Ibn Arabi


Ibn ‘Arabî (560-638/1165-1240) was a great Sufi thinker of the Middle Ages and one of the most influential authors in Islamic history, whose writings have deeply influenced Islamic civilisation for centuries, and have more recently attracted wide interest in the West. The full name of Ibn al-‘Arabî (more commonly referred to in English without the definite article) is Abû ‘Abd Allâh Muhammad Ibn al-‘Arabî al-Hâtimî al-Tâ’î. He was born in Murcia (in eastern Andalusia), into a very pious and cultured family. When he was seven they moved to Seville, and at the age of 16 he 'entered on the path' (of Sufism). Then he travelled throughout and between Andalusia and Morocco for some years before a vision compelled him to go to the East. In 1201 he travelled to Cairo, al-Quds (Jerusalem), and finally to Mecca for pilgrimage. His many works eventually brought him fame, and sometimes notoriety, so that he was eventually sought out by Seljuq and Ayyubid princes and accompanied by a group of disciples. Later on he came to be popularly called Muhyî al-Dîn ('The Reviver of Religion') and al-Shaykh al-Akbar ('the Greatest Master'). He continued travelling throughout the Middle East until he settled in Damascus in 1224, where he remained until his death in 1240.
Ibn ‘Arabî's two most famous and influential works are al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya ('The Meccan Illuminations'), which is an encyclopaedic discussion of Islamic wisdom,and the shorter Fusûs al-Hikam ('The Bezels of Wisdom'), which comprises twenty-seven chapters named after prophets who characterise different spiritual types. But Ibn ‘Arabî also wrote many other lesser known works, many of them now available in printed versions, such as the Kitâb al-Tajalliyyât, Tarjumân al-Ashwâq, Mashâhid al-Asrâr al-Qudsiyya, Mawâqi‘ al-Nujûm, ‘Uqlat al-Mustawfiz, Inshâ’ al-Dawâ’ir and al-Tadbîrât al-Ilâhiyya, in addition to about 29 shorter treatises more recently published in the Hyderabad collection commonly known as the Rasâ’il Ibn ‘Arabî, and many other shorter books and treatises. In one of his treatises, Ibn ‘Arabî himself listed 289 works, but as many as 350 books have been attributed to him.

extracted from Ibn Arabi - Time and Cosmology, by: Mohamed Haj Yousef



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