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  • Date :
  • 7/9/2003

The Mystery of Number1-

by: Schimmel, Annemarie

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Publisher: Oxford Univ, Date Published: 1993, 314 pages.

Why is the number seven lucky - even holy - in almost every culture? Why do cats have nine lives (except in Iran, where they have seven)? From literature to folklore to private superstitions, numbers play a conspicuous role in our daily lives. But in this fascinating book, Annemarie Schimmel shows that numbers have been filled with mystery and meaning since the earliest times, and across every society. In The Mystery of Numbers Annemarie Schimmel conducts an illuminating tour of the mysteries attributed to numbers over the centuries. She begins with an informative and often surprising introduction to the origins of number systems: pre-Roman Europeans, for example, may have had one based on twenty, not ten (as suggested by the English word "score" and the French word for 80, quatrevingt - four times twenty), while the Mayans had a system more sophisticated than our own. Schimmel also reveals how our fascination with numbers has led to a rich cross-fertilization of knowledge: "Arabic" numerals, for instance, were picked up byEurope from the Arabs, who had earlier adopted them from Indian sources ("algorithm" and "algebra" are corruptions of the Arabic author and title names of a mathematical text prized in medievalEurope). But the heart of the book is an engrossing guide to the symbolism of numbers. Number symbolism, she shows, has deep roots in Western culture, from the philosophy of the Pythagoreans and Platonists, to the religious mysticism of the Cabala and the Islamic Brethren of Purity, to Kepler's belief that the laws of planetary motion should be mathematically elegant, to the unlucky thirteen. After exploring the sources of number symbolism, Schimmel examines individual numbersranging from one to ten thousand, discussing the meanings they have had for Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions, with examples from Indian, Chinese, and Native American cultures as well. Two, for instance, has widely been seen as a number of contradiction and polarity. And six, according to ancient and neo-Platonic thinking, is the most perfect number because it is both the sum and the product of its parts (1+2+3=6 and 1x2x3=6). Using examples ranging from the Mayans to Shakespeare, she shows how numbers have been considered feminine and masculine, holy and evil, lucky and unlucky. A highly respected scholar of Islamic culture, Annemarie Schimmel draws on her vast knowledge to paint a rich, cross-cultural portrait of the many meanings of numbers. Engaging and accessible, her account uncovers the roots of a phenomenon we all feel every Friday the thirteenth.

#017b79">2- STATE, SOCIETY, and LAW in ISLAM
 Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective

r: #017b79"> By: Haim Gerber
reviewed by: Tanju Çataltepe

SUNY, 1994

Haim Gerber is Professor of Islamic History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In this book, he examines the court records and fetwa collections from the central part of the empire during the period between 16th and 19th centuries. Gerber demonstrates two important results: 1) Ottoman law was impersonal, predictable and institutional as opposed to the Weberian dictum about the Islamic law being mostly arbitrary. 2) Ottoman law was the Islamic law. The kanun existed not to replace but to supplant the sharia in areas where gaps existed.

Gerber's findings discredit the Weberian thesis that the legal institutions of Islam could not keep up with the development of the society and was a hindrance to economic development. He also shows that the claims to the secular nature of the Ottoman state cannot find any support in its legal institutions. Even though the material evidence of the book is mostly limited to Istanbul and western Anatolia, it agrees well with studies concerning more peripheral parts of the Ottoman state.

3-Imaginal Worlds: Ibn Al-'Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity

n dir="ltr" xstyle="font-size: 10.0pt; font-family: tahoma"> By: Chittick, William
Pub. Date: 01/95
Publisher: SUNY


Ibn al'Arabi, known as the "Greatest Master," is the most influential Muslim thinker of the past 600 years. This book is an introduction to his thought concerning the ultimate destiny of human beings, God and the cosmos, and the reasons for religious diversity. It summarizes many of Ibn al'Arabi's teachings in a simple manner. The ideas discussed are explained in detail.


Introduces the thought of al-Arabi (A.D. 1165-1240), perhaps the most influential Islamic writer, on the ultimate destiny of humans, God, and everything, and the reasons for religious diversity. Explains his concept of human perfection, the implications of the World of Imagination, and why God's wisdom demands diversity. Also suggests how al-Arabi's teachings can be used in the modern study of world religions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Table of Contents

Pt. I: Human Perfection
1- Oneness of Being
2- Microcosm, Macrocosm, and Perfect Man
3- Ethics and Antinomianism
4- Self-Knowledge and the Original Human Disposition
Pt. II: Worlds of Imagination
5- Revelation and Poetic Imagery
6- Meetings with Imaginal Men

7-Death and the Afterlife

Pt. III: Religious Diversity
8- A Myth of Origins
9- Diversity of Belief
10- The Divine Roots of Religion
Index of Sources
Index of Koranic Verses
Index of Hadiths and Sayings
Index of Names and Terms

r="#017b79">4- Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth:
 From Mazdean Iran to Shi'ite Iran
By: Corbin, Henry
Pub Date: 06/89
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Binding: Trade Paper, 374pp.

It may be that the world which our authors here describe in symbolic language as the 'eighth climate' will be seen by Western people as the 'lost continent'. Should some of them be searching for it, the Spiritual Masters whom the present book seeks to interpret will perhaps serve as their guides.


"This is a translation of 11 traditional texts of Iranian Islam from the 12th century to the present, with 100 pages of introduction by Professor Corbin. . . . Reading this book is an adventure in a beautiful alien land, again and again experiencing sudden pangs of recognition of the deeply familiar among the totally exotic".--"The Journal of Analytical Psychology".Lightning Print On Demand Title

: #017b79">5-The Essential Writings of Frithjof Schuon
Nasr, Seyyed HosseinBy;

Pub Date: 06/02
Publisher: Vega Books

'I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion'. -- T.S. Eliot.

r="#017b79">6-Road to the Heart: Poems
ByFrithjof Schuon
Pub Date: 1995
Publisher: World Wisdom Books
Binding: Paper, 103pp.

Poetry has been called "the language of the gods," and in this collection of over 80 short poems, the principles and insights expressed in Schuon's other writings find a lyric voice in the most simple and concise form. The poetic imagery is both metaphysical and mystical--whether Hindu, Christian, Moslem or Red Indian--as well as drawing on the rich and universal symbolism of Virgin Nature. The message, much needed in our times, in an affirmation of the essential goodness of creation and the preciousness of the human state, not through self-deceiving optimism, but because the Good and the Real coincide, because God's essential nature is merciful, because man's deepest being is joy, peace and immortality.

A finite image of Infinity:
This is the purpose of all poetry.
All human work to its last limits tends;
Its Archetype in Heaven never ends.

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