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Ibn ‘Arabi And The Search For Humility And Purity – Analysis

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What is Sufism ?

Sufism designates the effort of internalization of the Qur’anic Revelation, the break with the purely legal religionand the wish to relive the intimate experience of the Prophet Mohammed on the night of Mî’râj : ascent to receive the prescriptions of God on the five prayers.

The supreme goal of the Sufi is to identify his will with the will of God and to be, body and soul, a place of divine manifestation. It is an initiatic and ascetic way, where the fight against the passions, with the help of the heart, leads to ecstasy by a union with God, based on the mutual love mentioned in the Qur’an.

The generally accepted etymology derives the word Sufi from the Arabic word sûf which means “wool”. The word would refer to the custom of some religious men of wearing white woolen clothes and a coat and would, therefore, contain no reference to the spiritual doctrine which distinguishes the Sufis in Islam. It is most likely that the woolen clothing was already associated with spirituality in pre-Islamic times in Felix Arabia and elsewhere.

Sufism and inner purification

Sufism is not a theological and legal school which would be added to the four already existing schools (malekite, chafi’ite, Hanafite and Hanbalite). Nor is it a schism. It’s about an esoteric conception of the relationship of man to the world and to the divine entity. It is a method of inner improvement, of balance and a source of fervor deeply experienced and transforming. It is endless love of God and the realization of this love by an inner purification.

This quest for truth, strewn with efforts and doubts, requires an initiation and a renunciation of all that is not God. The goal of this esoteric spiritual approach is to achieve fusion with God. For this, the initiate performs a kind of deep introspection. This is an internalized devotion of the human being that implies the observance of strict rules and rites combined with individual experiences.

Far from the Islamic vulgate, Sufism is a school of tremendous humility, of limitless tolerance, and active solidarity. It is the experience of the ultimate union with God. The tasawuf is therefore the resolute march of a category of privileged people (khassa), thirsty for God, moved by his grace for living only by and for him with respect for the Qur’ran and of the Sunnah, meditated, experienced and internalized. 

Sufism is a way of love and knowledge. It is twofold :

  1. God’s love is the culmination of knowledge (ma’rifa) leading to the unveiling of the mystery (kashf) (according to the Persian poet al-Hallaj (858-922) and ar-Rumi, a Persian poet and Islamic scholar (1207-1273).)
  2. The intellectual manifestations of Sufism through external means such as : studies, prayers, rules, ablutions, purification, recitations (dikr), self-criticism, truth, poverty, renunciation, etc. (according to Ibn ‘Arabi, al-Junayd, Persian mystic, (830-910).)

History of Sufism

Tasawuf ascetics first appeared in Arab and Persian territories. Then, the tariqas (mystic ways)developed in North Africa, in Egypt, in the Balkans, and in India. Followers of the renunciation of the world, thirsty for mystical knowledge and dressed in wool to distinguish themselves from the rich clothing of dignitaries, strived to achieve a strong relationship with God, for the love of him and his adoration. The Sufi, fervent of the love of God, disagrees with the world and its attractions, but also with oneself (an-nafs) and its multiple desires and inclinations. 

He is educated in a rigorous self-discipline because his physical being is the seat of untimely or vile desires that keep him away from Islam and the will of God. The final extinction (al-fana) is the existential cessation leading to ultimate absorption into God and eternal life of the soul. The way (tariqa) ​​is the way of the order that the mystic takes leading to this ultimate goal. The inner experience leading him there will necessitate a number of stops (manazil), levels and degrees (makamat) and states of being (ahwal). It’s a kind of journey to God through the difficulties of this world and its attractions.

The Sufi master al-Muhasibi (781-857) was the first sheikh to develop an introspective and demanding study of his first Sufi experiences. Sufism was born in the time of the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), under the wise Caliph Abdelmalek (646-705) and gradually large schools of Sufism opened to the public under the leadership of prominent Sufi masters. It is Hassan al-Basri (642-728) who founded with his pupils and followers the true Baghdad school of Sufism which he developed with the main religious figure of the time i.e. Mohammad al-Djunayd (830-910). 

Other great Sufis of this golden era included : Abu Sa’id al-Kharraz (died 899) known as the « Cobbler » and, also, as « The Tongue of Sufism » and al-Nuri (840-907).

Who is Ibn ‘Arabi ?

He was born in Murcia, Muslim Spain, in 1165. He comes from an aristocratic family of learned scholars and intellectuals. His father was a personal friend of Ibn Rushd (Averroès). He followed his family to Seville in 1172, where he took classical studies with much fervor and strong interest. In 1185, following a serious illness, he abandoned his literary career and made a nine-month mystical retreat under the direction of the spiritual master al-Urayni, originally from Portugal. 

But this Andalusian of good family, who very quickly gave up everything to follow the Sufi Way, was already rich in twenty years of spiritual life marked by overwhelming ecstatic visions. He went to the school of Sufi masters, traveling all over Andalusia, then to the Maghreb, to collect their teachings and immerse in their knowledge.

In the year 1200, Ibn ‘Arabi, left definitely al-Andalus, Muslim Spain of the Middle Ages, to sail towards the east (al-mashriq). This exceptional mystic and poet traveled thousands of kilometers, to Mecca and Anatolia, and at the same time produced a spiritual work of colossal dimensions and incredible texture, which was to deeply mark Universal Islam for ever.

In 1202-1204, he went to Mecca, after having visited Egypt and the shrines of Jerusalem and Hebron. He wrote « The Interpreter of Ardent Desires » (dîwân, Tardjuman al-ashwaq), in memory of Nizam, the daughter of the sheikh who welcomed him in Mecca. In 1203-1233, he wrote the « Book of Spiritual Conquests of Mecca » (Kitab al-futuhat al-Makkiyya), of which the original manuscript is kept intact today. In 1204, he received the initiation of the Sufi Ali ben Abd Allah ben Djami, in Mosul and wrote « The Book of Divine Theophanies » (Kitab al-tadjalliyat al-ilahiyya). 

In 1206, he was in Cairo with a group of Andalusian Sufis. Denounced by a lawyer, he was imprisoned and then released after. From 1206 to 1210, he went again to Mecca and in 1210, he was received by Sultan Kay-Khusraw I in Qonya in Anatolia. In 1211, he went to Baghdad and in 1224, he was permanently installed in Damascus and in 1229, he wrote « The Book of Gems of Wisdom » (Kitab fusus al-hikam).

Ibn ‘Arabi represents the Sufi tradition in all its purity, originality and universality. This great mystic believes that the primordial thing in the worldly existence is the place of of the Creator in man’s life and his divine multiple manifestations. He was opposed to Ibn Rushd for his agnostic inclinations, the latter is strictly Aristotelian, whereas Ibn Arabi is a devout of the Platonic tradition.

Ibn’Arabi is recognized in the tradition of Sufism as the « Great Master » (as-sheikh al-Akabar). He is the philosopher who undoubtedly best theorized the Oneness of God known in Islamic scholarship as TawHid, recognizing the divine presence in any form and any image possible. Speaking about himself, he says : “I am neither a prophet nor an envoy, I am simply a heir, someone who plows and sows the field of future life“. Nevertheless, Ibn ‘Arabi gave himself the capacity to summon the prophets within the realm of “imaginary presences” considering himself as the equivalent of the respected Envoys of God (ar-rusul)

A major reference in Sufism, at all times, Ibn ‘Arabi based his teachings strictly on the Qur’ran and the prophetic example i.e. as-Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad. In The Five Pillars of Islam, the thematic anthology of his masterpiece, « The Revelations of Mecca », he presents the inner meaning of the foundations of the Muslim religion : the profession of faith, prayer, fasting, the ritual alms and pilgrimage. A writing which illustrates that, far from the search for power and knowledge, now widespread for more political designs than spiritual ends, other visions of Islam are possible and more rewarding spiritually through humility and purity. 

Ibn ‘Arabi’s conversion to Sufism

At the age of twenty, an illness put him on the verge of death. Following this illness, he heard Heaven’s call to him to indulge in God’s love and responded to it with the election of the “Sufi Way”. He, then, immediately, abandoned his existence as a literate and a high official and embarked on inner search for God’s adoration and soul appeasement.

His conversion was expressed first of all by a nine-month retreat from active life, under the direction of a spiritual master, who dedicated himself to the training of young people attracted to the spiritual life of Sufism. Once his retirement was completed, he deepened his metaphysical knowledge and visited the great Sufi masters of different schools of thought in all of Andalusia. After that he began to compose his first esoteric works, and formed, also, souls who aspired, like him, to spirituality and salvation.

As soon as he entered the Sufi Way, he showed exceptional psychic knowledge and scholarship, a phenomena that attracted the curiosity of the great philosopher and thinker Averroès, who was a very close friend of Ibn‘Arabi’s father. Ibn’Arabi recounts this memorable encounter between two diametrically opposed minds regarding their vision of the world (mystical and rational). Ibn’Arabi was then 14 years old and his vocation was marked by a quest for sincerity, perfection and truth.

This attitude of openness to the universal could not really be expressed in the Andalusian environment of his time, as wished and desired. He was more and more confronted with the spiritual and temporal authority which pushed him to subject his thoughts and feelings to the letter of religion. In 1198, he attended the funeral of Averroes.

That same year, 1198, at the age of 33, he decided to leave for the Orient. He then traveled in his native Andalusia, visiting the different Sufi masters he had known, to bid them farewell and request their wisdom. Later he travelled to the Maghreb : visiting such renowned centers of Islamic scholarship as Salé, Marrakech, Fez, and Tunis.

In Tunis, he had a divine vision which instructed him to go to the east. From Tunis, he traveled to Cairo, then Hebron and Jerusalem, where he prayed in the al-Aqsa Mosque and afterwards left, on foot, to Mecca, where he arrived in 1202, at the very moment of the pilgrimage season.

At this time, begins for him a great adventure of 40 years in the Muslim east. He remains two years in Mecca, immersed in meditations that culminate in mystical visions and dreams. His travels take him to Baghdad, Mosul, and Anatolia. Everywhere he goes, he rubs shoulders with Sufi masters, receives and transmits metaphysical and spiritual teachings, to his soul delight. Then in 1224, he settled permanently in Damascus and despite criticism from orthodox ulemas, he leads a life of hard work, extensive research and diligent teaching and died in this great Islamic capital, quietly, at the age of 76 where he is buried and his tomb continues to be, today like in the past, a place of pilgrimage for religious scholars and mystics.

Ibn ‘Arabi’s works

His scholarly works are of extreme variety and number. A Syrian researcher Osman Yahia listed them, excluding the abusive attributions, and found 856, 550 of which have come down to us and are attested by 2,917 manuscripts. Forty of his works have been translated to date in various world languages.

Let us mainly remember his three best known works :

  • The Book of Spiritual Conquests of Mecca or the Illuminations of Mecca
  • The Book of Divine Theophanies
  • The Wisdom of the Prophets

The Oneness of Existence

The Muslim world is confronted today with such formidable problems that a return to the wisdom of Sufi mysticism seems to be more than necessary in order to grasp the message of Islam in all its depth and one of the figures most representative of genuine Sufism is, undoubtedly, Ibn ‘Arabi.

Wahdat al-wujud” or “The Oneness of Existence” is a fundamental concept in Islamic doctrine. It has been taken up and developed by several masters of Muslim esotericism and even if this formula is not his, this thematic is the one in which the as-Sheikh al-Akbar Ibn ‘Arabi was the most controversial because, for him, its meaning, the deepest, has been misunderstood or misinterpreted. From the point of view of exoterism, he professes a total separation between God and his creation, which induces a duality that goes against the principle of Oneness. 

From the point of view of poorly understood esotericism, one sometimes reduces God to his manifestation in the material world and therefore to his immanence, going as far as a kind of pantheism. The difficulty of perceiving “wahdat al-wujud” is linked to one’s perception of unity and multiplicity and one’s ability to reconcile them because one is used to thinking in a binary way and one needs to delimit things. Now, God is infinite and to be so, he must overcome all opposition and determination. So God is both transcendent and immanent.

Ibn ‘Arabi’s work is monumental, and one cannot separate the authentic writings of the apocrypha. He left two lists of his writings, in which there are 317 titles. He specified that they are not exhaustive : 106 correspond to the general repertoire of his work. Libraries, however, keep 948 works attributed to him. 

Ibn ‘Arabic, the mystic poet

Unlike another older Sufi, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111), who took up the school of the Greco-Muslim philosophers of his time in order to destroy as effectively as possible the doctrines considered pernicious to the Islamic faith, Ibn ‘Arabi, instead, opted for an irenic solution.

The legend or a largely hagiographic story says that Ibn ‘Arabi attended the funeral of Averroes, an accomplished philosopher if ever there was one, and had, on this occasion, recited masterfully a poetical composition of his own to the glory of this great man of all times.

This great anthology (diwan) seems to take as its starting point verses inspired by Koranic suras which serve as mystical lyric flights. But when one reads, these poems one immediately thinks of other mystics, from other religious horizons, like the Jewish kabbalists (even if they are more intellectualist or cerebral) or Christian mystics, like Maître Eckhart (1260-1327), a prominent figure in Rhineland mysticism.

Admittedly, there was no influence of one on the other, but one feels Ibn ‘Arabi’s strong desire to transcend human condition and his powerful urge to take the spiritual ascent to the end.

Obviously, one would have to find an Arabic equivalent to the German term, Abgeschiedenheit, but with another twelfth-century mysticizing philosopher, Abu Bakr ibn Tufayl (1105 – 1185), the ecstatic vision of his hero, named Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (Living son of the awakened), one reads the term al-fana which means the annihilation, the neutralization of one’s self in order to spiritualize one’s essence, to get rid of one’s carnal envelope and thus take part in the world of the divine.

One can think of the sofer of the Kabbalists who also sought the conjunction with the divine essence. But there is the reading of the Psalms which left an indelible mark on the Islamic theology of the first centuries of Islam.

Ibn ‘Arabi found the same resonance as this psalmist who was probably the most religious man, the most penetrated by divine inspiration, that the earth has ever seen. An example of that is : « Praise be unto Him, infinite glory to Him… » (p 50) and one could, without any difficulty, quote here verses from the Psalms which celebrate God in similar terms.

Ibn ‘Arabi almost led a wandering life, traveling from west to east, visiting the cities of Fez, Marrakech, Bougie, Tunis and so many other Arab cities. Some of his poems relate vivid and deep situations experienced during his wanderings : « I have made so much effort to meet a perfectly upright being, but there are none among men » (p 70).

The carnal nature of man has always been a more or less insurmountable obstacle to reach the neighborhood of his creator. And it seems that the fundamental difference between philosophical or rational speculation, on the one hand, and mystical approach or adhesion, on the other hand, is due to this difference : where the philosopher speaks of his intellect which makes it possible to approach the universe, while the mystic adopts an attitude of quasi-submission towards his creator : he is a creature that owes everything to its creator. This creature keeps this relationship of ontological dependence alive all the while.

One is light years away from the speculations of rational theology. God created everything, we are all his creatures and nothing else matters. This is the only possible configuration of our relationship with God. This is, also, what appears clearly and convincingly in the religious poetry of the great Jewish philosopher of neo-Platonic tendency, Salomon Ibn Gabirol (1021-1070).

The great diwan of Ibn ‘Arabi could, also, be called In Search of the Love of God. The publishers have found a very beautiful formula : a gesture of love from a God who longs for love. It is a well-known dialectic that pits the fear of God against the love of God. 

Unlike the Greco-Arab thinkers who have broadly taken up the tripartite division of the human soul, the mystics have made it a veritable divine spark which is consumed with love for its creator. So you have to know yourself, the famous « know yourself. »

This Delphic maxims has caught the attention of theologians of the three monotheistic religions. The Arabs were no exception, but they adapted it to their religious situation. With them, it gives : « O man, know your soul and you will know your God » (A’raf nafsaka ya insane wa ta’raf rabbaka.)

The Hebrew Bible has the same resonance when it says : « return to your heart and the Lord your God will return to you … » (we-chavta el levavékha we shav ha-Shem élohékha lakh …)

All mystics fight with the language on which they are dependent to express ineffable inner experiences. The Psalmist says that he gasps after God : (ken nafchi ta’arog lékha Elohim, tasm’a nafchi l’Elohim) meaning : « He’s thirsty, thirsty for God. » (Cf. Le Grand Diwan, Ibn Arabi, Paris, Albin Michel, 2016)

But how did Ibn ’Arabi come to poetry ? He tells us about his first encounter with poetry, when it was foreign to his world. He tells us about a part of his life when he was a military of the Almohad army and then his job as secretary to the same Almohad sultanic court. After this period and experience, he sees in a dream the three envoys Moise, Jesus, and Mohamed who instruct him each one thing.

Then he talks to us about a second vision where he sees an angel who brings him the sura of poets all shining with light and he swallows it. He felt a hair grow in his chest and grow to become an animal with a head, a tongue, two eyes and two lips. The animal sprang from its chest to cover the two horizons, the east and the west and then retracted to its starting point. Ibn ‘Arabi commented on this vision by saying that his word would reach the east and the west, and it did, indeed.

There is no need to dwell on the relationship between the sura of poets (shu’ara) and the hair (sha’ra) as well as poetry (shi’r). They all derive from the same root. Added to this is the Arabic word shu’uur (perception). The root SH’R expresses the idea of ​​knowing immediately and globally. Poetry is therefore the site of this dazzling immediate knowledge.

The bayt as-shi’r, literally, the house of poetry is therefore in the image of the bayt ash-sha’r, the well-known house made of hair of the Bedouins, that is to say the tent which metaphorically sails on an ocean of sand in the desert.

The poem is a vessel that allows one to travel through higher realities like the tent of the Bedouin which travels through the vastness of the desert. Initiation is therefore a journey through poetic language capable of describing the subtleties of the mundus imaginalis. Poetry for Ibn ’Arabi is, also, a wall made of stones, that are words.

The imaginary world of travel and poetry

We find in chapter 8 of the « Illuminations of Mecca » the description of a particular world, the imaginary world or intermediate world between the intelligible and sensitive worlds.

The Platonic tradition in Islam distinguishes three realities : ’alam’ aqli or intelligible world ; ’alam mithali or imaginary world ; ’alam hissi or sensitive world.

This distinction is based on the recognition of “forms” specific to each of them, hierarchized according to three regions of being and knowing : intelligible forms, imaginary forms and sensitive forms.

As the French philosopher, theologist, Islamic studies expert and iranologist Henry Corbin (1903-1978) writes : « It was absolutely necessary to find a term that radically differentiated from the imaginary, the depths of the imaginary. […] » The Latin language came to rescue, and the expression mundus imaginalis is the literal equivalent of the Arabic ‘alam al-mithal, al-‘alam al-mithali, “imaginal world.” 

The imaginary world immaterializes the sensible forms (it takes them back to the source of their appearance), and it “imaginalizes” the intelligible or archetypal forms (it gives them figure, dimension, rhythm and face).)

In summary, the imaginary ensures the reversible passage between the sensitive and the intelligible. It is the plan of the journey, of the passage.

This “Land of Reality” (ard al-haqîqa) was modeled, Ibn ‘Arabi tells us, from the surplus of Adam’s clay. In this spiritual land, where the bodies are of a subtle consistency while the intelligibles take a form there, one enters only by “the spirit”. These preliminary explanations are followed by the testimony of some spiritual travelers who have had the privilege of traveling to this prodigious region : 13 fantastic cities, lands of gold, silver, saffron, musk, fruits of incredible flavor, oceans of precious metals which join without mixing their waters.

The “fantastic” character of these descriptions should not deceive us : this earth is just as real as the ground that our feet tread on. The mundus imaginalis is the place where the impossible becomes possible. This world of the imaginary is characterized by its exceptional expanse.

The stone vessel

The story that interests us in Chapter 8 of the « Illuminations of Mecca » is that relating to the vessel made of stones, which sails on a sea of ​​sand and land. In reality, Ibn ’Arabi is talking about poetry here. Indeed, the poem is the equivalent of the vessel that sails on a sea of ​​sand, that is to say, the meter in which the poem was molded. The meter is referred to in Arabic as bahr, that is to say « sea. » The words that make up the poem are the stones that make up the vessel.

Poetry is a privileged means to sail over the sea of ​​suprasensible realities in the mundus imaginalis. To confirm this point of view in poetry, Ibn ’Arabi insists on the eminently major role of poetry in the divine plan. Indeed, he declares that the rules of Arabic poetics were laid down by God. These rules are eloquence, harmony and symmetry.

I saw in this world a sea of ​​sand as fluid as water ; I saw stones, small and large, mutually attracted one towards the other, like iron towards the magnet. …, they cannot be dissociated unless one intervenes directly, in the same way as one separates the iron from the magnet without it being able to oppose it. But, if one abstains from doing this, these stones continue to adhere to each other over a determined distance. When they are all united, this constitutes the shape of a ship. I myself saw {a formation} of a small boats when a ship is made up this way. The inhabitants put it in the water, then they embark to travel wherever they want. The ship’s floor is made of particles of sand or dust welded together in a specific way. I have never seen anything so wonderful as these stone vessels sailing on an ocean of sand ! Boats have the same silhouette ; the ship has two sides at the back of which stand two enormous columns higher than the size of a man. The ground of the ship aft is at the height of the sea on which it opens without a single grain of sand entering inside.

Ibn Arabi’s mystical work

« The Book of Spiritual Conquests in Mecca or The 6 Stages of the Spiritual Journey »

The author started writing it in 1203 and it took him thirty years to finish it completely. The book, in its primitive design, consists of 560 chapters, divided into six main sections.

In this book Ibn’ Arabi shows the fundamental unity of all sacred laws (The transcendent unity of religions) and each holds a share of truth. The diversity of religions is due to the diversity of relationships that God has with the world.

The six main sections of the Mecca Illuminations are :

1) The first, the doctrines, has 73 chapters ; it sets out the essential metaphysical and cosmological data which constitute the starting point and the goal of a spiritual itinerary.

2) The second, spiritual practices, has 116 chapters ; it is about describing behaviors. Binary sequences of chapters analyze repentance and the abandonment of repentance, the invocation and the abandonment of invocation, sincerity and the abandonment of sincerity, and certainty and the abandonment of certainty. Abandonment is always seen as going beyond what is abandoned, despite the positive nature of the state reached. 

3) The third, the spiritual states, 80 chapters ; it is about the fundementally impermanent nature of any spiritual state that can be masked by the succession of states with some similarity. Sobriety, dilation, permanence are examples.

4) The fourth, spiritual residences, 114 chapters ; these are the places where God descends to you, increasingly higher planes of consciousness.

5) The fifth, spiritual confrontation, 78 chapters ; it is the meeting halfway between God and man at the exact point where the divine descent and the rise of the creature take place. 

6) The sixth, the spiritual stations, 99 chapters ; this number identical to that of the Divine Names of God (Asma’ Allah al-Husna). These stations only exist through the material reality of the one who stands there.

The very conception of a ladder available to anyone who undertakes to climb the steps of the ascent to God is improper. The rungs of the ladder only appear when the aspirant steps on them and their distribution conforms to the predispositions of each being. This is why from one author to another, the hierarchy and the number of stations can vary. These are increasingly broad degrees of consciousness, were each station has a state and a set of spiritual expressions. At the end, perplexity, dazzled amazement, and nescience transcend all perfection.

These different parts are organically arranged : Ibn ’Arabi lays down the doctrinal foundations (Science of Letters) which he considers necessary for the Sufi in his Ascent to the Real. This is the theoretical side of his vision of Being. 

Then he comes to the practices that the pilgrim must follow for his spiritual advancement and personal perfection. He describes the states through which the Sufi must pass and the events which he must face in his rise. 

Then come the spiritual mansions which are the places where the Beloved has left traces of his presence in this land of exile and suffering. The Sufi stops at these mansions for a few fleeting moments and finds comfort and consolation there.

Resuming his ascent, the spiritual knight goes towards confrontation, the meeting of the soul with his bridegroom, which is none other than the great fight that man must sustain to conquer the castle of the soul and the Lost Heaven. 

Finally, the Sufi arrives at the higher spheres of his being, the last stage of perfection, where the pilgrimage of the spirit ends and existence ends.

This work is, therefore, based on human issues in its spiritual ascent and little room is left for theology.

« The Book of Divine Theophanies or the Concept of Epiphanic Mirrors »

This work was written in Mosul, towards the end of the year 1204. Ibn ‘Arabi developed in it his main idea concerning divine unity. To explain his thought, he chose the form of an imaginary dialogue with the great spiritual masters of the east who preceded him.

Since there is unity at the level of the Divine, there is necessarily unity at the level of Being. But then, what is the existential status of all that is other than God ? He answers : these are the places of appearance of the Being, the forms where the divine reveals his existence, or if we take Ibn ‘Arabi’s favorite image, the epiphanic mirrors in which the glory of the Being is reflected, from the raw material to the highest intellect.

The multiplicity of created beings – which are the epiphanic places of Being – in no way alters the transcendental unity of Being in itself. The Divine manifests himself in different theophanic modes and there is a possible mutual approach between God and man.

« The Book of Gems of Wisdom or the Wisdom of the Prophets »

Composed in Damascus in 1230, this work presents the life and history of 27 biblical prophets cited in the Qur’ran, from Adam to Muhammad. This mysterious work has caused turmoil and violent reactions in the world of Islamic thought from the time of its publication until the present day.

Indeed, Ibn ‘Arabi’s attitude is simple but very daring : it illustrates his doctrine of monism and can be summarized as follows : if the presentation of the prophets in the Qur’an appears as a temporal religious interpretation, the presentation of these same characters in Ibn’Arabi appears as an ontological interpretation, that is to say that the author considers them in their metaphysical reality and not as historical and religious realities. Each prophetic word is like a particular expression of Divine Wisdom.

Final word

Ibn ‘Arabi’s work is not easily understood. First of all by its scale : it is nearly 850 works that the Andalusian mystic will have written during his life. Then by its difficulty : brewing Greek philosophers (notably Plato, which earned him the nickname of Ibn Aflatun, « the son of Plato ») and contemporary readings of these, mystical poems and theological works, he delivers texts kneaded by reference and often deliberately written as puzzles that the reader will have to solve. The very titles of these works are more of poetry than philosophy : let us cite Mawaqi’ an-Nujum, « The setting of the stars, » or even the Kitâb insha’ ’ad-dawa’ir al-ihatiyya, « The production of circles. » 

Ibn ‘Arabi identifies three modes of access to God. That of shari’a which consists in applying to the letter the precepts reported by the Qur’an, the sunnah and the Hadith : it is the most widespread way, the least difficult, but, also, the least satisfactory because one comes only to an indirect knowledge of God, direct knowledge having to wait for death. The path of Haqiqa, metaphysical truth, is that of philosophers who try to understand causes and effects. Finally, the way of tariqa (the way) is the spiritual and exoteric way which alone can lead to the “realization of the Truth in the heart of the believer”. This mystical path is not strictly speaking irrational for Ibn ‘Arabi, because precisely it allows the mind to escape from itself, to go beyond carnal reason (the nafs) and its limits, to reach God. 

The great medical philosophers (Ibn Rushd/Averroès, Ibn Sina / Avicenna and Maimonides) made the study of phenomena as a way of knowing God, thus combining science and faith. Ibn ‘Arabi partly takes up this heritage, but shifts the stakes : God created the world, and manifests himself in all creatures. “The world is a mirror for God” he writes. Ibn ‘Arabi therefore does not oppose the scientific approach of Averroès (unlike Al-Ghazalî), but considers it to be incomplete, falling under the Haqiqa. So that the perfect believer is no longer the one who seeks to elucidate phenomena in order to know God better, but the one who understands that the world is only a mirror, and therefore that phenomena are only reflections of God. While the philosopher studies the works of God, the mystic “sees God at work” writes Ibn ‘Arabi.

You can follow Professor Mohamed Chtatou on Twitter : @Ayurinu

Ibn-‘Arabi’s Annotated Bibliography :

Chittick, William. The Sufi Path of Knowledge : Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Metaphysics of Imagination. Albany : State University of New York Press, 1989.

A crucial reference on Ibn al-ʿArabi for both scholars and lay readers. Chittick addresses practically every major aspect of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought, using philosophically based rubrics, such as ontology, epistemology, and anthropology. The book contains annotated translations of sections of the Futūāt, with the translator’s concise introductions of each theme or concept. The indices at the end of the study are very detailed and helpful.

Chittick, William. The Self-Disclosure of God : Principles of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Cosmology. Albany : State University of New York Press, 1998.

Alongside his Sufi Path (Chittick 1989), this study by Chittick is an essential reference for anyone interested in Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought. The author specifically addresses the difficulties of translating the key terms and concepts of the al-Futūāt and Fuūṣ from the original Arabic into English, suggesting a number of neologisms. Unlike Sufi Path’s philosophically inspired organization, the structure and terminology of the Self-Disclosure is somewhat more representative of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s own classificatory categories.

Chodkiewicz, Michel. Le Sceau des saints : Prophétie et sainteté dans la doctrine d’Ibn ʿArabi. Paris : Gallimard, 1986.

A study of walaya/wilaya (sainthoodin Ibn al-ʿArabi’s oeuvre and its roots in the earlier Islamic thought. Chodkiewicz focuses his attention on the genealogy of the concept khatm al-walaya (the seal of sainthood), which is critical to the Sufi worldview, as initially articulated by an Arab-Persian mystic al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d. c. 910) and later appropriated and recast by Ibn al-ʿArabi in accordance with his own overall world outlook. The English version was published by the Islamic Texts Society in Cambridge (UK) in 1993 as Seal of the Saints : Prophethood and Sainthood in the Doctrine of Ibn ʻArabī.

Chodkiewicz, Michel. Un Océan sans rivage : Ibn ʿArabi, le Livre et la Loi. Paris : Editions du Seuil, 1992.

Unlike most books on Ibn al-ʿArabi that privilege his esoteric side, this study discusses his Sharia-bound motivations as reflected in his magnum opus, al-Futūāt al-Makkiyya. Chodkiewicz seeks to demonstrate what he sees as a remarkable similarity between the structure of the al-Futūāt and that of the Qurʾan. Thus, Un Océan sans rivage is an essential introduction to this often underappreciated aspect of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s legacy, while at the same time being an overview of the diffusion of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought within various Sufi orders. The English translation of this work was published by the State University of New York Press in 1993 as An Ocean Without Shore : Ibn ‘Arabi, the Book, and the Law).

Corbin, Henry. L’imagination créatrice dans le soufisme d’Ibn ʿArabi. Paris : Flammarion, 1958.

A valuable contribution to the study of Ibn al-ʿArabi by a Western scholar who spent his whole life studying in the vicissitudes of Muslim esoteric thought. Corbin offers a nuanced and highly personal discussion of “the imaginal realm” (ʿalam al-khayal) that plays a key role in Ibn al-ʿArabi’s cosmology and gnoseology. While criticizing the Western academic establishment for its disparaging treatment of mystical metaphysics, Corbin’s attempt to tie Ibn al-ʿArabi to Shiʿism is characteristic of his general preoccupation with the Shiʿi/Ismaʿili esotericism that he considered to be the all-important core of Islamic spiritual and intellectual tradition. The English translation of this book by Ralph Manheim was published by Princeton University Press in 1969 as Creative Imagination in the ūfism of Ibn ʿArabī.

Haj Yousef, Mohamed. Ibn ʿArabī : Time and Cosmology. New York and London : Routledge, 2008.

This study by a Western-trained follower of Ibn al-ʿArabi examines the latter’s cosmology with special reference to zaman (time), and how its various measurements—yawm (day), saʿa (hour), and shahr (month)—are calculated by Ibn al-ʿArabi in his works, especially his early treatise ʿUqlat al-Mustawfiz. The author is also interested in comparing Ibn al-ʿArabi’s intellectual paradigm with modern scientific theories current in quantum physics, such as string theory.

Izutsu, Toshihiko. A Comparative Study of the Key Philosophical Concepts in Sufism and Taoism : IbnʿArabı̄ and Lao-tzŭ, Chuang-tzŭ. Tokyo : Keio Institute of Cultural and Linguistic Studies, 1966–1967.

The book’s title suggests a comparison between Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought and Lao Tzu’s Taoist philosophy. Using al-Qashani’s (d. 730/1329) commentary on the Fuū al-ikam, Izutsu furnishes a detailed summary of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought seen through the eyes of his later interpreter. Curiously, the actual comparison between Sufism and Taoism occupies only 20 out of the 400 pages in this study, the rest being but a detailed examination of the principal themes of the Fuūṣ.

Morris, James. The Reflective Heart : Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Meccan Illuminations. Louisville : Fons Vitae, 2005.

Morris’s studies of Ibn al-ʿArabi generally explore two underlying motivations in the latter’s writings : tahqiq ([self-]realization) and tarbiyya (moral-ethical training or discipline). This work is no exception. It presents Ibn al-ʿArabi as an “orthodox” scholar of both Sharia and Sufism, whose various treatises, no matter how provocative at times, should nonetheless be considered as pedagogical manuals for mystical seekers. In this respect, Morris’s approach to Ibn al-ʿArabi’s legacy is akin to that in Chodkiewicz 1992.

Moulinet, Philippe. Les Clefs d’Ibn Arabî : Commentaire intégral du Kitāb Fuū al-ikam, le Livre des Chatons des Sagesses d’Ibn Arabî. Paris : Dar Albouraq, 2010.

This study focuses solely on the text of Fuūṣ. In this survey of the keynotes of Ibn al-ʿArabi’s thought, Moulinet reveals his own mystical leanings by offering quotations from the works of Ahmad al-ʿAlawi, a 20th-century Sufi master, with the purpose of placing Ibn al-ʿArabi in the context of contemporary Western meditations on spiritual quests in a largely secular society.

Nettler, Ronald. Sufi Metaphysics and Qurʾānic Prophets : Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Thought and Method in the Fuū al-ikam. Cambridge, UK : Islamic Texts Society, 2003.

A study of Ibn al-Ibn ʿArabi’s prophetology in the Fuūṣ. Nettler explores Ibn al-ʿArabi’s esoteric/allegorical understanding of the Abrahamic prophetic figures and their symbolism, which constitutes the principal content of this controversial and difficult work. Alongside several annotated translations of the Fuūṣ (e.g., Ralph Austin’s Bezels of Wisdom, published by Paulist Press in 1980), Nettler’s Sufi Metaphysics goes a long way in unpacking Ibn al-ʿArabi’s daring insights into the structure of the cosmos, the nature of religious faith, and what he viewed as the hidden, esoteric aspects of the Revelation confined to divinely inspired Sufi “gnostics.”

Bibliography :

Primary Texts :

Texts by Ibn ‘Arabî

‘Anqâ mughrib fî khatm al-awliyâ’ wa shams al-maghrib, G. T. Elmore (trans.), Islamic Sainthood in the Fullness of Time : Ibn al-‘Arabî’s Book of the Fabulous Gryphon, Leiden : E. J. Brill, 1999.

Fusûs al-hikam, A. ‘Afîfî (ed.), Beirut : Dâr al-Kutub al-‘Arabî, 1946.

Fusûs al-hikam, Binyamin Abrahamov (trans.), Ibn al-‘Arabî’s Fusûs al-hikam : An Annotated Translation of “The Bezels of Wisdom”, London : Routledge, 2015.

Fusûs al-hikam, R. W. J. Austin (trans.), Ibn al’Arabî : The Bezels of Wisdom, Ramsey : Paulist Press, 1981.

Fusûs al-hikam, C. K. Dagli (trans.), The Ringstones of Wisdom, Chicago : Kazi, 2004.

al-Futûhât al-makkiyya, Cairo, 1911 ; reprinted, Beirut: Dâr Sâdir, n.d.

al-Futûhât al-makkiyya, 14 volumes, O. Yahia (ed.), Cairo: al-Hay’at al-Misriyyat al-‘Âmma li’l-Kitâb, 1972–91.

al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya : Textes choisis/Selected Texts, M. Chodkiewicz, W. C. Chittick, C. Chodkiewicz, D. Gril, and J. Morris (trans.), Paris : Sindbad, 1989; also available as The Meccan Revelations, 2 vols., New York : Pir Press, 2002–4.

al-Futûhât al-makkiyya, Chapter 167, L’alchimie du bonheur parfait, S. Ruspoli (trans.), Paris : Berg International, 1997.

Inshâ’ al-dawâ’ir, in H. S. Nyberg, Kleinere Schriften des Ibn al-‘Arabî, Leiden : E. J. Brill, 1919.

Inshâ’ al-dawâ’ir, “The Book of the Description of the Encompassing Circles”, P. B. Fenton and M. Gloton (trans.), in Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arab i : A Commemorative Volume, Hirtenstein, S. and M. Tiernan (eds.), Shaftesbury : Element, 1993, pp. 12–43.

al-Isfâr ‘an natâ’ij al-asfâr, D. Gril (ed. and trans.), Le dévoilement des effets du voyage, Combas : Editions de l’Éclat, 1994.

Ittihâd al-kawnî : The Universal Tree and the Four Birds, Angela Jaffray (trans.), Oxford : Anqa, 2006.

Kitâb kashf al-ma‘nâ ‘an sirr asmâ’ Allâh al-husnâ, P. Beneito (ed. and trans.), El secreto de los nombres de Dios, Murcia : Editora Regional de Murcia, 1997.

Mashâhid al-asrâr al-qudsiyya, S. Hakim and P. Beneito (ed. and trans.), Las Contemplaciones de los Misterios, Murcia : Editora Regional de Murcia, 1994.

Mashâhid al-asrâr al-qudsiyya, P. Beneito and C. Twynch (trans.), Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries, Oxford : Anqa, 2001.

Other Primary Texts :

Avicenna (Ibn Sînâ), al-Najât, M. S. al-Kurdî (ed.), Cairo : Matba‘at al-Sa‘âda, 1938.

–––, al-Shifâ’ : The Metaphysics of The Healing : A Parallel English-Arabic Text, M. E. Marmura (ed. and trans.), Provo : Brigham Young University Press, 2005.

Mullâ Sadrâ, 2008, Spiritual Psychology : The Fourth Intellectual Journey in Transcendent Philosophy, tr. Latimah-Parvin Peerwani, London : ICAS Press.

Qûnawî, Sadr al-Dîn, al-Fukûk, M. Khwâjawî (ed.), Tehran : Mawlâ, 1992.

–––, al-Murâsalât : Annäherungen : Der mystisch-philosophische Briefwechsel zwischen Sadr ud-Dîn-i Qônawî und Nasîr ud-Dîn-i Tûsî, G. Schubert (ed.), Beirut : Franz Steiner Verlag, 1995.

–––, al-Nafahât al-ilâhiyya, M. Khwâjawî (ed.), Tehran : Mawlâ, 1996.

–––, “al-Nusûs : The Texts,” William C. Chittick (trans.), An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, vol. 4 : From the School of Illumination to Philosophical Mysticism, S.H. Nasr and M. Aminrazavi (ed.), London : I.B. Tauris, 2012, pp. 416–34.

Secondary Literature :

Addas, C., 1993, Quest for the Red Sulphur : The Life of Ibn ‘Arabî, Cambridge, England : The Islamic Texts Society.

Almond, I., 2004, Sufism and Deconstruction : A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn ‘Arabi, London : Routledge.

Asín Palacios, M., 1931, El Islam cristianizado, Madrid. French trans. as L’Islam christianisé : Étude sur le Soufisme d’Ibn ‘Arabî de Murcie, Paris : Guy Trédaniel, 1982.

Akti, Selahattin, 2016, Gott und das Übe l : Die Theodizee-Frage in der Existenzphilosophie des Mystikers Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Lucerne : Chalice Verlag.

Bashier, S., 2004, Ibn al-‘Arabî’s Barzakh : The Concept of the Limit and the Relationship between God and the World, Albany : State University of New York Press.

–––, 2012, The Story of Islamic Philosophy : Ibn ‘Arabî, Ibn Tufayl, and Others on the Limit between Naturalism and Tradition, Albany : State University of New York Press.

Böwering, G., 1994, “Ibn ‘Arabî’s Concept of Time”, in God is Beautiful and He Loves Beauty : Festschrift in Honour of Annemarie Schimmel, Alma Giese and J. Christoph Bürgel (eds.), New York : Peter Lang, pp. 71–91.

Burckhardt, T., 1977, Mystical Astrology According to Ibn ‘Arabi, Gloucestershire : Beshara Publications.

Chittick, W. C., 1982, “The Five Divine Presences : From al-Qûnawî to al-Qaysarî”, The Muslim World, 72 : 107–28.

–––, 1989, The Sufi Path of Knowledge : Ibn al-‘Arabî’s Metaphysics of Imagination, Albany : State University of New York Press.

–––, 1994a, Imaginal Worlds : Ibn al-‘Arabî and the Problem of Religious Diversity, Albany : State University of New York Press.

–––, 1994b, “Rûmî and Wahdat al-wujûd”, in Poetry and Mysticism in Islam : The Heritage of Rûmî, A. Banani, R. Hovanisian, and G. Sabagh (eds.), Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, pp. 70–111.

–––, 1996, “Ibn ‘Arabî” and “The School of Ibn ‘Arabî”, in History of Islamic Philosophy, S. H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds.), London : Routledge, pp. 497–523.

–––, 1998, The Self-Disclosure of God : Principles of Ibn al-‘Arabî’s Cosmology, Albany : State University of New York Press.

–––, 2004, “The Central Point : Qûnawî’s Role in the School of Ibn ‘Arabî”, Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, 35 : 25–45.

–––, 2005, Ibn ‘Arabi : Heir to the Prophets, Oxford : Oneworld.

–––, 2013, “Ibn ‘Arabî on the Ultimate Model of the Ultimate”, Models of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities, Jeanine Diller and Asa Kasher (ed.), Dordrecht : Springer, pp. 915–29.

Coates, P., 2002, Ibn ‘Arabi and Modern Thought : The History of Taking Metaphysics Seriously, Oxford : Anqa.

Chodkiewicz, M., 1993a, An Ocean Without Shore : Ibn ‘Arabî, the Book, and the Law, Albany : State University of New York Press.

–––, 1993b, The Seal of the Saints, Cambridge, England : The Islamic Texts Society.

Corbin, H., 1958, L’imagination créatrice dans le soufisme de Ibn ‘Arabî, Paris : Flammarion ; trans. Ralph Manheim, Creative Imagination in the Sûfism of Ibn ‘Arabî, Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1969 ; re-issued by Princeton University Press as Alone with the Alone, 1998.

Dagli, Caner, Ibn al-‘Arabî and Islamic Intellectual Culture, London : Routledge.

DeCilis, Maria, 2013, Free Will and Predestination in Islamic Thought : Theoretical Compromises in the Works of Avicenna, al-Ghazali and Ibn ‘Arabi, London : Routledge.

Dobie, R. J., 2007, “The Phenomenology of Wujud in the Thought of Ibn ‘Arabi”, in Timing and Temporality in Islamic Philosophy and Phenomenology of Life, A. T. Tymieniecka (ed.), Dordrecht : Springer, pp. 313–22.

–––, 2009, Logos & Revelation : Ibn ‘Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and Mystical Hermeneutics, Washington, D.C. : Catholic University of America Press.

Ebstein, Michael, 2013, Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus : Ibn Masarra, Ibn al-‘Arabî and the Ismâ`îlî Tadition, Leiden : Brill.

Ghandour, Ali, 2018, Die theologische Erkenntnislehre Ibn al-Arabis, Hamburg : Editio Gryphus.

Hakîm, S. al-, 1981, al-Mu‘jam al-sûfî, Beirut : Dandara.

Heath, P., 1992, Allegory and Philosophy in Avicenna (Ibn Sînâ), With a Translation of the Book of the Prophet Muhammad’s Ascent to Heaven, Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press.

Izutsu, T., 1966, A Comparative Study of the Key Philosophical Concepts in Taoism and Sufism, Tokyo : Keio University ; second edition, Sufism and Taoism, Los Angeles : University of California Press, 1983.

–––, 1977, “The Concept of Perpetual Creation in Islamic Mysticism and Zen Buddhism”, in Mélanges offerts à Henry Corbin, S. H. Nasr (ed.), Tehran : Institute of Islamic Studies, pp. 115–48 ; reprinted in Izutsu, Creation and the Timeless Order of Things, Ashland, Oregon : White Cloud Press, 1994, pp. 141–73.

Knysh, A. D., 1999, Ibn ‘Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition : The Making of a Polemical Image in Medieval Islam, Albany : State University of New York Press.

Lala, Ismail, 2019, Knowing God : Ibn ‘Arabî ‘Abd al-Razzâq al-Qâshânî’s Metaphysics of the Divine, Leiden : Brill.

Lipton, Gregory A., 2018, Rethinking Ibn Arabi, New York : Oxford University Press.

Mayer, T., 2008. “Theology and Sufism”, The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, T. Winter (ed.), Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, pp. 258–87.

McAuley, D. E., 2012, Ibn ‘Arabî’s Mystical Poetics, New York : Oxford University Press.

Morris, J., 1986–87, “Ibn ‘Arabi and his Interpreters”, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 106 : 539–51, and 107 : 101–19.

–––, 2003, “Ibn ‘Arabî’s Rhetoric of Realisation : Keys to Reading and ‘Translating’ the ‘Meccan Illuminations,’” Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, 33 : 54–99, and 34 : 103–45.

–––, 2005, The Reflective Heart : Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabî’s Meccan Illuminations, Louisville : Fons Vitae.

Murata, Sachiko, 1992, The Tao of Islam : A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought, Albany, State University of New York Press.

–––, Chittick, W. C., and Tu Weiming, 2008, The Sage Learning of Liu Zhi : Islamic Thought in Confucian Terms, Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press.

Nettler, R. J., 2003, Sufi Metaphysics and Quranic Prophets : Ibn ‘Arabi’s Thought and Method in the Fusus al-Hikam, Oxford : Islamic Texts Society.

Rahmati, Fateme, 2007, Der Mensch als Spiegelbild Gottes in Der Mystik Ibn ‘Arabis, Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz.

Rosenthal, F., 1988, “Ibn ‘Arabî between ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Mysticism’”, Oriens, 31 : 1–35.

Sells, M. A., 1994, Mystical Languages of Unsaying, Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

Shah-Kazemi, R., 2006, Paths to Transcendence : According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi, and Meister Eckhart, Bloomington : World Wisdom.

Smirnov, A. V., 1993, “Nicholas of Cusa and Ibn ‘Arabî : Two Philosophies of Mysticism”, Philosophy East and West, 43 : 65–86.

Stelzer, S., 1996, “Decisive Meetings : Ibn Rushd, Ibn ‘Arabî, and the Matter of Knowledge”, Alif, 16 : pp. 19–55.

Takeshita, M., 1982, “An Analysis of Ibn ‘Arabî’s Inshâ’ al-Dawâ’ir with Particular Reference to the Doctrine of the ‘Third Thing’”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 41 : 243–60.

–––, 1987, Ibn ‘Arabî’s Theory of the Perfect Man and its Place in the History of Islamic Thought, Tokyo : Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa.

Todd, Richard, 2014, The Sufi Doctrine of Man : Sadr al-Dîn al-Qûnawî’s Metaphysical Anthropology, Leiden : Brill.

Yousef, M. H., 2007, Ibn ‘Arabi—Time and Cosmology, London : Routledge.

Zargar, C. A., 2011, Sufi Aesthetics : Beauty, Love, and the Human Form in the Writings of Ibn ‘Arabi and ‘Iraqi, Columbia, S.C. : University of South Carolina Press.

Zine, Mohammed Chaouki, 2010, Ibn ‘Arabi : Gnoséologie et manifestation de l’être, Beirut : Arab Scientific Publishers.

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou

Dr. Mohamed Chtatou is a Professor of education science at the university in Rabat. He is currently a political analyst with Moroccan, Gulf, French, Italian and British media on politics and culture in the Middle East, Islam and Islamism as well as terrorism. He is, also, a specialist on political Islam in the MENA region with interest in the roots of terrorism and religious extremism.

One thought on “Ibn ‘Arabi And The Search For Humility And Purity – Analysis

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    February 6, 2020 at 12:51 pm
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    This is a very informative article that people should read to understand a philosopher. But the reality should be stated in that Islam is one religion, and various branches and views of Islam work to divide Islam and Muslims. This type of study is similar to others who defend Daesh and Wahabism as the true view of Islam. Others think that other religious views are the true explanations of Islam. There is no need to Tariqa which is monopolized by some school in order to explain Islam and the creator. Stated differently, division of Islam is a goal used to divide the religion in order to destroy it, because world imperialism and others believe that Islam is the basic threat of civilization, because as, I know, that Muslims do not submit to foreign occupiers and oppression with all its forms.
    The other point I like to state that a philosopher needs to explain and change the world for helping humanity. Philosophers should not be isolated from reality to study Tariqa to reach a point of knowledge. Philosophers should fight and change injustice, oppression, exploitation, corruption, racism, fascism, and all forms of immorality. Learning a Tariqa by Sufism through fathers, Grandfathers, and teachers will not serve humanity as a whole.
    Finally, based on my two points I think Ibn Alrabi’s views do not help help Muslims and humanity to be liberated from dependency, oppression, occupation, looting, corruption, immorality, racism, and killing.

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