Book: Mantle Of Initiation Or Al Khirqah by Gerald ElmoreThe short work translated here in its entirety is important for at least three reasons: Firstly, in its conclusion it gives the precise line of descent, or derivation (nasab) actually, four of them of Ibn al-iArabs formal spiritual affiliation with the hierarchic Messenger of God as represented by the Shaykh himself. Second, the main body of the text constitutes an attractive literary composition which begins by adumbrating the author view on the Tradition of investiture of the f-f mantle of Initiation (ilbas al-khirqah), then proceeds to offer an extended string of moral imperatives pearls of wisdom (cikam) cultivated over a long life of intensive mystical experience. At the time of setting the Nasab al-khirqah to paper that full, rich life was drawing to its natural close which brings us to the third distinction of the book: the fact that it represents Ibn al-iArabs maturest thought on the right conduct of life.
The four most serviceable manuscripts of the Nasab that I have seen are MSS. Esad Efendi 1507/ff. 87/98b, Uehid Ali Para 1344/156b/159b, Uahir yah 5924/21b/25,3 and Nafiz Para 384/228b/235. Of these, Uehid Ali, copied in 948/1541, is materially the earliest, but Esad Efendi purports to be based on a certified master-copy in the author own hand, which was dated 633/1236. For the most part that claim may be taken at face value, so Esad along with Uehid Ali and Uahir yah will form the basis of the text translated here.4 Nafiz is also useful, however, for being fully vocalized.
I first edited and translated the Nasab al-khirqah in the spring of 1993 during a study-mission to the magnificent Suleymaniye Kutuphane in Istanbul. At the time I did not know that Addas had already reached an advanced stage of work on the same project, and having completed my immediate task involving the Anqax mughrib source-material, I decided to take the opportunity to collate the text of the Nasab on the basis of the best manuscripts available in Turkey. Later this collation was expanded to include two sources at Princeton and photocopies of other manuscripts.
At a later date I plan to publish my edition of the Arabic text of the Nasab, along with a more detailed study of the form and content of the document. For the time being, however, Ibn al-iArabs own voice remains clear enough herein (despite the inevitable distortions of translation) that we may trust him to speak for himself. My own close work with this Little Book has affected me more personally than with any other writing by the Shaykh. If that counts for companionship (Bucbah), then we all might be Akbarians who read the present work with attention, in shax al-Lah!
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