Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī

Saint Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī
Mystic and Theologian
Born 1366 C.E.
Jil, Baghdad
Died 1424 C.E.
Venerated in Islam
Influences Ibn Arabi
Influenced Jakob Böhme and Titus Burckhardt
Major works Al-Insān al-Kāmil
(Universal man)

Abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī, or Abdul Karim Jili (Arabic:عبدالكريم جيلى) was a Muslim sufi saint and mystic who was born in 1366 at Jil in Baghdad. He is famous in Muslim mysticism as the author of Universal Man.

Jili was a descendant of Saint Gilani, the founder of the Qadiriyya dervish order. Although little is known about his life, historians have noted that Jili travelled in India and lived in Yemen from 1393 to 1403. He wrote more than twenty books, of which Universal Man is the best known. [1]

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.[2][3] 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.[4]

See also


  1. "Jili Al Abdul Karim Qutbuddin Ibn Ibrahim" Salaam Biographical Dictionary
  2. 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;
  3. The Qadiriya Sufi Way Sunni Razvi Society
  4. Allama Iqbal in his letter dated 24 January 1921 to R.A. Nicholson (Letters of Iqbal Iqbal Academy, Lahore (1978), pp. 141-42)
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