Ahmad al-Buni


Ahmad al-Buni

Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn Yusuf al-Buni ( _ar. أحمد البوني) (died 1225) was a well known Arab Sufi and writer on the esoteric value of letters and topics relating to mathematics, "Siher" (sorcery) and spirituality but very little is known about him.

Al-Buni lived in the Middle East and learned from many eminent sufi masters of his time.

He wrote one of the most famous books of his era, the "Shams al-Ma'arif al-Kubra" (Sun of the Great Knowledge),Arabic (شمس المعارف الكبرى). which is one of the most widely read medieval treatises on talismans, magic squares, and occult practices. This work rivals the Picatrix in importance. This book was later banned by orthodox Muslims as heresy, but continues to be read and studied. This kind of magic was called, instead of "Sihr" (Sorcery), "Ilm al-Hikmah" (Knowledge of the Wisedom), "Ilm al-simiyah" (Study of the Divine Names), and "Ruhaniyat" (Spirituality). Most of the so-called "mujarrabât" ("time-tested methods") books on sorcery in the Muslim world are simplified excerpts from the "Shams al-ma`ârif". [Martin van Bruinessen, "Global and local in Indonesian Islam", Southeast Asian Studies (Kyoto) vol. 37, no.2 (1999), 46-63] The book remains the seminal work on Theurgy and esoteric arts to this day.

In c. 1200, Ahmad al-Buni showed how to constructmagic squares using a simple bordering technique, but he may not have discovered the method himself. Al-Buni wrote about Latin squares and constructed, for example, 4 x 4 Latin squares using letters from one of the 99 names of Allah. His works on traditional healing remains a point of reference among Yoruba Muslim healers in Nigeria and other areas of the Muslim world. [Diagnosis through rosary and sand: Islamic elements in the healing custom of the Yoruba (Nigeria). Sanni A. Lagos State University, Nigeria]

Ahmad al-Buni also left a list of other titles that he wrote. Unfortunately, very few of them have survived.

Al-Buni states in his work Manba’ Usul al-Hikmah (Source of the Essentials of Wisdom) that he acquired his knowledge of the esoteric properities of the letters from his personal teacher Abu Abdillah Shams al-Din al-Asfahâni. He in turn received it from Jalal al-Din Abdullah al-Bistami, who in turn received it from Shaykh al-Sarajani, who received it from Qasim al-Sarajani, who received it from Abdullah al-Babani, who received it from Asîl al-Din al-Shirazi, who received it from Abu al-Najîb al-Sahruwardi, who received it from, Mohammad ibn Mohammad Al-Ghazali al-Tusi, who received it from Ahmad al-Aswad, who received it from Hamad al-Dînuri, who received it from the master al-Junayd al-Baghdadi, who received it from Sari al-Din al-Saqati, who received it from Ma’ruf al-Karkhi, who received it from Dawûd al-Jili, who received it from Habîb al-A’ajami, who received it from Imam Hasan al-Basri.

Al-Buni states in the same work that he acquired his knowledge of magical squares from Sirâj al-Dîn al-Hanafi, who acquired it from Shihab al-Dîn al-Muqaddasi, who acquired it from Shams al-Dîn al-Farisi, who acquired it from Shihab al-Dîn al-Hamadani, who acquired it from Qutb al-Dîn al-Diyâ’i, who acquired it from Muhyiddîn Ibn Arabi, who acquired it from Abu al-'Abbas Ahmad ibn al-Turîzi, who acquired it from Abu Abdillah al-Qurashi, who acquired it from Abu Madîn al-Andalusi.

He also states that he acquired additional knowledge about the esoteric art of letters and the magical squares from Mohammad 'Izz al-Dîn ibn Jam’a, who acquired it from Mohammad al-Sirani, who acquired it from Shihab al-Dîn al-Hamadani, who acquired it from Qutb al-Dîn al-Dhiya’i, who acquired it from Muhyiddîn Ibn Arabi.

Al-Buni also states that he acquired his occult knowledge from Abu al-'Abbas Ahmad ibn Maymûn al-Qastalâni, who acquired it from Abu Abdillah Mohammed al-Qurashi, who acquired it from Abu Madîn Shu'ayb ibn Hasan al-Ansari al-Andalusi, who received it from Abu Ayyub ibn Abi Sa'id al-Sanhaji al-Armuzi, who received it from Abi Muhammad ibn Nur, who received it from Abu al-Fadhl Abdullah ibn Bashr, who received it from Abu Bashr al-Hasan al-Jujari, who received it from al-Saqati, who received it from Dawûd al-Tâ’i, who received it from Habîb al-A'jami, who received it from Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Sîrîn, who received it from Malik ibn Anas.

Al-Buni also made regular mention in his work of Plato, Aristotle, Hermes, Alexander the Great, and obscure names of Chaldean magicians. In one of his works, he recounted a story of his discovery of a cache of manuscripts buried under the pyramids, that included a work of Hermetic thinkers.

His work is said to have influenced the Hurufis and the New Lettrist International. [ [http://www.antiochgate.com/9_buni_shams.htm | Shams al-Ma'arif al-Kubra ۞ The Sun of Great Knowledge.] ]

Writings

* Ahmad al-Buni 'Shams al-Ma'airf al-Kubra' (the Great Sun of Gnoses), Cairo, 1928.
*Edgar W. Francis, "Mapping the Boundaries between Magic. The Names of God in the Writings of Ahmad ibn Ali al-Buni"
*Ahmad al-Buni, "Sharh Ism Allah al-a`zam fi al-Ruhani", printed in 1357 AH or in Egypt al-Matba`at al-Mahmudiyyat al-Tujjariyyat bi'l-Azhar.
*Ahmad al-Buni, "Kabs al-iktida", Oriental Manuscripts in Durham University Library

Notes

* [http://digitaloccultmanuscripts.blogspot.com/2008/08/shemsu-al-maarif-wa-lataifu-al-avarif.html Shams al-Ma'arif al-Kubra - شمس المعارف ولطائف العوارف]
* [http://digitaloccultmanuscripts.blogspot.com/2008/07/kabs-al-iktida.html Kabs al-iktida - قبس الإقتداء]


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