Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom
Including What the Seeker Needs and The One Alone
by Ibn ‘Arabi
Interpreted by Tosun Bayrak
Contained in this volume is his powerful but little-known work, Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom, rendered into English for the first time. In a particularly startling way, the text uses metaphors from worldly politics to illuminate details of the spiritual search.
Ibn ‘Arabi, the twelfth-century Spanish mystic, is considered by many the greatest master of Sufism. His large body of writings includes The Meccan Revelations (in 560 chapters) and The Bezels of Wisdom (exploring aspects of understanding through the lives of the Prophets of Islam).
Ibn ‘Arabi wrote: "This little book contains vast knowledge of great benefit to all. It is gathered from the gardens of Eden and from divine providence. It is meant to be a guide to believers. There are neither conjectures nor doubts in it. Even if some may find faults in it, they will concede that they are small, fine, and beautiful. I call this book Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom.
"The book is divided into twenty-one chapters. Each section contains instructions for achieving unity, the Lord’s gift to humankind. They show how to keep order within the divine order while improving ourselves; how to guide our lives in the right way; how to protect His kingdom, which is the human being, from oblivion; how to rule it in the way that it is meant to be ruled, by the soul that the Lord has placed in it as His deputy.
This book is a fountain that both high and low will be able to quench their thirst by drinking from it. For those who are able to see beneath the evident, there are signs that, if followed, will lead to the Source. For those who see the surface, there are things plain as could be."
Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi, working from Ottoman Turkish texts of Ibn ‘Arabi’s works, has rendered this and two shorter texts, What the Seeker Needs and The One Alone, into modern English. In an Epilogue, Shaykh Tosun restates Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings on Sufi practice and the strict duties binding a disciple to his master.
Tosun Bayrak is also the author of an interpretation of ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s The Secret of Secrets, a translation of Ibn al-Husayn al-Sulami’s Way of Sufi Chivalry and his own book, The Most Beautiful Names.
"Shaykh Tosun’s book offers an easy-to-understand interpretation of three mystical treatises by the celebrated twelfth-to-thirteenth century Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi. The largest al-tadbirat, is a fascinating treatise on the divine design and management of the world, and the central role the human model plays in the creative and governing process.
The other two are kitab kunh ma la budda minhu lil-murid (trans. “What the Seeker Needs”), a brief guide for those wanting to follow the Sufi path, and kitab al-ahadiyyah (translated as “The One Alone”), an esoteric essay on transcendental unity.
The book also offers a modest introduction to the life of Ibn ‘Arabi. Inspired by Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings, Shaykh Tosun writes with great passion and devotion to the extent of blurring the line between his own words and those of Ibn ‘Arabi.
The book is useful to students of Islamic mysticism, especially those who are searching for spiritual insights and mystical teachings."
- Samer Akkach, University of Adelaide