Whispering, then listening close (from The Poem of the Sufi Way)

by Umar Ibn al-Farid

English version by Th. Emil Homerin
Original Language Arabic

Whispering, then listening close
     from the vision of one
          casting away his all, instantly,
               out of an omnipotent hand.

Thus I read the knowledge of the scholars
     in a single word,
          and I reveal all the worlds to me
               with a simple glance.

I hear the many voices
     of those who pray in every tongue
          in a space of time
               shorter than a flash.

And I bring before me
     what before had been
          too far away to bear,
               in a blink of my eye.

I inhale the bouquet of gardens
     and the sweet scents clinging to the skirts
          of the four winds,
               in a simple breath.

I survey the far horizons round me
     in a momentary thought,
          and cross the seven heavens
               with a single step.

-- from Umar Ibn al-Farid: Sufi Verses, Saintly Life, Translated by Th. Emil Homerin

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Ibn al-Farid is reminding us of that transcendent, holographic moment when the dissecting mind steps aside and we finally witness reality as a singular wholeness. Each glance reveals to us the panorama of existence.

Thus I read the knowledge of the scholars
     in a single word,
          and I reveal all the worlds to me
               with a simple glance.


Everything is distilled down to its essence, for only a drop, a taste, a glimmering is needed to discover the All.

This vision is impossible for the physical eye to catch, and too immense for the mind to hold, but when we cease to look and learn to selflessly see...

I survey the far horizons round me
     in a momentary thought,
          and cross the seven heavens
               with a single step.



Recommended Books: Umar Ibn al-Farid

Umar Ibn al-Farid: Sufi Verses, Saintly Life Sufi Poems: A Mediaeval Anthology From Arab Poet to Muslim Saint: Ibn Al-Farid, His Verse, and His Shrine The Wine of Love and Life: Ibn Al-Farid's Al-Khamriyah and Al-Qaysari's Quest for Meaning





Whispering, then listening