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


1. They said, 'The suns are in the heavenly sphere.' Where should the sun dwell but in heaven?

2. When a throne is set up, there must be a king to sit erect upon it.

3. When the heart is purged of its ignorance, then must. the angel descend.

4. He made Himself master of me and I of Him, and each of us hath possessed the other.

5. My being His property is evident, and my possessing Him is (proved by) His saying, 'Come hither.'

6. O camel-driver, let us turn aside and do not lead the travellers past Dár al-Falak.

7. A house on a river-bank near al-Musanná caused thee to fall sick and did not make thee forget thy sickness.

8. Would that the lord of desire had laid on thee (O my censor!) my pain and the burden of love that was laid on me!

9. For neither Zarúd nor Hájir nor Salam is an abode that emaciated thee.

10. From the burning grief of the journey (towards Him) thou wert seeking the rain-clouds of union, but they did not o’ershadow thee.

11. The glory of His sovereignty abased thee, and would that as He abased thee so He had shown fondness towards thee!

12. And oh, would that, since in His pride He refused to show

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[paragraph continues] Himself fond, oh, would that He had emboldened thee to show fondness towards Him!


1. 'The suns are in the heavenly sphere,' i.e. the Divine radiance is in the heart.

2. Cf. Kor. xv, 29, and xx, 4.

3. 'The angel,' i.e. the most sublime spiritual essences.

4. 'He made Himself master of me,' inasmuch as I am limited by Him.

'And I of Him,' inasmuch as the Divine Names are manifested only in contingent being.

5. 'Come hither' (Kor. xii, 23), i.e. in order that the Names may be manifested, which is impossible unless I receive them.

6-7. 'Dar al-Falak,' a convent for pious women at Baghdád on the bank of the Tigris near al-Musanná, which is the residence of the Imám—on whom be peace! The author refers to the heart, because it is the Temple of Divine manifestation.

'Al-Musanná,' the station of the Quṭb, since it was the Caliph's palace.

'To fall sick,' i.e. to fall in love.

'And did not make thee forget thy sickness,' i.e. gave thee no relief.

9. He says that the passion of his soul was not kindled by anything contingent or finite.

11. He says: 'Although thou hadst knowledge of God, that knowledge did not humble thee so much as thou wert humbled by the glory of His manifestation, i.e. thy abasement was due to His glory, not to Himself; hence thy knowledge of Him was imperfect.'

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