An Enquiry into Sufi Metaphysics

Abstract
The fact that Sufi metaphysics were so far taken to be merely writings of Islamic philosophers, like Ibn al-'Arabi, seems to underestimate the philosophical indications of literary texts in the Sufi tradition. When Sufi literary texts are examined for philosophical content, that content is sought within and through the traditional Sufist approach. However, there appears to be a lack of correspondence between the traditional approach on the main conceptions (of God, of the universe, etc.) in Sufism and what literary texts can offer regarding those, when some literary texts are to be examined in a way in which an underlying philosophical system can be extracted from them. In this paper, I present a brief analysis of The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar, one of the most significant works focusing on God and written in Sufi tradition. I suggest an alternative framework for Sufi metaphysics, which overlaps with the metaphysical connotations of The Conference of the Birds, via some Spinozistic ideas on God and on God’s relationship to the rest of the universe. Since The Conference of The Birds represents a metaphysical doctrine that is apart from the traditional approach, I argue that we are not justified in thinking that Sufi metaphysics is only what Islamic philosophers so far offered us.
Keywords Sufism  Islamic philosophy  Metaphysics  Pantheism  Spinoza  Farid ud-Din Attar
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