Explicates the cosmology of Ibn al-'Arabi, the greatest mystical thinker of Islamic civilization.
The Self-Disclosure of God offers the most detailed presentation to date in any Western language of the basic teachings of Islam's greatest mystical philosopher and theologian. It represents a major step forward in making available to the Western reading public the enormous riches of Islamic teachings in the fields of cosmology, mystical philosophy, theology, and spirituality.
The Self-Disclosure of God continues the author's investigations of the world view of Ibn al-ʿArabī, the greatest theoretician of Sufism and the "seal of the Muhammadan saints." The book is divided into three parts, dealing with the relation between God and the cosmos, the structure of the cosmos, and the nature of the human soul. A long introduction orients the reader and discusses a few of the difficulties faced by Ibn al-ʿArabī's interpreters. Like Chittick's earlier work, The Sufi Path of Knowledge, this book is based primarily on Ibn al-ʿArabī's monumental work, al-Futūḥāt al-Makkīyah "The Meccan Openings." More than one hundred complete chapters and subsections are translated, not to mention shorter passages that help put the longer discussions in context. There are detailed indices of sources, Koranic verses and hadiths. The book's index of technical terminology will be an indispensable reference for all those wishing to delve more deeply into the use of language in Islamic thought in general and Sufism in particular.
William C. Chittick is Professor of Comparative Studies at State University of New York, Stony Brook. He has published numerous books, among them, Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity; Faith and Practice of Islam: Three Thirteenth-Century Sufi Texts; The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination; The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi; and A Shi'ite Anthology, all published by SUNY Press.
"…this book … will serve as the basis for future study on Ibn al-Arabi … The translation is so faithful to the original Arabic that it almost corresponds with the original word for word. " — Wiener Zeitschrift Fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes
"Chittick has refined his way of translating Ibn al-Arabi's terminology to a high degree of perfection. " — Gerhard Böwering, Yale University
"This is the type of work that many will refer to as a tour de force. Among its other accomplishments, it represents a painstaking reading, translation, and analysis of a major Muslim Arab thinker of notoriously intimidating erudition and subtlety. Best of all, it is clear and comprehensible, without sacrificing sophistication and precision. " — R. Kevin Lacey, State University of New York, Binghamton