Ibn al-'Arabī and the Sufis
by Binyamin Abrahamov. Anqa Publishing, Oxford, 2014.
From the back of the book.
A fascinating and groundbreaking analysis of the extent to which various major Sufi figures contributed to the mystical philosophy of Ibn al-'Arabī. While recent scholarship has tended to concentrate on his teachings and life, little attention has so far been paid to the influences on his thought.
Each chapter is dedicated to one of Ibn al-'Arabī's predecessors, from both the early and later periods, such as al-Bistamī, al-Hallāj and al-Jilani, showing how he is discussed in the works of the 'Greatest Master' and Ibn al-'Arabī's attitude towards him. As Abrahamov makes clear, Ibn al-'Arabī was greatly influenced by the early Sufis as regards his philosophy and by the later Sufis in matters of practice.
This naturally raises the question: How original was Ibn al-'Arabī? The author tackles this complex issue in his conclusion. This book brings into sharp relief the highly original nature of Ibn al-'Arabī's mystical theory, unprecedented in Islamic Mysticism, and the unique way in which he interwove the ideas of others into his own thought.
Ibn al-'Arabī and the Sufis will interest students of theology and mysticism, especially those studying in Arabic and Middle East Studies departments, as well as the general reader interested in Sufism and Ibn al-ʿArabī's teachings.
Binyamin Abrahamov is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Theology and Mysticism, and Qur'anic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He was the head of the Department of Arabic and then the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. He has published several books and articles on early Islamic theology, al-Ghazali and Ibn al-'Arabī.