Shaikh-e-Akbar Mohi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi
Shaikh-e-Akbar Mohi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi
Mohi-ud Din Ibn Arabi, who is known as the father of Islamic mysticism, was born on the 27th of Ramadan in 560 H (1165 – 1240 AD) in Andalusia, or present-day Spain.
There are two believes about the personality of this great man and great scholar of the Islamic world:
1- Some people consider him as an atheist and an infidel and call him cursed!
2- Some people consider him the greatest monotheist but also a guardian of God.
But for the greatness of this great man, it is enough that after a few hundred years of his death, there are still a lot of discussions about his character. Allameh Hassanzadeh Amoli said, “knowledge has been rolled in the hands of two people, one is Mohi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi and the other is Mulla Sadra”. The best student of Ibn Arabi, Ṣadr al-Din al-Qunawi, met with him in a divine vision after the death of Ibn Arabi and he said, “I told Ibn Arabi, O My master, if you are human, others are nothing”!
Many people accuse Ibn Arabi of being the enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt. On the other hand, some scholars say that he was a Shiite (Shia 12 Imams). To investigate what Ibn Arabi’s religion was, we must examine his place of residence. Ibn Arabi lived in a place where most of the people were Sunni Muslims. In such a place, it is very difficult for anyone to say clearly that I am a Shia Muslim. In order to better understand the conditions in which he lived at that time; we refer to the words that Allameh Sha’rani quoted from Ibn Arabi.
Allameh Sha’rani quotes from Ibn Arabi that he said, “I once recited a narration from Ibn ‘Abbas to the people in which Ibn’ Abbas says that the Prophet Muhammad (S) sometimes used to gather his prayers when he was not traveling. (Sunni people separate prayers, but the Shia people believe that, for example, the noon and afternoon prayers can be done together), I only said a narration from Prophet Muhammad (S) but there was so much sedition that I had to issue a fatwa stating that whoever gathers the noon and evening prayers together is an infidel”.
In such circumstances, it is very difficult for Ibn Arabi to clearly state his religion, which was the Shia of the Twelve Imams. However, in many of his books, he has cleverly declared that he is a Shia Muslim. Some of them are mentioned below:
- In the fourth volume of the book of “Fotohat”, in the section on special poles of Muhammad (S) says: “In universe there are the 12 poles (Pole: Highest Rank Human in Sufism). The Muslims revolves around their existence just as a physical world revolves around 12 towers. The most perfect of them has the outward and the inward caliph. I know all of them, but I do not mention their names because they forbade me to do so. I know why I should not reveal their name (because my life is in danger). He goes on and describes the characteristics of all the poles.” There are many hadiths from the Sunni scholars that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “The successors after me are twelve, the last of whom is Mahdi (AJ)”.
- In the third volume of the book of “Fotohat”, he has said about the celestial towers: “Shia Muslims believe in the twelve infallible Imams, but they do not know that they are helped by this celestial tower and the whole world is under their command” (like how our body is under our command).
- In the fourth volume of the book of “Fotohat”, he talks about the representative of Prophet Muhammad (S): “Although Abu Bakr became the caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib was the representative of the Messenger of God, just as Abu Bakr performed the Hajj with the people in Mecca, but Ali ibn Abi Talib represented Prophet Muhammad (S) and recited Surah Tawbah for the people”. (When the verses of Surah At-Tawbah were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (S), He sent Abu Bakr to Mecca to recite these verses for the people of Mecca. After a while another revelation came to him that “Only people from Ahl al-Bayt can represent you for this”, therefore, Prophet Muhammad (S) sent Amir al-Mu’minin to Mecca to take the verses from Abu Bakr and recite them to the people, and when Imam Ali (A) reached them, Abu Bakr had completed the Hajj with the people, so Imam Ali took the verses from him and recited verses for the people of Mecca. Abu Bakr became upset and when he came back to Madinah, asked why that happened).
- Ibn Arabi has mentioned a lot about 12th Pole, and the characteristics of this person in his books, which if we collect them, will become a small book. Ibn Arabi in ‘The ministers of Mahdi (AJ)’ said: “God has made 12th Pole infallible and he only rules with justice. All visible and invisible worlds are under his command. God strengthens his religion through him. Sometimes the scholars of the Shafe’i, Maliki, Hanafi, and Hanbali religions oppose him. Undoubtedly, anyone who opposes this person is a sinner”. Elsewhere, Ibn Arabi says: When Mahdi (AJ) appears, he will have no enemy except the religion scholars.
- Ibn Arabi says in the third volume of the “Fotohat”: “Know that for God, there is a caliph who will appear and fill the earth with goodness and justice after oppression. If there is one day left in the world, God will make it so long that his caliph will appear between ‘Pillar’ and ‘Authority’ in Ka’ba. He is from the family of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and is one of the children of Fatima Zahra (A), and his name is the name of Prophet Muhammad (S), and his ancestor is Hussain ibn Ali. His morals are like those of Prophet Muhammad (S) but he is one step lower than him, and the happiest people towards him are from Kufa. He is already born and alive at this time and I also saw him. I talked to Mahdi (AJ) and I saw the sign of guardianship in him so there is no guardian unless everyone must have his approval”. Elsewhere, he says that “I met Mahdi (A) together with Khidr (A) and with the permission of Khidr (A), I pledged allegiance to Imam Mahdi (A).
- Ibn Arabi in the fourth volume of the book of “Fotohat” about betrayal to the Messenger of God says: “Betrayal to Prophet Muhammad (S) is that you do not have the love of Ahl al-Bayt because Prophet Muhammad (S) himself is from Ahl al-Bayt. The one who does not love his family (Ahl al-Bayt) does not love him. In short, loving the Ahl al-Bayt is obligatory. Whoever betrays the Ahl al-Bayt has betrayed the Messenger of God. One might say that his wives were also members of the Ahl al-Bayt. But Ibn Arabi in his book “Shajareh Kawn” says that “the Ahl al-Bayt are only 5 people: Muhammad (S), Ali (A), Fatimah (A), Hassan (A), Hussain (A)”.
- Ibn Arabi in one of his books says: “The first truth that was issued from God Almighty is a truth which is called “Muhammadi truth”. The closest person to the rank and position of Prophet Muhammad (S) is Ali ibn Abi Talib who is the Imam of the World, and he is the secret of all the prophets.
- In one of his books, Ibn Arabi sends greetings and “Salawat” (blessings) to the fourteen infallibles and shows his devotion to them. Those who recite these Salawat will understand the extent of Ibn Arabi’s devotion and his knowledge of the fourteen infallibles.
- One of Ibn Arabi’s masters was a lady named Fatima, who was a descendant of Imam Sadiq (the sixth Imam of the Shia 12 Imams). He pointed to many miracles (Keramat) from her in his book. Ibn Arabi says that “he received his book “Fusus al Hikam” from the Prophet Muhammad (S) and says: “Do not accept it, if you have heard anything from someone who disagreed with my words, except what Imam Mahdi (AJ) will say, which his words is much higher and if you see him, send my greetings to him”.
I do not believe anyone is infallible except fourteen infallibles. Any scholar or mystic may make a mistake, but anyone who reads his books will understand that he was a Shia of the Twelve Imams.
I would like to say that I have not really found anyone equal to Ibn Arabi (apart from Allameh Hassanzadeh) in the field of knowledge and enlightenment of the word in the Islamic world after 14 infallibles (14 Ma’sumin). Many of our intuitions and divine visions were and are when studying the books of Ibn Arabi.
Mohi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi was a descendant of Hatim Ta’i, and it seems that Hatim’s generosity, which is famous among Arabs and non-Arabs, has appeared in him in epistemological truths that he has presented such epistemological truths to the seeker of knowledge.
May God reward him, and his soul be in peace.
All praise is to God to the extent that He deserves it.