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).