Sufism

The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’

$23.95

This introduction to Ibn ‘Arabi’s Meccan Illuminations highlights the mysticism and realization of Sufi spiritual life, providing an intellectually penetrating look without requiring specialized knowledge. The Reflective Heart is about the ways we gradually discover the deeper significance of all the familiar elements of our everyday life-not just those memorable moments we ordinarily view as “spiritual”.

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  • 978-1-887752-67-1
  • 420

Product Description

For centuries Ibn ‘Arabi has been considered the “Greatest Master” of Islamic spiritual teaching, but Western readers have only recently had access to his greatest writings. This introduction to Ibn ‘Arabi’s Meccan Illuminations highlights the mysticism and realization of Sufi spiritual life, providing an intellectually penetrating look without requiring specialized knowledge.

The development of several key themes and modes of reflection in Ibn ‘Arabi’s spiritual teachings are explored as are the gradually unfolding meanings that distinguish this important classical text of Sufi practice.

The Reflective Heart is about the ways we gradually discover the deeper significance of all the familiar elements of our everyday life-not just those memorable moments we ordinarily view as “spiritual”.

Spiritual intelligence-the illuminating interplay of our uniquely individual experience, reflection, and practice-is at the heart of every world religious tradition, and Ibn ‘Arabi is renowned for his ability to communicate the unfolding dimensions of this fundamental human task. His Meccan Illuminations provide a powerful spiritual mirror for each reader’s own experiences, while highlighting those larger perspectives that ultimately give meaning and direction to our life.

Reviews

In The Reflective Heart, James Morris provides numerous keys for those who would like to open up their hearts to the vast panorama of spiritual instruction provided by al-Shaykh al-Akbar, "the Greatest Master." No other book demonstrates so clearly the universality of Ibn Arabi's concerns and their contemporary applicability. A must-read for every serious seeker.
-William Chittick, SUNY
In this compelling and insightful book, James Morris takes us to the spiritual core of the Islamic tradition, as we come to see the heart as the meeting ground between the Divine and that which is most human in all of us. Here the heart reveals itself as a dynamic and transformative faculty, where the discovery of one's own true self is wed to the intimate knowing of God.
-Omid Safi, Colgate University
No one surpasses James Morris in his ability to make the most sublime and esoteric subjects intelligible and practicable. Among the many gifts of this book is that it highlights for our own time the urgent need for spiritual discernment.
-Kabir Helminski, Threshold Foundation
One of the great merits of this book is the way in which this spiritual journey, described with such compelling power through the illuminations granted to Ibn 'Arabi, is made real for all of us. This work is the fruit of a remarkable synthesis between scholarly erudition of the highest caliber and a fundamental orientation towards the spiritual import of Ibn 'Arabi's teachings, engaging both the academic and the mystic, the scholar and the seeker.
-Reza Shah Kazemi, IIS, London
For centuries Ibn ‘Arabî has been known as the ‘Greatest Master’ of Islamic spiritual teaching, but only recently have the treasures of his immense masterwork, the ‘Meccan Illuminations,’ begun to be accessible to Western audiences. This introductory volume, intended for readers interested in the issues of practical spiritual life and realisation (without any specialist background), follows his development of several key practical themes in his spiritual teaching, focusing on his characteristic emphasis on the necessary interplay of practice, experience, and reflection in our unfolding development of spiritual intelligence: each of those essential elements of spiritual life is included in the central Qur’anic symbol of the Heart of the ‘truly human being’ (qalb al-insân). Each thematic study combines extended translations of related passages with the necessary background and contextual explanations, in a way that is intended to recreate a sense of the gradually unfolding ‘openings’ of Ibn ‘Arabī’s meanings and spiritual understanding in the course of that great work. Following Ibn ‘Arabî’s own account of the natural order of spiritual development, this book begins with our initial stages of the spiritual quest and ‘journeying,’ culminating in the attainment of contemplative ‘quietude.’ At that point, the purification of the Heart begins to focus on the refinement of our inner spiritual ‘listening’ and inspiration. Then that awakened love and inspired awareness of divine Beauty, the fruit of effective spiritual listening, must be transformed into our uniquely personal, creative manifestation of right and beautiful action—an activity which eventually leads on to the realisation of the beatific Vision. Finally, as always with Ibn ‘Arabī, that realised awareness of our wider spiritual responsibility, of our intrinsically human ‘servanthood,’ culminates in our recognition of the inner meanings of the eschatological symbolism of Islamic tradition: that Garden, he insists, already visibly present in each theophanic reflection of the polished Heart. "The title chosen by Professor Morris for his remarkable book on Ibn ‘Arabī’s teachings, The Reflective Heart, very well evokes the nature of the spiritual work that Ibn ‘Arabī calls upon us to accomplish. One of the great merits of this book is the way in which it brings this ‘work’ within the reach of those who may not have had any previous knowledge of the writings of this incomparable master of Islamic gnosis, showing how many apparently abstruse mystical ‘openings’ are of direct relevance to the concrete, lived concerns of the individual seeker, of whatever faith or creed. Far from popularizing Ibn ‘Arabī’s complex perspectives, reducing them for the sake of bringing them within the purview of ‘ordinary’ everyday experience, Professor Morris on the contrary reveals the subtle ramifications of what is all too often dismissed as ‘ordinary’ experience; through the vision afforded by ‘the reflective heart’, the journey through life, upon which we have all embarked, is grasped as a return to one’s true origin. This work focuses on the essence of that spiritual journey, bringing together and commenting upon certain passages of Ibn ‘Arabī’s magnum opus, “The Meccan Illuminations”, those pertaining specifically to the different stages of the spiritual path. At no point does the reader feel that these are the abstract musings of an academic; rather, the work pulsates with the heartfelt affinity of the author with the ideals presented. The work is the fruit of a remarkable synthesis between scholarly erudition of the highest calibre and a fundamental orientation towards the spiritual import of Ibn ‘Arabī’s teachings: it is thus itself the expression of a ‘reflective heart’, engaging both the academic and the mystic, the scholar and the seeker."
- Reza Shah Kazemi