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  • 7/10/2003

1-Beacon of Knowledge

Essays in Honor of Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Edited by Mohammed H. Faghfoory
with a Preface by Huston Smith

Fons Vitae Forthcoming Spring 2003

Seyyed Hossein Nasr is an extraordinary scholar and thinker of Ibn Sina's and Suhrawardi's caliber, the like of whom appears once in many generations. He has always been an educator, yet he has addressed in a powerful and systematic way a much broader audience than his students, teaching not only issues of religious and spiritual nature, but also the relationship between religion and science, the spiritual crisis of modern man, the environmental crisis, fallacies of modernism and fundamentalism and other political issues. No other scholar, Muslim or non-Muslim, has done so much to revive the intellectual dimensions of traditional civilizations, including Islam.

No other contemporary teacher's writings have been translated into so many different languages, nor have they found as many readers as Nasr's works have, in countries as diverse as Malaysia, Turkey, Australia, and Indonesia, in addition to European countries and the United States. In this book three generations of Professor Nasr's students have come together to pay tribute to a teacher who has been recognized as 'one of the major intellects of our time'. The diversity in age and background of these students, in a sense, reflects Dr. Nasr's profound impact on the international intellectual community that expands far beyond the boundaries of the Muslim world.

#de893d">2- Mystical Astrology
According to Ibn 'Arabi

by Titus Burckhardt, Keith Critchlow

Fons Vitae; From the Fons VitaeTitus Burckhardt Series

A unique work, providing the underlying spiritual principles (from the point of view of one of the greatest Sufi masters who ever lived) lacking in most modern books of astrology. It will complement and deepen anyone's personal library or collection of works on astrology.
Titus Burckhardt, son of Swiss sculptor Carl Burckhardt and great nephew of famous art historian Jacob Burckhardt, was born in Florence in 1908. His youth was devoted to studies in art, art history, and oriental languages, and to journeys through North Africa and the Near East. In 1942, he became director of the Graf-Verlag publishing house, which specialized in facsimile editions of ancient manuscripts. He presided over the interesting series Statten des Geistes (Homesteads of the Spirit) covering Mount Sinai, Celtic Ireland, and Constantinople. To this he contributed two of his own works, Siena: City of the Virgin and Chartres and the Genesis of the Gothic Cathedral.
In 1972 he was appointed to UNESCO for the preservation of the ancient city of Fez, and at the same time, immersed himself in the Arabic language and assimilated the classics of Sufism in their original form. He later shared these treasures through his translations of Ibn Arabi's Letters of a Sufi Master and other works. He died in 1984.



Interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak

Fons Vitae (1998)

The twelfth-century Sufi Shihabuddun Yahya Al-Suhrawardi (1155-11 91 A.D., 549-587 A.H.) was the founder of the Illuminationist or Ishraqi school, a philosophy of "light" or intellectual intuition, influenced by Platonism, Hermeticism, and, especially, the teachings of Persian Sufi masters. Born in Azerbaijan, Suhrawardi spent most of his adult life in Persia, where he died at the age of 38, after being imprisoned by the authorities for his beliefs. He is the author of over 50 works in Arabic and Persian, including the treatise presented here and the work that is considered his masterpiece,Hikmat al-ishraq (The Theosophy of Illumination).
"How do souls differ from one another in the eternal realm?" This and other related matters are addressed in Suhrawardi's treatise,Hayakal al-Nur, which is arranged in seven categories called "Forms of Light." Points considered in this volume include the limitations of man's senses and his true or theomorphic essence; the nature and levels of the human soul and the various realms or Centers, theNur al Muhammadior Absolute Mind, as well as Ordinary Mind and Divine Mind, the nature of the firmaments; and the meaning of pleasure and pain.
Also included here: a preface drawn from the words of the twelfth-century saint and masterAbd al-Qadir al-Jilani on the inner nature of the human heart, explicating the mystical Qur'anic verse on Light; an introduction by Shaikh Tosun Bayrak differentiating between mystical philosophy and the philosophy of Sufism; ten pieces of calligraphy of the Beautiful Names of Allah from the Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami) in Bursa, Turkey; and a Sufi fable in which a mysterious city becomes a metaphor for the layers of the human soul and for the created world, simultaneously.
In this last marvelous section, a Wayfarer journeys inward to the castle at the Center and encounters the Principles, Virtues, and Vices clothed as administrators and members of the population. After passing through the outer domains of thenafs Ammara, the Imperious City of Freedom and Pleasure, and Lawwama, the City of Self Reproach, he at last reaches Mulhima, the four districts of the inner City of Love and Inspiration. Here a guide appears who will lead him on to Self-Annihilation: "Be nought, be nought, be nought, so that you will be forever." Like one of the birds who traveled with the Hoopoe toward God inThe Conference of the Birds, he reaches faqr, the total emptiness required for the soul's Return.

Shaikh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi is the author of interpretations from the Turkish of Ibn 'Arabi'sDivine Governance of the Human Kingdom and al-Jilani'sThe Secret of Secrets . He has also translated as-Sulami'sWay of Sufi Chivalry and has written a meditation onThe Most Beautiful Names.

4-Underneath Which Rivers Flow

The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden

Emma Clark

Fons Vitae

The idea of Paradise being a garden is a very ancient one.  In the Qur’an the phrase most frequently used to describe the Gardens of Paradise (jannat al-firdaws) is “Underneath Which Rivers Flow” (tajri min tahtiha al-anhar).
In this monograph the author aims to demonstrate, not only that these gardens are the archetype on which all Islamic gardens are based, but also to explain their profound sacred symbolism.  Like the medieval garden in Christendom, the Islamic garden represents a kind of sacred art, the aim of which is to draw the visitor closer to God.
The Islamic gardens on earth are like shadows of the true Paradise Gardens and serve as reminders to mankind of the heavenly abode to which the righteous will return.

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