Friday, February 02, 2007

MUST SEE (if you know French)

Now available on the internet: an excellent and beautifully made documentary about René Guénon. 28 minutes, by Abd al-Haqq Guiderdoni (see photo).

The documentary, Spiritualité islamique : le précieux apport de René Guénon was broadcast on July 4, 2004, on the French channel France 2 in the series Vivre l'Islam (part of Les chemins de la foi).

Guiderdoni introduces and discusses the life and work of Guénon with the help of Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, and Lyess Chacal, a French writer on (and translator of) al-Ghazali. Both are clearly admirers. Their portrayal is nicely balanced, resisting the temptation to make Guénon more Islamic than he really was. The documentary deals only with Guénon himself, not with later Traditionalists.

One criticism: the documentary somewhat exaggerates Guénon's importance in the Muslim world. To say that he is "taught at the Azhar," for example, is misleading: there are indeed a few people at the Azhar who know of his work and even recommend it from time to time, but he is far from being a standard part of the syllabus.

Guiderdoni is French, and has plenty of experience as a broadcaster, even though he's actually an astrophysicist. His Traditionalism is in the line of Abd al-Wahid Pallavicni.

For a bit of color, there are also shots of
  • Muhammad al-Helbawi, a Sufi singer in Cairo
  • Kudsi Erguner, a Turkish ney player
  • Some Mevlevi "whirling dervishes"
  • A more standard Sufi dhikr, in Paris
Original blurb:

Evocation de la vie et de l'oeuvre de René GUENON, restaurateur des études traditionnelles en Occident, chrétien convertit à l'Islam en 1912 et qui a embrassé le soufisme en s'installant en Egypte et en épousant la fille d'un chef spirituel. Riche de ses grands connaissances des autres religions, ses messages sont aujourd'hui enseignés dans l'Islam. Ses travaux et pensées sont évoquées par des entretiens successifs avec Abd Al Haqq GUIDERDONI, l'écrivain et traducteur Lyess CHACAL et le recteur de la grand mosquée de Paris, Dalil BOUBAKEUR. Leurs propos sont illustrés par des photos et alternent avec une psalmodie du maître soufi egyptien Cheick Mohamed EL HALBAWI et une courte prestation musicale du musicien turc et soufi Kudsi ERGUNER.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Very interesting Blog! Lots to read I'll have to come back.