An Ocean Without Shore is a study of Ibn Arabi, known in Islam as al-Shaykh al-Akbar, the Greatest Spiritual Master. In the introduction, Chodkiewicz provides a good deal of documentation for the often heard claim that Ibn Arabi has been the most influential thinker in Islam over the past seven hundred years. He shows that this has been true, not only among the intellectual elite, but also among the common believers. He explains why a few Muslims have considered Ibn al-Arabi the greatest heretic of Islam, while for many others he is Islam's greatest spiritual teacher.
In the main body of the book, Chodkiewicz demonstrates that Ibn Arabi's writings are firmly grounded in the Koran. In doing this he also shows that Ibn Arabi's Koranic roots run far deeper than has heretofore been imagined. He explains that principles of Ibn Arabi's Koranic hermeneutics with unprecedented clarity, and in bringing out the primary importance of the Shaykh's magnum opus, The Futuhat Makkiyya, he solves a good number of riddles about the text that have puzzled modern readers.
Chodkiewicz's work shows how, for Ibn Arabi, the iniatory voyage is a voyage in the divine word itself.
Michel Chodkiewicz is Director of Studies at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.