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Self-Abnegation among the children of Abraham: Judaism and Islam





The word abnegation in English comes from the Latin ab ("away") and negare ("deny"), connoting a denial, rejection or renunciation. Abnegation of the self can encompass a wide variety of practices and ideas. At the risk of egregious oversimplification, this paper attempts to compare two vast traditions in an arena of particular complexity – the mystical ideas of union and annihilation. Language and terminology differ both within the traditions and certainly in comparison. Nevertheless, this paper argues that arising from deep within both Judaism and Islam are remarkably similar trajectories which we shall endeavor to understand.

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