Somewhere along the line, the western intellectual tradition took a wrong turn. Arguments arise over when and where this happened. Many important thinkers have concluded that the west never should have abandoned certain teachings about reality which it shared with the East. They have turned to the Oriental traditions in the hope of finding resources which may help revive what has been lost and correct the deep psychic and spiritual imbalances of our civilization. One result of this ongoing search for a lost intellectual and spiritual heritage has been the rediscovery of the importance of imagination. In putting complete faith in reason, the West forgot that imagination opens up the soul to certain possibilities of perceiving and understanding not available to the rational mind. (…) In Islam, the later intellectual tradition never tires of discussing the imaginal realm as the locus wherein spiritual realities are seen in visionary experience and all the eschatological events described in the Koran and Hadith take place exactly as described. If on the Day of Resurrection, as reported by the Prophet, “death is brought in the form of a salt-colored ram and slaughtered,” this is because imaginal existence allows abstract meanings to take concrete form. And if all the works we performed during our lives are placed in the Scales, the good deeds in the right pan and the bad deeds in the left, this is because imagination brings about the subtilization of corporeal activities.
(William C. Chittick)