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


1. O driver of the reddish-white camels, do not hasten with them, but stop! for I am a cripple going after them.

2. Stop the camels and tighten their reins! I beseech thee by God, by my passion, by my anguish, O driver!

3. My soul is willing, but my foot does not second her. Who will pity and help me?

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4. What shall the skilled craftsman do in a case where his tools have declared themselves to be working mischief?

5. Turn aside, for their tents are on the right of the valley. God bless thee, O valley, for what thou containest!

6. Thou hast collected a folk who are my soul and my breath and the inmost core of the black clot in the membrane of my liver.

7. May my love be unblest if I do not die of grief at Ḥájir or Sal‘ or Ajyád!


1. The Divine Spirit which speaks in Man and is charged with the governance of this body says to the camel-driver, i.e. to God's summoner who guides the lofty aspirations in their journey heavenward, 'Do not hasten with them, for I am hampered by this body to which I am tied until death.'

3. 'Who will pity and help me?' He refers to the decree of God (###).

4. He says, 'What shall I do? Though I am able to quit the body at times, i.e. in moments of passing away and absence (###) under the influence of ecstasy, my aim is to depart entirely; and, moreover, at such moments the sensible world exercises a powerful attraction upon me. This attraction (here called "his tools") spoils what I am endeavouring to do, and disturbs my state of passing away and absence in order to bring me back to the body.'

5. 'Their tents,' i.e. the abodes of these aspirations, which are, in their knowledge of God, not in God, since He is not a locus for anything. Knowledge of God is the utmost goal to which contingent being can attain, and the whole universe depends on knowledge and on nothing else.

'On the right of the valley,' referring to the occasion when God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai (Kor. xix, 53).

'What thou containest,' i.e. Divine, holy, and Mosaic kinds of knowledge.

7. 'Ḥájir,' i.e. the intermediate world (###).

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'Sal‘,' a mountain near Medina, i.e. the station of Muḥammad.

'Ajyád,' a mountain near Mecca, i.e. a Divine station which causes me to pass away from all phenomenal existence.