Knowing God: Ibn ʿArabī and ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī’s Metaphysics of the Divine

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Can we know God or does he reside beyond our ken? In Ibn ʿArabī and ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī’s Metaphysics of the Divine, Ismail Lala conducts a forensic analysis of the nature of God and His interaction with creation. Looking mainly at the exegetical works of the influential mystic, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240), and one of his chief disseminators, ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī (d. 736/1335?), Lala employs the term huwiyya, literally “He-ness,” as an aperture into the metaphysical worldview of both mystics. Does Al-Qāshānī agree with Ibn ʿArabī’s conception of God? Does he agree with Ibn ʿArabī on how God relates to us and how we relate to Him? Or is this where Sufi master and his disciple part ways?

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Ismail Lala, D.Phil (2017), University of Oxford, is a seminary-trained academic who focusses on the metaphysical thought of Ibn ʿArabī and ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī. He has published widely on this topic, as well as on Sunnī Qurʾanic commentaries, Prophetic traditions, Islamic medical ethics, and Islamic philosophy.
“A brilliant study of the nature of God in the thought of Ibn ʿArabī and his later disciple, ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī. Dr. Lala guides the reader through a thicket of abstruse texts of Sufi metaphysics on the term huwiyya to a clear explication of the views of each thinker on the nature of God and how we can know Him. Rigorous textual analysis at its best.” - R. L. Nettler, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford

“This volume, focusing on a term of decisive significance in Ibn ʿArabī’s thought, is a most welcome contribution to research in the history of speculative Sufism. The author’s semantic analysis, based on a substantial series of the relevant texts, shows with commendable precision how Ibn ʿArabī’s mystical system has undergone modification by one of its foremost interpreters, ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Qāshānī. The latter’s role as a systematiser and arch-defender of Ibn ʿArabī’s legacy in the altered conditions of his later milieu, comes into sharp relief. Lala’s study significantly extends our understanding of speculative Sufism in its historical unfolding.” - Toby Mayer, The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London
Preface
Acknowledgements
Transliteration Guide

1 Introduction
 1 The Meeting
 2 The Master
 3 The Disciple
 4 The Word
 5 The Presentation
 6 The Qurʾan
 7 The History

2 Ibn ʿArabī and Huwiyya
 1 Ibn ʿArabī’s Definition
 2 Huwiyya in Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya
 3 Huwiyya in the Fuṣūṣ
 4 The Chapter of Yūsuf
 5 Conclusion of Ibn ʿArabī and Huwiyya

3 Al-Qāshānī and Huwiyya
 1 Al-Qāshānī’s Definition of Huwiyya
 2 Huwiyya, Entity and the Perfect Man
 3 Huwiyya in the Taʾwīlāt
 4 Conclusion of Huwiyya in al-Qāshānī’s Works
 5 The Huwiyya of Ibn ʿArabī versus the Huwiyya of al-Qāshānī

4 Conclusion

Bibliography
Index
All interested in Sufism generally, Ibn ʿArabī specifically, and the dissemination of his thought by early disciples, especially. Those concerned with mystical exegesis will also find the work useful.