Unraveling the Mystery of The Hidden Treasure: The Origin and Development of a Hadith Qudsi and its Application in Sufi Doctrine
Unraveling the Mystery of The Hidden Treasure:
The Origin and Development of a Hadith
Qudsi and its Application in Sufi Doctrine
Doctor of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
Professor Hamid Algar, Chair
The tradition of the Hidden Treasure is the most widely used Hadith in the field of speculative mysticism. It states: "I was a Hidden Treasure; I loved to be known, so I created the creation in order to be known." From the 5th/12th century onward this tradition has occurred in major Sufi texts, and the great Sufi masters like Ibn al-Arabi and Rumi have made abundant use of it to build their mystical philosophy. Although it is very brief, this tradition refers to such themes as wujud (being), God as the Absolute Being, names and attributes of God, the self-disclosure of God, love as the motive for creation, the concept and process of creation, and the concept of knowledge. These themes are among the most fundamental concepts in speculative mysticism. Aside from Sufis, Islamic philosophers and theologians also have mentioned this tradition in their writings. A few brief commentaries have been written on this tradition by some Sufis and theologians, the translations of which are provided in the appendices. However, in spite of the popularity of this tradition no systematic study of this Hadith, and of its influence on the development of Sufi thought has been undertaken so far. It is hoped that this research will address this deficiency and open the way for further studies. This research is based mostly, though not exclusively, on study of the writings of Ibn al-Arabi and the prominent Sufis among his students who more than any other Sufi have referred to this tradition, and built some of their mystical concepts around it.