Poetry of Ibn Arabi from the Diwān

Four Poems from the Diwān

Translated by Eric Winkel

Indeed, being is a grammatical particle

Indeed, being is a grammatical particle; you are its signification.
And I have no hope in existence except hu.

The letter particle is a signification, and the signification of the letter lies in its surd stillness not moved by a vowel;
and no eye sees other than its lodge.

The heart, given what his innate nature provides him,
swirls and roams the space between his lodge and his meaning.

God is inaccessible, so no one encircles Him –
but even after that, we are vast enough for hu.

It is not I who said it; no, the ḥadīth came with it,
from the Divine, and this phrasing is its purport.

When God, the True, desires to inhabit the heart’s abode,
for this He proportions him, as a good creation, and evens him perfectly.

Exactly what my being is is just what His image is –
a revelation, whole, true. And no one knows hu but hu.

God is greatest! nothing resembles hu.
And there is nothing but hu – no, hu is hu.

No entity with an eye sees anything but nothingness,
so it is true that the being, the grasped site, is God.

And none sees God but God – so cross over and take heed of
my word, so as to know its purpose and its import.

Rush now to restore the unknown x  which has escaped from your life

Rush now to restore the unknown x which has escaped from your life
Take the Supremely Compassionate as your provisions for your journey.

Say to Him from deep-seated love: ‘O my last hope!
How much the inner secret and the meaning yearn intensely for Your predicate!’[1]

I have come to know that when I see the one whose being is by hu,
‘I never disappear from Your gaze’.

‘If not for (my) annihilation, and the negation of similitude from You, and what
has come from You in the reports about (me) being burned through by Your sight,

‘(I would persist; and so) I have no hope except in Your present witness;
and I recite no book which is not along Your pathway.

‘Indeed I ask You, O You who have no likeness,
for something by which I will repel the final decision based on Your decree.’

So He said to me, ‘It is part of My decision that you should see My decree
repelling My decree – and it is all based on your narration handed down.

‘A word has come to all of you from My Prophet, about effacing
what I have decided, and telling you what will lengthen your life.

You have a word so precious, all of it a milky, planetary pearl;
and this is from the pearl – so may you reach this pearl, with your pearls scattered like seeds in the sky!’

[1] This is IA’s imagery from grammar, where the subject (us) is endlessly, always newly, subjected to a predicate (Divine noun, adjective, verb).

I was held fast to the one whose love is sunk deep in me where I cannot see

I was held fast to the one whose love is sunk deep in me where I cannot see
And I cannot tell who it is who just said, ‘where I cannot see’

I was dazzled in this condition, and my thoughts went to and fro.
Even the confusions were erratic in me, and in my affairs.

It has been twenty years now that I have been a dragoman conveying love –
love springing from the seed of love of him embracing my secret heart. Twenty years.

I never knew whom I loved so deeply, and I never came to learn his name.
I never knew who he was, this one who compressed my chest –

Until her face appeared to me from behind her veil,
like a night-cloud swept away from the full Moon.

So I asked them, Who is this one? I was told, ‘This one is
the darling, the precious heart.’ She is a girl the like of me, of my (expanded) breast.

I spoke of her magnificence, I spoke of her exalted origins.
Then my night with her grew greater than a night of Power.

Love is ascribed to the human being, and God

Love is ascribed to the human being, and God,
through a relationship – but what that relation is, our study cannot know.

Love is something tasted, but its truth is not known –
isn’t it something wondrous! O, Allāh Allāh!

The things adhering fast to love clothe me in their being;
a garb of two contradictions, an allegory of someone present, forgotten.

By love the Necessary Being of the True is authenticated, in the place love is found,
in us and in Him – but we are not exactly like Him.

I ask God to cover over what I just said!
I have said this from the direction of gratitude to God.