If you haven’t heard about Ibn-Al-Arabi, you are not alone. Like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and other greater thinkers, Ibn-Al-Arabi has contributed immensely to philosophy. And that’s why we’ve decided to give you a piercing background of this philosopher whose works will continue to be remembered in the annals of great philosophical works.
Early Life and Birth
Ibn-Al-Arabi was born on July 25, 1165 in Murcia, Spain. His father Ali Ibn Muhammad served as a military man in the Army of Abu Abd Allah; his mother had family ties in Northern Africa. Arabi and his family moved to Seville, Spain, after the death of Abu.
Ibn-Al-Arabi underwent a conversion into the divine realm in the hands of Koranic Jesus. After this, his father introduced him to the famous philosopher Averroes who questioned Arabi on his spiritual existence. He underwent Islamic education under many teachers in Andalusia and North Africa.
Around 1201 AD, Ibn-Al-Arabi went for pilgrimage to Mecca and did not return to Europe afterwards. During this period of his life, he travelled extensively in Iraq and Anatolia before finally settling down in Damascus. He trained disciples and wrote books on spiritual knowledge until his death in November 1240 at 75 years of age. His stepson Sadr al-Din Qunawi was one of his most influential and talented disciples. Ibn-Al-Arabi is widely regarded in the Sufi tradition as the “greatest master.”
Ibn-Al-Arabi believed that he had divinely bestowed knowledge which is beyond conscious perceptions. He held that divine Essence is unknowable and that the cosmos is the whole point of manifestation of the attributes of God. He eschewed the focus on issues such as clothing and financial transactions. Concerning Islamic laws, this scholar posited that they were just temporary means to a higher goal.
Popular Quotes by Ibn-Al-Arabi
- “I believe in the religion of Love, whatever direction its caravan may take, for Love is my religion and faith.”
- “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in man.”
- “The ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its darkness, nor does the knowledgeable one sees his knowledge, for he basks in its light.”
Popular Written Works by Al-Ibn-Arabi
Al-Ibn-Arabi is credited with over eight hundred works, some of which were unknown in Europe until modern time. His written works were mostly dismissed as mysticism because of their lengths. Arabi’s most famous works are Al-Futuhat al-makkiyya or the“Meccan Illuminations” and Fusus al-hikam or the “Bezels of Wisdom.”
- Al-Futuhat al-makkiyya: This is regarded as the perfect example of Ibn-Al-Arabi’s spiritual teachings. The work comprises of twenty-seven Each chapter of the work discusses the spiritual wisdom of a particular prophet.
- Fusus al-hikam: Fusus al-hikam: This is translated as “The Meccan Openings.” It encompasses the entire gamut of spiritual anthropology, cosmology, metaphysics, psychology, and jurisprudence. In this work of over 2,000 pages, IbnAl-Arabi treated critical topics such as inner meanings of Islamic rituals and significance of differing messages by prophets, among others. It took him almost twenty years to conclude the work.
- Tarjuman al-ashwaq: Tarjuman al-ashwaq is a collection of love poetries written by Ibn-Al-Arabi during his first pilgrimage to Mecca. This was his first work to be translated entirely into English.
Ibn-Al-Arabi was inventive and prolific as a writer and scholar. His works spanned the realms of philosophy, psychology, theology, and cosmology among others. He rightly earns his place as the greatest of all Muslim philosophers.