Tarjuman al-ashwaq | A collection of Mystical Odes | Arabic + English

Tarjuman al-ashwaq | A collection of Mystical Odes | Arabic + English



Author: Muhiyuddin Ibn al-Arabi.
Translator: Renold A. Nicholson
Pages: 168
Publisher: Ibn al-Arabi Books
Year 2024

Availability: 44 in stock


Availability: 44 in stock

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Book Description

The book “Tarjuman al-Ashwaq” is a collection of mystical odes by Muhyiddin Ibn Al-‘Arabi, edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson. This profound work delves into the intricate relationship between God and the world, and the unique spiritual bond between God and man. It explores the essence of divine love, the mystical interpretation of religious beliefs. The preface reveals Ibn Al-‘Arabi’s intention to symbolize divine influences, spiritual revelations, and sublime analogies through his poetry, distancing from any ordinary, profane interpretations. It’s an enlightening read for those interested in Sufi literature, Islamic mysticism, and the profound insights of one of the most celebrated mystics in Islamic history.

The preface and annotations by Nicholson offer valuable context, exploring the historical and cultural background of Ibn Al-Arabi’s work, as well as the complex symbolism within his poetry. The document also addresses the controversy and interpretation challenges surrounding Ibn Al-Arabi’s use of erotic language to express spiritual concepts, highlighting the esoteric meanings behind the ostensibly romantic verses. This edition is a significant resource for scholars and readers interested in Sufi literature, mysticism, and the interplay between love and spirituality in Islamic culture.

The Arabic edition of “Tarjuman al-Ashwaq” by Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, edited by Reynold A. Nicholson, is based on three different manuscripts. These manuscripts are mentioned in the preface of the document, where Nicholson discusses the various recensions (versions) of the text. He describes the differences between these manuscripts and explains the historical and literary context of their creation. Additionally, Nicholson provides insights into the mystical interpretations and literary qualities of Ibn Arabi’s poetry in these manuscripts, highlighting their significance in the context of Sufi literature and Islamic mysticism.

"God manifests Himself in every atom of creation: He is revealed in every intelligible object and concealed from every intelligence except the intelligence of those who say that the Universe is His form and ipseity inasmuch as He stands in the same relation to phenomenal objects as the spirit to the body."

Nizam and Ibn al-Arabi

In Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, the term “Nizam” is invoked to elucidate various facets and elements.

  1. Historical Context: Nizam is mentioned as someone from the past, associated with the author Ibn al-‘Arabi’s visit to Mecca around 598 A.H. (1215 A.D.). Her father, Makinu ’ddin, is noted to have already passed away by this time.

  2. Symbolic Representation: Nizam is portrayed symbolically as a figure of heavenly perfection and an embodiment of Divine love and beauty. She is likened to Beatrice, suggesting a representation of idealized spiritual love and divine inspiration.

  3. Physical and Moral Attributes: Nizam was known for her beauty, asceticism, and eloquent preaching. Her full name is given as Nizam ‘Aynu ’sh-Shams wa ’1-Baha (نظام عين الشمس والبهاء). The text notes that the author refrained from elaborating on her physical and moral perfections due to the potential impact on human souls.

  4. Mystical Knowledge and Asceticism: Nizam is alluded to in the context of mystical knowledge, described as “under the veil of an-Nizam.” Her asceticism is highlighted, positioning her as a figure of spiritual significance, akin to a princess among ascetics, who are metaphorically referred to as “the kings of the earth”.

About the author

Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi
Ibn al-Arabi, full name Muḥyī al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-ʿArabī al-Ḥātimī aṭ-Ṭāʾī, born in 560 AH (1165 AD) in Andalusian Spain, was a revered spiritual teacher known as Muhyiddin and Shaykh al-Akbar. In the vibrant cultural hub of Andalusia, he absorbed a rich blend of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought. Ibn ‘Arabi’s spiritual prowess and visionary abilities were evident from an early age.

He authored over 350 works, including the Fusûs al-Hikam, delving into the inner wisdom of prophets across Judaic, Christian, and Islamic traditions. His monumental Futûhât al-Makkiyya serves as a comprehensive encyclopedia of spiritual knowledge, harmonizing tradition, reason, and mystical insight. Ibn ‘Arabi’s poetry in the Diwân and Tarjumân al-Ashwâq showcases Arabic linguistic excellence.

Central to his philosophy is the concept of the Unity of Being, where the indivisible reality manifests in all aspects of the world. Grounded in the Quran, Ibn ‘Arabi’s teachings emphasize the uniqueness of each person’s path to truth, uniting diverse paths. His profound influence extends to Islam’s development, Western philosophy, and literature. In the modern world, Ibn ‘Arabi’s wisdom provides insights into the essence of human existence.

About the translator

Reynold A. Nicholson

Reynold A. Nicholson was a renowned British scholar and orientalist with a profound influence on the academic study of Islamic mysticism and philosophy. His significant contribution lies in his extensive translations and interpretations of the works of Ibn Arabi, the eminent 13th-century Sufi philosopher and mystic. Nicholson’s scholarly prowess and deep understanding of Arabic and Persian languages allowed him to delve into the intricate writings of Ibn Arabi, making his teachings more accessible to English-speaking audiences. His rigorous and nuanced approach to translating and analyzing Ibn Arabi’s writings paved the way for a greater appreciation of the complex mystical ideas presented by the philosopher. Thus, Nicholson’s scholarly engagement with Ibn Arabi’s works not only enriched the understanding of Sufism and Islamic philosophy in the West but also contributed significantly to the broader discourse on mysticism and spirituality worldwide.


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