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


1. Who will show me her of the dyed fingers? Who will show me her of the honeyed tongue?

2. She is one of the girls with swelling breasts who guard their honour, tender, virgin, and beautiful,

3. Full moons over branches: they fear no waning.

4. In a garden of my body's country is a dove perched on a bán bough,

5. Dying of desire, melting with passion, because that which befell me bath befallen her;

6. Mourning for a mate, blaming Time, who shot her unerringly, as he shot me.

7. Parted from a neighbour and far from a home! Alas, in my time of severance, for my time of union!

8. Who will bring me her who is pleased with my torment? I am helpless because of that with which she is pleased.


1. 'Her of the dyed fingers': he means the phenomenal power (###) by which the Eternal power (###) is hidden according to the doctrine of some scholastic theologians. He says, 'Who will impart to me the truth of this matter, so far as knowledge thereof is possible?' He wishes to know whether God manifests Himself therein (###) or not. The author denies such manifestation, but some mystics and the Mu‘tazilites allow it, while the Ṣúfís among the Ash‘arites leave the question undecided.

p. 137

4. 'A dove,' etc., i.e. a spiritual Prophetic essence which appeared in the incommunicable self-subsistence. He refers to the belief of some Ṣúfís that Man cannot be invested with the Divine Self-subsistence (###).

5. 'Dying of desire,' etc., with reference to Kor. iii, 29, 'Follow me, that God may love you,' and Kor. v, 59, 'He loves them, and they love Him.'

6. 'A mate,' i.e. the Universal Form (###).

'Blaming Time,' because the forms belonging to the world of similitude are limited by Time in that world.

7. 'A neighbour,' i.e. a gnostic who became veiled from his Lord by his 'self' after having subsisted by his Lord and for the sake of his Lord.

'A home,' i.e. his natural constitution, whenever he returns to it.

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