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Young Writer Award 2023

The judges have announced the results of the competion.
About the young writers

• MIAS-Latina
Online talks in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian

Image: a painting created by Ana Ludovico for the symposium

1 June 2024 | Cambridge UK

‘Light within darkness, the infinite dimensions of Love’

Ibn ‘Arabi Society 2024 Symposium

The 2024 Ibn ‘Arabi Society Symposium, ‘Light within darkness, the infinite dimensions of Love’, will be held on Saturday, June 1st, 2024 starting at 09:30 AM at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. The day will offer an opportunity to explore – through various perspectives – the themes of light, darkness, and Love’s dimensions in Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings.


The morning will consist of formal talks, the afternoon will feature smaller workshops and open discussion. Refreshments and a buffet lunch are included in the admission ticket. The Symposium brochure with full timetable can be downloaded here.


Paolo Urizzi
Title: ‘From the depths of the Hidden Treasure: the Love-theophany of the divine Names’

Hina Khalid
Title: ‘The Finite World as the Habitat of the Infinite: Decoding the Love Languages of Ibn ‘Arabi and Rabindranath Tagore’

Stephen Hirtenstein
Title: ‘A Love Supreme amidst the flames’

Chairs: Stefan Sperl, Jane Clark and Omar Zein

About the speakers

Paolo Urizzi studied at Al-Azhar in Cairo (1975-1979). In 1997 he founded the journal of traditional studies Perennia Verba.  He edits the series on sufism ‘I Gioielli’ (Il Leone Verde – Turin) and has collaborated with the Officina di Studi Medievali of Palermo.  He currently lectures on sufism at the Faculty of Oriental and Comparative Philosophy at the ‘Istituto di Scienze Umane‘ in Rimini. His publications include the annotated translation of Kalabadhi’s Kitab al-ta’arruf and several essays on traditional thought, with a focus on Ibn ‘Arabi.


Hina Khalid is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. She has successfully defended her PhD dissertation, which offered the first comprehensive comparative study of the theology and poetry of Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) and Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). She is particularly interested in the possibilities of comparative theology across Islamic and Indic traditions, and in the ways that shared devotional idioms have formed in and across the Indian subcontinent. Her previous publications have centred on a range of topics, including issues of embodiment, gender, and spirituality across the Christian, Islamic, and Indic worldviews.


Stephen Hirtenstein is a MIAS Senior Research Fellow and Director of Anqa Publishing. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society from 1982 to 2023. Since 2001, he has been working on the MIAS archiving project for the historic manuscripts of Ibn ‘Arabi. He works as an Editor for the Encyclopaedia Islamica (Brill in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) and runs courses on Sufism and Sufi poetry at the University of Oxford. His most recent publications include a three-part article on Ibn ‘Arabi’s Fihrist (‘Catalogue’) in the Journal, and books such as Patterns of Contemplation (2021) and Ibn ‘Arabi’s Prayers for the Week (2021). He is currently revising his first book, The Unlimited Mercifier (1999).


Admission tickets

to include talks, workshops, refreshments and lunch

Members’ tickets are available with a discount. Members will be informed by email

General Admission Tickets £75.00 + booking fee

Student (Full time) £20.00 + booking fee upon receipt of a photocopy of your student card to the organiser events.uk@ibnarabisociety.org

To register for tickets and view FAQs, follow this link to Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ibn-arabi-symposium-light-within-darkness-the-infinite-dimensions-of-love-tickets-865066084947?aff=oddtdtcreator


5 June 2024 | Toronto, Canada

Ibn ‘Arabi and the Shi’i Tradition: Texts, Ideas, Receptions

On June 5th there will be a one-day conference at the University of Toronto, from 9:30AM – 5PM, to discuss the reception of Ibn ʿArabī in Shīʿī intellectual production across space and time. This seminar is jointly hosted by the Shi’a Research Institute and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

Just as ‘post-classical’ philosophy in Islam is associated with the many receptions of Avicenna (d. 1037), similarly the broader scope of Islamic thought is punctuated with the receptions of the Andalusian Sufi buried in Damascus, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī (d. 1240), undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and influential figures in Islamic intellectual history. His major literary production, especially Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam (The Ring-settings of Wisdoms) and al-Futūḥāt al-Makkīya (The Meccan Revelations) has spawned a considerable commentary tradition, including receptions and critiques written by Shīʿī thinkers, starting with ʿAbd al-Razzāq Kāshānī (d. 1336) and Sayyid Ḥaydar Āmulī (d. after 1385) in the pivotal fourteenth century.

This workshop will focus upon the reception of Ibn ʿArabī in Shīʿī intellectual production across space and time. Because we are concerned with a thinker who had a complicated relationship with falsafa and ḥikma as possible permutations of philosophy, and because his adherents and respondents often did not self-identity as philosophers, and because we are concerned with the rhetoric, spirit and form of argumentative expressions, we take philosophy in a broad sense to refer to genres of writing beyond the narrow labels of falsafa and ḥikma.

In that sense, William Chittick in his entry in the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy opined that Ibn ʿArabī could be considered as the greatest of Muslim philosophers. How has Ibn ʿArabī been imagined, appropriated, and reconceptualised in Shīʿī scholarship? How did scholars deal with his hermeneutics as well as his metaphysics and his conception of divine friendship and sainthood? What may have been some of the motivations behind doing so and the contestations that arose in the process of integrating his theories? To what extent did the reception of Ibn ʿArabī represent a ‘confessional ambiguity’ among Persianate elites? What is necessary for some thinkers to adopt him as a fellow Shīʿī believer in order to make his work more palatable in Shīʿī scholarly circles?

This workshop will endeavour to address some of these questions and more broadly to investigate the scholarly output of Ibn ʿArabī with a specific focus on its intersection with Shīʿism and the apologetics or polemics that ensued as a result and that formed the emergence of modern Shiʿi philosophy and mystical thought.

Keynote speaker

  • Todd Lawson (Toronto)


  • Nizamudin Ahmed – Florida International University
  • Emaan Alebban – Providence College
  • Mukhtar H Ali – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Vinay Khetia – Shi’a Research Institute
  • Mohammad Amin Mansouri – Central Washington University
  • Sajjad Rizvi – University of Exeter
  • Eliza Tasbihi – McGill University
  • Cyrus Zargar – University of Central Florida

To register, visit: Ibn ‘Arabi and the Shi’i Tradition: Texts, Ideas, and Receptions | Shi’a Research Institute (shiaresearch.ca) [/]

Note: Limited seats available, registration is mandatory.

March 2024

Young Writer Award 2023 – Prize winner

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2023 MIAS Young Writers Award is Nur Ahmad, currently a PhD candidate at the University of Leiden. This is the fifth time that the Society has run this competition, which gives an award (this year $1500) for the best essay written by a young scholar under the age of 35 on a theme related to Ibn ‘Arabi or his legacy.

The award was judged by three prominent Ibn ‘Arabi scholars – Professor Michael Sells of the University of Chicago; Dr Aydogan Kars of Monash University, Australia; and Dr Angela Jaffray, who will be best-known to members of the Society for her translations of Ibn ‘Arabi’s works, The Universal Tree and the Four Birds (Anqa Publishing, 2007) and The Secrets of Voyaging (Anqa Publishing, 2015). Many thanks to them for the time and attention they devoted to task of choosing a winner out the eight excellent entries that we received.

The winning essay is entitled ‘Akbarian Hermeneutics in pre-Modern Javanese Literature’. As the title suggests, this is an exploration of Sufi Quranic exegesis in Javanese culture for which, as Ahmad explains, Ibn ‘Arabi’s ideas formed the predominant framework. The judges felt that this is a ground-breaking piece of work, exploring a previously little-known area of study and exhibiting excellent scholarship based on hitherto unstudied sources.

Other entries are also thought worthy of mention. ‘Highly Commended’ are Elif Emirahmetoglu for her essay: ‘The Human Self and Personhood in Akbarīan Sufism and Chinese Buddhism’, which again, breaks new ground in its detailed comparison between these two highly sophisticated traditions; and Sophie Tyser for her essay ‘The World, Man and Ritual Prayer according to Ibn al-ʿArabī’ for its thorough and comprehensive exposition on Ibn ‘Arabi’s understanding of prayer. ‘Commended’ is Farah Akhtar for ‘Cosmos as Revelation: Reason, Imagination, and the Foundations of Ibn ‘Arabī’s Scriptural Hermeneutics’. All four of these essays will be submitted to the Society journal for consideration for publication.

Many thanks to all those who sent in submissions to the award. The hard work and thought that went into all the essays is much appreciated, and it is great to know that there are such excellent young scholars working on Ibn ‘Arabi’s heritage. It bodes very well for the future of Akbarian studies.

Jane Clark

About the young writers


Nur Ahmad is currently a PhD student of Islamic philosophy at Leiden University. His PhD research is a study of Fayḍ al-Raḥmān fī Tarjama Tafsīr Kalām Mālik al-Dayyān (“The Grace of the Merciful in the Interpretative Translation of the Words of the King and the Judge”), a Javanese Ṣūfī tafsīr by Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ al-Samārānī (c. 1820-1903). He argues that this tafsīr points to the shift in the intellectual world of Java at the end of the nineteenth century. He has had a lifelong interest in Ṣūfi thought in Javanese traditional literature and its popular expressions in lived traditions of Sufism in Java. Ahmad’s academic pursuits in the field of Sufism in Java are also motivated by the teaching position he has at Walisongo’s State Islamic University (UIN Walisongo), Semarang, Indonesia. As the chairman (2024-2026) of the Netherlands Branch Nahdlatul Ulama, an Islamic traditional organization, he makes an effort to manifest his interest in Javanese thought and poetry in popular forms, such as working together with Javanese traditional artists in the adaptation of Javanese Ṣūfī poetry into sacred dances and songs.

Elif Emirahmetoğlu is a research assistant at the Berlin Institute of Islamic Theology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Recently, she submitted her PhD thesis, which compared the concept of human beings in Ibn al-‘Arabī (d. 1240) and Shinran Shōnin (d. 1263). Her research interests include Sufism, Islamic philosophy, Buddhism, comparative philosophy, and comparative mysticism. She is currently preparing for her postdoctoral project to explore various dimensions of human subjectivity in classical and post-classical Islamic anthropologies, and aims to reinterpret these perspectives with philosophical discussions on human subjectivity in the 20th and 21st centuries which have taken recourse to German idealism.

Sophie Tyser obtained her doctorate in Islamic studies in 2022 from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris) in France. Her doctoral thesis, entitled ‘In The Horizons and Within Themselves’ : Man, The World and The Revelation in The Teaching of Ibn al-ʿArabī, focuses on the micro-macrocosmic imbrications in the work of the shaykh al-akbar. Since 2022 she has taught Arabic language and literature at the University of Turin in Italy.




Farah Akhtar is a graduate of the M.Div program at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School where she focused on Qur’anic hermeneutics and constructive Islamic theology. Her research interests include examining the literary form and exegetical function of metaphysical literature in the post-classical period and their significance to understanding the life of the Qur’an in Muslim societies. She is also interested in conceptions and interpretations of scripture in Indo-Persian mystical and philosophical poetry, with specific reference to the cosmos and existence. Prior to graduate study, Farah lived in Amman, New York and Lahore, studying Arabic, Persian and various Islamic texts in informal settings, including writings of Said Nursi. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago.