The Shams al-Ma’arif, also known as the “Book of Illumination,” has long been shrouded in mystery and controversy. Some believe it to be a cursed book, capable of summoning negative forces or “jin” upon those who own it. Others revere it as a valuable resource for spiritual practices and esotericism. In this blog, we will explore the history and contents of the Shams al-Ma’arif, and examine its enduring popularity and influence in the Islamic and Arabic-speaking world.
The Historical Context
The Shams al-Ma’arif is attributed to Ahmed al-buni, a Sufi teacher who lived in the 13th century in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Al-buni was a student of the famous Sufi mystic, Ibn Arabi, and his writings were influential in the development of a boonian tradition that flourished during the 14th to 16th centuries. The Shams al-Ma’arif as it is known today is actually a compilation created in the early 17th century, combining al-buni’s teachings with those of other Sufi scholars.
The Modern Shams al-Ma’arif
The Shams al-Ma’arif is often referred to as a grimoire or book of magic, but it is important to note that it remains within a Sufi framework and is heavily influenced by religious and Islamic themes. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the Arabic letters, which are believed to hold immense power and be connected to the Divine names and the Quran. The dots underneath the letters are thought to contain the entire Quran and even the universe itself. The phrase “Bismillah” (in the name of God) is also central to the Shams al-Ma’arif, being used as a talisman and for summoning the good jinn. The book also discusses various talismans and amulets for protection, health, and attracting good fortune, as well as the influence of stars and celestial bodies on human affairs and the construction of magic squares. Finally, the Shams al-Ma’arif provides instructions for summoning jinn, but advises caution and the use of proper protection to avoid summoning evil jinn by accident.
The Powers of the Arabic Letters
In the Shams al-Ma’arif, the Arabic letters hold a central and crucial role. They are believed to be connected to the Divine names and the Quran, and hold great power and significance. The dots underneath the letters are believed to contain the entire Quran and universe, and the phrase Bismillah (In the name of God) is seen as having a special power and importance.
The Bismillah is used in a number of ways in the Shams al-Ma’arif, including as a talisman and a means of protection. It is said to bring miraculous powers and to offer protection from Satan, theft, sudden death, and other misfortunes. It can also be used to summon the good jinn, through the use of quranic verses and other means.
The importance of the Arabic letters and the Bismillah in the Shams al-Ma’arif illustrates the strong connection between language, spirituality, and the supernatural in this text. It is clear that these letters and phrases hold great power and significance within the context of the book’s teachings and practices.
Talismans and Amulets
In the Shams al-Ma’arif, talismans and amulets play a significant role in spiritual practices and are believed to bring various benefits to those who use them. These objects are often inscribed with Divine names, quranic verses, or other sacred symbols and are believed to have protective powers. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as warding off evil, attracting good fortune, and promoting health and well-being.
One of the most famous talismans mentioned in the Shams al-Ma’arif is the Ring of Solomon, believed to have been given to the Islamic Prophet Solomon by God and imbued with miraculous powers. According to the book, the ring allowed Solomon to control the jinn and perform other impressive feats. Another well-known talisman is the staff of Moses, which is said to have been inscribed with the phrase Bismillah and used by Moses to part the sea and perform other miracles.
While these talismans are revered for their powerful properties, the Shams al-Ma’arif advises caution in their use. It is emphasized that proper protection from God is necessary when working with these objects, as they can be dangerous if used carelessly. Additionally, the book advises seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable and spiritual person before attempting to use talismans or amulets.
The Shams al-Ma’arif provides guidance on the process of summoning jinn, which are supernatural creatures in Islamic belief. According to the book, the summoning of jinn can be accomplished through the use of quranic verses and proper protection. It is important to exercise caution when summoning jinn, as there is a risk of accidentally summoning evil jinn. The book advises seeking the help of those who are knowledgeable and experienced in the process to avoid any potential dangers. The use of quranic verses, particularly those that invoke the protection of God, is emphasized as a means of summoning good jinn and seeking their aid. However, it is also important to remember that the jinn are subject to the will of God and ultimately under His control.
In this blog, we have explored the Shams al-Ma’arif, a book revered by some as a valuable resource for spiritual practices and esotericism, but also feared by others as a cursed text that brings negative forces or “jin” upon those who own it. We traced the history of the book and its creator, Ahmed al-buni, a Sufi teacher with connections to figures like Ibn Arabi and the speculative Sufi culture of the Maghreb region. We also examined the contents of the modern Shams al-Ma’arif, including its focus on the Arabic letters, talismans and amulets, the influence of stars and celestial bodies, and the summoning of jinn.
Throughout this blog, we have seen that the Shams al-Ma’arif is often referred to as a grimoire or book of magic, but that it remains within a Sufi framework and is heavily influenced by religious and Islamic themes. We have also discussed the central role of the Arabic letters in the Shams al-Ma’arif and their connection to the Divine names and the Quran, as well as the various talismans and amulets discussed in the book and their use for protection, health, and attracting good fortune. We have looked at the influence of stars and celestial bodies in the Shams al-Ma’arif, and the process of summoning jinn, with caution advised against accidentally summoning evil jinn.
In conclusion, the Shams al-Ma’arif is a book with a long and complex history, and its enduring popularity and influence is testament to its place in the history of the Islamic and Arabic-speaking world. Its reputation as a cursed book may be controversial, but it is clear that it is a resource that has been valued by many throughout the centuries for its teachings on spiritual practices and esotericism.