Rūḥ al-quds fī munāṣaḥat al-nafs

The Holy Spirit's counsel to the soul

Written in Mecca originally as a letter to his friend in Tunis, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Mahdawī, in 600/1202,this is one of Ibn ʿArabī's major works, and is divided into three parts: the first section outlines how the author subjected his soul to a full-scale examination and was instructed to give counsel to God's servants; the second depicts the masters, male and female, whom he had benefited from in the Maghrib, especially Andalusia; the third part describes the wider context of the function of the human soul in the world and the real dignity of the human being.

The opening page of University 79A

Fātima bint al-Muthannā

I, together with two of my companions, built a hut of reeds for her to live in.

She used to say: “Of those who come to see me, I admire none more than Ibn ‘Arabī”. On being asked the reason for this, she replied: “The rest of you come to me with part of yourselves, leaving the other part of you occupied with your other concerns, while Ibn ‘Arabī is a consolation to me, for he comes with all of himself. When he rises up it is with all of himself, and when he sits it is with all of himself. That is how it should be on the Way”.

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If the gnostic is a person of high degree, his soul will become a stranger to him. He is obliged to feel affection for himself, just as he is obliged to feel affection for others.