Photo: Man from Algeria, possibly 1875.
Allah Most High proclaims:
O children of Adam, if you could see the minute span of precious time that remains until your death, you would renounce all selfish projects and vain expectations. You would restrain your desire to possess, in all its subtle forms. And you would wholeheartedly seek to intensify your good actions. Otherwise, regret will seize you as you are falling into death, when your family and servants leave you, when friends distance themselves from you and even intimates abandon you. From the moment of death, you will no longer be able to return to your people or increase your good actions. Therefore, live now with a clear vision of the Day of Resurrection and be free on that Day from distress and remorse.
(This khabar was transmitted through the sage Wahb ibn Munabbih recorded by Ibn Arabi in Mishkat al-Anwar)
'Alone with the Alone'
By Henry Corbin and Ralph Manheim
Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made a unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines.
Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Su fi treatises.
Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet. These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls.