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


1. Whenever we meet to take farewell thou wouldst deem us, as we clasp and embrace, to be a doubled letter.

2. Although our bodies are dual, the eye sees only a single one.

3. This is because of my leanness and his light, and were it not for my moaning, I should have been invisible to the eye.


1-2. The doubled letter is two letters, one of which is concealed in the other. The soul, bidding farewell to the body, says, 'We are in this case, for though we are really two, we appear to be one.' The soul loves the body because all her knowledge of God is gained through her imprisonment in the body and through her making use of it in order to serve God. The author also refers to the verse, 'I am he whom I love and he whom I love is I.'

p. 140

The mention of 'farewell' indicates a distinction between the qualities which properly belong to the lover and those which properly belong to the Beloved.

3. 'My leanness,' i.e. I am of the spiritual world.

'And his light,' i.e. on account of the intensity of his light his eye cannot perceive either his own radiance or my subtlety.

'And were it not,' etc.: so Mutanabbí says, 'Were it not that I speak to thee, thou wouldst not see me.'

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