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Mohammed Rustom: The End of Islamic Philosophy

Mohammed Rustom: The End of Islamic Philosophy
Photo: Portrait of a student/ Marabout, Algeria; 1880.



From the Necessary did all things proceed,
contingent, mutable, and ever in need.
Issuing forth from a realm most sublime,
they sank in the flow of the river of time.
In the cosmic crypt they emerged in an instant,

bodily in origination, spiritually subsistent.
Traversing the arcs of descent and ascent,
the circle of existence reveals His intent.
Yet questions come and ideas collide,
uneasy in the mind they reside.
Such is the story of modern man,
living life confused, without a plan.
Of what use is the study of philosophy,
if not taken from the niche of Prophecy?
To see this way as mere artifact and history,
obscures its lasting and profound mystery.
And Muslim name but secular mind,
produce not knowledge of an Islamic kind.
‘Illa, ma‘lul, cause and effect,
upon these notions your system erect!
From Mashsha’is, Ishraqis, Sadrians and others,
take what you need, but of wisdom be lovers.
Through the tools of logic sharpen your mind,
with the science of poverty intellect’s fetters unbind.
For man is not just mind and thought,
but a soul affected by actions wrought.
Hence the need of return to the purest way,
of those who discerned night from day.
’Twas the Intellect’s Light to which they clung,
ascending on Heaven’s ladder, rung by rung.
Why harp on the problem of time and eternity?
You yourself become eternal, then you will see.
If you wish to master the art of seeing,
first understand the primacy of Being.
Of all things its concept is the best-known,
yet its reality remains forever un-shown.
We are all modes of Being, rays of Light.
Awaken to this reality, O soul, take flight!
For the realized one alike are coming and going,
as he witnesses things through the All-Knowing.
His body and soul transcend time and space--
like a star, shining in the firmament of No-Place. 

(Mohammed Rustom)


Recommended Reading:

Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present: Philosophy in the Land of Prophecy
By Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Author)

Purchase Book:



Islamic Philosophy from Its Origin to the Present offers a comprehensive overview of Islamic philosophy from the ninth century to the present day. As Seyyed Hossein Nasr attests, within this tradition, philosophizing is done in a world in which prophecy is the central reality of life—a reality related not only to the realms of action and ethics but also to the realm of knowledge. Comparisons with Jewish and Christian philosophies highlight the relation between reason and revelation, that is, philosophy and religion.

Nasr presents Islamic philosophy in relation to the Islamic tradition as a whole, but always treats this philosophy as philosophy, not simply as intellectual history. In addition to chapters dealing with the general historical development of Islamic philosophy, several chapters are devoted to later and mostly unknown philosophers. The work also pays particular attention to the Persian tradition.

Nasr stresses that the Islamic tradition is a living tradition with significance for the contemporary Islamic world and its relationship with the West. In providing this seminal introduction to a tradition little-understood in the West, Nasr also shows readers that Islamic philosophy has much to offer the contemporary world as a whole.
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