Healing

Creator,Bless my eyes that I may see with love,Bless my lips that I may speak with love,Bless my ears that I may listen with love,Bless my heart that I may give and receive with love,Bless my hands that all that I touch feels loved,Bless my feet that my walk may be a prayer upon Mother Earth.” This prayer is credited to the Mexican Grace Alvarez Sesma who is a ‘curandero’, a practitioner of a traditional Mexican indigenous form of healing. This healing prayer reminded me of this prayer of the Prophet: O Allah, place within my heart light, and upon my tongue light, and upon my tongue light, and within my ears light, and within my eyes light, and place behind me light, and in front…

The Letter R

Shaykh Fariduddin ‘Attar explains that the letter A [Alif] manifests itself in the other letters: Alif was the first one in origin,It then brought forward a number of connections:When it became crooked it was counted as the dāl.When it put another bend upon itself,It then became rā, O ignorant one!When the alif is bent like a reed,Its both ends then became crooked as the bā.When the alif became a horseshoe,It then became a nūn. Let’s continue with the letter rā. The teaching of shaykh al-Buni will be followed by what James Cowan, shortly before his death wrote about the letter r in the Western alphabet. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi connects this letter with the House of Joseph. Sh. al-Buni writes this about the…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 12]

Eleven articles have appeared about the works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. Here is a key: Part 1: Ruh al-Quds Part 2: The Divine Names Part 3: The Divine names Part 4: Ahadith Part 5: Shaykh Dhu’n-Nun Part 6: Spiritual chivalry Part 7: The Path of Blame Part 8: Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi as a murshid Part 9: Women Part 10: Ascetic practices of the abdal Part 11: The Perfect Human Being Part 12: The key to all 11 articles

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 11]

The doctrine of the Perfect Human Being (al–insan al–kamil), in its technical Sufi metaphysical sense, has roots in Sufi thought prior to shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi, e.g. in the earlier concept of ‘the Universal Servant’ (‘abd al-kullī) as formulated by Ibn Barrajan (d. 1141): A human being is identified as the Particular Servant (ʿabd al–juzʾi) in relation to the universal servant (ʿabd al–kulli).  All things unfold as a consequence of the reality of the Universal Servant. Thus al-ʿabd al-kullī was created in the best of forms and the noblest of measurings (taqdir); the form of God’s form (ṣurat al–ḥaqq). Man, on the other hand, was created upon the form of the form of God. That is, man was created upon the…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 10]

Here are some observations of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi in regard to ascetic practices. These remarks are to be found in his Ornaments of the Abdal (Hilyat al–abdal), which has been translated into French by Michel Valsân, aka shaykh Mustafa ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz. Two of the closest murids of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi had asked him to write something for them from which they could benefit concerning the path of the hereafter. Stephen Hirtenstein has presented us with an English translation, which he called The Four Pillars of Spiritual Transformation: The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed. Shaykh Ibn al- ‘Arabi wrote this short work in the space of an hour in January 1203 in Ta’if, while on a visit to the tomb of the…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 9]

Sa’diyya Shaikh has translated a number of poems wherein shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi tells that he has transmitted a khirqa to a female murid, like Dunya, Siti al-’Aysh, de daughter of Zaki al-Din, Zumurrud, Jamilah, Safari, Fatima, Safiyya and other women (Sufi Narratives of Intimacy – Ibn ‘Arabi, Gender and Sexuality; pp. 102, 137-138, and 229-231). Here is an example: When you, the ultimate point of my pain,And you, the best of people in meaning and form,Adopted my good qualitiesAnd you, the best of people in meaning and form,And her qualities had already possessed my heart,And if you wanted to verify thatIn itself it would be a piece of news.From the most illumined of garmentsI wrapped her in the raiment of…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 8]

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi not only wrote books; part of his work consisted of guiding his students. The teachings of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi have also come to us by means of his disciples. One of them was shaykh Ibn Sawdakin, who died 8 years later than his murshid in 1248 in Aleppo. He wrote a book wherein he recorded the detailed answers his shaykh gave him to his questions about the highest states and stations in Sufism. It is called Kitab wasa’il as-sa’il (the “Book of the Tool to Help the One Who Asks Questions”), which received a German translation by Manfred Profitlich in 1973. I’ve heard that an English translation may come out in the near future. The book contains a…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 7]

Laila Khalifa in her Ibn Arabi – L’initiation à la futuwwa; published by Albouraq, dealing with the teachings of the shaykh concerning futuwwa, also gives a deep commentary on the shaykh’s concept of the path of blame. He does not treat it as a historical movement, but exposes the doctrine and the station of the malamiyya: “They have reached the highest station among the friends of God, that of proximity (qurba), after which prophecy comes. They are the masters of the people on the path of God. The Prophet, the master of the world, is one of them.” The malamiyya are in this world to help others without being recognized. Their goal is to remain unknown and they are not…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 6]

From shaykha Fatima of Nishapur, the teacher of shaykh Dhu’n-Nun, it is a small step to continue with the subject of futuwwa in the teachings of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. The word futuwwa implies in the Arabic language notions like chivalry (forusiyya), generosity (karam), youthfulness (being a fata) and maturity (rujuliyya). It plays a major role in Sufism and has become an eminent way of spiritual initiation. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi explained that although legislative prophecy has been sealed with the arrival of the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), still inspiration can be received by means of the path of futuwwa. The path of futuwwa consists essentially of the journey to the ka’ba al–wojud (the ka’ba of existence), the divine sanctuary, which is the…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 5]

Now let us turn to another book written by shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. What can be more interesting than to see a Sufi of the level of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi describe the life and teachings of another formidable Sufi shaykh? This has happened because shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi has written  Al-Kawkab al-durri fi manaqib Dhu’n-Nun al-Misri  dealing with the inspiring life of shaykh Dhu’n-Nun, the Egyptian. Shaykh Dhu’n-Nun was born in the North of Egypt and died at Gizeh in the year 860. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi reports that when the Egyptian Sufi died “green birds of an unknown species flew above the body of Dhu’n-Nun during his burial”. This has been explained that the angels honoured shaykh Dhu’n-Nun. Shaykh Dhu’n-Nun was the…