Speech and Cosmology in Ibn `Arabī’s <i>Mu`ashsharāt</i>

Denis E. McAuley

in Ibn `Arabī’s Mystical Poetics

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659548
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743375 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

Speech and Cosmology in Ibn `Arabī’s Mu`ashsharāt

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This chapter and the previous one look at a cycle of ten-line acrostic poems, the mu`ashsharāt, in which each poem represents one letter of the alphabet, each verse of the poem in question beginning and ending with that letter. Through a close reading, it brings out the salient themes of the cycle, including the cosmological function of letters and speech and the role of the Perfect Human; Ibn Arabi portrays himself participating in the divine command that moves the heavenly spheres. Lastly, drawing on manuscript sources and a comparison with the mu`ashsharāt of the Sufi writer Al-Nābulusī (1641–1731), the chapter highlights a cap-poem in which Ibn `Arabī further explores the function of poetic language.

Keywords: acrostic; Ibn `Arabī; Dīwān; mu`ashsharāt; close reading; perfect human; heavenly spheres; Sufi; Al-Nābulusī

Chapter.  8755 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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