Selected Poetry: Hafiz and Ibn al-Arabi

Would You Think It Odd?

“I am in love with every church
And mosque
And temple
And any kind of shrine

Because I know it is there
That people say the different names
Of the One God.”

Would you tell your friends
I was a bit strange if I admitted

I am indeed in love with every mind
And heart and body.

O I am sincerely
Plumb crazy
About your every thought and yearning
And limb
Because, my dear,
I know
That it is through these

That you search for Him


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 Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.

ibn al-`Arabi, Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, in The Mystics of Islam, translated
by Reynold A Nicholson


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