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contents - Some Inferior Books about Shaykh Muhyiddin

On the other hand it must be noted also that some other lousy books tried to tackle the life of Shaykh Muhyiddin, without performing the minimal research needed to verify the various accounts; thus giving false information about Ibn al-Arabi’s biography. Among these books we find “Hâkadha Takallama Ibn Arabi: Thus Spoke Ibn Arabi” by Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd (Egyptian General Book, Cairo, 2002); although the author has written many important books about the Greatest Master, but this book came full of bugs that cannot be “typographical” mistakes only. He sometimes mentions the dates of some books by Shaykh Muhyiddin that are completely wrong; such as the treatise of the Holy Spirit, which he said, in page 130, that the Shaykh wrote it in the year 590/1198 in Tunisia! Here the date in AD does not match with the date in AH and both are wrong, and the place is also wrong!

It is well known that this book was actually written by the Shaykh, may Allah be pleased with him, in Mecca in the year 600/1203-1204 and he sent it to his friend Abd-ul-Aziz al-Mahdawi whom he met in Tunisia in the year 590 and also in the year 598 AH. After four pages Abu Zayd also says, on page 134, that Shaykh Muhyiddin wrote this book from Mecca in the year 599. He also says that the Shaykh visited Tunisia in 587/1193 for the first time, and was in Fez in 589/1195 (page 39)! Then he says in the paragraph that followed “in the year 590/1175, we find the Shaykh in Tunisia”. All of this is really mixing-up things as if numbers don’t mean anything, and almost no page is free from some historical or other substantial errors.

One of the other lousy books we find on this subject of the biography of Shaykh Muhyiddin, may Allah be pleased with him, is the book titled: “Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, Hayâtuhu - Madhhabuhu - Zuhduhu: Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, his life - his doctrine - his asceticism”, authored by: Prof. Dr. Farouk ’Abdul-Mu’tî, Faculty of Arts - Mansourah University, as was stated on the cover, and printed by al-Maktaba al-Ilmiyya (the Scientific Library), Beirut, 1993. This title reminds us with the book by Asin Palacios that we mentioned above, and that had been translated by Abdul-Rahman Badawi, and published in Kuwait and Beirut in 1979, but the “Prof. Dr. Faruk” added the word “asceticism” to the title, which is completely inappropriate, because Shaykh Muhyiddin was not [i]zâhid[/i] in the sense of abandoning the world and wearing wool cloths, or living in austerity, as it is commonly known about ascetics.

On the contrary, Shaykh Muhyiddin used to wear the best clothes [Ruh al-Quds: p. 72] and eat the best food, although he was stubborn and did not store anything, but gave what he had in good will, as he had given the house that the Roman king had given him to a questioner who asked him from God’s grace [Nafh-ul-Teeb: v.2, p. 164], and the house was worth a hundred thousand dirhams.

Asceticism for the Greatest Master is to abandon the love of the world, and be ascetic in everything other than Allah Almighty, as he says: “Asceticism, for those who advocate it, is ignorance in reality” [futuhat: II.178], and he also says: “Asceticism in things does not occur except from the existing ignorance of this Ascetic" [futuhat: III.263], and: "Asceticism is only for that which is unnecessary. As for what is needed, this is what one needs to depend on, and abstraction here is no valid" [futuhat: IV.343].

Otherwise, this book is a perfect replica of the translation of Abdul-Rahman Badawi, letter by letter, which ’Abdul-Mu’tî has stolen and attributed to himself; he even “very honestly” adhered to the order of the paragraphs, the punctuation and the comments. Had not used a different font for typing we could say that he photocopied it by Xerox. However, he also deleted the introduction of the real author and that of the translator, and put in place of them his own introduction that he perhaps had taken from somewhere else.