The verse from Ibn al-Farid

With regard to the verse from Ibn al-Farid that Baha'u'llah quotes in Gems of the Mysteries, I came across another translation of it. I'm referring to the verse that I quoted in my previous message.

I've discovered that the verse is very likely from Ibn al-Farid's Poem of the Mystic's Progress (Nazmu'l-suluk), verse 83 . (That is the poem that Baha'u'llah's Ode of the Dove is patterned on.) While I was reading a translation by Nicholson of the Poem of the Mystic's Progress, I came across the verse Baha'u'llah had quoted in Gems.

In my previous message, I gave Juan's translation and that of the World Centre:

"Till I chose your love as my religion,
I remained without an orthodoxy;
How surprised and shocked I should be afterward
If I were not completely bewildered at you."
(Juan Cole's translation)

"I knew not what amazement was
Until I made Thy love my cause.
O how amazing would it be
If I were not amazed by Thee!"
(World Centre translation, para 99)

Here is Nicholson's literal prose translation:

"And I never was bewildered until I chose love of thee as a religion.
Woe is me for my bewilderment, had it not been on account of thee!"
(RA Nicholson: Studies in Islamic Mysticism (Cambridge reprint 1967) p 208)

Nicholson explains in a footnote that the word he has translated as "bewilderment" is "hayra". I looked it up in my Arabic-English dictionary and the various definitions given are: confusion, perplexity, bewilderment, embarrassment, helplessness, uncertainty, lack of self-confidence, wavering between two things.

So, it doesn't look like Ibn al-Farid used a word meaning "orthodoxy", although I couldn't say for sure because I haven't got the original of the poem and don't know what Baha'u'llah quoted in Gems.

But the central idea that I was making in my previous message remains: love of Baha'u'llah is the key and not ticking boxes. And whether Ibn al-Farid said it or not, for me it is true that until I chose love of Baha'u'llah as my religion, I remained without an orthodoxy. In other words, I remained bewildered and confused over what his religion was actually about.

Go to the original blog entry...