Life of Ibn Arabi, Sufi and Savant

Shaikh al-Akbar Ibn ‘Arabi
Sufi and Savant (1165-1240)
By Zakaria Virk, Toronto Canada

Mohyi al-Din Ibn Arabi was a renowned mystic, poet, sage, and philosopher of Islamic Spain. During his lifetime he was acknowledged as one of the most important spiritual teachers within Sufism. He was renowned for his great visionary capacity as well as being an excellent teacher.
This is how he singed his name: Muhammad Bin Ali bin Muhammad Ibn al-Arabi al-Tai al-Hatimi. In the East he is known by the name of Ibn Arabi, while in the West he is know by the name of Ibn al-Arabi. He was born in the famous city of Islamic Spain Medinat Mursiya (Murcia) in August 1165. He belonged to a well respected Arab family which traced its roots to well known Hatim al-Tayy who was legendary for his generosity.
His father Ali Ibn al-Arabi was a man of influence as he considered Cordoba’s chief judge Ibn Rushd among his intimate friends and was attached to the royal court of Muhammad Bin Saeed Mardanish. When Ibn Arabi was 8 years old, Murcia was occupied by Almo’ahidoon. (ruled 1147-1269). Their family immigrated to Lisbon, now capital of Portugal. However, the Emir of Seville, Abu Yaqoob Yousuf offered him an important position in his royal court. The family then moved to Seville, the great intellectual centre. This is where Ibn Arabi spent the next 30 years of his life.
Seville was also an important centre of Sufism, with a record number of Sufis living in the city. He met two women saints here who had a strong influence on him, Yasamin of Marchena, and Fatimah of Cordova. About Yasamin, he observed, “In her spiritual activities and communications she was among the greatest. She had a strong and pure heart, a noble spiritual power and a fine discrimination… she would often reveal something of it to me, as she knew of my own attainment, which pleased me.” (1)
Ibn Arabi had completed his basic education in Murcia, and Lisbon. In Seville he got the opportunity to sit at the feet of learned scholars. One of his first teachers was, Abu Jafar al-Uryabi, a farmer who knew neither how to read nor to how to count. He studied the Quran, exegesis of the Quran, the Hadith Nabawi, Law (Shriah), Arabic grammar and composition. He did so well in his studies that he was employed as secretary by the governor of Seville. Ibn Arabi’s spiritual attainments were evident from an early age. He spent most of his time in the company of Sufis, because Tasafuf was already practiced in his family. At the age of 20 he entered upon the Sufi path.

Sufism in the family
His family, in addition to its cultural connections was marked by religious tendencies. Two of his mother’s brothers were Sufis, Abu Muslim al-Khawlani and Yahya ibn Yoghman. Abu Muslim al-Khawlani used to spend his entire night standing in prayer. Ibn Arabi records that he would beat his legs with sticks when tired from standing all night in prayer.
The second brother Yahya Bin Yoghman who was at one time ruler of the city of Tlemcen until he met a holy man Abu Abdullah al-Tunisi. Shaikh Abu Abdullah al-Tunisi, a Gnostic, used to live on the outskirts of Tlemcen. One day al-Tunisi was going to the city, when the ruler happened to pass by with his entourage. Someone told the king this man Abu Abdullah is an outstanding divine. The king dismounted from his horse and exchanged pleasantries with the Shaikh. The King was dressed in fine costumes. He asked al-Tunisi, is it lawful for me to offer Salat in these fine clothes I am wearing. The Shaikh laughed. The King asked the reason for his laughter. The Shaikh replied back I laughed at the feebleness of your intellect, your ignorance, and your spiritual condition (nafs). In my eyes you are like a dog which does not hesitates to sniff around in the blood of a carcass and eats it despite its filthiness. However he lifts his leg when he urinates lest any soil touches its body. You are like a vessel which is full of forbidden (haram) foodstuff, but you are concerned about your clothing. At this the King wept, gave up his kingship, and became a disciple of the Abu Abdullah.
The Shaikh kept Yahya for three days and then gave him a rope and said go fetch some wood. The King used to bring wood on his shoulders and sell it in the market. When peopled requested Ibn Arabi for his prayers, he would tell them: “go to Yahya ibn Yoghman, because he was a King and became a gnostic. If I was put into such a tribulation as he was, perhaps I would not have succeeded”.
Ibn Arabi became a full fledged Sufi three years before the death of his uncle on his father’s side, Muhammad bin Abdullah bin al-Arabi. In his book Ruhul Qudus, he has described the following incident about this uncle.
“There was a shop near his house which belonged to a man who sold fresh herbs and drugs. My uncle often used to go and sit with this man in the shop. One day a handsome young boy who bore the marks of worship, came up to him, thinking him to be the shop owner. The boy asked him for some white nigella My uncle said (in a light-hearted tone), ‘and what might that be?’ The boy explained that he had been suffering from a complaint and that a woman had instructed him to use white nigella. (a black aromatic seed). Then my uncle said, ‘when I saw how ignorant you are, I laughed at you, because nigella is not white.’ Then the boy said, ‘O uncle my ignorance in this matter will do me no harm in the sight of God, while your heedlessness of God will do you much harm, seeing that you persist in your opposition to Him despite your advanced years. “My uncle took this warning to heart and served the boy, becoming converted to the Way (Sufism) at his hands. He lived 3 years after coming to the Way. During this time he attained to high spiritual degrees and came close to the mercy of God. He spent much time behind closed doors in his room of retreat. “ (2)

Initiation into Sufism
Ibn Arabi states that he became a Sufi in 1184 when he was twenty. It is stated that Ibn Arabi was invited to a party at the house of a prominent leader of Seville, along with other civic leaders. They started having a drink, when it reached Ibn Arabi, he heard a voice saying: O Muhammad, did we create you for this? He put down the drink, left the party immediately. Outside the house he met a Sheppard; he went with him to outskirts of the city, exchanged clothes with him which was full of dust. After wandering around he arrived at a graveyard and decided to stay in a grave. He devoted himself to Zikre Ilahi (Remembrance of Allah) in the grave for four days. Finally when he came out, he was blessed with immense knowledge of numerous disciplines.
After this life changing experience, he spent 9 months in total solitude under the guidance of his master Shaikh Yousuf bin Yukhlaf al-Kumi. Ibn Arabi says: “my solitary stay started at the time of Fajr, by the time Sun started to rise; the secrets of unseen world ‘ghaib’ were unravelling on me. I stayed in this retreat for 14 months and all those secrets that were told to me I have penned them down”.
His first employment in the civil service was as a scribe which was an important position in the cabinet. His father was a minister of state and his family was well known throughout the country. After his spiritual experience, he gave up his employment. He preferred to live in piety (fiqr).

Meeting with Ibn Rushd
Due to Ibn Arabi’s extraordinary scholarship and spiritual insights, his fame spread throughout Andalus. The master interpreter of Aristotle, Cordoba’s Qazi Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) requested his father for a meeting with Ibn ‘Arabi.
This meeting is important in that of the two illustrious men, one was a follower of the edicts of reason, who became the most influential thinker in the West. The other was a Gnostic for whom knowledge meant “vision”, who became a towering personality in Sufism.
Ibn ‘Arabi related this visit in his own words: “One day I went to see Qazi abu Walid Ibn Rushd in Cordova as he wanted to meet me on account of what he had heard
of the revelations which God accorded me during my retreat. Anyone who heard about these secrets used to wonder. I was still a beardless young man. Ibn Rushd was my father’s close friend. As I entered the room, he stood up out of respect for me. He embraced me. Then he said to me “YES”. I in turn replied YES, he was pleased with this response thinking that I understood him. I on the other hand being aware of the motive for his pleasure, replied, “NO”. Upon this, Ibn Rushd drew back from me, his colour changed and he seemed to doubt what he had thought of me. He then asked me, “What solution have you found as a result of mystical illumination (Kashf) and divine inspiration. Does it coincide with what is arrived at by speculative thought?”. I replied, “Yes and No. Between the Yea and Ney the souls take their flight beyond matter, and the necks detach themselves from their bodies.” At this Ibn Rushd became pale and I saw him shaking as he muttered, “La Haul wa-la Quwwat”, (there is no power save from Allah”). This was because he had understood my insinuation. In cryptic language, the young boy had informed Ibn Rushd that rational investigation was not sufficient to attain complete knowledge of God and the world.
On another occasion, he asked my father to interview me so that he could tell me about things (knowledge) which he was in possession of. As he was one of the foremost intellectuals he thanked Allah for having met a person who went into solitude while he was ignorant but came out of it full of knowledge without having any discussions, lectures, research or studying under a teacher. He said, “Glory be to God that I have been able to live at a time when there exists a master of this experience, one of those who open the locks of His doors. Glory be to God to have made me the personal favour of seeing one of them with my own eyes.” (3)
In this encounter, the young mystic gained the upper hand, leaving the aged Peripatetic philosopher dumbfounded. It shows Shaikh al-Akbar’s philosophical thinking and mystical experience, how mysticism and philosophy were intertwined. Mysticism, in this case overcame philosophy, because Ibn Arabi was also a master of philosophy.

His travels
In 1193 Ibn Arabi made his first foreign trip when he was 30. He travelled to Tunis and took lessons in the book Khula al-Nailain, written by Abul Qasim Qasyi, the Sufi leader in Algarve. Later he wrote a commentary on this book. During this stay he met Abdulaziz bin Abu Bakr al-Qurashi al-Mahdavi on whose request he wrote a book on sufi saints of Andalus, Ruhul Qudus. It is a biography of 55 Andalusian Sufis with whom he had been in close contact.
Perhaps because of civil war in North Africa, Ibn Arabi returned to Andalus. In the following year 1194 he travelled to Fez where he foretold the victory of the Almo’ahad ruler Yaqub al-Mansur (1160-1199) over Christian armies at Alarcos. By the year 1195 he was back in Seville where he spent most of his time in study and discussion. It appears that by this time his reputation for spiritual authority had made others to be deferential towards him.
In the year 1196 he travelled again to Fez, a seat of great learning, to attend lectures of Abdal Karim, Imam of the Azhar Mosque. In Fez he frequented the garden of Ibn Hayyun to meet men of the spirit. During his stay here, his reputation drew to him many disciples. His own spiritual state was of highest order as he tells us that he attained to knowledge of the Seal of Muhammad Sainthood. (Khatim al-Auliya). In 1198 he made his way back to Murcia, stopping at Granada to visit Shaikh Abdullah al-Shakkaz who was the greatest Shaikh he cam in contact with. He attended the last rites of Ibn Rushd in Cordoba who had passed away in Marrakesh but his remains were brought to his birthplace for burial. On this occasion he composed the following lines:
This is the Imam and these are his works
Would that I knew whether his hopes were realized.

In 1200 we find him in Marrakesh, where he spent some time with Abu al-Abbas of Ceuta, keeper of the alms. Here he had two experiences which brought him to an even higher spiritual level. Then he went to Bugia and met Abu Abdullah al-Arabi and a group of other worthy men. From Bugia he journeyed to Tunis on his way to the East. In Tunis he stayed with al-Mahdavi whom he had visited eight years earlier. At his house he partly completed his Insha-al-Dawa’ir.

Life in the East
He pursued his journey to the East with his companion al-Hasar. After spending a short time in Cairo and Alexandria, he arrived in Mecca in 1201. Once in Mecca he enjoyed the hospitality of an illustrious family of Mecca. Abu Shaja Zahir b.Rustam and his learned sister Bint Rustam was the family who had immigrated to Hijaz from Isphahan. Zahir bin Rustum was himself a Sufi and occupied a high position in the society.
Zahir had a daughter Nizam Ain al-Shams whose striking looks inspired Ibn Arabi to write Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, a fine collection of love poems. Nizam was blessed with stunning beauty, intellectual calibre and profound spiritual experiences. “Her dazzling beauty, graceful modesty of her bearing, and the soft melody of her speech, were such that her presence enchanted all those around her “, wrote Ibn Arabi in Tarjuman al-ashwaq.
While in Mecca he performed the Hajj. During the circumambulation (tawaf) of the Ka’aba he saw a vision on passing the Black Stone. This vision marked a critical stage in his spiritual maturity. (4)
In Mecca he completed four books; Mishkat al-Anwar (collection of Hadith), Ruhu al-Qudus (biography of Sufis of Andalus), Taj al-Rasa’il, Hilyat al-Abdal. Also he started the writing of his magnum opus Futuhat al-Makkiyya. In 1204 he left Mecca and travelled to Baghdad, then moved on to Mosul. Here he composed a book al-Tanazzulat al-Mawsiliyya (Revelations at Mosul). In 53 chapters it described the significance of ablution and prayer (salat). He arrived in Hebron in 1206 on his way to Cairo. In Cairo he was accused of heresy by the authorities. The ruler Nasir al-Din al-Malik al-Adil intervened who had received a letter of commendation from Abu al-Hassan of Bugia.

Life in Konya
Ibn Arabi was discouraged by his reception in Cairo. In 1207 he returned to Mecca to renew his ties with the family of Abu Shaja Rustam. After a year long stay he made his way toward Asia Minor (Asian portion of Turkey). On his arrival in 1210, he was well received by the Saljuq Sultan of Rum, Kay Kaus (1210-1220) and people of Konya. The king had a house built for him worth 100,000 dirhams. One day a beggar passed by and asked for alms, Ibn Arabi gave him the house as this is all he had.
In Konya Sadr al-Din was his faithful disciple who later became a major exponent of his teachings, and left many large commentaries on his works. Sadr al-Din was a close associate of Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi, whose Mathnawi is a monumental book in Persian poetry. Sadr al-Din was also the teacher of Qutb al-Din Shirazi (1236-1311), a notable Sufi/scientist of 13th century. Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani was another disciple who wrote commentaries on Fusus al-Hikam and Mawaqi al-Nujum.
In 1211 with a few of his disciples he left Konya and travelled to Baghdad. Here he had a meeting with Shihab al-Din Suharwardi, a great Sufi master.
In 1212 Ibn Arabi wrote a letter to Sultan Kay Kaus who had asked him regarding the treatment of Christians as his subjects. Ibn Arabi advised him to adopt strict measures in his dealings and prevent them from harming the cause of Islam in his kingdom. This was perhaps due to the Crusades that were going on at the time. In 1213 he travelled to Mecca to clear up the misunderstandings about his poems. He composed a commentary to explain the esoteric meaning of his verses. In 1215 he journeyed once more to Anatolia (Turkey) where he met Kay Kaus and foretold his victory at the battle of Antioch. For next four years he stayed in Malatya where he gave certificates of authenticity for his books. Next year he went to Aleppo where he stayed until 1221. In 1223 he decided to settle in Damascus, as he wanted to spend the rest of rest of his eventful life in relative peace. Here he completed his masterpiece Futuhat Makkiyaa, s sort of spiritual diary of thirty years. In 1240 he breathed his last and was laid to rest at Salihiyah, near Mt. Qasiyun, north of Damascus. In the 16th century Sultan Salim II built a mausoleum. The tomb is a place of pilgrimage for Sufis.

The ruler of Damascus al-Malik al-Adil (d1227) and his son al-Malik al-Ashraf as also learned men of the city treated him with great respect. He completed Futuhat Makkiyya and Fusus al-Hikam in this city. In addition he completed collection of his mystical poems al-Diwan al-akbar.
It is said that he had a monthly income from student fees amounting to 1000 dirhems.
His children
Ibn Arabi got married three times, in three countries. During his stay in Seville, he married a girl Maryam, the daughter of Muhammad ibn Abdun, a wealthy man of great standing. This wife shared with ibn Arabi his aspiration to become a Sufi. The second wife Fatimah was daughter of Sheriff of Mecca who was mother of Imad al-Din. Third wife was an unnamed lady whom he married in Damascus. She was a daughter of Qazi al-Qaza. (5)
He had two sons, Sa’d al-Din Muhammad (1221-1258), and Ima’d al-Din Muhammad (d1268). The older son was an accomplished poet whose daughter Zainab could answer theological questions at an early age

His Works
Among the Sufis Ibn Arabi is referred to as Shaikh al-Akbar, the greatest Teacher. The reason for this is that he was the first person to express in writing doctrines which had been confined to oral transmission and allusions. By doing so he compiled an enormous corpus on various subjects i.e. metaphysical doctrines, ritual ablution, cosmology, numerology, oneirology, mystical states, Sufi doctrines.
Ibn Arabi himself listed 251 works in his list of books. Few of these have been printed or translated. Approximately 110 works are known to have survived in manuscripts, of these 18 are in Ibn Arabi’s own hand. Some 71 have been printed, 33 have been commented on by Muslim scholars, 16 have been translated into other languages.
Some of his famous books are: Fusus al-Hikam, Futuhate Makkiyya, Mahazirat al-Abrar, Mashaid al-Israr, Tarjaman al-Ishwaq, Tanazul al-Imlak, Kitab al-Aqaid, Al-Aqd al-Manzoom, Jami al-Ahkam, Mawaiq al-Nujum (The setting of the Stars, first book he wrote),Insha al-dawair (the creation of the spheres), Uqlat al-mustawfiz (the spell of the obedient servant), Risalat al-Khalwa (treatise on spiritual retreat), Risalat al-Wasaya
(spiritual counsels), Kitab al-Abadilah (The book of Abdallah), Diwan Ibn Arabi (collection of his poems).
Some of his works are clear and simple, while others are highly condensed. He had a language of his own. He created his technical vocabulary. Several of his followers wrote dictionaries of this terminology i.e. Kitab Istilahat al-sufiyah of Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani (d1330), Tarifat of al-Jurjani.
He was as much at home with Holy Quran and Hadith scholarship as with philology, letter symbolism, philosophy, alchemy and cosmology. He could write with equal facility in prose or poetry. The rhymed prose (saj’), which is found in the Holy Quran abounds in his works.
Futûhât al-Makkiyya, is a veritable encyclopaedia of Sufism (spiritual knowledge) which unites and distinguishes the three strands of tradition, reason and mystical insight. It was conceived and undertaken on his first visit to Mecca in 1201, and completed in Damascus in 1237. It treats unsystematically mystical experiences, metaphysical theories, visions, cosmological doctrines, Sufi doctrines and speculations. In 560 chapters, it is a work of tremendous size, a personal encyclopaedia extending over all the subjects in Islam as Ibn Arabi understood and had experienced them, together with valuable information about his inner life.
He asserts in the book that it was not the result of free choice, or reflection but “God dictated to me everything that I have written through the angel of inspiration.” More than 100 commentaries have been written on it. In February 1979, the Egyptian parliament decided to halt the publication of Futuhat in progress as well as the distribution of those already published. However the decision was revoked under vehement disputes.
Fusus al-Hikam (The Bezels of Wisdom) was composed by him in 1229, 11 years before his death. It is an exposition of the inner meaning of the wisdom of the prophets in the Judaic/ Christian/ Islamic line. It is a book of 200 pages, but vast in content. Each of the 27 chapters is devoted to the basic doctrines of Islamic esotericism. It was inspired by a vision of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) holding a book in his hand which he ordered Ibn Arabi to take and transmit to the world.
This book came under heavy criticism and he was declared a heretic (Kafir) by many religious scholars (Ibn Taimiyah). It was translated into French by T. Burkhardt in 1955 with explanations. Khawja Khan made an English translation, The Wisdom of the Prophets (Madras, 1929). It has been printed many times in Arabic, the most critical edition was prepared by Abul Ala Afifi (Cairo, 1946).
In Urdu it was translated by Maulvi Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui. His translation is interpretive and explains the terms and grammar while expounding Ibn Arabi’s views. For instance God says in the Holy Quran, “They mock and God mocks and God is the best mocker”. (8:31) Here we know that mockery is against the grace of the God’s majesty. It means God returns the mockery upon the mocker. Similarly God says, “they plot and God plots.” (3:55). We know that plotting is against the grace of God, what it means is that God knows their plot and foils it.
Many commentaries have been written on Fusus, notably that of Sadr al-Din al-Konawi, and Abdul Ghani al-Nablusi. It is studied in those Islamic countries where Sufism flourishes as the most masterly text on gnosis (Irfan).
Tarjaman al-Ashwaq (The Interpretation of Desires) was translated into English in 1911 by R.A. Nicholson. Ruh al-Quds and al-Durrat al-Fakhirah were translated by Dr R.W. Austin, and published in 1971 in a single volume. Life sketches of 71 Sufis of Andalusia have been given in Sufis of Andalusia.
He gave the description of Abu Muhammad Makhluf al-Qaba’ili in the following words: “ He lived in Cordova and died there after seeking the permission of Messenger of God, the peace and blessing of God be upon him. I once took my late father to see him so that he might pray for him. He kept us at his house from the morning until after the afternoon prayer and we had a meal with him. As soon as one entered his house one felt the power of his spiritual presence before one actually saw him. When one did see him he was wonderful to look upon. He wore coarse wool, and apart from various litanies and invocations, he would say a 1000 times a day each, Glory be to God, God is the greatest, There is no god but God, and Praise be to God, being constantly engaged in Invocation”.
Some smaller works were translated into Spanish by Asin Palacios in 1931. (6)
Only 18 of his works survive in his own hand, many exist in copies made with his authority. Numerous autographed manuscripts are stored in various libraries of Baghdad, Istanbul and Konya.

Style of writing
While writing about the stomach, he cites following verse of the Holy Quran: “Oh you who believe, fight against those infidels close to you.” (9:123). Lot of the Sufi, he writes, is to consider that this verse refers to his own soul… for of all the ‘infidels’, it is the closest to him. When he has done battle with it and killed or imprisoned it, only then he does occupy himself with other infidels, according to the demands of the station that he has attained. This infidel soul possesses two powerful swords, the stomach and the sex – which make all creatures subservient. But of these two swords, the one more to be feared is the stomach. When the stomach is tamed, sex is also. In fact, he adds, the body demands only what is strictly necessary.” (7)

His sayings
*“Whoever is truthful in something and pursues it diligently will obtain it sooner or later; if he does not obtain it in this world, he will obtain it in the next; and whoever dies before victory shall be elevated to the level of his diligence.”

*”The knower of Allah knows through eyesight (basar) what others know through insight (basira), and – he knows through insight what virtually no-one knows. Despite this, he does not feel secure from the harm of his ego towards himself; how then could he ever feel secure from what His Lord has foreordained for him?” –

*”The knower’s declaration to his student: ‘Take from me this science which you can find nowhere else,’ does not detract from the knower’s level, nor do other similar declarations that appear to be self-eulogy, because his intention is only to encourage the student to receive it.” –

*”The discourse of the knower is in the image of the listener according to the latter’s powers, readiness, weakness, and inner reservations.” – “If you find it complicated to answer someone’s question, do not answer it, for his container is already full and does not have room for the answer.” –

*”The ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its darkness; nor does the knowledgeable one see his own knowledge, for he basks in its light.” – “Whoever asks for a proof for Allah’s oneness, a donkey knows more than him.”

*“The movement which is the existence of the universe is the movement of love.”

*“Neither my Heaven nor my Earth contains me but the heart of my faithful believer contains me,” This is because the heart is a mirror in which the manifested “Form of God” is at each moment reflected on the scale of the microcosm”.

Addressing his close associates he once said: “For every type of knowledge, there are certain people. Everyone cannot master themselves for every type of knowledge, nor there is enough time to do it. Therefore, it is incumbent, that there should be every type of people in any community. There should be people with different bent of mind, although their objective should be the same”. (8)

Unity of Being
Shaikh al-Akbar is generally known as the major exponent of idea of Wahdat al-Wajud, though he never used this term in any of his books. Like every mystic, his emphasis lay rather on the true potential of the human being and the path to realizing that potential, which reaches its completion in the Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil).
Wahdat al-Wajud is a peculiar type of philosophy. It means “that while God is absolutely transcendent with respect to the universe, the Universe is not completely separated from Him; that the Universe is mysteriously plunged in God.” (9)
Ibn Arabi shows how ‘A Perfect Man’ is the complete image of this reality and how those who truly know their self know God. His writings provide ample exposition of the Unity of Being, the single and indivisible reality which transcends and is manifested in all the images of the world. For this theory he was accused of being a pantheist, which implies a substantial continuity between God and the Universe, whereas Ibn Arabi believed in God’s absolute transcendence over every category. (10)
His ideology
Ibn Arabi exerted a strong influence upon his friends and disciples, many of whom were spiritual masters in their own right. He considerably affected the whole course of spiritual thought and practice in the Islamic world. His books were studied by followers of Sufism. His poems were chanted in centers of various Sufi orders (Tariqah). In recent years his writings have also become the subject of interest and study in the West, leading to the establishment of an international academic Society in his name.
The greatest numbers of his adherents are to be found in Iran. Even today his metaphysics together with Suharwardi’s (1155-1191), forms the basis of worldview of modern Iranian intellectuals.

Glossary of some Sufi terms.
Ahl al-tariqah follower of a Sufi order
Fana self-annihilation
Faqir – a follower of Sufi path
Mutasawwif one who participates in Sufism, dervish in Persian
Shaykh Master
Silsilah spiritual chain
Sufi- a person who has realized the goal and achieved the state of supreme identity.
Tariqah Sufi order
Zikr repetition of divine name

1. Sufis of Andalusia, translated by R.W.J. Austin ,London, 1971, page 142
2. Sufis of Andalusia, Ruh al-Quds, page 100, London, 1971,
3. Futuhat Makkiya, Vol I, pages 153/154
4. Futuhat Vol I, pp47-8
5. Futuhat IV, page 559
6. Sufis of Andalusia, R.W. Austin, George Allen & Unwin,
London, 1971, page 123
7. Mawaqi al-Nujum, – an ocean without shore by Michel Chodkiewicz,
1993, NY, page 102
8. Futuhate Makkiyaa, Volume I, page 153
9. Three Muslim Sages, S.H. Nasr, Caravan Books, NY, 1969, pp 106
10. Three Muslim Sages, S.H. Nasr, Caravan Books, NY, 1969, pp 104/105

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2 replies

  1. Ibn Al Arbi has written his insights about Al Masih mentioning him as ,
    1) Mard e Kamil (The perfect man, acknowledging Al Masih as sinless.)
    2) Jesus is God acknowledging Al Masih being the bearer of divine creative power that we see in his bringing to life those called for eternal rest.
    And also his breathing to flight the toy mud birds as a child revealing his being the bearer of divine creative attribute.
    3) Seal of the saints on account of his attributes and distinctive abilities that validate his uniqueness.
    Can someone enlighten and educate about his insights regarding Al Masih.

  2. For those who want to know more about Ibn Arabi, I recommend to see Ressurrection (Dirilis Ertugrul), a turkish seried novel available in Netflix station – here at Brazil, in others countries I am not sure. The actor representing Ibn Arabi is simply the best, the truly sufi in person. Worth watching the novel.
    As salam’aleikam for all.

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