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William C. Chittick, Ph.D.
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William C. Chittick is professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Born and raised in Connecticut, he finished his B.A. at the College of Wooster in 1966. He then studied Persian for a summer at the University of Texas and went to Iran. After receiving his Ph.D. in Persian literature at Tehran University in 1973, he taught comparative religion at a technical university in Tehran and continued to study Islamic thought at the Iranian Academy of Philosophy. He left Iran just before the revolution, served for a time as an editor with the Encyclopedia Iranica at Columbia University, and along with his wife, Sachiko Murata, joined the Religious Studies faculty at Stony Brook in 1983.

He has lectured around the world and published 30 books and numerous articles on Islamic intellectual history, concentrating on the interface between Sufism and philosophy. His books include The Sufi Path of Love (SUNY, 1983), The Sufi Path of Knowledge (SUNY, 1989), The Heart of Islamic Philosophy (Oxford, 2001), Ibn Arabi: Heir to the Prophets (Oneworld, 2005), Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul (Oneworld, 2007), and, with Sachiko Murata, The Vision of Islam (Paragon, 1994). For the past ten years, he has worked along with Murata and Tu Weiming investigating the uniquely Chinese form of Islamic philosophy that flourished among the Huiru, the “Muslim Confucians.” The latest result of their research is The Sage Learning of Liu Zhi: Islamic Thought in Confucian Terms (Harvard, 2009).

Blog Entries by William C. Chittick, Ph.D.

Sufism and the Path of Love

(20) Comments | Posted April 13, 2011 | 7:00 PM

Before modern times, sharia-mindedness played a much more limited role among Muslims than it does today. No doubt jurists devoted a great deal of effort to writing books on the fine points of law, and theologians dedicated their lives to investigating the mysteries of the divine nature. But these were...

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The Beauty of Following the Guidance of God

(264) Comments | Posted March 12, 2011 | 5:07 PM

I said in my last post that Islamic thought divides human beauty into two basic sorts, innate and acquired.

Innate beauty is the harmonious balance of the entire range of divine attributes present in the human substance, such as life, consciousness, desire, power, speech, compassion, justice and kindness. Acquired...

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Islam and the Innate Beauty of Human Nature

(148) Comments | Posted February 2, 2011 | 9:37 PM

Islamic texts typically begin talk of God's love by citing the Quranic verse, "He loves them" (5:54), which is to say that God loves human beings. God's love is enough to show that people are beautiful, for "God is beautiful and He loves beauty." Human beauty, however, is of two...

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The Islamic Notion of Beauty

(330) Comments | Posted January 1, 2011 | 5:54 PM

Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of Islamic culture knows that it has produced extraordinary works of art and architecture -- Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra. Few are aware, however, that this rich artistic heritage is firmly rooted in a worldview that highlights love and beauty.

...

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The Islamic Notion of Mercy

(384) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 6:57 PM

Acquaintances of mine who have participated in recent dialogues between Christian and Muslim theologians, such as those organized by A Common Word, report that one of the biggest misunderstandings shown by Christian theologians is the notion that Islam has little or nothing to say about love.

One...

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Islam, God and the Shining Light of Love

(170) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 12:59 PM

"God is love," the New Testament teaches, and Muslim theologians would respond, "But of course." The problem is that we are not God. As Jesus said, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God " (Mark 10:18). There is no authentic love but one,...

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Islam and the Goal of Love

(218) Comments | Posted November 6, 2010 | 8:20 PM

Muslim scholars who claimed that Islam specifically and religion generally are based on love were not simply talking through their hats, as many readers of my previous post seem to think. They offered plenty of evidence. In order to see its logic, however, we need to remember the two axioms...

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Islam: A Religion Of Love

(790) Comments | Posted October 14, 2010 | 7:42 AM

In the field of religious studies, the word "religion" is commonly understood to designate a worldview along with the various cultural phenomena that embody it, such as doctrine, ritual and art. In this broad sense of the term, everyone has a "religion," whether acknowledged or not.

...

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The Meaning of Islam

(690) Comments | Posted September 22, 2010 | 7:15 PM

A few years back, long before 9/11, one of our Religious Studies majors told me that she had taken my course to learn why she should hate Islam. As a normal young American growing up on Long Island, she had no doubt that she should hate Islam, but she still...

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Which 'Islam'? Exploring the Word's Many Meanings

(257) Comments | Posted August 14, 2010 | 7:07 AM

People often ask me what Islam says about this or what Islam says about that. I usually ask them what they mean by "Islam." Not many people have anything more than a vague idea of what this word can designate, not to speak of the diverse meanings that have been...

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Rumi and the Ocean of God's Love

(373) Comments | Posted July 19, 2010 | 1:50 PM

Rumi is justly celebrated as one of the great poets of human history. When I started reading him as an undergraduate 45 years ago, I did not know Persian and relied on the work of R. A. Nicholson, who produced the first critical edition of Rumi's 25,000-verse Mathnawi along with...

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