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Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) on Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 1240)

Despite being an intractable opponent of several of the latter’s key ideas, this is what Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) had to say about Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 1240):

“[Despite his deviance], Ibn ‘Arabi is the closest to true belief among [the mystical philosophers], and his teaching is, in many respects, better than theirs. He, at least, distinguished between the manifest One and the concrete forms of His manifestations. Moreover, he affirmed the validity of the Divine Command and the Prohibition and the Divine Laws as they stand. He also instructed the travelers on the mystical path how to acquire high morals and the acts of devotion, as is common with other Sufis and their disciples. Therefore, many pious worshipers have learned the rules of their path through his instructions and thus have greatly benefited from him, even though they sometimes failed to understand his (mystical) subtleties.”

–Letter to Shaykh Abu Nasr al-Manbiji


2 Comments

  1. The amount of respect these people had for each other is amazing. It’s a shame that modern scholarship in many circles is reduced to childlike name-calling and ad hominem attacks.

  2. Reblogged this on mechacontext and commented:
    The amount of respect these people had for each other is amazing. It’s a shame that modern scholarship in many circles is reduced to childlike name-calling and ad hominem attacks.

    For reference, these two classical Islamic scholars, both huge figures in the Muslim world, are often seen as having diametrically opposing views on laws and spirituality. The author of this letter is often referenced by Salafi Muslims and the subject of the letter by Sufi Muslims. These are, of course, almost meaningless distinctions because of the complexities within and between the two groups, which are not necessarily exclusive of each other anyway.

    The point my friend had in posting this letter was to show the level of respect they had for each other despite their views. Also, it seems that they agreed on more things than most people believe. For all the debates and arguments caused by interpretations of their ideas, it is important that material such as this letter are made available.

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