Contrasting modern, secular society with religion and tradition in general and with Islam in particular, Gai Eaton clarifies the essential need for spirituality, religion and values based on eternal principles. The main ideas expounded in Remembering God are that religion is not an isolated part of human life which can be disregarded at will and without consequences; that a total rejection of the past cannot be the basis for the future, and that a true link with Heaven modifies all the decisions and actions of society. Touching on religion in principle: metaphysics, knowledge of the divine and of oneself, prayer, the necessity for purifying the ego; and on the application of religion to society: politics, architecture, the environment and gender relations, Gai Eaton illustrates the subtle harmony of a religious perspective and its ability to transform both the individual and society. He worked for many years as a teacher and journalist in Jamaica and Egypt where he embraced Islam in before joining the British Diplomatic Service. He is now consultant to the Islamic Cultural Centre in London. Nasr Table of Contents.
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Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani 12 May Like most Western converts, Eaton was inspired by Sufism, a peaceful, mystical form of Islam very different from the Wahhabi variety which inspires so many extremists. Others were simply inspired by his uncompromising intellectual honesty. Eaton wrote two accounts of his own life: a "spiritual" autobiography, Remembering God: Reflections on Islam ; and a "profane" autobiography, A Bad Beginning, published last year.
In this he described how the search for truth that would eventually lead him to Islam had its roots in the extraordinary circumstances of his birth and upbringing. Errington was unhappily married to a "lady of title" with whom he already had a grown-up family.
When Ruth became pregnant with their only child she refused an abortion, but agreed to collude in an elaborate deception that would preserve them both from scandal. This involved her making a short trip to Canada where after a whirlwind romance she would "marry" a fictitious husband — the "father" of her child.
Eaton, the story went, was a mining engineer who would be offered a wonderful job in Italy. Shortly after the birth of his child there on April 5 , he would die of a ruptured appendix, leaving Ruth a "widow" with a baby in tow. As the Italian doctors who "failed" to diagnose appendicitis were "not to be trusted", her child would be born at a hotel in Lausanne. That element of the story was true at least. But Charles Le Gai Eaton was born not in April but three months earlier, on January 1 , with his real father, Francis Errington, dancing attendance nearby.
He shared her bed until he was six and learned nothing at all about religion, Ruth having warned a succession of nursemaids that they would be dismissed if they ever mentioned God.
Apart from the elderly gentleman Gai knew only as "Uncle", outside the family they had few friends — Ruth having advised her son that the English in general were "cold, stupid, lacking intellect, lacking culture, and either sexually repressed or perverts".
Uncle is no real relation of ours. He was a great friend of my father. It was when he was 16 and at Charterhouse that his mother finally told him the truth, although she made him promise never to let Errington know that he knew.
So began an elaborate charade: "On April 5 each year [Gai] received a birthday gift from his father, both of them knowing this was not his birthday, and each year in the Christmas holidays his father took him to a Swiss resort to skate and ski so that they were constantly together. Still his lips were sealed. Called up after graduation in , Eaton was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps, but his military career was as unsatisfactory as his university career.
Towards the end of I Corps decided they had made a mistake and he was transferred to the Royal West Kents, only to fail a medical inspection shortly before he was due to be sent abroad on active service.
After a few more months in uniform "pretending to be useful", he was invalided out in as "too highly strung for military service".
Francis Errington, meanwhile, had died, leaving the bulk of his considerable estate to the children of his first marriage. Forced to earn a living, Eaton worked as an assistant stage manager in London and as a jobbing actor with a repertory company at Llandrindod Wells.
In he married Kay Clayton, an actress and the daughter of a former Financial Secretary in the Burmese administration. The following year they had a son. By this time Eaton had moved to Jamaica, where he began a turbulent but passionate relationship with a Chinese woman called Flo, though in he returned to England to see if he could patch things up with Kay. When that failed, he landed a job as a lecturer in English literature at Cairo University and was soon teaching a course on 18th- and early 19th-century novelists — even though, by his own admission, he had read none of them except Jane Austen.
It was in Cairo that Eaton became interested in the Sufi aspect of Islam, inspired by his colleague Martin Lings, a member of a Sufi Tariqah religious order. But he was not yet ready for a full commitment as, shortly afterwards, he disappeared again to Jamaica in a doomed attempt to rekindle his relationship with Flo.
At the end of he returned to England, only to find that he still missed Jamaica terribly. It was not long before he was reintroduced to an old acquaintance, a Jamaican artist, Corah Hamilton, who was living in London.
They married in and she soon gave birth to the first of their three children. It was here that, with a stable marriage and a growing family, he turned once again to Islam.
He continued to develop his interest after his appointment in as information officer to the Deputy High Commission office in Madras and during further postings in Ghana and Trinidad. In he returned to England permanently and resumed his friendship with Martin Lings, who the following year received him into the Alawiyyah Tariqah to which Lings belonged.
Eaton took early retirement from the Foreign Office in and in the same year published King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World. Another study, The Concept of God in Islam, was published in He is survived by their son and two daughters, and by the son of his first marriage.
Charles Hasan Le Gai Eaton
But one does not have to be a Muslim to be aware of the power we have over our environment. Only too often this power goes to our heads. We become proud, tyra This is the ultimate folly, since it does not correspond to reality. We are servants. You cannot rend the earth nor can you stretch to the height of the hills.
Reflections by Gai Eaton
An outstanding work from a pure-White British moslem whose long-span of life has brought him in touch with many cultures and religions, and convey upon him such wisdom and tolerance in understanding religion and religious life. Thanks Mr. These are to name a few of the things touched by Gai Eaton in his book. For me at least. Although words fail me to describe the common theme or tone of the books, one word that could package it all together is "internalisation". Internalisation in the sense that deep thoughts of the religion and not settling for just the superficial and rhetoric but also contemplate on some issues and ideas that either arise due to limitation of mankind or the cultural and local influence on the practice of Islam.
An excellent gift for converts as well as those rediscovering their faith. Also deals with important questions that are often just swept under the carpet, e. Why religion, do you really need one? The author uses anecdotes to illustrate his points, and questions to move from one theme to another.
Remembering God: Reflections on Islam
Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani 12 May Like most Western converts, Eaton was inspired by Sufism, a peaceful, mystical form of Islam very different from the Wahhabi variety which inspires so many extremists. Others were simply inspired by his uncompromising intellectual honesty. Eaton wrote two accounts of his own life: a "spiritual" autobiography, Remembering God: Reflections on Islam ; and a "profane" autobiography, A Bad Beginning, published last year. In this he described how the search for truth that would eventually lead him to Islam had its roots in the extraordinary circumstances of his birth and upbringing. Errington was unhappily married to a "lady of title" with whom he already had a grown-up family.