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Welcome to the website for the Harvard and Greater Boston Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam reading and translation seminar. On the right, you will find relevant links in order to follow the course.

For Futuhat Readings and the AUDIO recordings from the seminar, see link on the left-hand navigation. column. Fusus Recordings are in "Audio Recordings"

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Excerpt from the Introduction to My Mercy Encompasses All:

"As I read, I thought with some dismay, and some amusement, that the adherents of the Koran and the Bible might be divided into two groups: those who appoint themselves as agents of divine anger, and those who understand themselves as called to be agents of divine mercy. As never before, I thought of the unimaginable distance between God's anger and God's love - and of the speed with which Christians sometimes move from God's presumed anger at other people to his presumptive love for themselves.

"To think of oneself as an agent of God's anger is exceedingly attractive; perhaps this is the temptation that the Lord's Prayer appeals to God not to lead us into. There are certain intense pleasures in anger, especially if one's own anger can be presumed to coincide with God's, and also in the use of an angry self-righteousness as a standard by which to condemn other people. This is a pleasure necessarily founded on the shallowest sort of self-knowledge. There is much comedy in this (as Shakespeare, for one, knew well), and also great tragedy. It is evidently possible to indulge one's anger, justifying it as God's, and relying on God's mercy hereafter - but that seems to bet against great odds, and with hell to pay here and now for a lot of people. For those who appoint themselves agents of God's anger, there can be only diversion and strife until the end of time.

"To take up, by contrast, the agency of God's mercy seems to involve one in a labor of self-knowledge and then knowledge of others that is endlessly humbling. This perhaps is a comedy of another kind: We ourselves are in need of those things we are called upon to give to others: compassion, forgiveness, mercy. And unless we give them, we cannot receive them. God's mercy is of interest to us only in the light of our recognition of our need for it. Those who accept the agency of God's mercy, understanding their own need for it as the index of the need for others, must forbear their anger and talk together ("hold discourse" in the language of Dr. Shah-Kazemi's translation) until the end of time, for God's mercy is a mystery never to be fully known or enacted by humans."