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


1. O camel-driver, turn aside at Sal‘ and halt by the bán tree of al-Mudarraj,

2. And call to them, imploring their pity and grace, 'O my princes, have ye any consolation?'

3. At Ráma, between an-Naqá and Ḥájir, is a girl enclosed in a howdah.

4. Oh, her beauty—the tender maid! Her fairness gives light like lamps to one travelling in the dark.

5. She is a pearl hidden in a shell of hair as black as jet,

6. A pearl for which reflection dives and remains unceasingly in the deeps of that ocean.

7. He who looks upon her deems her to be a gazelle of the

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sand-hills because of her neck and the loveliness of her gestures.

8. ’Tis as though she were the morning sun in Aries, crossing the degrees of the zodiac at their farthest height.

9. If she lifts her veil or uncovers her face, she holds cheap the rays of the bright dawn.

10. I called to her, between the guarded pasture and Ráma, 'Who will help a man that alighted at Sal‘ in good hope?

11. Who will help a man lost in a desert, dismayed, confounded in his wits, miserable?

12 Who will help a man drowned in his tears, intoxicated by the wine of passion for those well-set teeth?

13. Who will help a man burned by his sighs, distraught by the beauty of those spacious eyebrows?'

14. The hands of Love have played at their will with his heart, and he commits no sin in that which he seeks.


1. 'Halt by the bán tree of al-Mudarraj': he says, addressing the Divine messenger which calls the aspirations that seek to know and behold Him, 'Appear to me in the station of self-subsistence and lovingkindness gradually (###), not suddenly, lest I perish.'

2. 'And call to them,' i.e. to the Divine Names.

3. 'Ráma,' one of the stations of abstraction and isolation.

'Between an-Naqá and Ḥájir,' between the white hill and the most inaccessible veil, to which the hearts of mystics can never attain.

'A girl enclosed in a howdah,' i.e. the Essential Knowledge contained in the hearts of some gnostics.

4. 'To one travelling in the dark,' i.e. to those who ascend and journey in the night (like the Prophet).

6. God is beyond the reach of mental effort; He is revealed by Divine favour to a heart empty of all thoughts.

8. 'Crossing the degrees of the zodiac,' etc., in reference to the magnification and glory which the seer feels in himself as he continues to contemplate her.

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10. 'Sal‘,' one of the stations of Divine sanctity.

12. 'In his tears,' i.e. in the knowledge that comes of contemplation.

'Wine,' i.e. every science that inspires joy and rapture in the human soul, e.g. the science of the Divine perfection.

'Those well-set teeth,' i.e. the grades of knowledge of God.

13. 'Those spacious eyebrows,' i.e. the station between the two Wazírs and Imáms. He alludes to the station of the Quṭb.

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