The Sun of Knowledge

Shams al Ma'arif

al-Buni

Translated from the Arabic by Amina Inloes, PhD
with commentary and illustrations by J.M. Hamade

Forthcoming in Autumn 2021

The Sun of Knowledge (Shams al-Ma‘arif) is one of the most revered historical grimoires of the Arabic corpus. Feared by some, hallowed by others, it is one of the most famous – or infamous – books in the Arabic-speaking and Islamicate world. Written in Egypt in the thirteenth century by a Sufi mystic and mage of Algerian origin, the Shams presents the fundamentals of Arabic-Islamic occult work – from spiritual cosmology and astrology (including various particularly lunar magics) to working with spirits and jinn, magical employment of letters and numbers, and the occult applications of the Qur’an – thereby comprising a veritable encyclopedia of Islamicate magical wisdom and formulae. Images and descriptions of amulets and talismans adorn it. Numerous beautiful manuscripts of the Sun of Knowledge have survived, various of which have been used as a basis for this present work.

Never before published in English, this selected translation includes sections of the Sun of Knowledge on the mysteries of the letters, astrological timings, lunar mansions, the ancient Arab beliefs surrounding the stars, planetary matters, astronomy, the angels for and workings pertaining to the four seasons, summoning the jinn, the employment of the names of God for many and varied purposes, the construction of the famed ring of Solomon, and a miscellany of tried-and-true talismans. This selected translation takes a general approach to a much vaster text, and features illustrations, original artwork, and commentary to assist those unfamiliar with Islamic magic and culture. This edition is also ideal for any student of magic or the occult, classical Arabic astrology and astronomy, Islamic esotericism, or Sufism.

About the Translator

Amina Inloes is an Islamic theologian and academic with a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, with a special interest in esoteric theology and the uncanny. She is the author of Women in Shi‘ism: Ancient Stories, Modern Ideologies, and her translations include Spiritual Mysteries and Ethical Secrets and exegesis of the Qur’an. She has also written on the intersection between spirituality and science fiction and fantasy worlds. A gregarious introvert, she is a popular public speaker, has worked as a guide for religious pilgrims, and enjoys a good discussion on the traditional spiritual arts and the study of the stars. Often found with a cup of coffee in hand, her other interests include birds, Star Trek, and paleo baking.

About the Artist, Contributor

J.M. Hamade is a talismanic artist, florist, diviner, writer, and educator, currently residing in New York City. Specializing in various traditions of ‘Image Magic,’ with a focus on astrology, star lore, and talismanic craftsmanship, his work seeks to bridge contemporary aesthetics with time tested magical techniques rooted in astrological magic. Possessing a keen interest in craft, he has apprenticed in the ways of butchery, the funerary arts, and most recently, the art of floristry. To this he has also received a BFA in Printmaking with a focus in the arts of metal engraving, intaglio, and works emphasizing etching and line.

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