Fakhruddin Iraqi: Love Whispers Its Secrets

The Sufi mystic and poet Fakhruddin Iraqi (1213 – 1289 CE) was born in Persia, but travelled widely in his life before ending his days in Damascus.  He was both brilliant and highly educated, and by the age of seventeen he was so well versed in the Koran and Hadith, and also in Arabic and Persian literature, that he had begun to teach. Then, meeting a band of wandering Qalandar dervishes, he became inflamed by their spiritual passion, cast aside his robe and turban and followed them. In this way he came to Multan, where he met and became a student of the Sohrawardi Sheikh Bahauddin Zakariya. The Sheikh, upon his passing, named Iraqi as his successor, but because of jealousies and intrigue he was forced to flee.  For some years he lived in Konya, where he knew Jelaluddin Rumi, often listening to him speak, and even attending his funeral.  At the same time, although himself the exiled Pir of an Order, Iraqi became the student of Sadruddin al Qunawi, a very influential Sufi and the son in law of Ibn Arabi.  The excerpt here is from the Prologue to Iraqi’s Divine Flashes, reflections upon a series of discourses by al Qunawi.

Now and now with every tongue Love whispers its secrets to its own ears; now and now with every ear it hears the murmuring of its own tongue. In every blink of every eye it shows forth its loveliness to its own sight; at every wink, here and there it reveals its existence to its own contemplation. Listen to me and I shall describe it:

It speaks to me in the silence of this one
then through the words of that one speaking;

it whispers to me through an eyebrow raised
and the message of an eye winking.

And do you know what words it breathes into my ears?  It says:

“I am Love, in heaven and earth I have no place;
I am the Wondrous Phoenix whose spoor cannot be traced.

With eyebrow-bow and arrow-winks I hunt
both worlds—and yet my weapons cannot be found.

Like the sun I brighten each atom’s cheek;
I cannot be pinpointed: I am too manifest.

I speak with every tongue, listen with all ears,
but marvel at this: My ears and tongue are erased.

Since in all the world only I exist
above and below, no likeness of me can be found.”

Tr. William C. Chittick and Peter Lamborn Wilson

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