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


1. He saw the lightning in the east and he longed for the east, but if it had flashed in the west he would have longed for the west.

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2. My desire is for the lightning and its gleam, not for the places and the earth.

3. The east wind related to me from them a tradition handed down successively from distracted thoughts, from my passion, from anguish, from my tribulation,

4. From rapture, from my reason, from yearning, from ardour, from tears, from my eyelid, from fire, from my heart,

5. That 'He whom thou lovest is between thy ribs; the breaths toss him from side to side'.

6. I said to the east wind, 'Bring a message to him and say that he is the enkindler of the fire within my heart.

7. If it shall be quenched, then everlasting union, and if it shall burn, then no blame to the lover!'


1. He refers to the vision of God in created things, viz. the manifestation in forms, and this causes him to cleave to phenomena, because the manifestation appears in them.

'The east,' i.e. the place of phenomenal manifestation.

'If it had flashed in the west,' i.e. if it had been a manifestation of the Divine essence to the lover's heart, he would have longed for that purer manifestation in the world of purity and mystery.

2. He says, 'I desire the forms in which the manifestation takes place only in so far as they are a locus for the manifestation itself.'

3. The world of breaths (###) communicated to me the inward meaning of these phenomenal forms.

4. 'Rapture' (literally, 'intoxication,' ###): the fourth degree in the manifestations. The first degree is ###, the second ###, and the third ###.

'From my reason,' because intoxication transports the reason and takes away from it whatever it has.

5. 'The breaths,' etc., i.e. the overwhelming awe inspired by this manifestation produces in him various ecstasies (###).

7. He says, 'If the awful might of this manifestation shall be veiled through the permanence of the Divine

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substance, then the union will be lasting; but if the manifestation be unchecked, it will sweep away all that exists in its locus, and those who perish are not in fault.' This is the saying of one possessed and mastered by ecstasy.

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