Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Scholars: surpass your learning!

When Ibn'Arabi first met Averroes (Ibn'Rashd) :

At that time I was a beardless youth. When I entered, the master arose from his place, received me with signal marks of friendship and consideration, and finally embraced me. Then he said: 'Yes.' and I in turn said: 'Yes.' His joy was as great at noting that I had understood. But then taking cognizance of what had called forth his joy, I added: 'No.' Immediately Averroes winced, the colour went out of his cheeks, he seemed to doubt his own thought. He asked me this question: 'What manner of solution have you found through divine illumination and inspiration? Is it identical with that which we obtain from speculative reflection?'. I replied: 'Yes and no. Between the yes and the no, spirits take their flight from their matter and heads are separated from their bodies.' Averroes turned pale, I saw him tremble; he murmured the ritual phrase 'There is no power save in God' – for he had understood my allusion.

They again met on the subtle plane though Averroes was not aware of the presence of Ibn'Arabi and in any case was too absorbed in his meditation to take notice of him.

Ibn'Arabi remarked:
He was indeed too absorbed in his meditation to take notice of me. I said to myself: His thought does not guide him to the place where I myself am.

I had no further occasion to meet him until his death which occurred in the year 595 of the Hegira (1198) in Marakesh. His remains were taken to Cordova, where his tomb is . When the coffin containing his ashes was loaded on the flank of a beast of burden, his works were placed on the other side to counterbalance it . I was standing there motionless; with me was the jurist and man of letters Abu'l Husayn Muhammad ibn Jubayr, secretary of the sayyid Abu Said (an Almuhad prince) and my friend Abu'l-Hakam 'Amr ibn al-Sarraj, the copyist. Abu'l-Hakam turned to us and said: 'Have you not observed what serves as a counterweight to the master Averroes on his mount? On the one side the master (imam) and on the other his works, the books he wrote.' And Ibn Jubayr answered him: 'You say I do not observe, O my child? I assuredly do. And blessed be your tongue!' Then I stored up within me (Abu'l-Hakam's words) as a theme of meditation and recollection. I am now the sole survivor among that little group of friends – may God have mercy on them – and then I said: 'On one side the master, on the other his works. Ah! how I wish I knew whether his hopes have been fulfilled.'
(from Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn'Arabi. by Henry Corbin)

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