Photo: A market in Aïn Témouchent in north western Algeria; 1905.
In the empty heart, void of self
Can be heard the echoing cry,
"I am the Truth."
Thus is man one with the Eternal,
Traveling, travel and traveler have become one.
(Mahmud Ibn 'Abd Al-Kar Shabistari)
'Secret Rose Garden'
By Mahmud Ibn 'Abd Al-Kar Shabistari (Author), David Fideler (Editor)
The mystic verse of Shabistari, written during a period of fierce conflict between Christianity and Islam in the fourteenth century, must be considered among the greatest poetry of any time or land. Restating ibn 'Arabi's ideas in poetic form and treating such themes as the Spiritual Journey, Time and This Dream-World, and the ecstasy of Divine Inebriation, it bears perennial witness to the capabilities and destiny of humanity. While he was deeply rooted in the Sufi mystical tradition, there are no cultural gaps to be bridged, for he was keenly aware of that one unique truth which all religions strive to approximate. Thus he writes: 'I' and 'you' are but the lattices, / In the niches of a lamp, / Through which the One Light shines. / 'I' and 'you' are the veil / Between heaven and earth; / Lift this veil and you will see / No longer the bonds of sects and creeds. / When 'I' and 'you' do not exist, /What is mosque, what is synagogue? / What is the Temple of Fire.