Tradition

The word 'tradition' is derived from Latin 'tradere', i.e. to hand over, deliver, entrust  - in its general sense - something from God, Allah through His prophets (upon them be peace). 

​

What is handed over is the Quranic revelation, the âyah (Quranic verses) and - through those - the baraka, divine blessings, which are heavenly powers, all of these leading to sacred knowledge. 

​

Islam is fundamentally and originally tradition - its timeless, divine message, and this is why the Islamic tradition defines the Islamic religion, not the other way round. They constitute one of the ongoing wonders of Islam.

/more: Texts on Tradition

Quotes on Tradition

”To be traditional means to be part of a tradition, and traditions - by their nature - are moving through time and space.” 

Sh. Abdul Hakim Murad

​

Tradition in the sense used here always ”contains some element of a superhuman order.” 

René Guénon - Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya

​

“Nothing which is purely human can be considered traditional, ... because only the hereditary forms of an uninterrupted chain of transmission (silsilah) deserve the qualification "traditional" for they will guarantee the reality and permanence of the "vital element", i.e. that of non-human origin, inside a particular tradition.” 

DRG

In its general meaning, tradition has to be understood in the sense of transmission of an element of the supra-human level, as explained by Sh. `Abd al-Wahîd Yahia.

​

In its more specific sense the term tradition also signifies the words and sayings reported from the Prophet Muhammad ( may Allah bless him and grant him peace) which have been recorded in the hadith collections. So when speaking of the Islamic Tradition we do not only mean the sayings and words of wisdom by the Prophet of Islam, but also the entire Islamic religion (Qur’an, Sunnah, schools of law, spirituality, saintity, etc.)

​

Concerning the Arabic expression "al-Diin al-Qayyim", it is of quranic origin (Sura 10-105; 30-30; 98-5) and signifies the unchanging Religion in its continuing and universal character.

/more below

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: First of all it is Islam that reigns (see Sura 5:3). Traditional Islam does not accept the notion that the world-religions (and even less so any man-made belief system) would be equally valid paths to God, these are perennialistic interpretations. Even so, they (their laws) still reflect some sacred truth, so they did not turn into falsehood by being abrogated. These two points need to be kept in mind.

​

In the words of Muhyiddín Ibn `Arabi: ”The religious laws are all lights, and the law of Muhammad among these lights is as the sun's light among the light of the stars…”

”So all paths return to look to the Prophet's path  : if the prophetic messengers had been alive in his time, they would have followed him just as their religious laws have followed his law.…” 

more

Man Imprisoned in the Life of the World

"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.” 

RG, East And West, p.90

​

"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

​

/more about Shaykh Abd Al Wahid Yahya - René Guénon

Texts On Tradition

Anti-Tradition and Counter-Tradition

Antitradition is the negation of Tradition. ”In other words, the characteristic symptoms of (post-)modernism, such as materialism, individualism, and secular humanism are a denial of Tradition, in the sense of failing to recognize it; they are a deviation without actually becoming openly hostile.” 

​

”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” (Dajjâl). 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 'Counter-tradition.'” 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 counter-traditional 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

Falsification of Language

An important aspect of anti-tradition is the ongoing process of the falsification of language, where certain words ”have been diverted from their true, original meaning.” RG

​

For those who cannot comprehend the meaning of the concept of ’truth’ there is a problem. Postmodernism can posit anything as true, alternatively nothing as really true, or both true at the same time! Or ’true’ is supposedly what has the desired impact!

​

Does it then surprise that this process has led to today’s mental confusion with many of our contemporaries? But ’human life is characterized by the search for personal or meta meaning.’ NN

​

Language changes, but not always - and not only - at random. Agents of the postmodern deviation are consciously and unconsciously participating in the effort. Words reflect certain meanings and meanings are derived from principles. When principles are lost, languages become diluted, even adulterated - and when original meanings are forgotten, concepts will attract new meanings, even opposite meanings.

​

One consequence of this is either the arrogance and unwillingness vis-à-vis an 

understanding of the classical civilizational texts - the ’meta-narratives’, and when words appear like skeletons of ancient times, original meanings are lost.

​

Another cause of misunderstanding is the tendency to projects one’s own associative thinking upon concepts of Tradition, thereby falsifying the original message - and is the truth which we need, not concocted theories.

​

Also it would be valuable to remind oneself that not everything can be explained exclusively in human terms, not everything can be reduced to the human level, and consequently Tradition itself - as we understand it - must not be confused with anything which it is not.

On The Islamic Tradition

And The Unchanging Religion

1.

Concerning the term tradition it has two significations: a general and a specific one. However it does not have the meaning it has acquired today, such as 'customs' and 'usages'.

​

In its general meaning, tradition has to be understood in the sense of transmission of an element of the suprahuman level, as explained by René Guénon (Shaykh `Abd al-Wahîd Yahia).

​

In its more specific sense the term tradition also signifies the words and sayings reported from the Prophet Muhammad  (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) which have been recorded in the hadith collections. 

​

So when speaking of the Islamic Tradition we do not only mean the sayings and words of wisdom by the Prophet of islam, but also the entire Islamic religion (Qur'ân, Sunnah, schools of law, spirituality, saintity, etc.)

Concerning the Arabic expression "al-Diin al-Qayyim", it is of quranic origin (Sura 10-105; Sura 30-30; Sura 98-5) and signifies the unchanging Religion in its perennial and universal character.

“Set your face towards pure religion (as true monotheist)”

Sura 10, verse 105

​

“Then set your face upright for (complying with the obligations of the) religion as true monotheist (hanîfan) and in accordance to the primordial nature (fitrah) created by Allah in which He has created men,”

Then Allah said: “There is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion (al-Dîn al-Qayyim), but most people do not know.” Sura 30, verse 30

-> 2

2.

“And they were not enjoined anything except that they should serve Allah, as true monotheists (hunafa’) (being sincere to Him in obedience, upright), keeping up prayer and paying the poor-due. This is the true and unchangeable religion (al-Dîn al-Qayyim).” Sura 98, verse 5

​

This means to say that the Islamic Tradition is characterised by being preserved from all alteration in its fundamental principles and in its essential doctrine, which has not always been the case with the earlier religions before Islam.

​

This preservation has been expressively attested by the divine Word in the following terms: 

“Surely We have revealed the Reminder (meaning the Qur’ân) and it is Us Who will most surely be its guardian.” Sura 15, verse 9

​

The universal character of the Islamic Tradition has been formulated in the Qur'ân in the following terms: 

“And We have not sent you but to all human beings as a bearer of good news and as a warner, but most men do not know.” Sura 34, verse 28

​

Another significant characteristic of this Islamic Tradition is the tolerance and indulgence as expressed by the Prophet  (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) when he said: “I have been sent with the indulgent and tolerant monotheism (bu`ithtu bil-hanîfiyah al-samha')” a saying which is confirmed by the divine quranic Word: 

“And We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.” Sura 21, verse 107

​

The conclusion to be drawn from these teachings is that the most knowledgeable being in respect of God can only be the most merciful one in respect to the creatures, in this world as well as in the next and who has the most universal vision of the essential truths. This is, has been and will always be Prophet Muhammad  - may Allah spread over him His unifying grace and His peace and over his family and his companions.

​

By Imam Ahmad Vâlsan (rh), /more