The Influence of Muhyî al-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabî On the Development of Sufism

malatyaulucamii61.jpgIntroduction

MYSTIC, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammad ibn ‘Alî ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Arabî al-Thâ’î al-Hâtimî is one of the world’ great spiritual teachers. Known as Muhyi al-Dîn (the Revivifier of Religion) and the Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest Master), he was born in 560/1165 into the Moorish culture of Andalusian Spain, the center of an extraordinary flourishing and cross-fertilization of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought through which the major scientific and philosophical works of antiquity were transmitted to Northern Europe. Ibn ‘Arabî’s spiritual attainment were evident from an early age, and he was renowned for his great visionary capacity as well as being a superlative teacher. He traveled extensively in the Islamic World and died in Damascus in 1165/1240.

According to Hirtenstein (2001: 353), Ibn ‘Arabî 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-Makkiyyah, a vast encyclopedia 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 ‘Arabî shows how man, in perfection, is the complete image of this reality and how those who truly know their essential self, know God.

His Works

Here some of the list of Ibn ‘Arabî’s work.

  1. Mashahid al-Asrar al-Qudsiyya (Contemplations of the Holy Mysteries) (Written in Andalusia, 590/1194).
  2. Al-Tadbirat al-Ilahiyya (Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom). Written in Andalusia.
  3. Kitab Al-Isrâ’ (The Book of Night Journey). Written in Fez, 594/1198.
  4. Mawaqi al-Nujûm (Settings of the Stars). Writen in Almeria, 595/1199.
  5. ‘Anqa` Mughrib (The Fabulous Gryphon of the West), Written in Andalusia, 595/1199.
  6. Insha’ al-Dawa’ir (The Description of the Encompassing Circles). Written in Tunis, 598/1201.
  7. Mishkat al-Anwâr (The Niche of Lights). Written in Mecca, 599/1202/03.
  8. Hilyat al-Abdal (the Adornment of the Substitutes). Written in Taif, 599/1203.
  9. h al-Quds (The Epistle of the Spirit of Holiness). Written in Mecca, 600/1203.
  10. Taj al-Rasâil (The Crown of Epistles). Written in Mecca, 600/1203.
  11. Kitab al-Alif, Kitab al-Ba’, Kitab al-Ya. Written in Yerusalem, 601/1204.
  12. Tanazzulat alMawsiliyyai (Descents of Revelation). Written in Mosul, 601/1205.
  13. Kitab alJalal wa al-Jamâl (The Book of Majesty and Beauty). Written in Mosul, 601/1205.
  14. Kitab Kunh ma la budda lil murid minhu (What is essential for the Seeker). Mosul, 601/1205.
  15. Fusûs al-Hikam (Vessels of Wisdom). Damascus, 627/1229.
  16. al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya (Meccan Illuminations). Mecca, 1202-1231 (629)
  17. etc

His Pupils and Comentators

Ibn ‘Arabî has many disciples and followers. However, Yunasril Ali (2002) and Muthahhari (1995: 52-58) said, there are few people who really understand his teachings. They are:

1. Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawî (d. 672/ 1273). He is a pupil and follower Ibn ‘Arabî and also his stepchild. He is contemporary with Khwajah Nasir al-Dîn al-Tûsî (d. 672/1273) and has correspondence with him. While Maulana Jalâl al-Dîn Rumi (d. 672 /1273) is his pupil and al-Qunawi at once. The work of al-Qunawi is Miftah al-Gayb, an-Nusûs, and al-Fuqûq.

2. Fakhr al-Dîn Iraqi Hamadani (d. 688/1289). He is a Sufi and pupil of al-Qunawi and Shihab al-Dîn al-Suhrawardî.

3. ‘Abd al-Razzaq Kashani (d. 735/1334). He wrote a commentary of Ibn ‘Arabî’s Fusûs and Manâzil al-Sâ’irîn by Khwajah Ansari.

4. Sayyid Haydar Amuli. He wrote a commentary of Fusûs entitled Nas al-Nusûs.

5. ‘Abd al-Karim Gilani or al-Jilli (d. 805/1402). He wrote the Perfect Man (Insan al-Kamil), a description to the core discussion from Ibn ‘Arabî concerning the perfect human being.

6. Muhammad ibn Hamzah Fanari Rumi. He wrote Misbah al-Uns, a commentary of Miftah al-Gayb belong to al-Qunawi.

7. ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (d. 898/1492).

A. The Unity of Existence

Ibn ‘Arabî noted that Real Existence and ‘reality’ (external reality, entity, existent) only limited to Allah. Whereas the existences of other entities have the character of the metaphor. This theory is recognized by wahdat al-wujûd wa al- maujûd (Labib: 2004). In other words, he regarded God as the Only Real Being and the Objective Reality at once from beingness. While the other than Allah is an only metaphor symbolic existence. Or, as Chittick (1994: 19) said, Ibn ‘Arabî points out that the only reality that embraces all things in the cosmos is wujûd.

To Ibn ‘Arabî, existence and nonexistence (‘adam) is not an addition to maujud (existent) and ma’dum (the nonexistent), but it is equal to maujûd and ma’dum itself. He refused the estimative ascription (wahm) that existence and nonexistence (‘adam) is the nature which attach to maujûd and ma`dum. Then Ibn ‘Arabî distinguished three kind of ontological category.

First, something that exists and bring into existence by itself in its entity. It was the Real Existence (Being), identified as Allah.

Secondly, something that come into existence by God (created by Him), namely al-wujûd al-muqayyad (the limited being/existence), it is exists by God.

Thirdly, something that neither have the character of the existence nor nonexistence (‘adam), neither have the character of the hudûth nor also qidam. Ontologically, it is God and nature, but at the same time it is neither God nor nature. This category is referred as haqiqah al-haqâ`iq (the Reality of the realities), al-maddah al-ula (the first matter).

According to Mehdi Hairi Yazdi (Labib: 83-4), Ibn ‘Arabî’s the unity of existence is the idea which does not base upon philosophical and ontological principles. It is only relied on a spiritual contemplation and experience. Hence, he cannot be considered as a valid philosophical idea. It deserves to get various criticism.

Therefore, Ibn ‘Arabî assumed all things other than God as the manifestations/shadows of the Truth (al-Haq).

B. The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man is one of the important themes in Islamic mysticism. It means the Universal Man who represents the peak of pyramid in the existence of universe. Every prophet in their time is the incarnation of the perfect man, which play two roles and authorities at the same time: cosmic authority and law of authority.

The first means every prophets become the emanation intermediary (faid) to the universe. The secondly, every prophets become the news giver and the shari’a upholder of God Almighty. Since the prophecy of Muhammad (saw), the first authority come to an end and considered as the perfect. However, because of the universe and all existents in it still need for the overflow of existence continually, hence the cosmic authority is not final. The Holy people of the Household of Messenger and all the saints after them, believed as the successor of the cosmic authority.

Ibn ‘Arabî mentioned some items of equality prophethood (all prophets) and walâyah (the spiritual guardianship) as follows:

(1) either the prophet or the wali bestowed by the science of ladunni and science which do not acquired by efforts [kasbi] (science wahbi, science hudhuri;

(2) either the prophet or the wali conducted many things which cannot be done by the common people;

(3) both of them can witness the ideal reality (al-haqâ’iq al-mithaliyah)

Some said that the theory of the spiritual guardianship amongst the Sufis emerge by the end of 9th century when Sufis such as Abû Sa’îd al-Kharrâz (d. 277/890 or 286/899), Sahl al-Tustari (d. 282/895), and Muhammad ibn ‘Alî al-Hakîm al-Tirmidhî (d.c. 295/908) wrote about it. However, the Tirmidhi’step, for instance in his Khatm al-Awliyâ’, such as pinching off the concept of walayat (al-wilâyah) lacking the meaning of imamah of the holy men from the Household of Messenger (saaw) [Ahl al-Bayt], assessed less sympathetic by some of Muslim scholars. Because this matter assured the beginning of separation phase between mysticism of Shiite Islam (which still make all imams from Ahl al-Bayt as the real infallible guardians) and Sufism of the People of Sunnah (who refuse theologically the leadership [imamah] of the Ahl al-Bayt.

Even though, according to Samad Muwahhid, the main features that differentiating ‘irfan from Sufism is the concept of walayat (al-wilayah) as the main foundation of Shia theology and thought. Walayat which initially identified by imamah (the leadership of holy men) stands for an integral part in Islamic mysticism literature in general.

According to some observers of history Sufism and ‘irfân, al-Tirmidhi openly adopted almost all Shia theology and ‘irfan terminology. It is worth noting, he accused to pinch off the doctrine of al-wilayah and ‘ishmah then dissociated it from the all figures of Ahl al-Bayt. Consistency and structure in detail in Tirmidhi’s description on walayah and ‘ishmah in Khatm al-Awliya indicated to this.

Wali Quthb, who is considered as the perfect man, occupied the culminate position in hierarchy of all walis. Ibn ‘Arabî concluded that the concept of quthbiyah authority is equal to the concept of mahdawiyah (mahdiyah), as believed by Shiite Muslim, even Yahya Yatrebi refused the Ibn ‘Arabî’s claim. However, Haydar Amuli agreed on his spiritual teacher Ibn ‘Arabî. He said that the real perfect man, or wali quthb is the Imam Mahdi himself. In this way, in one of his article, Imam Khomeini expressed that Ibn ‘Arabî as Shia. And according to Muthahhari (1991: 177) Ibn ‘Arabî said, “I have met with Muhammad bin Hasan al-Askari, who is in the occultation now. His age is 300 years old.”

That Absolute Wali is Imam Mahdi confessed by Ibn ‘Arabî himself as quoted by his spiritual disciple, Haydar Amuli (1989: 122-3) when he writes a commentary to his Fusûs. Amuli said:

“…since absolute prophethood from the outset is particular to Muhammad and his reality, and this is continuation of the original reality particular to the prophets and the messengers from Adam to Jesus (who are in fact different manifestations of the Muhammadi reality), so absolute wilayah is particular to ‘Alî ibn Abi Talib and to his reality (by way of the essential and inherited spiritual legacy from pre-eternity) and thereafter (by way of a continuation of the original reality) to his infallible progeny. This spiritual life extends until Allah seals it with the Mahdi.”

So, Amuli said, the Imam and the wali are the Great Imam and the Absolute Wali, also as the Pole and the Imam of the Imams who is responsible for ordering of existence, the establishing of the shari’ah, tariqah, and haqiqah.

Study the Mysticism of Muhyî al-Dîn Ibn al-‘Arabî in Malay World

Mysticism of Ibn al-’Arabî appears draw an enthusiasm amongst the man of science and Sufi in the Islamic World, especially through his pupils, either directly or also indirectly, giving analyzes, interpretations and comments to his masterpieces, such as his own stepchild, Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawi (d. 763/1274), Mu`yid al-Dîn al-Jandi (d. 690/1291), ‘Abd al-Razzâq al-Q(K)âsyânî (d. 730/1330), Syaraf al-Dîn Dawûd al-Qaysharî (d. 751/ 1350), Sayyid Haydar Amulî (d. after 787/1385), ‘Abd al-Karîm al-Jîlî (d. 826/1421), ‘Abd al-Rahmân al-Jâmî (d. 898/1492), ‘Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sya`rânî (d. 973/1565), ‘Abd al-Ghanî al-Nâbulusî (d. 1114/1731) and others.

Through the Sufi work from Gujarat, India, Yunasril Ali (2002: 50) said, Muhammad ibn Fadl Allâh al-Burhanpûrî (d. 1029), the mysticism teachings of Ibn al-‘Arabî disseminates in Southeast Asia. Here, mysticism of Ibn al-‘Arabî commented and introduced by a number of Muslim Sufi scholars, like Hamzah Fansûri, Shams al-Dîn al-Sumatrânî, ‘Abd al-Samad al-Fâlimbânî, Dawûd al-Fathânî, Muhammad Nafîs al-Banjârî, and others.

School of Mulla Sadra

Of the Muslim thinkers who has been influenced by Ibn ‘Arabî is Mulla Sadra, an Iranian philosopher. He established a new school. In the school of “transcendent theosophy”—or Hikmah al-Muta’âliyah, as he called his own school—there are contained all elements of an independent school. Therefore, those who regarded him as a follower of Ibn Sina’s philosophy or its reviver, or his philosophy as a supplement to Ibn Sina’s, went in the wrong way; they were not aware of Mulla Sadra’s philosophy.

His philosophy was a combination of various schools like Ibn Sina’s school of philosophy, Shiite kalam, and Ibn ‘Arabi’s Sufism. Concerning the influence of Ibn ‘Arabî we can see the opinion of an Illuminate French researcher as follows:

“If we regard him as a Sinean, we have to add that he is, actually, Illuminationist as well; at the same time, he is full of Ibn ‘Arabi’s thought. Mulla Sadrâ is one of the most important Iranian Muslim Neo-Platonists … and that same time, he is a Shî’î thinker.” (Khamenei: 2000, 194)

Imam Khomeini: A Case

As said by Yamani (2001: 16), in reality, under influence by Ibn ‘Arabî and Mulla Sadrâ, mysticism of Imam Khomeini more closer to ‘irfân and hikmah. Perhaps we mention this when we look into some teachers of Imam Khomeini.

His first teacher in this ‘irfân is Mirza ‘Alî Akbar Yazdî (d. 1926), pupil of Husain Sabzavarî (who learn directly from Mulla Hâdî Sabzavarî (d. 1872), the writer of Sharh-i Manzumah, one of the elementary ‘irfân text which widest used now. Other teacher in this area is Sayyid Abû al-Hasan Râfi’î Qazwinî (d. 1975)

As for the main teacher Imam Khomeini is Ayatollah Muhammad ‘Alî Shahabadî (d. 1950). After initially refuse Ruhullah’s desire to learn with him, finally Shahabadî agree to teach him philosophy. However, it is ‘irfân to be Ruhullah’s desire. He even also continued to ossify till finally Shahabadî agree to teach the discipline which is one this. Every Thursday and Friday, Ruhullah studied correctly the lessons given by Shahabadî. Sometimes he came alone, sometimes with some other pupils in the different time. The subject of lesson is a commentary of Dâwud Qusyairî ( d. 1350) to the Fusûs al-Hikam, a masterpiece of Ibn al-‘Arabî as well as Miftah al-Gaib, a masterpiece of Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawî (d. 1274), a pupil Ibn al-‘Arabî and Nasir al-Dîn Tusî (d. 672 A.H.), a Shia philosopher and Manâzil al-Sâ’irîn, a masterpiece Khawajah ‘Abd Allah Ansari (d. 1089)

At 1937, this young mullah finished a list of annotation upon the comment Qaisarî toward the Fusûs al-Hikam and Misbah al-Uns, a comment of Hamzah ibn Fanarî to Miftah al-Gaib, a masterpiece of al-Qunawi so that some his teachers feel important to write commentaries toward the Imam Khomeini’s book.

Yamani asserted his opinions about the influence Ibn ‘Arabî to the mysticism thought of Imam Khomeini as saying, “Secondly, the core in ‘irfân teaching of al-Quran like taught in wahdat al-wujûd of Ibn ‘Arabî that all universe is a manifestation [tajaliyyât] of Allah.” (2001: 64)

Imam Khomeini (1994: 36) himself said that the universe is the name of Allah, since a name is a sign, and all creation in the world is the signs of the Holy Real Allah Almighty. In the other place, he said, “Every the man of intellect can comprehend that all existents is a name and a sign of God….God is the Unlimited Being which embraces all unlimited perfection attributes.”

Comment:

1. Ibn ‘Arabî has many works. Of his works regarding to the Unity of Being. A part of his theory relate to the perfect man. Therefore, he also wrote many books about how to the good servant of God and finally it offered the inspiration for his readers to reach the station of the perfect man. Although, he asserted that the perfect man actually is Imam Mahdi. As for the other friends of Allah, he maintained that they are below Imam Mahdi or Wali Quthb in spiritual aspect.

2. Actually we can refer to another books from Ibn ‘Arabî to build the ethics metaphysics such as Tadbirat al-Ilahiyyah, al-Washaya lî Ibn al-‘Arabî, the Sufis Andalusia and so on. All these books indeed informed us how to become the perfect man as far as we can do. In this way, we can mention the personality of the Sufi masters in the classical and modern era such as Haydar Amuli, Sadr Al-Dîn Qunawi, Mulla Sadra, and Imam Khomeini and so on.

3. Since the seventh century, Ibn ‘Arabî and his disciples led Sufism to a new course and presented the Islamic Illuminationist and his influences can be seen in every country.

***

Reference :

Ali, Dr. Yunasril. Jalan Kearifan Sufi: Tasawuf sebagai Terapi Derita Manusia. Jakarta: Lentera, 2002.

Amuli, Sayyid Haydar. Inner Secrets of the Path. Britain: Element Books, 1989.

Chittick, William C. Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-‘Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994.

Hirtenstein, Stephen. Dari Keragaman Ke Kesatuan Wujud: Ajaran dan Kehidupan Spiritual Syaikh Al-Akbar Ibn ‘Arabi. Jakarta: Murai Kencana. 2001.

Khamenei, Prof. S.M. Development of Wisdom in Iran and in the West. Tehran: 2000.

Khomeini, Imam. Rahasia Basmalah dan Hamdalah. Bandung: Mizan, 1994.

Labib, Muhsin. Mengurai Tasawuf, Irfan, dan Kebatinan. Jakarta: Lentera, 2004.

Muthahhari, Murtadha. Imamah dan Khilafah. Jakarta: Firdaus, 1991.

Thabathabai, Allamah and Muthahhari, Murtadha. Menapak Jalan Spiritual. Bandung: Pustaka Hidayah, 1995.

Renard, John. Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism. New York: Paulist Press, 2004.

Yamani, Wasiat Sufi Ayatullah Khomeini. Bandung: Mizan, 2001.

Introduction

MYSTIC, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammad ibn ‘Alî ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Arabî al-Thâ’î al-Hâtimî is one of the world’ great spiritual teachers. Known as Muhyi al-Dîn (the Revivifier of Religion) and the Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest Master), he was born in 560/1165 into the Moorish culture of Andalusian Spain, the center of an extraordinary flourishing and cross-fertilization of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought through which the major scientific and philosophical works of antiquity were transmitted to Northern Europe. Ibn ‘Arabî’s spiritual attainment were evident from an early age, and he was renowned for his great visionary capacity as well as being a superlative teacher. He traveled extensively in the Islamic World and died in Damascus in 1165/1240.

According to Hirtenstein (2001: 353), Ibn ‘Arabî 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-Makkiyyah, a vast encyclopedia 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 ‘Arabî shows how man, in perfection, is the complete image of this reality and how those who truly know their essential self, know God.

His Works

Here some of the list of Ibn ‘Arabî’s work.

  1. Mashahid al-Asrar al-Qudsiyya (Contemplations of the Holy Mysteries) (Written in Andalusia, 590/1194).
  2. Al-Tadbirat al-Ilahiyya (Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom). Written in Andalusia.
  3. Kitab Al-Isrâ’ (The Book of Night Journey). Written in Fez, 594/1198.
  4. Mawaqi al-Nujûm (Settings of the Stars). Writen in Almeria, 595/1199.
  5. ‘Anqa` Mughrib (The Fabulous Gryphon of the West), Written in Andalusia, 595/1199.
  6. Insha’ al-Dawa’ir (The Description of the Encompassing Circles). Written in Tunis, 598/1201.
  7. Mishkat al-Anwâr (The Niche of Lights). Written in Mecca, 599/1202/03.
  8. Hilyat al-Abdal (the Adornment of the Substitutes). Written in Taif, 599/1203.
  9. h al-Quds (The Epistle of the Spirit of Holiness). Written in Mecca, 600/1203.
  10. Taj al-Rasâil (The Crown of Epistles). Written in Mecca, 600/1203.
  11. Kitab al-Alif, Kitab al-Ba’, Kitab al-Ya. Written in Yerusalem, 601/1204.
  12. Tanazzulat alMawsiliyyai (Descents of Revelation). Written in Mosul, 601/1205.
  13. Kitab alJalal wa al-Jamâl (The Book of Majesty and Beauty). Written in Mosul, 601/1205.
  14. Kitab Kunh ma la budda lil murid minhu (What is essential for the Seeker). Mosul, 601/1205.
  15. Fusûs al-Hikam (Vessels of Wisdom). Damascus, 627/1229.
  16. al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya (Meccan Illuminations). Mecca, 1202-1231 (629)
  17. etc

His Pupils and Comentators

Ibn ‘Arabî has many disciples and followers. However, Yunasril Ali (2002) and Muthahhari (1995: 52-58) said, there are few people who really understand his teachings. They are:

1. Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawî (d. 672/ 1273). He is a pupil and follower Ibn ‘Arabî and also his stepchild. He is contemporary with Khwajah Nasir al-Dîn al-Tûsî (d. 672/1273) and has correspondence with him. While Maulana Jalâl al-Dîn Rumi (d. 672 /1273) is his pupil and al-Qunawi at once. The work of al-Qunawi is Miftah al-Gayb, an-Nusûs, and al-Fuqûq.

2. Fakhr al-Dîn Iraqi Hamadani (d. 688/1289). He is a Sufi and pupil of al-Qunawi and Shihab al-Dîn al-Suhrawardî.

3. ‘Abd al-Razzaq Kashani (d. 735/1334). He wrote a commentary of Ibn ‘Arabî’s Fusûs and Manâzil al-Sâ’irîn by Khwajah Ansari.

4. Sayyid Haydar Amuli. He wrote a commentary of Fusûs entitled Nas al-Nusûs.

5. ‘Abd al-Karim Gilani or al-Jilli (d. 805/1402). He wrote the Perfect Man (Insan al-Kamil), a description to the core discussion from Ibn ‘Arabî concerning the perfect human being.

6. Muhammad ibn Hamzah Fanari Rumi. He wrote Misbah al-Uns, a commentary of Miftah al-Gayb belong to al-Qunawi.

7. ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (d. 898/1492).

A. The Unity of Existence

Ibn ‘Arabî noted that Real Existence and ‘reality’ (external reality, entity, existent) only limited to Allah. Whereas the existences of other entities have the character of the metaphor. This theory is recognized by wahdat al-wujûd wa al- maujûd (Labib: 2004). In other words, he regarded God as the Only Real Being and the Objective Reality at once from beingness. While the other than Allah is an only metaphor symbolic existence. Or, as Chittick (1994: 19) said, Ibn ‘Arabî points out that the only reality that embraces all things in the cosmos is wujûd.

To Ibn ‘Arabî, existence and nonexistence (‘adam) is not an addition to maujud (existent) and ma’dum (the nonexistent), but it is equal to maujûd and ma’dum itself. He refused the estimative ascription (wahm) that existence and nonexistence (‘adam) is the nature which attach to maujûd and ma`dum. Then Ibn ‘Arabî distinguished three kind of ontological category.

First, something that exists and bring into existence by itself in its entity. It was the Real Existence (Being), identified as Allah.

Secondly, something that come into existence by God (created by Him), namely al-wujûd al-muqayyad (the limited being/existence), it is exists by God.

Thirdly, something that neither have the character of the existence nor nonexistence (‘adam), neither have the character of the hudûth nor also qidam. Ontologically, it is God and nature, but at the same time it is neither God nor nature. This category is referred as haqiqah al-haqâ`iq (the Reality of the realities), al-maddah al-ula (the first matter).

According to Mehdi Hairi Yazdi (Labib: 83-4), Ibn ‘Arabî’s the unity of existence is the idea which does not base upon philosophical and ontological principles. It is only relied on a spiritual contemplation and experience. Hence, he cannot be considered as a valid philosophical idea. It deserves to get various criticism.

Therefore, Ibn ‘Arabî assumed all things other than God as the manifestations/shadows of the Truth (al-Haq).

B. The Perfect Man

The Perfect Man is one of the important themes in Islamic mysticism. It means the Universal Man who represents the peak of pyramid in the existence of universe. Every prophet in their time is the incarnation of the perfect man, which play two roles and authorities at the same time: cosmic authority and law of authority.

The first means every prophets become the emanation intermediary (faid) to the universe. The secondly, every prophets become the news giver and the shari’a upholder of God Almighty. Since the prophecy of Muhammad (saw), the first authority come to an end and considered as the perfect. However, because of the universe and all existents in it still need for the overflow of existence continually, hence the cosmic authority is not final. The Holy people of the Household of Messenger and all the saints after them, believed as the successor of the cosmic authority.

Ibn ‘Arabî mentioned some items of equality prophethood (all prophets) and walâyah (the spiritual guardianship) as follows:

(1) either the prophet or the wali bestowed by the science of ladunni and science which do not acquired by efforts [kasbi] (science wahbi, science hudhuri;

(2) either the prophet or the wali conducted many things which cannot be done by the common people;

(3) both of them can witness the ideal reality (al-haqâ’iq al-mithaliyah)

Some said that the theory of the spiritual guardianship amongst the Sufis emerge by the end of 9th century when Sufis such as Abû Sa’îd al-Kharrâz (d. 277/890 or 286/899), Sahl al-Tustari (d. 282/895), and Muhammad ibn ‘Alî al-Hakîm al-Tirmidhî (d.c. 295/908) wrote about it. However, the Tirmidhi’step, for instance in his Khatm al-Awliyâ’, such as pinching off the concept of walayat (al-wilâyah) lacking the meaning of imamah of the holy men from the Household of Messenger (saaw) [Ahl al-Bayt], assessed less sympathetic by some of Muslim scholars. Because this matter assured the beginning of separation phase between mysticism of Shiite Islam (which still make all imams from Ahl al-Bayt as the real infallible guardians) and Sufism of the People of Sunnah (who refuse theologically the leadership [imamah] of the Ahl al-Bayt.

Even though, according to Samad Muwahhid, the main features that differentiating ‘irfan from Sufism is the concept of walayat (al-wilayah) as the main foundation of Shia theology and thought. Walayat which initially identified by imamah (the leadership of holy men) stands for an integral part in Islamic mysticism literature in general.

According to some observers of history Sufism and ‘irfân, al-Tirmidhi openly adopted almost all Shia theology and ‘irfan terminology. It is worth noting, he accused to pinch off the doctrine of al-wilayah and ‘ishmah then dissociated it from the all figures of Ahl al-Bayt. Consistency and structure in detail in Tirmidhi’s description on walayah and ‘ishmah in Khatm al-Awliya indicated to this.

Wali Quthb, who is considered as the perfect man, occupied the culminate position in hierarchy of all walis. Ibn ‘Arabî concluded that the concept of quthbiyah authority is equal to the concept of mahdawiyah (mahdiyah), as believed by Shiite Muslim, even Yahya Yatrebi refused the Ibn ‘Arabî’s claim. However, Haydar Amuli agreed on his spiritual teacher Ibn ‘Arabî. He said that the real perfect man, or wali quthb is the Imam Mahdi himself. In this way, in one of his article, Imam Khomeini expressed that Ibn ‘Arabî as Shia. And according to Muthahhari (1991: 177) Ibn ‘Arabî said, “I have met with Muhammad bin Hasan al-Askari, who is in the occultation now. His age is 300 years old.”

That Absolute Wali is Imam Mahdi confessed by Ibn ‘Arabî himself as quoted by his spiritual disciple, Haydar Amuli (1989: 122-3) when he writes a commentary to his Fusûs. Amuli said:

“…since absolute prophethood from the outset is particular to Muhammad and his reality, and this is continuation of the original reality particular to the prophets and the messengers from Adam to Jesus (who are in fact different manifestations of the Muhammadi reality), so absolute wilayah is particular to ‘Alî ibn Abi Talib and to his reality (by way of the essential and inherited spiritual legacy from pre-eternity) and thereafter (by way of a continuation of the original reality) to his infallible progeny. This spiritual life extends until Allah seals it with the Mahdi.”

So, Amuli said, the Imam and the wali are the Great Imam and the Absolute Wali, also as the Pole and the Imam of the Imams who is responsible for ordering of existence, the establishing of the shari’ah, tariqah, and haqiqah.

Study the Mysticism of Muhyî al-Dîn Ibn al-‘Arabî in Malay World

Mysticism of Ibn al-’Arabî appears draw an enthusiasm amongst the man of science and Sufi in the Islamic World, especially through his pupils, either directly or also indirectly, giving analyzes, interpretations and comments to his masterpieces, such as his own stepchild, Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawi (d. 763/1274), Mu`yid al-Dîn al-Jandi (d. 690/1291), ‘Abd al-Razzâq al-Q(K)âsyânî (d. 730/1330), Syaraf al-Dîn Dawûd al-Qaysharî (d. 751/ 1350), Sayyid Haydar Amulî (d. after 787/1385), ‘Abd al-Karîm al-Jîlî (d. 826/1421), ‘Abd al-Rahmân al-Jâmî (d. 898/1492), ‘Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sya`rânî (d. 973/1565), ‘Abd al-Ghanî al-Nâbulusî (d. 1114/1731) and others.

Through the Sufi work from Gujarat, India, Yunasril Ali (2002: 50) said, Muhammad ibn Fadl Allâh al-Burhanpûrî (d. 1029), the mysticism teachings of Ibn al-‘Arabî disseminates in Southeast Asia. Here, mysticism of Ibn al-‘Arabî commented and introduced by a number of Muslim Sufi scholars, like Hamzah Fansûri, Shams al-Dîn al-Sumatrânî, ‘Abd al-Samad al-Fâlimbânî, Dawûd al-Fathânî, Muhammad Nafîs al-Banjârî, and others.

School of Mulla Sadra

Of the Muslim thinkers who has been influenced by Ibn ‘Arabî is Mulla Sadra, an Iranian philosopher. He established a new school. In the school of “transcendent theosophy”—or Hikmah al-Muta’âliyah, as he called his own school—there are contained all elements of an independent school. Therefore, those who regarded him as a follower of Ibn Sina’s philosophy or its reviver, or his philosophy as a supplement to Ibn Sina’s, went in the wrong way; they were not aware of Mulla Sadra’s philosophy.

His philosophy was a combination of various schools like Ibn Sina’s school of philosophy, Shiite kalam, and Ibn ‘Arabi’s Sufism. Concerning the influence of Ibn ‘Arabî we can see the opinion of an Illuminate French researcher as follows:

“If we regard him as a Sinean, we have to add that he is, actually, Illuminationist as well; at the same time, he is full of Ibn ‘Arabi’s thought. Mulla Sadrâ is one of the most important Iranian Muslim Neo-Platonists … and that same time, he is a Shî’î thinker.” (Khamenei: 2000, 194)

Imam Khomeini: A Case

As said by Yamani (2001: 16), in reality, under influence by Ibn ‘Arabî and Mulla Sadrâ, mysticism of Imam Khomeini more closer to ‘irfân and hikmah. Perhaps we mention this when we look into some teachers of Imam Khomeini.

His first teacher in this ‘irfân is Mirza ‘Alî Akbar Yazdî (d. 1926), pupil of Husain Sabzavarî (who learn directly from Mulla Hâdî Sabzavarî (d. 1872), the writer of Sharh-i Manzumah, one of the elementary ‘irfân text which widest used now. Other teacher in this area is Sayyid Abû al-Hasan Râfi’î Qazwinî (d. 1975)

As for the main teacher Imam Khomeini is Ayatollah Muhammad ‘Alî Shahabadî (d. 1950). After initially refuse Ruhullah’s desire to learn with him, finally Shahabadî agree to teach him philosophy. However, it is ‘irfân to be Ruhullah’s desire. He even also continued to ossify till finally Shahabadî agree to teach the discipline which is one this. Every Thursday and Friday, Ruhullah studied correctly the lessons given by Shahabadî. Sometimes he came alone, sometimes with some other pupils in the different time. The subject of lesson is a commentary of Dâwud Qusyairî ( d. 1350) to the Fusûs al-Hikam, a masterpiece of Ibn al-‘Arabî as well as Miftah al-Gaib, a masterpiece of Sadr al-Dîn al-Qunawî (d. 1274), a pupil Ibn al-‘Arabî and Nasir al-Dîn Tusî (d. 672 A.H.), a Shia philosopher and Manâzil al-Sâ’irîn, a masterpiece Khawajah ‘Abd Allah Ansari (d. 1089)

At 1937, this young mullah finished a list of annotation upon the comment Qaisarî toward the Fusûs al-Hikam and Misbah al-Uns, a comment of Hamzah ibn Fanarî to Miftah al-Gaib, a masterpiece of al-Qunawi so that some his teachers feel important to write commentaries toward the Imam Khomeini’s book.

Yamani asserted his opinions about the influence Ibn ‘Arabî to the mysticism thought of Imam Khomeini as saying, “Secondly, the core in ‘irfân teaching of al-Quran like taught in wahdat al-wujûd of Ibn ‘Arabî that all universe is a manifestation [tajaliyyât] of Allah.” (2001: 64)

Imam Khomeini (1994: 36) himself said that the universe is the name of Allah, since a name is a sign, and all creation in the world is the signs of the Holy Real Allah Almighty. In the other place, he said, “Every the man of intellect can comprehend that all existents is a name and a sign of God….God is the Unlimited Being which embraces all unlimited perfection attributes.”

Comment:

1. Ibn ‘Arabî has many works. Of his works regarding to the Unity of Being. A part of his theory relate to the perfect man. Therefore, he also wrote many books about how to the good servant of God and finally it offered the inspiration for his readers to reach the station of the perfect man. Although, he asserted that the perfect man actually is Imam Mahdi. As for the other friends of Allah, he maintained that they are below Imam Mahdi or Wali Quthb in spiritual aspect.

2. Actually we can refer to another books from Ibn ‘Arabî to build the ethics metaphysics such as Tadbirat al-Ilahiyyah, al-Washaya lî Ibn al-‘Arabî, the Sufis Andalusia and so on. All these books indeed informed us how to become the perfect man as far as we can do. In this way, we can mention the personality of the Sufi masters in the classical and modern era such as Haydar Amuli, Sadr Al-Dîn Qunawi, Mulla Sadra, and Imam Khomeini and so on.

3. Since the seventh century, Ibn ‘Arabî and his disciples led Sufism to a new course and presented the Islamic Illuminationist and his influences can be seen in every country.

***

Reference :

Ali, Dr. Yunasril. Jalan Kearifan Sufi: Tasawuf sebagai Terapi Derita Manusia. Jakarta: Lentera, 2002.

Amuli, Sayyid Haydar. Inner Secrets of the Path. Britain: Element Books, 1989.

Chittick, William C. Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-‘Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994.

Hirtenstein, Stephen. Dari Keragaman Ke Kesatuan Wujud: Ajaran dan Kehidupan Spiritual Syaikh Al-Akbar Ibn ‘Arabi. Jakarta: Murai Kencana. 2001.

Khamenei, Prof. S.M. Development of Wisdom in Iran and in the West. Tehran: 2000.

Khomeini, Imam. Rahasia Basmalah dan Hamdalah. Bandung: Mizan, 1994.

Labib, Muhsin. Mengurai Tasawuf, Irfan, dan Kebatinan. Jakarta: Lentera, 2004.

Muthahhari, Murtadha. Imamah dan Khilafah. Jakarta: Firdaus, 1991.

Thabathabai, Allamah and Muthahhari, Murtadha. Menapak Jalan Spiritual. Bandung: Pustaka Hidayah, 1995.

Renard, John. Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism. New York: Paulist Press, 2004.

Yamani, Wasiat Sufi Ayatullah Khomeini. Bandung: Mizan, 2001.

5 thoughts on “The Influence of Muhyî al-Dîn Ibn ‘Arabî On the Development of Sufism

  1. Sayyid Omar Amiruddin Khan mengatakan:

    Assalaamu ‘Alaykum,

    It is interesting how Shi’ite Mysticism is built upon the toiling backs of Mujahahada of Sunni Urafa endeavouring to gluttonously appropriate the Divine Presence in the name of the Imam.

    Wassalaam,

    Omar

  2. Sarmad al-Kashmirî mengatakan:

    As`salam aleykûm

    Really glad to see how much shaykh al-akbâr influenced the Muslims – Shia’s or Sunni’s – and how the Islamic tradition is always alive (thanks for highlighting his influence in the Malay world, because, I think, it is not well known, and we can congratulate Syed Naquib al-Attas for his works about this.) It will be also interesting to study the Ottoman and Indian worlds, and the reception of the Akbariân thought; for the latter, William Chittick speaks of a lot of commentaries, and on Mulla Sadrâ (who is, as it is said, really influenced by Ibn`Arabî) Seyyed Hossein Nasr even says that Indian wrote more commentaries on him than Persian thinkers themselves!

    There is his note 23 on Chapter 12 (p. 331), from his 2006-book ”Islamic
    Philosophy from its Origin Present” (I omit the textual references for esthetical reasons):

    “The full extent of the influence of Mulla Sadra in India has not as yet been studied. Over four decades ago when I visited some of the major libraries of India specifically in order to study manuscripts of Mulla Sadra, I was amazed at the number of manuscripts of his works in such places as the Rampur and Khudabakhsh Libraries. Among them the number of manuscripts of the Kitab al-hidayah and the very large number of commentaries and glosses written upon it (much more than in Persia itself) was truly amazing.”

    Arslan.

    Wa`aleykûm as`salâm.

  3. Ahaa, its fastidious dialogue regarding this post at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting at this place.

  4. Demetra mengatakan:

    Your means of telling the whole thing in this article is truly fastidious, all can easily understand it, Thanks a lot.

  5. […] Here some of the list of Ibn ‘Arabî’s work. […]

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