The Greatest Master Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi
The Greatest Master Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi

Most of these introductory articles are exracted from Volume I of the Single Monad Model of the Cosmos: Ibn al-Arabi's View of Time and Creation... more on this can be found here.

The Properties of Matter

The Properties of Matter:

In apparent disagreement with physics, and also with common sense, Ibn al-Arabi paradoxically declares that most common properties of matter like weight, density, transparency, and softness are related to the perceiver and not to the objects themselves [II.458.14]. There are only two exceptions, the colour and the shape, where Ibn al-Arabi accepts that they can be related to something in the object itself, though they may also be dependent on the perceiver like other properties.

At a first glance this might be difficult to accept, especially since it clearly contradicts our daily experience. However, we have already seen in section II.6 that Ibn al-Arabi's unique understanding of motion may only be understood on the basis of the oneness of being and the re-creation principle that we explained in section V.6. Similarly, if we accept that objects and the whole world are continuously created and re-created by the Single Monad, then we have to revise our view about the structure of matter: for there actually exist (in this view) only the individual substances/monads and their forms, so that other properties are consequences and not intrinsic.

Regarding the structure of the cosmos, Ibn al-Arabi also mentions that the structure of the higher world (i.e., the planets, spheres and stars) 'is different from what the cosmologists say, although what they say is based on (observational) proof(s); and it would have been possible for Allah to have it arranged that way (as they say) - but He did not.' [II.670.7]

This statement - which might allude to such prevalent current astronomical theories as the model of 'epicycles', or the assertion of a unique distinctive 'element' ('quintessence') constituting the higher spheres and planets - means that he regards the models of the Cosmos devised by scientists and philosophers as logically possible, but not true, solutions to the results given by astronomical observations.

Please note that some contents are translated Semi-Automatically!