The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in by Sachiko Murata

By Sachiko Murata

"This is a real foundational paintings in Islamic experiences. it really is an open door into the very center of Islamic civilization, whereas whilst it indicates the bases of significant comparisons and insights for these drawn to cognate components in Western cultures.

"It is an interesting, actually unique paintings in either its guiding views and its entire, sincerely provided account of a crucial size of Islam. there's not anything love it, and it merits a large audience." -- James W. Morris, Oberlin College

"It basically, effectively, and comprehensively describes the worldview implicit within the medieval Islamic "wisdom" culture represented by way of Sufism and Shi'i philosophy, rather the best way that gender suggestions are implicit of their cosmology and psychology, and will be relating to the Taoist innovations of yin and yang. The author's critique of feminism and glossy reformism in this foundation is penetrating." -- Valerie Hoffman-Ladd, college of Illinois

The Tao of Islam is a wealthy and various anthology of Islamic teachings at the nature of the relationships among God and the area, the area and the individual, and the individual and God. targeting gender symbolism, Sachiko Murata indicates that Muslim authors usually learn the divine fact and its connections with the cosmic and human domain names with a view towards a complementarity or polarity of rules that's analogous to the chinese language concept of yin/yang.

Murata believes that the team spirit of Islamic idea is located, now not lots within the principles mentioned, as within the varieties of relationships which are organize between realities. She can pay specific realization to the perspectives of assorted figures generally known as "Sufis" and "philosophers," due to the fact they technique those themes with a flexibility and subtlety now not present in different faculties of inspiration. She interprets a number of hundred pages, so much for the 1st time, from greater than thirty vital Muslims together with the Ikhwan al-Safa', Avicenna, and Ibn al-'Arabi.

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But even this had to be mentioned in the subtitle, since such relationships represent only one example of a much broader phenomenon. This phenomenon is a type of polar thinking that places relationships at center stage. The goal of this thinking is to show how all things are interrelated within the context of the absolutely Real. In other words, the goal is to establish unity (tawhid), though this unity does not erase the effect of polarity. Quite the contrary, establishing unity shows how polarity is itself the primary, principle through which unity manifests itself.

He made their inmost mystery the place of His own glance, He sent them messengers, He set angels over them as guardians, He placed the fire of love in their hearts, and He sent them continuous incitements to yearning and motives for desire. The purpose of all these words and allusions is to show that a human being is a handful of earth. Whatever ennoblement and honor people have received derives from the gentleness and care of the holy Lord. When He gives, He gives because of His own generosity, not because of your worthiness.

We cannot "go straight to the point" without missing the point. The more we can quote the actual texts, the more it may be possible to find out what is really at issue for the Muslim authorities themselves. I pay great attention to consistency of translation. It is not merely a question of making sure that the technical terminology of Islamic philosophy or Sufism is recognized as such and preserved as key terms. In fact, the more I work with the texts, the more I realize that the "peripheral" words are just as important as the "important" words.

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