The Discloser of Desires (Abridged Version)
This book is one of two unique versions of one of Ibn Arabi's masterworks: the Turjumân al-Ashwâq and his own commentary on it: Dhakhâìr al-Aălâq. This great work by Ibn Arabi has always been characterized by its bilateral nature; on the outer form it is wonderful pure love poetry, yet it has a distinctive inner interpretation on the spiritual and divine planes. More
This book is one of two unique versions of one of Ibn Arabi's masterworks: the Turjumân al-Ashwâq and his own commentary on it: Dhakhâìr al-Aălâq. This great work by Ibn Arabi has always been characterized by its bilateral nature; on the outer form it is wonderful pure love poetry, yet it has a distinctive inner interpretation on the spiritual and divine planes. This book has been translated into English at least twice before, but the problem is how to illustrate its two completely different sides at the same time.
Therefore, this innovative translation is executed in two different modes; for the poems themselves the rhythmic style was given the priority by concentrating on the sentiments the author desired to disclose, while giving more variations and minutiae when expounding them by translating Ibn Arabi's own commentaries and also extensively linking with related concepts from his other books.
The first version is published under the title: "The Discloser of Desires", which contains the Turjumân al-Ashwâq alone, and the second takes the title: "The Precious Repository in Expounding the Discloser of Desires", which contains Dhakhâìr al-Aălâq fi sharh Turjumân al-Ashwâq, and both include an extensive introduction to the book and to the Greatest Master Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi. The abridged version should be enough for someone who only wants to enjoy reading this inspiring chef-d'oeuvre, while the full version could be nominated to those who would like to explore Ibn Arabi's immense knowledge and prominent divine wisdom.
The Turjumân is a collection of sixty poems that vary in length from two to thirty seven verses. There is also the short poem that was the juncture and cause for his meeting with Nizam as he mentioned in the introduction. It is not very clear whether this particular poem belongs to him, or he was simply reciting it, especially that he ascribes it to a third party pronoun, though quite often he uses this style referring to himself. Either case, and since he expounds it at the beginning, we shall consider this poem as part of the Turjumân, which makes the total sixty one. But unlike this latter poem, there is also another longer one in the introduction in which Ibn Arabi announces the divine and mystical significances behind the outer form of the love lyrics he used, so this poem cannot be counted as belonging to the main corpus of the Turjumân itself, although it is composed by him.
The Turjumân borrows many geographical and religious expressions such places in Mecca and Arabia, both ritual and geographic, in addition to standard poetic terms such as doves and different kinds of local trees, valleys, mountains, winds, east and west breathes, camels, desert formations and landscapes, … etc. The main scheme in most poems is that the beloved overwhelms the poet with her beauty and then departs; leaving him in a state of longing, hence the title: Turjumân al-Ashwâq.
Therefore, as we can see, we really need to draw fine lines between translating and transliterating the names used in the Turjuman. Even after that it would not be so easy to catch all the meanings since Ibn Arabi uses many sacramental and archaic names as we pointed out above. For this reason the reader is always encouraged to read the Turjuman Terminology below where I very briefly defined all the terms and names used in the Turjuman, in a form that should be enough to illuminate the lively temporal and environmental circumstances of that era.
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