Customer Review

18 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book to read, April 25, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn Al-Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination (Hardcover)
This is a great book for any one who is interested in true no nonsense spiritualism. Ibne Arabi as always proves himself a true master of this path. I would like to mention a couple of points which has left me confused as to the real position of this great master. He puts a great deal of emphasis on the fact that a true "traveler" is always mindful of the " Sacred Laws" of Islam and never for a moment undermines them. One might ask the question as to what is "Sacred Laws" and what are the sources of them. Quran rarely mentions anything about the Laws in a detailed fashion and those hadiths left from Prophet are uncertain , and more importantly there has never been much agreement about what the Sacred Laws are among the jurisprudence. Four canonical schools among the jurisprudence were established , at the expense of other schools, due to the fact that there was almost a chaos due to many schools of Law each with their own version of "Sacred Laws". So it seems that "Sacred Law" is more or less in the eye of the beholder and very much " relative". Moreover it is very confusing that Ibne Arabi should accept the very notion of " four cannonical" schools of law randomly picked by the ruler of the time. An indication that Ibne Arabi perhaps avoided any topic which would have brought him face to face with the political powers of his time. The second confusing aspect of Ibne Arabi is his almost total silence in regards to socio-political aspect of Islam and Islamic society. He never touches upon the early history of Islam and the shortcoming of the "Companions" of the Prophet as though he either sees no problem with that history at all or he is afraid of a backlash. It is unlikely that a man like Ibne Arabi would give a blank check and a money back guaranty entry to heaven to Mohammad's companions irrespective of their socio-political behavior. Why is it so important that we put the companions of the prophet under a microscope? It is because their behavior is particularly relevant to all moslems since according to a hadith attributed to Muhammad " my companion are like stars, any which one one follows is lead to truth". Does Ibne Arabi accept this hadith? How does he , or better yet Prophet Muhammad himself, justify the turmoil and killings and political injustice which was exercised by companions after Mohammed's death? Moslems rarely touch upon this aspect of their history and almost never discuss it and Ibne Arabi, unfortunatly, seems to fall under the same category.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 1, 2007 11:21:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2008 5:26:37 PM PDT
Munir says:
Friend: Your "couple of points" reveal a woeful ignorance about the Sunni Muslim tradition. For starters, the fact that there are 4 schools of law (in Sunni Islam) does not make following the Sacred Law "relative," (since all are deemed valid) nor were they picked by any ruler- indeed historically jurists of these schools were loathe to accept political positions. (Incidently, the latter two facts are among the foremost strengths of Sunni Islam). As for "the turmoil and killings and political injustice," this may be evident to you, but given that Ibn Arabi was not a Shia, I see no reason why he would share such a view. Read "Hayatus Sahabah" if you care to see another view.

By the way, you can't hope for any benefit from the higher aspects of Islam if you have contempt for the basics...which explains the confusion you refer to.
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