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Quest for the Red Sulphur: The Life of Ibn 'Arabi (Islamic Texts Society Golden Palm)

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Distinguished by its meticulous care for details...full of trustworthy information...more than a translation." -- Journal of Islamic Studies

"The first serious biography of the most influential figure in the history of Islamic mysticism." -- The Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Claude Addas is a scholar of Ibn Arabi and the author of" Quest for the Red Sulphur: The Life of Ibn Arabi" (published by The Islamic Texts Society, 1993).


Peter Kingsley, Ph.D., recently moved to the United States from Canada and lives with his wife in New Mexico. He is a writer who works to bring together two spheres that for so long have been kept wide apart: the world of direct mystical experience and the world of scholarship. The recipient of many academic awards and honors both in England and in Canada, he is currently an honorary professor at the University of New Mexico (as well as at Simon Fraser University, Canada) and lectures widely throughout North America.
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Product Details

  • Series: Islamic Texts Society Golden Palm
  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Islamic Texts Society (December 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946621446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946621446
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,030,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the most comprehensive biography in the English language. The detail of this book is realy remarkable. Not only does the author cover the life and teachings of ibn Arabi but also places him in his historical context.

The book details the social and political climate of the time that ibn Arabi lived from where he grew up, his ancestors, his teachers, what he studied and who he studied with, the subjects taught at the time, the places he travelled and the Sheikhs that he met with.

There is a comprehensive study of the teachings of ibn Arabi such as wahdat al-wajud and to some extent his influence on the later Islamic tradition.

Well worth buying, probably the best you can find.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book in high hopes of learning more about sufism and about Ibn 'Arabi. The cover art is fabulous, and the title quite provocative, with its alchemical implications (which would be highly relevant to this time period). Yet what the red sulphur means in this instance is not chemical at all, but a person of rare worth, which is what 'Arabi spent his life seeking, and also what he apparently became, at least to many students. Author Addas adds a few pages here and there of general historical background, mostly about Andalusia and Islamic Spain which had reached its pinnacle right around the lifetime of 'Arabi. But by far most of the book is the painful recounting of who 'Arabi met, who he might have met, or possibly not met, where he went, what month it may have been, what other scholars got wrong about the year or location of one of these speculations or facts, and other endless tedious detail. For scholars, this may be rich and fertile material; for the general reader it is not. And most unfortunately, in marked contrast to the nitpicking historiography, there is neither a properly critical attitude towards the endless grandiloquent claims 'Arabi made about talking with Jesus, to God, being the second coming of Muhammad, being one of the four pillars of Islam, taking night journeys to heaven and so forth and so on, nor does this book present a truly inspired rendition of 'Arabi's philosophy, as one might find in "The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam's Mystical Tradition", by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, at least in its first few chapters. The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam's Mystical Tradition
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful Book.
Will be re-reading several times over. There is some much info to correlate with Ibn Arabi's previous works.
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Format: Hardcover
The book provides detailed information on Sheikh Muhyiddin 'Arabi but having read the book twice, I felt that the author overstates the Sheikh. In chapter 6 "Fez" Ascention Page 159 she clearly enlarges beyond bounds and states that "The Muhammadan Seal is not a prophet. From a certain point of view he is more than that, because in his own person he represents or embodies the totality of the sainthood of all the prophets."
This sentence is certainly a big error in the simplest term where you may no doubt call it a heresy.
She also criticizes Saint Imam Sha'rani with serious subjectivity.
I would definitely prefer to read Sheikh's own books instead.
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By KoKo on January 1, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favorite books. Tends to be expensive, but well worth it.
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