Sometimes Ibn ‘Arabi’s Meccan Openings—despite their reputation for difficulty—offer amazingly direct and illuminating insights into life’s most basic rule-book. Certainly this is the case with his discussion of the central role of suffering in every person’s spiritual growth, and with his clarification of its key place in the nexus connecting our (mis)deeds, their painful consequences, and their ultimate fruits of compassion and spiritual growth. After introducing a few key passages outlining his teaching, we can turn to discussing and clarifying the experiences that help to bring those lessons alive.
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).