Kitāb al-Isrā

Book of the Night-Journey

opening page of Kitāb al-Isrā
opening page of Kitāb al-Isrā

Written in 594/1198 in rhyming prose (sajʿ), this is the first account of Ibn ʿArabi's mystical ascension. It is a poetic and highly symbolic description of meeting the realities of prophets in the seven heavens: Adam in the sphere of the Moon, Jesus in the sphere of Mercury, Joseph in the sphere of Venus, Enoch (Idris) in the sphere of the Sun, Aaron (Harun) in the sphere of Mars, Moses in the sphere of Jupiter and Abraham in the sphere of Saturn. In each sphere the traveller (sālik) discusses with the particular prophet and then travels on into further higher realms, until he discovers his own true reality.

"I gained in this Night-Journey the true meanings of all the [Divine] Names, and I saw that they all return to a single Named and one essential Source. This Named was my very object of contemplation. That Source was my own being.

My journey took place entirely within me, and my direction was only towards me.

Through this I came to know that I am a pure servant, without a trace of lordship in me at all."