INTRODUCTION: In this article I intend to show that, in traditional Islamic consciousness, to define the space of the sacred (the mosque, the qibla, etc.) does not confine the sacred (wherever ye turn there is the face of God), and thus that the space of the sacred cannot be subject to what we might call ‘religious nationalism’.
The sacred is both transcendent and immanent, combining both poles of tanzīh (incomparability), and tashbīh (similarity). At the heart of the sacred lies the paradox that its divine essence is absolutely unknowable; but there is nothing that does not, in its own way, manifest the sacred.
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