Patterns front cover

Patterns of Contemplation

Ibn ʿArabi, Abdullah Bosnevi and the Blessing-Prayer of Effusion
(available in hardback and in open-access pdf)
(supported by the Ibn 'Arabi Research Initiative at Monash University, Australia)

    Patterns of Contemplation is a translation, edition and study of one of the most remarkable prayers ever composed in praise of the reality of the Human Being, known as The Blessing-Prayer of Effusion upon the Reality of Muhammad (al-Ṣalāt al-fayḍiyya al-Muḥammadiyya).

    ‘this apparently humble text is as fine an example of its kind as the Blue Mosque of Istanbul is in relation to Ottoman architecture or the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Alhambra in Andalusia...this prayer has the capacity to make a fundamental impact on the reader and their state of knowledge and being’ (p. 3)

    O God! Effuse the freely given bestowing of Your blessing-prayers, and the health-giving security of Your peace-greetings upon: the First of the individuations overflowing from the Lordly Cloud, and the Last of the revelations descending to the human species...  the Secret of the He-ness that permeates [unseen] into each thing, and that remains [utterly] free from everything and naked...  the Centrepiece of all that lies between being and not-being – He has released the two seas that meet together, and the Clasp that links the phenomenal to the eternal – between the two a barrier which they do not go beyond...   Your Beloved-Lover...

    This special type of devotional prayer, invoking God’s blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad or the Reality of the Human Being, which is well known throughout the Islamic world, seems to have first become popular in the Maghrib (West) from the time of Ibn ʿArabi (d. 1240) onwards. Pablo Beneito and Stephen Hirtenstein provide the first critical edition of the Arabic text and English/Spanish translation of The Blessing-Prayer of Effusion, along with a fully annotated commentary, transliteration and recording. Although this well-known short prayer has been attributed since the 18th century to Ibn ʿArabi, the authors argue persuasively that it was actually written by Abdullah Bosnevi (d. 1644), a major Ottoman follower of the school of Ibn ʿArabi who originated from Bosnia. Also included is a brief introduction to the genre of blessing-prayer and one of its earliest examples in Arabic and English, The Prayer of Blessing attributed to ʿAbd al-ʿAziz al-Mahdawi (d. 1224), Ibn ʿArabi’s friend and mentor in Tunis (to whom he addressed the Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya).

    Over five introductory chapters and five appendices which surround the text of The Blessing-Prayer of Effusion, Pablo Beneito and Stephen Hirtenstein carefully uncover the extraordinarily rich meanings, kaleidoscopic structure, rhymes and symbolism that it contains, and show how they are interwoven in a majestically beautiful architecture of mysticism and poetry.

    This is not only a prayer for recitation but an embodied invitation to the most profound contemplations on the nature of the Truly Human Being (al-insān al-kāmil).

    This fascinatingly complex volume, as its long title already suggests, actually covers a wide range of subjects that are all connected in various ways to a metaphysically complex invocation (the Salat Faydiyya or “Blessing-Prayer of Effusion” of the title). In essence, this volume provides students of Ibn ‘Arabi and his immense historical influences with three different studies of very different lengths, each of which will repay repeated reading: firstly and most importantly, the most elaborate English introduction to the Arabic ‘science of letters’ and a host of closely related poetic features, devices and symbols which are central to deciphering and fully understanding both Ibn ‘Arabi’s immense poetic production and his prose; secondly, a previously unstudied window on the study, ongoing contemplation and spiritual interaction with Ibn ‘Arabi in the Ottoman realms (from the Balkans to the Arab heartlands); and thirdly, a quite different historical tradition of related metaphysical poetry and prayer-blessings, which gradually spread in devotional settings across North and West Africa down to the present day.”

    James Winston Morris, Boston University

    “We have an extraordinary achievement before us, where we observe great competence in Akbarian doctrines. The Science of letters combined with numerical and geometric symbolism in particular is treated with thorough investigation and deep insight. The reader is taken by the hand, and even those who do not possess a specific training, nor that particular aptitude that would be desirable for such a peculiar and essential field, should be able to follow and appreciate the articulated dimensions of this "Pythagorean" vision of existence. At the same time, one should also be able to understand that Ibn 'Arabi's treatment of this Science and, consequently, of a Master of his school like 'Abdullah Bosnevi goes far beyond what may have ever been produced in the West. Something similar can only be seen in some Kabbalistic works, only that, in my opinion, that the latter are more linked to a cosmological vision than to a metaphysical one, and therefore they are far from reaching the heights of the Muhammadian doctrines.”


    Paolo Urizzi, Perennia Verba

    “Patterns of Contemplation is a comprehensive introduction to sacred geometry, symbolism, and numerology articulated against the backdrop of a well-known Akbarian prayer on the blessed Prophet. As such, this book is a guiding light for those travelling from the darkness of the periphery to the luminous Muhammadan Centre.”

    Mohammed Rustom, Carleton University

    Patterns of Contemplation presents the first in-depth analysis and English translation of a major devotional masterpiece, The Blessing-Prayer of Effusion (al-Ṣalāt al-fayḍiyya). The Blessing-Prayer is indeed a ‘grand poetical puzzle’, which has been carefully deciphered by the authors, and appears as an absolute jewel of devotional art and science. At once mathematical and spiritual, Patterns of Contemplation is an innovative and uniquely rich introduction to the science of letters and number symbolism, and itself a rare expression of artistic and scholarly devotion to the study of our human mystical heritage.”

    Aydogan Kars, Monash University
    Imprint: Anqa Publishing


    Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
    No. of pages: 312
    Published: 2021


    Hardback: 9781905937707
    PDF: 9781905937714