Ibn Arabi in the Eyes of the Great Mujaddid

A few pages on Ibn Arabi through the eyes of one of his greatest commentators: the Great Mujaddid Ahmed Sirhindi. Although many people think that the Great Mujaddid criticized Ibn Arabi negatively, a more careful reading finds that view to be unfounded. On the contrary, the Great Mujaddid was an admirer the Great Shaykh.

October 27, 2000 Irshad Alam Sufi Order of Pure Mujaddidi Sufi Peace Mission PO Box 4604 Berkeley CA 94704 Email: sufi@ureach.com
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The Great Mujaddid Ahmed Sirhindi, who lived in India about 1500 CE, is an eminent sufi commentator on Ibn Arabi. Although commonly regarded as a critique of Ibn Arabi, the Great Mujaddid instead held him in high esteem. He felt that the critiques (as well as many followers) have totally misinterpreted the writings of Ibn Arabi whom he respectfully called the Great Shaykh. The Great Mujaddid wrote that Ibn Arabi’s writings were the result of sufi mystic vision and have to be interpreted as such. Ibn Arabi’s writings on the Unity of Being [wahdatul wujud] was his sufi mystic vision of the universe instead of being some ‘set of creed’ or ‘theological doctrine’ to which he came through a ‘self-directed thought process.’ Many people who criticize Ibn Arabi for his ‘creed’ being unIslamic are totally wrong as these are not his ‘creed’ but his ‘sufi mystic experiences.’ Let the Great Mujaddid speak on Ibn Arabi himself: “Many sufis experience Unity of Being from the repetition of the meditation of Unity [tauhid] and being steadfast in the belief that the sacred verse ‘there is none to worship except God [la ilaha illaAllah]’ mean that nothing exists except God. If a sufi experiences Unity of Being after a self-directed thought process then it is because that a vision of that has been imposed on his mind due to the strength and repetition of his thoughts. When such a vision of Unity of Being is ‘self-directed’ and ‘artificial’ then it is blameworthy. In fact, such a sufi does not experience the real state of Unity of Being instead it is to him only a ‘learned knowledge.’ For other sufis, Unity of being comes from the love and ‘attraction’ [jajba] of the heart. These sufis are immersed in the remembrance [dhikr] and meditation [muraqaba] but do not at all think about Unity of Being. ……. If the beauty of the Unity of Being is revealed to them then it is due to their deep love to God who is their beloved. It is due to this love everything except the Beloved vanishes from their sight. At that point, when they do not see anything except God who is their beloved and they do not find anything except Him then they do not believe that anything except Him exists. This Unity comes from the spiritual state of the seeker and so its free from ‘inagination’ and ‘artificiality.’ In their spiritual travel, when these
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travellers descend from that station to the temporal realm, they see God their beloved in every atom of this universe and they know it to be the mirror where the infinite beauty of the Creator appears [tajalli]. …………………………………….. I do not blame the people with the experience of Unity because its appearance is beyond their own control. ………………………………………… I myself has experienced Unity of Being. I have experienced that through remembrance [dhikr] and meditation [muraqaba] without repetition or meditation on the meaning of Unity of Being and without any self-directed effort. ……………………………………………………………………………… May everyone know that whatever I’m writing is through my spiritual vision and experiences [kashf]. It is not through estimation or following other people.” [Writings(Maktubat), Volume I, writing #291]

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