Much of the early scholarship on Ibn ʿArabi focused on his contributions to the intellectual sciences, especially metaphysics and spiritual psychology. Only gradually have scholars come to acknowledge the extent of his immersion in the transmitted sciences such as Quran and jurisprudence. As for Hadith, it is difficult to overestimate the importance that he gives to the field. One must always keep in mind that his goal was to make the fullness of 'Muhammadan' sanctity more accessible, that is, the whole range of spiritual perfections realized by Muhammad in act, word, and inner reality. As he says in a typical passage, ‘Our vision of God in the Muhammadan form through the Muhammadan vision is the most complete vision that there may be. So we never cease encouraging people to achieve it, both orally and in this book’ (Futuhat IV 184). In many ways it is the Hadith, Muhammad's own words, that provide seekers with the most immediate access to the Muhammadan form.
Stephen Hirtenstein and Martin Notcutt have produced in Divine Sayings a beautifully translated version of Ibn ʿArabi's best known collection of Hadith, based not only on the published Arabic text but also several important manuscripts, with full scholarly apparatus. They have done a great service to all those who would like to gaze upon the Muhammadan form through the eyes of al-Shaykh al-Akbar.
William C. Chittick, Stonybrook University