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  Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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Articles

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Type TitleAuthor/
Reviewed Author*
Author 2/
Reviewer
IssueReligion
Article
With Titus Burckhardt at the Tomb of Ibn ArabiNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 16, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1984) Comparative Religion
Article
Eid al-FitrNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 16, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1984) Islam
Article
Reflections on Islam and Modern ThoughtNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 15, No. 3 and 4. ( Summer-Autumn, 1983) Islam
Article
The Male and Female in the Islamic PerspectiveNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 14, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1980) Islam
Article
A Muslim’s Reflections on Hans KüngNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 13, No. 3 and 4. ( Summer-Autumn, 1979) Christianity
Article
Intellect and Intuition: Their Relationship from the Islamic PerspectiveNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 13, No. 1 and 2. ( Winter-Spring, 1979) Islam
Article
Despite the widely held belief that music is forbidden in Islam, further investigation of Islamic culture will reveal numerous historical examples of music used as a means of spiritual practice. This article seeks to clarify what forms of music are permitted in Islam and to illuminate the effects of music on the human soul. As shown here, music has the potential to be either an aid or a hindrance to one’s spiritual growth – the determining factors are the condition of man in relation to his passions and his awareness of his primordial nature.
Islam and MusicNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 10, No. 1. ( Winter, 1976) Islam
Article
For centuries, the poems of Rūmī have remained one of the most influential forces within the Sufi tradition. The son of an accomplished Sufi practitioner, Rūmī became highly skilled in the fields of philsophy, Quaranic science, and the various exoteric sciences before taking an interest in Sufism himself. He became initiated into Sufism at the age of twenty-five and composed nearly sixty-thousand verses throughout the course of his lifetime. Seyyed Hossein Nasr explores several of the themes found throughout Rūmī's work and provides historical information regarding the life and the influence of this spiritual master.
Rumi and the Sufi TraditionNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 8, No. 2. ( Spring, 1974) Islam
Article
Within both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions, there exist schools of thought which, while not exclusively rationalist, utilize reason and logic in the context of intuitively realized metaphysical truth. Throughout its development, Islamic philosophy was influenced by many of these philosophical schools. Comparative study of these different traditions together with historical study can reveal their influence more completely than would be possible by using the historical approach alone. It can also benefit practicing Muslims by introducting them to philosophical perspectives outside of modern, humanistic modes of thought which seem to dominate current discussion. Furthermore, comparative philosophy will enrich Western understanding of Islamic doctrine.
The Significance of Comparative Philosophy for the Study of Islamic PhilosphyNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 7, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1973) Islam
Article
The actions and beliefs leading to the modern environmental crisis can be traced to a commonly held misunderstanding of human nature. Ignorance of the Absolute, as well as the "Self which resides at the Centre of man's being," has led to the development of materialistic ideals and the degradation of the humanities in the West. Worse still, civilizations in the East have begun to adopt the modern Western notion of progress, furthering man's isolation from the Centre. Nasr urges modern societies to shift their focus inward, challenge their conceptions of scientific "objectivity," and recall Centre which is the origin of all things.
Contemporary Man, between the Rim and the AxisNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 7, No. 2. ( Spring, 1973) Comparative Religion
Article
Music has a unique place among the traditional arts because unlike the visual arts, it lacks material form, thus enabling man to forget his earthly body and recall the original state of being which preceded it. The ability to forget one’s self is essential in order to perform traditional Persian music. Nasr analyses the various aspect of this music, showing how they each help to bring about a spiritual ascent that is characteristic of Sufi practice. He also relates performance of traditional music to the concept of the neverending “spiritual concert” to which the perfect gnostic is always listening.
The Influence of Sufism on Traditional Persian MusicNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 6, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1972) Islam
Article
The Spread of the Illuminationist School of SuhrawardiNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 6, No. 3. ( Summer, 1972) Islam
Article
Seyyed Hossein Nasr begins this essay with the observation that "it was in the destiny of Islam as the last religion of the present humanity to integrate into its intellectual and spiritual universe all the elements of the knowledge and wisdom of earlier traditions that were in accordance with it unitary perspective." Islam's tendency and, one might add, mission to integrate earlier religious figures, sciences, and traditional thought into its own system, includes the field of philosophy. However, while much attention has been given to the influence of ancient Graeco-Alexandrian elements of thought upon Islamic philosophy, the ancient Iranian elements have largely been neglected. Through a survey of these latter influences and the history of the development of Islamic philosophy, Dr. Nasr addresses this imbalance and convincingly shows that the particular genius of Persian "intellection" has cast an indelible and unique character upon centuries of Islamic thought.
Persia and the Destiny of Islamic PhilosophyNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 6, No. 1. ( Winter, 1972) Islam
Article
Seyyed Hossein Nasr examines the Zoroastrian and Islamic traditions within the context of the history of Persia. Nasr notes that "although these traditions are of different nature and structure, they are related most of all by the fact that they are authentic traditions and not something else, that is, they are messages from the world of the spirit differing in their outward form but united in their inner essence." Thus, while many forms will be different in the two traditions, underlying principles will often found to be similar. In this essay, Nasr is primarily concerned with some "basic doctrines and themes which have appeared in one form or another in the religion, mysticism and philosophy of Persia throughout its history and which characterize the intellectual and spiritual life of the Persians in their totality." He surveys those doctrines and themes to show how they have formed an essential part of the overall Persian spiritual worldview.
Mysticism and Traditional Philosophy in Persia, Pre-Islamic and IslamicNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 5, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1971) Islam
Book Review
In reviewing this book, Seyyed Hossein Nasr gives high praise to the translator, stating that "serious students of Sufism…must be…grateful for [Titus Burckhardt's] having turned to this much lesser known category of Sufi writings consisting of letters, addresses and table-talks of Sufi masters, an excellent example of which is found in these letters of Shaikh ad-Darqawi. Dr. Nasr notes that these letters from a renowned Sufi master deal less with doctrine and more with "concrete problems and questions of the spiritual life and are often answers to specific questions posed by disciples. Hence they represent a precious treasury of instructions that are of value particularly to those who aspire to walk upon the path of realization and whose interest in Sufism and the spiritual life in general is more practical than theoretical." Since its initial publication, this book has become a classic of Sufi studies.
Letters of a Sufi MasterAd-Darqawi, Shaikh Al-`Arabi *Nasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Islam
Article
In this lecture Seyyed Hossein Nasr shows how Islam portrays man as both being of the very best stature and the very lowest of the low – a situation which demands that man is perennially, albeit often unconsciously, searching for his lost self. In normal traditional society the quest for one’s true self is contained and accommodated within that society in a revealed religion and the mystical path within it. Nasr traces the role of Sufism as one such mystical path that reunites man with his true self in any age and any place. Further, one who is able to realize the inner truths of religion as such may be able to understand other paths and religions profoundly, as long as one is able “to go from the phenomena to the noumena, from the form to the essence wherein resides the truths of all religions and where alone a religion can be really understood and accepted.”
Sufism and the Perennity of the Mystical QuestNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 4, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1970) Islam
Article
Seyyed Hossein Nasr explains the essential role of the sheikh in Sufism as it is illustrated in Persian literature. The sheikh is responsible for initiating his disciples into the spiritual world. By possessing a connection to the Divine, the sheikh has the means to direct a disciple on the Path to paradise. Nasr emphasizes the importance of discernment as a disciple seeks to be guided and initiated by a sheikh, as there is corruption and deceit among many who claim to have this spiritual power. Quoting numerous passages, particularly from Rumi, Nasr illustrates various aspects of the spiritual master as the door through which a sincere aspirant can access mysteries of the Divine.
The Sufi Master as Exemplified in Persian Sufi LiteratureNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 4, No. 3. ( Summer, 1970) Islam
Article
The influence of modern science on nature and the way that this has affected the everyday existence and view of man is the main topic of this article. Nasr discusses the idea that man has become inwardly detached from the Intellect which is what keeps him tied to something permanent. The development of secular science and how it has focused people on the idea of change and becoming is another topic discussed in this article. The concepts of permanence and impermanence in science as opposed to nature are covered with careful detail in this article. Towards the end Nasr concludes that “as far as the present sciences of nature are concerned, much though they differ from the various traditional cosmologies, even here there is an element of permanence is one takes science for what it really is.”
Man in the Universe: Permanence Amidst Apparent ChangeNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 2, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1968) Islam
Book Review
K.E. Pringle reviews Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s book The Encounter of Man and Nature (which is based on four lectures delivered at the University of Chicago during May 1966.) Nasr’s book deals with four main topics: the run-away dominance of science and the issues that result, the historical basis of the sciences and their relationship to religion, metaphysical principles through the ages as regard science and nature, and the hypothetical benefits that might occur from a rediscovery and application of metaphysics (particularly in the West and Christianity). Pringle recommends the book “to those studying religion and science and to those who seek firm ground, having come to doubt the current belief in "progress.”
The Encounter Of Man and NatureNasr, Seyyed Hossein *Pringle, K.E. Vol. 2, No. 3. ( Summer, 1968) Islam
Book Review
In his review of Alchemy, Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul by Titus Burckhardt, Seyyed Hossein Nasr highlights the point made in this book of the errors of the current interpretation of alchemy as either a precursor of modern chemistry or as a science of the psyche alone. For as to the latter he says that it is impossible to study the psyche “without reference to the luminous world of the Spirit which alone can comprehend the soul.” The reviewer praises the book for presenting all aspects of alchemy in the light of the Spirit including its relation to art, and particularly for the explanation of the correspondence between the alchemical process and the stages of the spiritual life.
Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the SoulBurckhardt, Titus *Nasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 2, No. 2. ( Spring, 1968) Comparative Religion
Article
Nasr encapsulates the argument of his essay when he states: “The Universal Man…is then the sum of all degrees of existence, a total mirror before the Divine Presence and at the same time the supreme archetype of creation.” Meaning that, it is man’s embodiment of the qualities of God that permit him to remain human. It is only the attraction to a higher power that prevents man’s descent into a sub-human life. Nasr cites the Quran and R¬umi throughout this writing in order to emphasize the importance of conquering one’s inner nature and maintaining spiritual disciplines in order to remain fully human.
Who is Man?: The Perennial Answer of IslamNasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 2, No. 1. ( Winter, 1968) Islam
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