Chapter

‘A great theosophist rather than a great poet?’

Denis E. McAuley

in Ibn `Arabī’s Mystical Poetics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659548
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743375 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659548.003.0002

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

‘A great theosophist rather than a great poet?’

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This chapter gives an overview of Ibn `Arabī’s ideas, including the so-called oneness of being, cosmology, emanations, the perfect human, the seal of the saints, and the manifestation of God in sensible forms. It then describes the unusual style of the Dīwān which, unlike the more lyrical Tarjumān al-Ashwāq, relies on shifts of register and syntactic ambiguities. Instead of giving the reader a straight love lyric, Ibn `Arabī moves constantly between the poem itself and the mystical doctrine to which it refers. Perhaps owing to his origins in al-Andalus, away from the more collectivized Sufism of the eastern Islamic world, Ibn `Arabī’s poems were intended to be meditated on by select groups of disciples rather to be performed at Sufi gatherings.

Keywords: Ibn `Arabī; Dīwān; oneness of being; perfect human; Tarjumān al-Ashwāq; love lyric; Andalus; Sufism

Chapter.  8634 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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