Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Unlimited Mercifier: The Spiritual Life and Thought of Ibn 'Arabi: Stephen Hirtenstein


Book:This unique portrait of the great Andalusian mystic uses his own writings to tell the story of his life and teachings. Chapters of biography are interwoven with chapters portraying the central elements of his thought and are supplemented with photographs and maps.                  Review:While the book’s author is an acclaimed Islamic/Sufic scholar and teacher (at the time of this review he is a Senior Editor for the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, as well as the editor of the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society since its inception in 1982), this is far from a dry, academically oriented treatise. Instead, “The Unlimited Mercifier” presents an engrossing examination of the life and thought of al-Shaykh al-Akbar ("the Greatest Shaykh"), highlighting his unique and revered place in the history of Sufism, Mysticism, and Islamic Doctrine, along with his profound and enduring relevance. I cannot recommend this exceptional book enough, and for anyone interested in purchasing it, I am including below the following description from Oxford based Anqa Publishing, which Mr. Hirtenstein co-founded. Amazon:                             

Interview with Stephen Hirtenstein: Ibn Arabi, The Unlimited Mercifier : June 4,2020.For many in the West, their first encounter with the 13th-century sufi mystic Ibn Arabi will be in the Turkish drama 'Resurrection: Ertugrul,' available on Netflix, where he is portrayed as a wandering spiritual master and adviser, always ready to dispense with the perfect wisdom in any given situation. But who was Ibn Arabi in real life? And why is he called the "Greatest Master"?

Today on MindMatters, we interview Stephen Hirtenstein, editor of the Journal of the Ibn Arabi Society, co-founder of Anqa Publishing, and author of several translations of Ibn Arabi's works as well as the book we discuss today: 'The Unlimited Mercifier: The Spiritual Life and Thought of Ibn Arabi.' We discuss some of Ibn Arabi's major works, the visions that inspired them, his own remarkable spiritual development, and some of the core meanings unveiled in his prolific output. YouTube Video:
Book: The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn Al Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination. William Chittick

"For the first time in the history of Orientalism, a thorough study of Ibn al-'Arabi's thought is now available. William Chittick has given us a translation of numerous passages from the work of the Magister Magnus and placed them in their theological context, thus removing many misunderstandings that have prevailed both among Muslims and in the West when interpreting Ibn al-'Arabi's mystical worldview. Chittick has done this with admirable clarity, and his book will always remain a most important milestone in the study of Islamic mystical theology." -- Annemarie Schimmel, Harvard University
Ibn al-'Arabi is still known as "the Great Sheik" among the surviving Sufi orders. Born in Muslim Spain, he has become famous in the West as the greatest mystical thinker of Islamic civilization. He was a great philosopher, theologian, and poet.
William Chittick takes a major step toward exposing the breadth and depth of Ibn al-'Arabi's vision. The book offers his view of spiritual perfection and explains his theology, ontology, epistemology, hermeneutics, and soteriology. The clear language, unencumbered by methodological jargon, makes it accessible to those familiar with other spiritual traditions, while its scholarly precision will appeal to specialists.
Beginning with a survey of Ibn al-'Arabi's major teachings, the book gradually introduces the most important facets of his thought, devoting attention to definitions of his basic terminology. His teachings are illustrated with many translated passages introducing readers to fascinating byways of spiritual life that would not ordinarily be encountered in an account of a thinker's ideas. Ibn al-'Arabi is allowed to describe in detail the visionary world from which his knowledge derives and to express his teachings in his own words.
More than 600 passages from his major work, al-Futuhat al-Makkivva, are translated here, practically for the first time. These alone provide twice the text of the Fusus al-hikam. The exhaustive indexes make the work an invaluable reference tool for research in Sufism and Islamic thought in general. Source: Articles: Ibn Arabi: The Door Way to an Intelectual Tradition - William Chittick By ‘intellectual tradition’ I mean the branch of Islamic learning that puts its primary effort into actualizing the intellect (ʿaql), understood as a living awareness of the way things actually are. Those who can be classified as members of this tradition have usually been looked back upon as philosophers or Sufis. They held that the final goal of all Islamic learning – and, indeed, of all religion – is to awaken people to their own intellectual and spiritual nature, which is the divine image found in the heart. One of the most famous members of this tradition – al-Ghazālī – sums up its role in the title of his magnum opus, Ihyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn: ‘Giving Life to Religious Knowledge.’ It is certainly not without relevance that Ibn al-ʿArabī came to be called Muhyi’l-Dīn (‘He who gives life to the religion’). Source Full Article:                                                                                                       The Divine Roots of Human Love: William Chittick : Ibn al-‘Arabi begins his long chapter on love (mahabba) in the Futûhât al-Makkiyya – as he begins most of the book’s 560 chapters – by citing relevant Qur’anic verses and prophetic sayings (II 322.16).[1] He points out first that love is a divine attribute, and he lists several of the Qur’anic verses in which God is the subject of the verb ‘to love’. Fourteen of these verses mention those whom God loves and another twenty-three mention those whom God does not love. In every case, the objects of God’s love or lack of love are human beings. Indeed, the Qur’an associates love only with human beings among all creatures. Hence love is a key term if we are to understand what differentiates human beings from other created things. Most other divine attributes – such as life, knowledge, desire, power, speech, generosity, justice, mercy, and wrath – have no necessary connection with the human race. Source: Full Article :                                                                       


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