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2.1.1 - The Dawn of Muhyiddin

Without citing any source, Khaja Khan, in the introduction to his translation of Fusus al-Hikam, says that the father of Shaykh Muhyiddin reached his fiftieth year without having a son. When he became hopeless, he appeared before the great saint, Shaykh Muhyiddin Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani, who died in 561 AH, just one year after Ibn al-Arabi was born. The old man asked the Shaykh to pray to God to grant him a son. The saint had a revelation that he was not to beget a son unless somebody transferred his own son to him. Accordingly, he transferred to him a son from his own spine and told him that a son would be born to him, whom he should name Muhammad, and affix to that name his own title of “Muhyiddin”, the Reviver of Religion, and prophesied that he would become a great Sufi saint, and author of many books on hadith and tafsir citep(al1928wisdom. This undocumented story is also mentioned by other authors with some more details, but it lacks the authenticity.

Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Taiy was born in Murcia, east of Andalusia, as the descendant of an ancient family from Yemen, famous for their knowledge, piety, generosity, bounty and nobility. His first grandfather was Abdullah al-Hatimiy, son of the legendary philanthropist Hatim al-Taiy, and one of the leaders of the Islamic conquests, and he is the brother of Uday Ibn Hatim al-Taiy, the great companion who fought apostasy and contributed to the early Islamic conquests. His father, Ali Ibn al-Arabi, held a high position and a great prestige with Sultan Ibn Mardanish in Murcia, and after that with the Sultan of Almohads in Seville.

Muhammad was born in the night of Monday the 17th of the holy month of Ramadan in the year 560 of Hijra (AH), corresponding to the 26th of July, 1165 AD, where the moon began to take off her white turban, and the summer Sun was shining on the plains and mountains to give light and warmth to the trees and animals.

Some scholars determine the date of the birth of Muhammad Ibn al-Arabi on the Gregorian calendar as the 28th of July, as William Chittick wrote in the Iranian Encyclopaedia, or 27-28/7/1165, as Stephen Hirtenstein puts it in the The Unlimited Mercifier citep[34](hirtenstein1999. But I chose 26 November because it is Monday, as most sources have decided that he was born on Monday night the seventeenth of Ramadan in 560 AH. It should be noted that, unlike other calendars, in the Arab and Islamic calendar, also as Ibn al-Arabi himself considers, the night of the day precedes the daytime (see page 8 of the book of Ayyam al-Shaan printed in the collection of treatises of Ibn al-Arabi, Hyderabad, 1948).

Also it should be noted that some biographers mention that Ibn al-Arabi was born on the 27th Ramadan, which corresponds to the 10th of November, 1240 AD.