Ibn Arabi’s View On Women As Imams

Ibn Arabi ‎(25 July 1165 – 8 November 1240) was an Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher. He is renowned by some practitioners of Sufism as “the greatest master” and also as a genuine saint.

Ibn ‘Arabî bestows upon Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) the rank of Faqiha. When she surrendered to Islam, she did not become a follower of Solomon, nor did she submit to his guidance. Rather, she remained free in her belief from following an envoy or an imam, free from intermediaries. She revealed that she possessed direct belief in God, exactly like that of the Envoys, when she said: “I submit with Solomon to Allah, Lord of the universes,” in contrast to the Pharaoh who said: “the Lord of Moses and Aaron”.

By examining Ibn ‘Arabî’s life, we can say that he is a man of knowledge and experience, not a man of theory who speaks about woman as an invisible/hidden being. This means that when he described woman’s aptitude and acknowledged her abilities and her equality to man, he was thinking of those women he knew and not theorizing on the “issue of women”. Ibn ‘Arabî’s statements on women are based on a broad experience of life, in which women revealed to him their powers and aptitudes. As regards equality between the sexes in the field of their competency in knowledge, he held the view that a woman could be imam, leading both men and women in prayer. He says: “There are people who permit women to lead the prayer unconditionally, for both men and women, and I agree with that.”

Why I Love My Prophet (Peace be upon him)

He was sent as a mercy, for you, and for me, and for all of humankind,
His teachings of wisdom were like an endless river, soothing the hearts of all of those who followed behind,

The first to follow him were the women, and the orphans, and the poorest in society,
But they knew that through this man, their dreams of a better life would become a reality,

They knew that they would suffer, while walking by his side,
But as unity was the goal, they went along for the ride,

He taught that they should forgive, even if they were in pain,
To let go of hatred, so that love could remain,

He was the light, and God was the sun,
and he equally gave his compassion, to every single one,

He showed them how to pray, five times a day,
For verily, it is prayer that keeps darkness and evil, far, far away,

He would tell them to say “Assalamu Aleikum”, when they would meet one another,
May peace be upon you, now and forever,

A smile was a charity, he would tell,
So give your smiles to all, so that all may feel well,

Surrender to Allah, and do good to others,
The message of the Koran, simply knew no borders,

So powerful were his teachings, that they are still alive today,
Living within 1.6 Billion hearts, who all follow his way,

Only through the remembrance of Allah, do the hearts find rest,
This is what you have taught us, Oh you who were enlightened and blessed,

Because of your ultimate sacrifice, Islam continues to live,
And because of your shining example, we Muslims will continue to give,

This is why I love, my Prophet Muhammad,
So please join me in saying, may peace be upon him,