With academic courses either encouraging commercialism, or cultivating zealots, Chittick states that it is impossible to understand classical Islamic texts without the years of contemplative study that are anathema to the modern education system. Insisting upon a return to the ways of the ancient wisdom tradition, which saw the quest for knowledge of the soul, the world, and God as a unifying spiritual discipline, Chittick maintains that the study of Islamic texts cannot be treated separately from self-understanding. Fascinating, radical, and a true challenge to modern trends in academic study, this book opens a new debate in Islamic thought.
William C. Chittick is professor of Persian Languages at Stony Brook University, New York. He is the author and translator of twenty-five books and one hundred articles on Islamic thought, Sufism, Shi'ism, and Persian literature.
"The fruit of a lifetime of reflection on the sources and central traditions of Islamic thought. One of the most original and thought-provoking contributions to genuinely Islamic thought in the past half-century." James Morris - Professor and Chair of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter "Has the power of a complete re-evaluation of the Islamic intellectual tradition. Highly recommended." Ravi Ravindra - author of Science and the Sacred and Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada "William Chittick is the most exciting writer on Sufism today, combining as he does a genuine passion for the subject with a scholarly objectivity that is truly impressive." Oliver Leaman - Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Kentucky
"One of the most original and thought-provoking contributions to genuinely Islamic thought in the past half-century."
– James Morris - Professor and Chair of Islamic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies a
"William Chittick is the most exciting writer on Sufism today, combining as he does a genuine passion for the subject with a scholarly objectivity that is truly impressive."
– Ravi Ravindra - author of /Science and the Sacred/ and Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University in H
"He is the most prolific scholar of Islamic philosophy and Sufism in the West. In this marvellous and original collection of essays for the first time Prof. Chittick offers his own personal reflections on the Science vs. Religion, Modernity vs. Tradition, and Reason vs. Revelation debates in Islam."
– Leonard Lewisohn
"William Chittick exploits his studied familiarity with Islamic intellectual tradition to offer a striking alternative: a mode of knowing which cannot escape the interior disciplines of knowing the self. Islam can return us to Socrates and to our own souls; are we ready?"