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Kun-The Existence-Bestowing Word In Islamic Mysticism: A Survey Of Texts On The Creative Power Of Language

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Chapter Summary

Ever since the "science of the friends of God" was laid down by al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī in the ninth century, Islamic mystics have associated empowered language with the holy man. The creative power by kun is an aspect of this "science". This chapter devotes to a more detailed discussion of speculations and dicta, circulating mainly in mystical literature, that arise from the claim that kun, whether spoken by God or by an extraordinary human being, possesses the power to bestow life and bring forth existence. Speech and words play an important role in Islamic thought and culture. The hermeneutic technique based on deciphering obscure consonantal clusters, is much older than the Muslim third/ninth century commentators. The most elaborate system of thought which brings God and man together in the context of the creative power inherent in language is offered by Ibn al-ʿ Arabī in the thirteenth century.

Keywords: Ibn al-ʿ Arabī; Islamic mystics; kun



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