THE WISDOM OF IBN ATA`ALLAH
Translation and Commentary by Shaykh
Ibn Ata' Allah al-Iskandari
was born in the middle of the 7th century AH/13th
century CE and grew up in Alexandria during the Mamluk era. Although
not much is known about his life, he had the best teachers in all
branches of traditional sciences and became known as a great master
of Islamic law of the Maliki School. His lifetime witnessed the
great flourishing of several Sufi brotherhoods, including the
Shadhiliyya, the Mawlawiyya, the Chishtiyya and the Ahmadiyya.
His spiritual legacy is
encapsulated in the dense form of the Hikam, which is
renowned as one of the most important Sufi texts, and certainly the
earliest of Shadhili texts. Although the Hikam is his
principal work, he authored several others, the most notable being
Miftah al-Falah wa Misbah al-Arwah (The Key to
Salvation and the Lantern of Spirits), a treatise on the courtesies
and manner of invocation as a means of arrival at gnosis.
These aphorisms of Ibn
Ata'Allah reveal the breadth and depth of an enlightened being who
reflects tawhid (divine unity) and is connected to the path
of transformation through worship.