Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi

Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi

HENRY CORBIN
Translated from the French by RALPH MANHEIM
Copyright Date: 1969
Pages: 423
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7ztjv4
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  • Book Info
    Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi
    Book Description:

    A penetrating analysis of the life and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

    A penetrating analysis of the life and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5367-0
    Subjects: Religion, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF PLATES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-102)

    A more complete title for the present book would have been “Creative Imagination and Mystical Experience in the Ṣūfism of Ibn ‘Arabī.” An abbreviation, however, is permissible, since the mere word “Ṣūfism” suffices to place “Imagination” in our specific context. Here we shall not be dealing with imagination in the usual sense of the word: neither with fantasy, profane or otherwise, nor with the organ which produces imaginings identified with the unreal; nor shall we even be dealing exactly with what we look upon as the organ of esthetic creation. We shall be speaking of an absolutely basic function, correlated...

  5. [Illustration]
    (pp. None)
  6. PART ONE SYMPATHY AND THEOPATHY
    • I DIVINE PASSION AND COMPASSION
      (pp. 105-135)

      In a treatise on “the hieratic art of the Greeks,” Proclus, that lofty figure of late Neoplatonism whom scholars have so unjustly neglected, writes the following:

      Just as in the dialectic of love we start from sensuous beauties to rise until we encounter the unique principle of all beauty and all ideas, so the adepts of hieratic science take as their starting point the things of appearance and the sympathies they manifest among themselves and with the invisible powers. Observing that all things form a whole, they laid the foundations of hieratic science, wondering at the first realities and admiring...

    • II SOPHIOLOGY AND DEVOTIO SYMPATHETICA
      (pp. 136-176)

      In the prologue to theDīwān, which he entitled “The Interpreter of Ardent Desires,”¹ Ibn ‛Arabī relates the circumstances of its composition as follows: “While sojourning in Mecca in the course of the year a.h. 598 [a.d. 1201], I frequented a group of outstanding men and women, an élite of culture and virtue. Although they were all persons of distinction, I found none among them to equal the wise doctor and master Zāhir ibn Rustam, a native of Ispahān who had taken up residence in Mecca, and his sister, the venerable ancient, the learned woman of Hijāz, whose name was...

    • [Illustration]
      (pp. None)
  7. PART TWO CREATIVE IMAGINATION AND CREATIVE PRAYER
    • Prologue
      (pp. 179-183)

      “The notion of the imagination, magical intermediary between thought and being, incarnation of thought in image and presence of the image in being, is a conception of the utmost importance, which plays a leading role in the philosophy of the Renaissance and which we meet with again in the philosophy of Romanticism.”¹ This observation, taken from one of our foremost interpreters of the doctrines of Boehme and Paracelsus, provides the best possible introduction to the second part of the present book. We wish to stress on the one hand the notion of theImaginationas themagicalproduction of an...

    • III THE CREATION AS THEOPHANY
      (pp. 184-215)

      It will first be necessary to recall the acts of the eternal cosmogony as conceived by the genius of Ibn ‛Arabī.¹ To begin with: a Divine Being alone in His unconditioned essence, of which we know only one thing: precisely the sadness of the primordial solitude that makes Him yearn to be revealed in beings who manifest Him to Himself insofar as He manifests Himself to them. That is the Revelation we apprehend. We must meditate upon it in order to knowwhowe are. Theleitmotivis not the bursting into being of an autarchic Omnipotence, but a fundamental...

    • IV THEOPHANIC IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY OF THE HEART
      (pp. 216-245)

      The doctrine of the imagination in its psycho-cosmic function has two aspects: the one is cosmogonic or theogonic, (the “theogony” of the divine Names). In connection with this aspect we must bear in mind that the idea of “genesis” here expressed has nothing to do with acreatio ex nihiloand is equally far removed from the Neoplatonic idea of emanation; we must think rather of a process of increasing illumination, gradually raising the possibilities eternally latent in the original Divine Being to a state of luminescence. The second aspect or function is specifically psychological. It should be remembered, however,...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • V MAN’S PRAYER AND GOD’S PRAYER
      (pp. 246-271)

      Some have thought it paradoxical that prayer should perform a function in a doctrine such as that of Ibn ‘Arab , and what is more, an essential function, while others have denied that this was so. For those who hastened to classify his doctrine of the “transcendental unity of being” as “monism” or “pantheism” in the senses these words have assumed inourhistory of modern philosophy, have made it difficult to understand what function could still be performed by prayer. This is what we shall try to show by speaking of “Creative Prayer” in the light of what has...

    • VI THE “FORM OF GOD”
      (pp. 272-281)

      Let us now bear firmly in mind these two leitmotives: God’s reply to Moses as recorded in the Koran: “Thou shalt not see me”—and the famous “ḥadīthof the vision” (al-rū’yā), dream vision or ecstatic vision, in which the Prophet bears witness: “I have seen my Lord in a form of the greatest beauty, as a youth with abundant hair, seated on the Throne of grace; he was clad in a garment of gold [or a green robe, according to a variant]; on his hair a golden mitre; on his feet golden sandals.”¹ Refusal of vision and attestation of...

  8. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 282-284)

    Here perhaps we have gone as far as it is possible at this time to carry this study of the theophanic Imagination. What we have just analyzed offers us an exemplary and maximal instance of the virtue of that Creative Imagination which, in the Prologue to the second part of this book, we carefully distinguished from fantasy, describing it as the fulfillment of being in an Image and a transposition of the Image into being. It may be that in pursuing this meditation we have confidently allowed ourselves for a moment to be carried away by the flight of our...

  9. NOTES AND APPENDICES
    (pp. 285-390)
  10. LIST OF WORKS CITED
    (pp. 391-398)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 399-406)