Cem's Reviews > Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-'Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity

Imaginal Worlds by William C. Chittick
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Aug 02, 11


It is important to note that Ibn Arabi is not a theologian, though one can't say he is outside of theology. Rather he explores the bridges (berzah) in between the ontology and epistemology of everything there is and there might be. Considering the importance he bestows on the imagination and the discovery through it (keşf) one might even dare to call him a spiritualist. However, it is also paramount that Ibn Arabi has to be read in the light of the Qor'an and Islam and not be taken in the light of a universal idea of mysticism. Though his ideas are indeed universal, he is closely bonded to Islam, and no matter how unorthodox his concepts may seem, he always refers back to the Qor'an or the Hadith. In this sense, W. Chittick's book is, in my opinion, a highly rewarding work that steers clear of de-contextualizing Ibn Arabi's thoughts under modern (or postmodern) ways of reading. One must always be humble with Ibn Arabi though. As a medievalist friend of mine pointed out, Ibn Arabi is such a mountain that one has to have read the 150000 and more pages he has written, have devoured the Qor'an and have a mastery over 13 century Arabic. A daunting task indeed... Though I would still highly recommend this jewel.
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