This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual…

Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual on Retreat

by Ibn Arabi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
732164,469 (4.4)None



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

English (1)  Spanish (1)  All (2)
The "retreat" (khalwa) in the subtitle of Journey to the Lord of Power is not the sort of retreat where members of a religious community join together to temporarily devote their full attentions to spiritual concerns. It is rather the anchoritic sort of withdrawal by an individual mystic from the world as a whole. This medieval Sufi epistle is centrally concerned with a particular practice of direct attainment to God, to be undertaken in solitude. Translator Rabia Terri Harris identifies such attainment with the Night Journey and Ascension of Muhammad (3). Author Ibn al-ʻArabī cautions his correspondent about the danger of the practice, insisting that it should be undertaken only under the direct supervision of a teacher (shaykh), or by one who has mastered his own imagination.

In Thelemic argot this prerequisite mastery would be the "perfect control of the Astral Plane" demanded of a Neophyte according to "One Star in Sight." The basic mechanism of the practice described here by al-ʻArabī seems to be fundamentally identical with that outlined as Sagitta trans Lunam or "Rising on the Planes" in Liber O. In fact, the bulk of the epistle is analogous to Crowley's survey of the hierarchy of mystical trances at the end of "The Herb Dangerous," to which Liber O refers the reader for "the results of success."

The discussion of the practice and its results is supported with some metaphysical ideas. The first of these is "renewed creation" (khalq jadid). In the appended commentary from ʻAbd al-Karīm Jīlī' (ca. 1400 C.E.) the explication of khalq jadid is redolent of Thelemic gnosis, in that it describes the "moment" (waqt) as the dialectical product of divine manifestation (zahir) and hiding (batin). A Thelemite will immediately understand these concepts to be figured by Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Nuit, and Hadit in The Book of the Law. In fact, the religious application of the manifest-hidden polarity has its root in the Quran: "He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He has knowledge of everything" (57:3). It is very likely that the Prophet of Thelema received this concept from his Sufi instructor in Egypt. Another metaphysical notion explained here is that of the six Realms, general fields of experience within the cycle of human existence. O.T.O. initiates may be able to make a constructive comparison with the Third Triad degrees of that Order.

Furthermore, there are a couple theological points made, pendant to the main matter of the text. One of these is the distinction between saints and prophets relative to the attainments discussed here. (Continuing my effort at translation, Sufi "saints" are Masters of the Temple, and "prophets" are Magi.) The other is concerned to conserve the priority of Muhammad among the prophets, for the sake of Muslim orthodoxy.

Besides the al-ʻArabī text itself, this edition contains excerpts from the aforementioned commentary of Jīlī', a translator's preface, an introduction by a contemporary shaykh of the Jerrahi tariqa, a biographical essay on al-ʻArabī by another member of the Halveti-Jerrahi Order, and a useful glossary. It is illustrated by full-page calligraphic images of divine names, reproduced from large murals on the Grand Mosque in Busra, Turkey, originally painted in the nineteenth century. Even in black and white at less than a tenth of their original scale, these designs are very beautiful.
3 vote paradoxosalpha | Sep 11, 2017 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.4)
3.5 2
5 3

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 126,515,212 books! | Top bar: Always visible