William ChittickDivine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God

Yale University Press, 2013

by Kristian Petersen on September 2, 2014

William Chittick

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Islamic Studies] Where does love come from and where will it lead us? Throughout the years various answers have been given to these questions. In Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God (Yale University Press, 2013), William Chittick, professor at Stony Brook University, responds to these queries from the perspective of the rich literary traditions of Islam. He reveals how some Muslims explained the origins, life, and goal of love through a detailed investigation of authors writing in Persian and Arabic mainly from the eleventh to twelfth centuries. For these authors, love is manifest through the relationship between God and creation in all of its various iterations. Commentary and explanation are drawn from numerous sources beginning with the Qur’an but most extensively from Rashid al-din Maybudi’s Qur’an commentary, Unveiling of the Mysteries, and Ahmad Sam’ani’s  Repose of the Spirits. In our conversation we discussed the role of the Persian Muslim tradition, the cosmological roles of Adam and Muhammad, the centrality of the heart in the spiritual psychology, states and stations, the macrocosm and microcosm, and the suffering of separation.

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