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


1. A lightning-cloud gleamed at Dhát al-Aḍá, with light flashing over the plain thereof,

2. And the thunder of its secret converse cracked, and its rain-cloud let fall copious showers.

3. They called to one another: 'Make the camels kneel!' but they did not listen, and I in my passion cried out: 'O driver,

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4. Alight here and abide, for I love one who is with you,

5. A woman, slender, lissome, of fresh beauty, for whom the heart of the sad lover is longing.'

6. The assembly is filled with fragrance at the mention of her, and every tongue utters her name.

7. And if her seat were a valley (but her throne is a high mountain),

8. The low ground would be made high by her: he who looks enviously shall never attain to that height.

9. By her is every desert peopled, and by her is every mirage transformed to abundant water,

10. And by her is every meadow made bright, and by her is every wine made clear.

11. My night is radiant with her face, and my day is dark with her hair.

12. The core of my heart, when the Cleaver shot it through with her arrows,

13. Was cloven by eyes which are accustomed to aim at the entrails, and none of their shafts misses the mark.

14. No owl in desert places, no ring-dove or croaking raven

15. Is more unlucky than a full-grown camel which they saddled, that it might carry away one whose beauty is surpassing,

16. And might leave at Dhát al-Aḍá a passionate lover slain, although in love of them he is true.


1. 'A lightning-cloud,' i.e. a manifestation of the Essence.

'Dhát al-Aḍá,' in Tiháma, i.e. the station of abasement pertaining to exaltation, for God exalts those who humble themselves before Him.

'Light,' i.e. the light of exaltation.

4. 'Here,' i.e. beside one who seeks and loves you.

'One who is with you': he addresses the sciences imparted to him by this manifestation. Inasmuch as they are sought,

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not for their own sake but only for the sake of that on which they are dependent, he says that he desires to approach that by means of them.

5. 'A woman,' etc., i.e. a Divine attribute which manifested itself in the world of similitude.

7, 8. Her sublimity exalts everyone in whom she dwells.

'A high mountain,' i.e. the heart of the gnostic.

'He who looks enviously,' etc.: the Divine essence is unknowable.

9. 'Every desert,' i.e. every heart laid waste by forgetfulness of God.

10. 'Wine,' i.e. spiritual delight.

11. He says: 'I have gained knowledge of the invisible world from her hair, and knowledge of the visible world from her face, and my visible world produces her as an invisible being to the eye,' i.e. I have the power of appearing in different forms, like al-Khaḍir and some saints, e.g. Qaḍíb al-Bán.

12. 'The Cleaver,' i.e. God, in reference to Kor. vi, 95, 96.

13. 'Was cloven,' etc., i.e. by the sciences and manifestations of the Divine Ideas.

14-16. The most unlucky of all things is any ecstasy that intervenes between thee and this Divine attribute, for ecstasy takes possession of the heart, so that the mystery of the Almighty which was illuminated by this Essential Manifestation is left neglected and without power to retain that which has already been revealed to it.