Ibn ‘Arabi-My Beloved

Although not a poem in Arabic, this moving account of Divine “pillow talk” or munājāt (intimate discourses) by Ibn ‘Arabi was beautifully translated by Henri Corbin in poetic form.

 

 

Translation:

Listen, O dearly beloved!
I am the reality of the world, the centre of the circumference,
I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the object of My Perception.
If then you perceive Me, you perceive yourself.
But you cannot perceive Me through yourself.
It is through My Eyes that you see Me and see yourself,
Through your eyes you cannot see Me.

Dearly beloved!
I have called you so often and you have not heard Me.
I have shown Myself to you so often and you have not seen Me.
I have made Myself fragrance so often, and you have not smelled Me,
Savorous food, and you have not tasted Me.
Why can you not reach Me through the object you touch
Or breathe Me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see Me? Why do you not hear Me?
Why? Why? Why?

For you My delights surpass all other delights,
And the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other pleasures.
For you I am preferable to all other good things,
I am Beauty, I am Grace.

Love Me, love Me alone.
Love yourself in Me, in Me alone.
Attach yourself to Me,
No one is more inward than I.
Others love you for their own sakes,
I love you for yourself.
And you, you flee from Me.

Dearly beloved!
You cannot treat Me fairly,
For if you approach Me,
It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself,
Than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures
Would treat you as I do?

I am jealous of you, over you,
I want you to belong to no other,
Not even to yourself.
Be Mine, be for Me as you are in Me,
Though you are not even aware of it.

Dearly beloved!
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation.

Let us go hand in hand.
Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let It be our judge
And imprint Its seal upon our union
For ever.

 

From: Henri Corbin. Creative Sufism ‘Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi, p. 174-75

 

Original:

!اسمع يا حبيبي
انا العين المقصودة في الكون
انا نقطة الدائرة ومحيطها
انا مركبها وبسيطها
انا الامر المنزل بين السماء والارض و السماء
ما خلفت لك الادراكات الا لتدركني بها
فاذا ادركتني ادركت نفسك
لا تطمع ان تدركني بادراكك نفسك
بعيني تراني ونفسك
لابعين نفسك تراني
!حبيبي
كم اناديك فلا تسمع؟
كم اتراءى لك فلا تبصر ؟
كم اندرج لك فى الروائح فلا تشم ؟
وفي الطعوم فلا تطعم لى ذوقا؟
ما لك لاتلمسني فى الملموسات ؟
ما لك لاتدركني فى المشمومات ؟
ما لك لاتبصرنى؟
ما لك لاتسمعني؟
ما لك مالك مالك ؟
انا الذ لك من كل ملذوذ
أنا اشهي لك من كل مشتهى
انا احسن لك من كل حسن
انا الجميل
انا المليح
! حبيبي
حبني لا تحب غيري
اعشقني هم في
لا تهم في سواي
ضمّني قبّلني
ما تجد وصولا مثلي
كل يريدك له
وانا اريدك لك
وانت تفر مني
يا حبيبي
ما تنصفني
ان تقربت اليّ
تقربت اليك اضعاف ما تقربت به اليّ
انا اقرب اليك من نفسك و نسفك
من يفعل معك ذلك غيري من المخلوقين
حبيبي
اغار عليك منك
لا احب ان اراك عند الغير
ولاعندك
كن عندى بي
اكن عندك
كما انت عندي
وانت لاتشعر
حبيبي
الوصال الوصال
!تعال
يدي و يدك
ندخل على الحق تعالى
…ليحكم بيننا حكم الابد

 

The Music of Hafez

These are two of the most musical ghazals of the most musical of Persian poets, Hafez. The beauty of their melodies and rhythms are only surpassed by the sublimity of their meanings:

 

Translation:

Without the beloved’s beauty, the soul has no interest in the world
He who doesn’t have that, in truth has no soul
I have never seen a trace of that heart-stealer
So either I’m uninformed or she has no trace
Every dewdrop on this is path is a hundred burning seas
Alas, this mystery has no explanation nor description
We cannot miss the station of rest
Halt, O caravan-leader, for this road has no end.
No flavour has life without a good friend
and without a good friend, life has no flavour
The harp’s curved figure is calling you to pleasure
Listen! For the advice of the old has no harm
The tale of Korah’s treasure, which time threw to the wind
Tell it to the rosebud, so that it won’t hide its gold
No one has a slave like Hafez in the whole world
Because, in the whole world, no one has a king like you

 

 

 

Original:

جان بی جمال جانان میل جهان ندارد
هر کس که این ندارد حقا که آن ندارد
با هیچ کس نشانی زان دلستان ندیدم
یا من خبر ندارم یا او نشان ندارد
هر شبنمی در این ره صد بحر آتشین است
دردا که این معما شرح و بیان ندارد
سرمنزل فراغت نتوان ز دست دادن
ای ساروان فروکش کاین ره کران ندارد
چنگ خمیده قامت می‌خواندت به عشرت
بشنو که پند پیران هیچت زیان ندارد
ای دل طریق رندی از محتسب بیاموز
مست است و در حق او کس این گمان ندارد
احوال گنج قارون کایام داد بر باد
در گوش دل فروخوان تا زر نهان ندارد
گر خود رقیب شمع است اسرار از او بپوشان
کان شوخ سربریده بند زبان ندارد
کس در جهان ندارد یک بنده همچو حافظ
زیرا که چون تو شاهی کس در جهان ندارد

 

 

 

 

Translation:

The garden of eternity is in the retreat of the dervishes
the very essence of grandeur is the service of the dervishes
The treasury of glory that is sealed by the talisman of wonders
opens at the merciful glance of the dervishes
The castle of paradise for which Rezwan is the doorkeeper
is but a view from the lawn of the dervishes
That which by its radiance turns black hearts to gold
is the alchemy that is the company of the dervishes
That before which the sun lays down its crown of glory/pride
is the greatness that comes from the grandeur of the dervishes
The power/state (dawlat) whose decline need never be feared
without exaggeration, is the power/state of the dervishes
The kings are the qiblah to which we direct our needs
and this is because they are the slaves of the dervishes
That which kings seek to achieve in their prayers
is manifested in the mirror of the countenance of the dervishes
From shore to shore is the army of tyranny,
but from pre-eternity to post-eternity is the occasion of the dervishes
O rich man, don’t sell us so much vanity
for your health and wealth are in the hands of the will (himmat) of the dervishes
Korah’s treasure, which still is still sinking from heaven’s severity
is an effect of the wrath of the dervishes
Hafez, if you’re seeking the eternal water of life
its spring is the dust of the retreat of the dervishes
I am the slave of the Asaf of my time
because he has the looks of a nobleman and the character of the dervishes.

 

 

Original:

روضه خلد برین خلوت درویشان است
مایه محتشمی خدمت درویشان است
گنج عزت که طلسمات عجایب دارد
فتح آن در نظر رحمت درویشان است
قصر فردوس که رضوانش به دربانی رفت
منظری از چمن نزهت درویشان است
آن چه زر می‌شود از پرتو آن قلب سیاه
کیمیاییست که در صحبت درویشان است
آن که پیشش بنهد تاج تکبر خورشید
کبریاییست که در حشمت درویشان است
دولتی را که نباشد غم از آسیب زوال
بی تکلف بشنو دولت درویشان است
خسروان قبله حاجات جهانند ولی
سببش بندگی حضرت درویشان است
روی مقصود که شاهان به دعا می‌طلبند
مظهرش آینه طلعت درویشان است
از کران تا به کران لشکر ظلم است ولی
از ازل تا به ابد فرصت درویشان است
ای توانگر مفروش این همه نخوت که تو را
سر و زر در کنف همت درویشان است
گنج قارون که فرو می‌شود از قهر هنوز
خوانده باشی که هم از غیرت درویشان است
حافظ ار آب حیات ازلی می‌خواهی
منبعش خاک در خلوت درویشان است
من غلام نظر آصف عهدم کو را
صورت خواجگی و سیرت درویشان است

 

‘Iraqi and Shushtari—The Wealth of Poverty

‘Iraqi

laylamajnunpersianmin

 

Translation:

I have seen that the lane of piety stretches out,
far, far into the distance;
My dearest friends, can you not show me then
the way of the madman?
Bring me a glass of Magian wine
that I may drink deep
for I have given up all thought
of ascetic piety;
or if the pure wine has all been downed
bring me the cloudy dregs
for thick residue lights up the heart
and illuminates the eyes.
Tuppence for the Sufi meeting house!
I flee the company of the righteous;
fill up a row of glasses with wine
and bring me the first.
I have no rules or regulations,
nor heart nor religion –
only I remain, and you, sitting in the corner
and the wealth of Poverty.
All fear of God, all self-denial I deny;
bring wine, nothing but wine
for in all sincerity I repent
my worship which is but hypocrisy.
Yes, bring me wine, for I have renounced all renunciation
and all my vaunted self-righteousness
seems to me but swagger and self-display.
Now for a time let my proof be wine
against the sorrow of Time
for only in drunkenness can one be free
of the hour’s grief.
Once I am thoroughly drunk, what difference
if I end up in a church or in Mecca?
Once I’ve abandoned myself, what matter
if I win Union – or separation?
I’ve been to the gambling house and seen
that the losers there are pure;
I’ve been to the monastery and have found
no one but hypocrites.
Now I’ve broken my repentance, at least
do not break our covenant:
at least welcome this broken heart and say
“How are you? Where have you been?”
I’ve been to Mecca, to circle the Kaaba
but they refused me entrance
saying “Off with you!  What merit have you earned
outside, that we should admit you within?”
Then, last night, I knocked
at the tavern door;
from within came a voice: “‘Iraqi! Come in!
for you are one of the chosen!”

 

from the introduction to Divine Flashes
translation by William Chittick and Peter Wilson

 

squarekuficmosque

 

Original:
پسرا، ره قلندر سزد ار به من نمایی
که دراز و دور دیدم ره زهد و پارسایی
پسرا، می مغانه دهی ار حریف مایی
که نماند بیش ما را سر زهد و پارسایی
قدحی می مغانه به من آر، تا بنوشم
که دگر نماند ما را سر توبهٔ ریایی
می صاف اگر نباشد، به من آر درد تیره
که ز درد تیره یابد دل و دیده روشنایی
کم خانقه گرفتم، سر مصلحی ندارم
قدح شراب پر کن، به من آر، چند پایی؟
نه ره و نه رسم دارم، نه دل و نه دین، نه دنیی
منم و حریف و کنجی و نوای بی‌نوایی
نیم اهل زهد و توبه به من آر ساغر می
که به صدق توبه کردم ز عبادت ریایی
تو مرا شراب در ده، که ز زهد تو به کردم
ز صلاح چون ندیدم جز لاف و خودنمایی
ز غم زمانه ما را برهان ز می زمانی
که نیافت جز به می کس ز غم زمان رهایی
چو ز باده مست گشتم، چه کلیسیا، چه کعبه؟
چو به ترک خود بگفتم، چه وصال و چه جدایی؟
به قمارخانه رفتم همه پاکباز دیدم
چو به صومعه رسیدم همه یافتم دغایی
چو شکست توبهٔ من، مشکن تو عهد، باری
به من شکسته دل گو که: چگونه‌ای؟ کجایی؟
به طواف کعبه رفتم به حرم رهم ندادند
که برون در چه کردی، که درون خانه آیی؟
در دیر می‌زدم من، ز درون صدا بر آمدکه: درآی،
ای عراقی، که تو خود حریف مایی

 

 

Shushtari

 

Translation:

We come to you in poverty, not riches, for you are the generous one.

You accustomed us to every grace, may your grace endure.

These poor disheveled souls of yours are drenched
in your love, because it is the utmost of desires.

There is no one in richness like you
and in poverty there are none like us.

We see you manifest in everything; nothing is ours.

I hid your name out of jealousy. Look at me, lost on a mountain trail and a slope.

Since you are always with me,
I have no need to carry provisions: I am rich.

For you, you are the truth, there is no other
and I – would that I knew – who am I?

From Alvarez, L.M. Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shushtarī: Songs of Love and Devotion, (New York, Paulist Press, 2009), p. 69

 

 

Original:
أتيناك بالفقر لا بالغنى    وأنت الذي لم تزل محسنّا
وعوّدتنا كلّ فضل عسى      يدوم الذي منك عوّدتنا
مسا كينك الشعث قد موهوا      بحبك إذ هو أقصى المنى
فما في الغنى واحد مثلكم      و في الفقر لا عصبة مثلنا
رأيناك في كلّ أمر بدا      وليس من الأمر شيء لنا
سترت اسمكم غيرة ها أنا      أموه بالشعب والمنحنى
إذا كنت في كلّ حال معي      فعن حمل زادي أنا في غنى
فأنتم هم الحق لا غيركم      فياليت شعري أنا من أنا