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Rene Guenon’s East and West

In 1924 Rene Guenon first published East and West and as we approach the 100th anniversary of its publication it is beneficial to review this work and remind ourselves of the content and purpose of this work. In examining the content of this work, we hope to provide more than a mere book review. For this purpose, this reminder will be divided into three sections. The first section will provide a brief introduction to Rene Guenon and situate East and West within his wider literary production. The second section will examine the content of this book, attempting to highlight Guenon’s views. The third section will examine the validity of Guenon’s assertions and assess what, if any, relevance that East and West may have for the modern reader.

The Place of the Sufi Centre within Islam

The Sufi Centre occupies a significant place within Islam generally and the Sufi community in particular. For the general population, a Sufi Centre may be seen as a place wherein people gather and worship. For the adherents of Sufism, the Sufi Centre is a transformative space wherein teaching is transmitted, subtle energy (baraka) is concentrated, and soteriological development is intensified. This paper is divided into three sections. The first section will provide a historical overview of the diversified institutions that mutually developed into the Sufi Centre. The second section will detail what a Sufi Centre ideally contains and how this informs its functionality. The third section will explore how companionship (suhba) is an important aspect of the Sufi Centre and how this can contribute to an intensified soteriological development for the adherents of Sufism.

Supplication (du’a) and Slavehood (ubudiyyah)

Du’a or supplication has a multifunctional role within the individual’s soteriological development. One key function of du’a is the development and refinement of the individual’s etiquette (adab) in their approach to, and relationship with, Allah. This initially manifests in an understanding of the individual’s dependence on Allah and their relationship with the Divine name the Provider (al-Razzaq). As this relationship deepens, the individual begins to manifest and develop their sense of slavehood (ubudiyyah). This, in turn, as the individual develops soteriologically, changes the relationship between the slave (abd) and their Lord (rubb) such that the du’a becomes a means of intimate discourse (munajat).

Understanding Sufism: Contextualising the Content

The following is the abstract for my PhD thesis. The full thesis can be downloaded from the University of Tasmania Open Access Repository. This thesis addresses the problem of how to interpret Islamic writers without imposing generic frameworks of later and partly Western derivation. It questions the overuse of the category “Sufism” which has sometimes … Continue reading Understanding Sufism: Contextualising the Content

The Book of Wisdoms

This was written upon the request of White Thread Press for the recent publication of The Book of Wisdoms. The Book of Wisdoms is a gathering point for a multifaceted approach to the Kitab al-Hikam, a traditional and much loved Sufi text. It draws together, in English, Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah’s Kitab al-Hikam, in al-Muttaqi arrangement, with Gangohi’s … Continue reading The Book of Wisdoms