verses. In others of his treatises he expounds the straight highway of the Qur’an and of the Sunnis. He was a holy man who held a position all his own, and he was one of the well-accepted, but he exceeded the mark in his unbalanced disclosures and in many matters opposed the majority of the learned authorities.
It is because of this that although he was such an elevated and wondrous spiritual pole, unequalled down the ages, it is as though his particular way was very short and restricted to Sadruddin al-Qunawi.1 His works are only rarely benefited from by those on the straight path. Many of the authoritive scholars do not encourage study of those valuable works and some of them even prevent it.
Lengthy study and a very lofty, broad view is needed to show the fundamental differences together with their sources between Muhyiddin’s way and that of the exacting scholars. Yes, the differences are so fine and profound and the sources, so elevated and extensive that Muhyiddin has not been censured and has continued to be accepted. For if in regard to thought, scholarship, and illumination the difference and sources had become apparent, it would have been very humiliating for him, and he would have been seen to be in serious error. Since the difference is so profound, we shall try to show it and the sources briefly by means of a comparison, and Muhyiddin’s errors in the matter.
For example, the sun appears in a mirror. The mirror both contains the sun and is qualified by it. That is to say, in one respect the sun is present in the mirror, and in another it adorns the mirror, becoming a brilliant colour, attribute and quality of it. If the mirror had been a camera, it would have fixed the sun’s image on photographic paper. In these cases, the sun in the mirror, and its semblance on the photographic paper, and its aspect that adorns the mirror and becomes like a quality of the mirror, are other than the actual sun. They are not the sun, but the sun’s manifestation which has taken on another existence. As for the existence of the sun that is visible in the mirror, even if it is not identical with the sun that is visible outside, since it is tied to it and points to it, it is supposed to have the same existence.
In consequence of this, it may be said: “There is nothing apart from the actual sun in the mirror,” meaning that the mirror contains it and intending the sun’s external existence in the mirror. But if it is said that the sun’s extended reflection, which has become like an attribute or quality
Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi (1209-74). One of Ibn al-‘Arabi’s foremost students, he wrote a number of works on Sufism, among which is al-Nusus fi Tahqiq al-Tawr al-Makhsus.