Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 03, 2005

Notes on love from Araby

Sahl said: “Whoso loves God, he is life; but whoso loves, he has no life.” By the words “he is life” he means that his live is agreeable, because the lover finds delight in whatever comes to him from the beloved, whether it be loathsome or desirable; while by “he has no life” he means that, as he is ever seeking to reach what he loves, and ever fearing that he may be prevented from attaining it, his whole life is lost. One of the great Sufis said: “Love is a pleasure, and with God there is no pleasure; for the stations of reality are astonishment, surrender and bewilderment.”

-- Al-Kalanadhi (transl. Jack Lindsay)

Desire is the capital of the lover’s kingdom. In that capital there is set a throne of the torment of parting, and there is drawn a sword of the terror of separation, and there is laid on the hand of hope a branch of the narcissus of union; and every moment a thousand heads fall by that sword. And seven thousand years have passed, and that narcissus is still fresh and blooming, and never has the hand of any hope attained thereto.

-- Bayazid of Bistam (d. 874), transl. Jack Lindsay


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