Ass. Prof. Yasushi TONAGA*

  1. Introduction

1) Ibn Arabi
Ibn Arabi is widely known as an outstanding mystic in the history of Islamic thought and was almost a contemporary of Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi. He was a prolific writer, with a legacy of over 700 works according to O. Yahia.1 His main works include Meccan Revelation (al-Futuhat al-Makkiya), The Bezels of Wisdom (Fusus al-Hikam), the latter of which was the subject of more than 100 commentaries, which goes to show how extensively his thought was received in the Islamic world.
Ibn Arabi’s philosophy can be explained in terms of an ontology known as the “oneness of being” (wahda al-wujud) and the theory of ideal human existence referred to as the theory of the “perfect man” (insan kamil) or “the seal of the saints” (khatm al-awliya’). “Oneness of being” (wahda al-wujud) is a view that sees everything in this world as the serf-manifestation (tajalli) of the Absolute, which is called “existence” (wujud). There is no doubt that Ibn Arabi put forward this theory, yet it was only later that the theory was organised into the shape ih which we know it today. Ibn Arabi himself did not use the term “wahda al-wujud”. The theory that we are taught today is the mystical thought which his disciples rearranged in a philosophical manner.
The “perfect man” (insan kamil) refers to a person who has completed his spiritual practice and fully understood the mystery of the world. In Ibn Arabi’s thought, however, this does not simply refer to the image of an ideal person, but also has an ontological significance. That is to say, the perfect man is a link between Allah and the created world. He is an imago del which reflects Allah as well as a microcosm which reflects the universe. Ibn Arabi’s grand cosmology can been seen in the way in which Allah, the perfect man and the cosmos as a whole are interrelated.
2) The School of Ibn Arabi
(1) Historical outline of research oh the School of Ibn Arabi
Only about 50 years ago, it was said that the flourishing of Islamic thought had ended in the 12th century and thereupon entered an age of decay.Opposed to this view were scholars of whom Henry Corbin is a typical representative. They emphasized the many great thinkers in the Shi’ite and Iranian world after the 13thcentury, throughout the so-called Safavid Renaissance, and to the present day. This great philosophical tradition finds its roots in Ibn Arabi, Suhrawardi Shaykh al-Ishraq, the mashshai philosophy and theology of the Twelver Shi’ism.
It can be said that in comparison, research on the development of latter day ideas in the Sunni world lagged behind.3 It was only in the 1990s that serious discussion began on the development of ideas in the post 13th century Ottoman Empire, Arab world, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and China4. This trend of research was based upon the claim that Islamic thought did not lose its power even after 12th century, but continued to grow and bear new ideas. Happily enough we have had a good accumulation of the studies on this topic in these two decades especially in Turkey. Compared to this, the studies on Arab world are still stagnant. The fact that we have not yet had an annotated list of biographies of the members exemplifies this situation.
It can be said that the characteristic of the present condition is that, we have come to a point where we can draw comparisons not only from the Arabic and Persian world, but also from the Ottoman Empire, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. The attached list could show such a situation.
(2) What is the School of Ibn Arabi
Up to this point, I have been taking the term “the School of Ibn Arabi” for granted. It should, however, be noted that this term is in fact rather problematic. As J.W. Morris has rightly pointed out, the term “school” must be used with much care. The reason for this is that: 1. Inquiry into the philosophical and theological unity and diversity of the members has not yet begun. 2. These members are not only commentators but also independent thinkers.5
Various ways to categorise the so-called the School of Ibn Arabi have been put forward by a number of scholars. According to W. C. Chittick, it can be divided in the following manner: 1 )al-Qunawi and his circle; 2) commentators of Fusus al-Hikam; 3) followers of Ibn Arabi in silsila (spiritual lineage); 4) those under his intellectual influence.6
For instance, regarding those belonging to the School of Ibn Arabi in South Asia, Chittick says that relatively few authors were familiar with Ibn al-‘Arabi’s own writings, even if most had some acquaintance with the Fusus al-Hikam through one of its numerous commentaries. The major lines of influence were not Ibn al-‘Arabi’s own works, but those of such authors as Farghani and Abd al-Rahman Jami.”7 The same can be said about China, where Najm al-Din Daya Razi, the author of Mirsad al-Tbad, is influential, together with Jami. It is difficult to say whether those who have not read Ibn Arabi’s own works and are not under his direct influence belong to the School of Ibn Arabi. It may be for this reason that there are researchers who use the term “the School of wahda al-wujud” instead of “the School of Ibn Arabi” Moreover, whether or not al-Balyani, Ibn Sabin, and Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi should be included in the School ultimately depends on how the School is defined.8
In this presentation, I have not reached a stage where I can define with any certitude the concept of “the School of Ibn Arabi. ” I would, however, like to include here those who are thought to have been under the influence of Ibn Arabi, even though this influence may be indirect, and their references are not necessarily traceable back to Ibn Arabi. From this point of view, it might be better to use the term “Akbarian tradition,” which refers to the trend in a more flexible sense, rather than using the term “school,” which brings to mind something that actually exists.
3)  Within a wider context
Although we have only talked about the School of Ibn Arabi, it should be taken into consideration within a wider context. This is because we cannot consider the ‘pure’ School of Ibn Arabi. Even if we could demarcate it, it also has intermingled with the other trend of thought.
First of all, the thought of Ibn Arabi often assimilated with the thought of some poets.9 The commentators of such poems, may adopt the explanations in the style of Ibn Arabi and those of the theoretical works by Ibn Arabi may use the poems in their explanations. Generally speaking, the commentators understood the thought of Ibn Arabi and that of Mevlana” Rumi in the same line. If we turn our eyes to Arab world, the same thing happened between Ibn Arabi and Ibn al-Farid. The comparison between these two equivalent cases is still left as a task to undertake.
Secondly, we have tended to limit our interest within a region. When we see that Anqaravi(d. 1632), Bosnevi (d. 1644) of Ottoman Empire, Molla Sadra (d. 1640) of Iran, Muhibb Allah Ilahabadi (d. 1648) of Indian Subcontinent, and Sumatrani(d. 1630) of Malay world lived almost in the same era and that Ismail Haqqi Bursevi(d. 1725) of Ottoman Empire, al-Nabulusi(1728) of
Arab world, and Liu Zhi (1730) of China are contemporaries, the task of comparison between these thinkers seems to deserve undertaking. Such an inter-regional point of view should be needed.
4) Objective of this paper
Although based on the above perspective, I would like to confine myself to the study of a unique thinker, Abd al-Karim al-Jili, in my paper. This paper attempts to investigate the following points.
First of all, I would like to consider wahda al-wujud, Ibn Arabi’s fundamental philosophy of thought, by tracing its transformations in the presence of the various manifestations of the Absolute. These refer to the question of Allah’s absolute supremacy, and came to be systematised after Ibn Arabi’s death. I will analyse arid compare the categorisations of Abd al-Karim al-Jili with those of Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi, Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani, Dawud Qaysari and relate them to the question of the absolute being. That is to say, I will investigate the relationship between the Absolute One and the Many, and that between the Absolute One and the personal God in the context of Islamic thought.
Secondly, I would like to consider the theory of perfect man according to Abd al-Karim al-Jili and how the difference of the systematisation of wahdah al-wujud influences this theory.

  1. Systefnatization of divine manifestation and the position of Allah101)Ibn Arabi’s wahda al-wujud

Islam is a dichotomous religion, which clearly distinguishes between the creator, Allah, and the created. All that human beings can do is to obey Allah’s orders (Islamic law) and leave everything in Allah’s hands. However, certain Sufis who pursued mystical philosophy, including Ibn Arabi, began to introduce a third aspect in the relationship between God and creation. The third element posited by Ibn Arabi is “the reality of realities” (haqiqa al-haqa’iq). hi addition to this there is the “unlimited existence” (wujud mutlaq), which exists by itself, and the “limited existence” (wujud muqayyad), which is non-existent by itself and is able to exist only by depending on the “unlimited existence.”11 Ibn Arabi here does not say clearly whether Allah is “unlimited existence” or “the reality of realities.”
2) the theory of the manifestation of existence in the School of Ibn Arabi
(1) A five-stage theory of manifestation: From Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi to Dawud Qaysari12
Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani, who joined the tradition of Ibn Arabi organised the process of manifestation and sorted it out into five stages.13 Although he explains the same concept by using all kinds of terminology borrowed from al-Qur’an, the hadiths, theology and philosophy, I would like to use the following five terms to represent these terminologies in order to explain the five stages of manifestation.

  1. ahadiya (negative oneness)14
  2. wahidiya (affirmative oneness)15
  3. alam al-jabarut (world of jabarut)
  4. alam al-malakut (world of malakut)
  5. alam al-mulk (world of mulk)

Let me give a simple explanation of the two higher dimensions related to the Absolute/God.

  1. Ahadiya: The essence (dhat) of God which has eliminated (suqut isqat)all limitations.16
  2. wahidiya : Characterised by the unification of all the names and attributes of God.17This is called “the presence of divinity” (hadra al-uluhiyah).18 The reason should be clear if we look at the following example.

“The greatest name” (ism azam) is a name which unites all names and is called Allah. This is because the name Allah is characterized by all attributes (sifat), that is to say, it is the name of the essence (dhat) which has been named by all names (asma). For this reason, people call the level of the essence which contains all names “the presence of divinity” (hadra ilabiya).19
In other words, since Allah is the greatest divine name which integrates all names, wahidiya is referred to at the level of Allah, that is to say, the presence of divinity (or “the divine presence”).
In this way, although Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani puts forward a systematic theory of five levels, he has also written what seemingly goes against this theory.
“the first manifesation” (tajalli awwal) refers to the essential manifestation (tajalli dhati), (that is to say) only the essence manifests itself in the essence and is at the level of ahadiya. There is here neither attribute (nat) nor figure (rasm). The oneness (wahda) of the essence, which is the only true pure existence, is (this existence) itself. This is because from the point of view of existence, anything other than the (true) existence an absolute is non-existence (‘adam mutlaq), or in other words si state in which there is absolutely nothing (al-la-shay” al-mahd). Within this ahadiya, there is no need for oneness (wahda) or limitation (taayyun) which can be distinguished from (other) things (shay1). This is because there is absolutely nothing (else) apart from (true existence), (Since) this oneness is the essence itself (ayn dhati-hi). This oneness is the source of ahadiya and wahidiya (mansha’ al-ahadiya wa al-wahidiya). This is because (this oneness) is the essence itself in the sense that it is unlimited (mutlaq) and includes (both) the possibility that there is nothing with it (bi-shart an la yakuna shay’ maa-hu), which means ahadiya, and the possibility that there is something with it (bi-shart an yakuna maa-hu shay), which means wahidiya.20 Continuing from this, the “second manifestation” is said to be the manifestation of wahidiya from ahadiya, and the “phenomenal manifestation” (tajalli shuhudi) which can be called the third manifestation, is said to be the manifestation of various kinds of existence (akwan) in the phenomenal world.
Now, what is worth pointing out regarding the “first manifestation” mentioned above, is that oneness, which is the “source of ahadiya and wahidiya,” is characterised by the term la-bi-shart (without-any-limitation). That is to say, mutlaq (absolute/unlimited). Ahadiya is conditioned by bi-shart-la (with-non-limitation), and hence it seems that there is some other stage above this.
Another example which contradicts the theory of five levels can also be seen in Kashani’s Kitab Shark Fusus21 There the grades (maratib) are divided into six. The first is “non-self-division” (la-taayyun) which “escapes all limitations (qayd) and viewpoints (itibar). The second is the limitation inside the essence (ayn and dhat) which unifies all the active, necessary and divine (limitations) and passive and cosmic limitations (taayyunat filiya wujubiya ilahiya infialiya kawniya). The third is a grade that integrates all active limitations (taayyunat filiya) from these two kinds limitations and is called “the grade of Allah” (martaba Allah). The fourth is a grade where these (active limitations) separate (martaba tafsiliya) and are called “the grade of names” (martaba al-asma’). As opposed to this, the fifth grade is a limitation which integrates all of the second limitation, mat is passive limitations (taayyunat infialiya), and is called the “grade of existing beings, of possibility and the created” (martaba kawniya imkaniya khalqiya). The sixth grade is a grade where these have separated (martaba tafsiliya) and is called the “grade of the world” (martaba al-alam).22
This can be summarised as follows: (1) without limitation; (2)integration of divine and created limitations; (3)integration of divine limitations only; (4)separation of (3)me integration of divine limitations; (5)integration of preated limitations only; (6)separation of (5)the integration of created limitations. That (3)the integration of divine limitations corresponds to wahidiya mentioned at the begining of this section is clear from the fact that this is called the grade of Allah. In the same way, (4) which has divine limitations (names and attributes), which corresponds to alam al-jabarut and below, (5) to alam al-malakut, and (6) to alam al-mulk.
Division of the process of manifestation into five, and assuming a stage above ahadiya as the highest stage, can be also seen in Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani’s disciple, Dawud Qaysari. For instance, the theory of five presences can be found in Qaysari’s Moqaddame-ye Sharh-e Fusus al-Hikam23 and in this case, wahidiya is called the divine grade (martaba ilahiya). On the other hand, assumption of higher stage above ahadiya also can be found.24 Here Dawud Qaysari refers to what Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani calls oneness (wahda) as He-ness (huwiya). The above can be organised and understood as follows.

  1. ahadiya   wahda


  1. wahidiya
  2. alam al-jabarut
  3. alam al-malakut
  4. alam al-mulk

Important points regarding the theories of manifestation from Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi and Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani to Dawud Qaysari, and the position of Allah in these theories, can be summarised as follows.

  1. Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani divides the process of manifestation into five levels.
  2. However, wahda is also assumed as being above ahadiya, which is the highest of the five levels. This is referred to in terms of a philosophical concept la-bi-shart (without-any-limitation). But since this wahda and ahadiya put together are also called ahadiya, the fact that ahadiya is placed at the highest position does not change.
  3. In both 1. and 2. above, Allah is positioned in wahidiya.

(2) New systemisation by Abd al-Karim al-Jili
Abd al-Karim al-Jili states throughout his work, starting from his first work, al-Kahfwa al-Raqim (The Cave and the Tablet) and his last work, Maratib al-Wujud (The Stages of Existence), that the stages of existence can all together be divided into forty.25 Indeed in these two works he lists forty, but when considered in detail, there are some differences in what he has written regarding the stages of manifestation.26 The differences, however, mainly appear in the stages of the created world, and the stages in the divine essence and attributes generally correspond.
In order to concentrate on the level of Allah, I will organise the upper parts (parts corresponding to the essence and attribute of God) according to Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s work the Stages of Existence, and explain these stages by drawing on other works.27

  1. Divine essence (al-dhat al-ilahrya). Also called “the mystery of the mystery” (ghayb al-ghayb) due to the purity of its essence, purified from all relationships (nisab) and manifestations (tajalliyat).
  2. Ahadiya (negative oneness). The first descent of the essence (awwal al-tanazzulat al-dhatiyah).

1 and 2 represent only the essence of the God.
3 .Wahidiya (affrimative oneness). The second descent of the essence. Diversity initially begins and ultimately ends here. It is here that names and attributes appear for the first time. It is a condition in which essence and attributes accommodate each other.

  1. Divinity (uluhiya). Diversity begins to limit itself and everything is distinguished from each other. From this stage to stage 7 are the stages corresponding to God’s attributes. At this stage, both attributes concerning the absolute (haqqi) and those concerning the created (khalqi) appear together.

5.Merciful-ness (rahmaniya). Expresses only the attributes concerning the absolute.

  1. Lord-ness (rububiya). Expresses only attribute concerning the created.However, it expresses both the attributes common to the Lord (Allah) and those that are peculiar to the created.
  2. Master-ness (malikiya). Expresses only the attributes concerning the created without expressing those common to the Lord.

The following two points should be noted here. Firstly, the stage of divine essence was established above ahadiya. Secondly, Allah is thought to correspond to the fourth stage in His essence. In this sense, it can be said that the grade of Allah is posited both above and below ahadiya in the system of manifestation. In fact, the formula: Allah’s essence>ahadiya> Allah’s attribute is comprehensible in some sense. However, Abd al-Karim al-Jili ‘s statement elsewhere possibly breaks down this formula
This can be seen in the following excerpt from The Perfect Man.
The greatest among the places of manifestation of the essence (a’la mazahir al-dhat) is the place of manifestation of divinity (mazhar al-uluhiya) • • • Now, divinity is the Mother of the Book (umm al-kitab) and al-Qur’an is ahadiya, al-Furqan is Qur’anic wahidiya (al-wahidiya al-Qur’aniya), the glorious Book (al-Kitab al-Majid) is the Merciful.28
Ahadiya is the highest among the names under the dominance of divinity (uluhiya), and wahidiya is the first descent of the Absolute from ahadiya. The highest of the stages encompassed by wahidiya is the stage of the Merciful. The highest of the places of manifestation of Merciful-ness is within Lord-ness, and the highest of the places of manifestation of Lord-ness is within the name of the King (al-Malik). King-ness is below Lord-ness, and Lord-ness is below Merciful-ness, Merciful-ness is below wahidiya, wahidiya is below ahadiya, and ahadiya is below divinity (uluhiya).29
Here it is clearly stated that divinity (uluhiya) is higher than ahadiya. This openly contradicts the order of stages of existence we have dealt with above. Abd al-Karim al-Jili does not give any explanation about this “contradiction,” but the following passage discussing Merciful-ness and divinity (uluhiya) helps us to understand.30
The relationship of the stage of the Merciful-ness with divinity (uluhiya) is the same as the relationship of sugar crystals with sugar cane. Sugar crystals are the highest stage in the processing of sugar cane and sugar cane produces sugar crystals as well as other things. Therefore, if you say from this point of view (of purity) that sugar crystals are superior to sugar cane, then (certainly) the merciful-ness is superior to divinity (uluhiya), but if you say that sugar cane is superior to sugar crystals due to the qualities of integration, inclusiveness and so on (this is also true), then divinity (uluhiya) is superior to the Merciful-ness.31 The same can be said about ahadiya and divinity (uluhiya).   From the point of view of purity, ahadiya, which is the pure essence of God and has no relation with the created, is higher than divinity (uluhiya), which also contains the attribute of created beings. But from the point of view of integration and encompassment, divinity (uluhiya), which contains both the aspects of the absolute being and the created beings, is higher than ahadiya, which does not include any aspect of the created beings.
Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s ontology may be summarised as follows.
Firstly, Abd al-Karim al-Jili divides the existential stages into forty stages and assumes a stage called “the divine essence” which is beyond ahadiya.
Secondly, in these stages of existence, it is possible to find Allah’s position both at the level of essence and at that of attribute. “Divine essence” and divinity (uluhiya) Correspond to these. Thirdly, in the sense that divinity (uluhiya) is an attribute and not the essence, it is lower in grade than ahadiya, but from the point of view of integration it is at a higher stage than ahadiya.
3) The supremacy of Allah
Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani and others place Allah at the intersection of the absolute being and the created world. Mystic philosophy is always required to give ekplanation of how the created world, which is many, is manifested from the absolute being, which is singular. Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani and others tried to explain this by borrowing the theological concept of Allah the creator. It is said that the absolute being (al-Haqq) first manifests as Allah, and although Allah Himself is one, it includes the many since it integrates everything. Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani and other interpreted the belief that Allah has created the world to mean that the created world is manifested from Allah, and that the plurality that is latent in Allah is manifested. In this sense, it was necessary for Allah to be placed at the intersection. However in this case, to place Allah at the second level has the danger of provoking an assumption that there is something beyond Allah. To counter this, Abd al-Karim al-Jili placed Allah at the first level and emphasised that Allah is the highest existence which is beyond all things. In this case, the function of the intersection is taken over by the divinity (ulihiya). Since, the criticism in the Rasulid Yemen of that time was very much influenced by Ibn Taymiya’s ritque,32Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s theory can be said to have contained reactionary elements against this.

  1. Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s Theory of Insan Kamil (Perfect Man)

1) Correspondence between insan kamil and Allah
Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s explanation of insan kamil (Perfect Man) is almost the same as those of the foregoing thinkers belonging to the School of Ibn Arabi. That is, man is the copy of Allah and integrates the things as Allah does33; man is the copy of both al-Haqq and al-khalq34; man integrates the realities of al-Haqq and those of al-khalq35; man is wali Allah.36 Allah and insan kamil perfectly correspond each other in their role of integrating the opposites, and insan kamil is the mirror of the substitute of Allah.37 To sum up, it is generally accepted that perfect man is the copy of Allah in the viewpoint of integration according to both Abd al-Karim al-Jili and other members of the School. The question is to which level of Allah insan kamil is similar, because the position of Allah in the manifestation system of wujud is placed in both the first and the fourth stages. The former case is the level of substitute and the latter that of attributes. I believe the similarity between Allah and insan kamil is to be endorsed in this manifestation system as far as insan kamil is the ideal model of those who struggle on the way to Allah and the ontology and the theory of practice are the both sides of a coin.
2) Correspondence between Insan Kamil and the divinity (uluhiyah) The expressions of insan kamil include the following; “integrating the realities of the Absolute and those of creatures (al-jami’ li al-haqa’iq al-haqqiyah wa al-haqa’iq al-khalqiyah)”38 and “facing to all the realities of existence (muqabil bi jamf al-haqa’iq al-wujudiyah)”.39 Comparing them to the expressions of uluhiyah such as “the unity of the divine stations and the entirety of the stations of the creatures (shumul al-maratib al-ilahiyah wa jami’ al-maratib al-kawniyah)”40 and “all the realities of existence and its preservation in its stations” (jami’ haqa’iq al-wujud wa hifz-ha fi maratib-ha)”,41 it is clear that their meanings are almost the same. Further insan kamil is said to “have spreading pleasure called the divine pleasure (yakun la-hu… ladhdhah sarayaniyah tusamma ladhdhah al-uluhiyah)”42 and uluhiyah is called “the most perfec! presence (al-hadrah al-akmaliyah)”.43 This also endorses the close relationship between insan kamil and uluhiyah. On the other hand, “divine essence” is free from all the relationship and manifestation, as we have mentioned before, and has no common part with insan kamil.
To sum up, we can consider that it is ‘Allah in the level of divinity (uluhiyah)’ that insan kamil is similar to. So, according to Abd al-Karim al-Jili, even insan kamil cannot reach the divine essence but can only reach the divine names and attributes. The following passage exemplifies this.
It is only through the names and attributes that you follow the way to the gnosis of the Absolute (al-Haqq. [Here it is interchangeably used with Allah.]). All the names and attributes are under this name [of Allah] and it is only possible through the names and attributes to reach it [the Absolute]. This leads to the fact that the only way to reach Allah is through this name [of Allah].44 This leads to his original explanation about the spiritual way of servants.
Allah is the first manifestation of the essence and creatures cannot be characterized with Allah. This is because ahadiyah is pure essence (sirafah al-dhat) which has no relationship with reality (haqiqah) nor created-ness (makhluqiyah). That is to say, he -1 mean – servant (‘abd) was already decided and has no way to reach it [ahadiyah].45
This makes contrast to the common explanation among the School of Ibn Arabi that when the way of training is expressed in the terms of the manifestation of existence, servants first pass wahidiyah to ahadiyah and then return to wahidiyah again.
We, however, should not be too pessimistic if our last reaching point is only divine names and attributes. This is because “nor the Absolute neither creatures cannot appear without each other46” and “we are the manifesting places of everything, and divine names and attributes cannot appear without us creatures”.47 Although the fact that we (human being) stay at the level of divine names and attributes lowers the our, stage, the Absolute can appear only because we stay on this stage. Further we can say that it is man who plays an indispensable role for the formation of the world. Now we will move on the next explanation of insan He is n<5t only understood as the ultimate goal of our training, but also is incorporated into the stages of manifestation of existence. According to Maratib al-Wujud, it is the last, i.e. 40th, stage, although according to al-Kahf wa al-Raqim it is the 35th stage. It is very lowly located in the stages. However, even Allah does not appear without this ‘man’, nor can exist the world.
This is why (perfect) man is said to correspond to Allah and embodies the divine names and attributes notwithstanding his low stage. Such a high evaluation of something in the lower position of the stages of manifestation when we change the viewpoint was already found in the aforementioned case of uluhiyah.

  1. Conclusion: The supremacy of Allah and the position of man

In this way, I have tried to show that the ontology of Abd al-Karim al-Jili, who, without much doubt, is considered to belong to the School of “oneness of being” (wahda al-wujud), is actually quite different from the ordinary theories of this school.
In Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s ontological theory, “divine essence” is assumed above ahadiya, and at the same time divinity (uluhiya) is put forward as a level which expresses the attributes of God. Allah is placed in both of these positions. Moreover, from the point of view of integration, the divinity, which is supposed to be at the fourth level, is placed higher than the ahadiya at the second level. On the one hand Abd al-Karim al-Jili defends the supremacy of Allah by putting the “divine essence” at the top, on the other hand he tries to value the state of integration which goes beyond dichotomous oppositions by evaluating divinity(uluhiya) above ahadiya. Abd al-Karim al-Jili puts the name of Allah on this stage as divinity (uluhiya), which roughly means Allah-ness. It may be said that he created a new image of Allah which surpasses the foregoing image – a negative and transcendent image, by enunciating that Allah is basically integrating.
As for the theory of insan kamil, when he states the correspondence to Allah, he tries to defend the supremacy of Allah by the statement that insan kamil can only embody the divine attributes and His essence is unknownable. In this context we can see the low position of men in the stage of the manifestation as the expression of both the humbleness of human being and the greatness of Allah. On the other hand, he maintains the greatness of insan kamil by pointing out that the existence of insan kamil is indispensable to the manifestation of Allah and evaluating the divinity which is closely related to insan kamil highly.
* Kyoto University, Japan
Osman Yahia, Histoire et classification de I’ ceuvere d’Ibn Arabi, 2 vols., Damas, 1964.
2 Arthur J. Arberry, Sufism: An Account of the Mystics oflslant, 1950; repr. London, 1979., ch. 11.
3 James W. Morris, “Ibn Arabi and His Interpreters Part 2: Influences and Interpretations,” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 106-4, 1986, p. 734.
4 M. Tahrali’s “A General Outline of the Influence of Ibn Arabi on the Ottoman Era” (Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society, 26(1999), pp. 45-53) gives us a general outline of the School of Ibn Arabi during the Ottoman Period. The studies on Arab world include Taha ‘Abd al-Baqi Surur, al-Tasawwuf al-Islami lil-Imam al-Sha’rani (Cairo: Dar Nahda Misr, n.d.); Tawfiq al-Tawil,-tar/-. Tasawwuf fi Misr- Iban al-Asr al-‘Uthmani: al-Juz’ al-Thani Imam al-Tasawwuf fi Misr, al-Sha’rani (Cairo: al-Hay’ah al-Misriyah al-‘Ammah li al-Kitab, 1988); Taha ‘Abd al-Baqi Surur, al-Sha’rani wa al-Tasawwuf al-Islami (Cairo: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Muhtadi, n.d.); Bakri Aladdin: AbdalGani an-Nabulsi: Oeuvre, vie et doctrine (Ph.D. Thesis presented to Sorbonne, 1985); Bakri Aladdin (ed.), (Nabulusi) al-Wujud al-Haqq (Damas: Institut Francais de Damas, 1995); Michel Chodkiewicz, The Spiritual Writings of Amir Abd al-Kader (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995); Bruno Etienne, Abdelkader (Paris: Hachette Livre, 1995). We can get general information on the members of the School through W.C. Chittick’s “Notes on Ibn al-Arabi’s Influence in the Subcontinent” (TheMuslim World, 82-3/4(1992), pp. 218-241). Syed’ Muhammad Nagib al-Attas’s The Mysticism of Hamzah Fansuri (Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press, 1970) and S. Murata’s Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light: Wang Tai-Yu ‘s Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chi’s Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm (State University of New York Press, 2000) are examples of the studies on Southeast Asia and China respectively.
J. W. Morris, “Ibn Arabi and His Interpreters Part 2: Influences and Interpretations,” pp. 751 -2.
William C. Chittick, “Ibn Arabi and His School,” S. H. Nasr (ed.) Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations, New York, 1991; William C. Chittick, “The Shool of Ibn Arabi,” S. H. Nasr and O. Learnan (eds.) History of Islamic Philosophy, vol. 1, London; New York, 1996. S. H. Nasr gives the following typology focusing on Shi’ism/Iran. 1) Sufi (many of who use Persian); 2) Shi’ite theologians; 3) Commentators. S. H. Nasr, “Seventh-century Sufism and the School of Ibn Arabi.” From this typology, the categories 1 to 3 can be determined without much ambiguity, but this is not the case for 4). The fact that there is no agreement regarding who to place under 4) and what the standards are for this category is one of the reasons behind the ambiguities in the definition of and the range of membership in the School of Ibn Arabi.
William C. Chittick, “Note on Ibn al- Arabi’s Influence in the Subcontinent,” The Muslim World, 82-3/4,1992, p.221.
For Balyani, see W. C. Chittick, “Ibn Arabi and His School,” p. 54; W C. Chittick, “The Shool of Ibn Arabi,” p. 519. Regarding the definition of wahda al-wujud, see William C. Chittick, “Rumi and Wahdat al-Wujud,” Amin Banani, Richard Hovannisian and Georges Sabagh (eds.), Poetry and Mysticism in Islam: the Heritage of Rumi, New York, 1994, pp. 70-111.
9 Compared to the theoretical works which were too difficult for the common people to understand and therefore monopolized by the elites, the poems could be remembered and recited by the commoners. We can say it was through poetry that profound mystical knowledge has spread in the Islamic world.
10 As a part of the so-called School of Ibn Arabi, and also in Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s case, wahda al-wujud and insan kamil are two sides of the same coin. I think that regarding insan kamil, the ideas of those in the School of Ibn Arabi up to Dawud Qaysari differ from that of Abd al-Karim al-Jili. Further space would be needed to discuss this point in greater depth. For further details, see
1994 (Yasushi Tonaga, “The Supremacy of Allah in Islamic Mysticism: Abd al-Karim al-Jili’s Ontology and the Theory of Perfect Man,” Daimeido Publishing, 1994.)
11 Ibn ‘Arabi, Insha’ al-Dawa’ir, H. S. Neyberg (ed.) Kleinere Shriften des Ibn al- Arabi, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1919, p. 15.
12 For a clear elucidation of this topic, see William C. Chittick, “The Five Divine Presences: From al-Qunawi to al-Qaysari,” The Muslim World, 72, 1982, pp. 107-128.
13 The division of the process of manifestation into five is not original to Abd al-Razzaq al- Kashani but can already be seen in such a figure as al-Qunawi. Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi, I jaz al- Bayan fi Ta’wil Umm al-Qur’an, Cairo, n.d., p. 99. For al-Qunawi’s theory of “five presences” (hadarat khams), see Nihat Keklik, Sareddin Konevi ‘nin felsefesinde Allah-Kainat ve Insan, Istanbul, 1967, pp.93-104; William C. Chittick, “Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi on the Oneness of Being,” International Philosophical Quarterly, 21, 1981, pp. 171 -84.
14 Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashi (al-Kashani), Istilahat al-Sufiya, ed. A. Sprenger, Calcutta, 1845; repr. Lahore, 1981, pp. 5, 26 etpassim.
15 al-Kashani, Istilahat, pp. 6, 7 et passim
16 al-Kashani, Istilahat, pp. 5, 26.
17 al-Kashani, Istilahat, p. 42.
18 Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani, Kitab Shark Fusus al-Hikam, al-Qahira, 1321 A.H., p. 110.
19 al-Kashani, Istilahat, p. 8.
20 al-Kashani, Istilahat, p. 154.
21 al-Kashani, Kitab Shark Fusus, p. 239
22 T. Izutsu summarises this part, but for the second stage he reads fa iliya instead of fi liya, the written form in the text. Toshihiko Izutsu, A Comparative Study of The Key Philosophical “Concepts in Sufism and Taoism: Ibn Arabi and Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, 2 vols., Tokyo, 1966, pp.153-154. In this way, the meaning is more easily understood.
23 Da’ud Qaysari, Moqaddame-ye Sharh-e Fusus al-Hikam, in Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani, Sharh-e Moqaddame-ye Qaysari bar Fusus al-Hikam, Mashhad, 1385 A.H., p. 268,
24 Da’ud Qaysari, Moqaddame-ye Sharh-e Fusus al-Hikam, in Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani, Sharh-e Moqaddame-ye Qaysari bar Fusus al-Hikam, p. 84; Da’ud Qaysari, Rasa’el-e Qaysari, ed. Jalal al-Din Ashtiyani, n.p., 1974 A.D. [1394 A.H.], p. 8.
25 He shows such forty stages in al-Kahfwa al-Raqim and Maratib al-Wujud. Abd al-Karim al-Jili, al-Kahfwa al-Raqim fi Sharh Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim, ed. Badawi Taha Allam, al-Qahira, [1984], pp.51-55; Abd al-Karim al-Jili, Maratib al-Wujudwa Haqiqa KullMawjud, preface [and ed.] Badawi Taha Allam, al-Qahira, n.d., pp. 12-24. He also says the number of the stages are forty in al-Insan al-Kamil. Abd al-Karim al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamilfi Ma rifa al-Awakhir wa al-Awa’il, 2 vols. in 1, al-Qahira, 1963, pp. 52, 88. hi al-Kamalat al-Ilahiya, he treats only the upper part of these stages as flow of the manifestation (tajalli). Abd al-Karim al-Jili, al-Kamalat al- Ilahiya wa al-Muhammadiya, MS Ma had al-Makhtutat al- Arabiya bi Jami a al-Duwal al- Arabiya 444 Tasawwuf, fols. 6b-7a.
26 For example, if we compare the explanations in al-Kahfwa al-Raqim andMaratib al-Wujud, fifteen or so stages do not correspond to each other, and even in the case of the more common stages, the arrangements are different.
27 In the case of al-Qunawi and his followers, the manifestation from the divine essence to the phenomenal world are categorized into five stages. These are ahadiya, wahidiya, and the stages below them, respectively corresponding to the divine essence, the names and attributes, and the world. In al-Jili’s case, however, the stages are ramified into forty. Hence 1. divine essence and 2. ahadiya corresponds the essence, 3. wahidiya is the border between the essence and the attributes, and the stages between 4. divinity and 7. Master-ness expresses the attributes. According toMaratib al-Wujud, the eighth stage is the border between the attributes and the names, and the ninth stage through the eleventh expresses the names.    The twelfth stage is the border between the names and the acts, and the thirteenth stage and after correspond to the divine act, i.e. the world as the effect of the divine act of creation. As I mentioned in the preceding note, al-Jili’s fourth stages vary largely among his works. For example, he described stages one through seven as the divine realm and eight and after as the created world in al-Kahf wa al-Raqim, while he ramifies the divine realm into seventeen in al-Kamalat al-Ilahiya. Even in the case of al-Jili, we still find the ambiguity “which existed in Ibn Arabi’s trichotomy, which I mentioned in 1 .-1). While he identifies the third element (‘reality of realities’ or ‘unlimited existence’) with the first stage (the pure essence or heavy clouds) in his Kitab al-Nuqta and in al-Insan al-Kamil (vol. 2, p. 43), he identifies it with the second stage (ahadiya) inMaratib al-Wujud, p. 14. Abd al-Karim al-Jili, Kitab al-Nuqta, ed. Badawi Taha Allam, al-Qahira, [1982], pp. 23-24; al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.2, p. 43.
28 Umm al-Kitab is considered as the origin of all of the revealed scriptures and appears three times in al-Qur’an (3:7, 13:39, 43:4). Al-Qur’an is descended from this Umm al-Kitab as the last and supreme revelation. Both al-Furqan and al-Kitab al-Majid are other names for al-Qur’an. Al-Furqan appears seven times in al-Qur’an (e.g. 2:53). The term al-Kitab al-Majid itself does not appear, but the term al-Qur’an al-Majid appears twice (Q50:l, 85:21).
29 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.1, p. 23. Here the seventh stage is called al-Malikiya (King-ness) in accordance with the divine name al-Malik (King). This is interchangeable with al-Malikiya (Master-ness) because Malik yawm al-din (Master of the day of the judgement) in Ql :4 is often read as Malik yawm al-din (King of the day of the judgement). Hence al-Malikiya (King-ness) can here be identified with the al-Malikiya (Master-ness) mentioned before.
30 The statement that the divinity is higher, than ahadiya appears only in al-Insan al-Kamil, and the divinity is placed below ahadiya in all of al-Kahf wa al-Raqim, al-Kamalat al-Ilahiya and Maratib al-Wujud. Although we could solve this clear construction if either al-Insan al-Kamil or al-Kahf wa al-Raqim were attributed to him wrongly, there is no possibility for that. That is because I made such a kind of interpretation.
31 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil al-Kamil, vol. 1, p. 27.
32 Alexander Knysh, Ibn Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition: The Making of a Polemical Image In Medieval Islam, Albany, 1999, p. 235.
33 al-Jili, Shark, p. 152, al-Iman al-Kamil, vol. 2, pp.47, 48.
34 al-Jili, Shark, p. 107.
35 al-Jili, Maratib, p. 41.
36 al-Jili, al-Kamalat, fol. 25a.
37 al-Jili, Mir”at, fol, l0a
38 al-Jili,Marari6,p.41.
39 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.2, p.47.
40 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.1, p.23.
41 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.1, p.23.
42 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.2, p.48.
43 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.2, p.48.
44 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol.1, p. 16.
45 al-Jili, al-Insan al-Kamil, vol. 1, p.26.
46 al-Jili, Shark, p. 104.
47 al-Jili, Shark, p. 70.