"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Read" or "Remember"?

"According to traditional interpretations, the verse (iqra bi-smi rabbika) commands the Prophet Muhammad to read the verses of the Qur’ān. But there is another way of understanding these verses, based on early Muslim tradition and sources, which yields a different interpretation and in turn reveals the spiritual secrets of the prophetic mission. This post explores how the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an – Surah al- ‘Alaq – was actually instructing the Prophet Muhammad in the remembrance (dhikr) of God’s Name and how the remembrance of the Divine Names facilitated the spiritual ascension of all the Prophets to the rank of Prophethood (nubuwwah) – including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Mary/Jesus, and Muhammad."

“This is emphasized by a hadith (a tradition) illustrating the Qur’ānic verse, which declares that Adam remained there, flung like an inert body, until God breathed His spirit into him, that is, until He has breathed into him spiritual science, the science of the esoteric things, that “science of NAMES” (Qur’ān 2:29), by means of which beings are promoted to their true being.” (Henry Corbin, Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam, 103-104)

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