Ibn ʿArabi’s Hilyat al-abdal
This is the first English translation of Ibn ʿArabi’s Hilyat al-abdal, a short work which he wrote in the space of an hour during his Meccan period as something that would be ‘of assistance for those on the Path to true happiness’. Beginning with an anecdote concerning one of his Andalusian companions, Ibn ʿArabi proceeds to explain the exterior qualities of the spiritually transformed (abdāl). He particularly focuses on the four essential prerequisites of spiritual discipline: silence, seclusion, hunger and vigilance, describing how these appear among both aspirants and the spiritually realised.
One of the most popular of his short works, the Hilyat al-abdal was much copied, and this book includes the first critical edition of the text based on the best manuscripts, including one written in Malatya during the author’s lifetime. In addition, it provides a substantial introduction on the abdal saints, and a translation of Chapter 53 from the Futuhat al-Makkiyya, which deals with the same subject-matter.
For centuries one of Ibn ‘Arabi’s most accessible and widely studied works, the Hilyat al-abdal highlights the practical foundation of spiritual discipline underlying all of his metaphysical and theological writings. At the same time, Stephen Hirtenstein’s masterful introduction shows how deeper reflection on those spiritual practices and their fruits gradually illuminates many of the Shaykh’s most characteristic teachings.