The Meccan Revelations (al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya)

This life-long project is a critical Arabic edition and English translation of Ibn Arabi's famous book of al-futuhat al-makkiyya.
The Meccan Revelations is considered the most important book in Islamic mysticism. Ibn al-Árabî started working on this book in Mecca in the year 598 AH / 1202 AD; thus from here it takes its name, where he received the immense knowledge that he had broadcasted in this huge book from a spirit he calls the ‘passing young’ (al-fatâ al-fâàt) whom he met at the Kaaba. But it took him around thirty years to finish it in Damascus in the year 629 AH / 1232 AD, and then he rewrote it again between 632/1235 and 636/1239, just two years before he passed away.
The book consists of 560 chapters that vary in length between as short as half a page and as long as several hundreds. Although it is now mostly printed in four condensed volumes, based on Bulaq edition, it is in total contained in 37 volumes according to Ibn al-Árabî's own arrangement, and each volume is normally divided into seven parts which may start or end regardless of chapters; thus some chapters are placed in more than one part or even more than one volume.

 When I decided to work on this book, I conversed about the idea with some prominent scholars in the field and I was utterly discouraged claiming that translating this book is something absolutely impossible; due to its magnitude, complexity and mystical nature. Although I was definitely aware of that, I decided to try. But when I started, and as I progressed very slowly, I discovered what a daring decision I might have taken. In fact, after I completed the first draft of the first volume (out of 37) and part of the second volume, I had to stop because practically I realized much more difficulties than that I had been initially warned.
For example one honest scholar told me: "I know from decades of experience--and I know that my considered judgment is shared by those mature scholars whose knowledge of this text is more extensive than mine--that the thought of this project would be sheer folly, leading to a result that would be painfully embarrassing (for sure) and potentially incredibly damaging (if people actually took a bad job seriously)." This is certainly true, at least because this text presupposes such vast knowledge of underlying systems of thought and reference like Koran, Hadith, theology, jurisprudence and philosophy, so every single line or phrase of the Arabic typically requires many pages of explanation and commentary in English. Moreover, there are many bolted sentences in almost every chapter that remain opaque and unclear to the most specialized scholars who have studied them for years.
Therefore, after working on the first two volumes I experienced all these difficulties and much more, so I had to stop and give up this seemingly impossible job. Yet I am totally convinced that: "that which cannot be accomplished fully should not be left out fully!"
My principal motivation behind this work was the fact that after I did the research on Ibn Arabi's time and cosmology, based on a total of a very tiny portion of the Futuhat, both in terms of passages size and in terms of the vast extent of subjects tackled in this magnum opus, I discovered how much the world is missing not having access to this historical work, especially that most of the serious scholarship nowadays is performed in English, by students or scholars who may not have full access to the Arabic text, not to mention the fact that this extensive Arabic text itself need to be properly indexed and characterized to allow easier access benefiting from existing computer accessibilities.
 For this reason, and with the possibility now to publish in electronic formats which can be rectified and edited easily, I decided to publish the first volume as it is in its first draft after I stopped working on it for more than two years. The result was overwhelming! This certainly reinforced my initial impression about the urgency for a complete translation of this book.
Therefore, the work will be revived, despite all the difficulties and constrains. I am fully aware that there will be many errors and deficiencies; for example in setting out the correct equivalent English terms, the presence of numerous poor expressions due to the complexity of the original text or the lack of explanatory comments in some places, but I will keep looking at the bright side until a mature and satisfactory version is developed, which I think will take some years before this may be achieved.

 

  Click here for more information about the Arabic edition and the stages that have been completed project.
   
  Click here for more information about the translation and the stages that have been completed project

 

The Meccan Revelations Website:


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كل استقامة لا ترى في الإعوجاج لا يعوَّل عليه، كتعويج القسي وجميع الأجسام كلها معوجة وهي استقامتها.
الشيخ الأكبر محي الدين ابن العربي [من كتاب ما لا يعول عليه - -]

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