The Bezels of Wisdom

By R. W. J. Austin; Ibn al-Arabi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

THE WISDOM OF EXPIRATION
IN THE WORD OF SETH

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The chapter named after Seth deals with two main topics, that of divine giving and the subject of the respective functions of the Seal of Saints and the Seal of Apostles. In connection with the first of these topics, Ibn al-'Arabī touches also on the subject of latency and predisposition and the possibility of knowing one's own predisposition.

In the first part of the chapter he deals with the question of divine giving and favor. He divides the divine giving in various ways and discusses the whole relationship between requesting and giving in response to a request, whether uttered or implicit.

This first topic of the chapter provides, perhaps, a clue to the title of the chapter, The Wisdom of Expiration in the Word of Seth. The Arabic word used for "expiration" is from the root nafakha, which literally means "to blow." Now, the divine gift par excellence is that of existence itself, the bringing about of which is closely related to Ibn al-'Arabī's concept of the creating Mercy, which creativity is often termed the Breath of the Merciful [nafas al-ramān]. In other words the blowing referred to in the title is precisely that outgoing projection inspired by the divine desire for Self-consciousness which, from

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