Anqa Publications

The Alchemy of Human Happiness

Chapter 167 of Ibn ʿArabi's Meccan Illuminations

Fī maʿrifat kīmiyāʾ al-saʿāda

Muhyiddin Ibn ʿArabi
Translated by Stephen Hirtenstein

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The Alchemy of Human Happiness


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The quest for happiness and fulfilment lies at the very heart of human life, but for Ibn ʿArabi there is a realm beyond our ordinary understanding of happiness, where the human stands truly fulfilled, in vision of Reality. This is a goal within the potential of every person.

Not everyone who has found happiness is accorded perfection, for while all who are perfect are happy, not every happy one is perfect. Perfection means reaching and joining with the highest degree, and that is assuming the likeness of the Source.

In this first English translation of a core chapter from the famous Meccan Illuminations (al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya), Ibn ʿArabi comprehensively summarises all his major teachings on human perfectibility and true happiness. Using the imagery of alchemy and ascension, he gives the reader an extraordinary insight into the spiritual journey by contrasting two ways of acquiring knowledge: the rational and the mystical. With an introduction to Islamic alchemy, the Hermetic tradition and the mysterious elixir, this is an important text for anyone interested in Sufism, Islamic spirituality or alchemy.

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