, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 143-145
Date: 26 Jan 2012

Review of Patrick Laude, Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guénon, and Schuon

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Can a renewed engagement with Islamic spirituality, what Patrick Laude calls ‘inner Islam’, help mend the various rifts between Islam and the West? Does inner Islam—for Laude, roughly coterminous with, but not identical to, Sufism—offer spiritual resources for Muslims seeking to explore the interiority of their own faith and renew its vitality? These are questions that Laude poses in Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guénon, and Schuon, where inner Islam is an ‘antidote to the philosophical disarray, intellectual poverty, and spiritual pathology that characterize too many sectors of Islamic thought and practice’ (20).

For Laude—a Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar—inner Islam can provide Muslims with ‘an authentic means of engaging and understanding other faiths’ (171). In this search for Islamic ‘authenticity’, it is deeply ironic that Laude chose four thinkers whose relations with Islam would be summarily dismissed by many contemporary ...