A garden among the flames

O Marvel,
a garden among the flames!

My heart can take on
any form:
a meadow for gazelles,
a cloister for monks,

For the idols, sacred ground,
Ka’ba for the circling pilgrim,
the tables of the Torah,
the scrolls of the Qur’an.

I profess the religion of love;
wherever its caravan turns along the way,
that is the belief,
the faith I keep.

The poem is expressing the highest spiritual stage of a soul – ‘Freedom from Duality’; being able to see Unity in Multiplicity and Multiplicity in Unity.

(From Poem 11 of the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, translation by Michael A. Sells)

Shaykh Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi  (R) (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. 

Painting by Anne Cotterill (1933 – 2010) Scotland, UK