Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi Contents




Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi  3


His Teachers  3

Concerning al-Khidr 3-5

His Doctrine (‘Aqîda)  6

His Rank of Mujtahid Mutlaq  6

The Controversy Surrounding Him  7

Al-Suyuti’s Response to al-Biqa‘i  7

Ibn ‘Arabi’s Admirers  9

Wahda al-Wujûd or Oneness of Being  14

Ibn Taymiyya’s Unreliability  18

Other Critics of Ibn ‘Arabi  19

Al-Haytami’s Response  21

     The Ethics of the Mufti in Casting Judgment  22

Al-Dhahabi’s Warning to Critics of Sufis  26

     Hadith “Whoso shows enmity to one of My Friends”  27

Some of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Sayings  28




Ibn ‘Arabi’s Islamic Doctrine  33


The First Testimony of Faith  34

The Second Testimony of Faith  47

Final Supplication  49




Bibliography  51

Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 638)


Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-‘Arabi, Abu Bakr Muhyi al-Din al-Hatimi al-Ta’i al-Andalusi al-Mursi al-Dimashqi, known as Ibn ‘Arabi to differentiate him from Abu Bakr Ibn al-‘Arabi the Maliki jurist. A scholar of Arabic let­ters at first, then tafsîr and tasawwuf, nicknamed al-Qushayri and Sultan al-‘Arifin in his time for his pre-eminence in tasawwuf, known in his lifetime for his de­voutness to worship, asceticism, and generosity, Ibn ‘Arabi was praised by al-Munawi as “a righteous friend of Allah and a faithful scholar of knowledge” (waliyyun sâlihun wa ‘âli­mun nâsih), by Ibn ‘Imad al-Hanbali as “the absolute mujta­hid without doubt,” and by al-Fayruzabadi as “the Imam of the People of Shari‘a both in knowledge and in legacy, the educator of the People of the Way in practice and in knowl­edge, and the shaykh of the shaykhs of the People of Truth through spiritual experience (dhawq) and understand­ing.”[1]



His Teachers


He travelled East and West in the study of hadith, taking knowledge from over a thousand shaykhs, among them Abu al-Hasan ibn Hudhayl, Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Lakhmi, Ibn Zarqun, Abu al-Walid al-Hadrami, al-Silafi, ‘Abd al-Haqq al-Ishbili, Ibn ‘Asakir, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Bushku­wal. His principal shaykhs in tasawwuf were Abu Madyan al-Maghribi, Jamal al-Din Yunus ibn Yahya al-Qassar, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Tamimi al-Fasi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Jami‘, and al-Khidr u.[2] He became known first as al-Shaykh al-Kabir (“The Great Shaykh”) then al-Shaykh al-Akbar (“The Great­est Shaykh”) with specific reference to the sciences of tasaw­wuf in which he authored hun­dreds of books.[3]



His Doctrine (‘Aqîda)


His greatest and best-known work is his last, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (“The Meccan Conquests”) which begins with a statement of doctrine – translated in the present volume – about which al-Safadi said: “I saw that from beginning to end it consists in the doctrine of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash‘ari without any difference whatso­ever.”[4]



His Rank of Mujtahid Mutlaq


            In jurisprudence Ibn ‘Arabi is often said to follow the Zahiri school, but this is incorrect since he himself denies it, as quoted by Ibn ‘Imad from Ibn ‘Arabi’s two poems al-Ra’iyya and al-Nuniyya, which state respectively:


       Laqad harrama al-Rahmânu taqlîda Mâlikin

            wa Ahmada wa al-Nu‘mani wa al-kulli fa‘dhurû


     The Merciful forbade me to imitate Malik, Ahmad,

Al-Nu‘man [Abu Hanifa] and others, therefore pardon me.


Lastu mimman yaqûlu qâla Ibnu Hazmin

lâ wa lâ Ahmadu wa la al-Nu‘mânu


I am not of those who say: “Ibn Hazm said”—

Certainly not! Nor “Ahmad said” nor “al-Nu‘man said.”[5]



The Controversy Surrounding Him


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