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Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn al-ʿArabī

Impressions from the Meccan Openings

Al-Futūhāt al-Makkiyya


The Possible Things

Presented by Omar K Neusser


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Note 01


As interpreted by professor William C. Chittick


The Possible Things


”Entities” are,
- on the one hand, the possible things as they exist in the cosmos, and
- on the other hand, the possible things nonexistent in the cosmos but existent in God’s knowledge.

- entities are either existing in the cosmos (as possible things and existent) or
- entities are nonexistent in the cosmos but existent in God’s knowledge (as possible things.)

- So all things are possible things?!

God creates the cosmos in accordance with His eternal knowledge of it. Thereby He gives each thing known to Him existence in the universe = each entity, “immutably fixed” (thābit ) within His knowledge, is given existence in the universe [as He choses and decides.]

The fixed[1] immutable entities (ayān al-thābit ) are the things themselves ”before” they are given existence in the world.[2]

There is no difference between the entity known in God’s knowledge and the entity in the cosmos except that in the first case it is ”nonexistent” while in the second case it is existent. [and they are both possible things.]

The existent entity (´ayn mawjūda ) and the fixed entity (´ayn al-thābita ) are the same reality, one exists in the cosmos and the other does not. The difference between the two corresponds exactly to the difference between the possible thing before it is given existence and the same possible thing after it comes into existence.

However the attribute thābita, ”fixed”, helps remind us that the possible thing never leaves its state of possibility in the Divine knowledge. Though the entity may “exist” in the cosmos, it is still immutably fixed and “nonexistent” in God’s knowledge.


SPK81-83, The Sufi Path Of Knowledge, Ibn Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination; W C Chittick; p81


  1. William C. Chittick, the author, originally translated the (ayān al-thābit) as ’immutable entities’, but later (in SDG) changed it to ’fixed entities.’  ↩

  2. The Platonic ideas would ≈ correspond in Muhyiddin Ibn ´Arabi’s teachings to the Names.  ↩

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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 *