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Mysticism and Sacred Scripture$
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Steven T. Katz

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195097030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195097030.001.0001

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Ibn al-ʿArabī's Hermeneutics of Mercy

Ibn al-ʿArabī's Hermeneutics of Mercy

(p.153) 7 Ibn al-ʿArabī's Hermeneutics of Mercy
Mysticism and Sacred Scripture

William C. Chittick

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the writings of Andalusian sage Ibn al-ʿArabī, which combined the intuitive, mystical perspective of Sufism with the rational analysis of the experts in Kalam, in jurisprudence, and in other Islamic sciences. Later Sufis often referred to Ibn al-ʿArabī as al-shaykh al-akbar (the greatest master). Part of the reason for this was that his massive corpus of writings contained consistently erudite and profound expositions of the meanings of the Qurʾān that had few precedents and, indeed, no serious later challengers. Recent studies have brought out the intimate connection between his spiritual life and his understanding of the Qurʾān. For him, the Qurʾān was the vivifying word of God, an infinite ocean that constantly replenished his soul, a living presence that would embody itself to him and appear in visions. The dependence of his writings on the Qurʾān is obvious to careful readers, and he frequently reminds us of this fact.

Keywords:   Ibn al-ʿArabī, Islam, Qurʾān, Sufism, Kalam

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