Skip to main content

al-Insān al-Kāmil

al-Insān al-Kāmil (The Perfect Man). An expression perhaps first compounded by Ibn ʿArabī in Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam (Bezels of Wisdom): ‘Everything the world contains is subject to man. This is known to him who knows, that is to say, to the Perfect Man, and is not known by him who does not know, that is to say, to man the animal. He (The Perfect Man) is the mirror by which God is revealed to himself.’ Ibn ʿArabī identified the Perfect Man with the Prophet Muḥammad the archetype of the universe and humanity; the first symbol of the Lord was Nūr Muḥammad (Light of Muḥammad), and it is in him and through him that prophets and saints find their perfection. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Jīlī elaborated this notion further: ‘The Perfect Man is the pole (qutb) around which the spheres of existence turn, from the first to the last.’ For al-Jīlī, he (the Perfect Man) is unique for all time but appears in different guises and names: there is no reincarnation but merely the irradiation of the reality of Muḥammad on each occasion upon the most perfect of men, who thus become Muḥammad's representatives on the plane of manifestation. In another development (cf. AL-HALLĀJ), the Creator (al-Ḥaqq) and the Perfect Man (al-Ḥalq) are seen as complementary constituents of total or absolute Being: ‘Man unites in himself both the form of God and the form of the universe…God is necessary to us in order that we may exist, but we are necessary to him in order that he may be manifested to himself’ (Ibn ʿArabī). Such a way of union was of profound importance in Sūfīsm.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"al-Insān al-Kāmil." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . 22 Apr. 2019 <>.

"al-Insān al-Kāmil." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . (April 22, 2019).

"al-Insān al-Kāmil." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved April 22, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.