The World of Imagination in Ibn 'Arabi's Ontology

Submitted by James Miller on Mon, 05/25/2009 - 12:06
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TitleThe World of Imagination in Ibn 'Arabi's Ontology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsAkkach, S.
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Date PublishedMay

In Ibn 'Arabi's ontology imagination plays an essential role: it is seen as the creative source of manifestation, the very cause of our existence, and the powerful intermediary that enables us to remain in constant contact with the Infinite and the Absolute. Through the concept of imagination Ibn 'Arabi managed to differentiate between the human and Divine mechanism of creativity, a differentiation which he then used to resolve the paradox of the eternity (qidam) and newness (huduth) of the world. This study aims to examine these aspects of Ibn 'Arabi's complex concept of imagination and to illustrate its transcendental and ontological dimensions. The study adopts a hermeneutical approach to the original texts, by placing more emphasis on the interpretive conditions–which is influenced by a preoccupation with artistic creativity and a desire to understand the creative mechanism of imagination, both at the human and Divine level in the wider ontological framework–than the historical and contextual contingencies.