Senin, 24 November 2014

God and Philosophy

Book Review: God and Philosophy – By Etienne Gilson

by Jeremiah Dahl

The Author
Étienne Gilson (1884–1978) was a French philosopher and educator. He taught the history of medieval philosophy at the Sorbonne, took the chair of medieval philosophy at the College de France, and in 1929 helped found the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, Canada. Although primarily a historian of philosophy, Gilson was also one of the leaders of the Roman Catholic neo-Thomist movement. Honored by universities around the world, he wrote many books, including The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy and Wisdom and Love in Saint Thomas Aquinas. 

Selasa, 04 November 2014

From ‘Hard’ to ‘Soft’ Colonialism In Brunei

 By Edi Kurniawan*

According to the data given by Harun Abdul Majid (2007:3) the size of Brunei is 5,270 square kilometres, of which three-quarters is still pristine rain forest. The population (2002 estimate) is 343,700. The population comprises Malays (between 64% and 67%) and Chinese (between 16% and 20%). In terms of religion, Muslims make up 63% of the population, while 14% are Buddhists, 8% are Christians and 15% are indigenous and people with other beliefs.
This data informs us of how small Brunei is; perhaps many of us are asking about why Brunei Darussalam is so small a country and how could that has happened?
To answer this question, let us look at the history of the country. In the early 15th Century, with the decline of the Majapahit kingdom and widespread conversion to Islam, Brunei became an independent Sultanate, in which it was greatly influential in the spreading of Islam.
From the 16th to the 19th century, the Sultanate of Brunei ruled over Borneo, Sulu, Moro, Cebu, Oton, Manila and some islands adjacent to it. Brunei enjoyed particular prominence during the era of Sultan Bolkiah. This era is regarded as the golden age of the Brunei Empire, with territories stretching far and wide as mentioned above.

Sabtu, 01 November 2014

Three Dimensions of the Ruh

Ibn 'Arabî's "hagiographical" work, the Ruh al-Quds fî munâsahat al-nafs, opens with the rather emphatic declaration "it is rare, these days, for companionship (suhba) to be based on anything save flattery (mudâhana)". [1] What follows in his introduction is a vicious attack on contemporary Sufism, mentioning the adoption of Sufi dress, the khânaqâh system, and a twice-iterated "ban" on the Sufi practice of samâ'. However, self-criticism by "Sufi" authors is in no sense a new genre initiated by Ibn 'Arabî. Indeed, the Shaykh tells us here that al-Qushayrî "most severely rebukes them at the beginning of his Risâla". (p. 42) It remains to be seen then, what positive contribution Ibn 'Arabî offers in his criticisms and in particular: if companionship is now "flattery-based", how is it that in this corrupt age, Ibn 'Arabî himself manages to form over fifty meaningful companionships of which, moreover, he has recorded some but "kept quiet" concerning most? (p. 139)
The work is naturally divided into three sections of roughly equal length by those biographical accounts. More fundamentally, however, as we shall see, there is a thematic division corresponding to the classic Sufi itinerary of mi'râj (ascent), pp. 31-88; the ruju' (return), pp. 139-176; and the divine sphere (mushâhada) where these multiple mi'râjs and ruju's actually take place, pp. 88-139.