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After criss-crossing the east for a period of 20 years Ibn ‘Arabī now decided to settle in Syria and spent the last 17 years of his life in Damascus, the city was already known quite well to him, he had several contacts with leading notables there. He was greeted in Damascus as a spiritual master and a spacious house was provided to him by the Grand Qadi of the town Ibn Zakī. In Damascus, he devoted himself to writing and teaching to fulfil the commandment of his Lord: “Counsel My servants.” The first thing he did was to collect and disseminate the works which had already been written, copies were made and reading sessions took place in his house. Kitāb al-Tajalliyāt was one of these first books to record such a certificate (sima‘) in the presence of his disciple Ibn Sawdakīn. In the year 621 AH eight more works bore these hearing certificates, among these were: Kitāb al-YaqīnAl-Maqsid al-AsmáKitāb al-Mīm wal-Wāw wal-NunMafātīh al-Ghayūb and Kitāb al-Ḥaqq. At the same time, Ibn ‘Arabī devoted his attention to complete the lengthy Futūḥāt, many volumes of this book came into being in this period.

During this period of his life, he imparted direct instructions to many of his disciples including Ṣadruddīn al-Qūnawī. He brought up alongside Ibn ‘Arabī own family in Malatya and after the death of his real father Qūnawī joined Shaykh al-Akbar in Damascus. He accompanied and served Kirmānī on his travels in Egypt, Hijaz and Iran. In his private collection Ṣadruddīn wrote that he had studied 10 works of Ibn ‘Arabī under him and later Ibn ‘Arabī gave him a certificate to freely relate them on his authority. He studied and discussed with Ibn ‘Arabī no less than 40 works, including the whole text of Futūḥāt in 20 volumes. 

Visons at Damascus

Ibn ‘Arabī had several visions of the Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH) at Damascus. In 624 AH he had been told by the Messenger of Allah that angles are superior to men. In the same year, he had another discussion with the Prophet, this time Prophet replied to him regarding the resurrection of animals: “Animals will not be resurrected on the Day of Judgement.” (I, 527; Addas 275) In the third vision he was ordered by the Prophet to write a poem in favour of al-Anṣār. In this vision Ibn ‘Arabī was informed that his mother was from al-Anṣār’s tribe (I, 267). In the fourth vision, at the end of Muḥarram 627 AH the Prophet came to him once again and handed him the book Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam (The Bezels of Wisdoms). Ibn ‘Arabī started writing this book with all the purity of his intentions and his deepest aspirations. He said: “I state nothing that has not been projected toward me; I write nothing except what has been inspired in me. I am not a Prophet nor a Messenger but simply an inheritor; and I labour for my future life” (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam” 47). In the same year just over two months after receiving the book of the Fuṣūṣ he had a vision of Divine Ipseity, it’s exterior and interior which he had not seen before in any of his witnessings.

The Futuhat al-Makkiyya

In 629 AH the first draft of al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya was completed. The book has hundreds of manuscript in various libraries of the world, the most important of them is the manuscript of Konya, written by its author. This book had taken the best part of his thirty years and Ibn ‘Arabī dedicated it to his eldest son, ‘Imāduddīn Muḥammad. It contains 560 chapters of esoteric knowledge and is truly the encyclopaedia of Islamic Sufism. The book is divided into six sections and these are:

  1. Spiritual Knowledge  (al-ma‘ārif)
  2. Spiritual Behaviour (al-ma‘lūmāt)
  3. Spiritual States (al-aḥwāl)
  4. Spiritual Abodes (al-manāzil)
  5. Spiritual Encounters (al-munāzalāt)
  6. Spiritual Stations (al-maqāmāt)

Chapter 559 contains the mysteries and secrets of all the chapters of the book, so we can say that it is like a summary of the whole Futūḥāt. In the 48th chapter of the Futūhāt, he says that the content of the message and the form of its presentation have been determined by Divine Inspiration.

Three years later in 632 AH, on the first of Muḥarram, Ibn ‘Arabī embarked on a second draft of the Futūḥāt; this he explained, included a number of additions and a number of deletions as compared with the previous draft. This revision completed in the year 636 (Addas 286). After completion of this 2nd draft, he started teaching it to his disciples. Dr. Osman Yahia has mentioned hundreds of these hearings or public readings that occur between the year 633 AH and 638 AH. These hearings show that the Futūḥāt was a primary document of his concepts and was widespread in his life in comparison with the Fuṣūṣ al-Hikam, which has only one Samā’ given to only Ṣadruddīn al-Qūnawī. 

Death 

Finally on 22 Rabī‘ al-Thānī 638 AH at the age of seventy-five, Ibn ‘Arabī’s terrestrial life came to an end. He was present at the house of Qaḍī Ibn Zakī at the time of death, Jamāluddīn ibn ‘Abd al-Khāliq‘Imād Ibn Naḥḥās and his son ‘Imāduddīn performed his funeral rites. He was buried in the family tomb of the Banū Zakī in the small beautiful district of Ṣāliḥiyya at Jabal Qāsiyūn.



[1] An important Arab tribe of Yemenite origin, related to which was Ḥātim at-Ṭā’ī who was famed for his generosity in pre Islamic age. 

[2] There are two version of his nisba mentioned in the books some says it Al-‘Uraynī and other Al-‘Uraybī but the autograph copy of Futūḥāt al –Makkiyya and manuscript sources of Rūḥ al-Quds clearly mention the nisba as Al-’Uraybī.

[3] Now a days called Loulé, near Silves in Portugal.

[4] We can say that he started writing this work or wrote it in this year but some evidences like the name of other later works – i.e. Insha’ al-Dawā’ir written in 598 according to OY mentioned – in it supports this argument that Ibn ‘Arabī reviewed and amended his works years after they were written.

[5] A town near Seville.

[6] Famous Sufi and the author of the Tabaqāt al-Awliya’. who died in 421/1030.

[7] Risāla Inshā’ al-Dawā’ir describes the fundamentals of his metaphysics, discussion about existence and nonexistence, manifestation and nonmanifestation and the rank of human being in this world.

[8] A copy of the Mss dated 814, copied from Ibn ‘Arabī’s hand is present at Ibn ‘Arabī Foundation’s digital archive.

[9] That book was al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, a faithful transcription of all the things he was allowed to contemplate on that particular day in the form of the Spirit he encountered. It has been claimed by Ibn ‘Arabī that in the Futūḥāt, the content of the message and the form of its presentation has been determined by Divine Inspiration. Regarding Chapter 88 he writes that: “it would have been preferable to place this chapter before the one I wrote on the ritual acts of worship, but it was not of my choosing” (II, 163).

[10] Addas says that to understand we need to remember that 599 was the year when Shaykh Akbar entered in the 40th year of his life which is quite similar to Prophet Muḥammad, as he received his first revelation in the 40th year of his life (213).

[11] Ibn ‘Arabī explained his name to be called al-Sabtī because he worked only on Saturday (al-Sabt) to gather food for the rest of the week.

[12] A short work about glad tidings and visions that Ibn ‘Arabī had in dreams. 

Born in the Spanish township of Murcia on 27th of Ramaḍān 560 AH, with respectable family roots of Banū Ṭayy,[1] this unique mystic of Islam, Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-‘Arabī al-Ṭā’ī al-Ḥātmī is universally known as al-Shaykh al-Akbar (The Greatest Master). Murcia Spain

Youth age

His father, ‘Ali ibn Muḥammad served in the Army of Ibn Mardanīsh, and later when Ibn Mardanīsh died in 1172 AD, he swiftly shifted his allegiance to the Almohad Sultan, Abū Ya’qūb Yūsuf I, and became one of his military advisers. While still a lad of eight years the family of Ibn ‘Arabī left Murcia and took Seville for their home. In Stephen Hartenstein’s words: “Ibn ‘Arabī spent his youth age in the most advanced city of that time, an atmosphere steeped in the most important ideas – philosophical, scientific and religious – of his day. For the young Ibn ‘Arabī, twelfth century Seville was no doubt the equivalent of today’s London, Paris and New York” (Hirtenstein 36). 

Education

Ibn ‘Arabī’s dogmatic and intellectual training began in the cultural and civilized centre of Muslim Spain as Seville was known in 578 AH. Most of his teachers mentioned in the ijāza wrote to King al-Muẓaffar were the ‘ulamā’ of the Almohad era and some of them also held the official posts of Qāḍī or Khaṭīb (Addas 97). He was just a young boy when his father sent him to the renowned jurist Abū Bakr ibn Khalaf to study Qur’ān. Ibn ‘Arabī learnt the recitation of the Qur’ān from the book of Al-Kāfī in the seven different readings (qirā’āt). The same work was also transmitted to him by another muqrī, ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Ghālib ibn al-Sharrāt (Addas 44). At the age of ten, he was well-versed in the Qira’āt; afterwards he learned the sciences of Ḥadīth and Fiqh from the famous scholars of the time. He studied Ḥadith and Sīra with the muḥaddith ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Suhaylī, who taught him all of his works. He also attended lectures of Qāḍī Ibn Zarkūn, who transmitted to him Kitāb al-Taqaṣṣī of Al-Shāṭibī and issued him an Ijāza (permission of transmission to others.)

Later he studied under ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Azdī al-Ishbilī his works on Ḥadīth; these are Aḥkām al-Kubrā, al-Wuṣṭā and al-Ṣughrā. In addition to his own works, he also transmitted to Ibn ‘Arabī the writings of the famous Ẓāhirī scholar, Ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī (Addas 45). The complete list of his teachers and masters can be found in a scholarly certificate Ijāza given to Sultan al-Ashraf al-Muẓaffar, in this document Ibn Arabī mentioned 70 of his teachers and masters (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Ijāza li Malik al-Muẓaffar” 7).

Who are we

Spiritual force behind the Foundation's activities here in Pakistan. Our Shaykh in Qadari Tariqa

Syed Rafaqat Hussain Shah
Shaykh of Qadari Razzaqi tariqa
Ahmed

Shaykh of Tariqa al Akbariiya, our mentor in correct understanding of the Shaykh's teachings.

Shaykh Ahmed Muhammad Ali
Shaykh of Akbariyya Tariqa

Editor, Translator and Ambassador of Shaykh al Akbar. Working full time in the foundation

Abrar Ahmed Shahi
Head at Ibn al Arabi Foundation Pakistan

Proof reader and Urdu language editor, contributing part time on Foundation's activities

Hamesh Gul Malik
Secretary General.