The Twenty-nine Pages
Beshara Publications; ISBN 0904975207
An essential introduction to the terminology and metaphysics of Ibn ‘Arabi. This little gem of a book helps the reader to come to grips with Ibn’Arabi’s vocabulary and unique way of seeing things. An esoteric text in its own right.
Extract from ‘The One and the Many’: The One is everywhere as an Essence, and nowhere as the Universal Essence which is above and beyond all ‘where’ and ‘how’. “Unity has no other meaning than two (or more) things being actually identical, but conceptually distinguishable the one from the other; so in one sense the one is the other; in another it is not.” “Multiplicity is due to different points of view, not to an actual division in the One Essence .”
Extract from ‘The Perfect Man’: “No-one”, Ibn ‘Arabi says, “knows the dignity of Man and his place in the universe except those who know how to contemplate God perfectly”. He is the only creature in whose power lies the possibility of knowing God absolutely. In fact it is through him that God knows Himself, for he is the manifested consciousness of God. Other beings know as much of the nature of God as they do of themselves, for the phenomenal objects are nothing but His Attributes. Their knowledge is imperfect and incomplete compared with that of Man, who sums up in himself all of God’s Attributes.
…The dignity of Man, therefore, cannot be overrated in Ibn ‘Arabi’s view. Man is the highest and most venerable creature God ever created. He should be guarded and honoured, for “he who takes care of man takes care of God”. Ibn ‘Arabi also says, “The preservation of the human species should have a much greater claim to observance than religious bigotry, with its consequent destruction of human souls, even when it is for the sake of God and the maintenance of the law”. “God has so exalted Man”, Ibn ‘Arabi adds, “that He place under his control all that is in the heavens and the earth, from its highest to its lowest.”