IBN 'ARABI'S OWN SUMMARY OF THE
"THE IMPRINT OF THE BEZELS OF THE WISDOM"
WILLIAM C. CHITTICK
© William C. Chittick, 1975 and 1976.
This translation first appeared in
(Tehran) Vol. 1, No. 2 (Autumn 1975) and Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 1976). It was reprinted in the
Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'ArabiSociety
Vol. 1, 1982. It may not be reproduced without the permission of the Ibn 'ArabiSociety.
importance of Ibn 'Arabî for Islamic intellectual history is well-known. Hisschool determines the course of most metaphysical speculation within Sufism fromthe 7th/13th century onward, and in addition it profoundly influences later Islamic philosophy, especially in Iran.
The importance of Ibn 'Arabî's
(usually translated as the "Bezels of Wisdom") as the quintessence of his writings andthought and a major source of his influence is also well-known,
and is attested to bythe more than one hundred commentaries written upon it.
Ibn 'Arabî is also the author of a work called
(the "Imprint" or "Pattern of the
in which he summarizes briefly the main discussions of the
itself. Because of the importance of the
also takesupon a special importance, and for this reason it has been commented by a number of well-known figures of the school of Ibn 'Arabî, including Sadr al-Dîn Qunyawî and'Abd al-Rahman Jâmî.
Jâmî 's work,
Naqd al-nusûs fi sharh naqsh al-fusûs,
written in the year 863/1459 is particularly famous in the East. This is indicated by a number of facts,
On the influence of lbn 'Arabî in Sufism, philosophy and elsewhere, see S.H. Nasr, "Seventh-Century Sufism and the School of Ibn 'Arabî",
See S.H. Nasr,
Three Muslim Sages,
Cambridge (Mass.), 1964, pp.98-99.
See O. Yahya.
Histoire et classification de I'oeuvre d'lbn 'Arabi,
Damas, 1964 pp. 241-255; also the same author's Arabic introduction to S.H. Amoli,
Le texte destextes,
Tehran-Paris 1975, pp 16-33.
Yahya lists ten commentaries on this work in
Le texte des textes,
Histoire et classification,
pp.256-6. Yahya mentions in the latter work, p.407,that
also been attributed to Isma'îl ibn Sawdakîn al-Nûrî, a discipleof lbn 'Arabî. But the fact that Qunyawî, Ibn 'Arabî's foremost disciple and accordingto most accounts his stepson, wrote a commentary upon it as a work of his own master would seem to be sufficient proof of its authenticity. This commentary, onemanuscript of which is mentioned by Yahya as existing in Damascus, also existsaccording to Sayyid Jalâl al-Dîn Âshtiyânî, in a private collection in Mashhad.