"Just as the Koran is God's book displaying His signs or verses, so also the cosmos is His book, and the special knowledge given to the folk of unveiling has to do with their God-given ability to read this book. Their 'wisdom' does not come from rational demonstration, but divine inspiration," writes William C. Chittick, Professor of Comparative Studies at State University of New York in Stony Brook. Here is a scholarly translation and interpretation of sections from Ibn al-'Arabi's The Meccan Openings dealing with God, cosmos, and self. Islam's great mystical philosopher and theologian has woven together meditations on the names of God, modes of knowing, the face and the veil, the order of the worlds, and the soul's everlastingness from the Koran, the Hadith, the Shariah, and Islamic tradition.

Ibn al-'Arabi celebrates the unknowable God whose self-disclosure is through the world and the human soul. Or, as Chittick puts it, "Each thing in the cosmos is a sign, signifier, and proof of God." For Islamic believers, the unity and beauty of God are important, and imagination plays a major role in faith. One of the bonuses of The Self-Disclosure of God is a ten-page index of Hadiths and sayings which reflect the depth and breadth of Islamic wisdom: Two samples: "Leave aside yourself and come!" "The Sufi is the son of the moment."