Seal of the Saints : Prophethood & Sainthood in the Doctrine of Ibn 'Arabi
Ibn Arabi—born in 1165 in Andalusia and died in 1240 in Damascus—was recognised in his lifetime as al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the supreme spiritual Master. Over a period of eight centuries he has exerted a profound influence on Islamic mysticism.
In recent years a number of important studies have helped acquaint the Western reader with Ibn Arabi’s metaphysics and this process is now greatly enhanced by the present volume in which Michael Chodkiewicz explores for the first time, the Master’s ‘hagiology’ or teaching on sainthood.
Founded on a careful analysis of the relevant texts, Chodkiewicz’s work examines this essential aspect of Ibn Arabi’s doctrine of sainthood, defining the nature and function of sainthood, while also specifying the criteria for a typology of saints based on the notion of prophetic inheritance.
The book concludes with a detailed description of the two phases of the initiatory journey, the ascent to God, followed by the descent to created beings which, once accomplished, makes a saint the necessary mediator between Heaven and Earth.
Michel Chodkiewicz is Director of Studies at l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.