Monday, March 24, 2014

Universal Abode of the Divine

"My heart has become capable of every form;
It is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols and the pilgrim's Ka'ba
And the tables for the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way
Love's camels take, that is my religion and my faith." ...................Ibn al-‘Arabî

When I read this beautiful piece of spiritual poetry of Ibn ‘Arabî, it took my breath away.
To even more deeply appreciate one has to understand that this was written in the twelfth century which was the apex of Islamic Golden age wherein there lived this man who really experienced and understood the cosmic nature of all existence and the true nature of the Divine.
Ibn ‘Arabî studied the Islamic sciences with numerous teachers in Andalus and North Africa.
In his early teens he underwent a visionary conversion “at the hands of Jesus” (albeit the Jesus of the Koran), and this resulted in an “opening” (futûh) of his soul toward the universal divine realm.

"Another hadith (Islamic tradition) explains that the primary haqq (meaning true, real, right, worthy, and appropriate) upon which all other haqqs are based, is that “There is no god but God”, which is to say that there is nothing truly real but the Real, there is nothing truly right but the Right. In Islamic theology, understanding this notion is called tawhîd or “the acknowledgement of [divine] unity” and is considered the first of the three principles of faith; tawhîd also underlies the standpoints of the philosophers, even if some of them seldom spoke of God."[1]

As the divine speech (kalâm), the Koran is understood as nonmanifest and indistinct from the Divine Essence, though it becomes manifest in recitation and writing. God's speech reveals itself not only in scripture, but also in the universe and the soul. this deep understanding led Ibn ‘Arabî to articulate a universal theology rooted in a deeper subjective experience.

Ibn ‘Arabî ontology is based on what he terms as wujûd, existence or being, a word that had come to the centre of philosophical discourse with Avicenna [2]. In its Koranic and everyday Arabic sense, wujûd means to find, come across, become conscious of, enjoy, be ecstatic. It was used to designate existence because what exists is what is found and experienced. For Ibn ‘Arabî, the act of finding—that is, perception, awareness, and consciousness—is never absent from the fact of being found. If on the one hand he speaks of wujûd in the standard Avicennan language of necessity and possibility, he simultaneously talks of it—in terms long established by the Sufi tradition—as the fullness of divine presence and human consciousness that is achieved in realization

The heart is the very embodiment of all our emotional responses and it is here that one has to experience the mystical nature of the Divine. In this realization, all duality of religious beliefs disappear and there is only a union which is expressed as love. This love is merged in the very element of the subjective experience and this is the reason Ibn ‘Arabî says: " I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take, that is my religion and my faith."

Love to you all
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[1] Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy
[2] Avicenna- 10th century Persian polymath and Islamic philosopher

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