The Four Stages of the Mystical Journey in the Sufism of Ibn al-Arabi and His School

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: SCAS, Thunbergssalen Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Salman Bashier, EURIAS Fellow, SCAS. Independent Scholar of Islamic Mysticism and Philosophy
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Sandra Maria Rekanovic
  • Seminarium

Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi, the greatest of Islamic Sufis, was born in Murcia (Spain) in 1165 and died in Damascus in 1240. He is the author of the encyclopaedic Meccan Revelations and Ringstones of Wisdom on which over a hundred commentaries have been written over the centuries. When he was thirty years old he wrote a short book entitled The Contemplations of the Holy Mysteries in which he provided his account of the stages of the mystical journey and in which he sought to epitomize a long history of Sufi thought on the theme of the grades of illumination and the attainment of mystical perfection. In doing this he adopted the model for the stages of the journey of the ninth-century Sufi al-Junayd who wrote only a small number of short and obscure treatises but provided in his writings a map for travelers in the Way to follow in their explorations. Between al-Junayd and Ibn al-Arabi Sufis were involved in a long and tiring struggle to attain social recognition and advance their realization of walaya, which is sainthood or friendship with the Reality. To enhance that realization they had drawn maps which describe their spiritual development and ascent in the journey. To read the maps and ad-vance in the journey, the Sufi must be a lover of wisdom because only lovers have the understanding required for this kind of reading ; non-lovers no matter how clever are not on this map. But there are types of lovers, and although all of them arrive at the Reality: some of them hardly arrive, some arrive but are lost in Her so that they do not return, some return but cannot separate themselves from Her so that their journey is complete but not perfect, and some return to themselves and their journey is complete and perfect. I chose the theme of love for presenting the Sufi journey. There are other ways of presenting it but this is the one which I thought is most appropriate for the occasion.

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