Photo: The Shape of the Stars (Suwar al-kawakib) is an astronomical treatise written by the Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi, in about AD 960, and is based ultimately on an ancient Greek source, Ptolemy's Almagest. Its illustrations of the constellations are reinterpretations of the original Greek models. Boötes (the Herdsman) is one of the most ancient constellations.
Resist the calls of wrangling talk,
and save yourself
from false claims and their assaults,
which truly aim only to be heard.
For the tongues of those called
"gnostics most eloquent"
said all that could be said,
then fell silent.
You are intimate, akin to what
you do not say, but speak of it
and you are a stranger,
so, shut up!
In silence is nobility,
a place of strong and sound restraint,
but he is slave to dignity
who is silent for thought of rank.
So be sight and see,
be an ear and hear,
be a tongue and speak,
for union is the truest way.
(Umar Ibn Farid)
Source and Recommended Reading:
Umar Ibn Al-Farid: Sufi Verse, Saintly Life
by Umar Ibn Al-Farid (Author), Th. Emil Homerin (Translator, Introduction)
Umar Ibn al-Farid (b. 576 [hijri date]/1181 CE; d. 632 [hijri date]/1235 is the most venerated mystical poet in Arabic. An accomplished Sufi as well as a respected poet, his poetry blends the two traditions -- classical Arabic poetry and Islamic mysticism -- in a body of work with a distinctly devotional and mystical character.
In a major contribution to the critically acclaimed and long lived Classics of Western Spirituality "TM" series, editor Th. Emil Homerin makes available here two of Ibn al-Farid's poems that have long been considered classics of Islamic mystical literature. The Wine Ode, a poem in praise of wine as well as a love poem, can also be seen as an extended meditation on the presence of divine love in the universe. The Poem of the Sufi Way, one of the longest poems ever composed in Arabic, and the most famous one rhyming in "T", begins as a love poem and then explores a number of crucial concerns confronting the seeker on the Sufi path. Both works have been treated for centuries in numerous mystical commentaries. Noteworthy as well in this volume is the addition of the Adorned Proem, a reverential account of Ibn al-Farid's life by his grandson.
Individuals interested in the fields of mysticism and spirituality, as well as lovers of poetry, particularly love poetry, will find this to be fascinating reading. It will have great relevance, of course, for scholars and students of Arabic literature, Islam and mysticism.