Ibn ʿArabi’s Divine Sayings (Mishkat al-anwar) is one of the most important and influential early collections of hadith qudsi. It comprises 101 sayings, drawn from the oral tradition as well as written collections.
These Divine Sayings are universal in nature, expounding the divine root of all goodness and beauty, and can be appreciated by people from any background. Recurring themes include our utter dependence upon God, and His readiness to forgive and embrace those who truly turn to Him. This book is a most wonderful gift.
Divine Sayings is a translation of the full Arabic text, with notes, compiled from the best early manuscripts.
Much of the early scholarship on Ibn ʿArabi focused on his contributions to the intellectual sciences, especially metaphysics and spiritual psychology. Only gradually have scholars come to acknowledge the extent of his immersion in the transmitted sciences such as Quran and jurisprudence. As for Hadith, it is difficult to overestimate the importance that he gives to the field. One must always keep in mind that his goal was to make the fullness of 'Muhammadan' sanctity more accessible, that is, the whole range of spiritual perfections realized by Muhammad in act, word, and inner reality. As he says in a typical passage, ‘Our vision of God in the Muhammadan form through the Muhammadan vision is the most complete vision that there may be. So we never cease encouraging people to achieve it, both orally and in this book’ (Futuhat IV 184). In many ways it is the Hadith, Muhammad's own words, that provide seekers with the most immediate access to the Muhammadan form.
Stephen Hirtenstein and Martin Notcutt have produced in Divine Sayings a beautifully translated version of Ibn ʿArabi's best known collection of Hadith, based not only on the published Arabic text but also several important manuscripts, with full scholarly apparatus. They have done a great service to all those who would like to gaze upon the Muhammadan form through the eyes of al-Shaykh al-Akbar.
This classic collection (and first critical edition) of 101 memorable 'Divine Sayings' related by the Prophet, translated in full for the first time in English, is not just an indispensable key to the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi and the wider traditions of Islamic spirituality. These short sayings are also a simple, direct, immediately accessible summary of the most universal spiritual lessons: the all-encompassing primacy of God's Love and Compassion; the corresponding human tasks of attentiveness, perseverance, and true service; the practical centrality of purified intention and constant remembrance – and the interaction of all those elements at each stage along our spiritual path.