His Rank of Mujtahid Mutlaq¬Ý 6
The Controversy Surrounding Him¬Ý 7
Al-Suyuti’Äôs Response to al-Biqa’Äòi¬Ý 7
Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs Admirers¬Ý 9
Wahda al-Wujˆªd or Oneness of Being¬Ý 14
Ibn Taymiyya’Äôs Unreliability¬Ý 18
Other Critics of Ibn ’ÄòArabi¬Ý 19
Al-Haytami’Äôs Response¬Ý 21
Al-Dhahabi’Äôs Warning to Critics of Sufis¬Ý 26
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Hadith ’ÄúWhoso shows enmity to one of My Friends’Äù¬Ý 27
Some of Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs Sayings¬Ý 28
Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs Islamic Doctrine¬Ý 33
The First Testimony of Faith¬Ý 34
The Second Testimony of Faith¬Ý 47
Final Supplication¬Ý 49
Muhammad ibn ’ÄòAli ibn Muhammad ibn al-’ÄòArabi, Abu Bakr Muhyi al-Din al-Hatimi al-Ta’Äôi al-Andalusi al-Mursi al-Dimashqi, known as Ibn ’ÄòArabi to differentiate him from Abu Bakr Ibn al-’ÄòArabi the Maliki jurist. A scholar of Arabic let¬‚ters at first, then tafsˆÆr and tasawwuf, nicknamed al-Qushayri and Sultan al-’ÄòArifin in his time for his pre-eminence in tasawwuf, known in his lifetime for his de¬‚voutness to worship, asceticism, and generosity, Ibn ’ÄòArabi was praised by al-Munawi as ’Äúa righteous friend of Allah and a faithful scholar of knowledge’Äù (waliyyun sˆ¢lihun wa ’Äòˆ¢li¬‚mun nˆ¢sih), by Ibn ’ÄòImad al-Hanbali as ’Äúthe absolute mujta¬‚hid without doubt,’Äù and by al-Fayruzabadi as ’Äúthe Imam of the People of Shari’Äòa both in knowledge and in legacy, the educator of the People of the Way in practice and in knowl¬‚edge, and the shaykh of the shaykhs of the People of Truth through spiritual experience (dhawq) and understand¬‚ing.’Äù
He travelled East and West in the study of hadith, taking knowledge from over a thousand shaykhs, among them Abu al-Hasan ibn Hudhayl, Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Lakhmi, Ibn Zarqun, Abu al-Walid al-Hadrami, al-Silafi, ’ÄòAbd al-Haqq al-Ishbili, Ibn ’ÄòAsakir, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Bushku¬‚wal. His principal shaykhs in tasawwuf were Abu Madyan al-Maghribi, Jamal al-Din Yunus ibn Yahya al-Qassar, Abu ’ÄòAbd Allah al-Tamimi al-Fasi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Jami’Äò, and al-Khidr u. He became known first as al-Shaykh al-Kabir (’ÄúThe Great Shaykh’Äù) then al-Shaykh al-Akbar (’ÄúThe Great¬‚est Shaykh’Äù) with specific reference to the sciences of tasaw¬‚wuf in which he authored hun¬‚dreds of books.
His greatest and best-known work is his last, al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (’ÄúThe Meccan Conquests’Äù) which begins with a statement of doctrine ’Äì translated in the present volume ’Äì about which al-Safadi said: ’ÄúI saw that from beginning to end it consists in the doctrine of Abu al-Hasan al-Ash’Äòari without any difference whatso¬‚ever.’Äù
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý In jurisprudence Ibn ’ÄòArabi is often said to follow the Zahiri school, but this is incorrect since he himself denies it, as quoted by Ibn ’ÄòImad from Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs two poems al-Ra’Äôiyya and al-Nuniyya, which state respectively:
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Laqad harrama al-Rahmˆ¢nu taqlˆÆda Mˆ¢likin
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý wa Ahmada wa al-Nu’Äòmani wa al-kulli fa’Äòdhurˆª
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The Merciful forbade me to imitate Malik, Ahmad,
Al-Nu’Äòman [Abu Hanifa] and others, therefore pardon me.
Lastu mimman yaqˆªlu qˆ¢la Ibnu Hazmin
lˆ¢ wa lˆ¢ Ahmadu wa la al-Nu’Äòmˆ¢nu
I am not of those who say: ’ÄúIbn Hazm said’Äù’Äî
Certainly not! Nor ’ÄúAhmad said’Äù nor ’Äúal-Nu’Äòman said.’Äù
The name of Ibn ’ÄòArabi remains associated with contro¬‚versy because of those who criticized him severely for the work attributed to him under the title Fusˆªs al-Hikam (’ÄúThe Pre¬‚cious Stones of the Wisdoms’Äù). The attribution of this work in its present form to Ibn ’ÄòArabi is undoubtedly incor¬‚rect as the Fusˆªs contradicts some of the most basic tenets of Islam expounded by Ibn ’ÄòArabi himself in his authen¬‚tic works, such as the finality of Prophethood, the primacy of Prophets over non-Prophets, the abrogation of all religious creeds other than Islam, the everlastingness of the punish¬‚ment of Hellfire and its dwellers, the abiding therein of anyone that does not accept the Prophet r after his coming, Pharaoh’Äôs damna¬‚tion, etc. Nevertheless the Fusˆªs have re¬‚ceived commen¬‚taries by the following scholars among others: Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi (d. 671), ’ÄòAfif al-Din al-Tilim¬‚sani (d. 690), Mu’Äôayyid al-Din al-Jundi (d. 700), Sa’Äòd al-Din al-Farghani (d. 700), Kamal al-Din al-Zamalkani (d. 727), Dawud al-Qaysari (d. 751), Kamal al-Din al-Qashani (d. 751), Sayyid ’ÄòAli al-Hamadani (d. 766), Khwaja Muham¬‚mad Parsa (d. 822) the intimate friend of Shah Naqshband t, Mawlana Jami (d. 898), Isma’Äòil al-Anqa¬‚rawi (d. 1042), ’ÄòAbd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (d. 1144), and others.
In response to an attack by Burhan al-Din al-Biqa’Äòi (d. 885) entitled Tanbih al-Ghabi ila Takfir Ibn ’ÄòArabi wa Tahdhir al-’ÄòIbad min Ahl al-’ÄòInad (’ÄúWarning to the Ignoramus Concerning the Declaration of Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs Disbelief, and Cautioning the Servants of Allah Against Stub¬‚born People’Äù) Sayyid ’ÄòAli ibn Maymun al-Maghribi (d. 917) wrote a fatwa entitled Tanbih al-Ghabi fi Tanzih Ibn ’ÄòArabi (’ÄúWarning to the Ignoramus Concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs Vindication’Äù). Al-Suyuti wrote a fatwa with the same title, in which he stated:
The scholars past and present have differed concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi, one group considering him a friend of Allah (walˆÆ) ’Äì and they are correct ’Äì such as Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah al-Sakandari and ’ÄòAfif al-Din al-Yafi’Äòi, another considering him a heretic ’Äì such as a large number of the jurists ’Äì while others expressed doubts concerning him, among them al-Dhahabi in al-Mizan. Two opposed verdicts are reported from Shaykh ’ÄòIzz al-Din ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam, one attacking him, and one describing him as the Spiritual Pole (al-qutb). What reconciles them is indicated by Shaykh Taj al-Din ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah in Lata’Äôif al-Minan [fi Manaqib Abi al-’ÄòAbbas al-Mursi wa Shaykhihi Abi al-Hasan al-Shadhili], namely, that Shaykh ’ÄòIzz al-Din at the beginning acted in the fashion of jurists in passing quick judgment on the Sufis. When Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili went to pilgrimage and returned, he came to Shaykh ’ÄòIzz al-Din before entering his own house and con¬‚veyed to him the Prophet’Äôs r greeting. After that, Shaykh ’ÄòIzz al-Din humbled himself and began to sit in al-Shadhili’Äôs gatherings’Ä¶. Our shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam, the last remnant of the mujtahids, Sharaf al-Din al-Munawi replied, concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi, that silence was safest. And this is the stance that befits every truly God¬‚wary person who fears for himself. For me, the last word concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi ’Äì and this is accepted neither by his contemporary admirers nor by his detractors ’Äì is that he be considered a walˆÆ, but reading his books is forbidden.
Whatever is transmitted and attributed to the [Sufi] Shaykhs ’Äì may Allah be well pleased with them ’Äì if it contradicts external knowl¬‚edge, bears various possibili¬‚ties:
First, we do not concede its attribu¬‚tion to them until it is estab¬‚lished as authentic.
Second, after authentic¬‚ity is established, it may have a figurative meaning; if not, then one should say: ’ÄúPerhaps it has a figurative meaning for the people of internal knowledge and the knowers of Allah Almighty.’Äù
Third, this may have come from them in a state of intoxication and distraction, and the lawfully intoxicated person is not taken to task as he is not held responsible in such a state.
Holding a bad opinion about them after all these resolutions is a sign of deprivement of success. We seek refuge in Allah from failure and a terrible verdict, and from all evils!
Al-Suyuti’Äôs attitude and what he reports from al-Munawi is echoed by Imam al-Safadi who said of Ibn ’ÄòArabi: ’ÄúHe was a very great man, and whatever can be under¬‚stood from his words is excellent and upright; as for what we find difficult, we leave its matter to Allah, for we were not tasked with following him nor with doing all that he said.’Äù Similarly al-Qari admitted in one of his fatwas against Ibn ’ÄòArabi and his works: ’ÄúThe safest course in Religion concerning the person of Ibn ’ÄòArabi is silence, as the scholars differed about him.’Äù
The hadith master Ibn al-Najjar (d. 643) wrote a long notice on him in his biographical history in which he said: ’ÄúI met him in Damascus and copied some of his poetry. What a wonderful shaykh he was!’Äù Among the famous authorities who held a good opinion of Ibn ’ÄòArabi are the following:
¬… The Qur’Äôanic commentator and jurist Imam al-Baydawi who called him ’Äúthe Imam of Verification in reality and outwardly’Äù;
¬… The Qur’Äôanic commentator Abu al-Su’Äòud;
¬… Imam al-Safadi, the author of al-Wafi bi al-Wafayat;
¬… Zayn al-Din al-Khafi al-Akbar Abadi;
¬… The hadith master al-Sakhawi who chronicled al-Biqa’Äòi’Äôs fitna in his Ahsan al-Masa’Äòi fi Idah Hawadith al-Biqa’Äòi and went on to write al-Qawl al-Munabbi ’Äòan Tarjima Ibn ’ÄòArabi which he summarized in al-Kifaya fi Tariq al-Hidaya. He also authored another book titled Tajrid Asma’Äô al-Akhidhin ’Äòan Ibn ’ÄòArabi in which he listed all the scholars who borrowed material from the Shaykh.
¬… Al-Adnahwi (11th c.) who called him in his Tabaqat al-Mufassirin ’Äúthe Peerless Shaykh in his Time.’Äùa
¬… Ibn ’ÄòImad al-Hanbali who called him ’Äúthe Great Knower of Allah’Äù (al-’Äòˆ¢rif al-kabˆÆr);
¬… Kamal al-Din ’ÄòAbd al-Wahid ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Karim Ibn al-Zamalkani al-Dimashqi (d. 651) who called him ’Äúthe Ocean re¬‚plete with all kinds of divine knowledges’Äù;
¬… Safi al-Din al-Azdi al-Ansari in his epistle on the scholars of his time;
¬… Shaykh Jalal al-Din al-Dawani (d. 907);
¬… Majd al-Din al-Shirazi al-Siddiqi in his fatwa entitled al-Ightibat bi Mu’Äòalaja Ibn al-Khayyat;
¬… Al-Sayyid al-Jurjani whose Ta’Äòrifat in¬‚cludes Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs termino¬‚logies;
¬… The renowned lexicographer, hadith scholar and jurist al-Fayruzabadi who in his commentary on al-Bukhari’Äôs Sahih often quotes Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs ex¬‚planations;
¬… Imam al-Yafi’Äòi who called him in his Tarikh ’Äúthe Paragon of the Friends of Allah in knowledge and fiqh out¬‚wardly and inwardly’Äù;
¬… The lexicographer and hadith master Murtada al-Zabidi who often cites Ibn ’ÄòArabi in his commentary on al-Ghazzali’Äôs Ihya’Äô entitled Ithaf al-Sada al-Muttaqin.
¬… Qadi al-Qudat Shams al-Din al-Bisati al-Maliki who opposed before the Sultan ’Äì in Ibn Hajar’Äôs presence ’Äì ’ÄòAla’Äô al-Din al-Bukhari’Äôs verdict of takfˆÆr of Ibn ’ÄòArabi and whoever accepted him;
¬… Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Makhzumi who said: ’ÄúOur shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini and likewise Shaykh Taqi al-Din al-Subki used to criti¬‚cize the Shaykh in the beginning, then they changed their position after they realized what he was saying and the explanation of his intent.’Äù
¬… Al-Bulqini who was reported by his student al-Makhzumi as saying: ’ÄúWe seek refuge in Allah from say¬‚ing that he [Ibn ’ÄòArabi] asserts indwelling (hulˆªl) or communion-with-the-divine (ittihˆ¢d)! He is far above that. Rather, he is one of the greatest imams and among those who have probed the oceans of the sciences of the Book and the Sunna.’Äù
¬… Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari in the chapter on apostasy in his book Sharh Kitab al-Rawd fi al-Fiqh wa al-Fatwa;
¬… Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his Fatawa Hadithiyya;
¬… Imam Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Bakri;
¬… The hadith master and Qur’Äôanic commentator Shaykh Isma’Äòil Haqqi in his book al-Khitab;
¬… Imam Muhammad Ibn ’ÄòAbidin, the foremost authority in the late Hanafi school;
¬… The Ottoman writer Katib ˆáelebi who devoted a chapter on Ibn ’ÄòArabi in his book Mizan al-Haqq fi Ikhtyar al-Ahaqq;
¬… Shaykh Mulla al-Jami in Nafahat al-Uns;
¬… The hadith master of Damascus and Renewer of the Fourteenth Islamic century, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani;
¬… The Wahhabi supporter, student of al-Shawkani, scho¬‚larly nawab of Bhopal and author of Abjad al-’ÄòUlum Siddiq Hasan Khan al-Qinnawji in the third chapter of his Takhrij al-Wasaya which he titled: ’ÄúConcerning the Instructions of One of the Pure People of Excel¬‚lence Com¬‚monly Named ’ÄòSufis’Äô ’Äì Allah Grant Us and All of Them Mercy Through the Immense Honor of the Master of Messengers e (bijˆ¢h sayyid al-mursalˆÆn)’Äù The chapter then begins: ’ÄúThe most sublime shaykh and knower of Allah (al-shaykh al-ajall al-’Äòˆ¢rif billˆ¢hi ta’Äòˆ¢lˆ¢) said in al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya’Ä¶’Äù Al-Qinnawji then goes on to cite Ibn ’ÄòArabi for over forty pages.
¬… Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi in his Qawa’Äòid al-Tahdith;
¬… Imam Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari in his Maqalat.
¬… Muhammad ’ÄòAbduh calls him al-Shaykh al-Akbar;b
¬… Shaykh al-Islam al-Munawi who cited him over two hundred times in Fayd al-Qadir and elsewhere declared:
A group of scholars professed suspension of judgment and benefit of good opinion (al-taslˆÆm)’Ä¶ their Imam being Shaykh al-Islam al-Nawawi who replied, when asked about Ibn ’ÄòArabi: (Those are a people who have passed away. Theirs is that which they earned, and yours is that which you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do) (2:134). [Ahmad] Zarruq reported from his shaykh al-Nuri the words: ’ÄúThey differed about him from the verdict of disbelief to that of spiritual primacy (qutbˆ¢niyya); giving the benefit of good opin¬‚ion is therefore an obligation.’Äù
Perhaps the most famous misrepresentation of the Shaykh that resulted from the Fusˆªs is the attribution to him of the doctrine of ’Äúone¬‚ness of being’Äù (wahda al-wujˆªd) in the pan¬‚the¬‚istic sense of the im¬‚manence of the Deity in everything that exists. Al-Qari cites, for example, a verse of poetry which he references to the Fusˆªs, stating:
Subhˆ¢na man azhara al-ashyˆ¢’Äôa wa huwa ’Äòaynuhˆ¢
Glory to Him Who caused things to appear
and is those very things!
This attribution and others of its type are evidently spurious and Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs ’ÄòAqida flatly contradicts them. Fur¬‚thermore, verifying scholars such as Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi in his epistles, Shaykh ’ÄòAbd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi in al-Radd al-Matin ’Äòala Muntaqid al-’ÄòArif Billah Muhyi al-Din and Idah al-Maqsud min Wahda al-Wujud, and al-Sha’Äòrani in al-Yawaqit wa al-Jawahir and Tanbih al-Aghbiya’Äô ’Äòala Qatratin min Bahri ’ÄòUlum al-Awliya have re¬‚phrased Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs ex¬‚pression of ’Äúone¬‚ness of being’Äù (wahda al-wujˆªd) as ’Äúone¬‚ness of per¬‚ception’Äù (wahda al-shuhˆªd) in the sense in which the Prophet r defined excel¬‚lence (ihsˆ¢n) as ’Äúworshipping Allah as if you see Him.’Äù And to see Him is to see nothing else. This is what is meant in such ex¬‚pressions as the question uttered again and again by the late Shaykh ’ÄòAbd al-Hamid Kishk: ’ÄúAllah is my Lord! Is there in all existence any but He?’Äù (Allˆ¢hu rabbˆÆ! Hal fi al-wujˆªdi siwˆ¢h?) or apho¬‚rism 133 of Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah: ’ÄúThe universes are affirmed by His affirmation of them and they are erased by the unicity of His Essence’Äù (al-akwˆ¢nu thˆ¢bitatun bi ithbˆ¢tihi wa mamhuw¬‚watun bi ahadiyyati dhˆ¢tihi). Shaykh ’ÄòAbd al-Hadi Kharsa explained:
Those who have come to know Allah I through His own self-disclosure to them (ta’ÄòrˆÆf Allˆ¢hi lahum) ’Äì they did not come to know Him via their minds ’Äì have known him with the light which Allah I imparted to their hearts and minds. This light then reflected itself upon all things. Then they saw that all things subsist in Allah, and they wit¬‚nessed the Onenesse of Allah I in all those created aspects despite their multiplicity. For these aspects have no autonomy of existence. Their subsistence is only through the divine Sustainment (qayyˆªmiyya) and their affirmation is through the Support (imdˆ¢d) of Allah. [Allah chooses for Himself whom He will, and guides unto Himself him who turns (toward Him)] (42:13). The people of turning to Allah (ahl al-inˆ¢ba) Allah guides unto Himself. The people of His choice (ahl al-ijtibˆ¢’Äô) are those whom He especially purifies (istafˆ¢hum). [And peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen] (27:59). O Allah, let us be of them and with them! Amin.
Al-Nabulusi said in his Diwan:
Beware of witnessing any other [Causator] than Him!
[Of this] cease your concern.
There is neither ’Äúyou’Äù nor ’ÄúI’Äù in this existence.
Verily, Existence is the True through Whom we appear
And through Whom we return to extinction.
When we return through Him, it is as if we never were
And when we appear through Him, yet He appears without our help.
O child of contingencies! Do not think yourself
’Äîfor you certainly are not’Äîthe One without beginning
Even if He caused you to appear and took care of you!
Truly, indwelling is the delusion of the ignoramus
Whose favorite occupation is finding fault
With the discourse of the people of Allah.
I never heard nor shall I ever hear a sane and reasonable person
Declare that the Real inhabits a contingent being!
Now, if some texts actually said this, they said it
Only on the firmly-established basis of the Prophet’Äôs e¬Ý pact.
Dr. Sa’Äòid al-Buti said:
What is the meaning of the expression ’Äúone¬‚ness of perception’Äù? When I interact with causes with full respect to the ways of Allah, His orders, and His Law, knowing that the sustenance that comes to me is from Allah; the felicity that enters my home is from Allah Almighty; my food is readied for me by Allah ’Äì I mean even the smallest details; the wealth with which I have been graced, comes from Allah; the ill¬‚ness that has been put in my being or that of a relative of mine comes from Allah Almighty; the cure that followed it is from Allah Almighty; my success in my studies is by Allah Almighty’Äôs grant; the results which I have attained after obtaining my degrees and so forth, are from Allah Almighty’Äôs grant ’Äì when the effi¬‚cacy of causes melts away in my sight and I no longer see, behind them, other than the Causator Who is Allah Almighty: at that time, when you look right, you do not see except the Attributes of Allah, and when you look left, you do not see other than the Attributes of Allah. As much as you evolve in the world of causes, you do not see, through them, other than the Causator, Who is Allah. At that time you have become raised to what the spiritual masters have called oneness of perception. And this oneness of percep¬‚tion is what the Messenger of Allah r expressed by the word ihsˆ¢n [which he defined to mean]: ’ÄúThat you worship Allah as if you see him.’Äù You do not see the causes as a bar¬‚rier between you and Allah. Rather, you see causes, in the context of this doctrine, very much like pure, trans¬‚parent glass: the glass pane is present ’Äì no one denies it ’Äì but as much as you stare at it, you do not see anything except what is behind it. Is it not so? You only see what is behind it. The world is entirely made of glass panes in this fashion. You see in them the efficacy of Allah in perma¬‚nence, so you are always with Allah Al¬‚mighty. None has tasted the sweetness of belief unless he has reached that level of perception.
Ibn Taymiyya is quoted in his Fatawa as being asked re¬‚peatedly about ’Äúthe verdict of Islam concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi who asserted Oneness of Being,’Äù and other similar questions. However, it seems that Ibn Taymiyya did not review the Shaykh’Äôs huge Futuhat in its totality when he answered these questions. At times, his discussions about Ibn ’ÄòArabi depend, as he puts it, on ’Äúwhether these are his actual words’Äù while at other times he attacks him outright on the basis of these unverified assumptions, or himself levels specific accusations against the Shaykh. Muhammad Ghurab ’Äì a contemporary autho¬‚rity on Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs works ’Äì in a book pub¬‚lished in the 1980s by Dar al-Fikr in Damascus, states having read the Futuhat several times from cover to cover without finding the expressions for which Ibn Taymiyya took the Shaykh to task while citing this work. The late scholar of Damascus Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi similarly affirmed that Ibn Taymiyya an¬‚swered questions about Ibn ’ÄòArabi without con¬‚firming them against his actual writings, and that the sharp temper of the former further complicated his attitude towards the Shaykh. On the basis of these opinions and in the light of Ibn Taymiyya’Äôs occasional reservations and his otherwise apparently correct approach to ambiguous expres¬‚sions, it seems that the misquotations of Ibn ’ÄòArabi became so numerous in Ibn Taymiyya’Äôs time that it became incon¬‚ceivable to him that they were all incorrect, whereupon he treated them as facts. The errors causing these misquota¬‚tions can also be inferred from the fact that since the misquota¬‚tions revolved around issues of doctrine ’Äì in which misunderstand¬‚ings are fraught with grave dangers ’Äì and in light of the Shaykh’Äôs complex style and obscure expressions, queries would be commonly sent to muftis con¬‚cer¬‚ning what some people thought they had read, without actually citing nor understanding the expressions in ques¬‚tion. All this could have been avoided by the due observance of faithfulness (amˆ¢na) in textual citation, as the early scholars insisted with reference to hadith transmission. Yet many later scholars, be¬‚ginning with Ibn Taymiyya and after him, relied on second and third-hand paraphrases and attributions, endorsing the accusa¬‚tions against Ibn ’ÄòArabi and even generalizing them so as to target all tasawwuf. Finally, Ibn Taymiyya in his letter to al-Munayji actually states his admiration for the Futuhat and reserves his criticism only for the Fusˆªs!
Among the scholars claimed by al-Qari as condemning Ibn ’ÄòArabi as an innovator or even an outright heretic (zindˆÆq) and disbeliever because of Fusˆªs al-Hikam: Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam, al-Jazari, Sharaf al-Din ibn al-Muqri, Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi, Sa’Äòd al-Din al-Taftazani, Jamal al-Din Muham¬‚mad ibn Nur al-Din, Siraj al-Din al-Bulqini who suppos¬‚edly ordered his books burnt, Burhan al-Din al-Biqa’Äòi, Ibn Taymiyya, and his student al-Dhahabi who said:
He may well have been one of the Friends of Allah Whom He strongly attracted to Himself upon death and for whom He sealed a good ending. As for his words, who¬‚ever understands them, recognizes them to be based on communion-with-the-divine (ittihˆ¢diyya), knowing the deviation of those people and comprehending theirs ex¬‚pressions: the truth will be apparent to him as against what they say.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The Hanafi shaykh ’ÄòAla’Äô al-Din al-Bukhari, like Ibn al-Muqri, went so far as to declare anyone who did not declare Ibn ’ÄòArabi a disbeliever to be himself a disbeliever. This is the same ’ÄòAla’Äô al-Din al-Bukhari who said that anyone that gives Ibn Taymiyya the title Shaykh al-Islam is a disbe¬‚liever.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Al-Haytami said in his Fatawa Hadithiyya:
Our shaykh [Zakariyya al-Ansari] said in Sharh al-Rawd’Ä¶ in response to Ibn al-Muqri’Äôs statement: ’ÄúWhoever doubts in the disbelief (kufr) of Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs group, he himself is a disbeliever’Äù:
The truth is that Ibn ’ÄòArabi and his group are the elite of the Umma. Al-Yafi’Äòi, Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah and others have declared that they considered Ibn ’ÄòArabi a walˆÆ, noting that the language which Sufis use is appropri¬‚ate among the experts in its usage and that the knower of Allah (’Äòˆ¢rif), when he becomes completely ab¬‚sorbed in the oceans of Unity, might make some statements that are liable to be misconstrued as indwelling (hulˆªl) and union (ittihˆ¢d), while in reality there is neither indwelling nor union.
It has been clearly stated by our Imams, such as al-Rafi’Äòi in his book al-’ÄòAziz, al-Nawawi in al-Rawda and al-Majmu’Äò, and others:
When a mufti is asked about a certain phrase that could be construed as disbelief, he should not immediately say that the speaker should be put to death nor immediately make permissible the shed¬‚ding of his blood. Rather, let him say: The speaker must be asked about what he meant by his statement, and he should hear his explanation, then act accordingly.
Look at these guidelines ’Äì may Allah guide you! ’Äì and you will find that the deniers who assault this great man (Ibn ’ÄòArabi) and posi¬‚tively assert his disbelief, are riding upon blind mounts, and stumbling about like a camel affected with troubled vision. Verily Allah has blocked their sight and hearing from perceiving this, until they fell into whatever they fell into, which caused them to be despised, and made their knowledge of no benefit. The great knowledge of the Sufis and their utter renunciation of this world and of everything other than Allah testify to their inno¬‚cence from these terrible accusations, therefore we prefer to dismiss such accusa¬‚tions and consider that their statements are true realities in the way they expressed them. Their way cannot be denied without knowing the meaning of their statements and the expressions they use, and then turning to apply the expression to the meaning and see if they match or not. We thank Allah that all of their deniers are ignorant in that kind of knowledge, as not one of them has mastered the sciences of unveilings (mukˆ¢shafˆ¢t), nor even smelled them from a distance! Nor has anyone of them sincerely fol¬‚lowed any of the awliyˆ¢’Äô so as to master their terminol¬‚ogy.
You may object: ’ÄúI disagree that their expressions refer to a reality rather than being metaphorical phrases, therefore show me something clearer than the explana¬‚tions that have been given.’Äù I say: Rejection is stubbor¬‚ness. Let us assume that you disagree with what I have mentioned, but the correct way of stating the objection is to say: ’ÄúThis statement could be interpreted in several ways,’Äù and proceed to explain them. You should not say: ’ÄúIf it meant this, then’Ä¶ and if it meant that, then’Ä¶’Äù while stating from the start ’ÄúThis is kufr’Äù! That is ignorance and goes beyond the scope of sincere faithfulness (nasˆÆha) claimed by the critic.
Do you not see that if Ibn al-Muqri’Äôs real motivation were good advice, he would not have exagger¬‚ated by saying: ’ÄúWhoever has a doubt in the disbelief of the group of Ibn ’ÄòArabi, he himself is a disbeliever’Äù? So he extended his judgment that Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs followers were disbelievers,¬Ý to everyone who had a doubt as to their dis¬‚belief. Look at this fanaticism that exceeds all bounds and departs from the consensus of the Imams, and goes so far as to accuse anyone who doubts their disbelief. (Glori¬‚fied are You, this is awful calumny!) (24:16) (When you welcomed it with your tongues, and uttered with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a trifle. In the sight of Allah, it is very great) (24:15).
Notice also that his statement suggests that it is an obligation on the whole Community to believe that Ibn ’ÄòArabi and his followers are disbelievers, otherwise they will all be declared disbelievers ’Äì and no one thinks likes this. As a matter of fact, it might well lead into something forbidden which he himself has stated clearly in his book al-Rawd when he said: ’ÄúWhoever accuses a Muslim of being a disbeliever based on a sin committed by him, and without an attempt to interpret it favorably, he himself commits disbelief.’Äù Yet here he is accusing an entire group of Muslims of disbelief. Moreover, no con¬‚si¬‚deration should be paid to his interpretation, because he only gives the kind of interpretation that is detrimental to those he is criti¬‚cizing, for that is all that their words have impressed upon him.
As for those who do not think of Ibn ’ÄòArabi and the Sufis except as a pure light in front of them, and believe in their sainthood ’Äì how can a Muslim attack them by accus¬‚ing them of disbe¬‚lief? No one would dare do so un¬‚less he is accepting the possibility to be himself called a disbe¬‚liever. This judgment reflects a great deal of fanati¬‚cism, and an assault on most of the Muslims. We ask Allah, through His Mercy, to forgive the one who uttered it.
It has been narrated through more than one source and has be¬‚come well-known to everyone that whoever opposes the Sufis, Allah will not make His Knowledge be¬‚ne¬‚ficial, and he will be inflicted with the worst and ugliest diseases. We have witnessed this taking place with many naysayers. For example, al-Biqa’Äòi ’Äì may Allah for¬‚give him! ’Äì used to be one of the most distinguished scholars, blessed with many meritorious acts of worship, an excep¬‚tional intelligence, and an excel¬‚lent memory in all kinds of knowledge, especially in the sciences of tafsˆÆr and hadith, and he wrote numerous books, but Allah did not allow them to be of any kind of benefit to anyone. He also authored a book called Munasabat al-Qur’Äôan in about ten volumes, about which no-one knows except the elite, and as for the rest, they never heard about it. If this book had been written by our Shaykh Zakariyya [al-Ansari], or by anyone who believes [in awliyˆ¢’Äô], it would have been copied with gold because, as a matter of fact, it has no equal: for (Of the bounties of thy Lord We bestow freely on all, these as well as those: the bounties of thy Lord are not closed to anyone) (17:20).
Al-Biqa’Äòi went to extremes in his denial and wrote books about the subject, all of them clearly and excessively fanatical and deviating from the straight path. But then he paid for it fully and even more than that, for he was caught in the act on several occasions and was judged a disbeliever. It was ruled that his blood be shed and he was about to get killed, but he asked the help and protection of some influential people who rescued him, and he was made to repent in Salihiyya, Egypt, and renew his Islam.
Al-Dhahabi voiced something similar to al-Haytami’Äôs warnings against those inclined to attack Sufis:
Our Shaykh Ibn Wahb [= Ibn Daqiq al-’ÄòId] said ’Äì may Allah have mercy on him: ’ÄòAmong the predica¬‚ments that mar the discipline of narrator-discreditation are the divergences that take place between the follow¬‚ers of tasawwuf (al-mutasawwifa) and the people of ex¬‚ternal knowledge (ahl al-’Äòilm al-zˆ¢hir); animosity there¬‚fore arose between these two groups and necessi¬‚tated mutual criticism.’Äô
Now this [animosity against Sufis] is a plunge from which none escapes unscathed except one thor¬‚oughly knowledgeable with all the evidentiary proofs of the Law. Note that I do not limit such knowledge to the branches [of the Law]. For, concerning many of the states de¬‚scribed by the people of truth (al-muhiqqˆÆn) among the Sufis, right can¬‚not be told from wrong on the mere basis of knowledge of the bran¬‚ches. One must also possess firm knowledge of the principles of the Law and be able to tell apart the obligatory from the possible, as well as the rationally impossible from the customarily impossible.
It is, indeed, a position fraught with danger! For the critic of a true Sufi (muhiqq al-sˆªfiyya) enters into the hadith: ’ÄúWhosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him.’Äù While one that abandons all condemnation for what is clearly wrong in what he hears from some of them, abandons the commanding of good and the forbidding of evil.
It is remarkable that there were very few contemporaries of Ibn ’ÄòArabi among his accusers, although he travelled and taught all over the Islamic world and, as Ibn Hajar stated, ’Äúhe made his mark in every country that he entered’Äù while his admirers among the authorities of Islam lived both in his own lifetime and later.
Among the Shaykh’Äôs sayings:
¬… ’ÄúWhoever is truthful in something and pursues it diligently will obtain it sooner or later; if he does not obtain it in this world, he will obtain it in the next; and whoever dies before victory shall be elevated to the level of his diligence.’Äù
¬… ’ÄúThe knower of Allah knows through eyesight (basar) what others know through insight (basˆÆra), and he knows through insight what virtually no-one knows. De¬‚spite this, he does not feel secure from the harm of his ego towards himself; how then could he ever feel secure from what His Lord has foreordained for him?’Äù
¬… ’ÄúThe knower’Äôs declaration to his student: ’ÄòTake from me this science which you can find nowhere else,’Äô does not detract from the knower’Äôs level, nor do other similar declarations that appear to be self-eulogy, because his intention is only to encourage the student to receive it.’Äù
¬… ’ÄúThe discourse of the knower is in the image of the lis¬‚tener accor¬‚ding to the latter’Äôs powers, readiness, weak¬‚ness, and inner reserva¬‚tions.’Äù
¬… ’ÄúIf you find it complicated to answer someone’Äôs question, do not answer it, for his container is already full and does not have room for the answer.’Äù
¬… ’ÄúThe ignorant one does not see his ignorance as he basks in its dark¬‚ness; nor does the knowledgeable one see his own knowledge, for he basks in its light.’Äù
¬… ’ÄúWhoever asks for a proof for the oneness of Allah, a donkey knows more than him.’Äù
Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs short book of poetry Tarjuman al-Ashwaq (’ÄúThe Inter¬‚preter of Desires’Äù) is considered one of the mas¬‚terpieces of classical Arabic poetry and has been translated in several languages. The Futuhat al-Makkiyya also contains some outstanding samples of the Shaykh’Äôs poetry. Following is a poem he addresses to the Ka’Äòba:
1. In the Place of refuge my heart sought refuge,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý shot with enmity’Äôs arrows.
2. O Mercy of Allah for His slaves, Allah placed His trust
¬Ýin you among all inanimate forms.
3. O House of my Lord, O light of my heart,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý O coolness of my eyes, O my heart within,
4. O true secret of the heart of existence,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý my sacred trust, my purest love!
5. O direction from which I turn from every quarter and
6. From subsistence in the Real, then from the height,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý from self-extinction, then from the depths!
7. O Ka’Äòba of Allah, O my life,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý O path of good fortune, O my guidance,
8. In you has Allah placed every safety
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý from the fear of disaster upon the Return.
9. In you does the noble Station flourish,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý in you are found the fortunes of the slaves of Allah.
10. In you is the Right Hand that my sin has draped
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý in the robe of blackness.
11. Multazam is in you ’Äì he who clings to love for it,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý will be saved on the Day of Mutual Cries.
12. Souls passed away longing for Her,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý in the pain of longing and distant separation.
13. In sorrow at their news she has put on
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý the garment of mourning.
14. Allah sheds His light on her court,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý and something of His light appears in the heart.
15. None sees it but the sorrowful
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý whose eyes are dark from lack of sleep.
16. He circumambulates seven times after seven,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý from the beginning of night until the call to prayer.
17. Hostage to endless sadness, he is never seen
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý but bound to effort.
18. I heard him call upon Allah and say, beside the Black
¬Ý ¬ÝStone: ’ÄúO my heart!
19. Our night has quickly passed,
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý but the goal of my love has not passed!’Äù
Ibn ’ÄòImad said: ’ÄúHe died ’Äì may Allah have mercy on him! ’Äì in the house of the Qadi Muhyi al-Din ibn al-Zaki and was taken to Qasyˆªn [Damascus] and buried in the noble mound, one of the groves of Paradise, and Allah knows best.’Äù
[Al-Futuhat ¬ß130] My faithful brethren ’Äì may Allah seal your lives and mine with goodness! ’Äì when I heard the saying of Allah I about His Prophet Hˆªd u, as the latter told his folk who had belied him and his apostleship: (I call Allah to wit¬‚ness, and do you (too) bear witness, that I am inno¬‚cent of (all) that you ascribe as partners (to Allah)) (11:54), [I saw that] he called his folk to witness in his regard ’Äì although they belied him ’Äì that he was innocent of associating any partners to Allah, and that he positively con¬‚firmed His Oneness; and since he knew that Allah I will sum¬‚mon human beings before Him and ask them about what he himself knew, either to exon¬‚er¬‚ate or convict them, until every single witness bears witness;
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý And since it was related that the caller to prayer (mu’Äôadhdhin) is wit¬‚nessed to by every living and non-living thing as far as his voice can reach, and by everything and every¬‚one that hears him; hence ’ÄúThe devil flees at the call to prayer, pas¬‚sing wind’Äù so that he will not hear the caller’Äôs call to prayer and then have to witness on the latter’Äôs behalf, thereby becoming one of those who contribute to the felicity of the one being wit¬‚nessed to, whereas he is the absolute enemy and does not bear for us an iota of good ’Äì may Allah curse him!
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Now, if the enemy himself is obliged to testify on your behalf to what¬‚ever you call him to witness regarding your own person, it is even more cer¬‚tain that your friend and beloved should testify on your behalf ’Äì for the latter shares your religion and belongs to your religious community ’Äì and it is more certain that you yourself should testify, in this world, for yourself, to Oneness (al-wahdˆ¢niyya) and Belief (al-ˆÆmˆ¢n).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Therefore, O my brethren, O my beloved ’Äì may Allah be well pleased with you! ’Äì a weak slave calls upon you to wit¬‚ness, a poor one utterly depen¬‚dent on His Lord in every glimpse of the eye, the author and maker of this book [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (’ÄúThe Meccan Conquests’Äù)]; he calls you to testify in his regard, after calling Allah I to witness, His angels, and who¬‚ever is present with him and hears him among the believers, that he bears wit¬‚ness in word and in full conviction (qawlan wa ’Äòaqdan) that:
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Allah the Exalted is One God, without second in His divinity;
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Transcendent above possessing a mate or a son;
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Absolute owner [of all] (mˆ¢lik) without partner; absolute king (malik) without minister;
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Creator (sˆ¢ni’Äò) without any disposer of affairs (mudab¬‚bir) with Him;
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Existing in Himself (mawjˆªdun bˆÆ dhˆ¢tihi), without any dependence on, or need for an originator (mˆªjid) to originate Him. Rather, every existing thing other than Him, depends on Him and needs Him to exist. The whole universe exists through Him, and He alone can be said to exist in Himself.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý There is no outset (iftitˆ¢h) to His existence nor end to His permanence. His existence is absolute and unconditioned.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He is subsistent in Himself (qˆ¢’Äôimun binafsih): not as a spatially boun¬‚ded substance (jawhar mutahayyiz) ’Äì for then place would be assigned to Him; nor as an accident (’Äòarad) ’Äì for then permanence would be impossi¬‚ble for Him; nor as a body (jism) ’Äì for then He would have a direction (jiha) and a front (tilqˆ¢’Äô).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He is transcendent (muqaddasun) above possessing directions (jihˆ¢t) and regions (aqtˆ¢r).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He can be seen with the hearts and the eyes, if He so wills.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He established Himself over His Throne just as He said and in the mean¬‚ing that He intended; also, the Throne and every¬‚thing else was estab¬‚lished by Him (bihi istawˆ¢), and (unto Him belong the after (life), and the former) (53:25).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He has no conceivable equivalent whatsoever (laysa lahu mithlun ma’Äòqˆªl), nor can minds represent Him. Time does not confine Him, nor place lift nor transport Him. Rather, He was when there was no place, and He is now as He ever was.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He created fixity (al-mutamakkin) and place (al-makˆ¢n), brought time into existence, and said: ’ÄúI am the One, the Ever-Living’Äù (anˆ¢ al-Wˆ¢hid al-Hayy). Preserving His creations in no way tires Him. Attributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Exalted is He far above being in¬‚dwelt by originated matters, or indwel¬‚ling them, or that they be ’Äúafter Him’Äù or that He be ’Äúbefore them’Äù! Rather, we say: ’ÄúHe was and there was nothing with him.’Äù For the words ’Äòbefore’Äô and ’Äòafter’Äô are among the locutions of Time, which He invented.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He is the Self-Sustaining Sustainer of All (al-Qayyˆªm) Who sleeps not, the All-Compelling Subduer (al-Qahhˆ¢r) Whom one resists not. (There is noth¬‚ing whatsoever like unto Him) (42:11).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He created the Throne (al-’Äòarsh) and made it the boundary (hadd) of istiwˆ¢’Äô, and He created the Footstool (al-kursˆÆ) and made it encompass the earth and the heavens.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The Sublimely Exalted (al-’ÄòAlˆÆ) contrived the Tablet and the Sublime Pen, making them bring about the inscription of His Knowledge concerning His creation until the Day of Determina¬‚tion and Verdict.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He contrived the entire universe without precedent. He created crea¬‚tion then caused what He created to wither.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He sent down the souls (al-arwˆ¢h) into the specters (al-ashbˆ¢h) as cus¬‚to¬‚dians, and made those soul-endowed specters deputies on earth.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He made subservient to us all that is in the heavens and the earth from Him, whereof not one atom moves except back to Him and because of Him.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He created everything without need for it, and no neces¬‚sity drove Him to do so, but with His foreknowledge that He would create whatever He created.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý (He is the First and the Last and the Manifest and the Hidden) (57:3), (and He is able to do all things) (5:120, 11:4, 30:50, 42:9, 57:2, 64:1, 67:1).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý (He surrounds all things in knowledge) (65:12) (and He keeps count of all things) (72:28), (He knows the traitor of the eyes and that which the bosoms hide) (40:19). (Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtle, the Aware) (67:14).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He knew all things before they came into existence, then He brought them into existence exactly as He knew them. He has known them without beginning to His knowledge, and such knowledge in no way becomes newer upon the renewal of origination (tajaddud al-inshˆ¢’Äô). He brought all things to perfec¬‚tion in His knowledge, then He established them firmly (bi ’Äòilmihi atqana al-ashyˆ¢’Äôa fa ahkamahˆ¢). Likewise, He has full knowledge of their smallest details (juz’Äôiyyˆ¢t) according to the consensus and complete agree¬‚ment of the people of sound scru¬‚tiny. (Knower of the invisible and the visible! and exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)) (23:92).
[156’ÄîA]¬Ý (Doer of what He will) (85:16), He is therefore willing (murˆÆd) for existent entities in the earthly and heavenly worlds. However, His power is without link to anything (lam tata’Äòallaq bi shay’Äô) until He wills it. Like¬‚wise, He does not will anything until He knows it. For it is impossible in the mind that He wills something of which He knows not, or that one who is endowed with the choice of not doing, should do what He does not want to do. Likewise, it is impossible that all these realities be attributed to one who is not living, and it is impossible that the Attributes subsist in other than an Entity described by them.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý There is not in all existence any observance nor sin, any gain nor loss, any slave nor free man, any cold nor hot, any life nor death, any happening nor elapsing, any day nor night, any moderation nor inclination, any land nor sea, any even nor odd, any substance nor accident, any health nor sickness, any joy nor sadness, any soul nor specter, any darkness nor light, any earth nor heaven, any assembling nor disjoining, any plenty nor scarcity, any morn¬‚ing nor evening, any white nor black, any sleep nor wakefulness, any visible nor hidden, any moving nor still, any dry nor moist, any shell nor core, or any of all such mutually contrasting, variegated, or similar entities, except it is so willed by the Real ’Äì Exalted is He!
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý How could He not will it when it is He Who brought it into existence? And how could the one endowed with free will, bring into existence what He does not want? None can turn down His command, and none can dispute His decision.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý ([He] gives sovereignty unto whom [He] will, and [He] withdraws sovereignty from whom [He] will. [He] exalts whom [He] will and [He] abases whom [He] will) (3:26). ([He] sends whom [He] will astray and guides whom [He] will) (7:155). What¬‚ever Allah wants, comes into exis¬‚tence (mˆ¢ shˆ¢’Äôa Allahu kˆ¢n), and whatever He does not wish to be, does not come into existence (mˆ¢ lam yasha’Äô an yakˆªna lam yakun).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý If all creatures convened to want something which Allah does not want them to want, they cannot want it. Or, if they convened to do something which Allah does not want to bring into existence ’Äì although they willed it whenever He wanted them to will it ’Äì they cannot do it; nor can they even be capable of doing it; nor does He enable them to.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Therefore, disbelief and belief, observance and sin, are all according to His desire (mashˆÆ’Äôa), His wisdom (hikma), and His will (irˆ¢da). And He ’Äì Glorified is He! ’Äì is described as pos¬‚sessing such will without beginning.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The universe is in oblivion and nonexistence, although firmly estab¬‚lished in itself in [the divine] knowledge. Then He brought the universe into existence without reflection (tafakkur) nor deliberation (tadabbur) such as accompany ignorance or un¬‚awareness and would then presumably provide Him the know¬‚ledge of what He knew not ’Äì greatly exalted and elevated is He above that! Rather, He brought it into existence on the basis of foreknowl¬‚edge (al-’Äòilm al-sˆ¢biq), and the exact specification (ta’ÄòyˆÆn) of transcendent, pre-existent will (al-irˆ¢da al-munaz¬‚zaha al-azaliyya) determining just how it brought the universe into being with respect to time, place, forms, masses, and color. None exists exerting will, in reality, other than He. For He says: (And you will not, unless Allah wills) (76:30, 81:29).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Just as He knows, He determines (kamˆ¢ ’Äòalima fa ahkama); just as He wills, He details (arˆ¢da fa khassasa); just as He foreordains, He brings into existence (qaddara fa awjada). Likewise, He hears and sees what¬‚ever moves or stands still and whatever utters a sound in all creation, whether in the low¬‚est world or the highest. Distance (al-bu’Äòd) does not in any way hamper His hearing, for He is the Near (al-QarˆÆb). Nor does nearness (al-qurb) veil His sight, for He is the Far (al-Ba’ÄòˆÆd). He hears the discourse of the self in itself (kalˆ¢m al-nafs fi al-nafs), and the sound of the hidden contact upon its touch. He sees the very blackness in darkness, and water inside water. Neither admixture (imtizˆ¢j), nor darkness, nor light veils Him, (and He is the Hearer, the Seer) (42:11).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He I speaks, not after being previously silent nor fol¬‚lowing pre¬‚sumed tacitness, with a speech pre-eternal and begin¬‚ningless like the rest of His attributes, whether His knowledge, will, or power. He spoke to Musa u. He named it [His speech] the divine Bestowal (al-tanzˆÆl), the Book of Psalms (al-zabˆªr), the Torah, and the Evangel. [All this] without letters (hurˆªf), sounds (aswˆ¢t), tones (nagham), nor languages (lughˆ¢t). Rather, He is the Creator of sounds, letters, and languages.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý His speech is [spoken] without [the organs of] uvula and tongue, just as His hearing is without auditory meatus nor ears, His sight is without pupil nor eyelids, His will is without cogitation (qalb) nor inner reflection (janˆ¢n), His knowledge is without compulsion (idtirˆ¢r) nor examination of any proof, His life is without the vapor which is caused in the cavity of the heart by the admixture of the elements. His Entity accepts neither increase nor decrease.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Glorified, most glorified is He Who, from afar, comes near! To Him belongs tremendous majesty, surpassing goodness, magnificent generosity! Everything that is other than Him is but an outpouring of His munificence. His grace unfolds it and His justice folds it up again.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He perfected the making of the universe and made it uniquely excellent (akmala san’Äòa al-’Äòˆ¢lami wa abda’Äòahu) when He brought it into existence and invented it. He has no partner in His domain (milk) nor joint disposer of affairs (mudabbir) in His dominion (mulk).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Whenever He shows favor He sends comfort and ease; and this is His kindness. Whenever He sends adversity He pun¬‚ishes; and this is His justice. In no way does He intrude upon another’Äôs domain so as to be attributed tyranny and injustice. Nor is anyone besides Him entitled to pass judgment on Him so that He could be attributed apprehension or fear from such. Eve¬‚rything other than Him is under the authority of His subjugation (qahr) and subject to the disposal of His will and His command.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý It is He that inspires with Godwariness or rebelliousness the souls of those who are legally responsible. It is He that disre¬‚gards the transgressions of whomever He will, and holds to task whomever He will, both here and on the Day of Resurrection. His justice does not hold sway (yahkum) over His kindness nor does His kindness hold sway over His justice.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý He brought forth the world as two handfuls (qabdatayn) to which He gave two levels (manzilatayn), saying: ’ÄúThese are for Paradise, and I care not (lˆ¢ ubˆ¢lˆÆ)! Those are for Hellfire, and I care not!’Äù No-one raised the least objection at that time. One handful stands under the Names of His adversity (balˆ¢’Äô), and one stands under the Names of His favors (ˆ¢lˆ¢’Äô).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý If He wished that the whole universe be in felicity, it would be so; and [if He wished that it be] in misery, it would not have obtained the slightest degree of felicity. However, He did not wish it so, and it was exactly as He wished. Consequently, people are either miserable or happy, here and on the Day of Return. There is no possibility to change whatever the Pre-eternal One has decided. He has said, concerning prayer: ’ÄúIt is five al¬‚though it counts as fifty.’Äù (The sentence that comes from Me can¬‚not be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves) (50:29) for My authority over the disposal of affairs in My domain and the accomplishment of My volition in My dominion.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý All this is because of a reality that sights and insights (al-absˆ¢r wa al-basˆ¢’Äôir) are utterly unable to see, nor can mental powers and minds stumble upon its knowledge except through a divine bestowal and token of the All-Merciful’Äôs generosity towards him whom He nourishes among His servants, and who was fore-chosen for this at the time he was summoned to witness. He then came to know ’Äì when He was given to know ’Äì that the Godhead (al-ulˆªha) devised this allotment and that it is one of the refinements of the One Who is without beginning.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Glory to Him besides Whom there is no effecter (fˆ¢’Äòil), nor any self-existent being (mawjˆªd li nafsih)! (And Allah has created you and what you make) (37:95), (He will not be questioned as to what He does, but they will be questioned) (21:23), (Say’ÄîFor to Allah belongs the final argu¬‚ment’ÄîHad He willed He could indeed have guided all of you) (6:149).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Just as I have called upon Allah and His angels, as well as all His creation and yourselves, to testify in my regard to my declaration of His oneness, likewise, I call upon Him ’Äì glorified is He! ’Äì and His angels, as well as all His creation and your¬‚selves, to testify in my regard to my firm belief in the one He elected and chose from the very time he existed. That is: our master Muhammad r whom He sent to all people without exception, (a bearer of glad tidings and a warner) (2:119, 34:28, 35:24, 41:4) (And as a summoner unto Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving lamp) (33:46).
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The Prophet r thus conveyed fully all that was revealed to him from his Lord, discharged His trust, and acted faithfully (nasaha) toward his Com¬‚mu¬‚nity. He stood, in his farewell Pil¬‚grimage, before all those present among his followers, address¬‚ing and reminding them, deterring and caution¬‚ing them, giving them glad tidings and warning them, promising and threat¬‚ening them. He showered them with rain and made them tremble with thun¬‚der. He did not address anyone specifically at the exclusion of others in his ad¬‚mo¬‚nition. He did all this after permission from the One, the Everlasting I. Then he said: ’ÄúLo! Have I conveyed the message?’Äù They replied: ’ÄúYou have conveyed the message, O Messenger of Allah!’Äù So he said: ’ÄúO Allah! Bear witness.’Äù
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Likewise, [I call upon all] to testify that I firmly believe in everything that the Prophet r brought ’Äì that which I know and that which I know not. Among the things which he brought is the decree that death comes at a time specified in the presence of Allah I and that, come that time, it is not delayed. I, for my part, firmly believe this, without the slightest reservation nor doubt.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý Just as I firmly believe and declare that the interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is true; the punishment in the grave and the rais¬‚ing of the bodies from the grave are both true; the review in the presence of Allah I is true; the Basin is true; the Balance is true; the flying (tatˆ¢yur) of individual Records in every direction is true; the Bridge is true; Paradise is true; Hell¬‚fire is true; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame) (42:7) truly; the agony of that day is true for one group; as for an¬‚other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103);
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý The intercession of the angels, the Prophets, and the Believers, followed by the taking out of the Fire, by the most Merciful of those who show mercy, of anyone He wishes, is true; a group of the grave sinners among the Believers shall enter Hellfire and then exit it through intercession and gratification truly; eternal and everlasting world-without-end (al-ta’ÄôbˆÆd) in the midst of the pleasures of Paradise is true for the Believers and those who affirm Oneness; eternal and everlasting world-without-end in the Fire for the dwellers of the Fire is true; and all that was announced by the Books and Messengers that came from Allah ’Äì whether one came to know it or not ’Äì is true.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý This is my witness in my own regard, and it is the responsibility of each and every person that it reaches, to bring it forward if asked about it, whenever and wherever he may be.
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý May Allah grant us and grant you the greatest benefit with this faith. May He make us adhere to it firmly at the time of journeying from this abode to the abode of true life. May He replace for us this abode with the abode of munificence and good pleasure. May He intervene between us and a dwelling with (raiments of pitch) (14:50). May He count us in the troop that take their record with the right hand and return from the Pond fully sated, those in whose favor the Balance weighs down and whose feet stand firm on the Bridge. Truly He is the Munifi¬‚cent (al-Mun’Äòim), the Giver of All Good (al-Mihsˆ¢n)!
¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý¬Ý (All praise to Allah, Who has guided us to this. We could not truly have been led aright if Allah had not guided us. Verily the messengers of our Lord did bring the Truth!) (7:43).
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’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Al-Mulha fi I’Äòtiqad Ahl al-Haqq. In Rasa’Äôil al-Tawhid. Ed. Iyad Khalid al-Tabba’Äò. Beirut and Damascus: Dar al-Fikr, 1995. Also in Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi’Äòiyya al-Kubra, vol. 8 p. 219-229.
Ibn ’ÄòArabi, Muhyi al-Din. Al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya. 1-¬Ý vols. Eds. ’ÄòUthman Yahya and Ibrahim Madkur. Cairo: al-Hay’Äôa al-Masriyya al-’ÄòAmma li al-Kitab, 1972- .
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Ibn Hajar. Inba’Äô al-Ghumr bi A’Äòmar al-’ÄòUmr. 4 vols. Ed. Hasan Habash. Cairo: Lajna Ihya’Äô al-Turath al-Islami, Wizara al-Awqaf, 1994.
’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba. 8 vols. Calcutta, 1269/1853.
’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Lisan al-Mizan. 7 vols. Hyderabad: Da’Äôira al-Ma’Äòarif al-Nizamiyya, 1329/1911. Repr. Beirut: Mu’Äôassassa al-A’Äòlami, 1986.
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Al-Kawthari, Muhammad Zahid. Maqalat. Ryad and Beirut: Dar al-Ahnaf, 1993.
’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Ed. Al-Bayhaqi, Abu Bakr. Al-Asma’Äô wa al-Sifat. Beirut: Dar Ihya’Äô al-Turath al-’ÄòArabi, n.d. Reprint of 1358/1939 Cairo edition.
Al-Nawawi. Bustan al-’ÄòArifin fi al-Zuhd wa al-Tasawwuf. Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-’ÄòArabi, 1985.
Al-Qari. Firr al-’ÄòAwn. See Risala Wahda al-Shuhud.
¬Ý’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud. Istanbul: Dar al-Ma’Äòarif, 1294/1877.
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Al-Qinnawji [Siddiq Hasan Khan]. Takhrij al-Wasaya Min Khabaya al-Zawaya. Ed. ’ÄòAbd Allah al-Laythi al-Ansari. Beirut: Mu’Äôas¬‚sasa al-Kutub al-Thaqafiyya, 1986.
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Al-Sakhawi, Muhammad ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Rahman. Al-Daw’Äô al-Lami’Äò li Ahl al-Qarn al-Tasi’Äò. 12 vols. in 6. Ed. Muhammad Jamal al-Qasimi. 1313/1896. Repr. Beirut: Dar al-Jil, 1992.
Shatta, Ibrahim al-Dusuqi. Sira al-Shaykh al-Kabir Abi ’ÄòAbd Allah Muhammad ibn Khafif al-Shirazi. Cairo: al-Hay’Äôa al-’ÄòAmma li Shu’Äôun al-Matabi’Äò al-Amiriyya, 1977.
Al-Suyuti, Jalal al-Din.¬Ý Al-Durr al-Manthur fi al-Tafsir al-Ma’Äôthur. 8 vols. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1994.
’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì’Äì. Tanbih Al-Ghabi Fi Takhti’Äôa [or Tanzih] Ibn ’ÄòArabi. Ed. ’ÄòAbd al-Rahman Hasan Mahmud. Cairo: Maktaba al-Adab, 1990.
In al-Qari, Firr al-’ÄòAwn (p. 141-142).
Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah in Lata’Äôif al-Minan (1:84-98) states that there is con¬‚sensus among the Sufis that al-Khidr is alive. Ibn al-Jawzi in his book ’ÄòUjala al-Muntazir fi Sharh Hal al-Khadir (cf. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-Zunun [2:1125] and Abu Ghudda infra) voices the extreme view that to suggest that al-Khidr is alive contradicts the Shari’Äòa, yet in his Mana¬‚qib al-Imam Ahmad (p. 144) he himself narrates the report of a meeting of Bilal al-Khawass with al-Khidr! Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Manar al-Munif (p. 67-76) and his editor, ’ÄòAbd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, also claim that al-Khidr is not alive. Among the strongest transmitted proofs to the contrary are two reports, one narrated by Imam Ahmad in al-Zuhd whereby the Prophet e said that Ilyas and al-Khidr meet every year and spend the month of Ramadan in al-Qudus, and the other narrated by Ya’Äòqub ibn Sufyan from ’ÄòUmar ibn ’ÄòAbd al-’ÄòAziz whereby a man he was seen walking with was actually al-Khidr. Ibn Hajar declared the chain of the first fair and that of the second sound in Fath al-Bari (1959 ed. 6:435). He goes on to cite another sound report narrated by Ibn ’ÄòAsakir from Abu Zur’Äòa al-Razi where¬‚by the latter met al-Khidr twice, once in his young age, the other in his old age, but al-Khidr him¬‚self had not changed.
Al-Qadi ’ÄòIyad in his notice on Ibn Abi Zayd in Tartib al-Madarik narrates from al-Ajdabi: ’ÄúI was sitting with Abu Muhammad [Ibn Abi Zayd] when Abu al-Qasim ’ÄòAbd al-Rahman ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Mu’Äômin the mutakallim was with him. A man asked them about al-Khidr and whether it could he said that he was still in this world in spite of all this time and would not die until the Final Hour comes and whether this is refuted by the words of the Almighty,[We did not give any human being before you immortality] (21:34). They both replied to him that that was possible and per¬‚mitted and al-Khidr could live until the Final Trumpet was blown. For immortality is connected to remaining as long as the Next World remains, while remaining until the Trumpet is blown is not immortality. Do you not see that Iblis ’Äì may Allah curse him ’Äì is not immortal, but he is one of those deferred until the Day of a Known Time?’Äù
The hadith master al-Sakhawi stated: ’ÄúIt is well-known that al-Nawawi used to meet with al-Khidr and converse with him among many other unveilings (mukˆ¢¬‚shafˆ¢t).’Äù Al-Sakhawi, Tarjima Shaykh al-Islam Qutb al-Awliya’Äô al-Kiram wa Faqih al-Anam Muhyi al-Sunna wa Mumit al-Bid’Äòa Abi Zakariyya Muhyi al-Din al-Nawawi (’ÄúBiogra¬‚phy of the Shaykh of Islam, the Pole of the Noble Saints and Jurist of Mankind, the Reviver of the Sunna and Slayer of Innovation Abu Zakariyya Muhyiddin al-Nawawi’Äù) (Cairo: Jam’Äòiyya al-Nashr wa al-Ta’Äôlif al-Azhariyya, 1354/1935 p. 33).
Al-Barzanji in his book al-Isha’Äòa li Ashrat al-Sa’Äòa (1997 ed. p. 279-281; 1995 ed. p. 204-205) lists proofs to the effect that al-Khidr u is alive and shall face and belie the Antichrist (al-Dajjˆ¢l), as he is the one meant in the hadith whereby a man faces the Antichrist and belies him, whereupon the latter saws him in half then revives him only to be belied again. Narrated from Abu Sa’Äòid al-Khudri by Abu Ya’Äòla in his Musnad (2:332) and al-Hakim (1984 ed. 4:581=orig. ed. 4:537), both with a chain containing ’ÄòAtiyya ibn Sa’Äòd who is weak, and with another chain (by Abu Ya’Äòla 2:535) containing Sufyan ibn Waki’Äò who is weak; also narrated from Abu Umama al-Bahili by Ibn Majah in his Sunan (book of Fitan) with a chain containing Isma’Äòil ibn Rafi’Äò, who is weak in his memorization; also narrated by Nu’Äòaym ibn Hammad (d. 288) in Kitab al-Fitan (2:551) who said: al-Zuhri said: ’ÄòUbayd Allah ibn ’ÄòAbd Allah [ibn] ’ÄòUtba narrated to us that Abu Sa’Äòid al-Khudri said... The latter is a sound chain but there are several unnamed links between Nu’Äòaym and al-Zuhri. Also narrated by al-Dani (d. 444) in his book al-Sunan fi al-Fitan (6:1178) but with a chain that stops at the Tabi’Äòi Abu Mijlaz. None of the weakness mentioned above in the chains raised to the Prophet e is grave. If the weak links are at the same levels of the narrators’Äô biographical layers and are judged to strengthen each other, it would raise the grade of the hadith to ’Äúfair due to corroborative/witness chains’Äù (hasan li ghayrih). It is confirmed by the hadith related from Abu ’ÄòUbayda ibn al-Jarrah whereby the Prophet e said: ’ÄúIt may be that one of those who saw me and heard my speech shall meet the Dajjal.’Äù Narrated by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (15:181) with a weak chain according to Shaykh Shu’Äòayb al-Arna’Äôut, however, Imam al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan said it is also narrated from three other Companions and thus graded the hadith itself ’Äúfair and single-chained (hasan gharˆÆb) as narrated from Abu ’ÄòUbayda,’Äù and Allah knows best.
See Hilmi’Äôs 284-entry bibliography in al-Burhan al-Azhar as well as the books of Prof. Michel Chodkiewicz (The Seal of Saints and An Ocean Without Shore) and his daughter Prof. Claude Addas (Quest for the Red Sulphur).
In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 71).
In Ibn ’ÄòImad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:200).
Cf. al-Suyuti’Äôs Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 52-54).
Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi fi Takhti’Äôa Ibn ’ÄòArabi (p. 17-21). The correct title has tanzih instead of takhti’Äôa as in Hajji Khalifa’Äôs Kashf al-Zunun (1:488) and al-Qari’Äôs works.
Al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 59-60).
In al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 70).
Al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 62).
Ibn al-Najjar, Dhayl Tarikh Baghdad as quoted in al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 64-66) and in Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan (5:311 #1038).
As related from al-Biqa’Äòi by al-Suyuti in Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 40-41).
As related from al-Biqa’Äòi by al-Suyuti in Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 42-43).
See al-Sakhawi, al-Daw’Äô al-Lami’Äò (8:17) and al-Kawthari’Äôs Maqalat (p. 412-413).
aAl-Adnahwi, Tabaqat al-Mufassirin (p. 230 #276).
In Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190).
Al-Qari wrote Firr al-’ÄòAwn in reply to him.
Al-Qari addresses it towards the end of Firr al-’ÄòAwn (p. 142f.).
See Ibn Hajar, Inba’Äô al-Ghumr bi A’Äòmar al-’ÄòUmr (3:403-404), year 831.
In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32-33).
Ibid. (p. 34).
As stated by his student al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331).
See his Majmu’Äòa Rasa’Äôil Ibn ’ÄòAbidin (2:271).
On the hadith master Imam Badr al-Din al-Hasani see the biography by his student Shaykh Mahmud al-Rankusi entitled al-Durar al-Lu’Äôlu’Äôiyya fi al-Nu’Äòut al-Badriyya (Damas¬‚cus, 1951). Dr. Wahbe al-Zuhayli told us that Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani fasted every day of the year except the two days of ’ÄòId, including on the Day of ’ÄòArafa during pilgrimage.
Al-Qinnawji, Takhrij al-Wasaya (p. 119).
Al-Qasimi, Qawa’Äòid al-Tahdith (p. 348-351).
Al-Kawthari, Maqalat (p. 412-413).
bMuhammad ’ÄòAbduh, Tafsir al-Manar (1:18).
In Ibn ’ÄòImad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:192).
In al-Qari, Risala fi Wahda al-Shuhud (p. 55).
Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, al-Nasa’Äôi, and Ibn Majah; from ’ÄòUmar by Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Nasa’Äôi; and from Abu Dharr by al-Nasa’Äôi, all as part of a longer hadith.
From his Damascus lessons on the Munajat of Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah, 21 September 1997.
I.e. if some texts seem to affirm indwelling, they do so metaphorically, as the literal given of divine Transcendence is not open to question.
From Dr. Sa’Äòid al-Buti’Äôs unpublished commentary on the Hikam of Ibn ’ÄòAta’Äô Allah.
’ÄúI was one of those who, previously, used to hold the best opinion of Ibn ’ÄòArabi and extol his praise, because of the benefits I saw in his books, such as al-Futuhat, al-Kanh, al-Muhkam al-Marbut, al-Durra al-Fakhira, Matali’Äò al-Nujum, and other such works.’Äù Ibn Taymiyya, Tawhid al-Rububiyya in Majmu’Äòa al-Fatawa (2:464-465).
In the epistle attributed to him and entitled Fadiha al-Mulhidin or Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud, a title also used by al-Qari. Al-Kawthari revelad in his Maqalat (p. 413) that the real author of al-Taftazani’Äôs supposed epistle was ’ÄòAla’Äô al-Din al-Bukhari. The Hanafi jurist Isma’Äòil Kalnabawi responded to that epistle in a fatwa cited in full in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 18-22).
As named by al-Qari in his Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 61).
In al-Qari, Firr al-’ÄòAwn (p. 144). Al-Fayruzabadi said: ’ÄúIf the report whereby Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam and our shaykh al-Bulqini ordered Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs books burnt were true, not one of his books would have re¬‚mained today in Egypt or Sham, and no-one would have dared copy them again after the words of these two shaykhs.’Äù In Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 32). Al-Hilmi adds (p. 34) that a further proof that al-Subki changed his position concerning Ibn ’ÄòArabi is that he wrote many refutations against the heresies of his time but never wrote against Ibn ’ÄòArabi, although his books were widely read in Damascus and elsewhere.
He wrote al-Radd al-Aqwam ’Äòala ma fi Fusˆªs al-Hikam but is on record as not objecting to Ibn ’ÄòArabi’Äôs other works, as noted.
Mizan al-I’Äòtidal (3:660). Al-Dhahabi in the same chapter makes derogatory com¬‚ments and reports a strange story which Ibn Hajar cited in Lisan al-Mizan. Al-Qari also attributes negative comments on Ibn ’ÄòArabi to al-Suyuti in the latter’Äôs al-Tahbir li ’ÄòIlm al-Tafsir and Itmam al-Diraya Sharh al-Niqaya.
Al-Khadimi wrote in the introduction to his Sharh Ma’Äòani al-Basmala: ’ÄúIt was stated in al-Bazaziyya that if a certain question has a hundred aspects, ninety-nine of which entail disbelief and one precludes it, the scholar must lean towards the latter and not give a fatwa to the apostasy of a Muslim as long as he can give his words a good interpretation. Also, in al-Usul: No preference is given in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary.’Äù As cited in al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 17-18). In Bustan al-’ÄòArifin al-Nawawi states, after reporting Abu al-Khayr al-Tibyani’Äôs apparent breach of the Shari’Äòa: ’ÄúSomeone that imitates jurists without understanding may imagine wrong and object to this, out of ignorance and stupidity. To imagine wrong here is plain recklessness in giving vent to suspicions against the Friends of the All-Merciful.¬Ý The wise person must beware from such behavior! On the contrary, if one did not understand the wisdoms from which they benefited and their fine subtleties, it is his duty is to understand them from one who does. You may witness such occurrences about which the superficial person gets the illusion of deviation, but which are actually not deviant. On the contrary, it is obligatory to interpret figuratively the actions of the friends of Allah.’Äù As cited in al-Suyuti’Äôs Tanbih al-Ghabi (p. 45-46) and Ibn ’ÄòImad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:194). The rules spelled out by al-Nawawi, al-Haytami, and al-Khadimi refute the presumption that only the statements of the Prophet r may be interpreted figuratively (cf. al-Qunawi in al-Qari’Äôs Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud p. 110 and al-Suyuti’Äôs Tanbih al-Ghabi p. 44-45, as against ’ÄòAla’Äô al-Din al-Bukhari in al-Qari’Äôs Firr al-’ÄòAwn p. 153; cf. al-Munawi in Ibn ’ÄòImad, Shadharat 5:194) or that ’Äúevery truth that contravenes the outward rule of the Law consists in disguised disbelief (zandaqa)’Äù (al-Qari, Firr al-’ÄòAwn p. 152). The most shining refutation of the latter claim lies in the Prophet’Äôs r hadith of the straying desert traveller who, finding his mount and provisions after having lost them, is so over¬‚whelmed by joy that he exclaims: ’ÄúO Allah, You are my slave and I am Your master!’Äù Narrated from Anas by Muslim in his Sahih.
Al-Sakhawi in al-Daw’Äô al-Lami’Äò similarly points out this contradic¬‚tion between al-Biqa’Äòi’Äôs expressed principles and his actual practices.
Al-Haytami, Fatawa Hadithiyya (p. 331). For the account of the condemnation of al-Biqa’Äòi himself as a kˆ¢fir see al-Sakhawi’Äôs al-Daw’Äô al-Lami’Äò and al-Shawkani’Äôs al-Badr al-Tali’Äò.
The complete hadith states: ’ÄúWhosoever shows enmity to one of My Friends, I shall declare war upon him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have en¬‚joined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with su¬‚per¬‚erogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him. Were he to seek refuge in Me, I would surely grant him it. Nor do I hesitate to do any¬‚thing as I hesi¬‚tate to take back the believer’Äôs soul, for he hates death and I hate to hurt him.’Äù Narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari. Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam in al-Ishara ila al-Ijaz (p. 108) said: ’ÄúThe ’Äòhesi¬‚tancy’Äô of Allah I in this hadith is a meta¬‚phor of the believer’Äôs superlative rank in the presence of Allah and connotes a lesser hurt to prevent a greater harm, as in the case of a father’Äôs severance of his son’Äôs gangrened hand so as to save his life.’Äù
Al-Dhahabi, al-Muqiza (p. 88-90).
Ibn Hajar, Lisan al-Mizan (5:311 #1038). See also his words in al-Intisar li A’Äôimma al-Amsar and in al-Qari’Äôs Risala fi Wahda al-Wujud (p. 113).
The mere sight of Ka’Äòba is considered worship.
The hadith ’ÄúThe Black Stone is the right hand of Allah’Äù is narrated from Ibn ’ÄòAbbas, Jabir, Anas, and others by Ibn Abi ’ÄòUmar al-Ma’Äòdani in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, al-Suyuti in al-Jami’Äò al-Saghir (1:516), Ibn ’ÄòAsakir in his Tarikh (15:90-92), al-Khatib in his (6:328), and others. Al-’ÄòAjluni stated that it is sahˆÆh as a halted report from Ibn ’ÄòAbbas as narrated by al-Quda’Äòi in the wording: ’ÄúThe Corner is the Right Hand of Allah on earth’Ä¶,’Äù and declared it hasan as a hadith of the Prophet r. Ibn Qu¬‚tayba in Mukhtalaf al-Hadith (1972 ed. p. 215) attributes it to Ibn ’ÄòAbbas and relates a saying of ’ÄòA’Äôisha that the Stone is the deposi¬‚tory of the covenant of souls with Allah. Its mention in the Reliance of the Traveller (p. 853b) as ’Äúnarrated by al-Hakim, who declared it sahˆÆh, from ’ÄòAbd Allah ibn ’ÄòAmr,’Äù is incorrect.
Multazam is the space between the Black Stone and the Ka’Äòba’Äôs door (including the two) where prayers are answered.
An allusion to the kiswa or black cloth covering the Ka’Äòba.
Ibn ’ÄòArabi, Futuhat (original ed. 1:701).
Main sources: Hilmi, al-Burhan al-Azhar; Ibn ’ÄòImad, Shadharat al-Dhahab (5:190-202); al-Suyuti, Tanbih al-Ghabi.
From ’ÄòUthman Yahya’Äôs edition of al-Futuhat al-Makkiyya (1:162-172), Part Three of ’ÄúThe Meccan Conquest,’Äù chapter entitled ’ÄúAttach¬‚ment Comprising the Essential Creed of All, Which is the Doctrine of the People of Islam Agreed To Without Examining the Proof Nor the Pre¬‚s¬‚en¬‚tation of Evidence’Äù (Waslun Yatadammanu Mˆ¢ YanbaghˆÆ an Yu’Äòtaqad ’Äòalˆ¢ al-’ÄòUmˆªm wa Hiya ’ÄòAqˆÆdatu Ahl al-Islˆ¢mi Musallama¬‚tan min Ghayri Nazarin ilˆ¢ Dalilin wa lˆ¢ ilˆ¢ Burhˆ¢n). Also quoted in full in Hilmi’Äôs al-Burhan al-Azhar (p. 69-77).
Part of a hadith of the Prophet r narrated from Abu Hurayra by Bukhari and Muslim.
Cf. al-Shibli in Ibn Jahbal’Äôs Refutation of Ibn Taymiyya ¬ß27 (published in full separately): ’ÄúThe Merciful exists from pre-eternity while the Throne was brought into being, and the Throne was established and made firm (istawˆ¢) by the Merciful.’Äù
See Appendix entitled ’ÄúAllah is Now As He Ever Was’Äù in our translation of Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam’Äôs al-Mulha fi I’Äòtiqad Ahl al-Haqq, published separately under the title The Belief of the People of Truth.
Or: ’ÄúHe created place and all that takes place.’Äù
I.e. I am in no need of any of you.
Lˆ¢ tarji’Äòu ilayhi sifatun lam yakun ’Äòalayhˆ¢ min sun’Äòati al-masnˆª’Äòˆ¢t. Ibn ’ÄòArabi apparently allows inferred attributes which do describe Him, such as ’ÄúThe Far’Äù (see ¬ß163 below and note) in contradiction of the general principle that the divine Names and Attributes are ordained and non-inferable (cf. Appendix entitled ’ÄúThe Names and Attributes of Allah Are Ordained and Non-Inferable’Äù in our translation of Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam’Äôs The Belief of the People of Truth).
See our translation of Ibn Khafif’Äôs Correct Islamic Doctrine (pub¬‚lished in full separately) ¬ß10: ’ÄúIn no way does He subsist in originated matters (laysa bi mahall al-hawˆ¢dith) nor they in Him.’Äù This is due to the mutually exclusive nature of contingency (hudˆªth) and incontin¬‚gency (qidam). The former refer to whatever is created, the latter to the be¬‚ginningless and uncreated, ’Äúand the twain never meet.’Äù
This is directed against the Mu’Äòtazila and those affiliated with them.
The notion of ’Äúlinkage’Äù (ta’Äòalluq) between the pre-eternal Attributes of Act and the acts pertaining to creation was expressed by some scholars as a distinction between two types of linkage (ta’Äòalluq) to the act: ’Äúbeginninglessly potential’Äù (salˆªhˆÆ qadˆÆm) and ’Äúactualized in time’Äù (tanjˆÆzˆÆ hˆ¢dith).
No such Attribute is established in the texts, but Ibn ’ÄòArabi here states it without contra¬‚diction of his own precept (¬ß145, cf. ¬ß180) that ’ÄúAttributes which do not describe Him and are devised by creatures do not apply to Him’Äù since He uses ’Äúthe Far’Äù in the same way that some have used the indefinite qualificative ’ÄúSeparate’Äù (bˆ¢’Äôin) ’Äì like¬‚wise not found in the Qur’Äôan and Sunna ’Äì meaning ’Äúfar and separate from crea¬‚tion,’Äù so that nearness in no way affects Him as it affects creatures. Al-Tabari (in his Tafsir on verse 17:79) relates from some of the Salaf a contrary position which states that Allah is not said to be ’Äúin contact with,’Äù nor ’Äúseparate from’Äù anything. The latter is reminiscent of Abu Nu’Äòaym’Äôs narration from ’ÄòAli in Hilya al-Awliya’Äô (1997 ed. 1:114 #227): ’ÄúHow can even the most eloquent tongues describe Him Who did not exist among things so that He could be said to be ’Äòseparate from them’Äô (bˆ¢’Äôin)? Rather, He is described without modality, and He is (nearer to [man] than his jugular vein) (50:16).’Äù Al-Bayhaqi reports the Ash’Äòari position on the issue from Ibn Mahdi al-Tabari: The Pre-eternal One (al-QadˆÆm) is elevated over His Throne but nei¬‚ther sitting on (qˆ¢’Äòid) nor standing on (qˆ¢’Äôim) nor in contact with (mu¬‚mˆ¢ss), nor separate from (mubˆ¢yin) the Throne ’Äì meaning separate in His Es¬‚sence in the sense of physical separation or distance. For ’Äòcontact’Äô and its opposite ’Äòseparation,’Äô ’Äòstanding’Äô and its opposite ’Äòsit¬‚ting’Äô are all the char¬‚ac¬‚ter¬‚istics of bodies (ajsˆ¢m), whereas (Allah is One, Everlast¬‚ing, neither begetting nor begotten, and there is none like Him.) (112:1-4) Therefore what is allowed for bodies is impermissible for Him.’Äù Al-Bayhaqi, al-Asma’Äô wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 410-411; Hashidi ed. 2:308-309). This shows with remarkable clarity that those who made it a categorical imperative to declare that ’ÄúAllah is separate from creation’Äù went to excess, although their intention was to preclude notions of indwelling. Examples of these well-founded excesses are given by Ibn Khuzayma: ’ÄúWhoever does not defi¬‚nitely confirm that Allah established Himself over His Throne above His seven heavens, separate (bˆ¢’Äôin) from His creation, he is a disbeliever who must be sum¬‚moned to repent’Äù [in al-Dhahabi’Äôs Mukhtasar al-’ÄòUluw (p. 225-226)] and Sulayman ibn ’ÄòAbd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Wahhab: ’ÄúIt is obligatory to declare that Allah is separate (bˆ¢’Äôin) from His creation, established over His throne with¬‚out modality or likeness or examplarity’Äù [in al-Tawdih ’Äòan Tawhid al-Khallaq fi Jawab Ahl al-’ÄòIraq (1319/1901, p. 34, and new ed. al-Riyad: Dar Tibah, 1984)].
The Prophet r said: ’ÄúHis veil is light, and if He removed it, the glorifications (subuhˆ¢t) of His face would burn everything His eyesight fell upon.’Äù Narrated from Abu Musa by Muslim, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, Abu ’ÄòAwana, Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi, Ibn Abi ’ÄòAsim, al-Ajurri, and al-Bayhaqi in al-Asma’Äô wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 180-181; Hashidi ed. 1:465-466 #392-394). Al-Bayhaqi said: ’ÄúThe veil mentioned in this and other reports refers to creatures for they are the ones who are veiled from Him by a veil He created in them. Allah said of the disbe¬‚lievers: (Nay, but surely on that day they will be covered from (the mercy of) their Lord) (83:15). His saying: ’Äòif He removed it’Äô means if He lifted the veil from their eyes without empowering them to see Him, they would have been burnt and would have been unable to bear it.’Äù Al-Qurtubi in al-Asna (2:92) said: ’ÄúIf he had removed from them the veil, His majesty (jalˆ¢l), awe (hayba), and subjugation (qahr) would have caused everything His sight fell upon to disappear ’Äì from the Throne to the undersoil, for there is no end to His sight, and Allah knows best.’Äù Cf. Ibn Khafif’Äôs ’ÄòAqida ¬ß12: ’ÄúNor does He hide Himself (istatara) with anything created.’Äù
See Ibn ’ÄòAbd al-Salam’Äôs refutation of those who claimed the pre-eternality of letters and sounds in various passages of his Mulha.
In al-Nihaya, entry b-l-ˆ¢: ’ÄúAl-Azhari said that a number of scholars glossed ubˆ¢lˆÆ as ’Äòloathe’Äô (akrah).’Äù Meaning: ’ÄúIt adds nor subtracts nothing from My greatness.’Äù
Narrated from Anas by Abu Ya’Äòla with a chain of trustworthy narrators except for al-Hakam ibn Sinan al-Bahili who is weak, and by Ibn Marduyah; from ’ÄòAbd al-Rahman ibn Qatada al-Sulami by Ahmad and al-Hakim who declared it sahˆÆh, and al-Dhahabi concurred; from Mu’Äòadh ibn Jabal by Ahmad with a munqati’Äò chain missing the Successor-link; from Abu Sa’Äòid al-Khudri by al-Bazzar and Ibn Marduyah; from Ibn ’ÄòUmar by al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani; from a Companion named Abu ’ÄòAbd Allah by Ahmad in his Musnad with a sound chain according to Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba (7:258 #10198); from Abu Musa al-Ash’Äòari by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir; from Abu al-Darda’Äô by al-Tabarani in al-Kabir and Ahmad with a sound chain in the Musnad according to al-Kattani. Also narrated, but without the words lˆ¢ ubˆ¢lˆÆ, from Abu Hurayra by al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi in Nawa¬‚dir al-Usul; without mention of the handfuls, from ’ÄòUmar by Malik in al-Muwatta’Äô, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi (hasan), al-Nasa’Äôi, and others. Al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur under the verse (And remem¬‚ber when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their reins, their seed) (7:172) cited other narrations to that effect from Abu Umama, Hisham ibn Hakim, and other Companions. Al-Fattani in Tadhkira al-Mawdu’Äòat said its chain was ’Äúmuddled’Äù (mudtarib al-isnˆ¢d) because of great varia¬‚tions in it, which makes the narration mutawˆ¢tir al-ma’Äòna or mass-narrrated in its import ’Äì as opposed to its precise wording ’Äì as indicated by al-Kattani in Nazm al-Mutanathir, due to the great number of Companions that relate it.
Hadith qudsi within the narration of the Prophet’Äôs r ascension: ’ÄúThe day I created the heavens and the earth I made obligatory upon you and upon your Commu¬‚nity fifty prayers: therefore establish them, you and your Community’Ä¶. Let them be five prayers every day and night, and let every prayer count as ten. That makes fifty prayers. This word of Mine shall not be changed nor shall My Book be abrogated.’Äù See the translation of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ’ÄòAlawi al-Maliki’Äôs his collated text of the sound narrations of the Prophet’Äôs r isra’Äô and mi’Äòraj entitled al-Anwar al-Bahiyya min Isra’Äô wa Mi’Äòraj Khayr al-Bariyya translated in full in Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani’Äôs Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine.
For ¬ß168-173 see also Ibn Khafif, al-’ÄòAqida al-Sahiha ¬ß32-37: ’Äú Allah is doer of what He will:  Injustice is not attributed to Him,  And He rules over His dominion as He will, without [anyone’Äôs entitlement to] objection whatso¬‚ever.  His decree is not revoked nor His judgment amended.  He brings near Him whomever He will without [need for] cause and He removes far from Him whomever He will without [need for] cause.  His will for His servants is the exact state they are in.’Äù The Ash’Äòari position is that Allah rewards and punishes without being obliged to do so by the actions of His servants (’ÄúAllah is doer of what He will’Äù). He is free to place the disbeliever in Paradise and the believer in Hellfire without any injustice on His part (’ÄúInjustice is not attributed to Him’Äù), since He owns all sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, and no one received any share or authority from Him to ob¬‚ject to what He does.
The evidence for this is in the verses: (Know you not that unto Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth? He punishes whom He will, and forgives whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things) (5:40); (Say : Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to de¬‚stroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? To Allah belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things) (5:17); (The sentence that comes from Me cannot be changed, and I am in no wise a tyrant unto the slaves) (50:29). At the same time it is obligatorily known that Allah does not take back His promise to reward those who believe and do good and punish evil-doers: (But as for those who believe and do good works We shall bring them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide for ever. It is a promise from Allah in truth; and who can be more truthful than Allah in utterance?) (4:122). The scholars have described the former evidence as ’Äúbased on reason’Äù (dalˆÆl ’ÄòaqlˆÆ) and the latter as ’Äúbased on law’Äù (dalˆÆl shar’Äòi), noting that it is the latter which takes precedence over the former. Cf. al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqinat (p. 149).
Narrated from Abu Bakrah al-Thaqafi, Ibn ’ÄòUmar, Ibn Mas’Äòud, and Jabir by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ahmad, and al-Darimi.
The Prophet r was asked by ’ÄòA’Äôisha ’Äì may Allah be well-pleased with her: ’ÄúWill the beloved remember his beloved on the Day of Resurrection?’Äù He replied: ’ÄúOn three occasions he will not: At the Balance until it either weighs for or against him; at the time the individual Records fly in every direction, so that he should be given his record either with the right hand or the left; and at the time a long neck comes out of the Fire, winding itself around them [at the Bridge over Hellfire]’Ä¶’Äù Narrated by Ahmad in his Musnad with a fair chain, ’ÄòAbd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abi Shayba, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Hakim who stated it is sahˆÆh, al-Ajurri in al-Shari’Äòa, and ’ÄòAbd ibn Humayd in his Musnad as stated by al-Suyuti in al-Durr al-Manthur. Abu Dawud narrates it in his Sunan without mention of tatˆ¢yur.
Another possible translation is: ’Äúthe interrogation of the two examiners in the grave is real; the punishment in the grave and the rais¬‚ing of the bodies from the grave are both real; the review in the presence of Allah is real; the Basin is real; the Balance is real; the flying (tatˆ¢yur) of individual Records in every direction is real; the Bridge is real; Paradise is real; Hell¬‚fire is real; (A host will be in the Garden, and a host of them in the Flame) (42:7) really; the agony of that day is real for one group; as for an¬‚other group, (the Supreme Horror will not grieve them) (21:103).’Äù Cf. Ibn Khafif’Äôs ’ÄòAqida ¬ß83: ’ÄúParadise is true; Hellfire is true; Resurrection is true; the Rendering of Accounts is true; the Balance of Deeds is true; the Bridge [over the Fire] is true; the punishment of the grave is true; and the questioning of the angels Munkar and NakˆÆr is true.’Äù