Factually speaking, Shaykh al-‘Uryabī initiated Ibn ‘Arabī’s contact with Khiḍr in Seville, when he was only a youth. Ibn ‘Arabī says: “I met Khiḍr in Qūs al-haniyya in Seville, and he said to me: “Accept what the Shaykh says!” I immediately turned to the Shaykh [‘Uryabī] and before I spoke he said: “O Muḥammad, does that mean that every time you contradict me, I will have to ask Khiḍr to instruct you in submission to the masters?” I replied: “Master, was that person Khiḍr?” He answered: “Yes!” (I, 331; Addas 63). That was his first meeting with Khiḍr. Later Ibn ‘Arabī met Khiḍr several times. In 1193 at the age of 28 Ibn ‘Arabī visited Tunis and the main intention behind this visit was to meet with the great disciples of Abū Madyan, notably ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Mahdawī and Abū Muḥammad ‘Abdallāh al-Kinānī. He stayed there for less than a year during which he realized the station of pure servant-hood and the Muhammadian inheritance. On return from Tunis, he met Khiḍr for the second time; it happened when he was returning from Tunis by boat, on a lunar night he saw a man walking on the water towards him. On reaching the boat, Khiḍr stood on the sea and showed him that his feet were still dry. After that Khiḍr conversed with Ibn ‘Arabī in a language which is peculiar to him (OY: III, 182).
On reaching Andalusia in late 590 AH, Ibn ‘Arabī had his third meeting with Khiḍr, this time Khiḍr performed a miracle to provide evidence to a companion of Ibn ‘Arabī who denies the existence of miracles. A common feature of all these meetings with Khiḍr was that they took place in the presence of a high rank spiritual master initiating Ibn ‘Arabī into the knowledge of Divine mysteries.
Great vision in Cordoba
In the year 586, Ibn ‘Arabī had a rare vision in Cordoba, in which he met all the Prophets from the time of Adam to Muḥammad (PBUT) in their spiritual reality. Prophet Hūd (AS) spoke to him and explained him the reason for their gathering. We can trace what Hūd told him in Rūḥ al-Quds when Abū Muḥammad Makhlūf al-Qabā’ili – a saint of Cordoba – died, the Prophet Hūd said: “We came to visit Abū Muḥammad Makhlūf al-Qabā’ili” (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Rūh al-Quds” 116). According to a tradition among the direct disciples of Ibn ‘Arabī, Hūd (AS) explained that the real reason for their gathering was to welcome him (Ibn ‘Arabī) as the Seal of Muhammadan Sainthood (khatm al-wilāya al-muḥammadiyya), the supreme heir (Addas 76).
Stephen Hirtenstein writes in Unlimited Mercifier: “It is from his return from Tunis, we find the first evidence of Ibn ‘Arabī beginning to write; later in 1194, he wrote one of his first major works, Mashāhid al-Asrār al-Qudusiyya (Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries) for the companions of al-Mahdawī and perhaps around the same time, in a space of four days, also composed the voluminous Tadbīrāt al-Ilāhiyya (Divine Governance) in Mawrūr (Moron) for Shaykh Abū Muḥammad al-Mawrūrī” (91).