Ibn al-Arif

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Ibn al-Arif (nickname) or Abul Abbas Ahmad Ibn Mohammed Ibn Musa Ibn Ata Allah al-Mariyyi al-Sanhaji, also known as Al-Urruf (born July 23, 1088 in Almeria and died 1141 in Ceuta) was a famous Andalusian Sufi.[1] He is especially well known as the founder of a Sufi school or tariqa, which was based on the teachings of Ibn Masarrah, and as the author of Mahasin al-Majalis (The Attractions of Mystical Sessions).

Ibn al-Arif was born, and spent most of his life, in Almeria in Al-Andalus at the height of the Almoravid power. His father came from Tangier and his family belonged to the Berber tribe of the Sanhaja. Almeria was a center of Sufism at that time. He and Ibn Barrajan, another Andalusian Sufi based in Seville, gathered around themselves a large number of followers, which attracted the attention of the Almoravid authorities. In 1141 both men were called to Marrakech by the sultan Ali ibn Yusuf, where they were accused of "professing heterodox doctrines."[2] Ibn al-Arif defended himself and was released, but died shortly after. According to Ibn al-Abbar, either "the sultan was convinced of Ibn al-Arif's excellence and piety and ordered him to be released and escorted to Ceuta" where he died of an illness, or "Ibn al-Arif was poisoned on his return journey, while making the sea crossing."[3] His tomb is in Marrakech.


  1. ^ Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, (translated ed. 1843), p. 150
  2. ^ Miguel Asín Palacios, The Mystical Philosophy of Ibn Masarra and His Followers, trans. Elmer H. Douglas and Howard W. Yoder (Leiden: E.J. Brill 1978), p. 122
  3. ^ Claude Addas, Quest for the Red Sulphur, trans. Peter Kingsley (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society 2005), p. 53

External links[edit]

  • Dar Sirr.com [1] (The name al-Tanji is not referenced)


  • A. J. Arberry, "Notes on the 'Mahasin al-majalis' of Ibn al-'Arif", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 12, No. 3/4, Oriental and African Studies Presented to Lionel David Barnett by His Colleagues, Past and Present (1948), pp. 524–532
  • Mahsin al-Majlis: The attractions of mystical sessions. Ibn al-'Arif. Translated by William Elliot and Adnan K. Abdulla, England:Avebury, 1980. ISBN 978-0-86127-102-3
  • Juan Antonio Pacheco Paniagua: "El Mahasin al-Mayalis de Ibn al-Arif y la Etica de Spinoza." La Ciudad de Dios. 1990. Pag. 671-687