Conflict and Compassion Series
Introduction to Tariq Ramadan’s talk Towards a Spiritual Empathy
By Diana Grace-Jones
"It is a great pleasure to welcome you, having heard the passion and erudition with which you spoke when I heard you at the Hay Literary festival last year, and the pleasure that I have had in reading your book, The Messenger. I eagerly look forward to your talk.
Tariq Ramadan has been described as one of the 100 most influential minds of this century; he has a global influence. He has also been likened to being for Islam as Martin Luther was to the Reformation. From that likeness we can guess that Tariq Ramadan is a challenging and controversial figure.
He speaks very eloquently of the problem of exile which he himself has experienced - being born in Geneva of parents that fled Nasser’s Egypt. On a more personal note he speaks of the problem of fatherhood both for himself and in Islam - and also of the necessity for Fatherhood in its role of transmission of spiritual values. Something of great concern to us all, I think.
Speaking of Fatherhood, Professor Ramadan’s father was part of the Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt, which has been seen as being part of the beginning of the difficulties we are in.
As you know the Guild has as its patron Professor C G Jung, the Swiss depth psychologist. He was well aware of the Arab scholars whose alchemical texts he studied, of the mystics (one of whom was a woman) in the 8th century, and of the influence of Islamic thought in astronomy and cosmology. Jung visited Egypt in 1926. He said Islam has been misrepresented by prejudiced teachers; we have a funny idea of Islam through bad education. It is represented by our theologians as dry and empty, but there is tremendous life in it - particularly in Islamic mysticism.
In the Dream Seminars that Jung gave in 1929 he speaks a lot about Islam because of the dreams of a man who was born among Muslims and dreamt of the Cross and the Crescent. In 1929 Jung wrote, referring to that man and his problems, but now having a resonance for our day: the irreconcilable nature of Christianity and Islam must be reconciled. And he goes on: If it were possible to extract the essential truth of each and blend them, then out of that clash would come an enormous illumination which would amount to a new conviction. Both Christianity and Islam are psychological methods of treating diseases of the human soul.
So if we do have a ‘funny’ idea about Islam then there can be no better person to put that right.
His talk is entitled: Towards a Spiritual Empathy"
The Lecture is available as a Recording and is available through the Guild’s website.