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Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn al-ʿArabī

Impressions from the Meccan Openings

Al-Futūhāt al-Makkiyya

Wujūd and Infinity

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Note 05

Translated by professor William C. Chittick from the Futūhāt al-Makkiyya[1]

Wujūd and Infinity

Quoting W.C.Chittick, SDG66/7

(Infinity in Arabic is mā lā nihāya lah - that which has no end, or mā lā yantanāhā - that which does not end.) Muhyiddīn ibn ʿArabi uses this term to refer both to the fixed entities and to wujūd.[2]

The fixed entities are infinite in their non-existence, which is to say that the possibilities of the Real's self-disclosure have no end. Once an entity ”enters into wujūd ” (dakhala fi-l wujūd ) it becomes an existent entity.

The existent entities are finite, because in the state of their existence things have limits and bounds that define their identities, making them some things rather than other things.

Moreover, the wujūd of each thing instantly reaches an end, but each end reached by a thing, each - ”named term” - is simply the beginning of a new self-disclosure, and these self-disclosures never cease. Each entity continues to experience the self-disclosures of wujūd endlessly, which is to say that each is ”infinite” in that ”it has no end” (lā nihāya lah).

Wujūd is infinite in itself, and ”it is impossible for the infinite to enter into wujūd ” (II 282.35), that is, it is impossible for wujūd as such, the Necessary Wujūd that cannot not be found, to enter into the delimited and bound wujūd that is the cosmos, the possible wujūd that may or may not be found.

Sheer wujūd - God in his Essence - has no limits, but wujūd in as much as it discloses its own characteristics through the entities is subject to binding and constraint.

Ibn ʿArabi:

In God’s knowledge, all objects of knowledge are as they are, for He knows Himself and He knows other than Himself. But His wujūd  is not qualified by finitude. What does not enter into wujūd is not qualified by finitude. (III 419. 21)


One of the quranic verses[3] referring to the infinity of wujūd and the endless renewal of self-disclosure is
{ Each day He is upon some task. }

This is the "day" of the Essence, which is the present moment, and at each moment God's task - His act - is new. "The 'tasks' of the Real are the diverse, contrary, and similar states that belong to the cosmos." (ʿAbādila 212)

The root of this constant renewal is the fact that it is impossible for all entities to come into existence at once. Infinity cannot fit into the limitations of the cosmos. Hence, there is a never-ending outflow of divine acts, and these become manifest as the things and their activities.

SDG66, The Self-Disclosure of God; W C Chittick; p.66/7

  1. الفتوحات المكيّة التي فتح الله بها على الشيخ الإمام العامل الراسخ الكامل خاتم الأولياء الوارثين برزخ البرازخ محيي الحق و الدين أبي عبد الله محمد بن علي المعروف بابن عربي الحاتمي الطائي قدّس الله روحه و نوّر ضريحه ٱمين

  2. Wujūd is Being/ existence (depending on the context).
    more: On Being and Existence 1

  3. Originally in the text: ”One of the koranic verses that the Shaykh sees as referring to the infinity of wujūd…”

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The Other Notes in This Series
link-in The Possible Things
link-in The Veil of Otherness
link-in Being and Existence 1
link-in Being and Nonexistence 2
link-in Wujūd and Infinity
link-in Being, Names, and Nonexistence

Related texts
link-in Insights Into The Nature Of (Being) And Existence From Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn ʿArabī
link-in Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn al-ʿArabī And the Unfolding of the Islamic Intellectual Tradition

* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *