Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi by Henry Corbin

By Henry Corbin

A penetrating research of the lifestyles and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

A penetrating research of the existence and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

Originally released in 1969.

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Extra resources for Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi

Sample text

Mullā Ṣadrā might be called the “St. Thomas of Iran,” if we had in mind a St. Thomas combined with a Jacob Boehme and a Swedenborg, a possibility which is perhaps conceivable only in Iran. But the way to Mullā Ṣadrā’s work was paved by a long line of masters who integrated the doctrines of Ibn ‛Arabī into the Shī‛ism of the twelve Imāms (or perhaps we should speak of a re-integration, for a study of the origins of these doctrines suggests a return to their source). This work was carried on between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries by such men as Ibn Abī Jumhūr, Ḥaydar Amulī, ‛Alī Turka Ispāhānī, etc.

As we know, he read many books. ” Moreover, far more is involved than a question of literary sources. There is the secret of a structure whereby the edifice was closely related in style to the edifice which sprang up in eastern Islam, where Shī‛ism observed the precept “Do not strike at the face”—that is, preserve the outer face of literal Islam, not only because it is the indispensable support of the symbols, but also because it is a safeguard against the tyranny of the ignorant. In addition there are all the invisible, inaudible factors, all that which rests on no other proof than personal testimony to the existence of the subtile world.

The situation is so completely different that it inevitably goes beyond the schematic notion of “Arab philosophy” with which Western thinkers have too long contented themselves. Of course one can justifiably speak of “Arab” philosophy just as one can speak of “Latin” Scholasticism. —such men as Nāṣir-e Khusraw (eleventh century), ‛Azīzuddīn Nasafī 31 (twelfth-thirteenth centuries), Afzāluddīn Kāshānī, a contemporary of the great Shī‛ite philosopher Naṣīruddīn Ṭūsī (thirteenth century), quite apart from the fact that Avicenna himself was an Iranian who wrote Persian as well as Arabic.

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