Observations placeholder

Ibn Umayl - Al-Durra al-Naqīya

Identifier

015953

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Ibn Umayl, Senior Zadith, Muhammed ibn Umail at-Tamîmî (Arabic: محمد بن أميل التميمي) was a spiritual alchemist of the tenth century. He can be dated to 900–960 AD (286-348 AH) on the basis of the names of acquaintances he mentioned. About his life, since he lived in seclusion, very little is known. His writings suggest he mostly lived and worked in Egypt.

Ibn Umayl bemoaned the literalisation of the symbolic in the alchemy of his day and not only wrote about the problem, but also recognised that the turning of the figurative to the literal was already having tragic consequences.  Many ‘doctors’ of even his day were starting to prescribe mercury for example, on the basis of tracts which were very clearly symbolic references to mercury – quicksilver.

He studied both Greek and Arabic alchemy and the symbol system [which is largely common to both].  Like most people at this level of thinking, he quotes from Greek literature and the Quran.  There is only one spiritual world.

"... none of the people who are famous for their knowledge could explain a word of what the philosophers said. In their books they only continue using the same terms that we find the sages used .... What is necessary, if I am a sage to whom secrets have been revealed, and if I have learned the symbolic meanings, is that I explain the mysteries of the sages."

The psychologist CG Jung recognized in Ibn Umayl’s works ‘the ability to bring self-realization to a soul by interpreting dreams’, and from the 1940s onwards focused his work on alchemy.  Works include:

  • Ḥall al-Rumūz (Solving the Riddles)
  • al-Durra al-Naqīya (The Pure Pearl)
  • Kitāb al-Maghnisīya (The Book of Magnesium)
  • Kitāb Mafātīḥ al-Ḥikma al-‘Uẓmā (The Book of the Keys of the Greatest Wisdom)
  • al-Mā’ al-Waraqî wa'l-Arḍ al-Najmīya (The Silvery Water and the Starry Earth) that comprises a narrative; a poem Risālat al-Shams ilā al-Hilâl (Epistola solis ad lunam crescentem, the letter of the Sun to the Crescent Moon)

 

A description of the experience

al-Durra al-Naqīya - The Pure Pearl

Eggs are only used as an analogy... the philosophers … wrote many books on such things as eggs, hair, the biles, milk, semen, claws, salt, sulphur, iron, copper, silver, mercury, gold and all the various animals and plants … But then people would copy and circulate these books according to the apparent meaning of these things, and waste their possessions and ruin their souls.

The source of the experience

Alchemy

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Egg

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References