The Universal Tree and the Four Birds
  • Book Title:
 The Universal Tree And The Four Birds
  • Book Author:
Ibn al-'Arabi
  • Total Pages
159
  • Size of Book:
1 Mb
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The Universal Tree and the Four Birds – Book Sample

Contents –

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

Introduction – The Universal Tree and the Four Birds

Overview

The Itti¢åd 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) [01]See Gril, Le Livre de l’arbre, p. 29; Elmore, Islamic Sainthood, p. 165. Although the precise dating of the treatise is not known, in all … Continue reading.

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 [02]See Corbin, Avicenna; Thackston, Mystical and Visionary Treatises; and A††år, Man†iq al-†ayr..

It also belongs to the genre of mystical ascent literature. Although ascent literature is represented in many of the world’s traditions [03]Among the many studies devoted to this subject in world literature, see Couliano, Out of this World, and Culianu, Psychanodia I, in Islam the model derives from the Prophet Mu¢ammad’s ascension 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)[04] See Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, pp. 242–50. and interpreted by al-Sarråj (d.988) [05]See al-Sarråj, K. al-luma¡.. 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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References / Footnotes

01See Gril, Le Livre de l’arbre, p. 29; Elmore, Islamic Sainthood, p. 165. Although the precise dating of the treatise is not known, in all likelihood it was preceded by such works as Mashåhid al-asrår al-qudsiyya, al-Tadb¨råt al-ilåhiyya, Mawåqi¡ al-nuj¬m, Inshå¤ al-dawå¤ ir, and other treatises that were probably lost when Ibn ¡Arab¨ left al- Andalus. Its subject matter bears a close resemblance to that of another early work, ¡Uqlat al-mustawfiz.
02See Corbin, Avicenna; Thackston, Mystical and Visionary Treatises; and A††år, Man†iq al-†ayr.
03Among the many studies devoted to this subject in world literature, see Couliano, Out of this World, and Culianu, Psychanodia I
04 See Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, pp. 242–50.
05See al-Sarråj, K. al-luma¡.