Divine Revelation in the Philosophical Essays of al-Fārābī in Comparison with the Mystical Thoughts of Ibn ‘Arabī

Main Article Content

Ghorbanali Karimzadeh Gharamaleki
Abdullah HosseiniEskandian
Nur Hidayat Wakhid Udin


One of the most important concepts discussed in Islamic sciences is the explanation of divine revelation. Al-Fārābī and Ibn ‘Arabī are among the leading Islamic thinkers who have tried to explain divine revelation according to their style and school of thought. Al-Fārābī considers revelation as receiving knowledge from the active intellect while Ibn ‘Arabī considers it as the revelation of abstract rational meanings from God to the prophets. Examining and comparing their views on divine revelation can acquaint us with their thoughts on how the revelation and its quality came about as well as their intellectual similarities and differences. Employing a descriptive-analytical method, this article examines the essence of revelation in the thought of these two scholars. It also analyzes the quality and degree of revelation in their minds. The discussion ends with a comparison of their views on this issue. Al-Fārābī and Ibn ‘Arabī consider revelation as a divine command revealed by God directly or indirectly to the prophets to guide their people. While al-Fārābī tries to explain the revelation based on the prominent role of the Active Intellect, Ibn ‘Arabī pays attention to the issue of divine grace in sending of the revelation and the imagination of the prophets.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Gharamaleki, Ghorbanali Karimzadeh, Abdullah HosseiniEskandian, and Nur Hidayat Wakhid Udin. “Divine Revelation in the Philosophical Essays of Al-Fārābī in Comparison With the Mystical Thoughts of Ibn ‘Arabī”. Teosofi: Jurnal Tasawuf dan Pemikiran Islam 11, no. 1 (June 3, 2021): 122–141. Accessed September 22, 2021. http://jurnalfuf.uinsby.ac.id/index.php/teosofi/article/view/1687.


Andani, Khalil. “Revelation in Islam: Qur’ānic, Sunni, and Shiʿi Ismaili Perspectives”. PhD diss., Harvard University, 2020.

‘Arabī, Muḥy al-Dīn Ibn. al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Vol. 2. Cairo: Bulāq, 1911.

-----. Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam, ed. Abū al-A‘lā al-‘Afīfī. Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-‘Arabī, 2006.

Awalluddin, Muhammad Aiman. “Redefining Rational and Revelation into the Islamic Systemology Concept”, Teosofi: Jurnal Tasawuf dan Pemikiran Islam 9, no. 2, 2019. https://doi.org/10.15642/teosofi.2019.9.2.407-427

Black, Deborah L. “Avicenna on Self-Awareness and Knowing that One Knows”, in Shahid Rahman, Tony Street, Hassan Tahiri (eds.), The Unity of Science in the Arabic Tradition: Science Logic Epistemology and Their Interactions. Netherlands: Springer, 2008.

Ceylan, Yasin. “Some Remarks on al-Fārābī’s Views on the Relationship between Philosophy and Religion”, Islamic Studies 33, no. 1, 1994. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20840157.

Corbin, Henry. “Mundus Imaginalis, or the Imaginary and the Imaginal”, in Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam, trans. L. Fox. West Chester: Swedenborg Foundation, 1995.

Dādjoo, Yadollāh. “Revelation in the Perspectives of Ibn ‘Arabi”, S-Erfani 1, no. 16, 2012.

Deniz, Gürbüz. “Al-Farabi on Divine Knowledge”, Journal of Islamic Research 2, no. 2, 2009.

Dobie, Robert. Logos and Revelation: Ibn ‘Arabi, Meister Eckhart, and Mystical Hermeneutics. Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Fakhry, Majid. A History of Islamic Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

-----. al-Farabi, Founder of Islamic Neoplatonism: His Life, Work, and Influence. Oxford: OneWorld, 2002.

Fārābī (al), Abū Naṣr. Iḥṣā’ al-‘Ulūm, ed. ‘Uthmān Amīn. Egypt: Dār al-Fikr al-‘Arabī, 1949.

-----. Opinions of the People of the Utopia, trans. Seyed Jafar Sajjadi. Tehran: Tahoora Publications, 1981.

-----. Risāla fī al-‘Aql, ed. Maurice Bouyges. Beirut: Imprimerie Catholique 1983.

-----. Taḥṣīl al-Sa‘ada, ed. Ja‘far Yāsin. Beirut: n.p., 1983.

-----. Mabādi’ Arā’ Ahl al-Madīna al-Fāḍila, trans. Richard Walzer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.

Graham, William A. Divine Word and Prophetic Word in Early Islam. The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1977.

Ḥanafī, Ḥasan. Min al-Naql ilā al-Ibdā, Vol. 4. Cairo: Dār Qubā’ li al-Ṭibā‘a wa al-Nashr wa al-Tawzī‘, 2001) 79-80.

Hawi, Sami S. “Aspects of al-Fārābī’s Thought in the Light of Ibn Tufayl’s Criticism”, Islamic Studies 34, no. 3, 1995. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20840213.

Masterton, Rebecca. “Islamic Mystical Resonances in Fulbe Literature”, Journal of Islamic Studies 19, no. 1, 2008. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26200966.

Morris, James Winston. “Ibn ‘Arabi’s “Esotericism”: The Problem of Spiritual Authority”, Studia Islamica, no. 71, 1990. DOI: 10.2307/1595637

-----. “The Spiritual Ascension: Ibn ‘Arabī and the Mi‘rāj Part II”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 108, no. 1, 1988. DOI: 10.2307/603246

Mullazade, Muhammad Hadi. “Revelation in Avicenna’s and Farabi’s Opinions”, Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 10, no. 4, 2009. DOI: 10.22091/PFK.2009.206

Rosenthal, Franz. “Ibn ‘Arabī between “Philosophy” and “Mysticism”: “Sūfism and Philosophy Are Neighbors and Visit Each Other”. Fa-inna At-taṣawwuf Wa-t-tafalsuf Yatajāwarāni Wa-yatazāwarāni”, Oriens 31, 1988. DOI: 10.2307/1580724.

Saeed, Abdullah. “Rethinking ‘Revelation’ as a Precondition for Reinterpreting the Qur’an: A Qur’anic Perspective” Journal of Qur’anic Studies 1, no. 1, 1999. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25727946.

Sweeney, Michael. “Greek Essence and Islamic Tolerance: al-Farabi, al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd”, The Review of Metaphysics 65, no. 1, 2011. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23055682.

Walzer, Richard. “al-Fārābī’s Theory of Prophecy and Divination”, Journal of Hellenic Studies 27, 1957.