Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus

Ibn Masarra, Ibn al-ʿArabī and the Ismāʿīlī Tradition


Muslim Spain gave rise to two unusual figures in the mystical tradition of Islam: Ibn Masarra (269/883-319/931) and Ibn al-ʿArabī (560/1165-638/1240). Representing, respectively, the beginning and the pinnacle of Islamic mysticism in al-Andalus, Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī embody in their writings a type of mystical discourse which is quite different from the Sufi discourse that evolved in the Islamic east during the 9th-12th centuries.
In Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus, Michael Ebstein points to the Ismāʿīlī tradition as one possible source which helped shape the distinct intellectual world from which both Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī derived. By analyzing their writings and the works of various Ismāʿīlī authors, Michael Ebstein unearths the many links that connect the thought of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī to the Ismāʿīlī tradition.

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Michael Ebstein, Ph.D. (2012), is a Martin Buber fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published various articles on Islamic history and thought, and is mainly interested in Islamic mysticism and the Shiʿi-Ismaʿīlī tradition.
"Ebstein has shown in convincing detail the debt of the great mystic to the works in the Ismāʿīlī tradition."
Michael Brett in , Volume 7, No. 1, Winter/Spring 2016.

"This book is an important and welcome contribution to modern scholarship, written with a remarkable sense of clarity, an impressive erudition, and constant attention to basing the discussion on textual evidence itself."
Godefroid de Catalaÿ in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 77.3 (2014), 582-584.
Note on Transliteration, Translation and Dates
1. The Word of God and the Divine Will
2. Letters
3. The Friends of God
4. The Perfect Man: From Shiʿi Sectarianism to Universal Humanism
5. Parallel Worlds
6. Conclusion
Academic Scholars in the fields of Shi'i-Isma'ili studies, Islamic mysticism, the history of al-Andalus, Medieval Jewish thought, as well as anyone who is interested in Islamic mysticism and philosophy.
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