The Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society

ibn-arabi.gif

Soon to be linked in our blogroll (to your immediate left, a little ways down):

Mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammad Ibn ‘Arabi is one of the world’s great spiritual teachers. Ibn ‘Arabi was born in Andalusia in 1165 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 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.

This web site passes on news and announcements of events, and provides information about publications in this field. It has over 100 translations and articles republished from the Society’s Journal and other sources.

Ibn ‘Arabi has been one of my favorites since my first days working at the local metaphysical bookstore, circa 1997.

Some quotes from the Master:

It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.

And,

The movement which is the existence of the universe is the movement of love.

Here’s a little more biographical info:

He wrote over 350 works including the Fusûs al-Hikam, an exposition of the inner meaning of the wisdom of the prophets in the Judaic/ Christian/ Islamic line, and the Futûhât al-Makkiyya, a vast encyclopaedia of spiritual knowledge which unites and distinguishes the three strands of tradition, reason and mystical insight. In his Diwân and Tarjumân al-Ashwâq he also wrote some of the finest poetry in the Arabic language. These extensive writings provide a beautiful exposition of the Unity of Being, the single and indivisible reality which simultaneously transcends and is manifested in all the images of the world. Ibn ‘Arabi shows how Man, in perfection, is the complete image of this reality and how those who truly know their essential self, know God.

This is a very, very nice site, one that I’ll be checking-in with regularly.

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4 thoughts on “The Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society

  1. Gariban says:

    Hello Michael,
    I typed Muhyiddin in google then I ended up on this article. Is this a coincidence? No there is no such things called coincidence. We can not read the pattern that is all.

    I have been in ibn arabi society’s website many times, it is a nice site with many articles. I advise people to read about the articles to do with Prophet Jesus (PBUH) mentioned in his Fusus Al-Hikam. Especially Christians should read those articles to understand some important realities about Jesus(PBUH). There is a requirement about the commentary of Fusus Al Hikam in English. The problem is the language . Translations are also big problem as they cause misunderstandings. Commentaries are usually in Turkish language and even I get difficulty to read old Ottoman Turkish alhough I am Turkish. However, there is magnificient knowledge in Fusus about the reality of each prophet mentioned in Qur’an.

    Ibn Arabi’s works are confused a lot with Pantheist philosophy as some people do not understand his books. That is why it is quite common to see even some muslims attacking to his works by introducing him as a disbeliever to the world. In fact the ones who know his work will know that what he mentions as Wahdat Al-Wujud in his works is nothing to do with Pantheizm. I would like to share my translation here showing the difference between Wahdat al Wujud of Ibn Arabi and Pantheizm. Because whenever I see a person attacking Ibn Arabi(K.S) because of his illiteracy, it hurts me as well.

    “Translated from the Turkish Tafseer of Quran by Elmalili Hamdi Yazir, Surah Al-Bakara (2/165). It sheds light on the matters related to Wahdat al Wujud and panteist philosophies. Elmalili explains the difference of Wahdat al Wujud and the Panteist opinions. Elmalili is saying the panteist and atheist are hiding themselves behind Wahdat al Wujud by twisting the meaning of Wahdat al Wujud and hiding themselves behind that name. However, real Wahdat al Wujud is not what atheist market to the public.

    Fakat ilâhlık felsefesi ve vahdet-i vücud adı altında gizlenen bir metrût (ateist) felsefe vardır ki, din ve ahlâk adına ilmî ve hikemî şekilde en büyük zarar bundan doğagelmiştir. Her nerede bir şirk varsa bununla az çok bir alakası vardır.

    There is an atheist philosophy which is hiding it’s self behind the uluhiyyat(divinity or Godhood) and Wahdat al Wujud. Worst damage in the name of religion and morality has been done because of this philosophy.

    Önce şunu kaydedelim ki, “Sizin ilâhınız bir tek ilâhtır. Ondan başka hiçbir ilâh yoktur.” (Bakara, 2/163) âyetinde de açıkça belirtildiği üzere İslam dininde emredilen genel iman konusu: “Allah’tan başka hiçbir ilâh yoktur.” tevhidi, yani Allah’ı bir bilmektir. Yoksa “Allah”tan başka hiçbir mevcud yoktur.” diye ifade edilen mevcudu, varlığı bir bilmek değildir. Bu olsa olsa marifet yolunda merhaleler katetmiş olan seçkin şahıslar için bahis konusu olabilir.

    Firstly we should record this here that,”Your God is One God; there is no God save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful..”(Bakara, 2/163)states this clearly that subject of general faith(iman) in the religion of islam: tawheed,”La ilahe illallah” means knowing that Allah is one. It does not mean like saying“There is no mawjud(existence) other than Allah” then accepting the mewjuud (existence) as one . This(there is no mevjuud other than Allah) can be valid only for some elite people(people with wisdom) who passes some levels in the path of marifat(gnosis).

    Bizim nazarımızda vücud birliği genel olarak olumsuz değil, belki keşif yoluyla olumludur. Fakat “Allah’tan başka mevcud yoktur.” demekle “Her mevcud Allah’tır.” demek arasında pek büyük fark vardır. Birincisi sırf tevhid olabilir, fakat ikincisi sırf şirktir.

    In our opinion , wahdat al wujud is not negative in general, but it is positive with the way of Kashf(divine knowledge and discovery). However,there is a very big difference between saying“There is no mawjuud(existence) other than Allah” and saying “Every mawjuud(existence) is Allah”.First one can be Tawheed but the second one is pure SHIRK(associating partnership to ALLAH or blasphemy).

    “Allah’tan başka mevcud yoktur.” dendiği zaman, Allah’tan başkasına isnad edilen varlığın gerçek olmayıp hayalde ve vehme bağlı, şuura akseden bir gölge işi olduğu ve gerçek varlığın ancak Allah’a mahsus bulunduğu ikrar edilmiş; âlemin zatı ile ve zatı için gerçek varlığı yok sayılmış olur ki bu vahdet-i vücuddur. Çünkü keşif yoluyla sabit olduğu üzere biz âlem adına ne biliyorsak hepsi, hissettiklerimizden, hayâlimizden, zihnimizdeki şekillerden ve ruhî izlenimlerimizden ibarettir.

    When it is said “There is no mawjuud other than Allah”,reality of any existence shown other than Allah is accepted as not real and it is like a shadow reflecting on the conscious with Hayal(phantom) and Wahm(illusory), and the real existence belongs to Allah only. Essence of the universe compared to existence of ALLAH is regarded as nothing and this is called vahdet al vujud. Because with the way of Kashf(discovering with divine knowledge) we know that whatever we know under the name of Alam(universe) , everything is the impression of our Rooh(spirit), what we get with our senses, our imagination and our conscious.

    Bu bakımdan vahdet-i vücud, varlık tevhidi; âlemdeki benzer şeylerin gölge ve hayal olduğunu görmek ve onları silip arkasındaki açık gerçeğin varlığına iman etmekle mümkün olur.

    In this way, Wahdat Al Wujud, tawheed(unity) of existence; is possible only by seeing the similar things in Alam as shadow and illusion then believing the existence of clear reality behind(beyond) them.

    Nitekim “Allah’tan başka hiçbir ilâh yoktur.” dediğimiz zaman da birtakım putların, birçok kimseler tarafından mabud edinildiğini inkar etmiş olmuyoruz da bunların hak olmadıklarını ilan ve ancak bir Allah’ı ispat ve kabul etmiş oluyoruz. Fakat “Her mevcud Allah’tır.” dendiği zaman varlıkta gerçek bir çokluk, kabul edilmiş ve hepsinin Allah olduğu iddia edilmiş oluyor ki, bunda tevhid yoktur. Tersine Allah’ı çoğaltma ve ona ortak koşma vardır. Bu bir vahdet-i vücud değil, varlığın birleştirilmesi veya hulûl teorisidir. Yahut da Allah’ı inkar etmek suretiyle yalnız âlemi ispattır, “Bir”e “her” demektir.

    Hence,when we say “There is no God but Allah : La ilahe illallah”, we will not have denied that some idols were accepted as mabud(the one who is worshipped to) by some people, but we will have stated that those idols are not Haqq(truth), and will have proved and accepted “Allah” , Who is the One only, instead.

    But when said “Every mawjuud is Allah”, manyness(plurality) is accepted in reality and everything is claimed to be “Allah”, then there is no tawheed(unity) on this. In contrast, there is a multiplying Allah and Shirk in that saying. This is not Wahdat al Wujud but the theory of Hulul(getting inside of something e.g painter getting in to the paint) or ittihad(joining to eachother e.g painter and paint join together). Or proving the reality of Alam(universe) by denying the reality of Allah and saying “every” to the“One”.

    Ortağı ve benzeri olmayan Allah’a sonsuz ortaklar isnad etmek, hayalî varlıkları, gerçek varlık saymaktır. Buna daha çok “panteizm” yani “birleşmiş ilâhcılık” denir ki, bu teoride Allah ve varlık gerçekten her şeyle birleşmiştir veya her şeyin içine girmiştir. Haşâ Ali ilâh, Veli ilâh, Firavun ilâh, Nemrud ilâh ilâh… her şey ilâhtır. Bunda âlemin isbatı, onu yapanın yokluğu vardır.

    Or associating infinite partners with Allah who has no partner or equivalence and accepting illusory existence as real existence. This is more like “Panteism” or “joined godship”. In this theory, Allah and existence are joined to each other or entered in to everything. Godforbid, it is like saying Ali is God, Wali is God, Pharoh is God, Nemrud is God,…everything is God. There is a proof of alam(universe) and nonexistence of the One who made it, in this statement.

    İşte birtakım cahiller veya inkarcılar, Allah’ın hikmeti adıyla imkansız olan bu birleşmeyi veya hulûl ya da ta’tıl (ateizm, ilâhsızlık) teorisini vahdet-i vücud ve sırf tevhid diye ele alarak “O’ndan başka ilâh yoktur.” demek “O’ndan başka mevcud yoktur.” demek olduğunda ısrar ederler. Bunu da: “Her mevcud O’dur.” mânâsıyla açıklarlar.

    That is why some illiterates(jaheels) and deniers insist on accepting the theory of Hulul or Atheism, which is impossible by the name of Allah’s hiqmat(Divine Wisdom), as Wahdat Al-Wujud. They explain the meaning of “Wahdat Al-Wujud” as “Every mawjud(existent) is HIM”.

    Instead of seeing Allah beyond everything, they want to see Allah in everything or even seeing everything as Allah. ”

    I am hoping that We clarified the difference between Wahdat Al Wujud of Ibn Arabi and the Pantheist philosphy. Ibn Arabi is a blessed waliullah who is believed to author approx. 800 books not 350. The one should have sincerity, patience and loyalty to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to understand Ibn Arabi’s work. They do not open the doors to anybody. This is a difficult path full of traps…

    With Peace, Love and Muhammadi Muhabbat
    Gariban

  2. adreampuppet says:

    Hello Gariban,

    I LOVE when you write-in with such carefully-translated and well-thought-out comments! I must read it over a few times in order for everything to sink in. Thank you, my friend, for putting so much of yourself into this discussion.

    Blessings,
    Michael

  3. Gariban says:

    Many thanks for kind words Michael,
    We are only servants on the path of ALLAH. This poor being realised that there is no high or low levels on this path. Everyone in real islam is within the seal level(Heart of Rasulullah SAW). We are like joined cups in that sea , your cup and my cup may contain different amounts but the levels of the water is same . It is notallowed to own the water but to use it in the service of Rasulullah (Messenger of ALLAH PBUH) to serve humanity.
    May Allah forgive me for my mistakes.
    I sent an e-mail to you making correction on a paragraph, please ammend the paragraph accordingly.

    With Peace and love
    Gariban

  4. adreampuppet says:

    Okay, Gariban — we have successfully edited the paragraph in question. Thanks for bringing such exquisite clarity!

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