognizes a higher truth and path of realization, the emotional and devotional elements, love and all the rest losing here….every ‘moral’ signification, and every intrinsic value, acquiring only that of a technique among others.” Within Sufism, “the word qutb, ‘pole’, does not only designate the sovereign, but, more generally, he who dictates the law and is the head of tradition of a given historical period.” The Sufi masters such as Ibn al-Arabi, illustrate “the inversion of roles in relation to the state where, duality having been created, the divine image incarnating the superior I become to the mystic like a different being.”

The objective of the Sufi is to be continuously in a state of change, of waging the struggle against the lower self or the ego, and to continuously strive towards elevating the soul towards higher levels seeking the Divine Presence: “It is interesting to note that in Islamic esoterism there is a specific term to indicate that change: shath, which literally means ‘exchange of parts’ and expresses the level at which the mystic absorbs the divine image, feels it as himself and feels himself, instead, as something else, and speaks as a function of that image. There are, in fact, in Islam, certain ‘sure signs’ by which to distinguish the objective shath from a mere illusionary feeling in a person.”

Conclusion

The current author makes reference to his attachment to the faith of Islam, although he remains proud of his European descent. There is no contradiction in the two, but rather through recapturing the essence of Islam that is primordial and a cultural filter, in every sense of the word it is valuable as an internal aid for spiritual awareness that allows him to hold onto the primordial traditions of his ancestors at the same time. We have focused in Tasawwuf as the latest expression of the timeless spiritual wisdom that was always transmitted through the ages to sincere seekers, usually in the midst of fierce opposition. The way of Islam is the final expression of the previous messengers who were sent to Indo-European nations and tribes, just as the reality of Tasawwuf is further the way of those communities of gnostics and mystics who protected the spiritual wisdom. Just as these communities were responsible for the best of European art, architecture, literature, chivalry, and music, so too will it be left to a core vanguard of devoted men and women – European in blood, Islamic in faith, Sufi in devotion – to continue planting the seeds of a new Indo-European renaissance. We will do so infused with the doctrines of the Qur’an and its accompanied spiritual wisdom, and through it recapture the essence of what was lost from our primordial traditions.
DISPOSE OUR DAYS IN THY PEACE, AND COMMAND US TO BE DELIVERED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION, AND TO BE NUMBERED IN THE FLOCK OF THINE ELECT.
 
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Re: Muhammad: A Mercy to the Worlds?
« Reply #104 on: July 16, 2019, 03:59:27 PM »
Really, nothing more need be said. Everything falls into place. It's there for all to see now.