Ibn ‘Arabi: al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Ch. 372
Mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi (1165–1240) was one of the world’s great spiritual teachers.
Ibn Arabi was born in Murcia in Arab al-Andalus, and his writings had an immense impact throughout the Islamic world and beyond. The universal ideas underlying his thought are of immediate relevance today.
The Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society (MIAS) was founded in 1977 to promote a greater understanding of the work of Ibn Arabi and his followers.
It is an international association with its headquarters in Oxford England and a branch in Berkeley California. The Society is funded by the annual subscriptions of its members. It collaborates with affiliated societies in Spain and Australia.
» Publications: The Society has published a Journal since 1982, which is now peer-reviewed and appears twice a year. It has published books, particularly a translation into English of the Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam. Its website provides over 200 articles, mainly from the Journal.
» Events: The Society has organised conferences in the UK and the USA since 1984. Podcasts and videos of more than 100 talks from Society events are available on this website.
» Historic manuscript project: Since 2002 the Society has been engaged in collecting copies of historic manuscripts of the works of Ibn Arabi. A version of the catalogue is available on this website.
If you are interested in Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, his work and his teachings, you are welcome to join the Society. Among other benefits, Members receive the Society Journal, have discounted entry to Society events, and free admission to live online talks.
Recently Added Quotation
Futūḥāt Translation Project
21 July 2022
We narrate, ‘Indeed, God has 300 virtues. Whoever takes on just one of them enters the Garden.’ All of them are virtues variegated* by the human being before the created beings and toward the one it is fitting to variegate before, based on the definition set by God.
* variegated: This is the key concept with Ibn al-ʿArabī of taṣrīf: ṣarrafa is declining nouns and conjugating verbs, and reciting verses in the Qurʾān in different ways; here, taking a virtue and turning it and variegating it to respond to varying situations.
Book 8, Chapter 70 (p. 377)
26 July 2022
When the human being says to himself that he should do something good or take on a generous characteristic from the fine characteristics, let him intend – with what he says to himself of this – a nearing to God.
Book 8, Chapter 70 (p. 384)
“The paths to God” is a phrase which carries within it a paradox because, firstly, it gives the reader the impression that God (praise be to Him) is far away, absent, or even the expectation that the seeker (salik) travels the path to arrive at the Holy Threshold. However, according to the scriptures, God (praise be to Him) is close to His servants – He is with them wherever they are. In truth, He is the Seeker in the one who reaches out to Him (praise be to Him), and He hastens towards the one who walks towards Him. This begs the question as to why the Sufi seeks a way to reach God (praise be to Him), all the while being certain that God is with him and close to him.
This is a meditation on the meaning of al-tahqiq (verification or realisation) which is central to the writing of Ibn ‘Arabi, and drawing on the writings of Sufis before Ibn ‘Arabi, such as Junayd (d. 911 AD, the “Leader of the Sufis”, sayyid al-ta’ifa), and others after him, such as Shaykh al-‘Alawi. Junayd said, “I have achieved al-tahqiq by staying in the presence of God for thirty years under these stairs”, by which he meant the stairs of his house. The paper later published in the Journal of the Society can be found here.
Sa’diyya Shaikh is Associate Professor in the Department for the Study of Religions at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her research is situated at the intersection of Islamic Studies and Gender Studies. She has a special interest in Sufism and its implications for Islamic feminism and feminist theory. Her book “Sufi Narratives of Intimacy: Ibn ʿArabī, Gender and Sexuality” is published by the University of North Carolina Press (2012).
The Society has announced an MIAS Translation Prize competition. For this first competition, submissions are invited for original translations of prose texts by Ibn ‘Arabi. Entries are due by 1 September 2022.
The Prize of US$ 3,000 is being sponsored by the Ibn ‘Arabi Societies in the UK and the USA, by MIAS AP (Asia Pacific), the Monash University Ibn Arabi Interreligious Research Initiative (IAI), and by private donors.
Added to the Blog page, 1 July 2021
A critical edition of the text of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Diwān, produced by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Sulṭān al-Manṣūb, has been published by Ninawa, Damascus, Syria, in five hardback volumes. The printed Diwāns available up till now have been reproductions of the “Bulaq edition” (1855), containing about 25% of the total.
Dr Eric Winkel is engaged in a translation into English of Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Futūḥāt al-Makkīyah, from beginning to end. It is being published progressively by the Pir Press, and Volume 3 (comprising Books 5 and 6) has just been launched.