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


1. My longing sought the Upland and my affliction the Lowland, so that I was between Najd and Tiháma.

2. They are two contraries which cannot meet: hence my disunion will never be repaired.

3. What am I to do? What shall I devise? Guide me O my censor, do not affright me with blame!

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4. Sighs have risen aloft and tears are pouring over my cheeks.

5. The camels, footsore from the journey, long for their homes and utter the plaintive cry of the frenzied lover.

6. After they have gone, my life is naught but annihilation. Farewell to it and to patience!


1. 'The Upland,' referring to God on His throne.

2. 'They are two contraries,' etc.: he says, 'Inasmuch as the spiritual element in man is always governing the body, it can never contemplate that which is uncomposed apart from its body and independently, as some Ṣúfís and philosophers and ignorant persons declare.' Hence the writer says, 'my disunion will never be repaired,' i.e., 'I cannot become united with Him who is pure and simple, and who resembles my essence and reality. Therefore longing is folly, for this station is unattainable, but longing is a necessary attribute of love, and accordingly I cease not from longing.'

3. 'My censor,' i.e. the blaming soul (###).

5. 'The camels,' i.e. the actions or the lofty thoughts (###)—since, in my opinion, such thoughts belong to the class of actions—on which the good words (###) mount to the throne of God. They 'long for their homes', i.e. for the Divine Names from which they proceeded and by which they are controlled.

6. 'My life is naught but annihilation': he says, 'When the lofty thoughts ascend to their goal I remain in the state of passing away from passing away (###), for I have gained the life imperishable which is not followed by any opposite.' Accordingly, he bids farewell to patience and to the mortal life, because he has quitted the sensible world.

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