Ibn Ata' Illah
Egypt (1250 - 1309) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Poems by Ibn Ata' Illah
Books - Links

Sheikh Ibn Ata'illah al-Iskandari was a Sufi saint and master in 13th century Alexandria, Egypt. This was a time of philosophical flowering in the Islamic world, and in particular within the Sufi spiritual traditions. Several new and long-lasting Sufi lineages were forming to retain and channel the great spiritual outpouring of the time.

Ibn Ata'illah was an early spiritual leader of the Shadhiliyyah Sufi order, which is a prominent and widespread Sufi order today.

Ironically, as a young man, Ibn Ata'illah was hostile to Sufism. It was an argument with the disciple of the Shadhiliyya school of Sufis that led Ibn Ata' Illah to decide to finally meet the master of the sect and see what sort of person he was. Ibn Ata'illah was so impressed by the master's presence that, as he wrote later, God removed his objections and opened his heart. Ibn Ata' Illah became a devoted student, eventually becoming the leader of the Shadhiliyya order himself.

Several miracles are attributed to Ibn Ata'illah. One student, in pilgrimage to Mecca, saw Ibn Ata'illah in three different places within the holy city. When the student returned to Egypt, he asked the Sufi master if he had also traveled to Mecca, but Ibn Ata'illah smiled and answered, "The realized sage fills the universe."

His Kitab al-Hikam (The Book of Aphorisms) is his most widely read and memorized work, a rich, poetic collection of spiritual maxims composed in majestic Arabic.

Poems by Ibn Ata' Illah

Recommended Books: Ibn Ata' Illah

Ibn 'Ata' Illah the Book of Wisdom/Kwaja Abdullah Ansari Intimate Conversations

Related Links

The Aphorisms of Ibn Ata 'Illah

A brief article on the Kitab al-Hikam.

Shaykh Sidi Ibn Ata'illah as Sakandiri

Biography of Ibn Ata'illah


The Hikam of Ibn Ata'illah in simple translation

Al-Hikam : The Matheson Trust

The Hikam (Aphorisms) of Ibn Ata'illah, including audio of it being read in Arabic.
Ibn Ata' Illah