the Ihsani Intellectual Tradition


So it goes ...
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As Islam is receiving a pretty unfair press at the moment, this is by way of saying that there are those who are not Muslim who neverthess can see the validty of Islam, and what it has to offer the world.

The full text can be found at:

"Ihsan is an Arabic word which comes from the root hasana, meaning to be beautiful, good, fine, or lovely. The word ihsan is the noun form of the verb ahsana, which means to make beautiful, good, fine, or lovely. Ihsan thus means making beautiful or good, or doing what is beautiful or good. The ihsani intellectual tradition begins with the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, who told his companions that 'God has ordained ihsan for everything.' In perhaps his most famous teaching on the subject he said: 'Ihsan is to worship God as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, He nonetheless sees you.' The central manifestation of the practice of ihsan took form in what is traditionally known as Sufism (Islamic mysticism), where the emphasis is on making one's heart and soul beautiful so that beauty will arise naturally from within. But the ihsani tradition has taken on many forms, under many names, throughout Islamic history. Wherever there has been a vibrant Islamic civilization, be it Sunni or Shii, the ihsani intellectual tradition has been present in one form or another. Though it is not absent from the modern world, its political, social, and intellectual influence has decreased dramatically.

Like the philosophy of Plotinus, Meister Eckhart or Shankaracharya, the ihsani intellectual tradition comprises a science of Ultimate Reality in which metaphysics, cosmology, epistemology, psychology, and ethics are elaborated in terms of the attachment of all things to their one true origin, which is also their ultimate end. From this perspective, philosophy is not simply ratiocinative deduction and speculation; rather, it is the science of the Real. But to truly see the Real without the obfuscations of passional predilections and mental constructs, one must first perfect the organ of thought and perception – i.e., the intellect, which according to most traditional Islamic thinkers, resides in the heart."

That's a wonderful post, Thomas. Thank you for sharing this insight about the beauty of Islam. I look forward to hearing more about this from our Muslim members!