Book Review: Hamid Parsania: Existence and the Fall: Spiritual Anthropology of Islam
Far from the chaotic modernity of big cities, certain small, ancient centers of Islamic learning keep functioning as they have over the centuries. Qum is one such place. On any given morning one can see students rushing toward the mosques at dawn, where they sit with their teachers after the prayer and do what their ancestors have done for centuries: learn the mysteries of the cosmos and existence from scholars who have themselves received these sciences from their teachers in similar fashion. This transmission takes place in an intimate but informal environment. There is no enrollment, no registration, no fees to be paid. After the class, students sit in small groups to further explore the intricacies of the topics, some follow the revered teacher for a more exclusive class in a more private setting; others retire to meditate.