A General Outline of the Influence of Ibn 'Arabi on the Ottoman Era
It is clear that we could not possibly analyse the six Ottoman centuries in a few pages. Our intention in this paper is, therefore, to give an idea of the influence of Ibn 'Arabî by mentioning the names of a number of Akbarian authors, and by making certain remarks on the subject in order to attract the attention of researchers into this period of Sufi and intellectual history, so rich in documents and so little studied until now.
As is known, Ibn 'Arabî departed for the Orient  following a vision in AH 597/AD1200. He passed through Tunis and Cairo and made his pilgrimage to Mecca. In601/1204 he found himself in Baghdad and Mosul. From there he travelled towards Anatolia. He stayed in Malatya and in Konya (602/1205) and returned in 603/1206 to Cairo. Then he left (604/1207) and went to Aleppo and Konya (607/1210). Here he probably married the widowed mother of Sadr al-Dîn, and took him (despite his youth) as a disciple to whom he later gave authority to read from his works. In Anatolia he visited the major towns such as Kayseri, Malatya, Sivas and Harran, and returned to Baghdad (608/1211). There he made the acquaintance of Shihâbal-Dîn 'Umar al-Suhrawardî (d. 632/1234). In 610/1213 he was to be found in Aleppo and returned in 611/1214 to Mecca. In 612/ 1215 he was yet again in Anatolia. He spent four years in Malatya (1216 - 20) and gave a number of people authority to read his books. In 620/1223 he moved to Damascus where he settled, wrote the Fusûs and redrafted the Futûhât.
If I have quickly gone over these well-known biographical details, it is because during almost the same years, and to the same place, the emigration of another family took place, albeit this time from the East to the West. Bahâ' al-Dîn Walad, father of Jalâl al-Dîn al-Rûmî, commonly called and known as Mawlânâ (Our Master, Our Lord), departed with his family from the town of Balkh in Khorassan, probably during the years 618/ 1221. They followed a route which took them to Baghdad, Mecca, Syria (Damascus) and Anatolia. They settled finally in Konya in 1228 - 29. Mawlânâ must have been a child or very young during the journey. The father of Mawlânâ, himself a renowned Sufi and sage, died in 628/1231.
It is very significant that the two emigrations, the one from the most distant limit of the Islamic world in the West and the other from the East, both occurred at virtually the same time and in the same places, ending finally, as we know, in Konya. The disciple of Ibn 'Arabî, Sadr-al-Dîn al-Qunawî (d. 1274) became one of the companions of Jalâl al-Dîn al-Rûmî (d. 1273). Did Ibn 'Arabî actually meet Bahâ' al-Dîn Walad, father of Mawlânâ, or even Mawlânâ himself? From our historical and biographical information, one could not say so. But according to hagiography, Mawlânâ, being still a child, arrived with his father in Damascus where he met Ibn 'Arabî, who said: "Praise be to God! An ocean walking behind a lake!" During the years when Ibn 'Arabi was living in Damascus, Mawlânâ went there to study for several years. But there is still no information about their meeting.
During the course of the seventh century of the Hejira, the Almohads in the West suffered defeat, and lost Cordoba and Seville in 668/1269. In the East the Mongol forces crushed everything that stood in their way from Central Asia onwards, bringing to an end the Abbasid Caliphate in 656/1258 and demolishing Baghdad. Then they moved on towards Anatolia and prepared to finish the Seljukids. After their downfall, the "third state" (called "Beylik" in Turkish) of 'Uthman Bey was founded in 1299 to the north-west of Konya. Thus he entered history as the heir both of the Seljukids and the Abbasids. It was the beginning of a new cycle, where the point of departure in this way coincides spiritually and intellectually with the teaching of masters such as Ibn 'Arabî, Mawlânâ and al-Qûnawî.
It may be observed that the new Ottoman state, of which the founder was the son-in-law of a shaykh named Edebali, began to flourish in the ambience and on the intellectual foundation of Sufism. Anatolia had for a century enjoyed a period of revivification and Islamization through the activities of the recently constituted tarîqas. For almost a century preceding the establishment of the Ottoman state, the teaching of Ibn 'Arabî, written and expressed in Arabic, had constituted the pinnacle of Sufi knowledge, to which was added in Persian and in poetry the Mathnawî of Jalâl al-Dîn al-Rûmî, who had already laid the foundation of his own tarîqa, to which his son Sultan Walad would in later years give its definitive form. The commentators on the Mathnawî would later explain its verses with teachings and terms taken from the works of Ibn 'Arabî and al-Qûnawî.
Mawlânâ died in 672/1273 and Sadr al-Dîn al-Qûnawî a few months later. Both of them played their own part in the spiritual and intellectual life. It seems that the founders of the Ottoman state paid attention to the intellectual heritage of these masters, and made them their own. Were there certain specific reasons for their appropriation of the teaching of Ibn 'Arabî? Was the prediction concerning the Ottomans in the small work entitled al-Shajara al-Nu'mâniyya fî al-Dawla al-'Uthmaniyya, attributed to Ibn 'Arabî, authentic? The authenticity of this work, for which no copies exist earlier than the tenth/sixteenth century, has been disputed. If the work itself is doubtful, could not the prediction which announced the foundation of the Ottoman state, and certain events concerning it, have been made by Ibn 'Arabî during his lifetime, and written down later? What can be suggested is that the Ottoman Sultan, Selim I, had acted with respect to the tomb and the Akbarian teaching in such a way that it was necessary to justify his attitude with a work like this, which began to circulate after the expedition to Egypt and Syria.
In any event, what we do know well is that the second Ottoman sultan, Orhan Ghazi, invited Da'ûd al-Qaysarî (d. 751/ 1350), the disciple of Kamâl al-Dîn al-Qâshânî, himself a disciple of Sadr al-Dîn al-Qûnawî, to be director and teacher of the first madrasa, founded at the recently conquered Iznik. This means that the official teaching itself was set in motion by a great master of the Akbarian school. We may understand this event, on the day of the foundation of the Ottoman state, as a synthesis or alliance between the exoteric and the esoteric sciences, and between rational and esoteric knowledge. One may also draw this lesson from this event, that the Akbarian character of the official teaching at the beginning of the Ottoman Empire lasted more than two centuries, at the end of which the construction (924/1518) of the tomb of the Shaykh al-Akbar was an exterior sign of the assimilation of that teaching. It seems that following this event the Shajara al-Nu'mâniyya became widely known, with one of its phrases being repeated through to the present day:
When the sîn [Sultan Selim I] enters Damascus, then the tomb of Muhyiddîn (Ibn 'Arabî) will be discovered. 
During the following years and centuries neither the Ottoman sultans and politicians, nor those in Sufi circles, doubted the authenticity of this little book. Ottoman intellectuals, formed by the teaching of Ibn 'Arabî, perhaps had reasons for not doubting it that we do not know of today. As for the fatwa of the Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Kamâl (d. 1534), promulgated in the time of Selim I, it may be considered as a proof of the authority accorded to Ibn 'Arabî:
Whoever refuses to recognize Ibn 'Arabî is in error; if he insists he becomes a heretic. It is incumbent on the sultan to educate him and cause him to renounce his conviction. For the sultan is obliged to respect the good and forbid the bad. Ibn 'Arabî has several works such as the Fusûs al-Hikam and the Futûhât. Amongst his writings there are some whose expression and sense are clear and appropriate to the Divine Order and the Prophetic Law, and there are others whose comprehension is hidden from the people of exoterism, although they are clear to the people of intuition and of esoterism. It is fitting for one who does not understand the intention of Ibn 'Arabî to remain silent. 
One may note that this fatwa gives the sultan the right to intervene in favour of the teaching of Ibn 'Arabî. We think that this fatwa was aimed at the exoteric scholars of Egypt and Syria, rather than those of Anatolia or the Ottoman Balkans. We may also draw from this fatwa the following idea: since the teaching of Ibn 'Arabî contains two aspects, one exoteric and the other esoteric, and so is suitable in part to the exoteric understanding and in part hidden from it, but clear to the understanding of the people of intuition and of esoterism, we should conclude that Islamic teaching, that is to say the Qur'ân and the Prophetic Tradition, also has two aspects. A person who does not manage to grasp the exoteric teaching of Ibn 'Arabî and thereby of Islam should keep silent rather than attack those who do understand it - for those who grasp the esoteric meaning grasp the exoteric meaning equally.
This fatwa of the Shaykh al-Islam announced to the public the intellectual attitude of the Ottomans - sultans, scholars and Sufis - with regard to Ibn 'Arabî in particular, and Sufism and Islam in general. It has remained in force from the foundation of the state, which it maintained in Turkish lands, to the present day, after having passed some critical moments in the middle of the sixteenth century. Thus the two aspects of Islamic religion were declared officially, for ever, in the spiritual and "scientific" personality of Ibn 'Arabî.
The celebrated author of Sufism in the sixteenth century, al-Sha'rânî, wrote in his Tabaqât al-Kubrâ,  in his notice devoted to Ibn 'Arabî, that he was very well known in Anatolia at that time because he had described in some of his books - perhaps an allusion to the Shajara al-Nu'mâniyya - the attributes of the sultan, son of 'Uthman I, and the conquest of Constantinople. This testimony of al-Sha'rânî also demonstrates the interest accorded to the Akbarian teaching in the middle of the sixteenth century.
The echo of the Shajara al-Nu'mâniyya seems to continue from century to century. In the 1730s, after the war between the Ottomans and Iran, an Iranian delegation came to Istanbul to discuss the conditions for peace. The spokesman on behalf of the Ottomans opened the dialogue by citing three characteristics that made the Ottomans worthy of praise in relation to the Iranians:
1. The Prophet had spoken of them in his saying, predicting the conquest of Constantinople.
2. The prediction of Ibn 'Arabî, the Tongue of the Truth (lisân al-haqîqa), concerning the Ottoman dynasty in the Shajara al-Nu'mâniyya.
3. The Ottoman territory had been acquired by them by making holy war, but one could not say the same for the ruling dynasty of Iran. 
From this diplomatic document we may observe that two centuries after the construction of the tomb of Ibn'Arabî, the men of state and the educated Ottomans continued their veneration of Ibn 'Arabî and considered themselves distinguished in some way by the Akbarian predictions concerning them. It is also implied in this text that Ibn 'Arabî was in addition recognized as an authority among the Iranians at that time.
After these general considerations, we can proceed to list briefly the names of Sufis who continued the Akbarian teachings in Anatolia and the Balkans throughout the centuries. As is well known, and as we have just mentioned, during his wanderings in Anatolia Ibn 'Arabî made many acquaintances and disciples within the Sufi milieu; and he took care of the education, from infancy, of his disciple Sadral-Dîn al-Qûnawî. It is ultimately by means of al-Qûnawî and his disciples that Ibn 'Arabî definitively took his place in the intellectual life of later centuries. The works of al-Qûnawî, such as the Miftâh al-Ghayb and others, have been in some measure an introduction to and commentary on the doctrine of Ibn'Arabî expressed in the Fusûs and the Futûhât.
We shall now list in chronological order the names of some thirty Sufis who lived in the Ottoman era and wrote studies of the works of Ibn 'Arabî and his teaching:
1. Da'ûd al-Qaysarî (d. 751/1350). Disciple of Kamâl al-Dîn al-Qâshânî who was himself a disciple of al-Qunawî. This individual is very important because he was invited to Iznik, capital of the newly established State, and was named mudarris (master) of the first Ottoman madrasa. It is known thathe was a commentator on the Fusûs.
2. Molla Fanârî  (d. 834/1430). He is considered to be the first Ottoman shaykh-al-islam. His father was a Sufi master of the initiatic line of al-Qûnawî. He wrote a commentary on the Miftâh al-Ghayb of al-Qûnawî.
3. Muhammad Qutb al-Dîn al-Izniki (d. 855/1450). A disciple of al-Fanârî, he commented on the Fusûs, on certain maxims of Ibn 'Arabî, and some works of al-Qûnawî.
4. Yazicizâde Muhammad Efendi (d. 855/1451). The author of a great work of poetry in Turkish entitled Muhammadiyya. A commentary on the Fusûs is also attributed to him, though according to certain biographers it was in fact his brother Ahmad Bîjân who wrote it.
5. Muhammad b. Hamza 'Aq Shams al-Dîn (d. 863/1459). One of the grandsons of Shihâb al-Dîn al-Suhrawardî, author of 'Awârif al-Ma'ârif and disciple of the celebrated saint Haji Bayram Walî, patron of the city of Ankara. He was the spiritual master of Muhammad Fâtih, conqueror of Istanbul. He wrote in Arabic a work entitled Daf' Matâ'in al-Sufiyya defending the ideas of Ibn 'Arabî and other Sufis.
6. Jamâl al-Khalwatî, Tchelebi Khalîfa (d. 912/1506). He commented on two verses of Ibn 'Arabî.
7. Muhyiddîn Muhammad al-Iskilîbî, Shaykh Yawsî (d. 920/ 1514). Father of the celebrated Ottoman Shaykh al-Islam Abû al-Su'ûd (Ebussud) Efendi (d. 982/1574). Citing al-Qûnawî, al-Jandî and al-Qâshânî, he wrote a commentary on the Wâridât of Badr al-Dîn al-Simâwî (d. 1420), who was himself an Akbarian author.
8. Idrîs al-Bitlisî (d. 926/1520). He is reported to have written a commentary on the Fusûs, but no copy of it has yet been found.
9. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Kamâl (d. /1543). Shaykh al-Islam of Selîm I and of Süleyman the Magnificent, and author of the famous fatwa which we have already discussed.
10. Bâlî Efendi, Sofyawî (d. 960/1553). He wrote a commentary on the Fusûs, published in Istanbul in AH 1309.
11. Üftâdé, Muhammad Muhyiddîn (d. 968/1580). He was from the city of Bursa, a famous saint and one of the great figures of the Jelwetiyya tarîqa. In his Wâridât, he records his spiritual links with the Shaykh al-Akbar.
12. 'Azîz Mahmûd Hudâyî (d. 1038/1629). A disciple of Üftâdé, and a celebrated Sufi poet, he wrote a Dîwân. He had close relations with the sultans of his time, and is still venerated as a saint. His tomb is in Üsküdar (Scutari) on the Asiatic coast of Istanbul. He alludes to or quotes Ibn 'Arabî in his works.
13. Nûr al-Dîn Muslih al-Dîn Mustafâ Efendi (d. 981/1578). He wrote a commentary on the Nusûs of al-Qunawî.
14. Ismâ'îl al-Anqarawî (d. 1041/1631). Famous commentator on the Mathnawî of Mawlânâ. He also translated the commentary of Jâmî on the Naqsh al-Fusûs into Turkish. He employs Akbarian terminology in his commentary.
15. 'Abd Allah al-Bosnawî (d. 1046/1636). One of the best-known commentators on the Fusûs. He wrote several short works to explain and uphold certain Akbarian ideas, whilst critically assessing 'Abd al-Karîm al-Jîlî. He wrote two commentaries on the Fusûs in Turkish and in Arabic. His Turkish commentary has been published twice, in 1252/1832 in Cairo and in 1290/1873 in Istanbul. It was translated into English by Bulent Rauf who attributed it to Ismâ'îl Haqqî Bursawî: Translation of and Commentary on Fusus al-Hikam, 4 volumes, Oxford, 1986 - 91. Al-Bosnawî is buried in Konya beside the tomb of al-Qunawî.
16. Sari 'Abd Allah Efendi (d. 1071/1660). He commented on certain phrases drawn from the Futûhât in his work entitled Mir'ât al-Asfiyâfî Sifât Malâmatiyya al-Asfiyâ. He also wrote a commentary on the Mathnawî of Mawlânâ.
17. Karabas Walî ('Alî 'Alâ al-Dîn Atwal) (d. 1102/1690). He wrote a work called Kâshif Asrâr al-Fusûs.
18. 'Uthmân Fadlî al-Ilâhî al-Atbâzârî (d. 1102/1690). Buried at Magosa inCyprus, and known by the Cypriots as "Qutb 'Uthmân". He wrote a commentaryon the Miftâh al-Ghayb of al-Qunawî and also made notes to the commentary of the Fâtiha by al-Qunawî. We also know of a commentary on a quatrain by Ibn 'Arabî.
19. Niyâzî-i Misrî (d. 1105/1693). He is one of the best known of the Turkish Sufi poets, and his Dîwân is very widespread.
20. Nasûhî Muhammad Efendi (d. 1130/1717). He is the most highly regarded disciple of Karabash Walî.
21. Ismâ'îl Haqqî al-Bursawî (d. 1137/1724). He was the disciple of 'Uthmân Fadlî al-Ilâhî and the author of the famous exegesis entitled Rûh al-Bayân, recently reprinted in ten volumes in Beirut. He was a great Akbarian author of the Jalwatiyya tarîqa who published numerous works in Turkish and Arabic. 
22. 'Abd al-Ghanî al-Nâblusî (d. 1143/1731). We can mention the name of the famous commentator on the Fusûs, a great Arab author, among the Ottoman authors. 
23. 'Abd Allah Salâhî al-'Ushshâqî (d. 1196/1781). He wrote a commentary on the Mawâqi' al-Nujûm of Ibn 'Arabî and also of a famous phrase of his in a short work entitled Miftâh al-Wujûd.
24. Al-Sayyid Muhammad Kamâl al-Dîn al-Harîrî (d. 1299/1881). He was the author of Tibyân Wasâ'il al-Haqâ'iq fî Bayân Salâsil al-Tarâ'iq, an encyclopaedic work which was the most complete study of the tarîqas till the end of the nineteenth century. He commented on the Salât al-Akbariyya and translated into Turkishal-Amr al-Marbût al-Muhkam of Ibn 'Arabî.
25. Muhammad Nûr al-'Arabî (d. 1305/1887). He commented on the Naqsh al-Fusûs, certain Akbarian Salât, and made a résumé of the works of Ibn 'Arabî.
26. Ahmad Diyâ' al-Dîn Gümüshânevî (al-Gumushkhânawî) (d. 1311/1893). He wrote a work in Arabic on Sufi and Akbarian terminology calledJâmi' al-Usûl, published in 1331in Cairo, also in an undated lithographed edition. 
27. Bursali Mehmed Tâhir Bey (d. 1926). He was a disciple of Kamâl al-Dîn al-Harîrî, mentioned above. He wrote in Turkish a book in three volumes on the Ottoman shaykhs, scholars and poets entitled Osmanli Müellifleri (Istanbul, 1333) which has served us in large part for the establishment of this list, and a biographical work in Turkish on Ibn 'Arabî: Terceme-i-Hâl ve Fadâ'il-i Shaykh-i Akbar, published twice in Istanbul.
28. Salahaddîn Yigitoglu (d. 1937). He translated and commented on the Fusûsand translated three short works by Ibn 'Arabî, all from manuscripts. The National Ministry of Education has requested permission from his heirs to publish his commentary on the Fusûs, but unfortunately this has not yet been granted.
29. Ahmed Avni Konuk (d. 1938). A mawlawî, composer of Turkish music, commentator in Turkish on the Fusûs and the Mathnawî. We (my greatly-missed colleague, Dr Selcuk Eraydin, who died in 1995, and I) have published his commentaryon the Fusûs in four volumes under the title, Fusûsu'l-Hikem Tercümeve Serhi (Marmara Üniversitesi, Ilahiyat Fakültesi Vakfi Yayinlari, Istanbul, 1987 - 92) and the commentary on al-Tadbîrât al-Ilâhiyya under the titleTadbîrât-i Ilâhiyye Tercüme we Serhi (edited by Mustafa Tahrali, Iz Yayinlari, Istanbul, 1992). With my colleague S. Eraydin, we have been preparing an edition of his commentary on the Mathnawî in 14 volumes, and I hope to see this project realized. The commentator uses Akbarian terminology throughout his commentary. In the one on the Fusûs he places at the end of certain sections verses of the Mathnawî which correspond to the subject treated.
30. Nûri Gencosman. He made a translation of the Fusûsin Turkish which was published by the National Ministry of Education (Ankara, 1952; 2nd edition, 1964).
31. Lastly we can mention the studies of Professor Nihat Keklik, professor of philosophy at the University of Istanbul, one a biography of Ibn 'Arabî and the other on the Futûhât: Muhyiddîn Ibnu'l-Arabî, Hayâti ve Cevresi (Istanbul, 1966); Ibnü'l-Arabî'nin Eserleri ve Kaynaklari icin Misdak olarakwl-Futûhât al Mekkiyyel-Mekkiyye (2 volumes, Istanbul, 1974 and 1980).
Many names of Akbarian authors who lived in the Ottoman era could be added to this list, but we have chosen some thirty of the best known, who wrote something directly related to the works of Ibn 'Arabî. There were certainly also shaykhs who never wrote anything, but who nevertheless followed the Akbarian doctrine. To consider the influence of Ibn 'Arabî over six centuries is, I believe, virtually the same as considering the history of Sufism in the whole Ottoman era, and that work remains to be done. The researchers of our day, Turkish or otherwise, begin by studying one person or another, or a part or an aspect of the six Ottoman centuries. One sees, again and again, that the intellectual teaching and the spiritual personality of Ibn 'Arabî has been present and alive from the moment he himself passed away into eternal life, since he had reached immortality whilst still in this world.
 We have been served on the subject of the wanderings of Ibn 'Arabî by the study of Claude Addas: Ibn 'Arabi ou la Quête du Soufre Rouge, Paris, 1989; Ibn 'Arabî, Les Soufis d'Andalousie (translated from Arabic by R. W. J. Austin, and French version by Gérard Leconte), Paris, 1979, introduction; and Nihat Keklik, Muhyiddin ibnül-Arabî, Hayâti ve Cevresi, Istanbul, 1966.
 Eva Meyerovitch, Thèmes Mystiques dans l'Oeuvre de Djalâl-ud-Dîn Rûmî. Principal Thesis for the Doctorate of Letters, University of Paris, 1968, pp. 13 - 16.
 Fuat Köprülü, Osmanli Devletinin Kurulusu, Ankara, 1959, pp. 83 - 102.
 Irfan Gündüz, Sadreddin Konevî'nin Es-Secerü'n-Nu'mâniyye fi'd-Devleti'l-Osmâniyye'yeye Yaptigi Serhin Degerlendirilmesi, Selcuk Dergisi, no. 4, Ocak, Konya, 1989, pp. 101 - 11.
 Hüseyin Atay, Ilmî Bir Tenkit Örnegi Olarak Ibn Kemal Pasa'niin Muhyiddin b. Arabbî Hakkinda Fetvâsi, Seyhulislam Ibn Kemal Sempozyumu, Tebligler ve Tartismalar, Türkiye Diyânet Vakfii Yayinlari, Ankara, 1986, pp. 267 - 9.
 'Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sha'rânî, al-Tabaqât al-Kubrâ, Cairo, 1954, vol. I, p. 188. (Al-Sha'rânî completed his book in 952/1544.)
 Koca Râgib Pasa, Tahkîk-i Tevfîk, Bibliothèque Süleymâniye, section Es'ad Ef., no. 2154, ff. 44a - 45a.
 Mehmet Bayrakdar, La Philosophie Mystique chez Dâwûd de Kayseri. Doctoral Thesis, Paris, 1975. Editions Ministère de la Culture, Série d'Ouvrages Culturels 163, Ankara, 1990, pp. 14 - 15.
 Mustafa Tahrali, Ahmad al-Rifâ'î, Sa Vie, Son Oeuvre et Sa Tarîqa. Doctoral thesis, Paris, 1973, pp. 352 - 4.
 Mahmut Erol Kiliç, Fusûsu'l-Hikem, article in the Encyclopedia of Islam (Türkiye Diyânet Vakfi Islâm Ansiklopedisi), Istanbul, vol. XIV, p. 234. See also his article on al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya in the same volume, pp. 251 - 7. The two articles contain the most extensive information on the influence of the teachings of Ibn 'Arabî in the Ottoman realms.
 See Sâkib Yildiz, Exégète Turc Ismâ'îl Haqqî Bursawî, Sa Vie, Ses Oeuvres et la Méthode dans son Tafsîr Rûh al-Bayan. Doctoral thesis, Paris, 1973.
 See Bakrî Aladdin, Abdulganî al-Nâblusî, Oeuvre, Vie et Doctrine, Doctoral thesis, Paris, 1985.
 See also concerning this author and his works the note of Michel Chodkiewicz in Ecrits Spirituels, Paris, 1982, p. 192, n. 74.