UNIVERSAL MAN –
(Selections from the Al-Insān al-Kāmil by ‘Abd al-Karīm Jīlī)
Titus Burckhardt Jili was undoubtedly both an original theorist and a remarkable thinker and independent mystical writer related to the school of Ibn `Arabi. Mama Iqbal had remarked, “He combined in himself poetical imagination and philosophic genius.” Compared to the teaching of Ibn ‘Arabi, that of Jill is in certain respects more systematic; he contains a more apparent dialectical architecture, which is rather an advantage for the reader who is unfamiliar with this aspect of Sufism. The textss which are offered in this translation are extracts from the celebrated book al-Instin al-Ktimil (Universal Man). They refer to some of the fundamental aspects of the Sufi doctrine. These are the first chapters of al-Instin al-kinul representing a quarter of the entire work, but they contain the quintessence, in respect both of the doctrine and the spiritual applications. Universal Man (Al-Insan al-Ktimil) is an exposition of the appearances of Absolute Being as Essence, Names, Qualities and Divinity, and of the corresponding contemplative states in the path of Union. This is far from being merely a theoretical matter. J1 writes: “I will mention of all that only that which happened to me on my own journey to God; moreover, I recount nothing in this book neither of myself nor of another, without my having tested it at the time when I travelled in God by the path of intuition and direct vision”. Titus Burckhardt has also provided a full and illuminating introduction and commentary to Jill-‘s work.