Ibn Arabi..A short poem


Ibn Arabi ( Abu Abdullah Muhammed Ibn Ali Ibn Muhammed Ibn Arabi ), an Arab Andalusian philosopher, poet, and Sufi mystic, widely known as Al-Shaikhu Al-Akbar which is an arab title that means the greatest master!

Born in Spain ( Andalus under the arab rule ) to a respectful family, he started to show high intellectual abilities at a young age which was fed by his presence in the world’s highest cultural centre at his time. He is considered by the world as one of the greatest philosophers though he never classified himself as a philosopher, and had always declared that he distasted philosophy as he believed that even the greatest mind in its purest form was unable to capture the absolute truth. He believed that the mind was a means of gaining knowledge to start the path, but it was the experience and the spiritual inspiration that would reveal the existential facts. Side by side along his impressive spiritual journey, Ibn Arabi had another journey around the globe, from Spain, to Morocco, Egypt, Anatolia, Turkey, Hijaz, Iraq, and Syria. He spent his life in reading, writing, meditating, and travelling, and a very rich life it was indeed.

For those of you who are not familiar with the terms “Sufi, Sufism”, I will try to explain it briefly. It is definitely a huge issue that needs a whole post, or even a whole book to discuss this amazing spiritual path and impressive school of thought, but for now, I will just try to shed some light upon the issue. Sufi is the adjective, and Sufism is the noun, and it is an Islamic mystic spiritual pathway that appeared around the ninth century ( roughly, I am not sure! ). The root of the word is uncertain with some people thinking that it originated from the greek word Sofia which means wisdom, others believing that the true origin of the term was the arabic word “Suf” which means wool, as the early Sufi masters were known to wear wool as a sort of asceticism. The root of the word may be uncertain, but what is well-known for sure, is that Sufism was a mystical spiritual pathway that implied meditation, asceticism, purifying the interior rather than focusing on the external appearance, self-denial, and love as a means of seeking the truth about human, life, and God, the fact of facts as Sufi masters called Him! It is a pathway that embraces the concept of divine love, that reflects itself as a love for the divine manifestations in nature, humans and all of God’s creatures, and implies a lot of hard work by the follower of this path to purify himself from hatred, jealousy, envy, aggression, and every negative emotion that blocks the vision according to the Sufis, a process they call ” emptying of the cup! ” which is achieved by isolation, meditation and experiences. There were a lot of Sufi masters like Al-halaj, Ibn Al-Fared, Ibn Arabi, as well as many others, but anyway, this post is not about Sufism, it is about Ibn Arabi, but I just wanted to shed some light on the term.

There was a lot of debate about Ibn Arabi with some people considering him to be a great master, others just saw him as an irreligious heretic! But despite that debate nobody, even those who hated him, was able to ignore his remarkable writings, and his impressive share in the human thought and civilisation. He wrote many books, and many poems collected in a beautiful Divan. His famous books include ” Al Futuhat Al-Mekkiya” which means “The Meccan illumination”, “Turjuman Al-Ashwaq” which means ” The interpreter of desires” ” Al-itihad Al-kawni” which is literally translated to be, the universal union, but known in English as ” The Universal tree and the four birds”, as well as many other books. This is one beautiful short poem of his, I personally find it very beautiful and meaningful, and I wanted to share them with everyone, so I will post the arabic verses and my English translation of them. Again, please pardon my translation as it was real hard to translate it half as beautifully as it was written by him in Arabic, but the meanings are so beautiful and I hope you enjoy them.

كنت قبل اليوم أنكر صاحبى
ما لم يكن دينه لدينى دان
و لقد اصبح قلبى قابلا كل صورة
فمرعى لغزلان
و دير لرهبان
و كعبة طائف
و بيت لاوثان
أدين بدين الحب انى توجهت ركائبه
فالحب دينى و ايمانى
محيى الدين بن عربى 

The friend with faith unlike mine
I denied everyday
before today

And now my heart is ready
to accept every form
Every way
I embrace this very day

A deer prairie
A monk’s priory

A Kaaba for a roamer
Or a temple of idols

For love is my only religion
my only faith
For I go
wherever the river
of love flows.

Ibn Arabi

Her Wild Stallion

2 Responses to “Ibn Arabi..A short poem”

  1. The poem is simple and beautiful. It makes perfect sense to me. Thank you for sharing. I will read more of his work.

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