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0.2.5 - The Results of the Archive Project by MIAS in Oxford

As noted above, following these findings by Osman Yahya, that he did many decades ago, many studies have emerged, and many new manuscripts were examined, in addition to many catalogs of international libraries that were not available at the time, especially after the development of electronic imaging and publishing techniques in the last three decades. However, despite these great developments, the number of books attributed to Sheikh Muhyiddin did not increase above what was mentioned in the previous lists, but perhaps decreased due to increasing accuracy in the research and the availability of more references that showed the correct origin and attribution of some of these books, whether they actually belonged to Sheikh Muhyiddin or some of his followers or other Sheikhs.

As noted above, from 2001, the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society in Oxford (MIAS), with the support of the Islamic Manuscript Society, carried out an archive project aimed at collecting manuscripts of Sheikh Muhyiddin. In 2012, in issue 52 of the MIAS Journal, a study was published explaining the most important findings that can be drawn from this archive, which was able to collect information on 2,800 manuscripts, 1,664 of which concern Sheikh Muhyiddin, while the rest are by some of his followers.

In contrast to the work performed by Osman Yahya, which was intended to collect and examine the titles attributed to Sheikh Muhyiddin, this study was aimed at issuing lists of books confirmed to be by the Sheikh, especially those original manuscripts written in his own hand, holographs, those which are certified by him, autographs, or those copied directly from the originals.

In summary, according to this study, there are 84 books that are certainly attributed to the Greatest Sheikh, without any doubt, and another 11 books that are most likely to be so, making a total of 95, many of which are still unpublished. We are talking here only about books that already exist, not the titles mentioned in indexes or other references, most of which are still counted as missing. Of these books, there are about 50 manuscripts written in the same handwriting of Sheikh Muhyiddin, or in the hand of one of his close companions. There are also about 160 manuscripts copied from an original, with about 35 other copies that are possibly so. Of these, 46 were copied during the life of Sheikh Muhyiddin, and 117 copied during the life of his stepson, Sheikh Sadr al-Din. In total, there are about 265 manuscripts copied before 730 AH, i.e. before the death of Sheikh Abdul-Razzaq al-Qashani and Sheikh Muayiduddin al-Jandi, two senior sheikhs who played a major role in the spread of the Akbarian School, as we mentioned them in Volume II. However, this last number, 265, contains many different manuscripts of the same work, and therefore the number of existing books remains much smaller.

As for the confirmed works, there are 71 books with original manuscripts written in Sheikh Muhyiddin's hand, or copied from an original with authentic auditions documented by him, holographs and autographs respectively, and 13 others that do not have such historical manuscripts, but there is other ample evidence to confirm their attribution to the Sheikh, and 11 books with sufficient and compelling evidence, but they are not conclusive. Therefore, the total number of confirmed books is 95, as mentioned above, and fortunately, this list includes the most famous books of Sheikh Muhyiddin, such as the Meccan Revelations, the Bezels of Wisdom, the Diwan, the Tarjuman, and other published books, and there are also a large number of other unpublished books awaiting proper editing. All of this confirms, beyond any doubt, the truthiness of these well-known major books, while extreme caution should be exercised against some of the smaller treatises that are published in the name of Sheikh Muhyiddin but are apocryphal, as we will mention inside the book.

As for the number of books which are attributed to Sheikh Muhyiddin while we do not have enough evidence to confirm it, this amounts to 62, among the books that already exist, not just the titles mentioned in historical indexes and references.

With regard to the books that are also attributed to Sheikh Muhyiddin, while the evidence confirms that they are apocryphal, they are 73 of them, most of which were written after his death, but wrongly attributed to him, possibly because of the loss of the title page, but there are clear signs within the text of the book falsifying the validity of this attribution, such as referring to historical events that occurred after the death of Sheikh Muhyiddin.

Of course, all these numbers include only the manuscripts that have been examined in the project, which are 2,800 manuscripts, while there may be some other books in international libraries or in other private collections that have not been accessed or examined.

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