Articles and Translations

Reflections of Ibn ‘Arabi in Early Naqshbandî Tradition

Hamid Algar

Hamid Algar is Professor Emeritus of Persian studies at the Faculty of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He began his studies of Arabic, Persian and Islamic Civilzation at Cambridge in 1959. After graduating, he spent a lengthy and fruitful period of travel in Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan before returning to Cambridge in 1963 and completing his doctorate there two years later. He has been teaching in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, Berkeley, since 1965, providing a wide range of instruction in the fields of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish literature and offering lecture courses on various aspects of Islamic religion and culture. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Tehran.

His research interests center on Shi’ism in Iran and Sufism in the Persian and Persian-influenced world, with particular emphasis on the Naqshbandi order. His copious writings have been published in an array of languages additional to English, such as French, German, Russian, Italian, Bosnian, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Malay/Indonesian. [/]


Articles by Hamid Algar

Reflections of Ibn Arabi in Early Naqshbandi Tradition


It is often assumed that the Naqshbandî tariqa has formed a singular case of imperviousness to the almost universal diffusion of the teachings and concepts of Ibn ‘Arabi.[1] This misapprehension rests not only on a lack of acquaintance with the relevant texts but also on a failure to understand both the perennial essence of the Naqshbandî path and the distinctive genius of ash-Shaykh al-Akbar. With its well-known insistence on sobriety and adherence to the sharî’ a and the popularity it has consistently enjoyed among the ulamâ’, the Naqshbandîya is thought to be implacably hostile to theosophical speculation, to be a kind of mysticism without true mystical content. Despite the appearance of several important interpretive works in Western languages, Ibn ‘Arabi is still regarded, all too often, as a near-heretical proponent of antinomianism. The imaginary antithesis between the Naqshbandîya and Ibn ‘Arabi also derives, perhaps, in a more general sense, from the obstinate notion that Sufism and sharî’a have represented polar opposites throughout Islamic history.

There is also the fact that Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi the Mujaddid (d. 1034/1624), a pivotal figure in Naqshbandî tradition, did indeed take issue with certain formulations put forward by Ibn ‘Arabi.[2] He did so, however, with a certain trepidation and took pains to stress his overall respect for the great master.[3] The criticisms he advanced were of a different order from those made by Ibn Taymiyya (d.728/ 1328), a truly angry and implacable adversary.[4] Moreover, the Mujaddid’s objections to some of Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings were moderated or even ignored by later Naqshbandîs of the Mujaddidi line, who suggested that the differences between these masters of Sufi thought were of a purely terminological order.[5]

In any event, it would be totally false to project the Mujaddid’s partially critical attitude back to earlier generations of the Naqshbandî order. Indeed, in expressing criticism of Ibn ‘Arabi, the Mujaddid was breaking with the precedents set by his predecessors, most of whom evinced a substantial and positive interest in the teachings of ash-Shaykh al-Akbar.

* * *

The Naqshbandî path can be regarded as a crystallization of the particular traditions of Khurasanian Sufism, the concepts of the original Malamatiya playing an especially important role.[6] Historically, then, there is no intertwining of lines of initiatic descent between Ibn ‘Arabi and the Naqshbandîya. The most that can be said is that a certain understanding of malâmat was important to Ibn ‘Arabi as well,[7] and he was at least aware of the ultimate progenitor of the Naqshbandîya, Khwâja Abu Ya’qub Hamâdanî (d.535/ 1140): Auhad ad-Dîn Kirmani had related to him an anecdote concerning Hamâdanî during a stay in Konya in the year 602/ 1205-6.[8] It is not until the twelfth/eighteenth century that we find a Naqshbandî – Murtada az-Zabidi (d.1205/1791) – laying claim to the khirqa akbariyya, i.e. to initiatic descent from Ibn ‘Arabi.[9]

None the less, it is plain that awareness of Ibn ‘Arabi and his works had penetrated Eastern Khurasan and Transoxiana at the latest by the eighth/fourteenth century, the period that saw the genesis there of the Naqshbandî order. One indication of this is that Sa’d ad-Dîn Taftazani (d.791/1389), the well-known Ash’ari theologian, found it necessary to write a refutation of the Fusûs, [10] and that one of his pupils, ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn Muhammad Bukhari (d.848/1437) composed a more general condemnation of Ibn ‘Arabi and others whom he regarded as heretical.[11] It may also be of significance that two of the earliest and most influential commentators on the Fusûs, Mua’yyid ad-Dîn Jandi (d.690/1291) and Said ad-Dîn Farghani (d.700/1300), were both of Central Asian origin.

The biography of Khwâja Bahâ’ ad-Dîn Naqshband (d.791/ 1389), eponym of the Naqshbandî order, is still imperfectly known, but it seems certain that his spiritual training did not include any direct exposure to the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi. However, one of his principal disciples and successors, Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ (d.822/1419), concerning whom Bahâ’ ad-Dîn said, “the purpose for my coming into being was his existence”,[12] was an enthusiastic and celebrated devotee of Ibn ‘Arabi. Very striking is the statement of Khwâja Muhammad’s son, Abu Nasr Pârsâ, that for his father the Fusûs al-Hikam was like the soul and the Futûhât al-Makkiya like the heart, and that he had been of the opinion that assiduous study of the Fusûs would result in ardent and active adherence to the sunna of the Prophet.[13] Given the fact that for the Naqshbandîya the following of the sunna was of central importance, even being designated as the only miracle (karama) worth aspiring to, this estimate of Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ is of particular importance. It suggests that he -together with other early Naqshbandîs – perceived a congruity in at least one respect between the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi and his own spiritual path.

Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ has been rightly described as “the founder of the learned and literary traditions of the Naqshbandî order”;[14] more than a dozen works of varying length are attributed to him. His enthusiasm for Ibn ‘Arabi finds reflection in several of these. In the Risâla-yi Qudsiya, a collection of the dicta of Khwâja Baha’ ad-Dîn Naqshband, Pârsâ comments on a number of them with recourse to terminology derived from Ibn ‘Arabi. The book also contains one direct quotation from Ibn ‘Arabi, although he is identified only as “one of the great” (yakî az kubarâ’): “Praise be to God Who made the Perfect Man teacher of the angels and made the firmament rotate by means of his breaths, by way of honouring and elevation.”[15]

The longest and most systematic treatise of Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ. on both theoretical and practical Sufism is the work entitled Fasl al-Khitâb; the very title is intended to signify the definitiveness of its contents. Given the attested devotion of Pârsâ to Ibn ‘Arabi, it is, then, remarkable that this book – replete with references to Hujvîrî, Ghazâlî and Najm ad-Dîn Râzî – should mention Ibn ‘Arabi only once. This mention consists of an indirect quotation of the opening lines of the Futûhât al-Makkiya, taken from the Ma’ânî al-Akhbâr of a certain Shaykh Abu Bakr ibn Ishaq. The lines run as follows:

Praise belongs to God. He it is Who brings things from non-being into being and then returns them to non-being. He left the existence of things at that level in order to render it capable of verbal expression. He did this further in order that we might perceive the truth of the createdness and non-createdness of all things in the light of His own non-createdness and in order that we might not pass beyond this limit of realization – fixed for us by Him – concerning His veritable non-createdness.

Pârsâ then quotes with approval Shaykh Abu Bakr’s commentary on the passage:

The non-existence of non-existence is existence. Created things (al-kawn) exist by virtue of God’s knowing them since pre-eternity. Now created things cannot be a locus for God’s knowledge, and God does not indwell in created things. So if you understand the truth of all this, it can be said either that He created from non-existence or from existence. I convey matters to you as they are. It is God Who speaks the truth, and God Who shows the way.[16]

Another conspectus of the Sufi path is the Tuhfat as-Sâlikîn, attributed to Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ in the edition published at Delhi in 1970. This book contains nothing identifiably derived from Ibn ‘Arabi, although there are possibly a few echoes of his teachings in the section on tawhîd and elsewhere.[17] By contrast, the short work compiled by ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jâmî and generally known as Sukhanân-i Khwâja Pârsâ is suffused with the concepts and terminology of Ibn ‘Arabi, although it contains no explicit mention of him.[18] This work appears to consist of notes written by Pârsâ in the margins of his other writings, compiled and arranged by Jâmî, although ‘Abd al-Ghafûr Lârî, the principal disciple of Jâmî, describes it as a commentary by Jâmî on the dicta of Pârsâ.[19]

This opuscule of Pârsâ clearly demonstrates that the influence of Ibn ‘Arabi on a given writer cannot be measured purely in terms of direct and frequent quotation from his writings. It is none the less remarkable that the available works of Pârsâ do not reflect more clearly the devotion to Ibn ‘Arabi of which his son spoke so emphatically. Perhaps the hostility to Ibn ‘Arabi propagated in Bukhara by such contemporaries of Pârsâ as ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn Muhammad Bukhari imposed a certain discretion upon him; it is worth recalling that the hadith scholars of Bukhara denounced Pârsâ at least once to the ruler, Ulugh Beg.[20] It is also possible that Pârsâ’s interest in Ibn ‘Arabi – probably acquired autodidactically – came relatively late in his life, too late for substantial expression in his works; the chronology of his life is not sufficiently established to permit any firm conclusion.

Another mystery concerning Pârsâ’s interest in Ibn ‘Arabi surrounds the attribution to him of one of the earliest complete commentaries in Persian on the Fusûs al-Hikam, recently published under the title Sharh-i Fusûs al-Hikam.[21] This is a relatively concise work, characterized by close reliance on the Arabic commentary of Mu’ayyid ad-Dîn Jandi while excising much of its prolixity. The principal aim of its author is to clarify terminology and explain textual problems, including questions of grammar and syntax; there is no attempt to intrude personal spiritual experience or to engage in the excessive systematization found in many later commentaries on the Fusûs. This commentary is also distinguished by cross references to passages in the Futûhât al-Makkiya, helpfully identified by section and chapter.

It was already observed by Osman Yahia in 1964 that at least the opening passages of the commentary attributed to Pârsâ correspond exactly to the commentary on the Fusûs written by the well-known Kubravi saint, Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamâdanî (d.787/1385).[22] The text of the commentary attributed to Pârsâ was first published in 1987 by Jalil Misgarnizhad, who had no doubts concerning Pârsâ’s authorship.[23] Almost immediately, however, the Afghan scholar, Najib Mayil Hiravi, disputed the attribution of the commentary to Pârsâ and asserted that it must definitely be regarded as the work of Hamâdanî.[24] As Hiravi points out, Hamâdanî, too, had a pronounced interest in the works of Ibn ‘Arabi, and according to various hagiographical works he gave instruction at his khânaqâh in Khuttalan on a commentary that he authored himself on the Fusûs al-Hikam.[25] Hiravi then demonstrates that the text published under Pârsâ’s name is identical in virtually every respect with the manuscripts of the commentary attributed to Hamâdanî, and that a separate treatise by Hamâdanî, the Risâla-yi Vujudiya, is nothing more than a slightly amended version of the introduction to this commentary.[26] He argues further that Jâmî does not ascribe to Pârsâ any commentary on the Fusûs in his notice on him in Nafahât al-Uns,[27] and that Pârsâ’s alleged commentary does not figure among the sources used by Jâmî in compiling Naqd an-Nusûs.[28] Finally, he asserts that the earliest attribution of the commentary to Pârsâ comes in the Idâh al-Maknûn of Ismail Paşa Bagdadî (d.1339/ 1920).[29]

These arguments are impressive but not conclusive. First, the text of the commentary in question does not include the name either of Pârsâ or of Hamâdanî as its author; it is only the scribes or owners of various manuscripts that have attributed the work to one of the two authors. Second, it is not the habit of Jâmî to make an exhaustive listing of works written by the Sufis whom he includes in Nafahât al-Uns, and if he made no use of the commentary in question when writing Naqd an-Nusûs, it may have been because he discerned in it nothing of importance that could not be found in the commentary of Jandi. It is also certain that Ismail Paşa Bagdadi cannot have been the first person to attribute the commentary to Pârsâ; in making the attribution he must have been guided either by an earlier source or by the annotation on a manuscript available to him. Two of the manuscripts used by Misgamizhad for his edition date from the Safavid period and bear the name of Pârsâ as author. There is nothing in the text itself to argue against its authorship by Pârsâ, and its style, although admittedly laconic, bears a clear resemblance to that of Pârsâ’s other writings in Persian.

A definitive assignation of the commentary to either Pârsâ or Hamâdanî will have to await a precise and comprehensive examination of all the relevant manuscripts. If such an examination establishes that Hamâdanî was indeed the author of this commentary, its widespread attribution to Pârsâ will still serve as an illustration of the repute enjoyed by this early Naqshbandi as a devotee of Ibn ‘Arabi.

* * *

If Pârsâ counts as the principal intellectual and spiritual heir of Khwâja Baha’ ad-Dîn Naqshband, his chief organiational successor was Khwâja ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn Muhammad Bukhari (d.802/1400), commonly known as ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn ‘Attâr.[30] It is important not to confuse this Naqshbandî with his namesake and contemporary, ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn Muhammad Bukhari (d.848/1437), the Bukharan enemy of Ibn ‘Arabi and his school, for like Pârsâ, ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn ‘Attâr also revered Ibn ‘Arabi. The evidence is, however, less copious in his case. Fakhr ad-Dîn ‘Ali Safi (d.939/1531) has occasion to discuss in his Rashaâdt ‘Ayn al-Hayât the difference between talwîn (variability of spiritual state) and tamkîn (stability of spiritual state). While explaining the preference of the early Naqshbandîs for the former, he quotes ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn as follows:

If we interpret talwin in the sense it bears in the usage of the Pole of the Asserters of the Divine Unity, the Succour of the People of Realization, Shaykh Muhyi M-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabi and his followers – may God sanctify their spirits – recognizing the possessor of talwin is more difficult than recognizing the possessor of tamkîn. For the shaykh ― may his innermost being be sanctified – has said, in his [definitions of] terminology: “In the opinion of most shaykhs talwîn is a defective station, but in our opinion it is the best and most perfect of all stations. My state in talwîn is the same as that which God Almighty says concerning Himself: ‘Every day He is engaged in a different affair’ (Qur’an, 55:29). True tamkîn, in our opinion, is tamkîn within talwîn.”[31]

This is the only occasion on which ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn ‘Attâr is recorded to have referred to Ibn ‘Arabi.

From ‘Ala’ ad-Dîn ‘Attâr, the main line of the Naqshbandî silsila passes to Maulana Ya’qûb Charkhî (d.851/1447) who was a fairly prolific writer, although not on the same scale as Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ.[32] No trace of the influence of Ibn ‘Arabi is visible in his writings, even in the Risâla-yi Abdâliya, a treatise which, because of its topic, might be expected to show familiarity with Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings concerning the rijâl al-ghayb. Charkhî’s chief focus, among the masters of the past, seems rather to have been Maulânâ Jalâl ad-Dîn Rûmî.

Charkhî was succeeded in turn by Khwâja ‘Ubaydullah Ahrâr (d.896/1490) who was in many respects the most significant figure to appear in the Naqshbandî order after Khwâja Baha’ ad-Dîn Naqshband himself.[33] The quite copious biographical material on Ahrâr has been examined so far mostly to extract information concerning his considerable social and political role in Tirmurid Central Asia; the specifically Sufi dimensions of his career have received markedly less attention. Among those dimensions is a clear interest in Ibn ‘Arabi and his works which permits us to conclude that Ahrâr was definitely an adherent of the doctrine of wahdat al-wujûd.

Ahrâr had at least one circumstance in common with Ibn ‘Arabi; like him, he was a Sufi who received part of his training from the spiritual being (rûhânîya) of Jesus, so that he, too, was ‘îsawî al-mashrab.[34] This affinity may, of course, be dismissed as incidental, but it is incontestable that Ahrâr was closely acquainted with the writings of Ibn ‘Arabi. Among his unpublished works is a commentary in Persian on some of the more difficult verses contained in the Fusûs,[35] and his command of the Futûhât al-Makkiya was evidently of such a high order that even ‘Abd ar-Rahman Jâmî ― without a doubt the most prominent of the early Naqshbandî devotees of Ibn ‘Arabi – consulted him on problematic passages of that work.[36] The longest of Ahrâr’s writings is a treatise known as Faqarât, which is primarily an exposition of the spiritual ancestry and mystical method of the Naqshbandîya.[37] None the less, in its discussion of the Haqîqa Muhammadiya it is highly reminiscent of the final chapter of the Fusûs, and in its analysis of the station of the siddiq it is equally reminiscent of the relevant section of the Futûhât al-Makkiya. Furthermore, there are echoes of the terminology of Ibn ‘Arabi throughout the Faqarât.

Fakhr ad-Dîn ‘Ali Safî’s Rashahat ‘Ayn al-Hayât, the principal published source for the biography of Ahrâr, records many topics that Ahrâr sought to clarify – in the course of the oral instruction he dispensed – by referring to Ibn ‘Arabi. Among these were the responses evinced by inanimate objects to the acts and moral characteristics of humans; the uselessness of dhikr performed while sleeping (because of the absence of knowledge of the content of the dhikr); the symbolic meaning of a saying by a certain Shaykh Abu’s-Su’ud; the form of divine manifestation known as tajalli-yi muqâbala, which is experienced while facing the tomb of a saint; the possibility of continuing to advance spiritually after death (proven by Abû’l-Husayn Nûrî’s posthumous encounter with Ibn ‘Arabi); and the significance of the instructions given to Bayazid Bistami to return home and look after his mother.[38] None the less it is plain that Ahrâr did not seek to fuse the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi, above all in their metaphysical dimensions, with the practice of the Naqshbandî path. An eminently practical Sufi, he was aware of the dangers into which metaphysical speculation might plunge the unqualified. In a highly significant discourse recorded in the Rashahât Ahrâr made it clear that on the one hand he regarded the doctrine of the unicity of being as the very essence of religious knowledge, but that on the other hand it is not accessible by means of intellection, at least for the majority of men. Purification of the heart is the only correct approach to perceiving the truth:

The essence of the conventional sciences consists of tafsîr, hadîth and fiqh, and their essence in turn consists of Sufism. The topic of the science of Sufism is being: it is said that in all the degrees of being, whether divine or created, there is but one being, manifest in the forms reposing in its own knowledge (suvar-i ‘îlmiya-yi khud). This is an extremely difficult and subtle topic; to immerse oneself in it by means of intellection and imagination leads to misguidance and heresy. For this world contains dogs and pigs and other lowly animals, as well as various kinds of filth and impurity; to apply the word “being” to them would be extremely ugly and reprehensible. On the other hand, to except them from being would invalidate the principle and contradict the usage of the Sufis. The duty of the perspicacious is, therefore, to busy themselves to the exclusion of all else with cleansing from the mirror of their own essence the imprints of created being (nuqûsh-i kaunîya), so that once that locus [of perception] has been cleansed and purified, the ray of the light of existence may shine on their subtle organ of perception (latîfa-yi mudrika) and the matter may show itself to be as it is.[39]

* * *

The interest of ‘Abd ar-Rahmân Jâmî (d.898/1492) in the doctrines, concepts and works of Ibn ‘Arabi is at once more substantial and better known than that of the other Naqshbandîs examined so far.[40] A major part of his Sufi works, in both prose and poetry, is devoted, explicitly or implicitly, to an exposition of the teaching of Ibn ‘Arabi, and we may hazard the assertion that he was the most eminent and influential representative of his school, particularly in the Persian-speaking world. In addition, he participated energetically in the debates and controversies that raged in Herat concerning the teachings of the great master, defending the doctrines against their exoterist opponents and inculcating them in his own disciples and students.

The clearest evidence for Jâmî’s interest in Ibn ‘Arabi is provided, of course, by the Naqd an-Nusûs, his commentary on the Naqsh al-Fusûs, Ibn ‘Arabi’s own summary of the Fusûs al-Hikam. A relatively early work, it can fairly be described as derivative because of its degree of indebtedness to earlier writers belonging to the school of Ibn ‘Arabi; it none the less foreshadows much of the doctrinal content of Jâmî’s later writings in poetry and prose. Jâmî’s commen­tary on the full text of the Fusûs bears comparison with that attri­buted to Pârsâ., in that its chief concern is to elucidate textual problems and it does not attempt a consistent explanation of the metaphysical dimensions of the book.[41] A technical mastery of the terminology employed by Ibn ‘Arabi, as well as an acquaintance with the existing commentaries on the Fusûs, is also demonstrated in ad-Durrat al-Fâkhira, an adjudication of the positions of the theologians, philosophers and Sufis concerning the knowledge of God, written in Arabic for the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad the Conqueror.[42] A more perfect assimilation of the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi, especially wahdat al-wujûd, is expressed in superb literary form in three Persian works, written in a mixture of prose and poetry: Ashî’ ‘at al-Lama’ât, a commentary on the celebrated Lama’ât of Fakhr ad-Dîn ‘Iraqi (d.688/1289), the first exposition in Persian of key themes from the theosophy of Ibn ‘Arabi;[43] Lavâyih, a work similar in style and arrangement to the Lama’ât;[44] and Lavâmi’, a commentary on the well-known khamrîya of Ibn al-Fârid (d.633/ 1235).[45] A further discussion of wahdat al-wujûd couched in both poetry and prose consists of the metaphysical quatrains to which Jâmî wrote his own commentary, in a relatively accessible and non-technical language.[46] The teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi also found expression in much of the verse Jâmî composed, and it may be argued, in fact, that his poetry was a more effective means for the dissemination of the concepts of Ibn ‘Arabi than commentaries on the Fusûs. Works of such technical nature were read, after all, by a relatively restricted number of people, but the influence of Jâmî’s poetry was vast; for centuries it provided a model of excellence that was imitated not only in Iran but also – to a higher degree, in fact – in Central Asia, India and Ottoman Turkey. Poets copying his style and developing the imagery he employed made it possible for the concepts of Ibn ‘Arabi to permeate the poetry and thus the consciousness and sensibility of the entire eastern Islamic world.[47]

Jâmî’s devotion to Ibn ‘Arabi was inspired, at least in part, by the writings of Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ, whom he had met in person in early childhood and whose son, Abu Nasr Pârsâ, become a constant companion in Herat.[48] Jâmî once reminisced to his disciple Lârî that he had initially had doubts concerning wahdat al-wujud until the study of the writings of Khwâja Pârsâ reassured him: “then my mind was freed from the shackles of anxiety and rushed to embrace this teaching”.[49] His interest in Ibn ‘Arabi was also sustained to some degree by another Naqshbandî, Khwâja ‘Ubay-dullah Ahrâr, whom he would occasionally consult on the meaning of passages in the Futûhât al-Makkiya, as mentioned above.[50]

But despite his respect for Ahrâr, Jâmî’s formal affiliation to the Naqshbandî order was by means of another master, Khwâja Sa’d ad-Dîn Kashghari (d.860/1456), descended initiatically from ‘Alâ’ ad-Dîn ‘Attâr by way of Maulânâ Nizâm ad-Dîn Khâmûsh. Kâshgharî’s acquaintance with the works of Ibn ‘Arabi appears to have been slight. However, he once quoted with approval Ibn ‘Arabi’s saying that whoever lives in the sublunary realm will necessarily remain there after death.[51] He would also encourage his followers to listen to the preaching of Khwâja Shams ad-Dîn Muhammad Kûsû’i (d.894/1489), an initiate of the Zayni order, who “believed in the writings of Shaykh Muhyi ‘d-Dîn and dealt with the topic of tawhîd in accordance with his views in such a way that the exoterist ‘ulamâ’ were unable to object”.[52] One of the disciples of Kâshgharî, Maulana Shams ad-Dîn Muhammad Ruji (d.904/1499), came so fully under the influence of Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings that he asked for “the secret of the manifestation of the world” to be revealed to him, as Ibn ‘Arabi had maintained this to be possible. The revelation was vouchsafed to him, but when he found it impossible to endure, he prayed for it to be withdrawn, and he recovered his normal state, although not fully.[53]

Despite the eminence in Herat of Jâmî and his associates, it is evident that hostility to the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi was not lacking among the ‘ulama’ of the city. Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara once convened a meeting of the scholars at the Masjid-i Jâmî’ of Herat to discuss whether or not the Pharaoh had died a believer. The majority replied without hesitation that he had not, whereupon Bayqara brought the contrary view of Ibn ‘Arabi to their attention. They replied that Ibn ‘Arabi must also have been an unbeliever, and when one of those present reminded them of the esteem in which Maulânâ Qutb ad-Dîn Shirâzi (d.710/1310) had held him, the tafkîr was extended to cover him as well. News of the meeting and its outcome reached Jâmî, and he regretted that men should feel free to discuss matters they were incapable of understanding; it was because of such hostility to Ibn ‘Arabi, rooted in ignorance, that Khwâja Pârsâ had generally referred to him anonymously as “one of the great gnostics”. Warming to his denunciation of the exoterist ‘ulamâ’, he declared that none among the contemporary ‘ulama’ was fit to bear the title faqih, and even if they were to reach the rank of mujtahid, “the understanding of not even one among a thousand mujtahids is capable of comprehending one-tenth of what Ibn ‘Arabi wrote”. Later, another debate on the same subject was organised, and this time Jâmî participated. It was said that the alleged faith of the Pharaoh was imân-i ba’s, i.e. faith resulting from fear, and therefore invalid. Jâmî responded that imân-i ba’s results only from the display to an unbeliever, before his death, of the terrors of the hereafter, and it could not be established that this had happened to the Pharoah. At the most it could be claimed that his state was analogous to those who accepted Islam in the time of the Prophet “from fear of the blows delivered by the sword of prophethood”.[54]

On another occasion, Jâmî’s combative loyalty to Ibn ‘Arabi impelled him to remark that if Ghazâlî – “who was an adherent of wahdat al-wujûd” ― had been a contemporary of Ibn ‘Arabi, he would have had no choice but to follow him.[55]

The sole work that Jâmî devotes exclusively to expounding the Naqshbandî path, Sarrishta-yi Tariq-i Khwdjagdn, exhibits no trace of the concepts or terminology of Ibn ‘Arabi. But it is obvious that the theosophy of ash-Shaykh al-Akbar must have merged with Jâmî’s Naqshbandî affiliation to form, together with it, an integral part of his spiritual personality. We know that at least in one respect ― the silent dhikr prescribed by the Naqshbandîya -Jâmî discerned a clear affinity between the two foci of his loyalty:

Uttering the dhikr softly is the method of some shaykhs, including the great shaykh Muhyi ‘d-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabî, may God Almighty sanctify his precious mystery. The method of most shaykhs is uttering the dhikr loudly (bar sabîl-i jahr), whereas the method of imagining (takhayyul), i.e. the silent dhikr, is the foundation of the path of the [Naqshbandî] masters.[56]

Given this fusion of spiritual loyalties in Jâmî, it is not surprising that he conveyed a devotion to Ibn ‘Arabi to his chief disciple in the Naqshbandî path, ‘Abd al-Ghaffûr Lârî (d.912/1507). In his supplement to the Nqfahât al-Uns, Lârî recalls how Jâmî made his own commentary on the Fusûs part of the training he imparted to him, reading through a copy of the work Lârî had prepared and certifying its correctness.[57]

The Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât contains abundant evidence of the interest of Lârî in Ibn ‘Arabi. Particularly significant is a long discourse by Lârî on the question of what it is that serves as the origin of effects (mabda’-i âsâr) in created beings. He proposes two possible answers. One is the view held by “Shaykh Rukn ad-Dîn ‘Alâ’ ad-Daula [Samnânî], together with a small number of Sufis and the majority of philosophers and theologians”, that “it is an attribute of God that bestows existence, with all of its corollaries, on created beings”. The other is the view of “Shaykh Muhyi ‘d-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabi, together with the majority of realized Sufis, both early and late, and a few philosophers and theologians”; it holds that that which serves as the origin of effects is “the being of God Himself, may He be exalted, which is identical to His Essence. Thus all contingent beings exist through the Necessary Being, and the Divine Essence has a relationship of accompaniment (‘alâqa-yi ma’iyyatî) with all things, the accompaniment (ma’iyyat) being of unknowable quality”.[58]

Again according to the Rashahât, someone dreamed of Lârî soon after his death and asked him whether in the afterlife he had discovered anything more concerning the nature of the “relationship of accompaniment”. He replied that he had met Ibn ‘Arabi soon after his arrival in the hereafter and posed the question to him, but received only the laconic answer in Persian: “Matters are just as I wrote them”, (sukhan hamân ast ki nivishta-îm). Despite this discouraging response, Lârî posed another question: whether or not relations of love and attachment to manifestations of beauty persist in the hereafter. Ibn ‘Arabi replied that they do persist, at a higher level of intensity than in this world, because manifestations of beauty in the hereafter are not the result of the compounding of opposing elements.[59]

Fakhr ad-Dîn ‘Alî Safî, the author of the Rashahât, counts technically as a disciple of Khwâja ‘Ubaydullah Ahrâr, but because of his residence in Herat he was effectively a member of Jâmî’s circle. He, too, showed devotion to Ibn ‘Arabi, being angered and dismayed when he heard his teachings distorted,[60] and he frequently intersperses, with the dicta of the Naqshbandîs he discusses in the Rashahât, references to Ibn ‘Arabi that help to clarify the matters at issue. For example, when expounding the fundamental Naqshbandî principle of nagâhdâsht – preventing stray thoughts from entering the heart so that the operation of the imaginative faculty is suspended – he comments: “Shaykh Muhyi ‘d-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabi has discussed this matter in the Futûhât al-Makkiya in the section dealing with the prostration of the heart (sujûd al-qalb).”[61] Thus for Safi, as for Jâmî, there was a congruity between the Naqshbandî path and the doctrines of Ibn ‘Arabi.

In short, building on the precedents established by Pârsâ, ‘Attâr and Ahrâr, Jâmî and his circle in Herat – his master, colleagues and disciples – all regarded Ibn ‘Arabi and his teachings with enthusiastic approval.

* * *

Early in the second half of the fifteenth century, Jâmî was visited in Herat by a certain Molla ‘Abdullah Ilâhî (d.896/1491), originally from Simav in Western Anatolia. After a series of travels in Khurasan and Transoxiana, Ilâhî had been initiated into the Naqshbandî order by Khwâja ‘Ubaydullah Ahrâr in Samarqand, and he was now returning to the Ottoman lands to become there the first major propagator of the Naqshbandî path. It is to be presumed that his training by Ahrâr had included some exposure to the concepts of Ibn ‘Arabi, and Jâmî, too, may well have fortified his interest in ash-Shaykh al-Akbar; certainly his overall influence on him was great. In any event, the profound impact of Ibn ‘Arabi and his teachings on the still largely unexamined writings of Ilâhî is very remarkable and justifies the conclusion that he was among the principal Sufis to popularize the concepts of Ibn ‘Arabi – notably wahdat al-wujûd – among the Ottoman Turks. He wrote, for example, an Arabic commentary on the celebrated Vâridât of Badr ad-Dîn Sîmâvî (d.823/1420) that made abundant reference to the Fusûs and to the Futûhât al-Makkiya as well as to the poems of Maulânâ Jalâl ad-Dîn Rumi. In a Persian treatise entitled Risâla-yi Ahadiya, he offers a brief discussion of wahdat al-wujûd together with the “five presences” (al-hadarât al-khams), while a work in Turkish, Zâd al-Mushtâqin, provides definitions for more than one hundred items of Sufi terminology, almost all of them drawn from Ibn ‘Arabi. A collection of poetry strongly marked by the influence of Jâmî and expressing many themes of Ibn ‘Arabi has also been attributed to this trilingual writer.[62] Even if the Dîvân in question not be his, it is indisputable that he did compose poetry, and that the town where he spent the last years of his life, Vardar Yenicesi in Rumelia, became a major centre for the cultivation of wujûdi poetry.[63]

The principal successor of Molla ‘Abdullah Ilâhî was Amîr Bukhârî (Emir Buhari; d.922/1516), who had accompanied him from Transoxiana to Anatolia. Amîr Bukhârî’s writings, less copious than those of Ilâhî, showed similar emphases, and in some of his brief treatises he discusses conjointly the Naqshbandî path and his teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi.[64] The numerous successors Amîr Bukhârî appointed in turn included many poets, most important being Lâmi’î Celebi (d.938/1532) who was sometimes known as “the Turkish Jâmî”; they did much to propagate further the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi in the Turkish-speaking lands.

Mention may be made also of another early Turkish Naqshbandî, Bâbâ Ni’matullâh Nakhjuvânî, who died in Akşehir in Central Anatolia in 920/1514. Little is known of his life, except that he spent some years in Tabriz before leaving for Anatolia, perhaps to escape the Safavid onslaught; his lineage in the Naqshbandî order is also unknown. Nakhjuvani wrote a commentary on the Fusûs and a risâla on wahdat al-wujûd, neither of which seems to be extant, and a complete commentary on the Qur’an, al-Fawâtih al-Ilâhiya wa ‘l-Mqfâtîh al Ghaybîya.[65] This tafsîr is said to have been composed without reference to any written sources; it none the less reflects a very complete assimilation of the concepts and terminology of Ibn ‘Arabi and must count as one of the major tafsîrs his school has produced.[66]

The history of the diffusion of the doctrines of Ibn ‘Arabi in Ottoman Turkey remains to be written, but the summary evidence gathered here permits us to assert that the early Naqshbandîs were among the prime agents of that process.[67]

* * *

The earliest prominent representative of the Naqshbandîya in the Indian subcontinent, Khwâja Bâqi bi’llâh (d.1002/1603), was an initiatic descendant of Khwâja ‘Ubaydullah Ahrâr, by three generations, and he, too, manifested enthusiastic interest in the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi. In his letters and discourses he commented with favour on various apparently controversial statements of the Shaykh al-Akbar, as, for example, his interpretation of “the straight path” to be the path of those who were conscious of both haqq and khalq as two aspects of a single reality. To those who claimed that Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings on this and other subjects contravened the creed of the pious forebears (as-salaf as-sâlih), Khwâja Bâqi bi’llâh responded that they complemented it, not contradicted it.[68] The various poetical works of Bâqi bi’llâh – primarily masnavîs – are also replete with themes derived from Ibn ‘Arabi, especially the Perfect Man and wahdat al-wujûd.[69]

Bâqi bi’llâh was, of course, the preceptor of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, and hagiographical tradition has it that he not only acknowledged the superiority of his disciple to himself but also abandoned belief in wahdat al-wujûd in favour of the wahdat ash-shuhûd proposed by Sirhindi.[70] The evidence for this is slight, and it seems that although he acknowledged the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi to have been dangerously misunderstood by some of his self-proclaimed followers in India, Bâqi bi’llâh remained a convinced wujûdi to the end. Had it been otherwise, he would presumably have tried to convince his two sons, Khwâja Kalan (Khwâja ‘Ubayd-ullah) and Khwâja Khurd (Khwâja Muhammad ‘Abdullah) of the veracity of wahdat ash-shuhûd. Both of them, however, continued to uphold wahdat al-wujûd and Khwâja Khurd in particular wrote works in elaboration of the doctrine which Chittick has classified as “outstanding and offering fresh and original contributions to the school”.[71] They even wrote to Khwâja Muhammad Ma’sûm (d. 1079/1668), son of Sirhindi and the main propagator of his branch of the Naqshbandîya both in India and elsewhere, in an effort to win him over to belief in wahdat al-wujûd.[72] The effort was fruitless, and before long the Naqshbandîya in the Indian subcontinent became synonymous with the Mujaddidi branch established by Sirhindi. This led to a partial and temporary eclipse of Naqshbandî interest in Ibn ‘Arabi; for several generations it was among the adherents of other orders that the main Indian cultivators of Ibn ‘Arabi’s legacy were to be found.[73]

* * *

Although the antithesis between wahdat ash-shuhûd and wahdat al-wujûd was never as sharp as is often imagined, it remains true that -for whatever reason – Naqshbandî interest in the legacy of Ibn ‘Arabi waned more or less everywhere in the post-Sirhindi period. The Maktubât of Sirhindi came to replace the Fusûs of Ibn ‘Arabi as a text for study and meditation. Occasional figures such as ‘Abd al-Ghanî an-Nâbulusî (d. 1143/1731) showed great enthusiasm for the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi,[74] but this must be regarded as an isolated phenomenon ― the result of spiritual eclecticism or versatility – rather than an inherited trait of the Naqshbandî order. It is not until the period of renewal and expansion of the order inaugurated by Maulânâ Khâlid Baghdâdî (d. 1242/1827) that generation after generation of Naqshbandîs began anew to cultivate the doctrines of ash-Shaykh al-Akbar; the proximity of Maulânâ Khâlid’s tomb in Damascus to that of Ibn ‘Arabi may be taken, in fact, as indicating a certain degree of spiritual affinity.[75]

As for the founding generations of the Naqshbandî order which we have surveyed here, their interest in Ibn ‘Arabi was by no means unique among the Sufi orders of the age. Not only ‘Ali Hamâdanî but numerous other Kubravis were devoted to the study of his works,[76] and Shah Ni’matullah Vali (d.834/1431), founder of the Ni’matullahîya, wrote a commentary on the Fusûs as well as a series of Arabic treatises expounding sections of the Futûhât al-Makkiya.[77]

It is plain, moreover, that that which fixes the identity of a Sufi order is a given set of devotional practices and spiritual emphases transmitted from its eponymous founder, not a system of metaphysical doctrine. As Khwâja ‘Ubaydullah Ahrâr implied, the Sufi orders have, moreover, the task of addressing themselves to and guiding a wider spectrum of humanity than the small minority capable of grasping and appreciating, in whatever measure, the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi. We cannot therefore expect to find a lasting congruity between the tradition of a given Sufi order and the legacy of Ibn ‘Arabi.

Despite all this, it is a fact of considerable interest that at the time of the genesis of the Naqshbandî order, its principal representatives showed such a marked interest in Ibn ‘Arabi. In their vigorous and gifted persons, the most profound and influential system of Sufi metaphysics ever elaborated coalesced with a nascent Sufi order that was to outstrip all others in Muslim Asia in the extent of its influence and dissemination.


A shorter version of this paper was presented at the Primo Simposio Internazionale di Studi Filosofici Ibn ‘Arabi, Noto, Sicily, April 4, 1989. It has benefited from several useful comments by Michel Chodkiewicz. It was first published in the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, Vol. X, 1991.


[1] See, for example, Marijan Molé, "Autour du Dare Mansour", Revue des Etudes Islamiques, 1959, p. 56, n. 110.

[2] An extreme example of the misunderstandings and distortions to which this has led is the utterly baseless statement of John L. Esposito that "Sirhindi. . .enthusiastically declared Ibn ‘Arabi a kafir". (Islam, The Straight Path, Oxford, 1988, p. 124.)

[3] See, for example, Maktûbât-i Imâm-i Rabbâni, Lucknow, 1889, III, pp. 136-7.

[4] See Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, I, p. 119.

[5] See the remarks of Shaykh Ahmad Sa’id Mujaddidi (d.1277/1860) recorded by Muhammad Murad al-Qazani in Dhayl Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, printed in the margins of his Arabic translation of Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât by Fakhr ad-Dîn Ali Safi, Mecca, 1300/1883, p. 107.

[6] See the present writer’s "Eléments de provenance malâmatî dans la tradition primitive Naqshbandî", forthcoming in the papers of the Table Ronde sur les Mélamis et Bayramis, Institut Français des Etudes Anatoliennes, Istanbul.

[7] al-Futûhât al-Makkiya, Cairo, 1329/1911, III, pp. 34-7.

[8] Muhammad Muhammad ar-Rakhâwî, al-Anwâr al-Qudsiya fi Manâqib as-Sâdat an-Naqshbandîya, Cairo, 1344/1925, p. 108.

[9] See Claude Addas, Ibn ‘Arabî ou la quête du Soufre Rouge, Paris, 1989, p. 376.

[10] Taftazânî wrote ar-Radd wa ‘t-Tashnî’ ‘alâ Kitâb al-Fusûs; see Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, II, p. 215.

[11] Manuscripts of his work – Fâdihat al-Mulhidîn wa Nâsihat al-Muwahhidin – are quite numerous in Turkish libraries (see, for example, ms. Laleli 3679, fos. 5b-45b), and it was also translated into Ottoman Turkish, indicating, presumably, a certain popularity among Turkish adversaries of Ibn ‘Arabi. See Osman Yahia, Histoire et classification de I’oeuvre d’Ibn ‘Arabi, Damascus, 1964, I, pp. 115-16.

[12] Tasköprüzade, ash-Shaqâ’iq an-Nu’mânîya, Beirut, 1395 Sh./1975, p. 155.

[13] Fakhr ad-Dîn Ali Safî, Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, ed. ‘Ali Asghar Mu’inîân, Tehran, 1977, I, p. 244.

[14] Jalîl Misgarnizhâd, in his introduction to Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ, Sharh-i Fusûs al-Hikam, Tehran, 1366 Sh./1987, p. xvi.

[15] Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ, Qudsîya, ed. Ahmad Tahiri ‘Iraqi, Tehran, 1354 sh./1975, p. 3. The same sentence evidently caught the attention of the Shi’i gnostic, Sayyid Haydar Amuli; he quotes it in his Jâm’ al-Asrâr wa Manba’ al-Anwâr (ed. Henry Corbin and Osman Yahia, Tehran, 1347 Sh./1968, p. 10).

[16] The Persian original of Fasl al-Khitâb has not yet been published; among the best manuscripts is Nafiz Pasa 4341. We quote here from the excellent Turkish translation of Ali Hüsrevoglu, published in Istanbul in 1989 under the title Tevhide Giriş, p.
592. The quotation appears in the chapter on the qutb.

[17] See pp. 103-10, and also 183-4.

[18] The text of Sukhanân-i Khwâja Pârsâ was published by Marijan Molé in "Quelques traites Naqshbandîs", Farhang-i Irân-Zamin, VI (1337 Sh./ 1958), pp. 294-303.

[19] Lârî, Takmila-yi Nafahât al-Uns, ed. Ali Asghar Bashir Hiravi, Kabul, 1343 Sh./1964, p. 39.

[20] Muhammad Ibrahim Khalil, "Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ va Pisarash", Aryana (Kabul), II (1942), p. 37.

[21] Ed. Jalil Misgarnizhad, Tehran, 1366 Sh./1987.

[22] Histoire et classification de I’oeuvre d’lbn ‘Arabi, I, p. 252. He none the less lists separate commentaries for Pârsâ and Hamâdanî (nos 57 and 15 respectively).

[23] See pp. xi-xxiv of Misgarnizhad’s introduction to the text.

[24] Najib Mayil Hiravi has made his arguments in identical terms in two separate places: his article "Chahâr nazar pîrâmûn-i chahâr asar-i mansûb ba Sayyid Ali Hamâdanî", Dânish (Islamabad), no. 11 (fall, 1366 Sh./1987), pp. 90-116; and his introduction to Rasâ’il-i Ibn-i ‘Arabi: Dah risâla-yi fârsî shuda, Tehran, 1367 Sh./1988, pp. xxi-xxviii.

[25] Hiravi mentions as evidence for this the Khulâsat al-Manâqib of Ja’far Badakhshi, without giving a precise reference. I do not have access to the Persian text of this work; it is worth pointing out, however, that the synoptic German translation of the Khulâsat al-Manâqib (J.K. Teufel, Fine Lebensbeschreibung des Scheichs ‘Ali-i Hamâdanî, Leiden, 1962) does not mention Hamâdanî giving instruction on his own commentary on the Fusûs.

[26] See also Muhammad Riyaz, Ahvâl va âsâr va ash’âr-i Mir Sayyid ‘Ali-yi Hamadâni, Islamabad, 1364 Sh./1985, pp. 153 and 162. Riyaz does not include any full-length commentary on the Fusûs in his listing of Hamad â nî’s works.

[27] Nafahât
ed. Mahdi Tauhidipur, Tehran, 1336 Sh./1957, pp. 392-6.

[28] It is true that in Naqd an-Nusûs Jâmî does not refer specifically to a commentary on the Fusûs by Khwâja Muhammad Pârsâ; he does however, make mention of "certain treatises" (ba’d ar-rasâ’il) of Khwâja Pârsâ. See Naqd an-Nusûs fî Sharh Naqsh al-Fusûs, ed. W. Chittick, Tehran, 1398 Sh./1977, pp. 93-4.

[29] Idâh al-Maknûn, eds Şerefettin Yaltkaya and Kilisli Rifat Bilge, Istanbul, 1945, II, column 192.

[30] See, concerning ‘Attâr, Hamid Algar, "Bokari, ‘Ala’-al-Dîn Mohammad," Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV, p. 330.

[31] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, I, pp. 153-4. Foi Ibn ‘Arabi’s views on talwîn, see Futûhât, II, pp. 131 and 499-500, and his Istildh as-Sufiya, Hyderabad (Deccan), 1367 Sh./1948, p. 10. The passage cited in Rashahât also bears great similarity to the entry on talwîn in ‘Abd ar-Razzaq al-Kashani, Istildhât as-Sufiya, ed. Muhammad Kamal Ibrahim Ja’far, Cairo, 1971, p. 157.

[32] Concerning Charkhî and his works, see Hamid Algar, "Carkî, Maulânâ Ya’qûb", Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV, pp. 819-20.

[33] See J.M. Rogers, "Ahrâr, Kvâja ‘Obaydallâh", Encyclopaedia Iranica, I, pp. 667-70, and Hamid Algar, "Ahrâr, Khwâja ‘Ubaydullâh", Encyclopaedia of Islam 2, supplementary fascicule 1-2, pp. 50-2.

[34] The parallel is drawn by ar-Rakhawi in al-Anwâr al-Qudsiya, p. 7. See also Rashaâdt ‘Ayn al-Hayât, II, pp. 393ff.

[35] See introduction of Najib Mayil Hiravi to his edition of Shaykh-i Makki, al-Jânib al-Gharbî fi Hall Mushkilât ash-Shaykh Muhyi ‘d-Dîn ibn ‘Arabî, Tehran, 1364 Sh./1985, p. xiii.

[36] ar-Rakhawi, al-Anwâr al-Qudsiya, p. 152.

[37] The Persian original of Faqarât still remains unpublished. Manuscripts are numerous; see, for example, Veliyuddin Efendi 1755, fos. lb-51a. An Arabic translation was printed in the margins of Muhammad Murad al-Qazani’s Arabic translation of the Maktubât of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi the Mujaddid, Mecca, 1317/1900, I, pp. 281-353.

[38] See Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, II, pp. 452, 457, 465-6, 469, 470, 474. The Abû’s Su’ud in question may have been Abû’s Su’ud b. ash-Shibl al-Baghdadi, a murid of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani frequently cited by Ibn ‘Arabi in the Futûhât.

[39] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, II, p. 488.

[40] Concerning Jâmî’s role as interpreter and expositor of the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi, see Chittick’s introduction to his edition of Naqd an-Nusûs and his article "The Perfect Man as the Prototype of the Self in the Sufism of Jâmî", Studia Islamica, XLIX (1979), pp. 135-57. The study of Muhammad Isma’il Muballigh, Jâmî va Ibn-i ‘Arabî, published at Kabul in 1343 Sh./1965, is somewhat superficial and does not do justice to the subject.

[41] Chittick, introduction to Naqd an-Nusûs, pp. xxvi-xxviii.

[42] ad-Durrat al-Fâkhira, eds Nicholas Heer and ‘Ali Musavi Bihbahani, Tehran, 1358 Sh./1979.

[43] The edition of Hamid Rabbani was published in Tehran in 1352 Sh./1973.

[44] A bilingual edition of this work has been published by Yann Richard: Les Jaillissements de Lumière, Paris, 1982.

[45] Jâmî, Sih Risâla dar Tasavvuf, ed. Iraj Afshar, Tehran, 1360 Sh./1981, pp. 104-89.

[46] Edited by Mayil Hiravi, Kabul, n.d.

[47] It is worth noting that a recent history of Uzbek (i.e. Chaghatay Turkish) literature attributes the general pervasiveness of wahdat al-wujûd in Classical Uzbek poetry to the dominance of the Naqshbandî order in most regions of Central Asia. See T. Gafurdzhanova, "Obshchestvenno- politicheskaya, kul’turnaya i literaturnaya zhizn’ Srednei Azii v XIII-XIV vv.", in A.Kh. Khayitmetov and Z.S. Kedrina, eds, Istoriya Uzbekskoi Literatury, Tashkent, 1987, p. 114. Concerning the poetical expression of wahdat al-wujûd as expounded by Ibn ‘Arabi, see also Haji-Ahmad Bukhârî, The Mysticism of Ibn ‘Arabi as Reflected in the Poetic Works of Mirzâ ‘Abd al-Qâdir Bîdil (Persian), Ibrahim Hakki Erzurumlu (Turkish), and Hamza Fansuri (Malay), PhD dissertation. University of California, Berkeley, 1989.

[48] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, I, p. 244.

[49] Lârî, Takmila-yi Nafahât al-Uns, p. 17.

[50] See n. 36 above.

[51] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât,, I, p. 316.

[52] Ibid., pp. 244-5.

[53] Ibid., p. 351.

[54] Maqâmât-i Maulavî Jâmî, quoted (without mention of the author) by Najib Mayil Hiravi in his introduction to Rasâ’il-i Ibn-i ‘Arabi: Dah risâla-yi fârsî shuda, pp. xii-xvi.

[55] Lârî, Takmila-yi Nafahât al-Uns, p. 17.

[56] Ibid., p. 28. It is worth noting that Lârî also records Jâmî to have been of the opinion that "busying oneself with the path of the [Naqshbandî] masters. . .aids rational reflection (ta’aqqul) and strengthens the perceptive faculty" (p. 10). This indicates that Jâmî’s particular temperament made him see in the silent dhikr practised by the Naqshbandî order a form of philosophical reflection rather than a polishing of the heart’s mirror, as other Naqshbandîs would describe it. As for the type of dhikr practised by Ibn ‘Arabi and his circle, see Claude Addas, Ibn ‘Arabi ou la quête du Soufre Rouge, pp. 318-20.

Lârî, Takmila-yi Nafahât al-Uns, p. 1. See also Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, I, p. 286.

[58] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, I, p. 299. This discourse provides evidence that in preferring the view of Samnâni to those of Ibn ‘Arabi, Sirhindi was breaking with Naqshbandî precedent (see Maktûbât, I, p. 16). It may also be noted that such was the intensity of Jâmî’s loyalty to Ibn ‘Arabi that he wished to enrol even Samnâni as a believer in wahdat al-wujûd, claiming that Samnâni had repented of his criticism of Ibn ‘Arabi toward the very end of his life (see Maqâmât-i Maulavî Jâmî, quoted by Najib Mayil Hiravi in his introduction to Rasâ’il-i Ibn ‘Arabî: Dah risâla-yi fârsî shuda, p. xv).

[59] Rashahât ‘Ayn al-Hayât, I, pp. 300-1.

[60] Ibid., pp. 280-1.

[61] Ibid., p. 46. See Futûhât, II, p. 102.

[62] Molla Ilâhî, Divan, ed. Ismail Hikmet Ertaylan, Istanbul, 1961.

[63] On Ilâhî, his works and his influence, see Mustafa Kara, "Molla Ilah’ye Dair," Osmanli Araştirmalari, VII-VIII (1988), pp.

[64] See Hamid Algar, "Bokârî, Amîr Ahmad," Encyclopaedia Iranica, IV, p. 329.

[65] Published at Cairo in two volumes, without any date.

[66] For a brief analysis of this tafsîr, see Süleyman Ateş, Isari Tefsir Okulu, Ankara, 1974, pp. 225-30.

[67] Summary information on the subject is given by Hilmi Ziya Ülken, "L’école wudjudite et son influence dans la pensée turque," Wieneer Zeitschrift für Kunde des Morgenlandes, LXII (1969), pp. 193-208, and by Ahmed Ateş, in his article "Muhyi-d-dîn ‘Arabi," Islam Ansiklopedisi, VIII, pp. 533-55.

[68] Muhammad Hashim Kishmi, Zubdât al-Yaqâmât, Kanpur, 1307 Sh./ 1889, pp. 36-7.

[69] See Hamid Algar, "Bâkî billâh," Türkiye Diyanet Vakfi Islam Ansiklopedisi, forthcoming.

[70] Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, New Delhi, 1983, II, p. 190.

[71] William C. Chittick, "Notes on Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Influence in the Subcontinent," unpublished paper.

[72] Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, II, p. 250.

[73] See Chittick, "Notes. . . ," passim.

[74] See Bakri Aladdin, ‘Abdalganî an-Nâbulusî (1143/1731): Oeuvre, vie et doctrine, thèse de doctorat, Universite de Paris I, II, pp. 146-56, 166-90.

[75] Maulânâ Khâlid’s interest in Ibn ‘Arabi is attested by the presence of several of his works in his library. See Frederick de Jong and Jan Just Witkam, "The Library of al-sayk Kâlid al-Sahrâzûrî al-Naqshbandî (d. 1242 Sh./1827)", Manuscripts of the Middle East (Leiden), II, p. 81.

[76] See S.H. Nasr, Sufi Essays, London, 1972, p. 98.

[77] See Rasâ’il-i Hazrat-i Sayyid Nûr ad-Dîn Shah Ni’matullâh Valî Quddisa Sirruh, ed. Javad Nurbakhsh, Tehran, 1357 Sh./1978, 4 vols.