Jewish and Muslim Mysticism Impossible?


#1

This question occurred to me recently: Are reported instances of Jewish and Muslim episodes of mysticism false? How can God reveal Himself mystically to an adherent of a faith, that, while possessive of certain truths, lacks the complete truth of Catholic revelation?


#2

[quote=Mike O]… How can God …
[/quote]

I thought God could do anything He willed


#3

[quote=steveandersen]I thought God could do anything He willed
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Good answer!


#4

I think Mike makes a good point. Of course God can do anything He wills but God will contradict Himself. If there have been Muslim mystics who claim private revelations that support thier cause, and they are convincing, I would find it disturbing.


#5

[quote=Mijoy2]I think Mike makes a good point. Of course God can do anything He wills but God will contradict Himself. If there have been Muslim mystics who claim private revelations that support thier cause, and they are convincing, I would find it disturbing.
[/quote]

There are other supernatural beings that could impart “private revelations” that would contradict God.


#6

[quote=Mike O]This question occurred to me recently: Are reported instances of Jewish and Muslim episodes of mysticism false? How can God reveal Himself mystically to an adherent of a faith, that, while possessive of certain truths, lacks the complete truth of Catholic revelation?
[/quote]

To whatever extent an individual Jew or Muslim’s personal understanding of God is Catholic, they may experience something authentic. But God cannot be accessed through the errors of other religions.


#7

usually, when something like this happens, the person eventually converts to Christianity.
I will share a story with you told by a friend who went through RCIA. thee was a special speaker there;
he had been in some kind of accident and his body was nearly torn in half at the waste. he died and when he died, he stood in the presance of Christ. Jesus gave him some message (I don’t remember exactly what it was since I heard this story second hand) and sent him back. when he woke up, the doctors had no idea how he could possibly be alive! he is in some medical books to this day because parts of his body are not connected on the inside. anyway, he went floating around from one wierd religion to another. one day, he went to mass with a friend. he said, that at the moment of consicration during the communion prayer, he INSTANTLY reccognized the presance of Christ. not intelectually, but on the inside. he remembered that same “feeling” (for lack of a better word) that he had when he was standing in His presance. Of course, now he is Catholic :slight_smile:

that’s the only story I know about a non christian mystic. but i think it’s a great story and it can happen to anyone the God feels needs it. weather a Jew, Muslum, Buddest, Hindu or athest or whatever.


#8

[quote=Mijoy2]I think Mike makes a good point. Of course God can do anything He wills but God will contradict Himself. If there have been Muslim mystics who claim private revelations that support thier cause, and they are convincing, I would find it disturbing.
[/quote]

So would the world. It would lend credence to the theory that we all pray to the same God. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?:eek:


#9

On the theme of SueKrums story might I suggest the author of the book Salvation is From the Jews, Roy Schoeman’s converstion story (the story is on his website by the same name). Roy was a Jew (still is a Jew, but Catholic) after he “fell into Heaven” one day while walking the dunes of Cape Cod one early spring morning. Facinating story, facinating book.


#10

[quote=mikew262]So would the world. It would lend credence to the theory that we all pray to the same God. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?:eek:
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:confused:

I thought we all did pray to the same God

It’s just that some of us are going about it the wrong way :wink:


#11

[quote=SueKrum]usually, when something like this happens, the person eventually converts to Christianity.
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Sorry, but there have been many Jewish and Muslim mystics over the centuries, few of whom converted to Christianity. And I have a cousin (actually she’s my dad’s first cousin) who converted from Christianity (she was Methodist) to Sufi Islam precisely because she had a hunger for spiritual experience that wasn’t being satisfied in Methodism. Her husband, who also converted to Islam, was Catholic and reported the same thing.

Edwin


#12

well, I gues it depends on weather or not you are talking about “real” spiritual experiances.
some people have a “hunger” for “deeper spirituality” and fall into false traps by the devil. such as new age garbage. like yoga, zodiac signs and the like. there have been many visions and such and if such things lead you away from the True God, that is Jesus Christ, than yes, they are false visions. The point I made in my first post was that people outside of our faith can have a real vision. Look a Paul in the book of Acts. that was my point. but not all visions or spiritual experiances are true. not even all that are had by Christians. that’s why we have to be careful. Satin is a great immatator. he takes what’s holy and twists it a little bit to fool us.


#13

My question was about valid mystical experiences being imparted to Jews or Muslims.

It might be disingenous to claim that all Jewish or Muslim instances of mysticism are false (at least, that is what I imagine a committed Jew or Muslim would say) and therefore there is a problem here. As mysticism is the highest gift God gives to someone on earth, a foretaste of divine contemplation in Heaven, it would seem that this gift would only be imparted to those followers of Christ who revealed Himself to that religion. And yet the Jews and Muslims either deny Christ or do not recognize Him as the Messiah.

There is an inherent contradiction somewhere and that is what my question is getting at. If someone feels compelled to speculate, please identify this as speculation and not as a valid apologetical answer in line with Church teaching. I am hoping an apologist can stop in and give an answer like that.


#14

Well, I’m not a Catholic (in full communion with Rome, that is), let alone a Catholic apologist. So definitely take this as speculation. But I don’t see why God wouldn’t reveal Himself to a sincerely seeking person from another religion. Of course all experience of God is going to be interpreted through the lens with which we are familiar. As Christians we believe that God has given us the right lens. But that doesn’t mean that Jews and Muslims are not experiencing the True God.

And on the whole Jewish and Muslim mystics tend to sound more like Christians than non-mystical Jews and Muslims do. In other words, in both religions the mystical experience of God leads to a more immanent understanding of God as someone who loves us and relates to us intimately, not just someone who is a far-off King and Judge (granted that I’m probably being unfair to non-mystical Judaism and Islam in characterizing it this way).

Here are a couple of examples from one of my favorite Muslim mystics, Rabi’a:

[font=Book Antiqua]Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours
Are the hours I spend with You –
O Allah, I can’t live in this world
Without remembering You–
How can I endure the next world
Without seeing Your face?
I am a stranger in Your country
And lonely among Your worshippers:
This is the substance of my complaint."
[/font]

[font=Book Antiqua]
[/font][font=Book Antiqua]My peace, O my brothers and sisters, is my solitude,
And my Beloved is with me always,
For His love I can find no substitute,
And His love is the test for me among mortal beings,
Whenever His Beauty I may contemplate,
He is my “mihrab”, towards Him is my "qiblah"
If I die of love, before completing satisfaction,
Alas, for my anxiety in the world, alas for my distress,
O Healer (of souls) the heart feeds upon its desire,
The striving after union with Thee has healed my soul,
O my Joy and my Life abidingly,
You were the source of my life and from Thee also came my ecstasy.
I have separated myself from all created beings,
My hope is for union with Thee, for that is the goal of my desire.[/font]


#15

And on the whole Jewish and Muslim mystics tend to sound more like Christians than non-mystical Jews and Muslims do. In other words, in both religions the mystical experience of God leads to a more immanent understanding of God as someone who loves us and relates to us intimately, not just someone who is a far-off King and Judge (granted that I’m probably being unfair to non-mystical Judaism and Islam in characterizing it this way)

I think the big difference between Catholic and Jewish/Muslim mysticism is that Catholics believe in the incarnation, whereas for Jews and Muslims, God is unattainably beyond us. Those mystics they do have are on the frings of mainstream Islam and Judaism. For example, Zohar, for the Jews, and Ibn Attar, for the Muslims.

Although these mystics may have general similarities with Catholic mystics, it is only on the level of the transcendence of God. They would firmly reject any notion of a personal relationship with God such as we see in someone Like Therese of Lisieux, or Theresa of Avila. Even those Catholic mystics who are more philosophically inclined, such as Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure, always base their mysticism on the incarnation.

My greatest concern with non Catholic mystics is that our humanity is usually disolved and destroyed in the mystical experience. Catholic mysticism has its examples of being engulfed and overwhelmed by the transcendent God, but this is always in the context of the incarnation which grounds and raises up our humanity to God.

I haven’t studied Rabi’a though. I agree with you that Jewish and Muslim mystics sound very Christian. I think that those example of mysticism in other religions confirm what Augustin states in his Confessions, “…You made us for yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you.” Book I, i.

God bless.
D


closed #16

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