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Muslim scholar
Ibn Arabi.jpg
Sheikh Akbar Ibn Arabi
Name: Abū `Abd-Allah Muḥammad ibn Ali bin al-`Arabi al-Ḥātimī al-Ṭā’ī
Title: Ibn Arabi, Reviver of religion and al-Shaykh al-Akbar
Birth: 1165 CE Murcia (Murcia, today in Southern Spain)[1]
Death: 1240 ED in Damascus [1]
Maddhab: Sunni Hanafi Sufi
Main interests: Sufism
Notable ideas: Sufi metaphysics
Influenced: Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, Shah Nimatullah, Mulla Sadra

Ibn 'Arabī (Arabic: ابن عربي‎) (July 28, 1165 - November 10, 1240) was an Andalusian Arab Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdullāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-`Arabī al-Hāṭimī al-Ṭā'ī (أبو عبد الله محمد بن علي بن محمد بن العربي الحاتمي الطائي).



Ibn Arabi was born in Murcia on July 28, 1165 CE (560 in the Islamic calendar), and his family moved to Seville when he was seven years old. In 1200 CE, at the age of thirty-five, he left Iberia for good, intending to make the hajj to Mecca. He lived in Mecca for some three years, where he began writing his Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya (The Meccan Illuminations). In 1204, he left Mecca for Anatolia with Majd al-Dīn Isḥāq, whose son Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qunawī (1210–1274) would be his most influential disciple.[2]

In 1223, he settled in Damascus, where he lived the last seventeen years of his life. He died at the age of 76 on 22 Rabi' II 638 AH/November 10, 1240CE, and his tomb in Damascus is still an important place of pilgrimage.[3]

Some 800 works are attributed to Ibn 'Arabā, although only some have been authenticated. Recent research suggests that over 100 of his works have survived in manuscript form, although most printed versions have not yet been critically edited and include many errors.[4]


  • The Ringstones of Wisdom (also translated as The Bezels of Wisdom), or Fusus al-Hikam.
  • The Meccan Illuminations (Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya), his largest work in 37 volumes originally and published in 4 or 8 volumes in modern times, discussing a wide range of topics from mystical philosophy to Sufi practices and records of his dreams/visions.
  • The Dīwān, his collection of poetry spanning five volumes, mostly unedited. The printed versions available are based on only one volume of the original work.
  • The Holy Spirit in the Counselling of the Soul (Rūḥ al-quds), a treatise on the soul which includes a summary of his experience from different spiritual masters in the Maghrib. Part of this has been translated as Sufis of Andalusia, reminiscences and spiritual anecdotes about many interesting people whom he met in al-Andalus.
  • Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries (Mashāhid al-Asrār[2]), probably his first major work consisting of fourteen visions and dialogues with God.
  • Divine Sayings (Mishkāt al-Anwār[3]), an important collection made by Ibn 'Arabī of 101 hadīth qudsī
  • The Book of Annihilation in Contemplation (K. al-Fanā' fi'l-Mushāhada), a short treatise on the meaning of mystical annihilation (fana).
  • Devotional Prayers (Awrād[4]), a widely read collection of fourteen prayers for each day and night of the week.
  • Journey to the Lord of Power (Risālat al-Anwār), a detailed technical manual and roadmap for the "journey without distance".
  • The Book of God's Days (Ayyām al-Sha'n), a work on the nature of time and the different kinds of days experienced by gnostics
  • The Fabulous Gryphon of the West ('Unqā' Mughrib), a book on the meaning of sainthood and its culmination in Jesus and the Mahdī
  • The Universal Tree and the Four Birds (al-Ittihād al-Kawnī[5]), a poetic book on the Complete Human and the four principles of existence
  • Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection (al-Dawr al-A'lā[6]), a short prayer which is still widely used in the Muslim world
  • The Interpreter of Desires (Tarjumān al-Ashwāq) love poetry (ghazals) which, in response to critics, Ibn Arabi republished with a commentary explaining the meaning of the poetic symbols
  • The Four Pillars of Spiritual Transformation (Hilyat al-abdāl[7]), a short work on the essentials of the spiritual Path

Commentaries and Translations of Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam

There have been many exceptional commentaries on Ibn 'Arabī's Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam: the first, al-Fukūk, was written by his stepson and heir, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qunawī, who had studied the book with Ibn 'Arabī; the second by Qunawī's student, Mu'ayyad al-Dīn al-Jandī, which was the first line-by-line commentary; the third by Jandī's student, Dawūd al-Qaysarī, which became very influential in the Persian-speaking world. There were many others, in the Ottoman world (eg 'Abdullah al-Bosnawī), the Arab world (eg 'Abd al-Ghanī al-Nabulusī) and the Persian world (eg Haydar Āmolī). It is estimated that there are over fifty commentaries on the Fuṣūṣ, most of which only exist in manuscript form. The more famous (such as Qunawī's Fukūk) have been printed in recent years in Iran. A recent English translation of Ibn 'Arabī's own summary of the Fuṣūṣ, Naqsh al-Fuṣūṣ (The Imprint or Pattern of the Fusus) as well a commentary on this work by 'Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī, Naqd al-Nuṣūṣ fī Sharḥ Naqsh al-Fuṣūṣ (1459), by William Chittick was published in Volume 1 of the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society (1982).[5]

The Fuṣūṣ was first critically edited in Arabic by 'Afīfī (1946). The first English translation was done in partial form by Angela Culme-Seymour from the French translation of Titus Burckhardt as Wisdom of the Prophets (1975)[6], and the first full translation was by Ralph Austin as Bezels of Wisdom (1980)[7]. There is also a complete French translation by Charles-Andre Gilis, entitled Le livre des chatons des sagesses (1997). The only major commentary to have been translated into English so far is entitled Ismail Hakki Bursevi's translation and commentary on Fusus al-hikam by Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, translated from Ottoman Turkish by Bulent Rauf in 4 volumes (1985–1991).

In Urdu, the most widespread and authentic translation was made by Bahr-ul-uloom Hazrat Muhammad Abdul Qadeer Siddiqi Qadri Hasrat, the former Dean and Professor of Theology of the Osmania University, Hyderabad. It is due to this reason that his translation is in the curriculum of Punjab University. Maulvi Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui has made an interpretive translation and explained the terms and grammar while clarifying the Shaikh's opinions.

See also


  1. ^ a b Sufism and Taoism, by Toshihiko Izutsu (California 1983) [1]
  2. ^ Ibn al-'Arabi by William Chittick
  3. ^ Tomb of Ibn Arabi
  4. ^ Ibn Arabi (560-638/1165-1240)
  5. ^ Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society
  6. ^ Culme-Seymour, A.(tr.)(1975),"The Wisdom of the Prophets", Gloucestershire, U.K.:Beshara Publications
  7. ^ Austin, R.W.J.(tr.)(1980),"Ibn Al'Arabi: The Bezels of Wisdom",Mahwah, NJ: The Paulist Press, ISBN 0-8091-2331-2
  • Hirtenstein, The Unlimited Mercifier, ISBN 0-9534513-2-1
  • Addas, Quest for the Red Sulphur, ISBN 0-946621-45-4
  • Titus Burckhardt & Bulent Rauf (translator), Mystical Astrology According to Ibn 'Arabi (The Fons Vitae Titus Burckhardt Series) ISBN 1-887752-43-9
  • Torbjörn Säfve, "Var inte rädd", ISBN 91-7221-112-1

External links

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