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0.2.2 - The Structure of this Book

In addition to this introduction and some appendices, this book, with its three volumes, is divided into seven Chapters; each corresponding to an era of the life of the Greatest Shaykh, and is thus named according to the respective position of the Sun in the sky, due to the similarity that we mentioned at the beginning of this preface.

Chapter I is the time of “Dawning”, before daybreak, in which we speak about the stage that preceded his birth, and the origin of his tribe and his ancestors and their transition from Yemen to Andalusia with the Islamic conquests, then touching briefly on the history of Andalusia with some emphasis on the period that preceded the birth of Ibn al-Arabi in 560 AH / 1165 AD, and then we finish this chapter with a summary of the political and social situation at that time.

The second chapter is the “Morning”, where we speak about the rising of the sun of Muhyiddin, in the year 560/1165, and his life in his childhood and youth, his education and upbringing at the hands of the Shaykhs of Andalusia in that era, and then his early traveling between the cities of Andalusia, and the beginning of his fame, up to the year 589/1192.

The third chapter is the “Forenoon”, which covers the stage between 589/1192 and 597/1200, in which the Shaykh, may Allah be pleased with him, traveled several times between the cities of Andalusia, Morocco and Tunisia.

The fourth chapter is the “Noontime”, where the Sun took its full extent in the sky, the time of the meridian, which is when the shade disappears under the body, because the Sun is right above, at the time of noon; all this is a symbol to the abolition in Allah, from everything else, or perishing (fanâ’). At this stage, which lasted until the year 600/1203, the Shaykh journeyed toward the East, to Mecca for the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah, after passing in Egypt, Palestine, and Medina.

In the fifth chapter, the stage of “Afternoon” time, as in the stage of the forenoon, the Shaykh began multiple trips between the cities of the East; Mecca, Quds, Baghdad, Aleppo, Damascus, Konya, Sivas and Cairo, and he often went back to Mecca for pilgrimage and teaching in the Grand Mosque, until he finally settled in Damascus in 620/1223, where he stayed until he passed away in the year 638/1204, a period to which we have dedicated Chapter VI, which is the time of “Evening”, or Sunset.

In Chapter VII, that’s the final chapter, we talked about the period after Ibn al-Arabi, where his books began spreading and his wisdom prevailed over the horizons and more and more people began discussing about him, and also some people started criticizing him and composed books against him, trying to refute his statements and prove the corruption of his faith and doctrine, as also many of his followers started to explain his books and publish his wisdom and teachings. This conflict is still ongoing to this time. For this reason we call this period the time of “Dusking”, when most people are asleep, and some are awake but confused, whereas the winners are those who stay awake, or, if they sleep they get up again before day break.

Then, when we rewrote this book in this third edition, the research was extended in this last chapter, thus we out it in a separate volume and divided it into three chapters: Dusking and Twilight (one and two), then we devoted the third volume to editing the Index and Leave treatises, and thus classifying the books attributed to Sheikh Muhyiddin, which was a short appendix in the first edition.

It is some kind of a strange coincidence to discover that dividing this book into seven chapters in this manner. This was not really meant in the beginning, but the matter settled on this arrangement, which came naturally to accommodate the different stages of the life of the Grand Shaykh. But when I reconsidered this arrangement I found its meaning clear and straight, and it was not any coincidence; it is really an expression and reflection of the basis of his view of the world created by Allah, on His own Image!

Since Allah is described by the seven mother qualities: Hearing, Living, Knowing, Ability, Willing, Seeing, and Speaking - which are the divine attributes necessary and enough for Allah to be described as God and the Creator of this world - so Allah created the world in this form: in six days and then He mounted on the Throne in the seventh day, as it is mentioned in many related verses in Quran [7:45, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:4, 50:38 and 57:4]. {footnote:This subject is discussed at length in Chapter IV of the Single Monad Model of the Cosmos [citep:yousef2013single] and also in Chapter IV of the Duality of Time book [citep:yousef2017duality].}

This is also parallel to creating the fetus in the mother’s womb: in six (lunar) months, which is period of complete gestation, and then what is above that is considered from the period of weaning, even before the child is born into the outside world. This is because Allah says in Quran: (His mother carried him, in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years [Quran, 31:14]), and then He says: (His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning is thirty months [Quran, 46:15]). So, two years for weaning only and thirty months for gestation and weaning together, this makes the gestation period six (lunar) months, which is the time required for the fetus to develop and be ready for living, thus breastfeeding for up to twenty four months, optimally as suggested in Quran, and then living independently without his mother.

Likewise the whole world is one week: six days for the composition and the seventh day is for exposition, which is the day of eternity, and Allah knows best and He is the knowing of the Unseen.

Henceforth, the life of the Grand Shaykh, may Allah be pleased with him, or the cycle of his wisdom if you will, is seven days: six for the formation and the seventh is for exposition, and that’s where we are now. This is not just a metaphorical analogy, but a fact that applies to the minute details, to which he himself alluded throughout his many books, and I’m here only thoroughly summarizing: =

the first day is after the attribute of “hearing”, that’s a relative existence before the actual creation, where Allah says to something “Be” and then it is. Thus the world could hear the command of Allah, the Almighty, before it actually exists, because it has a certain state of pre-existence in the foreknowledge of Allah, so it could obeys the Command, and then begins to acquire the other attribute, respectively. Allah breathe the Spirit into it, so it becomes “living”, then it acquires “knowledge” and “will” then “power” and “sight” and finally “speaking”, so that it becomes, on its turn, able to create through speaking, but not the same physical creation as it is the case of the effect of the Command of God, but by speaking the creatures can create images and meanings in the mind of the listener whom they are addressing.

Thus, the life of Ibn al-Arabi began in reality long time before the date of his birth, even from eternity, when he was still in the spiritual plane, before he has a physical existence, but there is an abstract presence, when he could hear Allah commanding him to be and thus he obeys.

Then, when he came out to this life, he passed through five phases, which are the five movements, or voyages:

He traveled first from Allah to the world, and that’s like the time of morning, in which his personality forms, a stage of playing and amusement, as it is referred to in Quran (Know that the life of this world is but “amusement” and “diversion” and “adornment” and “boasting to one another” and “competition in increase of wealth and children” - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. ... [Quran, 57:20-21]).

Then he traveled in the world to discover it and learn how to seek the path to return to God, and this is the time of forenoon, this is the stage of decoration and boasting.

Then he travels in God after perishing from the world, and that’s the noontime, the time of meridian, and this is the stage of reproduction.

Then he returns to the world again, but in a different form, having completed his knowledge in Allah, as God, not as Essence, since the Essence of the Exalted is far above being known, and this is the stage of the afternoon, in which the saint travels “to advised the servants of Allah” and invite them to Him, and in this stage the plant it dries and you see it turned yellow.

Then, after serving as Allah predestined him to do, he becomes wrecked, ending with death, to move again to God and nothing of him remains in this world but his imprints, his works.

These are the five phases, added to the first phase, which is before the coming to this world, so the six phases or days where the creation is completed, after that starts the last day, the day of resurrection, that’s the day of eternity, in the Hereafter where severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and gratefulness; so what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.

Thus we should be racing towards forgiveness from God and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those pious.

As for this world and what we have here of money, children and decorations; all of that is like foam; it goes staleness, but only what is good for mankind remains to the seventh day, which is the evening or night time, which is what we got now from the wisdom in the books of the Grand Shaykh, so that remains in the ground, as also described in another verse [Quran, 13:17].

Are we then going to benefit from it, to be amongst the pious!





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