Ibn 'Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition: The Making of a Polemical Image in Medieval Islam
This book examines the fierce theological controversy over the great Muslim mystical thinker Ibn 'Arabi (1165–1242). Even during his lifetime, Ibn 'Arabi's conformity with the letter of the Muslim dogma was called into doubt by many scholars who were suspicious of the monistic (unitive) tendencies of his metaphysical teaching, of his claims to be the Prophet's successor and restorer of the true meaning of the Islamic revelation, and of his allegorical interpretation of the Qur'an.
Following Ibn 'Arabi's death, these misgivings grew into an outright condemnation of his teachings by a number of influential thirteenth through fifteenth century theologians who portrayed him as a dangerous heretic bent on undermining the foundations of Islamic faith and communal life. In response to these grave accusations, Ibn 'Arabi's advocates praised him as the greatest saint of Islam who was unjustly slandered by the bigoted and narrow-minded critics.
As time went on, these conflicting images of the mystical thinker became rallying points for various political and scholarly factions vying for lucrative religious and administrative posts and ideological denomination. In thoroughly analyzing the heated debates around Ibn 'Arabi's ideas throughout the three centuries following his death, this study brings out discursive strategies and arguments employed by the polemicists, the hidden agendas they pursued, and the reasons for the striking longevity of the issue in Islamic literature up to the present day. On the theoretical level, this book reassesses the validity of such common dichotomies as orthodoxy versus heresy, mainstream versus mystical interpretations of Islam, and communalism versus individualism as well as other issues related to the history of Islamic thought.
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DEFINING THE APPROACH
THE BIOGRAPHICAL PRELUDE
IBN TAYMIYYAS FORMIDABLE CHALLENGE
IBN ARABI IN THE BIOGRAPHICAL LITERATURE FROM
A PROPHET IN
THE POLEMIC CONTINUES
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Addas Ahmad al-Andalus al-Biqa‘i al-Bukhari Al-Daw al-Dhahabi al-din Ibn al-Fasi al-Habshi al-Jabarti al-Maqqari al-Qari al-Sakhawi al-Taftazani Andalusi anti-Ibn Arabi antimonistic Arab Ash‘ari Ayyubid biographical Cairo Chapter Chittick Chodkiewicz classiﬁcation condemnation controversy critics Damascus disciple divine doctrine Egypt fatwa ﬁnd ﬁrst followers Fusus Futuhat God’s Greatest Master hadith Hanbali heresy heretical Homerin Ibid Ibn Abd al-Salam Ibn al-‘Imad Ibn al-Ahdal Ibn al-Farid Ibn al-Khatib Ibn al-Muqri Ibn al-Raddad Ibn Arabi Ibn Arabi’s legacy Ibn Arabi’s teaching Ibn Hajar Ibn Kathir Ibn Khaldun Ibn Sab‘in Ibn Taymiyya idem inﬂuence inﬂuential Islamic Isma‘il Kashﬁ Knysh later latter’s Maghribi Mamluk Manaqib Massignon metaphysical monistic Muhammad Muhyi al-din Muqaddimah Muslim mystical opponents passim philosophical polemical qadi Qur’an Rasulid Rawdat religious rulers saint scholarly scholars Shadharat Shaﬁ‘i shari‘a Shaykh Suﬁ Suﬁ master Suﬁ Path Suﬁsm sultan Ta’rikh Tabaqat Tanbih theological thinkers tion treatise ulama wahdat al-wujud Yahia Yemen Zabid