Ibn (al-)ʿArabī, Muḥyi al-Dīn

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Ibn (al-)ʿArabī, Muḥyi al-Dīn (1165–1240 (AH 560–638)). A great Sūfī mystic and original thinker, called al-shaikh al-akbar (the Great Teacher, Shaykh) by his followers. He profoundly influenced the development of Islamic mysticism and philosophy. He was generally well received, though in Egypt the ʿulamā denounced him as a heretic, and there was a movement to assassinate him.

Ibn al-ʿArabī synthesized Hellenic, Persian, and Indian systems of thought into his own particular system, emphasizing monistically wahdat-al-wujūd (Unity of Existence) and al-Insān al-Kāmil (The Perfect Man). For him, Being is essentially one, and all phenomenal existence is a manifestation of the divine substance. For that reason he was suspected of pantheism.

More than 800 works have been attributed to him, and it is claimed by some that about 400 have survived. His major works are al-Futūḥāt al-Makkīya (The Meccan Revelations, a complete system of mystical knowledge in 560 chapters), Fuṣūṣ al-Hikām (The Bezels of Wisdom, tr. R. W. J. Austin 1981, A. A. al-Tarjumana 1980), Kitāb al-Ajwiba (The Book of Answers), and Tarjumān al-Ashwāq (The Interpretation of Divine Love).