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Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn al-ʿArabī

Impressions from the Meccan Openings

Al-Futūhāt al-Makkiyya

Being and Nonexistence

Presented by OmarKN

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Note 04

Translated by professor William C. Chittick from the Futūhāt al-Makkiyya[10]

Some interpolation was done, especially inside [ ] brackets. Mostly verbatim quotes.

On Being and Nonexistence 2

Reality that is one.[1]


How could multiplicity have arisen from a reality that is one in every respect?

To understand multiplicity (in existence or in creation)[2] we can search for Oneness and uncover the root of multiplicity in the nature of existing things.


There are 2 different translations for the term wujud.

There is not only one kind of existent things, but there are different modes of existence: those in the outside world, but also those in the mind, or those in the dream of the dreamer, or those on a film screen or those on the written page.

The modes are different, but in each case we can say that something 'exists', or possesses the attribute of being there - wujud, that it can be found.

This is the general sense of the term ‘existence’ (wujud ), which refers to the fact that something is there, something is to be found, also that God ‘exists’ - meaning there is a God and He can be found. 

The second sense of the word[3] wujud is when speaking about the substance or nature of God himself. Or in other words Being will refer to God as He is in Himself. When asking what God is - then the answer is He is wujud, as ‘finding’ or ‘Being’, the latter term is from Western scholastic philosophy.

Keep in mind that “Being” is in no way divorced from consciousness, from a fully aware finding, perception, and knowledge of the ontological situation.[4]

So “Being” in upper case refers to God, as He is in Himself.
Being[5] is in no sense ambiguous or questionable, though our understanding of Being often is.[6] Being is that which truly is, while everything else dwells like in a fog and haziness.

We need to remember that every existing thing is at one and the same time He (Being) and Not He (not-being, absolute nothingness). Only God is Being without qualification, without hesitation, without doubt.[7]

God is Sheer Being, utter Plenitude, pure Consciousness. Any given entity[8] in the cosmos is at best a dim reflection of some of these qualities.[9]

In fact, existence is but the reflected brilliance of Being, and there is only a single Being, God himself.

SPK6-7, The Sufi Path Of Knowledge, Ibn Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination; W C Chittick; p6-7

  1. this is explained elsewhere, mentioned here:
    link-in No True Reality but the Reality of the Real (God)
    link-in Discover the Reality of Things Within Yourself!  ↩

  2. before talking about God and His attributes…  ↩

  3. This how Muhyiddin Ibn ´Arabi employs the term, and both as A and B.  ↩

  4. Wujud is intelligence finding the truth + the existence of the mind and heart. wujud  ↩

  5. So Being for Muhyiddin Ibn ´Arabi is in no sense ambiguous…  ↩

  6. …our understanding of Being is often lacking, to say the least.  ↩

  7. This is explained in SPK, SDG, the works of Muhyiddin Ibn ´Arabi and the Islamic Tradition.  ↩

  8. Muhyiddin Ibn ´Arabi commonly employs the term “existent” mawjud to refer to the existing things.  ↩

  9. Therefore any entity is Not He, and has nonexistence.  ↩

  10. الفتوحات المكيّة التي فتح الله بها على الشيخ الإمام العامل الراسخ الكامل خاتم الأولياء الوارثين برزخ البرازخ محيي الحق و الدين أبي عبد الله محمد بن علي المعروف بابن عربي الحاتمي الطائي قدّس الله روحه و نوّر ضريحه ٱمين

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The Other Notes in This Series
link-in The Possible Things
link-in The Veil of Otherness
link-in Being and Existence 1
link-in Being and Nonexistence 2
link-in Wujūd and Infinity
link-in Being, Names, and Nonexistence

Related texts
link-in Insights Into The Nature Of (Being) And Existence From Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn ʿArabī
link-in Sh. Muhyiddīn Ibn al-ʿArabī And the Unfolding of the Islamic Intellectual Tradition

* Living Islam – Islamic Tradition *