Loving Damascus through Ibn Arabi’s eyes

Ibn ArabiMy heart has become capable of all forms:
A pasture for gazelles, a monastery for monks,
A temple for idols, the Kabah of the pilgrims,
The tablets of Torah, the Book of Quran.
I profess the religion of Love.
Whatever direction love’s camels take,
That is my religion and my faith.

— Ibn Arabi, Tarjuman al-ashwaq

A friend of mine took me on a tour to Old Damascus last evening. He told me he saw the above mentioned lines from Ibn Arabi’s poetry on a wall in Narenj, a Bab Charqi restaurant with yummy food, a few days ago. I read the same line a few days ago in an unpublished play written by a young Syrian playwright. It is amazing how life likes to present the same theme, all in different contexts, within a single week!

I have this same quote on my other blog, the one I keep for writing about musical activities and stuff like that. Sometimes you feel the whole world can revolve around someone’s few words. As Hamlet says: “Words, words, words,” indicating the amount of gibberish the world contains. A few words from Ibn Arabi can become the galaxy inside which mystical journeys take place. This is the greatness of the Sufi self, it is a world on its own, floating in dimensions unknown to the naked eye.

Ibn Arabi is one of the stars of Sufism. He is buried, Qaddasa Allahu ٍٍٍSirroh, at the foot of Jebal Qasyoun. People come from all around the world to visit his tomb. One of his most well known books is called The Meccan Revelations (Al Futoo7at Al Makkiya). It can be found at Al Noori bookstore on one’s way to Hijaz Railway.

Ibn Arabi, like Jelaluddin Rumi, talk about God from a context of Love. Love is the true religion that purifies souls, not prejudice, not judgment. Love is the hidden thread that brings together the beads of existence. It is what makes people stand up for their Damascus. It is what makes people travel vast expanses of mother earth to reach Ibn Arabi’s tomb. Love is the river of tears we cry when our heart opens up for an experience. Love is the painful joy that makes us leave everything behind for our Damascus.

Ibn Arabi’s Damascus is the Damascus I am in love with, deeply, eternally. The Meccan Revelations come in nine volumes (Arabic Edition). they consist of highly coded, sophisticated, difficult, Sufi concepts. The Key to understanding them is very simple: Open your Heart. Heart, the center of love, is the one that will “understand” the text, not Ego, nor mind. Open your Heart.

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About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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6 Responses to Loving Damascus through Ibn Arabi’s eyes

  1. Yaak says:

    Sufism? Ibn Arabi? You must be kidding! Raindrops on a hot summer day?
    Very pleased to have come across your blog. Keep up the good spirit!

  2. 50% Syrian says:

    Raindrops on a hot summer day… I have come across this image before… Thank you for your your message Yaak 🙂

  3. Zios says:

    Nice blog 🙂
    Ibn e Arabi is someone I can only read , feel, like and admire….one can feel the true love in his words.

  4. 50% Syrian says:

    Amen to that 🙂 He is a true heart’s teacher… God bless him, and you…

  5. Najmar says:

    Thanks for the writing of Ibn Arabi and Damascus. I just planned to go to Damascus to see him. December 2010 I will be there. Just to see him. I love him.

    Najmar
    Indonesia

  6. coffee says:

    good!it’ s very useful!thx!

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