Ibn ʿ⁠Arabī on the Circle of Trusteeship and the Divine Name al-Wakīl – Atif Khalil


With special reference to chapters 119 and 558 of the Meccan Revelations, the article draws out Ibn ʿ⁠Arabī’s (d. 638/1240) understanding of the divine Name al-Wakīl (“The Trustee”) and the nature of trusteeship (wakāla). In the process, it demonstrates how for our mystic trusteeship forms a circle that begins with the human being entrusting his affairs to God, and returns to its point of origin with God entrusting him to be His vicegerent (khalīfa). Trusteeship, which finds its archetypical perfection in the divine Wakīl, descends through various degrees of perfection, to all levels and strata of human society. The capacity to embody and manifest the Name al-Wakīl is, for Ibn ʿ⁠Arabī, itself made possible by the theomorphic nature of the human being, a child of the primor- dial Adam fashioned in the image of God.