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The Universal Tree and the Four Birds

  • Book Title:
 The Universal Tree And The Four Birds 2
  • Book Author:
Angela Jaffray, Ibn al-'Arabi
  • Total Pages
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The Universal Tree and the Four Birds – book sample

Contents – The Universal Tree and the Four Birds

  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Of the Tree and its Four Birds, by Rafi Zabor 1
  • Biography of Ibn ¡Arab¨ 9
  • Introduction 16
  • Overview 16
  • Stylistic Considerations 18
  • Treatise on Unification 21
  • Dedication 26
  • Discourse of the Universal Tree 35
  • Discourse of the Ringdove 38
  • Discourse of the Royal Eagle 42
  • Discourse of the Strange ¡Anqå¤ 46
  • Discourse of the Jet-Black Crow 47
  • Commentary 53
  • The Title 53
  • The Proemial Poems 61
  • The Dedicatee 63
  • The Fourth Poem 77
  • Meetings in the Barzakh 78
  • Soliloquies of the Universal Tree and the Four Birds 80
  • Cosmic Marriage and the Genealogy of the Birds 103
  • Appendix: The Edition of the Text 111
  • Bibliography 115
  • Index of Qur¤anic Citations 123
  • Index of Names and Terms 125
  • Arabic text

About th Book

The Universal Tree and the Four Birds-Through the story of the universal tree, representing the complete human being, and the four birds, representing the four essential aspects of existence, Ibn ‘Arabi explains his teaching on the nature and meaning of union with God. Providing an excellent initiation into the often complex works of Ibn ‘Arabi, this brief, delightful tale is the first English translation of an important, early work, complete with Arabic text, commentary…

Introduction -Overview

The Ittihåd al-kawn¨ is one of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s early works, most likely written before the author’s journey to the eastern Islamic lands in 1201/02 CE (AH 598).1 Written primarily in rhymed prose and poetry, it shares the charm of its cousins among the visionary mysti- cal–philosophical fables of the Islamic world, such as those penned by Avicenna, Suhraward¨, and ¡A††år.2

It also belongs to the genre of mystical ascent literature. Although ascent literature is represented in many of the world’s traditions,3 in Islam the model derives from the Prophet Mu¢ammad’s ascen- sion through the seven heavens to the Divine Presence as allusively recounted in Suras 17: 1 and 53: 4–18. In later years, Sufis undertook to imitate the Prophet’s ascent and, beginning with Ab¬ Yaz¨d al- Bis†åm¨ (d.874 CE), several described their visions, either orally or in treatise form. Ab¬ Yaz¨d’s strange account of his mi¡råj, for example, was recounted by (pseudo-?) al-Junayd (d.910)4 and interpreted by al-Sarråj (d.988).5 Having flown in the form of a bird to the Tree of Unity, the Lote Tree of the Limit, described in Sura 53: 14, Ab¬……

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