Al-Shushtari – searchable text
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I see those who bid us seek not the reward, but something more,
inspired by a thought that shot an arrow surpassing Eden.
Our bidder is what we seek, within our own existence;
through it we disappear to ourselves when lightning hits.
We abandon our inclination to the pleasures of the low places,
deserting the distant purpose for the most brilliant quest.
And we find the existence of the cosmos to be but delusion.
Nothing is fixed. This is the essence of extinction.
The rejection of multiplicity is a duty for us,
because our creed is to obliterate polytheism and doubt.
But how to reject [multiplicity],
for those who reject are [themselves the] rejected: us
and what we were.
So you who speak of union while at the station that
is veiled from [union]; listen well, as we have already done.
You are bound in conjecture that has overcome
you; the light of reason conferred on you a prison.
You fell in love with the lights; we understood their source,
the fountainhead from which they came into being. We did not fall.
The lights can veil [reality] from the servant, just as
darkness binds the soul filled with spite.
What kind of union can be claimed in this case,
if the most perfect of men did not claim. certainty?
If God’s mystery could be known in this way,
would the commoners say to us: “Look, we do not fail”?
How much strife and toils before reaching it
and how many [wildernesses] have we traversed?
On the journey, pay heed to nothing else, that is, nothing but
God alone. Hold fast to His remembrance as a fortress.
Don’t stop in any station, for they are
a veil; be earnest in the journey and seek aid.
No matter what levels appear before
you, let them go. Those we abandoned were much the same.
And say: I have no desire but Your essence.
Therefore, no image appears, no rare treasure is collected.
Go toward the banners on the right, for they
are the path to good fortune. Do not abandon good fortune.
Great horror lies before you; listen to my advice,
a binding-cord on reason, indeed, we have turned away from it.
Our goal is the rejection of reason, and this is our pilgrimage
and our proof; what follows is the “b” in which we are enraptured.
[Reason] impedes our ascent because
it would that we stay here, rather than attain the highland.
Among [reason’s] aspects, three are manifest to us:
as seers, as seen, and in the seeing of which we speak.
Reason views man as a slave in his permanence.
he returns a lord through extinction, and [reason] has no extinction.
As tablet, if the lines of our being are manifest
to it, through it, [reason] is the tablet and the small Pen
sketching out the lines of time. From its perspective
its comprehension is the utmost, and in it we are manifest.
It established the lotus tree of its essence beneath dahr
We and description of totality confused ourselves in describing it.
[Reason] confines Eternity within time just as
from its essence it fashions joints for bodies.
It fashions the Throne, the Chair, the Orbit, and the celestial bodies;
its ocean is that in which we swim.
In appearance it divides the whole of matter
and diversity is made whole because our triumph has interlocked it.
It made multiple that which was but One
by pronouncing names through which meaning is dispersed.
It ascends, and the ascent is from itself to its essence;
to get to its highest stage we must use imagination.
And it creates a lowness and makes us imagine a descent,
forcing our souls to go down.
It ordains union after its own separation
and imposes distances that must be traversed as if a wilderness.
The stage of plurality reveals to us its uncertainty,
when [plurality] flashes from it, the falsehood catches up with it.
It attains the level of the polytheism of the dualists.
Reason is made apparent through them.
For we are like a silkworm, enveloped by what
we fashion, in pushing back the encirclement, we are imprisoned within it.
How often it destroys the bystander, and how often it rightly guides the traveller,
how often it reveals wisdom and how it enriches the poor.
It enthralled the hearts of all the Hermes,
and it sufficed for Socrates to dwell in the barrel,
and to abstract all the forms of the world
and reveal Plato in his ultimate beauty.
And Aristotle became enamoured until he became peripatetic out of his love,
and spread his ideas and did not withold anything.
It helped Dhu al-Qarnayn in his achievements,
for he was the one who sought the spring of life.
and he searched for the origin of what you know,
and in searching he overlooked the well when prevented by clouds.
And it made Hallaj enjoy the taste of unity
so he cried out, “I am the one uncircumscribed by meaning.”
He was told to retract what he said and he said, “No. I
drank the wine that makes all those who taste it sing.”
And it uttered through al-Shibli the union that
he referred to when he effaced the universe.
And it enraptured the essence of al-Niffari so that he
spoke of monotheism until it became his companion.
He was a speaker between two essences. He who is
Poor can see the ocean into which we have plunged.
It silenced Ibn Jinni in his “Tajrid al-Khalq”;
the matter was such it made his eloquence incoherent.
Qadib al-Ban was made drunk drinking its wine,
for he was like the others but he was dualist.
It made al-Shudhi leave his kindred, so he did not
incline toward friendship or to dwell in cities.
In it al-Suhrawardi became bewildered.
He shouted, but existence (al-wujud) did not listen.
Through it, Ibn Qasi, wrote “Khal‘ Na‘l wujudihi” and “Libs Ihata”,
which made us repent of the forbidden.
Al-Masatra made pleasure the cupbearer,
represented the mysteries symbolically and bade the rain to fall.
Because of his proximity to reason, the radiance of lightning
gleamed upon lbn Sina, and he thought what he thought.
Al-Ghazali imitated what I have mentioned
but he was inclined toward Sufism.
It awoke Ibn Tufayl and Tbn Rushd;
the Epistle of Awakening brought destruction.
It clothed al-Shu’ayb in the garment of unity of its essence;
he dragged over those envious of him the trail and the sleeve [of his garment].
Add in it Ibn al-(Arabi cloaked the simplicity of his being,
in it the presence of the drunken profligate he removed the weakness.
He publicly called himself spirit of the Spirit, and he was not tested.
He saw no peer or equal in the mystical station.
In it [reason] ‘Umar ibn al-Farid, the poet who gave himself over
to travel, eased what is difficult.
Ihn al-Harrali proclaimed it when
he saw his hiddeness was weakness and his manifestation cloudy.
Al-Umawi had verse and prose on what
we mention and arguments like those we have.
Al-Ghafiqi revealed what was hidden [in it]
and revealed its levels, taking away the clouds and the darkness.
He clarified the mysteries of worship
from their manifestation, which were not freed from confusion and error.
We unveiled the cloak from its intermingling with its secret
and what you saw hidden in it became visible.
He guided us to the creed of al-Haqq, that caused us to lose ourselves
by His power over our hearts and in Him we were guided.
Those who desire to go to the side of
holiness, let them accept it from us.