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The Bezels of Wisdom The Bezels of Wisdom by Ibn Arabi
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“Know that that which is referred to as other-than-Allah, or the
universe, is related to Allah as the shadow is related to the person. The universe is the shadow
of Allah.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“If it had not been for this love, the universe would not have appeared in its source. Its
movement from non-existence to existence is the movement of the love of the One who
brings into existence for this purpose. The universe also loves to witness itself in existence as
it was witnessed in immutability. Thus by every aspect, the movement from immutable non-
existence to the existence of the sources is a movement of love, both in respect of Allah and
in respect to itself.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“When a man loves a woman, he desires union, that is, the goal of union which exists in love.
In the elemental form, there is no greater union than marriage. (10) By this appetite
encompasses all parts. For that reason, complete ritual washing is prescribed after
intercourse. Purification envelops him as annihilation in the woman was complete in the
obtainment of appetite. Allah is very jealous of His slave if He believes that he finds pleasure
in other than Him. So man purifies himself by ritual washing in order to return to Him in
whom he was annihilated, since that is all there is.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“You only know the universe according to the amount you know the shadows, and you are
ignorant of the Real according to what you do not know of the person on which that shadow
depends. Inasmuch as He has a shadow, He is known, and inasmuch as one is ignorant of
what is in the essence of the shadow of the form which projects the shadow, he is ignorant of
Allah. For that reason, we say that Allah is known to us from one aspect and not known to us
from another aspect.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“As for the wisdom of tajalli and the discourse on the form of the fire, this was because it was
the object of Musa's desire. Allah gave him a tajalli in what he was searching for so that
Musa would turn to Him and not turn away. If Allah had given the tajalli in other than the
form which he was seeking, Musa would have turned away because his interest was
concentrated on a particular goal. If he had turned away, his action would have rebounded on
him, and Allah would have turned away from him. Musa was the chosen one and the one
brought near. When Allah brings someone near to Him, He gives him a tajalli in the object he
desires, without him knowing it.
Like the Fire of Musa
which he saw as what he needed.
It was Allah,
but he did not perceive it.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Allah saved him from the grief of the ark, so he pierced natural darkness by what Allah gave
him of divine knowledge, while he did not depart from nature. He tested him with many trials
(9) and gave him experience in many places so that he might realize patience in himself in the
trials Allah gave him.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Creation is intelligible and Allah is felt and witnessed with the believers and the
people of unveiling. Allah is intelligible with other classes, and creation is witnessed.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“There is no way to neutralize causes because the source-forms necessitate them. They only
appear in existence by the form on which they are based at the source since "there is no
changing the words of Allah." (10:64) The words of Allah are not other than the sources of
existent things. Timelessness is ascribed to Him in respect to their permanence, and in-time
ness is ascribed to them in respect of their existence and appearance. Thus we say, a certain
man or guest happened (26) to be with us today." That does not mean that he did not have
any existence before this event. For that reason, Allah says about His Mighty Word which is
timeless, "No reminder (dhikr) from their Lord comes to them lately renewed (27) without
their listening to it as if it were a game," (21:2) and "but no fresh (28) reminder reaches them
from the All- Merciful, without their turning away from it." (26:5) The Merciful only brings
mercy, and whoever turns away from mercy advances the punishment which is the absence of
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“When they searched for Musa (after he had killed the Copt), he left in flight, fearful
outwardly and in the meaning, it was love of deliverance for movement is always by love, but
the onlooker is veiled from it by other causes, which are not the movement. This is because
the root is the movement of the universe from non-existence which was immobile in
existence. That is why it is said that the matter is movement from immobility. The movement
which is the existence of the universe is the movement of love. The Messenger of Allah, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, quoting Allah, "I was a hidden treasure, therefore I
wanted (lit. loved) to be known.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Allah manifests Himself in a special way in every creature. He is the Outwardly Manifest in
every graspable sense, and He is the Inwardly Hidden from every understanding except the
understanding of the one who says that the universe is His form (4) and His He-ness
(huwiyya), and it is the name, the Outwardly Manifest. Since He is, by meaning, the spirit of
whatever is outwardly manifest, He is also the Inwardly Hidden. His relation to whatever is
manifested of the forms of the world is the relation of the governing spirit to the form. The
definition of man, for example, includes both his inward and outward; and it is the same with
every definable thing. Allah is defined in every definition, yet the forms of the universe are
not held back and He is not contained by them. One only knows the limits of each of their
forms according to what is attained by each knower of his form. For that reason, one cannot
know the definition of Allah, for one would only know His definition by knowing the
definition of every form. This is impossible to attain, so the definition of Allah is impossible.
Similarly, whoever connects without disconnection has given limits to Allah and does not
know Him. Whoever combines connection and disconnection in his gnosis, and describes
Allah with both aspects in general - because it is impossible to conceive in detail because we
lack the ability to encompass all the forms which the universe contains - has known Him in
general and not in particular, as he knows himself generally and not in particular. For that
reason, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, linked knowledge (ma'rifa) of
Allah to knowledge of oneself and said, "Whoever knows himself knows his Lord." Allah
says, "We will show them Our signs on the horizons (what is outside of you) and in
themselves (what is your source) until it is clear to them (the contemplators) that it is the
Truth," (41:53) inasmuch as you are His form and He is your spirit. You are to Him as your
body-form is to you, and He is to you as the spirit which governs the body.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Then the matter is as we have confirmed. So know that you are imagination and that which
you perceive and of which you say, "It is not me" is also imagination. All of existence is
imagination within imagination. True existence is Allah, the Real, in particular in respect to
essence and source, not in respect to His Names, because the Names have two meanings. One
meaning is His source which is the same as the "Named", and the other meaning is what it
indicates and that by which the Name is separate from this other Name, and so distinct. The
Ever-Forgiving is separate from the Manifest and the Hidden, and the First is distinct from
the Last. Thus it is clear to you that each Name is the same as the other Name, and yet it is
not the other Name. Inasmuch as the Name is the same, it is the Real, and inasmuch as it is
not it, it is the imaginary Real which we discussed.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“As for the knowledge of Sulayman, Allah said of him, "We gave Sulayman understanding of
it (in spite of his opposite judgement to that of Da'ud), and Allah "gave each of them
judgement and knowledge." (21:79) Da'ud's knowledge was knowledge given by Allah, and
Sulayman's knowledge was the knowledge of Allah in the matter inasmuch as He is the Judge
without intermediary. So Sulayman is the interpreter of Allah in the seat of sincerity.(12) It is
like the man who is striving to hit on the judgement of Allah by which Allah would judge the
question. If he were to find it by himself or by what was revealed to His Messenger, then he
would have two rewards. The one who errs in this particular judgement has one reward as
well as its being knowledge and judgement. The community of Muhammad was given the
rank of Sulayman in judgement (13) and the rank of Da'ud in wisdom, (14) so there is no
better community than it.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Here is a great secret! He mentioned the "act" in giving the answer to the one who asked for a
definition of essence. He made the essential definition the source of the attribution to what
appeared of Him in the forms of the universe, or what appeared in Him of the forms of the
universe. In answer to, "What is the Lord of the worlds?" he said that He is the One in whom
the forms of the universe are manifest on high which is the heaven - and below - which is the
earth, "if you but have certainty," (18) or He who is manifest by them.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“As for the subjection which was the privilege of Sulayman, peace be upon him, and by which
he was distinguished fom others, and the kingdom which Allah gave him which none after
him would have, it is from his command when He said, "We gave him the fiercely blowing
wind, speeding at his command." (21:81) It was not subjection in itself, for Allah said in
respect of each of us without exception, "He has made everything in the heavens and
everything on the earth subservient to you." (45:13) He also mentioned the subjection of the
winds, stars and other things, (17) but that is not by our command. It is from the command of
Allah. If you reflect with your intellect, Sulayman was privileged by this command neither by
mental concentration nor by aspiration (himma) rather, it was by nothing more than the
command itself. We said that because we recognise that the physical bodies of the world can
be affected by the himma of the self when someone is in the station of concentration. We
have seen such things happen in this Path. Sulayman only had to articulate the command in
whatever he wished to subject without either concentration or himma.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“When Allah gives something to someone, and He gives it to him by a request which arises
from a divine command, He does not take him to account for it in the Next Abode. When
Allah gives something to someone, and He gives it by a request which is not by a divine
command, the business in it is up to Allah. If He wishes, He will take him to account for it,
and if He wishes, He will not take him to account for it. I hope for knowledge from Allah in
particular for which He will not call one to account, for He commanded the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and grant him peace, to seek increase of knowledge, and it is the same
command which is addressed to the Prophet¹s community. Allah said, "You have an excellent
model in the Messenger of Allah," (33:21) and what greater model is there than this model
who is a source of solace (20) to the one who possesses understanding from Allah?”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Had we discussed the station of Sulayman in its entirety, you would have seen a matter
whose revelation would have struck you with terror. Most of the men of knowledge of this
Path have no knowledge of the state and rank of Sulayman. The business is not as they claim.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“We subjected the mountains to glorify with him in the evening and sunrise, and also the
birds, flocking together, all of them turned to him." Then Allah combined the kingdom and
speech and prophethood in Da'ud when He says, "We made his kingdom strong, and gave
him wisdom and decisive speech." (1) Allah clearly and openly appointed Da'ud Khalif. This
was Da'ud, peace be upon him. His freedom of action in the kingdom with this subjection
was by a mighty command which was not completed in him alone. Allah also gave it to
Sulayman who shared in it as He says, "And We gave knowledge to Da'ud and Sulayman
who said, 'Praise be to Allah who has favoured us.'" (27:15) He says, "We gave Sulayman
understanding of it. We gave each of them judgement and knowledge."(21:79)”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“If the Prophets, peace be upon him, thanked Allah for what He had bestowed on them and
given to them, that was not from the command of Allah. They undertook that freely from
themselves, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stood
thanking Allah until his feet were swollen, when Allah had forgiven Him his wrong actions,
past and present. When people commented what he did, he said, "Am I not a thankful slave?"
Allah said that Nuh was a thankful slave. (4) So the thankful among the slaves are few.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Then know that Allah has described Himself as the Outawardly Manifest and the Inwardly
Hidden; He brought the universe into existence as a Visible world and an Unseen world
so that we might know the Hidden by the Unseen and the Manifest by the Visible. He
described Himself with pleasure and wrath, and so He brought the world into existence as a
place of fear and hope so we fear His wrath and hope for His pleasure. He described Himself
with majesty and beauty, so He brought the universe into existence with awe and intimacy. It
is the same for all that is connected with Him, may He be exalted, and by which He calls
Himself. He designates these pairs of attributes by the two hands which He held out in
the creation of the Perfect Man. Man sums up all the realities of the universe and its
individuals. So the universe is seen and the Khalif is unseen. It is with this meaning that the
Sultan veils himself, even as Allah is mentioned and described as having with veils of
darkness, which are natural bodies, and luminous veils which are subtle spirits (arwâh). The
universe is composed of both the gross and the subtle.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“The universe is its own veil on itself and cannot perceive the Truth since it perceives itself. It
is continuously in a veil which is not removed, since it knows that it is distinct from its
Creator by its need of Him. It has no portion of that essential necessity which belongs to the
existence of Allah, so it can never perceive Him. In this respect, Allah is never fully known
by the knowledge of tasting and witnessing because the in-time has no hold on that.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“The truth of passion is
that passion is the cause of passion.
If there had not been passion in the heart,
passion would not have been worshipped.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Allah only applied "between His two hands" to Adam as a mark of honour, and so He said to
Iblis, "What prevented you prostrating to what I created with My two Hands?" (38:76) That is
none other than the union in Adam of the two forms - the form of the universe and the form
of the Real: and they are the two hands of Allah. Iblis is only a fragment of the universe
and does not possess this comprehensive quality. It is because of this quality that Adam was a
khalif. Had he not had the form of the One who appointed him khalif, he would not have been
khalif. If there were not in him all that is in the world, and what his flocks, over whom he is
khalif, demand of him because of their dependence on him (and he must undertake all they
need from him) he would not have been khalîf over them.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“The Shari'a makes something
reprehensible because of what Allah made known or which He made known through
someone He has instructed. So Allah prescribed retaliation by necessity for the preservation
of the human race and to prevent people exceeding the limits of Allah. Allah says, "There is
life for you in retaliation, O you who possess intelligence (lit. cores)!" (3) (2:179) They are
the people of the core who stumble onto the secret of divine laws and wisdoms.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Knowledge is perfected in the breasts of those who are given knowledge, "and
none denies Our signs but the unbelievers," (29:47) for they cover up the signs when they
recognise them through envy, meanness and injustice. We only see from Allah in respect of
Himself disconnection (tanzih) or non-disconnection by definition in any ayat which He has
sent down or in transmissions which have reached us from Him. Otherwise He has the Great
Mist (al-'Ama') (13) which has no air above it and no air beneath it. Allah was in it before He
created creation. Then He mentioned that He "established Himself firmly on the Throne."
(57:4) This is also definition. Then He mentioned that "He descends to the nearest heaven."
(14) This is also definition. Then He said that "He is in the heaven and in the earth," (15) and
"He is with us whever we are." (16) and He tells us that He is our source. We are limited, so
He only describes Himself by limitation.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“When Allah undertakes the destruction of this organism by what is called "death", that is not
negation (i'dam) , but rather separation. He takes man to Him, and what is meant is only
Allah's taking man to Him, "and to Him the whole affair will be returned." (11:123) When He
takes him to Him, He fashions him a different composition than this composition. The new
composition is from the genus of the abode to which he has moved, that is, the Abode of
Going-on, because equilibrium exists. The creature thus will never die, i.e. his parts will
never be separated.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“The Names of Allah are endless because they are known by what comes from them, and what
comes from them is endless, even though they can be traced back to the limited roots which are the matrices of the Names or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but one of the
Names or the presences of the Names. In reality, there is but One Reality which assumes all
these relations and aspects which are designated by the Divine Names. The Reality grants
that each of the Names, which manifest themselves without end, has a reality by which it is
distinguished from another Name. It is that reality by which it is distinguished which is the
Name itself - not that which it shares.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Rububiyyah: Lordship, the quality of being a lord. A term derived from the Qur'anic
descriptions of Allah's lordship over creation. One might say the ecology of natural existence.
It is an essential element in Sufic cosmology and is a most sophisticated concept which
surpasses the crude specificity and mechanistic views of evolutionist biology. It is an energy
system of relationships in constant change and altering dynamics. It functions through the
different realms, the atomic, the mineral, the plant, and so on. It relates the levels of living
organisms from the uni-cellular up to man, and the interpenetrations of organism and
environment. It re-defines "event" from crude historicity to a picture of organism/event in a
unified field. It is the underlying concept which allows us to abandon the dead mind/body
split of the dying culture. It permits us to utilize and develop the energy concepts of
Islamic/Chinese medicine - which hold a common energy concept at base. Rububiyya permits
us to observe ONE PROCESS at work throughout every level of the creational realities.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Whenever a person of unveiling sees a form which communicates to him
gnosis which he did not have and which he had not been able to grasp before, that form is
from his own source, no other. From the tree of himself he gathers the fruits of his
cultivation, as his outer form opposite the reflected body is nothing other than himself, even though the place of the presence in which he sees the form of himself presents him with an
aspect of the reality of that presence through transformation. The large appears small in the
small mirror and tall in the tall, and the moving as movement. It can reverse its form from a
special presence, and it can reflect things exactly as they appear, so the right side of the
viewer is his right side, while the right side can be on the left. This is generally the normal
state in mirrors, and it is a break in the norm when the right side is seen as the right and
inversion occurs. All this is from the gifts of the reality of the Presence in which it is
manifested and which we have compared to the mirror.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Adam was in
possession of Divine Names which the angels did not have, so that their praise and
glorification of Him was not the same as Adam's praise and glorification of Him. Allah
describes this to us so that we may ponder it and learn adab with Allah, and so that we
will not lay claim to what we have not realised or possessed by pinning down. How can we
allege something which is beyond us and of which we have no knowledge? We will only be
exposed. This divine instruction is part of Allah's discipline of those of His slaves who are
well-mannered, trusting and khalifs.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom
“Lubb: In Arabic there is no word for mind. However, in the Qur'an the word that
designates a central locus of awareness in the human being is lubb, which means core. It is
the heart viewed as an organ of gnosis and not merely as a valave which pumps blood to the
head. Ibn al-'Arabi says that it is that part of knowledge which is protected from the hearts
which are attached to phenomenal being.”
Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom

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