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The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, by Ibn al-Arabi, tr. Reynold A. Nicholson, [1911], at


1. Flashes of lightning gleamed to us at al-Abraqán, and their peals of thunder crashed between the ribs.

2. Their clouds poured rain on every meadow and on every quivering branch that bends towards thee.

3. The watercourses were flooded and the breeze wafted

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perfume, and a ringdove flapped her wings and a twig put forth leaves.

4. They pitched the red tents between rivulets (creeping) like serpents, amongst which were seated

5. Friendly damsels, bright of countenance, rising like the suns, large-eyed, noble, of generous race, and limber.


1. 'Al-Abraqán,' i.e. two manifestations of the Essence, one in the unseen and one in the visible world.

'Flashes of lightning,' referring to the variety of forms in the latter manifestation.

'Peals of thunder,' i.e. the Divine converse (###) which followed the manifestation. This is a Mosaic ecstasy (###), for Moses first saw the fire and afterwards heard God speak. The mention of thunder also signifies that God's speech was a rebuke.

2. 'Their clouds,' i.e. the ecstasies (###) which bring forth the Divine sciences.

'On every meadow,' i.e. the heart of man together with the Divine sciences which it holds.

'On every quivering branch,' i.e. the straight movement (###) which is the growth of man (###) as God says that He created Adam after His own image; and from this station it 'bends', i.e. inclines towards thee that it may instruct thee.

3. He says, 'The valleys of the Divine sciences were flooded, and the world of breaths (###) diffused the sweet scents of the Divine sciences.'

'A ringdove,' i.e. the Universal Soul together with the effect it produces upon the Partial Soul, which appears in the form of the Universal in so far as it possesses the two faculties of knowledge and action.

'A twig,' i.e. that with which the branches are clothed. He refers to the verse 'Take your becoming vesture at every mosque' (Kor. vii, 29), i.e. the everlasting vesture of God, which consists in the various kinds of Divine science and gnosis.

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4. 'The red tents,' i.e. the bride-like forms of Divine wisdom.

'Rivulets,' i.e. diverse sciences connected with the works which lead to union with these forms of Divine wisdom.

'Like serpents': cf. Kor. xxiv, 44, 'And amongst them is one who walks on his belly.' He refers to those devout persons who scrupulously examine their food, for by means of pure food which produces strength for the practice of devotion the heart is illuminated and becomes the abode of these forms of Divine wisdom.

5. 'Bright of countenance,' etc., i.e. there is no doubt concerning them, as the Prophet said, 'Ye shall see your Lord as ye see the sun at noonday when no cloud comes between.'

'Noble,' i.e. proceeding from the results of works prescribed by God, unlike the maxims of the philosophers which spring from their own minds.

'Of generous race': ### is derived from ###. He means, therefore, that they understand what is imparted to them and perceive its value.

'Limber': although per se they are in the station of equilibrium and inflexibility, yet when they are invoked with longing and humility and love they incline towards the caller, because he is not able to ascend to them.

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