Muhammad ibn al-’Arabi: The Meccan Illuminations

(1203–1224)

The Meccan Illuminations (or Openings or Revelations) is the English title of Al-Futuhat al-Makiyya, a Sufi mystical text written in Arabic by the Spanish-born Muhyiddin Muhammad ibn al-’Arabi over a twenty-one year period, from 1203 to 1224. Its 560 chapters span all branches of Islamic learning and revolve around the concept of tawhid, or the unity and oneness of God. In this massive encyclopedic work, Ibn al-’Arabi thoroughly covers many topics, from the Qur’an (Islam’s sacred scripture) to prayer and fasting, theology, ontology (the study of the nature of being and existence), and metaphysics (the study of ultimate and fundamental reality).

In The Meccan Illuminations, Ibn al-’Arabi tells of various dreams and visions in which he saw and spoke with God, Muhammad, Jesus, the other prophets, and some angels. He also describes visions in which he sees and speaks with his dead teachers. It is because of these visions and dreams that he calls himself the Seal of the...

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Minaret of the Bride, Ummayad Mosque, Damascus (Library of Congress)

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