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A quote by Abu Bakar Muhammad Ibn al-‘Arabi 2-4


On determination, divinity, god, imagination, names, and rest

All {the divine Names} refer to one and the same Named One. But each one of them refers to an essential determination, different from all the rest; it is by this individualization that each Name refers to the God who reveals himself to and by the theophanic imagination.

On divinity, ethics, faith, god, knowledge, logic, love, passion, relationships, and service

. . . Ibn ‘Arabi distinguishes between Allah as God in general and Rabb as the particular Lord, personalized in an individualized and undivided relation with his vassal of love. This individualized relationship on both sides is the foundation of the mystic and chivalric ethic of the fedel d’amore in the service of the personal Lord whose divinity depends on the adoration of his faithful vassal. . . . {It is the passion that the fedele d’amore feels for his Lord which reveals the Lord to Himself.} And this always individually, in an “alone to alone,” which is something very different from universal logic or from a collective participation, because only the knowledge which the fedele has of his Lord is the knowledge which this personal Lord has of him.

On divinity, investment, and names

. . . in Ibn ‘Arabi’s own terminology Al-Lah is the Name which designates the divine Essence qualified and invested with the sum of His attributes, whereas al-Rabb, the Lord, is the personified and particularized Divine in one of its attributes (hence the divine Names designated as so many “lords”, arbab).

On divinity, faith, names, and sympathy

Paraphrased: The devotee who is faithful to the divine Name that is His Lord recognizes his Beloved in every Beloved and in every divine Name the totality of Names, because among the divine Names there is a sympathetic union.

On departure, dreams, eternity, facts, god, imagination, perception, reason, understanding, and universe

Questioner: How do you know God? Abu Asa’id al-Kharraz: By the fact that He is the coincidentia oppositorum. Corbin’s commentary: . . . the entire universe of worlds is at once He and not-He (huwa la huwa). The God manifested in forms is at once Himself and other than Himself, for since He is manifested, He is the limited which has no limit, the visible which cannot be seen. This manifestation is neither perceptible nor verifiable by the sensory faculties; discursive reason rejects it. It is perceptible only by the Active Imagination (Hadrat al-Khayal…) at times when it dominates man’s sense perceptions, in dreams or better still in the waking state (in the state characteristic of the gnostic when he departs from the consciousness of sensuous things). In short, a mystic perception (dhawq) is required. To perceive all forms as epiphanic forms (mazahir), that is, to perceive through the figures which they manifest and which are the eternal hexeities, that they are other than the Creator and nevertheless that they are He, is precisely to effect the encounter, the coincidence, between God’s descent toward the creature and the creature’s ascent toward the Creator. The “place” of this encounter is not outside the Creator-Creature totality, but is the area within it which corresponds specifically to the Active Imagination, in the manner of a bridge joining the two banks of a river. The crossing itself is essentially a hermeneutics of symbols, a method of understanding which transmutes sensory data and rational concepts into symbols (mazahir) by making them effect this crossing.

On divintiy, investment, names, and present

. . . the Divine Being is not fragmented, but wholly present in each instance, individualized in each theophany of His Names, and it is invested in each instance with one of these Names that He appears as Lord.

On authority and guidance

Each person is oriented toward a quest for his personal invisible guide, or . . . he entrusts himself to the collective, magisterial authority as the intermediary between himself and Revelation.

On biography, day, life, proof, strength, and teaching

He who is the disciple of Khidr possesses sufficient inner strength to seek freely the teaching of all masters. Of this the biography of Ibn ‘Arabi, who frequented all the masters of his day and welcomed their teachings, offers living proof.

On ability, experience, life, reality, relationships, and spirituality

Ibn ‘Arabi was above all the disciple of Khidr {an invisible master}. . . such a relationship with a hidden spiritual master lends the disciple an essentially “transhistorical” dimension and presupposes an ability to experience events which are enacted in a reality other than the physical reality of daily life, events which spontaneously transmute themselves into symbols.

On beginning, death, direction, divinity, faith, knowledge, spirituality, vision, and world

When the Divine Being is epiphanized to the believer in the form of his faith, this faith is true. He professes this faith in this world. But when the veil is lifted in the other world, the knot (‘aqd), that is to say, the dogma (‘aqida) which binds him to his particular faith, is untied; dogma gives way to knowledge by direct vision (mushahada). For the man of authentic faith, capable of spiritual vision, this is the beginning of an ascending movement after death.

On awareness, divinity, god, love, soul, and spirituality

God epiphanizes Himself to the soul according to the essence of that soul, which is at once physical and spiritual. Then the soul becomes aware that it sees God, but through Him, not through itself; it loves only Him, not through itself, but in such a way that it is He who loves Himself; it is not the soul which loves Him; it contemplates God in every being, but thanks to a gaze which is the divine gaze itself. It becomes aware that He loves no other than Himself; He is the Lover and the Beloved, He who seeks and He who is sought.

On books, christianity, direction, faith, garden, heart, laws, love, and religion

O marvel! a garden among the flames… My heart has become capable of all forms. It is a meadow for gazelles and a monastery for Christian monks, A temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Ka’aba, The Tables of the Law and the book of the Koran. I profess the religion of Love, and whatever direction Its steed may take, Love is my religion and my faith.

On action, egotism, reflection, and secrets

The Beloved becomes a mirror reflecting the secret face of the mystic lover, while the lover, purified of the opacity of his ego, becomes in turn a mirror of the attributes and actions of the Beloved.

On divinity, heart, mystery, and spirituality

The mystic Ka’aba is the heart of being. It has been said to him: “The Temple which contains Me is in your heart.” The mystery of the Divine Essence is no other than the Temple of the heart, and it is around the heart that the spiritual pilgrim circumambulates.

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