Islam, Hinduism, and the Perennial Philosophy

Dr. Zachary Markwith joins Saad Ismail to discuss Hindu-Muslim convergences in the light of the perennial wisdom. Building on Dr. Markwith’s book One God, Many Prophets: The Universal Wisdom of Islam, they discuss the Perennialist/Traditionalist school of thought, what an Islamic universalism entails, and some common objections to the same. They discuss the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Wahdat al Wujood, the nature of polytheism and Shirk and how we need to rethink these categories carefully in the case of Hinduism. Finally, the discussion focuses on Frithjof Schuon’s legacy and the more recent questions that have been raised about it, and how we may retrieve the best of perennialism while being cognizant of the fallibility of some of its figures.

Zachary is the Education Director at ING. He received his PhD in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He also earned an MA (cum laude) in Comparative Religious Studies at the George Washington University and a BA in Islamic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research and teaching focus on Islamic sacred texts, early Sufism, Sunni-Shi‘i relations, and the comparative study of religions. He is the author of One God, Many Prophets: the Universal Wisdom of Islam (2013) and the forthcoming book And When I Love Them: the Hadith al-Nawafil and the Formation of Sufism (2022). Zachary has also worked with other non-profit and community-based organizations, including Hub Foundation, the International Peace Project, and Food Not Bombs.

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