Wa alaykum as-Salam,
I was wondering, can you comment on this incident and whether it is true ... ? http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=153218&postcount=57
The source, al-Sakhawi's biography of his teacher Ibn Hajar entitled al-Jawahir wal-Durar, is highly reliable.
However, there is one misrepresentation and one rather glaring misunderstanding in the post above:
1. The claim that "the number of scholars who attacked him were more than the ones who praised him" needs proof. From what I have researched, the list of the famous scholars who expressed praise of Ibn `Arabi is greater and more impressive than the list of those who attacked him.
2. The key to understanding the mubahala resides in Ibn Hajar's words: "Seldom did two people enter a mutual cursing except the liar of the two became afflicted."
There is no doubt about Ibn Hajar's standing as a friend of Allah and a `alim of huge caliber who was sincerely convinced that the words of Ibn `Arabi were misleading. This is what he said verbatim elsewhere about Ibn `Arabi; and it is true. In fact, this is what Imam al-Suyuti himself, an ardent defender of Ibn `Arabi, said of Ibn `Arabi in his fatwa against whoever attacked him: it is forbidden for the non-specialist to read his works because his words are misleading and can be cause for kufr. More than that, it is THE EXPRESSED POSITION OF IBN ARABI HIMSELF ABOUT HIS OWN WRITINGS.
The position of the defender of Ibn `Arabi in this mubahala, however, was precarious due to his obvious ignorance of all of the above. What is worse, the story shows that he was acting from an entirely partisan posture and using the means of dunya (the threat of delation to the sultan) which Shaykh Muhyi al-Din himself would have despised. So the attribute of "liar" applies more to him than to Ibn Hajar. Such a person should have refrained from arguing with Ibn Hajar in the first place, let alone coming against him, let alone threaten him with delation, let alone enter a mubahala with him! Most followers of the Awliya, in fact, belong to that unhappy category of ignorant and arrogant louts and they are the ones who contribute to giving the Awliya and their Turuq a terrible reputation.
The real question is:
what business of this or that anonymous forum writer is it to risk their akhira on the buhtan of one of the famous Muslims of the past? This entire line of argument on the internet shows how truly extinct the manners of the Salaf are. When Imam al-Nawawi was asked about Ibn `Arabi he simply replied: "This was a community who passed away and you will not be asked about they used used to do." By Imam al-Nawawi's time this type of answer was already thoroughly extinct. Mulla `Ali al-Qari's advice in his fatwa on Wahdat al-Wujud was also: Stay silent, it is safer for you; except that he himself did not abide by it, Allah have mercy on all of them.
and Allah knows best. Was-Salam,