Tradition: Concerning the term Tradition, it refers to the divine, eternal message which has been revealed to mankind since the time of Adam. Specifically for our times it refers to the latest and the last divine message - the one brought by Prophet Muhammad (saws).
Since man is forgetful (اِنسان - نَسِىَ)(insân), it has been necessary to confirm and actualise the divine guidance over and over again. This was on - one level - the function of those different prophets who rose throughout the course of history (some of them came with new legal systems) and on another level of those special people of insight (basîrah) and knowledge (`ilm) of Allah.
1.1 Modernity or Modernism
Our definition* of modernity or modernism has nothing to do with what may be generally perceived as existing now-a-days as being 'very new' or 'up-to-date', instead, what is here defined as modern, is that which is cut off from the Divine, the Transcendant, or the Supernatural, everything that does not refer to - and is isolated from - "the immutable principles which in reality govern all things and which are made known to man through revelation in its most universal sense. Modernism is thus contrasted with tradition (ad-dîn); the former [including] all that is merely human and now ever more increasingly subhuman, and all that is divorced and cut off from the Divine source. [Additionally] tradition has always accompanied and in fact characterized human existence, whereas modernism is a very recent phenomenon." S H NasrTIM
”Since Modernity is opposed to Tradition, there are two concepts that can be invoked in the description of modern life: antitradition and countertradition. These may be perceived as the causes and (respectively) effects of modernity.” TRT
Antitradition is the negation of Tradition. ”Antitradition weakens and dissolves traditional spiritualities, after which countertradition sets up a counterfeit fn1 in their place. Since Guénon’s time, as is well known, anti-traditional forces have greatly advanced worldwide.” TRT
”In The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, René Guénon characterizes antitradition as a mere negation of Tradition. In other words, the characteristic symptoms of modernity, such as materialism, democracy, and secular humanism are a denial of Tradition, merely in the sense of failing to recognize it; theyfn5 are a deviation without actually becoming openly hostile.” TRT
”When anti-tradition had succeeded in throwing the world into an atmosphere of wide-spread, general materialism, the more inferior forces were able to rise (to the surface). They did this under the the disguise of (what RG called) 'countertradition.'” DRG
”While antitradition is fully in force in the West, and has begun to spread to other parts of the world, we can already see countertraditional movements rising to the highest echelons of global political, economic, and religious power. The existence of these movements would never be possible without the denial of tradition (i.e. antitradition).” TRT
”Countertradition, however is a step further along the path of degeneration. It is the satanic inversion of true spirituality, leading to the regime of Antichrist.” TRT
”Countertradition is a caricature of spirituality and an especially fearsome counterfeit to be. In fact it is a real 'spirituality in reverse,' ... in such a way that it presents itself as the opposite (of its true nature).” DRG, fn4
'It is but a false spirituality, false to the worst degree, worse than what can be apprehended.' In reality it is all about an unregulated unleashing of psychic forces, finally ending with the advent of that pretended 'New Age,' into which they try their utmost to enter today's humanity.'
Tradition has however foreseen this situation, and its denouncing the 'false prophets' and 'miracle-makers' are legion in all sacred scriptures, f ex in Matthew 24, 24. fn2
And countertradition is exactly what is called the 'reign of the Antichrist.' This reign of the Antichrist fn3 reunites and regroups all the forces of the countertradition into 'a false spiritual restauration.'
”The two may be thought of as cause and effect, and is consistent with the principle of degeneration. Antitradition weakens and dissolves traditional spiritualities, after which countertradition sets up a counterfeit in their place. Since Guénon’s time, as is well known, anti-traditional forces have greatly advanced worldwide. The genesis of antitradition came from within humanism, for as Guénon states, humanism 'implies a pretension to bring everything down to purely human elements' (p 193). Guénon further goes on to posit that Protestantism and rationalism are further examples of the early antitradition.” TRT
René Guénon also wrote (some time before 1950):
”As for the counter tradition, we can still only see the preliminary signs of it, in the form of all things that are striving to become counterfeits in one way or another of the traditional idea itself.”
- Our definition: and it should be the standard definition!
- TIM: Traditional Islam In The Modern World; Seyyed Hossein Nasr; p.98
[This quote is at: Modernism And Postmodern Thought; Modernism And Postmodern Thought]
- The above short description of the two concepts is from a now defunct website, which in turn was based on the teachings by René Guénon.
- DRG: Dictionnaire de René Guénon, Jean-Marc Vivenza, Grenoble 2005
- fn1: ”A counterfeit is worse than a simple error…” point 11
- fn2: ”For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Bible, NT; Matthew 24:24
- fn3: The System Of Antichrist: Quotes From Charles Upton
- fn4: What Is Traditional Islam? S H Nasr; “(Also in) Islam one must distinguish … between authentic tradition and pseudotradition. [Concerning the prophetic traditions - the hadith, this has been done throughout the centuries, and is done still today.] (Pseudotradition) is antitraditional and now more and more countertraditional, (although it) displays certain characteristics outwardly similar to the traditional.” [Superficiality, ignorance and political agendas threaten at times an objective and sincere treatment of the islamic tradition.]
- fn5: they: The powers to be (TPTB); although in reality there is no power except Allah (swt), The Almighty, The True.
"In any case, what Westeners 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."
RG, East And West, 1924