He saw the lightning in the east and longed for the east,
but if it had flashed in the west he would have longed for the west.
My desire is for the lightning and its gleam, not for the places and the earth.
The east wind related to me from them a tradition handed down successively,
from distracted thoughts,
from my passion,
from my tribulation,
from my reason,
from my eyelid,
from my heart,
That “He whom you love is between your ribs; the breaths toss him from side to side.”
I said to the east wind, “Bring a message to him and say that he is the enkindler of the fire within my heart
If it shall be quenched, then everlasting union, and if it shall burn, then no blame to the lover!”
(Poem 14 of the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, translated by R.A. Nicholson)
Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi (1165 – 1240) was a poet, philosopher and scholar. He is also well known as AL Shaykh Al Akbar or The Greatest Teacher, in the field of Islamic Spirituality.
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