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The Secrets of Voyaging

K. al-Isfār ʿan natāʾij al-asfār
by Muhyiddin Ibn ʿArabi
Translated with introduction and commentary by Angela Jaffray

New Arabic edition by D. Gril, A. Abrar and A. Jaffray

Overview

According to Ibn ʿArabī, voyaging never ceases, and this applies in all worlds and dimensions. The paradigmatic voyages recounted in this remarkable book offer the reader an inexhaustible source of reflection. As a well-known Sufi saying puts it, ‘the spiritual journey is called “voyage” (safar) because it “unveils” (yusfiru) the characters of the Men of God’.

The Secrets of Voyaging explores the theme of journeying and spiritual unveiling as it plays out in the cosmos, in scripture and within the soul of the mystic. Beginning with a series of cosmological contemplations, Ibn ʿArabī then turns to his own selective readings of Prophetic lore, in which he gives profound insights on the voyages of Muhammad, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Jacob and Joseph, and Moses.

Angela Jaffray’s translation brings this major treatise to an English-speaking audience for the first time. It is accompanied by a new edition of the Arabic text based on a manuscript in Ibn ʿArabī’s own hand, an introduction and extensive notes. It also includes a rich in-depth commentary that will guide the reader through Ibn ʿArabī’s subtle and allusive writing.

Angela Jaffray’s new translation and extended commentary on Ibn ʿArabī’s fascinating The Secrets of Voyaging at last makes accessible to a much wider, non-specialist audience this intriguing treatise, which was clearly intended from the start as a “sealed” and challengingly symbolic guide to the soul’s inner and outer spiritual journeys.  Her abundant running commentary on this allusive mystical treatise carefully brings together essential interpretive keys from throughout the Shaykh’s “Meccan Illuminations” and “Bezels of Wisdom”—together with salient traditional and philological background—in ways that beautifully illustrate and constantly highlight the intricate interdependence of all of Ibn ʿArabī’s writing.  Indeed the abundance of her references to the Futūḥāt here is such that this book in itself constitutes an appealing preview of the unsuspected riches yet to be revealed by the ongoing translations of Ibn ʿArabī’s magnum opus.

For scholarly specialists and other readers with Arabic, this volume also includes the facing Arabic text of an updated edition.  This feature is especially helpful here because Dr. Jaffray’s commentary constantly brings out the evocative, multi-vocal, and intensely personal nature of Ibn ʿArabī’s distinctive Arabic rhetoric here.

Like so many aspects of her commentary, this insightful sensitivity to Ibn ʿArabī’s poetic language helps to bring out essential dimensions of his methods of teaching—and expectations of his committed readers—that are otherwise inevitably lost in less careful translations.

Prof. James Winston Morris, Boston College
Imprint: Anqa Publishing
There is no hardback edition at this time

Paperback

Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
No. of pages: 428
Published: 2015

ISBN

Paperback: 9781905937431
PDF: 9781905937561