Ibn ‘Arabi & the Philosophers: Reason, Revelation and Inspiration

Saturday May 6, 2017

A symposium jointly organised by the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society and Professor Stefan Sperl of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. To be held at at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London.

Symposium Description

Ibn ‘Arabi, in reporting meetings with Ibn Rushd (Averroes) on two occasions – once as a ‘beardless youth’ and once at the great Aristotelian philosopher’s funeral – highlighted the differences between their ways of thinking. Philosophical knowledge, he declared, is based on reason (aql) and revelatory knowledge is based on insight (kashf) and inner certainty (yaqin). In some cases they are the same and in others they differ.

However, a difference between points of view is not an essential separation. The Shaykh al-Akbar would surely have agreed with the last recorded words of the great Neo-platonist Plotinus “Strive to give back the Divine in yourselves to the Divine in the All.” Greek philosophical texts, first translated in Baghdad in the 8th and 9th centuries, were widely available in Muslim Spain. Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, who is sometimes called Ibn Aflatun ‘The Son of Plato’, would have had access to these, both directly and indirectly through the Islamic philosophical schools. This symposium aims at delving into these roots by exploring Ibn Arabi’s engagement with the philosophical heritage of his time.


Saturday, May 6th

8.45 am Doors open. Registration begins
9.15 Introduction. Stefan Sperl and Richard Twinch
9.30 Salman Bashier The Merging of the Two Seas of Mysticism and Philosophy in Ibn ‘Arabi
10.30 Coffee & Tea
11.00 Maria de Cillis Free Will and Predestination. Between Philosophy and Mysticism
12.00 pm Eric Geoffroy Some Aspects of “Supra-reason” in Ibn ‘Arabî’s Epistemology
1.00 pm Lunch
2.30 pm Husam al Mallak Ibn al-‘Arabi and the (Postmodern) Philosophical Heritage of Nietzsche
3.30 Tea & Coffee
4.00 – 5.00 pm Workshops with speakers
5.15 pm Plenary
5.45 pm End

There may be changes to this programme. Visit the Ibn ‘Arabi Society website for full details, updates and information on speakers.

Booking & Fees

Booking: Eventbrite online registration

Registration fees: 
Student* £10
Standard £50
Standard Early Bird £45 (closes on 28th February)
MIAS Member £45
MIAS Member Early Bird £40 (closes on 28th February)

*Please bring student ID to the symposium

All bookings up to May 3rd (9.00 am) are refundable. Online bookings for Member and Standard bookings include a non-refundable booking fee.

For Member and Standard bookings, Latecomer bookings between May 3rd to 6th will be at the full Standard registration fee of £50. No lunch included. No refunds.

For further information, please contact the Symposium organiser, Richard Twinch events.uk@ibnarabisociety.

Course / Event location

Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Thornhaugh St, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG


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‘Seven Days of the Heart’ Study Retreat

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Armagh, Melbourne, Australia

An intensive, non-residential study retreat, led by Stephen Hirtenstein.

Application deadline: June 30th, 2017

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October 8 – January 28, 2017
The Salisbury Centre, Edinburgh

What is the single most important point that must be understood by a person who wants to know?
A series of seven themed explorations.


Beshara Trust London Seminars

October 14 & November 11, 2017
The October Gallery, London, UK

Two study afternoons looking at the writings of Ibn ‘Arabi and other related authors.

40 Day Retreat Course

October 16 – November 26, 2017
Chisholme Institute, Scottish Borders, UK

What does it mean to be human? How do we relate to ourselves, to others, to the world?

Embracing the Opposites

October 21-29, 2017
Senopati, Jakarta

A 9-day study of the Fusus al-Hikam (Bezels of Wisdom) by Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi.