Sacred Texts  Islam  Index  Previous  Next 

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


The author says: A dervish recited to me the following verse, to which I knew not any brother—

'Everyone who hopes for thy bounty receives copious showers thereof; thy lightning never breaks its promise of rain except with me.'

I admired its application and pursued its meaning, and I composed some verses in the same rhyme, including this verse among them on account of its perfection, and I said in answer to that dervish (may God have mercy on him!) as follows:—

1. Halt by the ruined abodes at La‘la‘ and mourn for our loved ones in that wilderness.

2. Halt by thy dwelling-places and call to them, wondering at their loneliness, with exquisite lamentation.

3. 'Beside thy bán tree I have seen many a one like myself plucking the fruit of comely forms and the roses of a verdant meadow.

4. Everyone who hopes for thy bounty receives copious showers thereof; thy lightning never breaks its promise of rain except with me.'

5. She said, 'Yes; there hath been that meeting in the shadow of my boughs in the most plenteous spot,

6. When my lightning was one of the lightnings of smiling mouths; but to-day my lightning is the flash of this brilliant stone.

7. Reproach, then, a fate which we had no means of averting: what is the fault of the camping-place at La‘la‘?'

8. I excused her when I heard her speech and how she was complaining even as I complain with a sorrowful heart,

p. 97

9. And I asked her, when I saw her demesne, through which the four winds sweep at night,

10. 'Did their winds tell thee where they rested at noontide?' She said, 'Yes; they rested at Dhát al-Ajra‘,

11. Where the white tents are radiant with those rising suns within.'


1. 'The ruined abodes,' i.e. the vestiges of the dwelling-places of the Divine Names in the hearts of gnostics.

'In that wilderness,' i.e. in his empty heart.

3. 'Plucking the fruit of comely forms,' i.e. the manifold knowledge of the Divine Self-subsistence (###) with which, according to our doctrine, it is possible to be invested. This investiture (###) is a matter of dispute amongst the Ṣúfís; Ibn Junayd al-Ifríqí and his followers consider that it is not correct.

'The roses of a verdant meadow,' referring to the station of Shame (###), which results from meditation and contemplation.

4. 'Thy lightning never breaks its promise,' etc., i.e. through the lack of Divine favour (###). He also indicates that he himself is in a lofty station which was not reached by any of his peers, because the lightning is a locus of manifestation for the Essence, and from this locus the soul of the seer gains no knowledge, inasmuch as it is a manifestation devoid of material form.

6. 'When my lightning,' etc., i.e. that manifestation took place in a lovely form, but my manifestation to thee is formless and inanimate (####) and is not determined by love and passion.

11. 'The white tents,' in reference to the veils of light which are drawn over the splendours of the face of God.

Next: XXV