Collapse Volume II, 273–312


Islamic Exotericism

Apocalypse in the Wake of Refractory Impossibility


Unlike other strains of monotheism, Islam cannot be said to include the idea of an apocalypse in the sense in which we usually understand this word. In fact, the radically external, ‘impossible’ (non potest) nature of Allah renders the judaeo-christian apocalypse structurally impossible (impugnable). At the same time, Islam posits an apocalypse that is neither feared, hoped for or expected, but which, in the ideal of pure submission, is inhabited by the faithful as pure impossibility. In order to comprehend what appears, in its violent irruption into western chronology, as the apocalypticism of radicalized Islam, we must understand how Allah’s absolute externality has as its consequence a different conception of temporality, different mechanisms for the maintaining of faith, and an apocalypse which cannot be reduced to a chronological moment or a possibility in unification…