A valuable book for both Westerners and Muslims. New avenues of approach
and surprising insights into the "five pillars" of faith are afforded by the
universality of Schuon's perspective--valuable both to Westerners and to Muslims
seeking a deeper understanding of the basis of faith.
Frithjof Schuon is best known as the foremost spokesman of the religio perennis and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. Over the past 50 years, he has written more than 20 books on metaphysical, spiritual and ethnic themes as well as having been a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon's writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities.
Schuon was born in 1907 in Basle, Switzerland, of German parents. As a youth, he went to Paris, where he studied for a few years before undertaking a number of trips to North Africa, the Near East and India in order to contact spiritual authorities and witness traditional cultures. Following World War II, he accepted an invitation to travel to the American West, where he lived for several months among the Plains Indians, in whom he has always had a deep interest. Having received his education in France, Schuon has written all his major works in French, which began to appear in English translation in 1953. Of his first book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions (London, Faber & Faber) T.S. Eliot wrote: "I have met with no more impressive work in the comparative study of Oriental and Occidental religion."
The dominant theme or principle of Schuon's writings was
foreshadowed in his early encounter with a Black marabout who had accompanied
some members of his Senegalese village to Switzerland in order to demonstrate
their culture. When the young Schuon talked with him, the venerable old man drew
a circle with radii on the ground and explained: "God is in the center, all
paths lead to Him."