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The Wine-Song (Al-Khamriyya) by Umar Ibn al-Farid (1181-1235); Translation by Martin Lings

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The Wine-Song (Al-Khamriyya) by Umar Ibn al-Farid (1181-1235); Translation by Martin Lings

 

Ibn al-Farid or Ibn Farid; Arabic, عمر بن علي بن الفارض (`Umar ibn `Alī ibn al-Fārid) (22 March 1181 – 1234) was an Arab poet. His name is Arabic for "son of the obligator" (the one who divides the inheritance between the inheritors), as his father was well regarded for his work in the legal sphere. He was born in Cairo to parents from Hama in Syria, lived for some time in Mecca, and died in Cairo. His poetry is entirely Sufic and he was esteemed as the greatest mystic poet of the Arabs. Some of his poems are said to have been written in ecstasies. The poetry of Shaykh Umar Ibn al-Farid is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Arabic mystical verse, though surprisingly he is not widely known in the West. (Rumi, probably the best known in the West of the great Sufi poets, wrote primarily in Persian, not Arabic.) Ibn al-Farid's two masterpieces are The Wine Ode, a beautiful meditation on the "wine" of divine bliss, and "The Poem of the Sufi Way", a profound exploration of spiritual experience along the Sufi Path and perhaps the longest mystical poem composed in Arabic. Both poems have inspired in-depth spiritual commentaries throughout the centuries, and they are still reverently memorized by Sufis and other devout Muslims today.

 

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