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In the Name of God بسم الله

Ibn Arabi (Radiallahu anhu) and the 12 Imams

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  • Advanced Member

as-salaamu alaikum,

I heard Dr. Farrokh mention that Ibn Arabi (Radiallahu anhu) wrote about the 12 imams and suggested he believed in them. It is also said that Ibn Arabi claimed to have met Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام). Does anyone know about these writings? 

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I was once engaged in a discussion with a Sunni lecturer about Futuhat Al Makkkia, and looking at excerpts from the book, we did not agree about the reference to Mahdi (atfjs) being the son of Imam Al Askari (عليه السلام) as mentioned sometimes. I gave him the references but he did not seem to find them, and I would say he was sincere. I tried to find them myself in authentic sources but I always end up finding references to an Iranian edition of some commentary of the book, never the book itself. I suspect some bias in this assertion.

BUT, interestingly enough, I found that in some editions of the opus, at least the one the brother was using, Ibn Arabi refers to Imam Mahdi as being a son of Imam Hussein (عليه السلام) and not Imam Hasan (عليه السلام), conflicting the mainstream Sunni opinion. Best part, some other editions state the contrary, as if there were some corrections... 



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If I'm not mistaken it was Michel Chodkiewicz who did a fair bit of work to prove that Ibn Arabia was an orthodox Sunni and didn't particularly care for Shia thought - although had respect for the ahlul-bayt as probably did most Sunnis of his time.  However, Henry Corbin held a distinctly different opinion - and I've seen statements by Sunni western academics, who are generally dismissive of him as being "obsessed with Shi'a".  I think it is worth the effort to explore Henry Corbin,  who had extensive contacts with Allama Tabatabai - and so was connected with a very major Shi'a scholar. Also worthwhile to look into works by William Chittick and Sachiko Murata (both also having contacts with  Allama Tabatabai)- not so much as to look for Shi'a influences in Ibn Arabi's writings/thought - but more so for what may be the most sincere and therefore clear efforts to elucidate what Ibn Arabi was saying in the English language. The other western scholars, if they are not Shi'a, I'm quite wary off - because of the kind of influence wahabbi funding has had on western academic study of Islam.  I don't know much about Eric Winkel but he is translating al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah into English, and his work is being published by Pir Press -which is run by Nur Ashki Jerrahi sufi group - that to my limited knowledge about them, from many years back, leans more towards 12er Shi'a than Sunni. It may be worth looking at his translations as well for those interested. 

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