Studies in Islamic Mysticism

Masonic, Occult and Esoteric Online Library

Studies in Islamic Mysticism

By Reynold A. Nicholson

vv. 1-100

Saqatní ?umayya ’l-?ubbi rá?atu muqlatí
wa-ka’sí mu?ayyá man ‘ani ’l-?usni jallati

(1 1) The hand of mine eye gave me love's strong wine to drink, when my cup was the face of Her that transcendeth beauty,

(2 2) And in my drunkenness, by means of a glance I caused my comrades to fancy that it was the quaffing of their wine that gladdened my inmost soul,

(3 3) Although mine eyes made me independent of my cup, and my inebriation was derived from her qualities, not from my wine;

(4 4) Therefore in the tavern of my intoxication was the hour of my thanksgiving to youths through whom my love was completely hidden notwithstanding my celebrity (as a lover).

(5 5) And when my sobriety was ended, I sought union with her, and no restraint of fear affected me in my boldness towards her,

(6 6) And in the privacy of bridal unveiling, when no continuance of self-regard was beside me as a watcher, I declared to her that which I felt,

(7 7) And I said—my state bearing witness to my ardent love, and my finding her (in my heart) effacing me, whilst my losing her brings me back to myself

(8 8) "Bestow on me the glance of one who turns for a moment, ere Love makes pass away what remains in me (of self-existence) to see thee by.

(9 9) And if thou forbid that I see thee, favour mine hearing with, 'Thou shalt not (see me)': this word was sweet to another before me;

(10 10) For, because of my drunkenness, I have need of a recovery (from drunkenness) which, but for passion, would not break my heart.

(11 11) Had the mountains felt what I suffer, and were Sinai amongst them, they would have been razed to the earth ere the revelation

(12) A passion that only tears betrayed, and an inward ardency that increased the burning heats whose maladies brought me to ruin.

(13 13) The Flood of Noah is like my tears, when I lament, and the blazing of Abraham's fire is like my bosom's glow.

(14) But for my sighs, I should be drowned by my tears; and but for my tears, I should be burned by my sighs.

(15) That (grief) which Jacob uttered is the least of my sorrow, and all the woe of Job is but a part of my affliction;

(16) And the last sufferings of those who loved unto death are but a part of what I suffered in the beginning of my tribulation.

(17 17) Had the ear of my guide heard my moaning caused by pains of love-sickness which wasted my body,

(18) My grief would have called to his memory the bitter distress of travellers left behind, when the camels are reined (and ready for the journey).

(19) Anguish hath sorely oppressed and naughted me, and emaciation hath laid bare the secret of my true being;

(20 20) And in complaining of my leanness I made him who spied upon me my confidant, acquainting him with the sum of my inmost feelings and with the particulars of my way (in love).

(21 21) I appeared to him as an idea, while my body was in such case that he saw it not, because of the woeful burning of love that consumed it;

(22 22) And though my tongue spake not, the hidden conceptions of my soul revealed to his ear the mystery of that which my soul had concealed from him,

(23) And his ear became for my thought a mind, so that my thought was moving in his ear, which thereby stood him in stead of ocular vision;

(24 24) And he gave news of me to those in the tribe, setting forth my inward state, for he knew me well.

(25) ’Twas as though the Recording Angels had come down to his heart to inspire him with knowledge of what was written in my book (the book of my experience).

(26) He would not have known what I was covering and what was the guarded secret that my bosom hid,

(27) But the drawing aside of the bodily veil disclosed the secret, which it had screened from him, of my inmost soul.

(28) And I should have been invisible to him in respect of my secret unless my groans arising from the weakness of emaciation had divulged it,

(29 29) So that I was made visible by a malady that hid me from him: there is no strange thing but Love brings it to pass.

(30 30) A sore anguish o’erwhelmed me, at whose stroke the suggestions of my soul—suggestions that betrayed me, like tears—vanished into nothingness.

(31) If hateful death had sought me, it would not have known where I was, since I was concealed by concealing my love for thee (or 'by thy love's concealing me').

(32 32) Betwixt yearning and longing I passed away, whilst thou didst either avert thyself in repulse or display thyself in presence.

(33 33) And were my heart sent back to me from thy court, to redeem my passing-away, it would not desire the abode of my exile.

(34) That whereof I declare unto thee a part is (only) the frontispiece of my state: ’tis beyond my power to express what lies underneath;

(35 35) And, being unable, I refrain from (speaking of) many matters; they shall not be recounted by my speech, and even if I told them, they would be few.

(36 36) My cure drew nigh unto death; nay, passion decreed that it should die, since the cooling of my thirst finds the heat of my burning drought (still remaining).

(37 37) And my heart is more threadbare than the garments of my endurance; nay, my selfhood is linked with my pleasure in respect of its being reduced to naught.

(38 38) Had God revealed me to my visitors (as I really am), and had they ascertained from the Tablet how much of me Love had allowed to survive,

(39 39) Their eyes would not have beheld anything of me except a spirit pervading the garments of a dead man.

(40 40) And ever since my tracks were obliterated and I wandered distraught, I had vain imaginings about my existence, but my thought could not lay hold upon it.

(41 41) And after this, my feelings (of love) for thee became self-subsistent (independent of my phenomenal being): my proof is the fact that my spirit existed before my mortal frame.

(42) I told how I fared in my love of thee, not because impatience made me weary of my sufferings, but in order to assuage my grief.

(43) ’Tis good to show fortitude towards enemies, but in the presence of loved ones aught save weakness is unseemly.

(44) The excellence of my patience keeps me from complaining, though if I complained to my enemies of what I feel, they would do away with my complaint.

(45) And the issue of my patience in loving thee is praiseworthy if I endure the sorrows thou layest on me; but if I endure to be separated from thee, it is not praiseworthy.

(46 46) Whatever woe befalls me is a favour, inasmuch as my purpose holds firm against breaking my vows;

(47) So for every pain in love, when it arises from thee, I give thanks instead of complaining.

(48) Ay, and if the agonies of passion do me despite, yet are they reckoned in love as a kindness;

(49 49) And my unhappiness, nay, my tribulation is a bounty when wrought by thee, and my raiment of hardship worn for thy sake is the most ample of felicities.

(50 50) My ancient fealty to thee caused me to regard the worst of slaves, who were bestowed on me (by thee), as the best of treasures.

(51 51) One of them a railer and one a slanderer: the former leads me astray because of vainglory, while the latter talks foolishness about me because of jealousy.

(52 52) I oppose that one in his blame, from fear (of God), and I ally myself with this one in his meanness, from caution.

(53) And my face was not turned from thy path by dread of that which I encountered, nor by any harm that smote me therein,

(54) Although in bearing what hath befallen me on account of thee I have no patience that tends to praise of me or to the lauding of my love;

(55 55) But thy beauty, which calls to thee (every heart), ordained that I should endure all that I have told and all the sequel of my tale to its farthest length.

(56) It was only because thou appearedst to mine eye with the most perfect qualities, surpassing (mortal) loveliness;

(57) And thou madest my tribulation an ornament to me and gavest it a free hand over me, and coming from thee it was the most glorious of distinctions;

(58 58) For when one is snared by Beauty, methinks his soul (even) from the most delicious life is (gladly) rendered up to death.

(59) A soul that thinks to meet with no suffering in love, when it addresses itself to love, is spurned.

(60 No spirit that was given repose ever gained love, nor did any soul that desired a tranquil life ever win devotion.

(61 61) Tranquillity! how far is it from the life of a lover! The garden of Eden is compassed about with terrors.

(62 62) Mine is a noble soul—a soul that would not forget thee even though thou shouldst offer it, on condition of forgetting thee, what is beyond its wishes;

(63) A soul that would not let go the true love I bear, even though it were removed far (from thee) by scorn and absence and hatred and the cutting off of hope.

(64) I have no way of departing from my Way in love, and if ever I shall turn aside from it, I shall abandon my religion;

(65) And had a thought of fondness towards any one save thee come into my mind unawares, I should have pronounced myself a heretic.

(66) ’Tis for thee to give judgment in my case. Do as thou wilt, for my feeling towards thee was ever desire, not aversion.

(67) I swear by the firm pact of love between us, which was not alloyed with any imagination of annulment—and ’tis the best of oaths—

(68) And by thy taking the covenant of troth in a place where I did not appear in such a form that my soul was clothed in the shadow of my clay,

(69 69) And by the primal pledge that never was changed since I plighted it, and by the succeeding bond that was too solemn for any frailty to loose,

(70 70) And by the rising of thy radiant countenance, whose splendour caused all the full moons to become invisible,

(71 71) And by the attribute of perfection in thee, from which the fairest and shapeliest form in creation drew support,

(72) And by the quality of thy majesty with which my torment is pleasant to me and my being slain is sweet;

(73) And by the mystery of thy beauty, whereby all loveliness in the world is manifested and fulfilled;

(74) And by thy comeliness which captivates the mind and which guided me to a love wherein my abasement for thy glory's sake was comely;

(75 75) And by an idea in thee beyond comeliness—an idea which I beheld through itself, too subtle to be apprehended by the eye of perception:

(76) Verily, thou art the desire of my heart, and the end of my search, and the goal of my aim, and my choice and my chosen.

(77 77) I disrobed myself of modesty and deprecation, clothing myself in shamelessness, rejoicing in my disrobing and in my robe;

(78) And ’tis my duty to cast off modesty for thy sake, even though my folk shrink from approaching me; and shamelessness is my law.

(79 79) And no folk of mine are they, so long as they find fault with my recklessness and show hatred and deem it right to abuse me for thy sake.

(80 80) My fellows in the religion of love are those who love; and they have approved my ignominy and thought well of my disgrace.

(81 81) Let who will be wroth, save only thee: there is no harm (in their anger), when the noble of my kin are pleased with me.

(82 82) If the ascetics are fascinated by some of the beauties that are thine, everything in thee is the source of my fascination.

(83 83) And I never was bewildered until I chose love of thee as a religion. Woe is me for my bewilderment, had it not been on account of thee!"

(84) She said, "Another's love thou hast sought and hast taken the wrong path, forsaking in thy blindness the highway unto me.

(85) And the imposture of a soul that cherished vain desires beguiled thee so that thou saidst what thou saidst, putting on thereby the shame of falsehood,

(86 86) And didst covet the most precious of boons with a soul that crossed its bound and trespassed.

(87) How wilt thou win my love, which is the best of affections, by means of pretence, which is the worst of qualities?

(88 88) Where is Suhá to a man blind from birth who in his confusion has forgotten what he seeks? Nay, thy vain hopes have duped thee,

(89 89) So that thou stoodest in a position to which thy rank was inferior, on a foot that overstepped not its own province,

(90) And soughtest a thing towards which how many stretched out their necks and were beheaded!

(91 91) Thou didst come to tents which are not entered by their back parts and whose doors are closed against the knocking of one like thee;

(92 92) And thou didst lay (as an offering) before thy converse (with me) mere tinsel, aiming thereby at a glory whose ends are hard to reach;

(93 93) And thou camest to woo my pure love with a shining face, not letting thine honour be lost in this world or in the next;

(94 94) But hadst thou been with me as the kasra below the dot of the letter b, thou wouldst have been raised to a rank that thine own effort did not gain for thee,

(95) Where thou wouldst see that what thou didst (formerly) regard is not worth a thought, and that what thou didst provide is no (sufficient) provision.

(96 96) To those who are rightly guided the straight road unto me is plain, but all men are made blind by their desires.

(97) It is time that I reveal (the nature of) thy love, and who it is that hath wasted thee, by a denial of thy claim to love me.

(98 98) Thou art sworn to love, but to love of self: amongst my proofs (of this) is the fact that thou sufferest one of thy attributes to remain in existence.

(99 99) For thou lov’st me not, so long as thou hast not passed away in me; and thou hast not passed away, so long as my form is not seen within thee.

199:1 (1) I.e. "my love arose from contemplation of Divine Beauty, which transcends phenomenal beauty" (?usn). Cf. p. 90, note 1.

199:2 (2) "In order to disguise my love and to guard myself against reproach, I let my comrades, i.e. the worshippers of material beauty, suppose that my love was of the same kind as theirs."

199:3 (3) "But in fact my vision of Divine Beauty took away all desire to behold the form in which material beauty is contained, like wine in a cup." So K. rightly explains the verse, regarding al-?adaq (properly, "the blacks of the eyes") as equivalent to ?adaqí, "my eyes." N., however, understands by al-?adaq "the darkness of phenomenal being" and by qada?í ("my cup") the Divine Essence (cf. verse 1). According to his interpretation, the poet means to say that whereas he formerly saw only the Divine Reality, and not phenomena, he had now reached the higher stage of seeing phenomena in their true relation to that Reality—a relation symbolised by his description of them as the black of the all-encompassing Divine eye.

199:4 (4) "I render thanks to the votaries of vulgar love"—the "youths" are the "comrades" of verse 2—"because my being confused with them enables me to hide my love from the ignorant, though its real nature is well-known to mystics." N. gives an unsuitable explanation, viz. "In my ecstasy I praised the illustrious theosophists who taught me the mysteries of Divine Love, which are hidden from the vulgar."

199:5 (5) The intoxication of ecstasy is associated with unreserve (bas?); restraint (qab?) is characteristic of the return to consciousness (sobriety).

200:6 (6) Prof. Nallino (op. cit. p. 68) proposes to take baqá as an accusative of duration, but this seems to me unnecessary. The poet likens the continuance of self-regard—?a?? = ?a??u ’l-nafs (see Glossary to the Kitáb al-Luma‘)—to the watcher (raqíb) who prevents the lover from gaining access to the beloved.

200:7 (7) The illuminated mystic suffers an effacement (ma?w) of his human attributes. The restoration (ithbát) of these attributes coincides with the occultation of the Divine light in his heart.

200:8 (8) "Let me behold thee, ere my rapture makes me one with thee, so that I can no more behold thee."

200:9 (9) "If thou wilt not grant me vision, at least let me hear thee deny it to me, as thou didst once deny it to Moses (Kor. 7, 139)."

200:10 (10) "Inasmuch as I desire vision, which cannot be attained in the state of drunkenness (entire loss of self-consciousness), I have need of a return to sobriety; yet sobriety brings with it repentance (tawba)—as Moses, on coming out of his swoon, cried, 'Glory to thee! I turn to thee with repentance' (Kor. 7, 140)—and a renewal of the anguish of love" (described in the following verses). The "recovery" which the poet desires is not the heartbreaking relapse into normal consciousness after ecstasy, but the state of abnormal consciousness and clairvoyance (technically known as "the second sobriety" or "the second separation") which is characteristic of the unitive life at its highest level. Cf. notes on vv. 213-4. 233-5, 479.

200:11 (11) This verse alludes to the same passage of the Koran: "And when Moses came at our appointed time and his Lord spake unto him, Moses said, 'O Lord! let me see, that I may behold thee.' God answered, 'Thou shalt not see me, but look towards the mountain: if it stand firm in its place, then shalt thou see me.' But when his Lord revealed himself to the mountain, he razed it to the earth, and Moses fell in a swoon."

201:13 (13) Abraham, having broken his people's idols, was cast into a burning fire, which by the command of God became cold and did him no harm (Kor. 21, 52 foll.).

201:17 (17) K. explains that the "guide" is the person who reproaches the lover and tries to induce him to forget his beloved. According to N., the "guide" is "the perfect spiritual director."

201:20 (20) The spy (muráqib) apparently signifies here the judgment or estimative faculty (wahm). Cf. verse 137. "My way of love" is K.'s rendering of síratí. N. defines it more explicitly as "my outward state," i.e., acts of worship and devotion, asceticism, piety and thanksgiving.

201:21 (21) Or, reading wa?fan for ma‘nan, "I appeared to him only in virtue of my external attributes, such as my acts of devotion" (N.).

201:22 (22) N. says: "This is the practice of the Nagshbandís at the present day. Whilst engaged in silent meditation, they converse spiritually and understand each other though no word is uttered."

202:24 (24) "The tribe," i.e. my ?úfí brethren.

202:29 (29) "A malady that hid me from him": cf. verse 21.

202:30 (30-33) In these verses the poet describes the passing-away (faná) of the phenomenal self in the rapture of love. "Like tears": cf. verse 12.

202:32 (32) His ecstasy was the result of successive states of Divine manifestation (tajallí) and occultation (tawallí). Instead of "presence" (?a?ra) N. reads "favour" (?u?wa).

202:33 (33) According to K., "the abode of my exile" means this phenomenal existence by which the heart is separated from God. N., taking li-faná’i in the sense of ilá faná’i, paraphrases the verse as follows: "If my heart were sent back from the sphere of thy most beautiful Names (the Divine Attributes) to the original state of non-existence in which I was before I manifested the light of thy real Being, which is the sphere of the most beautiful Names, it would not desire the home of my exile (i.e. my original non-existence)." The poet (he says) describes this original state as "exile," p. 203 because, if he returned to it, it would seem strange to him after his long absence—a very forced interpretation, I think.

203:35 (35) "Few," i.e. in comparison with the whole. Another rendering is "they would be little," i.e. less than they are in reality, but this does not preserve the natural antithesis of kathiratin and qallat.

203:36 (36) "My cure was on the point of death" (K.) or "became incurable" (N.), i.e. I could not possibly be cured, because the presence of the beloved, which relieves pain, also kindles in me a fiercer flame of love.

203:37 (37) "My faná is so complete that not only do I feel no pleasure but my very selfhood (dhát) has vanished."

203:38 (38) The "visitors" are the sick man's friends who come to see how he is. On the Guarded Tablet (al-Law?u ’l-ma?fú?) are inscribed the archetypes of all things past, present and future.

203:39 (39) "Eyes," oculi cordis. "The garments of a dead man": K. says, "i.e. the members of my body, which are the vesture of my dead soul (nafs)." The word for "garments" (athwáb or thiyáb) sometimes has this meaning in non-mystical Arabic poetry. Ibnu ’l-Fári? indicates that Love has left in him nothing except what is immortal and incorruptible, namely, his spirit (rú?), which belongs to the Unseen World.

203:40 (40) " Since my passing-away (faná) my thought searches in vain after my lost self."

203:41 (41) "My love of God is not a property of my perishable self (nafs), but of my spirit (rú?); otherwise the rú? would be dependent on the (nafs), which p. 204 is not the case, for it existed before the creation of the body." Cf. the Tradition, "God created the spirits two thousand years before the bodies." According to N., the poet associates his love with his original state of nonexistence, i.e. when he existed only in the eternal knowledge of God. This verse explains why love continues after the passing-away (faná) of the lover.

204:46 (46) The clause, "inasmuch as, etc." conveys an intimation that it is only to the constant lover that afflictions are favours in disguise.

204:49 (49) K. says: "He rejects the word 'unhappiness' (shaqá) and substitutes 'tribulation' (balá), because the sufferings of love are not an unhappiness, but a trial and probation, which is a mark of regard (iltifát) on the part of the Beloved towards the lover and is therefore the very essence of happiness."

204:50 (50) "My ancient fealty": see note on verse 69. "The best of treasures," because they were the predestined means by which my love was tried.

204:51 (51) This verse is variously read. I translate li-‘izzatin in the first hemistich and li-ghayrati in the second. According to K., the "railer" is p. 205 the Devil, who in the guise of a candid friend seeks to draw the pilgrim into the path of sensuality, while the "slanderer" is the Angel, who exhorts him to piety and other-worldliness, thereby diverting him from his love of the Divine Essence. Cf. the passage in the Koran (2, 28), where the angels, being jealous of Adam, maligned him and said to God, "Wilt Thou place on the earth (as Thy vicegerent) one who will do evil there?" See also note on verse 400.

205:52 (52) "I resist the Devil because I should be separated from God, if I were to succumb to his wiles; but not the Angel, because I am afraid of letting him know my real aspiration." The Angel is described as "mean," for he attributes the love and wrath of God to secondary causes, such as obedience and disobedience—he thinks, e.g., that Adam's sin was the cause of his incurring the Divine anger—whereas in truth God's love and wrath are eternal and uncaused. The poet, though professing to agree with the Angel, keeps to himself the higher knowledge to which none but mystics can attain, who love God not as the Lord of Paradise, but as the Essence of all that exists.

205:55 (55-57) " Thy beauty called me to union with thee, and since union with thee requires complete detachment from the phenomenal self—a result which cannot be secured without much suffering—thou didst cause my suffering to appear to me in the form of thy beauty."

205:58 (58) "Death," i.e. faná.

206:61 (61) "The garden of Eden, etc.": this sentence is borrowed from a Tradition of the Prophet—"Paradise is encompassed with things disliked, and Hell with things desired," i.e. Paradise is reached only by passing through painful experiences.

206:62 (62) "A noble soul": literally, "the soul of a free man." Freedom (?urriyya), as a mystical term, denotes emancipation from the bondage of creatureliness.

206:69 (69) K. identifies "the primal pledge" with "the covenant of troth" mentioned in the preceding verse. This refers to a passage of the Koran (7, 171) where it is written that God, having drawn forth from the loins of Adam all the future generations of mankind, said to them, "Am not I your Lord?" and received the answer, "Yea," which (according to the ?úfí interpretation) sealed the covenant of mutual love between God and His creatures. "The succeeding bond," into which they entered after their souls had been joined to their bodies, is the bond of Islam contracted through the mediation of the prophets. N. most unreasonably explains "the primal pledge" as the pledge given by Mohammed's vicegerents and companions to accept his religion, and "the succeeding bond" as the solemn vow made by Ibnu ’l-Fári? to his spiritual directors that he would be steadfast in the Mohammedan faith.

207:70 (70) As the moon is hidden by its nearness to the sun on the last night of the lunar month, so the Divine attributes are eclipsed by the splendour of the Essence which reveals them.

207:71 (71-73) In these verses the poet describes the three main aspects, in one or other of which all the Divine attributes, except those that are purely essential, may be regarded: viz. perfection (kamál), majesty (jalál), and beauty (jamál). "The fairest and shapeliest form" is the Perfect Man (al-insánu ’l-kámil), who was created in God's image. "Fulfilled," i.e. through the love that Divine beauty inspires.

207:75 (75) "An idea in thee beyond comeliness" (?usn). i.e. Absolute Beauty (jamál).

207:77 (77) K. omits this verse, which is certainly spurious (see Nallino, op. cit. p. 56). Having translated it, I let it stand, as its removal would alter the numeration of the verses from this point to the end of the poem.

207:79 (79) "They who find fault, etc." i.e. the exoteric ?úfís, who devote themselves to asceticism and religious works and dislike mystical enthusiasm.

208:80 (80) The commentators say that Ibnu ’l-Fári? alludes here to the school of ?úfís who are known as the Malámatís, because they deliberately acted in such a way as to incur blame (malámat). See Kashf al-Ma?júb (translation), pp. 62-9.

208:81 (81) According to K., the words "when the noble of my kin, etc." are a half-verse composed by another poet and inserted by Ibnu ’l-Fári? as a quotation (ta?mín).

208:82 (82) While ascetics love God for His mercy and for the blessings which He bestows on them now and hereafter, true mystics love Him for all His attributes, since they behold the beauty of His essence in all His manifestations—in His wrath and vengeance no less than in His mercy and forgiveness.

208:83 (83) Bewilderment (?ayra) when caused by letting the eye wander in different directions, is pernicious; but praiseworthy, when it is the result of gazing concentratedly on the beauty of the Beloved. The latter is characteristic of one who has lost himself in Divine contemplation. "O Lord, increase my bewilderment!" was a famous ?úfí's prayer.

208:86 (86) "The most precious of boons," i.e. Divine Love. "Crossed its bound," because the appetitive soul (nafs) has no object beyond its own gratification.

208:88 (88) To win Divine Love by false pretences is as impossible as to be blind and see the star Suhá, which is so small and obscure that only the keenest sight can descry it.

209:89 (89) "On a foot, etc." i.e. relying on thy lower self (nafs), which never transcends the sphere of its selfish interests.

209:91 (91) Cf. Kor. 2, 185: "It is not righteousness that ye should come into houses (tents) by the back parts thereof." The back parts of the House of Love, through which none can enter it, are egoism and self-conceit; the door that lets in those worthy of admission is self-abandonment (faná).

209:92 (92) " Instead of being ready to sacrifice thy existence as an individual in the hope of attaining unto me, thou broughtest me nothing but thine own acts and words and feelings."

209:93 (93) The true lover has no regard for his name and fame. Cf. the Tradition, "Spiritual poverty is blackness of the face in both worlds."

209:94 (94) "As the kasra, etc." i.e. having no independent existence, but subsisting only through God. Kasra is the vowel i, which is always written under the consonant that it belongs to. The letter b (?) denotes the form of phenomenal being, just as the letter a (?) denotes the form of Real Being; while the dot of the b symbolises contingency as opposed to absoluteness. Hence the mystical saying, "Existence was manifested by means of b, and the worshipper was distinguished from the Worshipped by means of the dot."

209:96 (96) "The straight road," i.e. selflessness (faná).

210:98 (98) "One of thy attributes," because an attribute implies a subject in which it inheres; and that subject is thy "self" (nafs), one of whose attributes is the desire to enjoy vision and contemplation of God. N. quotes the saying of Abú ’l-?asan al-Shádhilí, "The desire of union with God is one of the things that most effectually separate from God."

210:99 (99) Real love is nothing less than faná, which is here defined as the appearance of Divine attributes in the lover (K.) or God's unveiling Himself in the mystic's heart (N.).



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