Virtually every author introducing Ibn ‘Arabi has highlighted his characteristic under- standing of manifest creation as a kind of divine Imagining (khiyal) or cosmic shadow- theater. But what does that vast metaphysical vision mean for us, for our experience of life and its dramas and transformations? Drawing on a few key passages from the key penultimate section (559) of his “Meccan Illuminations”, which summarizes the central teachings of each preceding chapter in that immense work, we shall explore the ways his accounts there of spiritual realization and awakening revealingly parallel more famil- iar dimensions of cinema and related arts in our own experience and cultural setting.
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 ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004); and Ibn ‘Arabi’s The Meccan Revelations (Pir Press, 2003).