Reviewer: Asif Jehangir from England October 17, 2000
I have read bits of this book (and not all of it) and all I want to say is the following:
Undoubtedly, Mr. Chittick knows a lot about Ibn Arabi and is very interested in him; however for an academic--who are supposed to look at all the evidence before coming to any conclusions--I find it very disappointing that this book, though no doubt a labour of love and beautifully written, attributes positions and beliefs to Ibn Arabi (may his secret be sanctified!) which are totally opposed to what Ibn Arabi himself believed. What is even sadder--as the link below clearly shows--is that this position is arrived at by selective quoting of Ibn Arabi's works.
This book*--and others like it, for some reason like to depict the great Sufi Shaykh Ibn Arabi as a perrenialist in his beliefs. This is totally wrong as Ibn Arabi category states in his magnus opus his belief in the traditional doctrine of the Ahle SunnaH w'al JamaaH (Sunni Islamic orthodoxy) which is totally opposed to the idea of the validity of all religions.
Because of this vital flaw in this work, I advise people to keep away from it despite its good points as one will be left with an incorrect view of Hazrat Shaykh al Akbar's ideas. The traditional sufis do not even let their discipless tudy Ibn Arabi until they have reached a certain high stage in their own spiritual journey as to do so is to invite confusion which is clearly what has happened to the self-declared Orientalist "interpreters" of Ibn Arabi (quds sirruhu)...
Imaginal Worlds: Ibn Al-Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity (Suny Series in Islam)
by William C. Chittick