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


1. They left me at al-Uthayl and an-Naqá shedding tears and complaining of the fire (that consumed me).

2. My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I melted with anguish! My father be the ransom of him for whose sake I died of fear!

3. The blush of shame on his cheek is the whiteness of dawn conversing with the redness of eve.

4. Patience decamped and grief pitched tents, and I lie prostrate between these two.

5. Who will compose my distracted thoughts? Who will relieve my pain? Guide me to him! Who will ease my sorrow? Who will help a passionate lover?

6. Whenever I keep secret the torments of desire, my tears betray the flame within and the sleeplessness.

7. And whenever I say, 'Give me one look!' the answer is, 'Thou art not hindered but for pity's sake.'

8. It cannot be that one look from them will avail thee. Is it aught but the glimpse of a levin that flashed?

9. I am not forgetting the time when the camel-driver, wishing for separation and seeking al-Abraq, urged them on.

10. The ravens of separation croaked at them—may God not preserve a raven that croaked!

11. The raven of separation is only a camel which carried away the loved ones with a swift wide-stepping pace.


1. He laments the departure of his companions, viz. the spiritual angelic beings who suffer no natural bondage, whilst he is left a prisoner in this body, occupied with governing it and prevented from wandering freely through the celestial spheres.

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'Al-Uthayl,' his natural constitution (###).

'An-Naqá,' his body.

2. 'My father,' i.e. the Highest Spirit (###) which is his real father in the world above and his phenomenal mother in the world below.

'Of him for whose sake I melted with anguish': he refers to the Divine mystery contained in his heart.

'Of fear,' i.e. fear of the radiance of the Divine majesty.

6. The love that is revealed is stronger and more passionate, for there is no good in a love that is ruled by reason.

7. God in His mercy veils the splendours of His face from His creatures.

8. The more the Beloved looks on thee, the more is thy anguish increased. Vision is possible only in moments of ecstasy.

9. 'The camel-driver,' i.e. the voice of God calling those exalted spiritual beings to ascend towards Him.

'Separation,' i.e. their departure from the phenomenal world.

'Al-Abraq,' the place where God is manifested in His essence.

10. 'The ravens of separation,' i.e. considerations affecting his phenomenal existence, which hinder him from the ascent to God.

11. 'A camel,' i.e. the ravens of separation are really a man's aspirations (###), since aspiration bears him aloft and unites him with the object of his search.

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