This is the premiere biography of Ibn Arabi in the English language. Despite some minor mistakes, Claude Addas has a clear respect and veneration for...moreThis is the premiere biography of Ibn Arabi in the English language. Despite some minor mistakes, Claude Addas has a clear respect and veneration for Ibn Arabi that is perhaps not found with others. For that reason, Claude Addas plays the role as a narrator, instead of the usual interpreter that we usually get with respect to Shaykh Muhyi al-Din. I loaned this book out to a friend to read and I regret not replacing it. (less)
This is probably the most accessible treatise by Ibn Arabi that I've had the good pleasure to have read. That may be due to Shaykh Tosun Bayrak's tran...moreThis is probably the most accessible treatise by Ibn Arabi that I've had the good pleasure to have read. That may be due to Shaykh Tosun Bayrak's translation style. It has been a while since I have read it, but I do recall that I enjoined all three selections that are in this publication. This is translation of Ibn Arabi's that I want to read again.(less)
Shortly after my initial conversion, I was given this book by a friend as my introduction to the discipline of tasawwuf. From what I recall, this is I...moreShortly after my initial conversion, I was given this book by a friend as my introduction to the discipline of tasawwuf. From what I recall, this is Ibn Arabi's letter to one of his most senior students, describing the spiritual processes of the khalwa (spiritual seclusion) - i.e., not something you should be giving to someone learning how to pray. Needless to say, it didn't understand a word of it at the time but it nonetheless had the profound effect of wetting my appetite for the future. It is perhaps the only book that I still possess from my college days. That being said, I will have to refrain from a proper review and rating at this time.(less)
This is one of those books that you have to read from time to time. It is a exposition of tawhid at the uppermost levels of human language and compreh...moreThis is one of those books that you have to read from time to time. It is a exposition of tawhid at the uppermost levels of human language and comprehension. This is not a theological text, but a metaphysical treatise written by three spiritual masters. The actual Risala fi al-Tawhid itself is only five pages, while the entire book is one hundred, and Muhtar Holland provides very little commentary. Allah...(less)
DISCLAIMER: Because of my own personal affinity to the author and what this book means to me practically, I was hesitant to write anything at all. Wha...moreDISCLAIMER: Because of my own personal affinity to the author and what this book means to me practically, I was hesitant to write anything at all. What follows, therefore, is more of a devotional summary than a literary review.
Shaykh Nuh said this book is part of his legacy and that is indeed what it is. It is composed of three parts, which he titles: Men of the Path, The Way and Bearings.
"Men of the Path" is composed of five original biographies of five Sufis that the author personally met and spent much time in the company of. The first is of his own mentor, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri. He then gives the biographies of three other Shadhilis connected to Shaykh al-Hashimi (Shaykh Abd al-Wakil Durubi, Shaykh Yunus and Shaykh Adel) and concludes with a biography of his wife's shaykh, Hajji Baba, a traditional old school Turkish Naqshbandi whom he affectionately refers to as "The Last Ottoman". Far from being a simple biography, it contains personal insights and reflections that reveal a level of humanity of the author that is quite refreshing and unusual, though just as instructive.
"The Way" is a re-write of Tariqa Notes and serves a general manual of the Sufi life that the author teaches and lives himself. In addition to the previous material, the author included chapters on family life, past times (i.e. internet usage, restaurants, music, etc.) and friends, each giving injunctions relating directly to one's suluk (spiritual progress). That being said, perhaps the most brilliant aspect of the book is a chapter called "The Shadhili Rule" which is an original point-by-point summary of the path along the lines of Sidi Ahmad Zarruq's Usul al-Tariqa and rivals anything like it that has been written. It is in brief, a code of ethics, simplified and refined, summarizing the entire spiritual travel of the author that is able to be penned. As to the importance and practicality of this section, the author states:
These usul are the basis of tawfiq in this path, and whoever exalts them will find they exalt him. Simply put, the tariqa is a means to raise the veil between the slave and Allah. Its condition is the above rule, which comprises the validity of one's Islamic faith and practice; the traditional Sufi method of knowledge ('ilm), practice ('amal), and resultant spiritual state (hal); and the three great aims of suluk: repentance (tawba), nonattachment to other than Allah (zuhd), and tahqiq al-'ubudiyya or realizing one's slavehood. Allah has created the path, the sheikh and the salik to allow this to happen.
This entire section for aspirants delineates the expectations and goals one should have and for those unfamiliar with the Hashimi Order, lays out what exactly this tariqa thing is all about from an insiders perspective.
Lasty, "Bearings" is a collection of articles that answer what are perhaps the most important (and perhaps most controversial) contemporary theological questions relating to the spiritual life. Of this section perhaps the most profound is a 30-page answer to the issue of theodicy (the problem of evil) from a practical perspective.
In summary, anyone who is interested in what Orthodox Sufism looks like in the 20th century, one could do a lot worse. As for those already connected to the author, it is a manual for what we should be doing and a model of what we should eventually become.(less)