Perspectives, Relationships and Relativity in Ibn al-'Arabi's Thought​

Binyamin Abrahamov​


In the Middle Ages Muslim scholars from various fields used the system of examining issues from different points of view. Some of them emphasized the relativity of religious values and others explained problems by providing relationships between pairs of principles or entities. However, the Greatest Master Ibn al-'Arabī (d. 1240) took this methodology farther than any other Muslim scholar by employing the devices of perspectives, relationships and relativity in order to discuss religious matters. His profound thoughts regarding metaphysics, mysticism, religious law and theology are imbued with these systems to such an extent that in his view it is inconceivable to know something unless one is aware of all its aspects. According to our author, from the rational perspective God is considered transcendent but from the imaginal perspective He is immanent. Likewise, from the cosmic point of view all religions are equal but from the terrestrial point of view they are different. Moreover, his philosophy includes God, who acts by employing perspectives that pertain to Him, to the Messenger and even to the human beings. Without doubt, his system of thought was revolutionary for his time and comes very close to modern ideas.

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