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Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters
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Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters
Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters
Click cover for larger image.
Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Comparative Religion
Islam
Metaphysics
Perennial Philosophy

Price:  $19.95

ISBN:  978-1-935493-90-7
Book Size:  6" x 9"
# of Pages:  272
Language:  English



Description
This renowned book, which has been translated into over a dozen languages, has attracted much attention over the years. Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr says that it is Schuon’s “most important work on Islam and [from] among the books written by a Westerner on Islam, [this is] the one most universally accepted by Muslims.” Islamic Quarterly has called Understanding Islam a “masterpiece of comparative religion,” and one of the most respected writers on Sufism, the late Professor Annemarie Schimmel of Harvard University, wrote that this book “shows the essence of Islam.… One often finds passages [in it] which touch the heart.” In its four chapters, “Islam,” The Quran,” “The Prophet,” and “The Way,” Schuon surveys the major dimensions of the Islamic tradition, from its most outward forms to its most inward spiritual path, Sufism. One of the book’s major goals is to answer many of the questions Christians have concerning Islam, a goal which is even more important today than when Understanding Islam was first written. This new edition features a new translation, an extensive appendix of previously unpublished materials, and detailed editor’s notes by Patrick Laude to aid readers.

Coming in September 2011.

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More on "Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters"

This renowned book, which has been translated into over a dozen languages, has attracted much attention over the years. Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr says that it is Schuon’s “most important work on Islam and [from] among the books written by a Westerner on Islam, [this is] the one most universally accepted by Muslims.” Islamic Quarterly has called Understanding Islam a “masterpiece of comparative religion,” and one of the most respected writers on Sufism, the late Professor Annemarie Schimmel of Harvard University, wrote that this book “shows the essence of Islam.… One often finds passages [in it] which touch the heart.” In its four chapters, “Islam,” The Quran,” “The Prophet,” and “The Way,” Schuon surveys the major dimensions of the Islamic tradition, from its most outward forms to its most inward spiritual path, Sufism. One of the book’s major goals is to answer many of the questions Christians have concerning Islam, a goal which is even more important today than when Understanding Islam was first written. This new edition features a new translation, an extensive appendix of previously unpublished materials, and detailed editor’s notes by Patrick Laude to aid readers.

“Islam is the meeting between God as such and man as such.… Islam confronts what is immutable in God with what is permanent in man.”

These are the opening words of what has become a classic work on Islam, perhaps the most misunderstood of the great Revelations. And yet the purpose of this book “is not so much to give a description of Islam as to explain…why Moslems believe in it.” Both Westerners unfamiliar with Islam and Moslems seeking a deeper understanding of the basis of faith will be struck by Schuon’s masterful illumination of the spiritual world of Islam. As always, the basis of Schuon’s approach is the “nature of things” rather than any particular theological point of view. This perspective opens up new avenues of understanding and surprising insights into the “five pillars” of faith, the Quran, the Sunna, the Prophet, and the esoteric dimension (Sufism) which is the kernel of Moslem spirituality. As Schuon explains, “what is needed in our time, and indeed in every age remote from the origins of Revelation, is…to rediscover the truths written in an eternal script in the very substance of man’s spirit.”

Coming in September 2011.



About the Author(s)

Frithjof Schuon

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) is best known as the foremost spokesman of the “Traditionalist” or “Perennialist” school and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. He wrote more than two dozen books on metaphysical, spiritual, artistic, and ethnic themes and was a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon’s writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities. Besides his prose writings, Schuon was also a prolific poet (see a listing of Schuon's poetry books) and a gifted painter of images that always portrayed the beauty and power of the divine, and the nobility and virtue of primordial humanity.

World Wisdom features a series titled "The Writings of Frithjof Schuon", which includes many new editions of classic books by Schuon in new translations and with additional materials. Our online Library contains many articles and poems written by Frithjof Schuon, allowing readers to see a representative sample of his remarkable body of work.

Click here for more information

Annemarie Schimmel

Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003) was one of the leading experts on Islamic literature and mysticism (Sufism) in the world. She wrote more than 80 books and essays, and lectured at universities and conferences around the world. Professor Schimmel translated and conducted research in the major Islamic languages of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Turkish. Her book Mystical Dimensions of Islam (1975) is considered a classic in its field.

Professor Annemarie Schimmel wrote several pieces that have appeared in World Wisdom books:

  • The "Foreword" in Understanding Islam, a classic book by Frithjof Schuon
  • The "Foreword" in Frithjof Schuon's books of poetry

Click here to go to Prof. Annemarie Schimmel's writing on Frithjof Schuon's poetry.


Click here for more information

Patrick Laude

Patrick Laude is a writer, editor, professor, and researcher in the fields of language, literature, symbolism, and mysticism. He is a professor at Georgetown University, currently at their School of Foreign Service in Qatar. Laude's writings have been published in the US and Europe in numerous journals. Dr. Laude's extensive contributions to World Wisdom include:

Author/Editor of:   Contributed:
 

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Reviews of "Understanding Islam"

“The purpose of this book ‘is not so much to give a description of Islam as to explain … why Moslems believe in it.’ Both Westerners unfamiliar with Islam and Moslems seeking a deeper understanding of the basis of faith will be struck by Schuon’s masterful elucidation of the spiritual world of Islam.

“This renowned book, which has been translated into over a dozen languages, has attracted much attention over the years. Prof. S. H. Nasr says that it is Schuon’s ‘most important work on Islam and [from] among the books written by a Westerner on Islam, [this is] the one most universally accepted by Muslims.’ Islamic Quarterly has called Understanding Islam a ‘masterpiece of comparative religion,’ and one of the most respected writers on Sufism, Annemarie Schimmel of Harvard, wrote that this book ‘shows the essence of Islam.… One often finds passages [in it] which touch the heart.’ In its four chapters, ‘Islam,’ ‘The Quran,’ ‘The Prophet,’ and ‘The Way,’ Schuon surveys the major dimensions of the Islamic tradition, from its most outward forms to its most inward spiritual path, Sufism. One of the book’s major goals is to answer many of the questions Christians have concerning Islam, a goal which is even more important today than when Understanding Islam was first written. This new edition features a new translation, an extensive appendix of previously unpublished materials, and detailed editor’s notes by Patrick Laude.”
Branches of Light (a magazine of reviews from Banyen Books & Sound)



“This is by far the best single volume on its subject that I know, or can even conceive of. It contains no wasted words and omits nothing that is essential.”
Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions



“The best work in English on the meaning of Islam and why Muslims believe in it…This book also seeks to answer many of the questions Christians have posed concerning Islam.”
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The George Washington University



“In an age in which the word ‘Islam’—both in the West and increasingly even among a younger generation of Muslims estranged from traditional forms of faith—has become almost exclusively identified with a familiar set of highly visible political ideologies, this is a truly providential book. For Frithjof Schuon’s works on Islam offer an incomparably clear and articulate introduction to the very heart of the Islamic revelation, in both its spiritual roots and practical manifestations, making this work a clear and insightful ‘guide for the perplexed’ that is uniquely accessible and enlightening for readers from all backgrounds.”
James W. Morris, Boston College, author of The Reflective Heart



“This is a book that grasps Islam in all its fullness, restoring its universalism which has been so badly affected by modern ideologies. It is a work that is strong, essential, dynamic, and without undue solemnity, one whose ‘verticality’ has been in no way diminished by the passage of time.”
Éric Geoffroy, Marc Bloch-Strasbourg II University, author of Introduction to Sufism: The Inner Path of Islam



“In an era of rampant misunderstanding, it is providential that Schuon’s classic work Understanding Islam, more often reprinted and rendered into more languages than any other book in his multifaceted corpus, should now appear in this freshly translated and helpfully annotated new English edition.”
James S. Cutsinger, University of South Carolina, author of Advice to the Serious Seeker: Meditations on the Teaching of Frithjof Schuon



“Long regarded as a masterpiece, this book should be read not only as an original, profound, and beautiful view of the spiritual philosophy, rituals, art, and culture of Islam, but also as a much needed intelligent introduction to Religion in general.”
Mateus Soares de Azevedo, author of Men of a Single Book: Fundamentalism in Islam, Christianity, and Modern Thought



“Frithjof Schuon’s book . . . sets out ‘not so much to give a description of Islam as to explain why Muslims believe in it’. . . . Understanding Islam is, moreover, rich in references to other religions, to Hinduism and Buddhism and in particular to Christianity, and almost every mention of Islamic doctrine or practice is still further elucidated by a mention of what cor-responds to it or takes the place of it in the religion of the Western world.”
Martin Lings, author of What is Sufism?



“This is a seminal work which will be accessible to Muslims and non- Muslims alike. With mathematical precision and poetic elegance, Schuon unfolds for us Islam’s universal message of the vital connection between God and man, uniquely expressed in the Shahādah, its central creed: of the oneness that underlies diversity, and of the primordial norm that lies at its heart and which is the source of all human aspiration. Enhanced by previously unpublished notes and letters from Schuon, this is a book to re-read and to treasure.”
M. Ali Lakhani, editor of Sacred Web journal and author of Timeless Relevance of Traditional Wisdom



“For well-known reasons, more books than ever before are being published on Islam. Some are good; some are bad. But almost all of them, including scholarly works, tend to deal either with merely outward aspects, or else, on the contrary, with some recondite item of history or theology. Frithjof Schuon’s classic defies all categorization. It is a work of fundamental explanation, an exposition both intellectual and spiritual, of a religion which, these days, is an enigma to the majority of people. Frithjof Schuon deals with this incomprehension at its very roots, and defines, with his customary authority, both the nature of religion as such, and the specific and original characteristics of the religion of Islam. It is a unique work, and is highly recommended.”
William Stoddart, author of Sufism: The Mystical Doctrines and Methods of Islam



“Frithjof Schuon’s book throws into sharp relief the majesty, simplicity, and profundity of the message of Islam. It presents unsurpassed explications of the Koranic Revelation, the role of the Prophet, the essential doctrines and spiritual methods of Islam, and of Sufism, its mystical heart. At a stroke this radiant and authoritative account dispels the fog of misunderstanding which has surrounded many Western perceptions of this great tradition, and shows how the universal teachings of Islam are of the most urgent relevance in the contemporary world. A veritable jewel of a book!”
Harry Oldmeadow, La Trobe University, author of Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy



Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters provides a fully revised translation of Frithjof Schuon's classic study, edited by Patrick Laude — who provides a new preface — and offering over seventy pages of new material, from previously unpublished letters to a new chapter on Sufism. The purpose is to explain why Muslims believe in Islam: this revised, amended translation of a philosopher's major work is a recommended pick for any collection strong in world religions in general and Islam in particular.”
California Bookwatch



“With misunderstanding comes great fear. Understanding Islam is a reprinting and revised translation of Frithjof Schuon's previous work surrounding the nature of Islam and why it has attracted a billion and a half followers. World renowned for its scholarly nature that sheds light on this controversial faith, this updated edition contains 77 pages of new material, editor's notes, glossaries, and more. Understanding Islam is a core and much recommended addition to community and college religious studies collections.”
Library Bookwatch


Understanding Islam: A New Translation with Selected Letters

Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel

Editor’s Preface

Preface

Islam

The Koran and the Sunnah

The Prophet

The Path

Appendix

Selections from Letters and Other Previously Unpublished Writings

The Three Dimensions of Sufism

Editor’s Notes

Glossary of Foreign Terms and Phrases

Index

Biographical Notes




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