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Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī, or Abdul Karim Jili (Arabic:عبدالكريم جيلى) was a Muslim Sufi saint and mystic who was born in 1365, in what is modern day Iraq, possibly in the neighborhood of Jil in Baghdad.[1][2] He is famous in Muslim mysticism as the author of Universal Man.

Saint Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī
Mystic and Theologian
Born1365 C.E.
Died1424 C.E.
Venerated inIslam (traditional pre-Salafi Sunnism)
InfluencesIbn Arabi
InfluencedJakob Böhme and Titus Burckhardt
Major worksAl-Insān al-Kāmil
(Universal man)

Jili was a descendant of the sufi saint Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the Qadiriyya dervish order. Although little is known about his life, historians have noted that Jili travelled in various places around the world. He wrote more than twenty books, of which Universal Man is the best known. [3]

Jili was the foremost systematizer and one of the greatest exponents of the work of Ibn Arabi. Universal Man is an explanation of Ibn Arabi’s teachings on the structure of reality and human perfection. Since it was written, it has been held up as one of the masterpieces of Sufi literature.[4][5] Jili conceived of the Absolute Being as a Self, a line of thinking which later influenced the 20th century Muslim philosopher and poet Allama Iqbal.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ NICHOLAS LO POLITO, ‛ABD AL-KARĪM AL-JĪLĪ: Tawḥīd, Transcendence and Immanence, p. 11
  2. ^ Dr. Margaret Smith, "Al-Jili: The Apostle of Thought" in The Aryan Path, volume 2, 1931, p. 842
  3. ^ "Jili Al Abdul Karim Qutbuddin Ibn Ibrahim" Salaam Biographical Dictionary
  4. ^ Peters, F.E. (1990) Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: The Classical Texts and Their Interpretation, Volume III: The Works of the Spirit Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, p.254-257;
  5. ^ "The Qadiriya Sufi Way Sunni Razvi Society". Archived from the original on 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2006-07-26.
  6. ^ Allama Iqbal in his letter dated 24 January 1921 to R.A. Nicholson (Letters of Iqbal Iqbal Academy, Lahore (1978), pp. 141-42)