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Love in the Teachings of Ibn ‘Arabī

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This book aims to explore the theory of love in the writings of the Great Andalusian Sufi Sheikh, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn ‘Arabī (558-638/1165-1240). It begins by examining Divine and human love as found in the works of many Sufi masters that preceded Ibn ‘Arabī, and then turns to the views of Ibn ‘Arabī himself.

The Sufis from the early centuries of Islam (9th-10th) sometimes defined love as their “religion,” by which they meant, their way to God. Ibn ‘Arabī not only expanded on these earlier Sufi theories, but also detailed his own original insights. He openly declared the primacy of love over all else and argued that love is the dynamic force behind creation.

The present study is focused primarily on outlining the importance of Divine love in Ibn ‘Arabī’s thought, which is accomplished through an in-depth reading and a close textual analysis of selected works on Divine love in several of his key works including: The Interpreter of Longings (Turjumān al-Ashwāq), The Ringstones of Wisdom (Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam), and The Meccan Openings (al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya).

The approach taken in Love in the Teachings of Ibn ‘Arabī demonstrates the centrality of love in Ibn ‘Arabī’s worldview. Additionally, the monograph offers certain interpretive keys to help unlock the meanings embedded in the imagery and symbolism of Ibn ‘Arabī’s unique language.

Published: May 22, 2023


Section Chapter Authors
Preface Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Dedication Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 1
Introduction Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 2
Love in the Qur’ān, the Sunnah, and Early Sufism Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 3
Background Texts to Ibn ‘Arabī’s Doctrine of Love Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 4
Ibn ‘Arabī’s Metaphysics in Context Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 5
A Case Study of Chapter 178 of al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya (The Meccan Openings) Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Chapter 6
Conclusion Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
End Matter
Addendum 1 Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Addendum 2 Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Addendum 3 Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Bibliography Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim
Index Hany Talaat Ahmed Ibrahim


Hany Ibrahim’s Love in the Teachings of Ibn ‘Arabī adds a great degree of depth to our understanding of Ibn ‘Arabī’s unique doctrine of love, effectively demonstrating his indebtedness to and departures from treatments of the topic by some of the foremost representatives of the Islamic mystical tradition. This excellent book is highly recommended to all those interested in love, loverhood, and the connection between them.
Mohammed Rustom, author of Inrushes of the Heart: The Sufi Philosophy of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt

This erudite work presents a comprehensive overview of Ibn ‘Arabi’s doctrine of love, drawing on a range of difficult primary texts and relevant secondary scholarship. As the first monograph of its kind in English, marked by what can only be described as an inner sensitivity to the subject matter––the dhawq of the Sufis––it will help set the stage for future research in the field.
Atif Khalil, author of Repentance and the Return to God: Tawba in Early Sufism

Accessible and profound, erudite and eloquent, Love in the Teachings of Ibn ‘Arabī provides an excellent introduction to one of the central themes of the works of the figure known as the Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest Master): love. Helpfully situating Ibn al-‘Arabī’s writings on love within their historical and intellectual contexts, as well as the context of his broader metaphysics and cosmology, Ibrahim’s book will find a welcome audience among both scholars and lay readers.
Oludamini Ogunnaike, author of Deep Knowledge: Ways of Knowing in Sufism and Ifa, Two West African Intellectual Traditions

Dr. Hany Ibrahim is uniquely qualified to guide the reader into the world of Ibn al-ʿArabī, where we discover the source of creation, the physics of the cosmos, and the driving force of humanity to be love. Situating Ibn al-ʿArabī in his Islamic foundations, this book takes us through the rich background from which springs Ibn al-ʿArabī powerful, and encouraging, demonstration of the importance of love, which is the way we learn who we are – and who our Lord is.
Eric Winkel, director of The Futūḥāt Project