The Tree of Being
(Shajarat al-Kawn) is a treatise written by Ibn
Arabi (1165-1240), one of the greatest figures in both Islamic
universal mysticism. He wrote close to five hundred books and
manuscripts. Many of them are short, but some, like Fusus al Hikam
and Futuhat al Makkiyah, are books of many volumes. Ibn Arabi knew
and influenced the great men of his time, Ibn Rushd (Averroes),
Jalaluddin Rumi, Suhrawardi, and others. His influence spread beyond
the Islamic world and entered medieval Europe. Asin Palacios and
Salverda di Grave have pointed out that Dante in the Divina Comedia
derived from Ibn Arabi the great design of Hell and Paradise and
the image of the beautified young woman as guide to the Divine.
The Tree of Being is an inspired description of the cosmos and the
perfect man as microcosm, expressed in beautiful metaphysical and
poetic imagery. Ibn Arabi's devotion to the Prophet Muhammad as
perfect man provides instruction in Islam for the ones who are
interested in learning the essence of this religion.
The book has five sections. First is the translator's introduction
including a biography of Ibn Arabi and a discussion of his approach
to Sufism. Second is an interpretation of Ibn Arabi's Tree of Being,
a commentary on the mystical elements of the Qur'an and Islam. Third
is Ibn 'Arabi's description of the character and actions of the
Prophet Muhammad. The fourth section is his listing of the two
hundred names and attributes of the Prophet.
Sheikh Tosun Bayrak, born in Istanbul, Turkey, studied Biological
Sciences, BSC, Robert College, Istanbul; Architecture at the
University of California at Berkeley; and History of Art, Courtauld
Institute of Art, London. He received a Masters in Fine Arts from
Rutgers University. Sheikh Bayrak served as a government official
Ankara, Honorary Consul of Turkey in Morocco, and was also an
international businessman. He has exhibited widely in the USA as
artist and art educator. He is a retired professor of art and art
history, from Fairleigh Dickenson University, New Jersey.
He has devoted the last forty years of his life to Sufism and is
Sheikh of the Jerrahi-Halveti Order in the USA.
In addition to two books of poetry in Turkish and many articles
art and religion in both the USA and Turkey, Sheikh Bayrak has
published following books:
The Way of the Sufi Chivalry, Inner Traditions International
The Most Beautiful Names, Threshold Books
Inspiration on the Path of Blame, Threshold Books
Secret of Secrets, Islamic Text Society, London, UK
Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom, Fons Vitae
The Name and the Named, Fons Vitae,
The Shape of Light, Fons VitaeHe has recently finished two interpretations to be published soon.