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


1. The full moon appeared in the night of hair, and the black narcissus bedewed the rose.

2. A tender girl is she: the fair women were confounded by her, and her radiance outshone the moon.

3. If she enters into the mind, that imagination wounds her: how, then, can she be perceived by the eye?

4. She is a phantom of delight that melts away when we think of her: she is too subtle for the range of vision.

5. Description sought to explain her, but she was transcendent, and description became dumb.

6. Whenever it tries to qualify her, it always retires baffled.

7. If one who seeks her will give rest to his beasts, others will not give rest to the beast of reflection.

8. She is a joy that transports from the rank of humanity every one who burns with love of her,

9. From jealousy that her clear essence should be mingled with the filth which is in the tanks.

10. She excels the sun in splendour: her form is not to be compared with any.

11. The heaven of light is under the sole of her foot: her diadem is beyond the spheres.


1. 'The full moon,' etc., i.e. the Divine manifestation appeared in the unseen world of mysterious knowledge.

'And the black narcissus,' etc., i.e. the weeping eye bedewed the red cheeks. He means to say that the centre of Essential manifestation replenished the Divine names.

2. 'The fair women,' i.e. the attendant Names.

7. 'One who seeks her,' i.e. the gnostic who is aware that he cannot reach her.

'His beasts,' i.e. his aspirations.

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'Others,' i.e. men of understanding who assert that God is known by logical demonstration.

8. 'Transports from the rank of humanity,' i.e. to the next world, in which the disembodied spirits assume different forms (###).

9. 'The filth which is in the tanks,' i.e. the impurity and darkness of nature in the corporeal world.

11. Cf. Kor. xx, 4, and the Tradition that God, before He created the Throne, was in a dense cloud, and neither above it nor beneath it was any air.

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