This volume, the first of two, contains 22 key chapters of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya, an encyclopedic Sufi "summa mystica," on such issues as Ibn Arabi's doctrine of the Divine Names, the nature of spiritual experience, the end of time, the resurrection and the stages of the path that lead to sanctity.
Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya soars beyond time, culture and any particular form of religion. Describing what is fundamental to our humanity, it is astonishingly universal. Finally, readers in the West have a pioneering entree into one of the most important, profound works of world literature.
Any work on the Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya in English is provisional and exploratory and it will require several generations of scholars and some further development in philosophical hermeneutics before anything like a coordinated complete translation could yet be attempted. The importance of this work, and its future volume two, is that it inaugurated the first systematic exploration in the West of this profound theosophical encyclopedia. As a result, the years since the first appearance of these translations have seen an ongoing worldwide transformation- in the Islamic world at least as much as in Western academic and spiritual circles in the understanding and appreciation of the nature and wider significance of Ibn 'Arabi's writings. When ibn 'Arabi's thought is more fully explored and more widely known its unique contribution to a future global religious plurality and harmony may become apparent. Ibn 'Arabi proposes unique formulations of divine reality which when understood in depth may radically transform world theological discourse, not only in Islam but also in liberal and conservative Christian and Jewish hermeneutics.