In a world in which we are all being so constantly and urgently solicited from every direction, there is a special poignancy today to the repeated insistence, throughout the Qur’an and hadith, on our fundamental human responsibility first simply to perceive, and then to respond fully to the manifold ways we are each constantly called to respond “to what gives you-all Life” (8:36). Some of the most accessible and universal sections of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Meccan Illuminations are devoted to those challenges of spiritual perception and discernment-and unsuspected occasions for shared growth and creativity-that arise throughout life’s daily encounters. A few translated excerpts from the Shaykh’s chapters outlining these very practical spiritual teachings will provide a springboard for exploring and sharing some of the ways these lessons actually unfold in our everyday life.
Professor James Morris (Boston College) has taught Islamic and comparative religious studies at the Universities of Exeter, Princeton, Oberlin, and the Sorbonne, and lectures widely on Sufism, the Islamic humanities, Islamic philosophy, the Qur’an, and Shiite thought. Recent books include Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (2007); The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arab?’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004); and Ibn ‘Arab?’s The Meccan Revelations (Pir Press, 2003).