|Known as an Islamic scholar, Ibn-I Arabi was born in
Murcia, Spain in the year 1165. With his approximate 500 written works, he opened a new
road to explain "oneness" (uniqueness) matter which is known as the main purpose
of Islam by declaring his new theory called Vahdet-I VŁcud.
way he approaches Sufism (Islamic mysticism, Tasavvuf) was genetic. (?) He completed his
education in Sevilla. Arabi who spent most of his life alone has become the foundation
stone of the Vahdet-I VŁcud theory by concentrating on the knowledge based on the essence
of Quran (the holy book of Islam). He was also influenced by Ebu Medyenís (one of the
famous Sufies) opinions. CrAnolOgically, he went to Tunis, then to Morocco and back to
Tunis again, and later on he went on a pilgrimage to Hejaz. After having completed his
sacret duty, he stayed in Mecca for two years, past through Anatolia, and went to Egypt
via Jerusalem where he had to face with a great opposition, due to the fact that his
thoughts and ideas didnít coincide with what Sheriat (anonical obligations) said. And
finally, the words he said in Damascus caused his being killed. What Muhiddin Arabi said
as his last words were "The Gog you worship is under my feet". Being one of his
great admirer, Ottoman Sultan Yavuz Selim dig the place he was murdered on the way back
from the Egypt cruise and found jars of gold ornaments and jewelry. Thatís what he
mentioned with his last words (i.e. the God they worship was gold, money and jewelry
etc.). Later on, he was burried in a tomb on a slope of the Kasiun Mountain.
Two of his well-known books are namely, Futuhat-y Mekkiye (conquest
of Mecca) containing 560 chapters, and Fususíul Hikem ( ? ) describing the thoughts
being represented by the prophets ranging St. Adam to Holy Muhammed.
According to Arabi, universe and itís essence is an observation
which starts, goes on and ends in Allah. According to him, starting from Allah, with the
guidence of a trainer, the reality of the Holy Muhammed is finally reached. According to
him, every being is programmed in a certain way. As a result of the changes on their
programs and beings becoming mature, the "self" identification is released from
the being. Actually, the "self" identification is relative. To release itself
from the relative "self" acceptance of the being means to succeed in reaching
the aim of Sufism. The so-called life style of Fenafillah is also known as Vahdet-i
Definitely, there is no correspondance between Vahdet-i VŁcud and
pantheism which rather projects a superstitious approach. That is to say, according to the
Vahdet-i VŁcud concept, every single moment Allah observes his own meanings, as an
obvious result of this observation, all existing things which are originally visionary,
and in reality donít exist emerge.
All the existing thing come from absence, and disappear again.
Therefore, "the universe -as a whole- is Allah" approach is completely wrong. A
visionary being or a being limited with five senses can not be the origin, however, takes
his existence from Allah.
Pantheist approach, having pretty much narrow perspective, on the
other hand, claims that all the existing things form Allah. An explanation of a whole
being formed by the separate unites is far from reflecting the reality.
Actually, Muhittin Arabi was not the only one who claimed the
Vahdet-i VŁcud theory. Imam-i Gazali also discussed the subject in his written work
called Mi?katŁl Envar (lamp of the spiritual light). All the prophets, and the saints
living even today -although being rejected by the ones who donít examine the matter in
details- mention that there is only one God, namely Allah, and besides nothing else
The concept of Vahdet-i VŁcud migth sound a little odd to you, but
you can find the evidences in Quran and hadiths (sayings of the Holy Muhammed). Here,
itís also necessary to state that the Holy Muhammed has the consept of Vahdet-i buhud
which is above the Vahdet-i VŁcud concept.
Muhiddin Arabi, at that time, was a saint belonging to a group of
fours (evtad). In order to be appreciated fully while reading his books, a great deal of
knowledge about Sufism has to be know and comprehended. Sufism is not an unessential
ideology. Itís the knowledge of Allah. The metaphorical names indicated in the
vocabulary of Sufism are the steps in order to reach the levels of perception leading to
Arabiís written works, however, were translated without remaining
accurate to the original text, and as a consequence, it caused misinterpretations which, I
suppose, might closely be related with the translatorís lack of knowledge either on the
Arabic and Persian languages or on the conception of Sufism, besides that it might even
have a commercial purposes.
I want to clarify my point with an example. According to the
translator, Muhiddin Arabi says that "knowledge depends on malum" (all known and
unknown things that had been created and will be created -universe).
Letís first examine what "knowledge depends on all created
things" means. The explanation of "all created things informing the knowledge,
and Allah having taken the knowledge from all created things, and therefore determining
the destiny of the beings" supports the acceptance of cŁz-i irade (will-power of the
beings). Here malum, as a meaning, includes all existing infinitive things in the
universe. According to this approach, knowledge is Allahís knowledge. Since Allah
observed everything that had happened and might happen, Allah knew all about that. As a
consequence, Allah determined their fate accordingly. In other words, those beings
informed Allah about their capacity and skills which would be the basis of their
formation, and Allah depending on these information wrote their destiny. (This is the
explanation of "the knowledge depends on the all created thing".) Briefly,
before the universe had been created, what would happen from the past eternity to the
future eternity and what the created beings would do and their disposition were pre-known,
and therefore predestinated accordingly by Allah.
Second approach is all created things depend on knowledge. That is
to say, Allah created being depending on the existing meanings in his knowledge. To say in
another way, Allahís knowledge didnít exist depending on the names forming all known
created beings. Allahís knowledge accomplishes infinitive numbers of meaning in itself,
thus, it doesnít take any meaning from the beings, and therefore all created things
depends on Allahís knowledge.
Under the light of all the information given above, first of all,
itís necessary to mention that for a saint who has the Vahdet (uniqueness, oneness)
knowledge, and especially who reaches that level without any effort, itís definitely
impossible to approve the "knowledge depends on created things" approach.
Because in the knowledge of nŁbŁvvet (prophethood) belonging to a
Velayet-i KŁbra ( ? ) level whatís valid is Allahís condescension to people, what
happens is a descent, rather then an ascent. The level of unity is the level of attribute
and at this level, there is no obligation of depending on the names, therefore, in the
knowledge of that level, all created things depend on the knowledge.
After having realized all these matters, although what St.
AbdŁlkadir Ceyli (the grand child of the Holy Muhammed) who is the author of the book
called Insan-i Kamil (universal man) and who himself belongs to the Insan-i Kamil level
said about Muhiddin Arabi and his explanations about Vahdet (uniqueness, oneness) and
Sufism reflect the trueth, the interpretation of Ceyli about Arabiís acceptance of
knowledge depending on all created things is a misunderstanding originating from the
translator of the book, namely AbdŁlkadir AkÁiÁek, rather than Ceyli himself who, I
believe, has no bad intentions, however, has done some other mistakes in the mentioning
book. Consequently, according to Ibn-i Arabi itís not the knowledge which dependes on
all created thing but the created thing depend on knowledge. This fact is also very well
known by the ones who are profoundly aware of the matter.
Muhiddin Arabi also has original ideas about Astrology depending the
knowledge brought by St. Lucy. It goes like this:
"Now, the earth is under the influence of the Cancer Sign. The
state of Berzah (between post-death and pre-judgement), however, is under the influence of
Virgo Sign. During the period of the earth transforming to the fire, Cancer Signís
dominancy replaces itself to the Libra Sign. When the sufferings of the ones condemned to
hell completed, on the other hand, Gemini Sign takes the control in hand. Furthermore, the
right to accompany the residents of heaven and hell is given to the twelve sign and the
commands of the heaven are taken out from the twelve sign, as well."
Another point here I want to mention is the strong opposition and
severe criticism of the Sufiís towards Ibn-i Arabi. We are terribly sorry about those
offensive criticisms pointing at Ibn-i Arabi who is known as the author of the Islamic
constitution. However, it should not be forgotten that the mentality sentenced Galileo due
to his thoughts about the earth being round at the courts of the Inquisition, now
sentences Ibn-i Arabi.
There is a beautiful saying:
If you can not reach the high levels of
perception, then at least,
release yourself from the simplicity of
May Allah be your helper, good bye.
Ahmet F. Yuksel