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

p. 61


1. As I kissed the Black Stone, friendly women thronged around me; they came to perform the circumambulation with veiled faces.

2. They uncovered the (faces like) sunbeams and said to me, 'Beware! for the death of the soul is in thy looking at us.

3. How many aspiring souls have we killed already at al-Muḥaṣṣab of Miná, beside the pebble-heaps,

4. And in Sarḥat al-Wádí and the mountains of Ráma and Jam‘ and at the dispersion from ‘Arafát!

5. Dost not thou see that beauty robs him who hath modesty, and therefore it is called the robber of virtues?

6. Our trysting-place after the circumambulation is at Zamzam beside the midmost tent, beside the rocks.

7. There everyone whom anguish hath emaciated is restored to health by the love-desire that perfumed women stir in him.

8. When they are afraid they let fall their hair, so that they are hidden by their tresses as it were by robes of darkness.'


1. 'As I kissed the Black Stone,' i.e. when the Holy Hand (###) was outstretched to me that I might take upon it the Divine oath of allegiance, referring to the verse 'Those who swear fealty to thee swear fealty to God; the hand of God is over their hands' (Kor. xlviii, 10).

'Friendly women,' i.e. the angels who go round the throne of God (Kor. xxxix, 75).

2. 'The death of the soul,' etc.: these spirits say, 'Do not look at us, lest thou fall passionately in love with us. Thou wert created for God, not for us, and if thou wilt be veiled by us from Him, He will cause thee to pass away from thy existence through Him (###), and thou wilt perish.'

3. 'Have we killed,' i.e. spirits like unto us, for the

p. 62

above-mentioned angels who go round the Throne have no relationship except with pilgrims circumambulating the Ka‘ba.

5. 'Beauty robs him who hath modesty,' since the vision of Beauty enraptures whosoever beholds it.

'The robber of virtues,' i.e. it takes away all delight in the vision of beauty from him who acts at the bidding of the possessor of this beauty; and sometimes the beauteous one bids thee do that which stands between thee and glorious things, inasmuch as those things are gained by means of hateful actions: the Tradition declares that Paradise is encompassed by things which thou dislikest (###).

6. 'At Zamzam,' i.e. in the station of the life which thou yearnest for.

'Beside the midmost tent,' i.e. the intermediate world (###) which divides the spiritual from the corporeal world.

'Beside the rocks,' i.e. the sensible bodies in which the holy spiritual beings (###) take their abode. He means that these spirits in these imaginary forms are metaphorical and transient, for they vanish from the dreamer as soon as he wakes and from the seer as soon as he returns to his senses. He warns thee not to be deceived by the manifestations of phenomenal beauty, inasmuch as all save God is unreal, i.e. not-being like unto thyself; therefore be His that He may be thine.

7. In the intermediate world (###) whosoever loves these spiritual beings dwelling in sensible bodies derives refreshment from the world of breaths and scents (###) because the spirit and the form are there united, so that the delight is double.

8. When these phantoms are afraid that their absoluteness will be limited by their confinement in forms, they cause thee to perceive that they are a veil which hides something more subtle than what thou seest, and conceal themselves from thee and quit these forms and once more enjoy infinite freedom.

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