A thematic analysis of Īqāẓ al-Himmam: Ibn ʿAjībah’s commentary on the Aphorisms (Ḥikam) of IbnʿAṭāʾAllāh

Jha, Sumit (2022) A thematic analysis of Īqāẓ al-Himmam: Ibn ʿAjībah’s commentary on the Aphorisms (Ḥikam) of IbnʿAṭāʾAllāh. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This thesis thematically analyses Ibn ʿAjībah’s (d. 1224/1809) commentary on the Aphorisms (Ḥikam) of IbnʿAṭāʾAllāh (d. 709/1309), entitled Īqāẓ al-Himam fī Sharḥ al-Ḥikam (The Awakening of Spiritual Aspirations in the Commentary of the Ḥikam). The analysis uses Toshihiko Izutsu's methodology of semantic analysis to read and thematically parse the Īqāẓ before arranging the core thematic content under the analytic categories of teleology, ontology, soteriology and epistemology. Collectively these analytic categories encompass the notion of the ‘origin and the return’ (al-mabdaʾ wa al-maʿād), which is a comprehensive way of looking at the subject of spiritual wayfaring (sulūk). The thesis concludes by identifying the pivotal semantic phrase (focus word or phrase) that best serves as the overarching theme across the Īqāẓ and by extension across its source text, the Ḥikam.

The thesis highlights this central theme as being ādāb al- maʿrifah (lit. the proprieties required of gnosis), that is, the propriety required to engender the experiential dimension of witnessing the One-ness of God (tawḥīd).

The thesis fills two significant gaps within western academic literature. Firstly, it demonstrates an effective and rigorous method for reading and studying Sufi texts in the form of semantic analysis. Whilst this method has been advocated as an ideal form of hermeneutics for Sufi and mystical texts by Giuseppe Scattolin it has yet to be applied and demonstrated across an entire Sufi text in scholarly criticism. Secondly, by performing such an analysis on a commentary of the Ḥikam, the thesis highlights the role of a commentarial tradition and how commentarial literature can clarify meanings of otherwise terse source texts. In doing so it demonstrates the pedagogical importance of structural textual correspondence within Sufi literature as evidenced through the case study of the Īqāẓ. Though the methodology of the thesis is primarily exegetical, mostly focused on textual analysis of the Īqāẓ, significant research was conducted in situating Ibn ʿAjībah and the metaphysical ideas expressed within the Īqāẓ historically. Whilst limited by its focus on one text and its writer, the thesis demonstrates how such studies may be performed on other Sufi texts.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Hoover, Jon
Goodchild, Philip
Keywords: Īqāẓ al-Himmam; semantic analysis; Sufism; Ibn ʿAjībah; Kitāb al-Ḥikam; IbnʿAṭāʾAllāh al-Iskandarī; IbnʿAṭāʾAllāh
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc.
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 68344
Depositing User: Jha, Sumit
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2022 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/68344

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