Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey

Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey: A Comparative Exploration

IAN RICHARD NETTON
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r220b
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  • Book Info
    Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey
    Book Description:

    This distinctive comparison of Islamic and Christian mysticism focuses on the mystic journey in the two faith traditions.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4605-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Ian Richard Netton
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. CHAPTER 1 EXPLORING THE MYSTICAL IMAGINATION: PERFECTION AND ITS QUINQUE VIAE
    (pp. 1-52)

    In one of her sublime mystical poems, Annemarie Schimmel evokes the quiet of the night and envisages the ‘purple wing’ of the archangel which covers ‘the eyes’ of her heart. Only God remains.¹ In the depth of feeling conveyed by the poem and the aura of transcendence which illuminates it, these verses bear comparison with the famous Noche Oscura poem of the Spanish mystic, Juan de la Cruz, to which we will have occasion to refer in considerable detail later in this text.

    And perhaps it is only in poetry that the essence of Sufism, Islamic mysticism, may truly be...

  6. CHAPTER 2 CAVES, CLOUDS AND MOUNTAINS: THE APOPHATIC TRADITION
    (pp. 53-86)

    In the Qur’ān, God’s values, laws and edicts rule. The same goes for the Qur’ānic cave, which represents a locus of revelation, safety and Divine protection. The ‘physical cave’ and the ‘textual cave’ embrace and disclose the ‘hero’ or vessel of revelation. In the beginning was the Qur’ānic text, to coin a phrase, and the text bespoke God’s salvific, protective and fortifying cave.¹

    Elsewhere, in an analytical study of Sūrat al-Kahf,² I have identified eight distinct sections as forming the elementary structure of this eighteenth sūra of the Qur’ān. Notable among these are ‘the Story of the Companions of the...

  7. CHAPTER 3 THE MYSTIC TELOS: CATAPHATIC AND ECSTATIC TRADITIONS
    (pp. 87-131)

    With these words, E. W. Trueman Dicken begins chapter 5 (‘Contemplation and Spiritual Progress’) of his volume The Crucible of Love, which surveys and analyses the mystical thought of Juan de la Cruz and Teresa of Ávila. And, Dicken adds, only God can ‘teach us to pray’.² As we have seen from both The Cloud and the Noche Oscura, the way is facilitated for the would-be mystic by that mental prayer known as contemplation,³ generally regarded as the highest form of prayer. This is not for the beginner, however, but, rather a Divine gift⁴ for the ‘proficient’, to use Juan’s...

  8. CHAPTER 4 JOURNEY’S END: TOWARDS AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE WAY
    (pp. 132-136)

    Everything signifies. The Qur’ān vividly proclaims: Sa-nurīhim āyātinā fī ’l- āfāq wa fī anfusihim¹ (‘We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and in their very souls [or selves]’). Colour itself, of course, signifies in a very real and dynamic way. In this final chapter we shall draw together the semiotic threads of our previous discussions by highlighting three realms of signification which have been of particular importance in many of our mystical authors. These are: (1) the Realm of Mystic Colour; (2) the Realm of al-Khaḍir/Elijah and the Mystic Journey; and (3) the Realm of the Mystic Telos....

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 137-191)
  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED
    (pp. 192-210)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 211-222)