Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi

    Muhammed Ibn 'Ali Ibn 'Arabi was born in Murcia in southern Spain in 1165 AD (560AH), at the time of the flowering of the Hispano-Arab culture.



"The Breath of the All-Merciful has no
basis in other than the All-Merciful...
Its stopping-place is the Yaman of the creatures
and It is neither spirit nor body.
It has no limit to define It
yet It is what is (always) sought, the Sempiternal (al-matlub as-Samad)
For all the creatures are seeking It
though none of them can possess it
Unique, no one is like It
alone in the Perfection of Its description."

My Journey

I withdrew with He whom I love passionately, and there was no one but us,
for if there had been another than me, the retreat would not have been one.

When I imposed on my soul the conditions of her seclusion,
the souls of the creatures all at once became her slaves!

But if there were not in her an Other than herself,
my soul would have made a gift of herself to He who overwhelms her with His gifts.

An Ocean without Shore

I marveled at an Ocean without shore,
and at a Shore that did not have an ocean;
And at a Morning Light without darkness,
and at a Night that was without daybreak;
And then a Sphere with no locality
known to either fool or learned scholar;
And at an azure Dome raised over the earth,
circulating 'round its center -- Compulsion;
And at a rich Earth without o'er-arching vault
and no specific location, the Secret concealed . . . .

I courted a Secret which existence did not alter;
for it was asked of me: "Has Thought enchanted you?"
-- To which I replied: "I have no power over that;
I counsel you: Be patient with it while you live.
But, truly, if Thought becomes established
in my mind, the embers kindle into flame,
And everything is given up to fire
the like of which was never seen before!"
And it was said to me: "He does not pluck a flower
who calls himself with courtesy 'Freeborn'."
"He who woos the belle femme in her boudoir, love-beguiled,
will never deem the bridal-price too high!"

I gave her the dower and was given her in marriage
throughout the night until the break of Dawn --
But other than Myself I did not find. -- Rather,
that One whom I married -- may his affair be known:
For added to the Sun's measure of light
are the radiant New Moon and shining Stars;
Like Time, dispraised - though the Prophet (Blessings on him!)
had once declared of your Lord that He is Time.


There are places which offer but scant consolation
while others offer one great delight. However, make the Lord the mainstay and refuge of your soul, 
wherever and however you may be.


O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim's Ka'bah,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Qur'an.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love's camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.

True Knowledge

There is no knowledge except that taken from Allah, for He alone is the Knower... the prophets, in spite of their great number and the long periods of time which separate them, had no disagreement in knowledge of Allah, since they took it from Allah.

The Invitation

Approach the dwelling place of the dear ones who have taken covenants -
may clouds of incessant rain pour upon it!
And breathe the scent of the wind over against their land, in desire that
the sweet airs may tell thee where they are.
I know that they encamped at the banded tree of Idam, where the arar plants
grow and the shih and the katam.


From: The Fabulous Gryphon ('Anqâ' Mughrib)

Since that which is true in Vision is a major part of Prophecy, we swore our belief in what such Vision confers and conveys of the Favors of the Real (Praised be He!).  For I entered the House of Lights and let down the curtains and the veils, jealously protective of the harem. Then, while I was conversing intimately with the Real in His presence, the attraction of a Mighty One attracted me to him, and the Real installed me in the Station of the 'Ocean' -- the waves of which heave and overflow, one entering into another and rising aloft. And I was in a State which no one can know but he who has borne it, and no one describe but he who has seen it, as has been said:

No one knows Desire except for one who bears it,
nor fervent Longing, but he who suffers from it.

... Now, consider and contemplate, O Most-perfect Saint, a Prophet whose body had been lost, while the memorial of his Way remained in Tradition: Called up from his tomb by night, he was led forth to his Gathering, the Living one joining with the dead -- who, then, was 'gathered up,' the Lord of the House remaining in the House, which thus was filled with life!

Then [the Prophet Muhammad] requested the hand of his 'Little Fair-One' [A'ishah] from his 'Noble One' [Abû Bakr as-Siddîq], plucking her from the hand of his Friend (sadîqu-hu). He proposed for her a bridal-price (sadâq) the figure of which was unknown to me, and requested of me a testimony to that effect. So he wrote on a piece of red silk a document in shining gold, and I was the first, by his permission and command (May God bless him!), to witness his dower -- that being in his highest Stopping-place and most-manifest Station. When he had so commanded, [the Prophet's] dower was left in my care, and he entered his dwelling with his Bride, secluding himself with her, while the dower remained in my possession till the expiry of my term.

Then, when the Dawn broke for him who has two eyes, bringing together for me the Two Lights, I did not find a 'Bride' ('irs) or a 'Husband' (ba'l ) other than my own Essence, nor a dower other than my own Nature and attributes. For I was myself both the Husband and the Bride, and I married together the Intellect and the Soul. And the 'Little Fair One' became purified by her Husband, supported by the firm will of her Intellect.

I marveled at my affair -- that there was none but me! Thus, I arrived at the lifting of the veils on matters concealed: And I marveled at a Shore which has no sea for its complement to seek refuge in, and at a Sea without a shore for its waves to break upon; and at a Speaker of realities without a tongue and places of articulation, and a Silent One who ceases not to summon and show the Way to Allah; and a Sphere without location which is not known to anyone, nor does anyone not know it; and a Dome without supports, and a rich Earth which is not based on causes desecrated by being mentioned and adulterated by Thought. For its Causes are, rather, from the Presence of That which occurs not to the mind of man, nor does the attentive ear hear its report, nor eye-sight perceive it truly.


They placed the palaquins
on the finest workhorse camel mares,
and within their embroidered canopies
full moons and marbled statuettes.

They promised my heart
they'd return
but what are the promises of a soft girl
but illusions.

They beckoned goodbye,
fingertips dyed with henna,
set tears scattering
and stoked the fire.

They turned
back toward Yemen,
seeking Khawarnaq
then Sadir,

Damn it! I called
as they left.
They answered:
If you want to cry damn it,

Why settle for
a single, lonely damn?
Damn it, damn it,
Damn it all over!

Easy now,
dove of the thorn berry thicket,
her leaving
has sharpened your cry.

Your coo, dove,
stirs the lover
and inflames
the already burning,
Melts the heart,
compounds our longing
and our sigh

Death hovers
over a dove that coos.
We beg of him
a stay.

Maybe a breath
from the East wind
from Hajir
will bring us clouds of rain.

You who pasture the stars
be my drinking companion!
and you, awake-all-night lightning watcher,
my night friend!

And you who'd rather
sleep the night away
before you die
you live entombed

If you'd only loved
a bravesouled beauty
you'd have found in her what you desired
and been satisfied.
You'd be sharing with the belles
intimate drink,
speaking secrets to the sun, and to the moon
whispering nothing