Who is Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi?June 26, 2021
Abū `Abd Allah Muhammad b. `Ali b. Muhammad b. al-`Arabi al-Hātimī al-Tā’ī. He is also called Muhyiddin ibn Arabi for short (b. 1165 – d. 1239). He is a famous mystic, Islamic thinker and poet.
Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi was born in Mursiye (Murcia), Spain, on 27 Ramadan 560 during the Almohad period. He came to Isbiliye (present-day Sevilla) with his family at the age of 8 for an unknown reason (probably because of his father’s civil service). His family belonged to the Arabian Tayy tribe. Although not much is known about their immediate ancestors, it is understood that they were influential and respected by their parents. Among his relatives were people who had sufistic knowledge.
He completed his primary education in this city and stayed here for a long time. He became friends with a young Sufi named ‘Ahmed Ibnu’l-Athirî’ when he was a child. According to the records about him, Ibnu’l-Arabi, who was taken to Halvet for a while during this education, came out of his seclusion with various information he gained through discovery.
After staying for a while in Andalusia, he went on a trip. He went to Damascus, Baghdad and Mecca and met with well-known scholars and sheiks there. He met with Ibn Rushd in 1182. He describes this meeting in his work. These are the years when Ibn Rushd was famous for saying that knowledge can be obtained through reason. The 17-year-old young Muhyiddin believed that true knowledge did not only come from our minds, but that such knowledge could be obtained mostly through inspiration and discovery.
During these years, he met a sheikh named ‘Şekkaz’. This person is a person who started worshiping from an early age, fearing Allah, never saying “I” once in his life and prostrating for a long time. Muhyiddin continued to chat with him until he died. In 1182-1183, he took Quran lessons from a sheikh named ‘Lahmî’ in Haniyye, a district of İşbiliyye, in a mosque named after this person.
He met a sheikh named ‘Ureynî’ in 1184-1185. He refers to him as his first teacher in his works and says that he has benefited a lot. ‘Ureynî’ had a deep knowledge of the subject of Ubudiyet [servitude]. He also benefited from a sheikh named ‘Martili’ during these years. While Ureyni was saying to him: ‘Look only at Allah’, Martili advised him, ‘Look only at your nafs, be careful about your nafs, do not follow it’. He asked Martili for the inside of these contradictory proposals. Instead of insisting on the correctness of his own advice, this person, ‘My son, ‘Ureynî’, is the right path. You have to obey him. We have both shown you the way our own situation necessitates.”
During these years, he served an old woman named Fatma from Kordova (she was 96 years old when they met) for 14 years in İşbiliyye. This woman stood out among men and women as a muttaki and tawakkile. She was married to a very good person, she. It is said that his face was so beautiful that Ibn Arabi was ashamed to look at it.
In 1189, he met a man named Abu Abdullah Muhammad al-Sharafi. He was from the eastern Isbiliyye and was from the people of Hatve. It is said that this person, who performed his five daily prayers at the Addis Mosque, had swollen feet from praying because of his excessive fondness for worship.
While in İşbiliyye (1190), Arabi fell ill and lost his ability to read. After staying in this state for two years, he went to the City of Sabbath in 589 (Hijri) and met Ibn Jubayr, who he said had attained the rank of morality there. After a while, he returned to İşbiliyye. He came to Tlemsen the same year. Here, he will tell about a dream he had about Abu Madyan (d.594).
He went to Morocco in 1196. He gained great fame during his travels there. He went back to Andalusia in 1198. He visited a sheikh named Şekkaz in the town of Baga around Granada City. He says that he is the highest person he has met on the Sufi path. He went to Mecca for Hajj for the first time in 1199-1200. There he chatted with a person named [al-Kassar] (Yunus ibnu Abi’l-Huseyin al-Hashimi al-Abbasi al-Kassar). After the pilgrimage, he was found in Maghrib and from there in Bejaye, the city of Abu Madyan. After a while, he came back to Mecca and wrote his works named “Ruhu’l-Quds” and “Tacu’r-Rasul”.
He was found in Medina, Mosul, Baghdad in 1204. In Mosul, he wrote “et-Tenezzulatu’l-Musuliyye”. After leaving Mosul, he came to Konya. He married the widowed mother of Sadreddin Konevi, whom he met there. He wrote “Risaletü’l-Envar” while he was in Konya. He was honored and treated by Selcuk Meliki. Then he went to Egypt. There he secretly fled from there when he was faced with the death penalty given by the Egyptian ulema because of his words in Futuhat-ı Mekkiye. He came back to Mecca and stayed here for a while. After wandering around Baghdad and Aleppo for a while, he came back to Konya in 612/1215. He settled in Damascus in 617. He made trips to the surrounding cities from time to time. In Damascus, he wrote Fusus, which is considered his greatest work after Fütuhat (627/1230). Ibn Arabi states that he bought this work from the Prophet in his dream to transfer it to his ummah. He died in Damascus on 22 R.Awwal (1239) in 638. His grave is outside the city of Damascus at the foot of Mount Kasyun. In 1516, when Sultan Selim made Damascus an Ottoman land, he had a tomb, mosque and imaret built there. In the dome of the tomb where he was buried -Ibn Arabi’s own