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Library Report - April 2002

This is a list of the highlights of library acquisitions over the past nine months. Many other books have been received, and a complete list is available on request. As always, we thank all those who have donated material; the growth of the library depends upon your generosity and your help is much appreciated.

Printed - recently published

Le Livre du Mîm, du Wâw et du Nûn

Transl. Charles-André Gilis, al-Bouraq, Beirut, 2002., 108 pp, Arabic and French.

A complete translation of a work which has not previously been brought into any European language. It is in two parts, the first being a general introduction to the science of letters, the second a particular exposition on the nine letters contained in the words mîm, wâw and nûn. With a parallel Arabic text taken from a very good manuscript, Shehit Ali 2813, written by Ayyûb b. Badr and approved by Ibn 'Arabî.

Sharh Fusûs al-hikam

By Sâ'in al-dîn Turka al-Isfahânî, edited Muhsin Baydâfî. Vols 1-2, Hb, 1609 pp., Arabic.

A new edition, published in Iran, of an early (15th century) commentary on the Fusûs. Sâ'in al-dîn (d. 1432) was an important Akbarian philosopher/mystic who lived in the eastern provinces of Islam (Isfahan, Hamadan and Herat) in the turbulent times of the early Timurids. According to the comprehensive introduction to his life and works given in the book, he had contact with al-Fanârî (d. 1430), a major Ottoman transmitter of the ideas of Ibn 'Arabî and Sadr al-dîn Qûnawî.

Ibn 'Arabî: L'initiation a la futuwwa

by Laila Khalifa. Al-Bouraq, 2001, Paris. Hb, 362 pp., French.

A study of the concept of futuwwa in Ibn 'Arabî's work, with particular reference to Chapters 42, 146 and 147 of the Futuhât. Futuwwa is a complex, pre-Islamic concept that became imbued with spiritual significance in the Sufi tradition. Based on the word for 'youth' (fatâ) it has connotations of generosity, nobility, wisdom and fidelity, and for Ibn 'Arabî is especially a reference to the fatâ upon whose form he 'read' the Futûhât al-Makkiyya. Laila Khalifa says: "the initiation of the futuwwa consists essentially of reviving your true nature (fitra) by renewing the pre-existent pact with God (Allah)..." (p. 25).

Ibn 'Arabî and Modern Thought

by Peter Coates. Anqa Publishers, Oxford, 2002. Hb & Pb., 203 pp., English.

An examination of certain aspects of contemporary thought - philosophy, social science and psychology - in the light of Ibn 'Arabî's metaphysics. Sub-titled, 'the history of taking metaphysics seriously' it also provides an overview of philosophy from the Greeks onward and the emergence of modernity. Concentrating particularly upon Ibn 'Arabî's theory of knowledge, it points to the extraordinary ability of his vision to "reconceptualise modernity's own self-descriptions and understandings and to bring out hitherto unnoticed features of its landscape".

Manjhan Madhumâlatî

by Mîr Sayyid Manhan Shattârî Râjgîrî.Trans. Aditya Behl and Simon Weightman. Oxford University Press, 2000. Pb, 278 pp., English.

An excellent translation (in an ordinary paperback edition, therefore cheap for a change) of a beautiful 16th century Indian mystical romance, written by a member of the Shattarî Sufi order of northern India. At first glance it looks like a work of Hindî or Sanskrit literature, but Weightman's extensive introduction and notes make it clear that it is also an exposition of Akbarian principles, particularly the 'emanationist cosmology' of Ibn 'Arabi and his school based on the principle of "... I loved to be known", demonstrating their great influence in India from this period onward.

La Prière sur le Défunt dans l'Enseignment d'Ibn Arabî

transl. Charles-André Gilis. Les Editions Albouraq, Paris, 2001, Paris. Pb., 102 pp., French.

An exposition based upon Chapter 69 of the Futûhât on the theme of prayers for the dead, including long sections of translation.

Mujeres de luz: la mîstica feminina y lo femenino en la mistica

Edited byPablo Beneito, Editorial Trotto, 2001, Madrid. Pb, 298 pp., Spanish.

Based on a conference in Avila in 1999, on the theme "Women of Light", this compilation consists of 16 papers, including contributions by Paul Fenton, Luce Lopez-Baralt, Sachiko Murata and Maurice Gloton. Of special interest are Michael Sells on Nizam, Ibn 'Arabî and Marguerite Porête; Souad Hakim on Sainthood and femininity in the life and work of Ibn 'Arabî, and Julian of Norwich: All shall be well by Cecilia Twinch.

Aladdin's Lamp: Sultan Alâeddin Keykubâd and the Art of the Anatolian Seljuks

Yapi Kredi, 2001, Istanbul. Pb, 167 pp., English and Turkish.

The full-colour catalogue of an exhibition mounted in Istanbul in 2001 on the art of Anatolia during the time of Ibn 'Arabî. This was a vibrant culture under which were created the powerful poetical works of Rumi and Attar and the great gates and fortresses still to be seen in Konya, Kayseri and Sivas. It embraced Sufi ideas, and recent research connects the development of its beautiful decorative motifs to diagrams in the Futûhât.

Le Livre des Haltes

, by 'Abd al-Qâdîr al-Jazâ'irî, trans. Michel Lagarde. Brill, Leiden, 2000. Hb, 632 pp., French.

The first of a three volume translation of the complete K. al-Mawâqif of 'Abd al-Qâdir al-Jazâ'irî (1808-1883), the 19th century soldier/mystic who is one of the great modern followers of Ibn 'Arabi. The Mawâqif is his major work, consisting of a series of commentaries upon verses from the Qur'ân or hadîth; this volume contains 215, whilst the forthcoming volumes two and three contain 83 and 74 resp. Beautifully produced by Brill, this is not at all a cheap book!

Rumi, Past and Present, East and West

by Franklin D. Lewis, Oneworld, Oxford, 2000. Hb. 686pp., English.

A truly comprehensive study of Rumî's life and work, which draws upon recently published works in Persian such as the Maqâlât of Shamsî Tabriz to come up with an historical (as opposed to hagiagraphical) biography, plus sections on the lives of his father and teachers, his work (there are many new translations of his poems) and the subsequent history of the Mevlevi order. This is a measured study, which gives a fair account of the evidence for the interaction with Ibn 'Arabî and Sadr al-dîn Qûnawî.

There are so many translations coming into modern Turkish that it becomes impossible to keep up. To mention some particularly good ones; Mahmud Kanik, a member of the Society, has produced:

Marifet ve Hikmet

from the Futûhât

Fenâ Risâlesi

K. Fanâ' fi-l Mashâhid

whilst Ekrem Demirli from the University of Maramara in Istanbul has translated two major works of Sadr al-dîn Qûnawî:

Fâtiha Suresi Tefsiri

(Ijâza al-Bayân)

Kirk Hadis Sherhi

Sharh al-Hadîth al-Arba'in, all published by Iz Yayincilik, Istanbul, 2002.

Recently acquired

Islam and the Living Law: the Ibn 'Arabî approach

by Eric Winkel. Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1997. Hb., 115 pp., English.

An excellent examination of Ibn 'Arabî's approach to fiqh based upon Winkel's long study of the five chapters (68-72) of the Futuhât devoted to the pillars of Islam. He shows the radical nature of Ibn 'Arabi's approach to the legal judgement, based as it is upon his notion of hukm, which "recovers [the] original, humanistic perspective of divine guidance... whereas fundamentalism silences ambiguity (and thereby silences the Divine)." He considers such cases as the covering of women, ritual purity and fasting.


Ed. Clayer, Popovic and Zarcone. Isis, 1998, Istanbul. Hb., 326 pp., French.

A collection of essays on the theme of the malamiya order, in the Ottoman Empire, India and the Balkans. Includes essays by Michel Chodkiewicz, (Les Malâmiyya dans la doctrine d'Ibn 'Arabî), Roger Deladrière and Hamid Algar.

Majmu'a al-ahzâb Ibn 'Arabî

Hb., 624pp., Arabic.

A collection of prayers by Ibn 'Arabî, including the only printed version of the Wird. Part of a three volume set which includes Majmu'a al-ahzâb Shâdhiliyya, and Majmu'a al-ahzâb Naqshbandiyya.

Istilâhsât al-Sûfiyya

by Ibn 'Arabî, translated by A Saleh Hamdan, Maktaba Madbûla, 1999, Cairo. Pb., 60 pp., Arabic/English/French.

The Arabic text with a translation into English and French. But still based upon the very inaccurate printed edition of the text, so no real improvement over the versions we already have, for example in JMIAS Volume 3.

Lawâzim al-hubb al-Ilâhî

attributed to Ibn 'Arabî, edited by Muwaffaw Fawrî al-Jabr. Damascus, 1998. Pb, 111pp., Arabic.

A selection of texts by Ibn 'Arabî on the theme of love, mostly taken from Chapter 78 of the Futuhât. At first glance an exciting compilation, it turns out to be a disappointment; Gerald Elmore, whose review will appear in the next issue of the Society's journal, has ascertained that most of the material has been taken more or less verbatim from Mahmûd al-Ghurâb's Al-hubb wa-l-mahabbah al-ilâhîya, (Damscus 1983) although the editor references it to an unidentified manuscript.

Articles recently received

The Reception of Sufism by the West: Conjectures and Certitudes

by Michel Chodkiewicz. Sufi Magazine, Issue 53, 2002, pp. 35-43, English.

A reprint from The Introduction of Arabic Philosophy into Europe, ed. Butterworth and Kessel, Leiden, Brill, 1994. A fascinating overview which discusses the possible influence (or absence of influence) of Ibn 'Arabî on the medieval Christian and Jewish traditions.

Les Dominicains et les mondes musulmans by Michel Chodkiewicz

Mémoire Dominicaine, No. 15, 2001. French.

A comparison between the thought of Ibn 'Arabi and the great Dominican Meister Eckhardt (1260-1327).

Shaykh 'Abd al-'Azîz al-Mahdawî, Ibn 'Arabî's Mentor

by Gerald Elmore. Journal of the American Oriental Society, 121.4, 2001, pp. 593-614, English.

Examines all the available information on one of Ibn 'Arabî's main teachers, to whom he addressed the Ruh al-Quds and the first version of the Futûhât.

11th September 2001: The answer out of love

by Peter Young. Glasnik, 9-10, 2001, pp. 815-817, Serbo-Croat.

A paper by Peter Young written for the Beshara School web-site and translated by Dr Hafiz Nevad Khateran

An Understanding of Islam that welcomes all humanity

by Mahmud Kiliç, Altinoluk, May 2001, pp.18-32, English.

A discussion, based on the Turkish Sufi tradition, from a leading contemporary Akbarian.

Realisation of 'Self' (anâ) in Islamic Mysticism; the Mystical Experience of 'Umar Ibn al-Fârid (576/1181-632/1235)

by Guiseppe Scattolin. Mélange de l'Université Saint Joseph, Vol. 54, 1995-6, pp. 110 -148.

A good discussion of the intellectual (sufi) context in which Ibn al-Fârid wrote, especially the idea of the 'Perfect Man'. Includes a summary of the thought of Ibn 'Arabî and the relationship between the two thinkers.


The new French journal Science Sacrée

promises to be devoted almost entirely to the works of Ibn 'Arabî, bringing into print hitherto unpublished material by Michel Valsan. The first issue (2001) includes his Etude Introductive pour la présentation et la traduction de Futûhât, pp. 37-49.

The Iqbal Review

continues to publish a wealth of relevant material. We are a little behind in our volumes, but recently received copies include Can the Islamic intellectual heritage be recovered? by William Chittick (Oct., 1998, pp. 926): The Sufi trobar clus and Spanish mysticsm: a shared symbolism (parts 2-3), Luce Lopez-Baralt , (Apr. and Oct., 1998, pp. 71-111 and 27-58 resp.): Divine Beatitude: Supreme archetype of aesthetic experience by Reza Shah Kazemi, (Oct., 1999, pp. 51-58): Titus Burckhardt (1908-1984): an outline of his life and work, M. Suheyl Umar (Oct., 1999, pp. 123-146.)

The French publication, Soufisme

devoted a whole issue to the life and work of Renée Guenon, including his unedited letters. (No. 6, 2001, published by Al-Bouraq.)

The Syrian publication Al-Turâth Al-Arabî

Magazine devoted an issue (No. 80, 2000) to Ibn 'Arabî, including Mafhûm al-mar'a fî fikr Ibn 'Arabî (The understanding of women in the thought of Ibn 'Arabî), Dr Husayn al-Sadîq, pp. 46-54, al-Jalâl wa al-Jamâl fî shi'r Ibn 'Arabî (Majesty and Beauty in the poetry of Ibn 'Arabî), Dr M. 'Alî Adharsheb, pp. 84-92 : Waqfa ma' al-Shaykh Ibn 'Arabî wa mu'llafâtihi (Ibn 'Arabî and his writings), pp. 93-104.