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Ibn Arabi versus Aristotle on the View of the Heavens

 

 

 

"The largest day is that for the fixed stars, and it is called fixed because (our) ages are too short to notice their motion”[1].

 

 

 

Preface:

 

Although Ibn Arabi was not an astronomer and he did not devote any special book to describe the heavens, but we can find plenty of paragraphs, in AlFutuhat AlMakiyya for example, that can be used to show his view of the cosmos. Based on his own rich mystic experience, Ibn Arabi’s view of the cosmos comes as a part of a much general view of the divine creation.

 

 

In this paper we explain some aspects of Ibn Arabi’s view of the cosmos, and we compare that to other philosophical and modern scientific views. We shall see that Ibn Arabi was fully aware of the central position of the sun in the heavens long time before Copernicus. He was also aware of the vast distances of stars and their motion and clustering into galaxies, which was not known in modern science until early 20th century. Moreover, and unlike Aristotle, Ibn Arabi realizes the motion of the sun and other stars around the center of the galaxy, and the motion of this galaxy in the vast space, and he stresses that the cosmos does not have a center, as we know it only recently.

 

We clearly see that Ibn Arabi’s view of the cosmos is very precise by all means when compared to modern science and it can also be considered as reconciliation between science and mysticism.

 

 

 

Introduction and Historical Review:

 

Moslem scholars and scribes introduced Europe to the science of astronomy in the 14th century. But the Catholic Church that decided to adopt the Ptolemaic/Aristotelian model (geocentric or Earth-centered) considered scientists who criticize this model as heretics. The Polish scientist Nicolai Copernicus, who was born in 1473, is well known for his achievements in the development of the first fully functional heliocentric (Sun-centered) model of the then-known universe, which he developed in 1514. Copernicus was aware of the mood with which his heliocentric theory would be met by the church, therefore he circulated his model anonymously and his book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestrium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs), was not published until 1543, just before his death. In his model, Copernicus postulated that the sun and the stars are stationary and the earth and the planets circulated around the sun in circular orbits.

 

 

 

It was not until 1609 when Galileo invented the telescope that the Aristotle's (384-322 BC) and Ptolemy's (70-147 AD) geocentric model of the universe has been completely blown away, and replaced by the heliocentric model. In around the same date (1609-1619), the German scientist Johannes Kepler formulated three mathematical statements that accurately describe the revolutions of the planets around the sun. In 1687 and in his major book: ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’, Newton was able to put a theory that supports the Copernican model and explains how bodies move in space and time.

 

Copernicus and Newton’s theory were good enough to be applied for the solar system, but they were false when they considered the stars to be fixed and the universe outside the solar system is static. Although a dynamic and expanding universe could easily be predicted according to Newton’s theory of gravity, but the believe in the Aristotelian static universe was so strong that it persisted more than three centuries after that.

 

In 1718, Edmund Halley compared the positions of stars recorded by Ptolemy in the second century AD with the latest observations and realized that the positions of some of the stars were not the same as they had been 1600 years earlier. Some of the stars were slightly displaced from the rest, by a small but noticeable amount. This is called proper motion, which is the apparent motion of the star (perpendicular to the line of sight) in relation to the background stars. In 1783, William Herschel discovered the solar motion, or the sun's motion relative to the stars in its galactic neighborhood. Herschel also showed that the Sun and other stars are arranged like the grains of abrasive in a grindstone. This is called the Milky Way galaxy. Later, in 1924, Hubble was able to measure distances to some stars (based on the redshift) and he showed that some bright dots that we see in the sky are actually other galaxies like ours but they are very far away.

 

The Aristotelian theory of static universe (stars) had to be reviewed after Hubble’s discovery of the redshift of light that is coming from all distant stars, which translated that everything in the world is moving, as Ibn Arabi said many centuries before that. In his best seller book of the eighties, Steven Hawking says: “Even Einstein, when he formulated the general theory of relativity in 1915, was so sure that the universe had to be static that he modified his theory to make this possible, introducing a so-called cosmological constant into his equations”[2]. This offcourse was proofed to be wrong and everybody now knows that the cosmos is in a continous motion.

 

After that and with the advent of new technologies that have been well employed in the observations, in addition to the accelerated research in physics and astronomy, which was first meant for political and military reasons, a whole new view of the cosmos finally replaced the ancient shortsighted ones. However, we can’t ever claim that we have answered all questions and drawn the correct picture of the cosmos. On the contrary, a brand new set of more profound questions are still a riddle, such as dark mater and the EPR paradox.

 

On the other hand, Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) was not an astronomer and he has never been interested in astronomy as a science. But as a Sufi, he talks about planets and orbs and their motion as a structure Allah created in his Image and relates them to Divine Names. He uses astronomy as a mean of acquiring more knowledge about Allah, the most Exalted. Apart from few short letters where he talks about some astronomy subjects mixed with philosophy and theology, Ibn Arabi did not devote any special book to describe the heavens. Nevertheless, in his main book AlFutuhat AlMakiyya for example, we find many paragraphs that can be used to show his view of the cosmos.

 

            Our aim here is not to compare between Ibn Arabi and Aristotle, or any other philosopher or astronomer, as the title might suggest, because such comparison would not be justified. We only want to show a fact that Ibn Arabi's view of the world is in full agreement with modern science of the twenty-first century. We shall show that Ibn Arabi was fully aware of the heliocentricity of the solar system, the motion of the Sun and other stars around the center of the galaxy, the vast distances between stars and their revolution, the dynamic and expanding universe that has no center, plus many more issues that are now considered to be facts of science. Ibn Arabi’s view, if well studied and explained, can be considered as a good reconciliation between ancient theological and philosophical views and modern science.

 

 

 

Aristotle’s/Ptolemy’s Model:

 

The ancient Greeks inherited astronomical records from the Babylonians (~1500 BC) and applied the data to construct a cosmological framework. Aristarchus (270 BC) developed the first heliocentric model of the universe. This model did not survive long under the weight of Aristotle's influence and common sense. The general opinion of the time supposes the earth to remain fixed, as it were considered to be the house of gods. Also, nobody could detect stellar parallax, which is a direct consequence of the motion of earth.

 

  

 

Therefore, the geocentric model of the universe, which was proposed by Aristotle (384-322 BC) and later developed by Ptolemy (70-147 AD), was the most accepted model of the solar system which had been later adopted by the Catholic Church. In this model the heavens were perfect and immutable and the immobile Earth was surrounded by many celestial spheres carrying the planets which were moving in uniform circular motion around the Earth. In order to explain the retrograde motion of the planets[3], Ptolemy suggested the epicycles where the planets, while moving around the Earth, are simultaneously orbiting a point on the deferent in uniform circular motion in another circular orbital path. This good explantion worked well, but it does not describe the real situation. Maybe this deceiving explantion is what kept people convinced with this model for 1400 years.

 

 

 

The Copernicus Model:

 

As we mentioned above, Copernicus developed his heliocentric model of the universe in 1514, but he did not publish it until 1543. Later, in 1609, Galileo invented the telescope and made many observations in favor of the Copernican model. This made this model gradually replaces Aristotle’s model especially after Newton’s theory of gravity in 1687.

 

Copernicus analyzed critically the Ptolemaic theory of the Earth-centered universe and showed that the planetary motions can be explained by assuming a central position for the Sun rather than for the Earth. This is a schematic diagram of the heliocentric model as seen by Copernicus.

 

 

 

  

 

In this model, the retrograde motion was a consequence of the motion of the Earth, along with other planets, around the Sun. Since the Earth travels faster in its orbit than do the superior planets, it overtakes and passes them at times during their mutual orbits around the Sun. As the Earth begins to overtake Satrun, for example, Satrun will appear to slow its eastward motion among the stars. Then just as the Earth overtakes it, Saturn will appear to loop slightly westward for a short time. Once the Earth is well past Satrun, that planet will resume its eastward motion among the stars. See other references[4] for more details.

 

 

 

Our Today's View of the Cosmos:

 

Since Copernicus time, our view of the cosmos had greatly grown larger and more accurate. It is not our purpose here to explain the modern complicated theories of cosmology, but we want to summarize the present picture of the cosmos as seen by modern scientists. Our modern picture of the cosmos dates back only to 1924 when Edwin Hubble proved that our galaxy is not the only one and that many of the bright dots that we see in the sky are other galaxies like our own but we see them as tiny dots because they are placed very far away from us.

 

            Due to the force of gravity, everything in the sky is moving or rotating around some point in space. The moon rotates around the earth, and the earth along with other planets rotates around the sun, which also rotates, along with other hundreds of thousands of millions of stars, around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy is also one of thousands of millions of galaxies; all flying in the vast distances of space. As Allah said in the holly Quran: "All are moving in some orb", [Yasin, 00].

 

            In order to give a spatial view of this BIG universe it is better to use big units of distance instead of using big numbers. The best unit of distance in modern cosmology is the light year (9,500,000,000,000,000 meters), which is the distance cut by light in one year. The light that travels at 300,000 Km/Sec can rotate seven times around the earth in one second, but it takes 8.33 minutes to reach us from the sun (150 million km). The nearest star to us (Proxima Centauri), apart from the sun, is about 4.24 light years away. Our galaxy, like most other galaxies, is a collection of about a 200 billion stars plus thousands of clusters and nebulae that form together a disc of more than 100,000 light years in diameter. The nearest galaxy to ours lies in the Andromeda constellation and it is about 2.9 million light years away. Then galaxies are grouped in somewhat irregular clusters that greatly differ in size between millions to hundreds of millions of light years. The most distant object discovered so far is about 13 billion light years away. These numbers are just to give an idea of where we are.

 

            It is also now well established that everything in the world is moving; nearby stars have proper motion because they are pulled towards the center of the galaxy, and galaxies are moving away from us because the universe is expanding. On the other hand, and despite this motion, the universe does not have a center. It is hard to imagine it but the universe is contained or curved around itself so that if you fly straight up and keep moving in a straight line you will one day come back from down to the same point (supposing no gravitational fluctuations for simplicity).

 

            The stars that we see in the sky are, just like our Sun, a huge nuclear reactor that is constantly converting Hydrogen into heavier elements and hence producing heat and light. But not all stars are the same; some are big and some are small, some are young and some are old, some are bright and some are faint. Also, many stars are dying and many others are born all the time in a process of very complicated evolution.

 

 

 

Ibn Arabi’s View:

 

Ibn Arabi’s universe comprises both the material and the abstract worlds. We are concerned here about the material world, but we shall start with a brief overview of his general view of the cosmos with its two major domains because they are really overlapped.

Ibn Arabi says that the main reason for creating the cosmos is LOVE. Allah, the Glorious LOVED to be known in order to grant the creations the privilege of knowing Him. This Allah's love to be known is a Mercy from Him that He wanted to grant to His creations. This Mercy is the first state of the presence of Allah the Truth with regard to the world to be created, and it also formed the abstract place in which creations will appear. This abstract place is also called AlAma`a. The reality of AlAma`a accepted the forms of spirits that Allah created directly without intermediaries. This direct creation caused these spirits to roam in the presence of Allah that they know nothing but only Him. They don’t even know about themselves. Allah appointed one of these spirits and granted him a special epiphany (Tajalli) of knowledge that engraved in him all what Allah wants to create in the cosmos until the last day. Other roaming spirits could not know about that. This epiphany caused this spirit that is then called The Universal Intellect, which is The Reality of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), to know both himself and other spirits while they don’t know him. He saw himself composed of himself and his ability to realize. He also saw that he has a shadow caused by the light of that special epiphany from the Divine Name of Allah the Light. This shadow is his soul, which is called the Universal Soul or the First Soul, in which he is going to write down what he knew is going to happen until the last day. The world appeared in the universal soul by the universal intellect in what Ibn Arabi calls “abstract marriage”; everything that happens due to a cause is like a son of this cause who is considered his father, and his mother is the place where this son appeared or happened. As we are all the children of Adam and Eve so all things in the world are the children of the universal intellect and the universal soul.

The first thing the universal soul has begot is a twin: the Nature and the Chaos (haba’a)[5]. She first begets the nature and then the chaos. These nature and chaos on their turn begot their first son which is called the universal body whose father was the nature and whose mother was the chaos, then the birth went on in a defined and long series of causes and results to reach the (component) earth[6].

The first thing which was formed by the universal body was the throne (Al`Arsh) on which Allah established his authority from His name the Merciful, which means that all creations under this throne are granted mercy from Him. Therefore the first thing that the higher pen (the universal intellect) wrote in the higher board (the universal soul) was the throne in which all the creation (the cosmos) is to appear. Inside the throne there appeared the chair like a ring in a vast desert and inside this chair there appeared the material world also like a ring in a vast desert.

 

 

We restrict ourselves here to this very short summary to study in details Ibn Arabi’s view of the material world.

The first thing to exist in the (material) cosmos is the isotropic orb that has no planets in it and therefore it looks the same in all directions and we can’t distinguish between its parts. Inside this orb, Allah created the zodiac and inside the orbit of the zodiac Allah created the orbit of fixed planets (stars), also as a ring in vast desert. The Earth and the seven skies that include the Sun, the Moon and the planets are inside the orbit of fixed stars. All this is shown in this schematic diagram that we draw, with some cosmetic changes, according to Ibn Arabi[7].

We shall explain this model in more details below, but we need first to explain here few general points:

1-      First, we should notice that Ibn Arabi calls the sun and the moon as planets but he clearly distinguishes between the planets and the Sun as the latter "is responsible for illuminating all other planets above and below”[8]. He also calls other stars as planets, but he also knows that those stars are like the Sun; they emit their own light. For example, he says: "And the sky and the earth are called night because they are dark for themselves and light in them comes from other bright bodies like the Sun and the likes. So when the Sun goes away the sky and the Earth will become dark”[9]. The word “planet” in Arabic is a common word between stars and planets.

2-      A first quick reading of Ibn Arabi’s texts about the world might reveal the same Aristotelian picture because, like most other ancient philosophies, he talks about seven skies around the earth and each is inhabited by a planet including the sun and the moon, as we have seen above. But although Ibn Arabi did not mean to explain it, he stresses in many places that this is only the apparent view for a person who is sitting on the earth, and he distinguishes between this view and the actual motion of planets and stars. So, for Ibn Arabi, Aristotle’s view is a view of the world “as we see it, … while it is in itself can't be described like that”[10].

3-      Either for the 12 signs of the zodiac or the 28 houses of the Moon in the fixed stars constellations, Ibn Arabi considers them as a convention and do not necessarily relates to the actual positions of the stars. He says: “The zodiac (constellations) are approximate positions and they are houses for the moving planets”[11]. And for the Moon he says: “And those stars are called houses because planets moves through them, but else there is no difference between them and other stars that are not houses. … They are assumptions and proportions in this body (of the sky)”[12].

4-      We can’t always separate the material world from the abstract or spiritual world as they are really overlapped. That is why Ibn Arabi sometimes mixes the two views; for example he draws a pillar to refer to the perfect man whom he considers to be the image of the Truth in the cosmos, so without him the cosmos will collapse. He also speaks about the seven heavens and the seven skies that are supported on the seven earths. We don’t want to stop on these issues now, but we will see that Ibn Arabi does not consider that to be the actual (material) picture of things.

Now, we can spread more light on the different aspects of Ibn Arabi’s view of the material world:

 

1- The Earth Is Not Stationary:

Ibn Arabi stresses in many places in AlFutuhat AlMakiyya that the Earth is not stationary. He says: "And the smallest day, for example from sunrise to sunrise, which happens when a full cycle of the circumferent orb, which rotates with everything (inside it), is completed. And this, as we said, is defined by eye from sunrise to sunrise for example. So we know that the cycle (orb) that includes all orbs is completed, as we see it, but in itself it has no limit in the circumferent orb; it is only one cycle that can't be described to have an end. We assume in it a beginning and an end and repetition while it is in itself can't be described like that"[13]. This clearly means that Ibn Arabi realizes the motion of the earth around itself and it is this motion that causes us to feel the day from sunrise to sunrise. He even mention that more clearly by saying: "But the motion of Earth is not apparent for us, and its motion is to the middle because it is a sphere”[14]. He also explains why we don’t feel the motion of the Earth and the cosmos: “But people and most other creatures don’t feel the motion of the cosmos because it is all moving so the witnessed dimensions does not change. And (also) that is why they imagine that the Earth is stationary around the center”[15].

So indeed Ibn Arabi’s model of the cosmos is not geocentric at all.

 

2- The Sun is in the Heart of the Seven Heavens:

Ibn Arabi also realizes the motion of the Earth and other planets around the Sun because he considers the Sun to be in the "heart of the skies". In his famous comparison between a perfect philosopher (thinker) and a follower of Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, he describes their spiritual journey into the higher orbs: "Then they moved to the middle sky which is the heart of the skies. And when they entered; the follower was received by Idris, peace be upon him, and the thinker was received by (the spirit of) the Sun”[16]. He also says: "And he chose the Sun because it is responsible for illuminating all other planets above and below… And it is the heart of the sphere which is the fourth sky (orb) and in it (this sky) there is the Prophet Idris peace be upon him whom Allah said about him: 'And We raised him to a high place'. So the height of this place (the Sun's Orbit) comes from its being the heart of orbits, so it is a high place for its status and the orbits that are above it in distance with relation to our heads, are still below it in status”[17].

We can clearly see that Ibn Arabi distinguishes between two views:

1-      The apparent view for a person who is sitting on the Earth where we see everything is moving around us, and this is the Aristotelian view.

2-      And the actual view where the Sun is in the center of the sphere of the seven skies (orbits of planets).

So Ibn Arabi’s model of the (local) universe is actually heliocentric.

 

3- The Retrograde Motion:

We have seen above that the false Ptolmey’s explanation of the retrograde motion of planets was well accepted for over 1400 years until Copernicus proposed his heliocentric model. However, nobody yet discovered that Ibn Arabi had a fantastic explanation for this motion that is very simple and clear and fully agrees, or actualy would have led to, the heliocentric model.

In his explanation of the motion of Saturn, Ibn Arabi says: “And He (Allah) made for this planet (Saturn) a known motion in its orbit. And such these motions are extremly wonderful because it is very difficult to explain them, and they show that it is possible for something to be affected by two (opposite) causes at the same time. Because such motion of this planet is caused by two different reasons: one is forced and the other is intentional or natural. A simple example for that is: if an animal standing on an object and it moved to a certain direction on this object, and the object moved to a different direction, then the animal would be moving in the direction of the motion of the object at the same time when it is moving in the oppisite direction. So the animal combines between two opposite motions at the same time. … So planets move, as seen by our eyes, in the orbit from west to east while the greater circumferent orbit moves with them from east to west. So the palnet is moving from east to west at the same time when it is moving from west to east.”[18].

 

4- The Stars Are Not “Fixed”:

Although Ibn Arabi uses Aristotle’s description of stars outside the seven skies (solar system) as the fixed stars, but he made it clear in several places in AlFutuhat[19] and other books[20] that those stars are not actually fixed at all. Rather, due to the large distance, our age is too small to notice their motion despite their very high speed, as it is well confirmed by modern cosmology. He also sometimes calls them “the apparently fixed stars”[21]. And in other places he specifies the speed of the stars of some orbits: “So we take the day of any planet (star) as the time needed for it to cut the most distant orb which is the isotropic orb which has no planets. The largest day is that for the fixed planets, and it is called fixed (stars) because (our) ages are too short to notice their motion. Every star of it cuts one degree of the most distant orb in 100 years”[22]. He also says: “And the longest day for a planet in this orbit (of fixed stars) is 36000 years of what you count”[23].

Although this value does not seem very precise when compared to modern observations but the difference can be explained. At least Ibn Arabi talks about the motion of stars and their speed more than seven centuries before Hubble and Einstein.

As we have seen above, up to the beginning of the 20th century, the universe was thought to be static apart from few stars that showed very small proper motion. Recent observations and calculations[24] showed that the fastest proper motion (apparent motion perpendicular to the line of sight) is for Barnard star. This star cuts one degree of the celestial sphere in 350 years. The average proper velocity of the nearby stars that can be seen by naked eye is 36,000 years per degree (or 0.1 arc second per year)[25].

When we compare these values with what Ibn Arabi says, we can explain the difference as a result of the motion of the Sun in relation to the background stars which, if we exclude it, will be added to the motion of the stars and they will appear faster. Another thing is that the proper motion is related to the distance of star from us, which might changes by the passage of the years and centuries. For example, calculations show that the proper motion of Barnard star will be about three times faster after 8000 years[26].

 

5- Why Everything Is Moving:          

Ibn Arabi states that the ultimate reason for motion is the non-homogeneity in the universal body in which the cosmos appeared. “And its motion in itself is by its whole like the motion of hand mill; when you look at it you find that it did not move to another place, but when you look at its parts you find them moving. … So it moved because of the excessive heat because with homogeneity the cosmos can’t exist. … Because the heat quantity is larger in the body it caused it to move, and because there were no space to move into it (because it filled all imaginary space) it had to move in its place. This is called the motion of the middle because there is no space to move into it. And the motion is caused by heat, and it is a motion of the whole”[27].

            It is worth to mention here that it has been considered a paradox that all measurements of the background radiation, which has been discovered in 1965 and which measures the heat distribution in the early stages of the universe, showed that it is perfectly homogenous. Only recently[28], and with extremely sensitive devices that small ripples in the background radiation has been discovered. Everybody agree that with homogeneity at the beginning the universe could not have reached its current state.

 

6- The Cosmos Does Not Have a Center:

Ibn Arabi explained that everything in the cosmos is at continuos motion, and, despite that, the cosmos does not have a center. This has only been discovered recently after the development of the non-Euclidean geometry after the advent of the theory of general relativity by 1915. A new geometry had to be introduced because this is simply can’t be imagined in our ordinary uniform Euclidean geometry. Ibn Arabi says: “So the motion of the cosmos is continuous and has no end, for if there were something called center for the cosmos to move towards it, then it would have an end and the cosmos would accumulate over itself. Therefore, there would be no motion and no continuation, and the cosmos will cease to exist, and this is not case”[29].

 

7- The Revolution of Stars:

Ibn Arabi does not speak about the revolution of stars, but he clearly refer to that by saying: “And there were no stars in the orbit of (fixed) stars when it was created, because stars are created after that in this orbit and in other skies”[30]. This also was known only at the beginning of the 20th century.

 

8- The Origin of Planets in the Solar System:

            Ibn Arabi’s theory about the origin of the solar system is based directly on Quran, where Allah, the most Glorious, explains the process of creating the heavens and Earth. Allah says that He created the Earth in two days and He blessed it and measured its sustenance in four Days: “Then turned He to the heaven when it was smoke (gas)… So He made them seven heavens…”[31]. Ibn Arabi uses the same description but he explains further that: “Because of the fire element, the wetness in the air and water were burned and smoke came out of them seeking the greater orbit. But the orbits of planets restricted this smoke from going up so it undulates over itself and accumulated and became dense. So Allah separated it into seven heavens”[32]. He also says: “And the vapor (smoke) went up and over the ether sphere because it is hot and dry because it has more heat quantity and dryness than wetness, and that is why the heavens are transparent”[33]. He also says: “And when Allah created the elements, He created from them the smoke (gas) where he made seven heavens that were stationary, not moving, then He inspired each heaven with its orders, by creating in it orbits and making it a place for the motion of the moving planets”[34].

            It is hard to compare this to modern science, but we only want to mention that most accepted theory of the origin of the solar system is the "solar nebula" which is a huge cloud of interstellar gas and/or dust that later became denser at some points and formed the Sun and the planets[35].

 

9- The Clustering and Distances between Stars:

Based on a clear narration from Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him: “The seven skies in relation to the chair are like a ring thrown in a vast desert, and the difference between the chair and the thrown is like that between the desert and the ring”[36], Ibn Arabi realizes the distances between stars and their clustering into galaxies. He says: “And let it be known to you that Allah created this orbit of fixed stars inside the isotropic orb and between them are the heavens with everything in them. So this orbit is the heavens floor and the isotropic orbit is their sky, and between them there is a vast space that nobody knows its end apart from those whom Allah taught them. This orbit is in relation to the isotropic orb is like a ring in a huge desert. And at the bottom of this orbit there are the 28 houses (of the moon)”[37]. Also: “And the heavens and earth inside the chair are like a ring in a vast desert, and the chair inside the thrown is also like a ring in a vast desert”[38].

We have seen above that until the 20s of the 20th century all stars were thought to be inside our galaxy which was itself discovered not long before that. The analogy of the ring and the desert fits exactly the real situation of the solar system in the galaxy and the latter in the universe.

 

Summary:

We have seen that Ibn Arabi distinguishes between two views of the cosmos. The first is Earth-centered and it is the apparent view and it is very close but more general than Aristotle’s view. And the other is the actual view, which is Sun-centered, and it is in very good agreement with modern science. Ibn Arabi also mention many facts about stars outside the solar system; like distances between stars and their motion and grouping into galaxies. He also speaks about the origin of the solar system and the formation of stars, and all that has been discovered only recently.

Ibn Arabi’s model of the cosmos can be considered as reconciliation between ancient philosophies and modern cosmology.

There are many other ideas in Ibn Arabi’s rich library that are related to physics and cosmology and that are worth studying. We hope to be able to work on some of these ideas in the near future in other papers.

Before we end up this study, we want to mention that many of Ibn Arabi’s ideas are still not explainable today, especially the numbers that he mentions about the age of the cosmos and stars. But, with all what we have seen above of scientific support to Ibn Arabi’s view of the world, we can’t simply rule out those not explained ideas and numbers. Still, also, we can’t ignore the modern precise measurements that contradict some of Ibn Arabi’s ideas. There is a missing link, and I believe the riddle can be solved.

 

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References:

al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah ("Meccan Revelations"), Dar-el-Fikr (no date), from the popular edition …  [I, II, III, IV: part, 000: page, 00: line]

Kitab Ayyam Al-Sha’an,

[1] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 441, 33]

[2] [A Brief History Of Time]

[3] [http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/sci/A0841621]

[4] [http://astrosun.tn.cornell.edu/courses/astro201/retrograde.htm]

[5] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, I, 140]

[6] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, I, 140]

[7] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 423-424]

[8] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 170, 22]

[9] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, I, 217, 18]

[10] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 548, 31]

[11] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 37, 27]

[12] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 436, 30]

[13] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 548, 31]

[14] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, I, 123, 17]

[15] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 677, 21]

[16] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 275, 31]

[17] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 441, 33]

[18] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 443, 24]

[19] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, I.141.17], [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III.549.3]

[20] [ayyam al-sha`an, 6]

[21] [ayyam al-sha`an, 6]

[22] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 548, 28]

[23] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 441, 33]

[24] [http://astro.estec.esa.nl/Hipparcos/properm]

[25] [http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0840270]

[26] [http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/~spider/spider/Misc/barnard]

[27] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 433, 30]

[28] [http://cobi.gsfc.nasa.gov/msam-ripples]

[29] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 677, 19]

[30] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 677, 10]

[31] [Quran, 41, 11-12]

[32] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 677, 25]

[33] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 26, 31]

[34] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 203, 21]

[35] [http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/solarsys/ nebular]

[36] [Kanz AlUmmal, 44158]

[37] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, III, 436, 28]

[38] [al-Futuhat al-Makkiyah, II, 174, 15]