Contemporaries

Muslim West

592–656/1196–1258

Born in Morocco in the late 12th century, al-Shadhili became one of the most influential Sufi masters of his time, and the Shadhiliyya tariqa (brotherhood) that follows his teachings has played a central role in religious life in the Islamic world, especially Egypt and North Africa.

509–594/1115–1198

Perhaps the most influential master of Sufism in Muslim Spain and North Africa, Abu Madyan had a profound influence on the development of the Qadiri and Shadhili orders.

520–595/1126–1198

A judge and physician, Ibn Rushd came to be regarded as the final and most influential Muslim philosopher in the West, and was particularly respected for his interpretations and commentaries on Aristotle.

614–618/1217–1270

A fellow-countryman of Ibn 'Arabi, Ibn Sab'in was a prolific author and influential Sufi master known for his radical monism and in the eyes of many, for his eclectic views which bordered on heresy. This image has obscured his real teachings, which are only recently being reassessed by scholars.

Christian

1181–1226

A contemporary of Ibn 'Arabi, Francis of Assisi is one of the best-known and most loved of all Christian saints, often remembered as the patron saint of animals and birds.

Jewish

1135–1204

By general agreement, the most significant Jewish philosopher and religious teacher of the Middle Ages.

Muslim East

539–632/1145–1234

One of the great teaching masters, the Persian Sufi Abu Hafs 'Umar al-Suhrawardi established and expanded the Suhrawardiyya, the order initiated by his uncle, in Baghdad.

539–632/1154–1191

Also known as al-Maqtul ('the executed'), al-Suhrawardi was famous in his time for his metaphysics of illumination, which became very influential on later philosophy in Iran.

470–561/1077–1166

One of the great Sufi masters and teachers of Baghdad, 'Abd al-Qadir is well known for his writings and for his extraordinary power to transform people's hearts and minds.