An Introduction to the School of Ibn al-'Arabi
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This volume is a rigorous analysis of the main doctrines of Ibn al-ʿArabī, which dominated spiritual and intellectual life in the pre-modern and early modern Islamic world for over six hundred years. Analyzing the intersection between philosophy and Sufism and their divergent epistemologies, this book systematically covers ontology, theology, epistemology, teleology, spiritual anthropology and eschatology.
Although, philosophy uses deductive reasoning to discover the fundamental nature of existence and Sufism relies on spiritual experience, it was not until the school of Ibn al-ʿArabī that philosophy and Sufism converged into a single framework by elaborating spiritual doctrines in precise philosophical language. Contextualizing the historical development of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s school, the work draws from the earliest commentators of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s oeuvre, Ṣadr al-Dīnal-Qūnawī (d. 673/1274), ʿAbd al-Razzāqal-Kāshānī (d. ca. 730/1330)□and Dawūd al-Qayṣarī (d. 751/1350), but also draws from the medieval heirs of his doctrines Sayyid Ḥaydar Āmulī (d. 787/1385), the pivotal intellectual and mystical figure of Persia who recast philosophical Sufism within the framework of Twelver Shīʿism and ʿAbd al-RaḥmānJāmī (d. 898/1492), the key figure in the dissemination of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s ideas in the Persianate world as well as the Ottoman Empire, India, China and East Asia via Central Asia.
Lucidly written and comprehensive in scope, with careful treatments of the key authors, Philosophical Sufism is a highly accessible introductory text for students and researchers alike, interested in Islam, philosophy, religion, and the Middle East.
Table of Contents
2. The Divine Names and Attributes
3. Divine Knowledge
4. The Origin of Multiplicity
5. The Universal Worlds
6. The Imaginal World
8. The Human Vicegerency
9. The Existential Circle
10. The Supreme Spirit in the Microcosm
11. Prophethood, Messengership and Sainthood
Mukhtar H. Ali is a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London. He specializes in Sufism, Islamic philosophy and ethics, and has published widely in various peer-reviewed venues. He has also translated several works in classical and contemporary Islamic metaphysics, which include The Principles of Correspondences (2013) and The New Creation (2018) and The Horizons of Being: The Metaphysics of Ibn al-ʿArabī in the Muqaddimat al-Qayṣarī (2020).