Mashāhid al-asrār al-qudsiyya

Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries

Opening page of Manisa 1183
Opening page of Manisa 1183

Composed in 590/1194, when Ibn ʿArabi was just 29 years old, the book consists of fourteen visions or contemplations in the form of dialogues with God and narratives. Each vision is linked to the rising of a star. It begins with “the contemplation of existence as the star of direct vision rises” and continues in an ascending journey to “the contemplation of the light of argument as the star of justice rises”, when the traveller arrives at the Day of Judgement. In this ascending journey, the rising of each star heralds a new revelation appearing in the heart of the contemplator.

From Contemplation 6

“Know that every day seventy thousand secrets from My Majesty pass through the heart of the knower, never to return... If it were not for you, the spiritual stations would not have been manifested, nor would the order of the spiritual abodes have been established; the mysteries would not exist, the lights would not shine nor would there be darkness; there would be no rising, nor limit, nor exterior nor interior, nor first nor last. You are My Names and the indication of My Essence, for your essence is My essence and your attributes are My attributes...

You are My mirror, My house and My dwelling-place, My hidden treasure and the seat of My knowledge. If it were not for you, I would not be known or worshipped, I would not be thanked or denied... 

The looks remain short, the intellects perplexed, the hearts are blind, the knowers are lost in a desert of bewilderment and the understandings, plunged into stupefaction, are incapable of grasping the least secret of the revelation of My Grandeur. How then could they encompass it? Your knowledge is scattered dust. Your qualities are nothing. Your reality is only a metaphor in a corner of My being.

Come back, for you cannot go beyond your rank. All of you are ignorant of Me, dumb, blind, incapable, inadequate, speechless, bewildered, you have absolutely nothing whatsoever, however paltry it may be, that belongs to you.”