Love in the Writings of Ibn ‘Arabī

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This thesis aims to explore the theory of love in the writings of the Andalusian Sufi Ibn ‘Arabī (d. 1240 CE). It begins by examining Love, both the nature of Divine and human love, as has been passionately declared in the writings of many of the Sufi masters that preceded Ibn ‘Arabī before turning to the views of the Sufi master himself. The doctrine of Divine love as outlined by many of the Sufis revolves mainly around two important Qur’anic verses, and three hadiths. The two Qur’anic verses indicate God’s initiating love, and how it is that humans can attain God’s love, while the three hadiths express different aspects of realizing the love of God, and the reasons for God’s creation of the world. The Sufis from the early centuries of Islam (9th-10th) sometimes defined love as their “religion,” by which they meant, their way to God. Ibn ‘Arabī not only expanded on these earlier Sufi theories, but also detailed his own original insights. He openly declared the primacy of love over all else and argued that love is the dynamic force behind creation. To help understand the importance of Divine love in Akbarian thought (the school created by Ibn ‘Arabi), an in-depth reading and a close textual analysis of selected works on Divine love by Ibn ‘Arabī’s will be undertaken. The most important of these are The Interpreter of Longings (1214 CE) (Turjumān al-Ashwāq, 611 AH), The Ringstones of Wisdom (1232 CE) (Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam, 630 AH), and The Meccan Openings (1238 CE) (al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, 636 AH). The approach outlined above will help demonstrate love’s predominant position in Ibn ‘Arabī’s writings and assist those who study these volumes. In addition, it will provide certain interpretive codes that can help to unlock the meanings and emphasize, at the same time, the significance of Ibn ‘Arabī’s unique symbolic language. In undertaking this task, my hope is that this research will help to inspire further inquiry into Ibn ‘Arabī’s multi-faceted teachings, with its rich and complex conceptualizations of love.
Islam, Sufism, Love, Ibn ‘Arabī, Mysticism, Metaphysics, Religion, Religious Studies, Hermeneutics, Textual Analysis
Ibrahim, H. T. A. (2020). Love in the Writings of Ibn ‘Arabī (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from