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Title: Being, reification and ritual : the esoteric paradigm of Ibn Arabi
Author: Abdelkhalek, Saliha Osama Farid
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 5351
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Despite being a key notion in the examination of the process of human objectification, reification has not received sufficient attention in recent years, especially in the study of religion. Building on Axel Honneth’s analysis, I examine the concept of reification within a Sufi context, more precisely, within the esoteric paradigm of Ibn ‘Arabī’s oneness of being (waḥdat al-wujūd). I contend that the root of reification, not only lies in the forgetfulness of the origin of cognition in recognition, as Honneth argued, but also in the forgetfulness of the origin of recognition in pure consciousness, i.e. the oneness of being. I argue that since the problem of reification consists of the loss of the primacy of our non-discursive dimension over the discursive one, the solution must lie in the rectification of that order. This can only be brought about through mystical experience, in which a momentary suspension of thought occurs, and our identity as part and parcel of the continuum of consciousness is disclosed. Hence, I argue for the necessity of the preparation for mystical experience through ritual practice, as it moves us from discursive to non-discursive states of being. Through physical activity, our sense of embodiment is increased, shifting us from a ‘thinking’ to a ‘sensory’ mode, which paradoxically detaches us from our identification with the physical body. Using phenomenological methods and knowledge by presence theories, I examine Ibn ‘Arabī’s esoteric approach to the ritual practice of purification, prayer and fasting. I maintain that the essence of ritual is the disclosure of one’s ontological poverty, which within the paradigm of the oneness of being (waḥdat al-wujūd), must also amount to the phenomenal self-differentiation of the divine. Thus, I conclude that the root of the problem of reification essentially lies in accounts of selfhood.
Supervisor: Rizvi, Sajjad Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: philosophy of being ; ritual ; Ibn Arabi ; ritual ; philosophy of religion ; mysticism