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Philosophical Sufism

Philosophical Sufism

An Introduction to the School of Ibn Al-'Arabi

Analyzing the intersection between Sufism and philosophy, this volume is a sweeping examination of the mystical philosophy of Muḥyī-l-Dīn Ibn al-ʿArabī (d. 637/1240), one of the most influential and original thinkers of the Islamic world. This book systematically covers Ibn al-ʿArabī’s ontology, theology, epistemology, teleology, spiritual anthropology and eschatology.

While philosophy uses deductive reasoning to discover the fundamental nature of existence and Sufism relies on spiritual experience, it was not until the school of Ibn al-ʿArabī that philosophy and Sufism converged into a single framework by elaborating spiritual doctrines in precise philosophical language. Contextualizing the historical development of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s school, the work draws from the earliest commentators of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s oeuvre, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī (d. 673/1274), ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Kāshānī (d. ca. 730/1330) and Dawūd al-Qayṣarī (d. 751/1350), but also draws from the medieval heirs of his doctrines Sayyid Ḥaydar Āmulī (d. 787/1385), the pivotal intellectual and mystical figure of Persia who recast philosophical Sufism within the framework of Twelver Shīʿism and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492), the key figure in the dissemination of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s ideas in the Persianate world as well as the Ottoman Empire, India, China and East Asia via Central Asia.

Lucidly written and comprehensive in scope, with careful treatments of the key authors, Philosophical Sufism is a highly accessible introductory text for students and researchers interested in Islam, philosophy, religion and the Middle East.

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