We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Passion Before Me, My Fate Behind

Ibn al-Farid and the Poetry of Recollection

Th. Emil Homerin

Publication Year: 2011

Explores the work of beloved Sufi poet 'Umar Ibn al-Farid and its context. Provides many translations of Ibn al-Farid's poetry. Umar Ibn al-Faµrid| (1181–1235), author of two classic works, the Wine Ode and the Poem of the Sufi Way, is considered the greatest Sufi poet to write in Arabic. In this study, these and other poems by Ibn al-Faµrid| are considered within the context of Islamic mysticism, Arabic literature, and Sufi poetry. Th. Emil Homerin uncovers the literary and religious intent of these poems and their aesthetic and mystical content, showing them to be a type of meditative poetry. Indeed, Ibn al-Faµrid| often alludes to the Sufi practice of “recollection,” or meditation on God, to evoke a view of existence in which the seeker may be transformed by an epiphany of love revealing an intimate relationship to the divine beloved. Homerin provides elegant translations and close readings of Ibn al-Faµrid|’s poetry, highlighting the beauty of his verse, its moods, meanings, and significance within Islamic mysticism and Arabic poetry, where Ibn al-Faµrid| is still known as the “Sultan of the Lovers.”

Published by: State University of New York Press

Passion Before Me, My Fate Behind

pdf iconDownload PDF (22.1 MB)
pp. i-ii

Passion Before Me, My Fate Behind

pdf iconDownload PDF (1006.0 KB)
pp. iii-iv


pdf iconDownload PDF (690.5 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (700.1 KB)
pp. vii-x

From the beginning, mystical perceptions of life have been part of the Islamic world, and by the ninth century CE, they began to appear in Arabic poetry. Many medieval and modern readers have viewed this poetry as verse accounts of Sufi doctrine refl ecting a mystic’s endeavors to describe an experience of...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (669.6 KB)
pp. xi-xii

This study has taken shape over a number of years, building on the eff orts of many others. Earlier works on Ibn al-Fāriḍ , especially those by R.A. Nicholson, A.J. Arberry, C.A. Nallino, and H.H. Ḥ ilmī, are foundational, to which may be added a number of more recent studies, including those of Issa Boullata...

read more

Plan of the Work

pdf iconDownload PDF (692.4 KB)
pp. xiii-xiv

This study begins with a concise biography of Ibn al-Fāriḍ based largely on accounts from his students and supplemented from the hagiography written on him by his grandson. This is followed by an overview of Islamic mysticism...

read more

On Translation, Transliteration, Pronunciation, and Time

pdf iconDownload PDF (1001.3 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

Most of the Arabic poems cited in this study have been regarded as classical works for centuries, and so they deserve a reasonable poetic counterpart in English. When translating this verse, I have been concerned not only with form and content, but...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (907.2 KB)
pp. 1-30

˜Umar Ibn al-Fāriḍ is the most famous Arab poet within Islamic mysticism. He was a master of the Arabic poetic tradition, composing verse in a number of forms including the quatrain, the...

read more

Chapter 1: Mystical Improvisations

pdf iconDownload PDF (887.0 KB)
pp. 31-62

In most of his moments of inspiration, the Shaykh was always perplexed, eyes fixed, hearing no one who spoke, nor even seeing them. Sometimes he would be standing, sometimes sitting, sometimes he would lie down on his side, and sometimes he...

read more

Chapter 2: Love’s Secrets

pdf iconDownload PDF (982.7 KB)
pp. 63-102

From the start, love and poetry have been intimate companions with Islamic mysticism. The love between God and humanity is an essential element of the Sufi tradition, and this relationship, with its many permutations, is central to Arabic...

read more

Chapter 3: Joined at the Crossroads

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 103-142

The Arabic ghazal shares many characteristics with the nasīb, the opening section of the qaṣīdah, or ode. The nostalgic mood, descriptions of the lover’s sickness and emaciation, the poet’s friends and foes, his steadfast keeping of his secret, all

read more

Chapter 4: The Beloved’s Wine

pdf iconDownload PDF (933.2 KB)
pp. 143-176

Mystical themes resonate throughout Ibn al-Fāriḍ ’s verse, but especially in his wine odes. From its inception Arabic verse on wine carried spiritual and sacramental associations, which...

read more

Chapter 5: Poem of the Sufi Way in “T”–Major

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 177-242

Ibn al-Fāriḍ ’s Naẓ m al-Sulūk is a landmark in Arabic mystical poetry. For centuries, Sufi s had drawn inspiration from the larger Arabic poetic tradition, yet no one before Ibn al-Fāriḍ had ever made such a grand poetic presentation of...

read more

Conclusion: The Poetry of Recollection

pdf iconDownload PDF (744.0 KB)
pp. 243-252

Within the commentary tradition on Ibn al-Fāriḍ ’s poetry, al-Farghānī, al-Tilimsānī (690/1291), al-Nābulusī (1143/1731), and others declare the poet’s verse to be the product of divine inspiration. Many commentators cite the account by...


pdf iconDownload PDF (992.3 KB)
pp. 253-292


pdf iconDownload PDF (787.6 KB)
pp. 293-306


pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 307-314

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (415.2 KB)
pp. B-1

E-ISBN-13: 9781438439020
E-ISBN-10: 1438439024
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438439013
Print-ISBN-10: 1438439016

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Ibn al-Fāriḍ, ʻUmar ibn ʻAlī, 1181 or 2-1235 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Sufi poetry, Arabic -- History and criticism.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access