Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest

Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest

If you are bent on proving that your own tradition alone is correct, and pour scorn on all other points of view, you are interjecting self and egotism into your study, and the texts will remain closed. I found this idea beautifully expressed by the influential twelfth-century Muslim mystic and philosopher Ibn al-Arabi:

Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good, nay, you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter. God, the omnipresent and omnipotent, is not confined to any one creed, for, he says, “Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah.” Everyone praises what he believes; his god is his own creation, and in praising it he praises himself. Consequently he blames the beliefs of others, which he would not do if he were just, but his dislike is based on ignorance.

This was becoming my own experience. I was writing about the three Abrahamic faiths, but could not see any of one of them as superior to any of the others. Indeed, I was constantly struck by their profound similarity. I was equally delighted by the insights of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian thinkers: none of them had a monopoly of truth. Working in isolation from one another, and often in a state of deadly hostility, they had come up with remarkably similar conclusions. The unanimity seemed to suggest that they were onto something real about the human condition.”

The Spiral Staircase, P. 288-289

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