The reality of Bosnia and Herzegovina reopens the problem of the role of religious differences in starting and waging wars. The title suggests the necessity of finding what is common in all religions, that is, the necessity of rethinking the relationship between faith and the Mind. The war that took tens of thousands of lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina displaced hundreds of thousands of people—showed that faith can still be instrumentalized and used against man and the idea of humanity. The text was created as an interpretation of the Western oblivion of the traditional value system and, as such is a call to re-examine our relationship to religion.
In his work East and West, Abdul al-Wahid Yahya tried to warn the West of the consequences of abandoning traditional values and adhering to the rationalist, Cartesian concept of reality—and he drew, among other things, a parallel with distinguishing between wisdom and “profane wisdom.” Profane wisdom is a negation of wisdom as such and represents a fallacy of thinking that believes that all answers can be found at the level of rational human analysis of the world: “People have sought to define philosophy as ‘human wisdom’; indeed it is, but with the strong reserve that it is nothing more than that, a wisdom purely human, in the most limited sense of this word, derived from no element of a higher order than reason; to avoid all uncertainty we would call it also ‘profane wisdom’, but that amounts to saying that it is not really a wisdom at all, but only the illusory appearance of one.” Abdul al-Wahid Yahya, East and West, trans. Martin Lings (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 42.
This is the reason why here I have reached for the thoughts and deeds of Abdul al-Wahid Yahya, because in a series of books that inspired the modern version of perennial philosophy, he considered the Western context of losing spirituality and turning to materiality and rationality, propaganda, popularization, false morality, and sentimentality as the reverse of rationality, seeing in it the threatening collapse of the West: “It is one of the forms taken by this strange need for propaganda which animates the Western mind, and which can only be explained by the predominant influence of sentiment. No intellectual consideration justifies proselytism, in which the Easterners see nothing but a proof of ignorance and incomprehension; there is a complete difference between simply expounding the truth as one has understood it, with the one care not to disfigure it, and wishing at any price to make others share one's own conviction. Propaganda and popularization are not even possible except to the detriment of the truth…” Ibid., p. 19.
The science that is mostly reflected in the idea of industry is a part of the world that can provide particular answers but also lead to divisions. It is a phenomenon that wants to take the position of the highest authority and respond only to the demands of productivity: “Western science, even when not purely and simply confused with industry, even when considered apart from all practical applications, is still, in the eyes of the Easterners, nothing but this ‘ignorant knowledge’ that we have spoken of, because it is not attached to any principle of a higher order.” Ibid., p. 43.
Enzo Traverso has brilliantly described where all this leads in his book The New Faces of Fascism: Populism and the Far Right: “The rhetoric of Muslim invasion, on the Islamicized republic, is a scarecrow for preserving a particular understanding of French identity—one finds it in Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Zemmour, Renaud Camus, and so on. And it closely resembles the German campaigns of the late 19th century against the ‘Jewish invasion.’ This propaganda should be compared to the whole campaign that, from the 1890s until the Great War, denounced the immigration of eastern, especially Polish Jews arriving in Germany or France, described as an ‘invasion’…. Islamophobia today structures the European nationalisms, as was the case with anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century.” Translated from Croatian and quoted from: Enzo Traverso, Nova lica fašizma (Zagreb: Tim Press, 2018), pp. 83–84 (title of the original: Les nouveaux visages du facisme, Paris, Editions Textuel, 2017).
It is never obsolete to draw attention to the fact that the European Jews, with the help of the Zionist regime, have become oppressors of the Palestinians. Bosnia and Herzegovina's future also has the potential to turn victims into some future executioners. That is why it is necessary to talk, to confess to crimes, to find mass graves…. It is necessary to warn that the victim must be greater than the crime in order to ensure a minimum of normal life. Needless to say, that is very difficult.
In his book The Crisis of the Modern World, Sheikh Abdul al-Wahid Yahya has warned that a world that turns to pragmatic goals, political promises, materialistically understood progress, and promises given by politicians who have been brought to power by the will of the mindless masses is doomed. This kind of progress necessarily leads to wars because ‘the majority arrogates to itself the right to crush minorities.’ Underlying the fall into the profane is the science's abandonment of mental intuition, of the principles of perennial philosophy, and the result is modern science as a handmaid of industry, the “armed countries,” armed individuals, people turned into machines to kill other people turned into the same kind of machines. Sheikh Abdul al Wahid Yahya, The Crisis of the Modern World, trans. Marco Pallis, Arthur Osborne, and Richard C. Nicholson (Hillsdale, NY:Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 91.
Unlike the teachers of philosophia perennis, I think it is necessary to treat the idea of hierarchy differently (especially when it comes to religious hierarchy). It is the renunciation of the representatives of religious hierarchies at the traditional values of searching for transcendent values that is a key to the decay of the most valuable human traits in human communities. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the confirmations of this way of thinking.
Let us leave for some other occasion the overall contributions of perennial philosophy to the understanding of everyday life in the 20th and 21st centuries. The purpose of this text is to lay bare the degrading of spirituality to the level of quantity and to show its destructive effectiveness in an otherwise traditional society, which in a way used to live perennial philosophy (in its essential determinants).
Abdul al-Wahid Yahya, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), p. 3.