“Prayer is not a request for something: it is the expression of a mode of being, a means of existing and of causing to exist.” ~ Henry Corbin
The Islamic world is not a monolith and never was. There is an Arab Islam, an Arab Syrian Islam, a Malaysian Islam, an Indian Islam and so on.
Within the Islamic world, the world of Islam in Iran was from it’s very beginnings it’s own universe of Iranian spirituality, before and with the entrace of Islam. Islamic Iran is home to many of the greatest philosophers and mystics in Islam – they get close to the spiritual world itself. There are many books on arts and culture in Iran for interested people, but no work manages to really transmit the cultural depth of Iranian spirituality itself, as this can only be found within the visionary world of it’s mystics.
The great scholar Henry Corbin has created his life’s work in accordance to this position. His work is the result of more then twenty years of scholarship he conducted in Iran, in libraries world-wide and in exchange with Iranian scholars and friends. He taught in Paris and Teheran. His methodology to gain access to the depth of Iranian spirituality, Shi’a islam and Sufism has to be understood as Phenomonolgy. He encounters spirituality in a way, that he lives within “the object of scientific research” itself and he describes his findings in the personal style of the real mystic.
One of the Iranian mystics in whose life, impact and writing he describes Islamic Sufi Mysticism itself, is Shahab Al-Din Suhrawardi, but he also talks about many other mystics such as Nadschmuddin Kubra – with Kubra Corbin focuses in particular on his outstanding work on the inner visions of the mystic about which I want to talk in greater depth in subsequent posts.
“It is one of the great cultural achievements of Henry Corbin, that he took the world of spirituality and religion back from the control of a Psychology and Psychiatry.”
It is one of the great cultural achievements of Henry Corbin, that he took the world of spirituality and religion back from the control of a Psychology and Psychiatry that is shaped by 20th century socio-political agendas. Corbin journeys with his readers through subjects that are shunned by Western academy, such as fractal visions, religious transmissions, inner voices, spiritual topographies, ancestor relationships and the God experience itself . Corbin also demonstrates the universality of deep spirituality and connects Sufi Mysticism from 12th century Iran with other traditions of a similar deeply mystical creed, in particlar cultures that were similarly able to protect their chain of spiritual transmission and knowledge (initiation) from the inhumane assault of modern materialism.
“Spiritual freedom and healing is part of the universal human soul’s progression towards the light, when it travels away from the darkness of this material world to it’s re-unification with God.”
Corbin transmits his personal spiritual experience to us in a similar fashion, and I have over time met living mystics who re-discovered in Corbin’s writings their own experiences.
A healthy and authenic spirituality is essential for healthy communities and the healing of individuals, and for this reason I want to dive deeper into the realms of the spiritual imagination to take away certain fears and pre-judices against messages and messengers from the “spiritual worlds” that are part of an authentic spiritual path. Instead I want to transmit self-confindence and knowledge that may help people to understand that what they perhaps encounter on their path to spiritual freedom and healing is part of the universal human soul’s progression towards the light, when it travels away from the darkness of this material world to it’s re-unification with God.
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