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


1. My soul be the ransom of fair-complexioned and coy virgins who played with me as I was kissing the Pillar and the Stone!

2. When thou art lost in pursuit of them, thou wilt find no guide but in their scent, the sweetest of traces.

3. No moonless night darkened o’er me but I remembered them and journeyed in moonlight.

4. Only when I walk in their company of riders does the night seem to me like the sun in the morning.

5. My love urged me to dalliance with one of them, a beauty who hath no sister in humankind.

6. If she unveils her mouth, she will show to thee what sparkles like the sun in unchanging radiance.

7. The whiteness of her forehead is the sun's, the blackness of the hair on her brow is the night's: most wondrous of forms is she—a sun and a night together!

8. Through her we are in daylight during the night and in a night of hair at noon.

p. 124


1. 'Virgins,' i.e. Divine sciences embodied in the world of similitude.

'As I was kissing,' etc., i.e. in the station of Divine allegiance (###).

2. 'Their scent,' i.e. their traces in the hearts of the gnostics who know them.

3. 'No moonless night,' i.e. the darkness of ignorance or bewilderment.

7. 'The blackness of the hair on her brow,' i.e. the mysterious sciences of which she is the bearer, e.g. the Traditions respecting assimilation (###),

8. 'We are in daylight during the night,' etc., i.e. in the essence of the case God's invisibility is His visibility, and His visibility is His invisibility, if we regard Him and not our own reason.

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