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1 The Word of God and the Divine Will

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Chapter Summary

One of the most important issues dealt with in both Ismāʿīlī literature and the works of Ibn Masarra and Ibn al-ʿArabī is the word of God and the Divine will. Recurring in their writings on this issue are a number of Arabic terms which are all interrelated: kalima, kun, amr and irāda ("will"). This chapter reviews their Biblical and Hellenistic roots and then analyzes the Quranic context in which they appear. It examines the role these terms played in the Arabic Neoplatonic tradition and conclude by elaborating on their Ismāʿīlī and Andalusī usage. The links and affinities between the various traditions discussed here and the significant role played in this respect by the Ismāʿīlīs are important not only for understanding the development of Islamic mystical-philosophical thought in al-Andalus, but perhaps also for fathoming the Jewish intellectual world in medieval Spain, including the emergence of Kabbalah.

Keywords:Andalusī; Arabic Neoplatonic tradition; biblical root; divine will; god; Hellenistic roots; Ibn al-ʿArabī; Ibn Masarra; Ismāʿīlī literature; Quranic context



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