The Mystery of Ibn Arabi and the Chaos of His “Unity of Existence”

By Shadieh Mirmobiny.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

During the time of crisis, as testified to by history whenever possible, civilizations have demonstrated a tendency to reassess their values and ideals. The conflicts the world is currently struggling with too require a critical reevaluation of ideas and ideals taken for granted over centuries.
One of the most intriguing figures in the history of Eastern philosophy is the Andalusian sage and mystic, Mohyoddin Mohammad Ibn Arabi (1165-1240), whose influential thoughts and inspirational ideas have taken roots throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East, where they have impacted many of the artistic, cultural and sociopolitical movements to this day.
In this paper, by analyzing the works and thoughts of Ibn Arabi and his key theory–the Unity of Existence–I aim to initiate a discourse that critically examines the inconsistencies in his theory to reveal, not just the fact that Ibn Arabi’s philosophy is more Greek than Islamic, but that his ideas conflict with the inherent monotheistic message in Islam and in the other two Abrahamic religions. I will argue that such conflicts have permeated the active culture in the Middle East, whereby many contradictory actions, which threaten the region’s stability, have become increasingly evident.

Keywords: Ibn Arabi, Unity of Existence, Middle East, Philosophy, Humanities, Art, Islamic

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 7, pp.243-272. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.531MB).

Prof. Shadieh Mirmobiny

Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities, Humanities, Folsom Lake College, Folsom, California, USA

Shadieh Mirmobiny completed her undergraduate work in fine arts, and graduate work in art history. Through the M.A. program at University of California at Davis, she became intrigued by the influence of Near Eastern art and culture in the seventeenth century European paintings. Her thesis, “Persian Elements in Rembrandt’s Work: A Study of Seventeenth Century ‘Orientalism’,” was focused on seeking a new facet in the examination of the artistic exchanges between the Western and Middle Eastern cultures. As her interest in the “Islamic art” intensified, she started to study the art and culture of the Middle East on her own. Immediately after completing her degree, she began teaching at several community colleges. Following two years of research and study in the discipline, her interest in the “Islamic art” and culture consolidated in the form of a class she developed at Sierra Community College, which she has now taught for eight years, and continue to teach in addition to two other local colleges: American River and Folsom Lake College. Professor Shadieh Mirmobiny has published a text for this class that offers the breadth of information for anyone who is eager to begin learning about this subject.

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