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We scarcely know of any pages in which these two indivisible aspects of the Principle—its absolute transcendence and its immediate actuality—are evoked with such power. . 25 In March 1935, Schuon returned to Mostaghanem, where the Khalîfa Sidi Adda Ben Tounes, nephew by marriage of the late murshid, had succeeded Shaykh Al-‘Alawî. Contrary to what has sometimes been alleged, Schuon did not solicit the function of muqaddam which Shaykh Adda conferred upon him at that time. It appears rather that, in order to conform to Shaykh Al-‘Alawî’s wishes,26 Shaykh Adda took this decision after Schuon had gone through a long and edifying khalwah (retreat).

When he disembarked in Oran, Schuon was immediately sensitive to the change of atmosphere. As he did not yet possess any traditional garments, he went to a shop in the Arab quarter: At the back of the shop sat the proprietor: an Arab with an aristocratic air, whose face is unforgettable; it was like the image of resignation to God. . He was like the incarnation of Islam, and his face alone would have sufficed to convert someone. He did not speak to me, but only looked at me with his deep gaze, while his son—a young, distinguished looking man—served me, offering me a cup of mint tea and asking me a few kindly questions as to the purpose of my journey.

You say that French is not your language and even that you have only recently acquired a knowledge of it; in this case, allow me to congratulate you on the way you write. Would it be indiscreet to ask where you come from? A few months later, Schuon wrote to his friend Jenny, “Islam is looking at me with its golden eyes; am I going to plunge into it without return, exhausted by my resistance to the vile atmosphere that gnaws at me like poison? ” He asks after various friends, mentions the arrival of Albert Oesch the previous month, asks Jenny to pass on his best regards to Ernst Küry, and explains, “I always express aspects of doctrine in aphorisms11— though they are perhaps too long to be called such—or in ‘sutras,’ in German, unfortunately, since I do not know Latin and I do have a command of German, which is not the case for French.

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