Ibn ‘Arabi—born in 1165 in Andalusia and died in 1240 in Damascus—was recognised in his lifetime as al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the supreme spiritual Master. Over a period of eight centuries he has exerted a profound influence on Islamic mysticism.
In recent years a number of important studies have helped acquaint the Western reader with Ibn ‘Arabi’s metaphysics and this process is now greatly enhanced by the present volume, in which Michael Chodkiewicz explores for the first time the Master’s ‘hagiology’ or teaching on sainthood. Founded on a careful analysis of the relevant texts, Chodkiewicz’s work examines this essential aspect of Ibn ‘Arabi’s doctrine of sainthood, defining the nature and function of sainthood, while also specifying the criteria for a typology of saints based on the notion of prophetic inheritance.
Michel Chodkiewicz was Director of Studies at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
‘Chodkiewicz unravels the interwoven strands of Ibn ‘Arabi’s thought with a blend of knowledge, intellectual scruple and intelligence… this ability must be praised… it is very instructive and light-years away from the apologetics and the indictments of Islam which make up most of the current works on the subject.’
‘This is by far the best available explanation of the central importance of sanctity for understanding both the practical and the theoretical teachings of Sufism.’
‘An extraordinarily good book about an extremely difficult thinker… Chodkiewicz not only knows the texts remarkably well, but also avoids and rejects certain errors of perspective common among other scholars.’