Bismillâhi - Rahmâni - Rahîm

{ Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah's reminder ( that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah) and to the truth which is revealed, and that they become not as those who received the Scripture (the Revelation) before. But long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? But many of them are rebellious transgressors.} Sura The Iron (57) 16


An introduction to Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya - René Guénon

by Omar K Neusser

He said: ”In any case, what Westerners call civilization, the others would call barbarity, because it is precisely lacking in the essential, that is to say a principle of a higher order.”
René Guénon, East And West, 1924


”When man is imprisoned like this in life and in the conceptions directly connected with it, he can know nothing about what escapes from change, about the transcendent and immutable order, which is that of the universal principles.” René Guénon, East And West, p.90

2 Q:

1.) What is it that ”modern people” can benefit from René Guénon?

2.) What is it that Muslims can benefit from him?


NB: References to other traditions should not lead the casual reader to the conclusion that it does not matter which divine tradition to follow: far from it! The last authentic religion which leads to the Divine Presence is Islam.
This has been explained (among other texts) in the article:

On The Common Eternal Principles, And That Islam Reigns


The principles elucidated by Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya - René Guénon are not meant to be converted into any kind of political, partisan action or program. Tradition has here a specific, spiritual definition (see below: what is Tradition? ), not what is commonly understood as such. Generally speaking, without being guided by the Divine Presence, all actions will be corrupted and therefore pernicious to mankind!

Some Quotes By Others

“René Guénon's role (was to be the) reviver of Tradition for the Western world.”
Charles Upton [ ]

“For Guénon, the malaise of the modern world is its relentless denial of the metaphysical realm, the metaphysical world being comprised of both philosophy and spirituality. Guénon sees everything in the world of creation as an application and manifestation of metaphysical principles that are contained in the perennial teachings of religions, and applies them to every single subject that he addresses in his works. Both the value of traditional sciences of nature and the misguided claims of modern secular science are judged in proportion to their proximity or distance from these principles. In this sense, Guénon is a metaphysician par excellence who has devoted his life to the diagnosis and correction of the metaphysical mistakes of the modern world.” Ibrahim Kalin [ ]

“His function (was), in a world increasingly rife with heresy and pseudo religion, to remind twentieth century man of the need for orthodoxy which itself presupposes firstly a divine intervention, and secondly a tradition which hands down with fidelity from generation to generation what Heaven has revealed...” Dr. Martin Lings, (quote from Vol1Num1),
[ - Martin Lings commemorative issue]

“Guénon undermined and then; with uncompromising intellectual rigor, demolished all the assumptions taken for granted by modern man, that is to say Western or westernized man. Many others had been critical of the direction taken by European civilization since the so-called 'Renaissance', but none had dared to be as radical as he was or to re-assert with such force the principles and values which Western culture had consigned to the rubbish tip of history. ...”

“The language of this Tradition [is] the language of symbolism, and he had no equal in his interpretation of this symbolism.
Moreover he turned the idea of human progress upside down, replacing it with the belief almost universal before the modern age, that humanity declines in spiritual excellence with the passage of time and that we are now in the Dark Age which precedes the End, an age in which all the possibilities rejected by earlier cultures have been spewed out into the world, quantity replaces quality and decadence approaches its final limit. No one who read him and understood him could ever be quite the same again.” [ Sh. Hassan Abdul Hakeem Gai Eaton ]

“The writings of the great French thinker René Guénon - Shaykh `Abd Al Wahid Yahya (1886-1951) have by now achieved luminary status. His castigation of the modern world, grounded upon a pioneering reinstatement of the universal, first principles of the one true metaphysic abiding at the heart of the sacred traditions, has stood fast against the shifting sands of recent philosophies and can refurbish our powers of discrimination in face of the new millennium and the postmodern age.”   - expired link (before 2017) -

Video with some of his quotes from Crisis of The Modern World [1]

His Function

  His function was (and is still today) to warn everyone, also people of religion, also Muslims, of the entanglements (fitna) of (post-) modernity, how it threatens to destroy the mentality even of some religious people as it did when modernity first emerged in the West, how it casts into doubt any absolute, metaphysical truth and how it influences the public at large.

  His works are primarily in French and in English. In Swedish there is an excellent book about Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya: "I tjänst hos det Enda" ( In the service of The One), edited by Kurt Almqvist, a Swedish author writing on metaphysical questions. This is still the only disposition of RG's life and work in a Scandinavian language and it includes excerpts from some of his books, such as "Crisis of the Modern World"[1] and "The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times."

  A European intellectual from the first half of the 20th century, he had witnessed the tragic and seemingly unavoidable events of his times, not the least both World Wars. He confronted the ruling myths of this civilization, such as 'human progress', 'technical development towards a brighter future' and he penetrated some of the most important philosophical and religious traditions - when towards the middle of his life - he embraced Islam and travelled to Egypt where he lived until the end of his life as a well-respected Muslim author.

Martin Lings (far left) and Réne Guénon (elder man in center) in Egyptfn2

  One of his main concerns was to produce an unsentimental analysis of Western ideological and religious development since the Renaissance, focusing on the degradation - as he saw it - of metaphysics, religion and philosophy and consequently of the mentality of the general populace.
  He explained why the civilization of the West was built on false foundations, like a house built on sand: its positivism, its denial of true tradition and in consequece its metaphysiscal blindness. He also showed the way to reform this situation by gaining access - through initiation - to the sacred and eternal treasure of timeless wisdom hidden in the religious traditions. His writings have inspired many engaged readers to search for truth and meaning in an otherwise meaningless world.

  Another of his main concerns was to clear from the pure concept of Ultimate Reality (or Divine Centre) everything that It is not and to teach its pure doctrine, because It can only be described in negative terms ( of what It is not )fn1. His work is also a reminder of the impossibility of having any rational concept of the Ultimate Reality (or Supreme Centre), except for the insight gained from intellectual intuition ( ma`rifa - intuitive knowledge of God) and the knowledge of revelation and prophetic tradition gained by practicing its teachings.

  This introduction is not an adequate overview over this outstanding writer's work, who wrote no less than 26 books and conducted a numereous correspondance with many intellectuals of his time. Some of his main areas of focus are:

• A definition of tradition versus anti-tradition and sentimentalized religion
• a distinction of metaphysics regarding philosophy and religion
• an exposition of metaphysics and the hierarchy (of stages) of being
• a clear doctrine (teaching) of the Ultimate Reality, Allah, Almighty God
• a thorough examination of Western thought and mentality:
   - individualism, modernism, rationalism, quantification; slackening of doctrine, nihilism, indifference
• a rigorous distinction between Intellect and reason
• an explanation of esoterism and its function in religion, of initiation
• an explanation of the sacred science of symbolism
• an analysis of anti-tradition and of counter-tradition, phenomena all the more acute in our times ( past 2014).

Links And Text-Excerpts On René Guénon

There follow four groups of links:
(1.) Text-Excerpts & Notes On Works By René Guénon,
- in: English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Arab, Russian
(2.) Other Authors On René Guénon
(3.) Other Documents And Links
(4.) Texts On Tradition And Traditionalism

 (1.) Text-Excerpts & Notes On Works By René Guénon,

   [•  = links on this website] [•  = external links]


•   A List of Texts On Metaphysics, Tradition, Modernism, as elucidated by René Guénon a o
•   wikipedia: René Guénon


•   Citations RG sur la métaphysique (en projèt)
•   La Métaphysique Orientale
•   La crise du monde moderne, extraits
•   Que faut il entendre par tradition ?
•   l'Unité - Et-Tawhid


•   Das Heilige und das Profane
•   Das Unendliche Und Die Möglichkeit
•   Das Zeitalter der Quantität
•   Orientalische Metaphysik
•   Symbole der heiligen Wissenschaft
•   Über Geistigkeit oder Spiritualität


•   Via Shâdhilita de René Guénon


•   Den Mörka Tidsåldern
•   Det Heliga och det profana
•   Individualismens roll för filosofin; fr. Crisis Of The Modern World[1]
•   Västerlandets särutveckling sedan Medeltiden av Kurt Almqvist
•   Intervju med Seyyed Hossein Nasr om René Guénon av Jay Kinney
•   Några av traditionens definitioner och teser ed. Omar K N
•   Vad är normal och vad normalitet? Hasan G Eaton
•   René Guénon om Traditionen och traditionell undervisning
•   René Guénons betydelse idag för muslimer och andra Omar K N
•   Modernismen och den mörka tidsåldern enl. R. Guénon Introduktion - cafeexpose
•   Nyspiritualismen, Kap. 32, (Kvantitetens herravälde och tidens tecken.' (Le Règne…)


•   L'oeuvre De Guénon En Orient*

*Regardez dans les notes de cette page:
Al-Faylasûf al-muslim René Guénon aw Abd al-Wâhid Yahyâ;
publ. Dr. Abdel Halîm Mahmûd,
Professeur à Ulûm ad-Din de l'Université Al-Azhar (Cairo)
Al-Madrasa ash-Shâdhiliyya al-hadîtha wa imâmuhâ Abû-l-Hasan ash-Shâdhilî,
(Cairo, 1968), chapter: Al-'Arif bi-Llâh (Le Connaissant par Allah) ash-Shaykh 'Abd al-Wâhid Yahyâ from


•   Рене Генон / René Guénon


•   Sabah Ülkesi (Morgenland) - Article On “Tradition and Traditionalism”, by Milli Görüş


 (2.) Other Authors On René Guénon (newest at top)

•   On René Guénons Critique of Modernity -Quotes
•   Seyyed H Nasr om René Guénon
•   A Presentation of René Guénon By Mircea A. Tamas
•   Några av traditionens definitioner och teser av Kurt Almqvist
•   René Guénon by Martin Lings
•   Lire Guénon entre les lignes, entretien avec Marie-Hélène Dassa
•   Western Sufism and Traditionalism Mark Sedgwick
•   How René Guénon Discovered Islam Muhammad Haneef Shahid


 (3.) Other Documents And Links

•   René Guénon (Abd al-Wahid Yahya) (1886-1951) An introduction
•   REGNABIT  Images and texts
•   L'oeuvre De Guénon En Orient  Michel Vâlsan
•   Sheikh Abdel Wahid Yahia, el hombre de la Tradición  por Omar Abu Bilal Ribas
•   La crise du monde moderne  Avec extraits significatifs
•   Interprétations  Roger Du Pasquier découvrit l'oeuvre de Guénon
•   Bookreview1 of "Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times"
•   Bookreview2 of "Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times"
•   Institute René Guénon Of Traditional Studies
•   Some of René Guénon's books some of them:

•   On The Common Eternal Principles, And That Islam Reigns
      incl. René Guénon's role for sacred Tradition in general and Islam


 (4.) Texts On Tradition And Traditionalism

•   Texts On Tradition And Traditionalism -- an excerpt (The Reign of Quantity)
•   On The Traditional Perspective, Or The Evergreen Tradition, (Charles Upton)

•   On The Significance Of The Teachings Of RG - Sh. A. W. Yahya For Every Seeker Of Truth, OKN

•   René Guénon's legacy today - From An Interview with Mark Sedgwick
•   Islamic Tradition Not Equal “Fundamentalism” (from 'Islam In The Modern World,' S. H. Nasr)

•   What Is Tradition And What Is Traditional About Islam? (short)
•   What is a “Traditionalist”? - Some Clarifications, by Charles Upton
•   Antitradition And Countertradition

•   Anglo-American ‘Traditional Islam’ and Its Discourse of Orthodoxy (pdf) by Kasper Mathiesen

•   Några av traditionens definitioner och teser, av Kurt Almqvist
•   René Guénons betydelse idag, Omar K N


 (5.) Related Texts

•   On The Supreme Principle;  The Source, The Sustaining Force, The Final Goal
•   Metaphysical Foundations ed. Omar K N
•   Oriental Metaphysics Explanations, And Traditional Definitions
•   What Is Traditional Islam ed. from ”Islam In The Modern World”, S. H. Nasr
•   Metaphysics - Why Is It Necessary Today? okn


 (6.) Post-Modernism, Postmodernism

- Definition of Postmodernism

- Notes 1 on Postmodernism C. Upton

- Notes 2 on Postmodernism - Foucault

- Tradition Betrayed, The False Prophets Of Modernism, H Oldmeadow

- Crisis , Quotes - from René Guénon - Shaykh `Abd Al Wahid Yahya

- The Paradox of Our Condition, Quotes on Modernity, AHM

- On the common eternal principles, and that Islam reigns

 (7.) Short Texts At Signposts (Part of

dualismfreedom of thought
intuitionislamic tradition
metaphysical zerometaphysics
role of spiritual master
sentimentalThe Source - the Supreme Center
the end of time


 (8.) List With Quotes

fn2: from: []


 (9.) A Personal Account of A Visit At René Guénon’s House in Cairo

by Ayn Kha, 8 augusti 2017

Through a serious of fortuitous events I was able to visit the home of René Guénon in Cairo a few days ago. Upon entering his home, there was what can only be described as a powerful spiritual ambiance, almost like an electric current of Baraka running through the room. In this particular case, however, it seemed as if the spiritual power or radiance had been “concentrated” exponentially: it was so palpable one could literally feel it on their skin. The only other place where I have felt a similar concentration of spiritual energy was in the room closed off to the public which housed the relics of Shaikh Ahmad al-Badawi, the great saint of Tanta.

Guénon’s library, his son informed us, was in virtually the same condition he had left it, with nothing having been moved — this being the consequence of a very specific request he had made of his wife shortly before his death. “I will be present, and here with you so long as my books are kept where they are.” The library itself comprised works in many different languages (Guénon knew thirteen in total) and included books on virtually every subject related to the inward and symbolic contents of religion, ranging from Native American and African mythology to the occult and metaphysics. When I inquired from his son as to the precise nature of his spiritual practice, he replied in one word: “contemplation.” Upon being asked to elaborate, he explained that Guénon would sometimes stand in his balcony overlooking Cairo and stare into the night sky literally for hours. But Guénon also participated very much in the Sufi culture of Egypt, despite his general privacy, especially with respect to visiting the shrines of the saints of Cairo, and the Ahl al-Bayt, and attending the circles of dhikr. And he had also developed close ties to some of the leading spiritual authorities of the city, not the least of them being Shaikh Ibrahim, a Shadhili master who taught Maliki fiqh at Al-Azhar, and whose daughter he later married.

While Guénon was generally reclusive and extremely difficult to meet in person, especially for outsiders who came to visit him, he would respond to everyone who wrote to him by mail. Before his death, he left behind forty-two boxes of letters, most of them still unpublished. He would sleep for no more than two to three hours a night, and would spend most of his time in his study, in reflection, prayer or writing. He loved burning bukhur, and had a particular fondness for felines: Uthman, his personal cat, died on the same day, at the same hour as he did.

His youngest son, Abd al-Wahid Yahya, was born three months after his death. Guénon knew beforehand that he would not live to see the birth of his son, the cause of great sadness for his wife. He instructed her to name him after himself, and assured her he would be present to help the family even after his death. A deeply pious man, the younger Abd al-Wahid Yahya served us Zamzam water from Mecca, dates and tea on our visit. We learned that Guénon’s residence now holds regular Sufi gatherings of the Order with which he himself is affiliated: the Bilqā’idiyya Tariqa whose origins are to be retraced to Algeria. The ism al-a`ẓam or Supreme Name is now regularly recited in closed gathering among members of the Order in the room where Guénon penned some of his most influential books in the last fifteen years of his life: a fitting symbol for all that he called his readers to.

Image: Guénon's desk in Cairo







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latest update: 2018-11-01
* living ISLAM – Islamic Tradition *