Sachiko Murata (村田幸子, born 1943) is Japanese scholar of comparative philosophy and mysticism and a professor of religion and Asian studies at Stony Brook University. She is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.
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- As everyone knows, Islam set up a social order from the outset, in contrast, for example, to Christianity. Islamic social teachings are so basic to the religion that still today many people, including Muslims, are completely unaware of Islam's spiritual dimensions. Social order demands rules and regulations, fear of the king, respect for the police, acknowledgement of authority. It has to be set up on the basis of God's majesty and severity. It pays primary attention to the external realm, the realm of the body and the desires of the lower soul, the realm where God is distant from the world. In contrast, Islamic spiritual teachings allow for intimacy, love, boldness, ecstatic expressions, and intoxication in the Beloved. All these are qualities that pertain to nearness to God. … In short, on the social level, Islam affirms the primacy of God as King, Majestic, Lord, Ruler. It establishes a theological patriarchy even if Muslim theologians refuse to apply the word father (or mother) to God. God is yang, while the world, human beings, and society are yin. Thereby order is established and maintained. Awe and distance are the ruling qualities. On the spiritual level, the picture is different. In this domain many Muslim authorities affirm the primacy of God as Merciful, Beautiful, Gentle, Loving. Here they establish a spiritual matriarchy, though again such terms are not employed. God is yin and human beings are yang. Human spiritual aspiration is accepted and welcomed by God. Intimacy and nearness are the ruling qualities. This helps explain why one can easily find positive evaluations of women and the feminine dimension of things in Sufism.
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