Swiss philosopher-author Frithjof Schuon’s book ‘Understanding Islam, was published in French in 1961 and translated to English in 1963. Schuon is recognized as an authority on philosophy, spirituality and religion, an exponent of the Religio Perennis, and one of the chief representatives of the Perennialist School, founded by French Rene Guenon (convert to Islam) and Sri Lankan Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in the first half of the 20th Century. Martin Lings PhD, also known as Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din, was a British Traditionalist, a close associate and follower of Schuon. Iranian-born professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr (George Washington University), is an American Traditionalist.
The book has been translated into over a dozen languages. Its Foreward was written by professor Annemarie Schimmel (Harvard University). She was a German Orientalist and scholar, who wrote on Islam, Sufism and Islamic poetry. She spent nearly five decades in explaining Islam to western bigots. She was a great fan of Pakistani philosopher and poet, Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal. Watch a video of Annemarie’s views on Iqbal.
In the Foreward Dr. Schimmel wrote: “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 Moslims believe in it. Both Westerners unfamiliar with Islam and Moslims seeking a deeper understanding of the basis of faith will be struck by Schuon’s masterful elucidation of the spiritual world of Islam“.
Schuon and his wife were adopted into the Sioux family of James Red Cloud, and in 1980, they emigrated to the US to live with the Sioux. He later wrote that there was strong parallel between Native American religion and Islam – being part of Nature. Read an interview with Schuon here.
“The Testimony of Faith of Islam, according to which “there is no divinity except ihe One Divinity”, is both sword and shroud; on the one hand it’s lightning-bolt in its fulgurating unicity, and on the other hand, a sand dune or blanket of snow in its peace-giving totality; and these two messages refer respectively, not only to the mysteries of Absoluteness and infinitude, but also – in a certain fashion – to those of Transcendence and Immanence would be inconceivable without the Infinite. It is thanks to Infinite that there is a cosmic projection enabling the Soveriegn Good to be immanent, and it’s starting from this projection that we can have the presentiment that all values and qualities have their root in – and open out onto – Necessary Being, which is Good as such,” wrote Schuon in Islam and Consciouness of the Absolute.
The Islam-hating Zionist Christian leader would be saddened to learn Pope Pius XII saying: “how consoling it is to think that so many millions of men throughout the world prostrate themselves before God five times a day!” And his predecessor, Pope Pius XI, said to one of his Cardinals, whom he was sending to Libya: “Do not think you are going among infidels. Muslims attain to salvation. The ways of God are infinite“.
“No objective intelligence can be blind to the dazzling signs of God-given truth that Islam carries with it throughout its history,” says Martin Lings, PhD.