Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi
How God Brought The Cosmos
Into Existence Disclosing Himself


God - Allah brought the cosmos into existence as two sides and a center. He made one side like the [center-] point of a circle and the other side like its circumference, while He configured the cosmos between the two sides within levels and circles. He named the circumference the "Throne, " the central point the "earth." Everything between the two is the circles of the elements and the celestial spheres. He made them all loci for the individuals of the species and genera which He created in the cosmos. [1]

Then God disclosed Himself in an all-inclusive, all-encompassing self-disclosure, and He disclosed Himself in a specific, individual self-disclosure. The all-inclusive self-disclosure is an all-merciful self-disclosure, as indicated in His words, "The All-merciful sat upon the Throne" (20:5). The specific self-disclosure is the knowledge of God that belongs to each and every individual. Through the second self-disclosure there is entrance and exit, descent and ascent, motion and stillness, joining and separation, infringement, and that which stays in its place. He distinguished parts of the cosmos from other parts through place, position, form, and accident. Hence no distinction takes place except through Him, for He is identical to what becomes distinguished and to that through which distinction takes place. He is with each existent thing wherever it is through the manifest form that is attributed to that existent thing. All of this is known by the knowers of God by way of witnessing and finding. (III 101.20)

The divine loci of self-manifestation (al-mazâhir al-ilâhiyya) are called "self-disclosures." The fundamental Light is non-manifest within them and unseen by us, while the forms in which self-disclosure takes place are the locus within which the loci of manifestation become manifest. Hence our sight falls upon the loci of manifestation. (II 575.17)

Life is intrinsic to all things, since it derives from the divine self-disclosure to each and every existent thing. He created the existent things to worship and know Him, and not one of His creatures would know Him unless He disclosed Himself to it; then it comes to know Him through itself, since no created thing has the capacity to know the Creator. . . . Self-disclosure is forever constant, witnessed by and manifest to all existent things, except the angels, mankind, and the jinn, since this constant self-disclosure belongs only to that which has no rational speech, like all inanimate things and plants.

As for those things which have been given rational speech and the ability to express what is in themselves - that is, the angels, mankind, and the jinn in respect to their governing spirits and their faculties [2] - for them self-disclosure occurs from behind the veil of the unseen. Hence the angels' knowledge derives from God giving knowledge (ta`rif) while the knowledge of mankind and the jinn derives from consideration (nazar) and reasoning (istidlâl). But the knowledge possessed by their bodies and by all created things below them derives from the divine self-disclosure. (III 67.15)



From William C. Chittick's translation and comment on parts of the
Futuhat al-Makkiyya by Ibn `Arabi:

"The Sufi Path Of Knowledge -
Ibn `Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination," pp.216, 217

 

footnotes:

1= see Cosmology,
2= the bodies of the angels or jinn are imaginal or corporeous, not corporal. see Cosmology.





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