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Sabah Ülkesi (Morgenland) - Article On


and Traditionalism”

Originally published in Turkish by Milli Görüş

What follows are a few quotes from the traditionalistblog[fn1] reviewing the Turkish quarterly magazine on cultural issues[fn2] by Milli Görüş.[fn3]

In a leading article, “Tradition and Traditionalism as a Social Sorting Device” (Gelenek ve Geleneksel Ayrıştırma Aracı Olarak Gelenekselcilik), Nuri Sağlam deplores how tradition has been juxtaposed to modernity whenever Muslims and Islam are dealt with so that Muslims can easily be denounced as fanatic and reactionary whereas in fact, in a world which is changing faster and faster, tradition can serve as an opportunity for liberation.

Other articles are dedicated to the protagonists of the Traditional school, in particular those who converted to Islam, as for example in the introductory article “Four Travelers Encountered on the ‘Eternal Journey’: Guénon, Schuon, Burckhardt and Lings…” (’Daimi Yolculuk’ta karşılaşmış dört Yolcu) by Melek Paşalı. Serap Kılıç describes in “Philosophia perennis and Its Manifestation in the Course of History” (Ezelī Hikmet ve Tarihī Süreçte Tezahürü) the Traditionalist idea that sacred knowledge based on a divine origin can be found in all authentic traditions. Zeynep Kot Tan addresses in her article “Notes Concerning the Perception of the Traditionalist School” (Gelenekselci Ekol algısına ilişkin Notlar) what should be the major problem for orthodox Muslims with regard to the Traditionalist school—that their approach relativizes the truth claims of any one particular religion—but defends Traditionalism against (unnamed) Muslim detractors who equate it to the ‘liberal-secularist’ idea that all religions are the same. Discarding such ‘reductionist concepts’ she claims that religions have within their very own framework instruments that allow them to attain truth.

In “The Knowledge of Being and the Being of Knowledge: The Understading of Being and Knowledge in René Guénon” (Varlığın Bilgisi Bilginin Varlığı: René Guénon’un Varlık ve Bilgi Anlayışı), Numan Rakipoğlu writes that Guénon rejected the subject-object distinction that characterizes most post-Cartesian Western philosophy, and adopted both Vedantic anti-dualism (advaita) and the Sufi concept of unity of existence (waḥdat al-wujūd) to express his point that there is no clear separation between subject and object because both are derived from Being. He leaves the shackles of Aristotelian logic behind him, and hence his approach is closer to that of wise men like Ibn ʿArabī, Qūnawī and Jīlī. His ideas contradict the nominalist concepts which underlie most of modern philosophical and scientific concepts.

[Then there is the article] by Nurullah Koltaş in “A contemporary/ modern Wiseman: Frithjof Schuon and Traditionalism” (Çağdaş bir Arif: Frithjof Schuon ve Gelenkselcilik). Koltaş gives a brief account of Schuon’s life, and defends him against allegations of syncretism, even though he turned to Native American religion after having converted to Islam. Religions are not mixed together they are already one in their essence. Koltaş seems to be the most prominent of the special issue’s authors: he teaches philosophy at Trakya Üniversitesi and has published a book on the Traditionalist school and Islam (Glenekselci Evol ve İslam, Istanbul: İnsan Yayınları, 2013).

In another biographical article, Ercan Alkan addresses discusses “Titus Burckhardt: Traditionalism and Sufism” (Titus Burckhardt: Gelenekselcilik ve Tasavvuf) where he describes how Burckhardt traces back all aspects of Islamic art to the principle of tawḥīd. According to Alkan, Burckhardt saw Sufism as the internal direction and essence of Islam, and as a commentary on the Qurʾān…

Finally the issue contains three interviews, one with the leading Traditionalist Seyyed Hossein Nasr … and William Chittick.

In his interview, Nasr declares that he became attracted to and finally convinced by Traditionalist thought because the Traditionalist school provided a critique of the modernist worldview which rests on the ‘first principles.’ According to Nasr it gives post-Christian Westerners an opportunity to rediscover their traditions, and can enable the Muslims who live as minorities in the West to defend themselves against the onslaught of secular ideologies. But for this purpose they also have to overcome the inferiority complex which Western colonialism has instilled into them. Unlike Japan, China or India, which have to various degrees adopted some form of Western modernism, the majority of Muslims remained devoted to their faith and thus remain an obstacle to western dominance. Islam also continues to be a whole way of life from which no single elements could be adapted. One cannot simply practice some aspects of Sufism like one can practice yoga, one has to become Muslim, and many in the West have done so.

[In the interview with] William Chittick… [we learn that] he confesses that when he was a student reading Schuon had a considerable impact on him because he did not believe in the ‘American Way of Life.’ Asked whether he thinks that other religions might contain some truths from which the Muslims might profit, Chittick answers that just as one first begins to reflect on one’s own language when one learns another one, people begin to reflect on their religion once they encounter another one. According to his experience they then return to their religion with even more conviction. In response to a question about why Sufism has become so popular in the West, Chittick states the many in the West encounter not only Islam, but also Christianity and Judaism in narrow-minded, fanatic form, but encounter Sufism as a message of love and mercy in the form of beautiful poems. However, one should not make the mistake of separating Sufism from Islam, from the teachings of the theologians and the regulations of the sharia. Chittick says he does of course not renounce such advantages of modernity as computers (although Illich has alerted us to the Medical Nemesis), but the people of earlier periods were far more aware of what it meant to be a human and of what God demanded from them. It was not only modernization and modernism which disrupted the connection between Muslims and their heritage: another factor was according to him the politicization of Islam.

With guestwriter Martin Riexinger

Original texts
igmg.org - sabah_uelkesi

Milli Görü

From the magazine:








See also: An introduction to Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya - René Guénon





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