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Abu Muhammad 'Ali Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, Tawq ul-hamamah fil-ulfah wal-ullaf

[The Dove's Neck-Ring about Love and Lovers, translated by A.R. Nykl, 1931]


1. Chapter-Prologue
2. Discourse about the nature of love
3. Signs of love
4. Those who fell in love from description
5. Those who fell in love at first sight
6. Those who fell in love only after a long intercourse
7. Those who fell in love because of a quality and afterwards loved no other which was different from it
8. Allusion in speech
9. Hints with the eyes
10. Exchanging messages
11. Messenger
12. Keeping the secret
13. Divulging the secret
14. Submissiveness
15. Opposition
16. Faultfinder
17. Helping firend
18. Watcher
19. Slanderer
20. Union
21. Break-off
22. Loyalty
23. Betrayal
24. Separation
25. Contentment
26. Illness
27. Oblivion
28. Death
29. Ugliness of illicit practices
30. Excellence of continence


The signs of love. (return to top)

Love has its symptoms which are detected by the sagacious man, and by which is guided the intelligent man. The first of them is the continuous look: indeed, the eye is the wide open gate of the soul; it is the path for scrutinizing its secrets, and a bridge to its innermost thoughts, and a clear expression of its intimate secrets. Thus you will observe the onlooker not casting his look (in one direction): he shifts it from one end to another according to the changed position of the beloved and makes it approach according to the approaching (of the beloved), and inclines to wherever he inclines, like a chameleon according to the sun; and on that subject I have a poem, from which I quote:

There is no stopping place for my eye except upon you,
As if you were what they tell about the magnetic stone
I am turning my eye wherever you go, precisely as if
You were changing (denomination) like in grammar a noun and its adjective!

Then comes the engaging in conversation wherein he cannot address himself to another person than his beloved even if he does it on purpose; however, constraint will indeed become apparent to anyone who casts a searching glance upon him; then, the listening in silence to his talk when he (the beloved) is telling something and wondering at anything he says, even though it be the very acme of absurdity and unheard of; when he believes him, even if he lies; and agrees with him, even though he does wrong, and testifies for him, even if he commits injustice, and when he follows him in his behaviour and in every aspect of the way of talking he may adopt; then comes hurrying in going toward the place where the beloved may be, and seeking pretext to sit near him and to be in his proximity, and abandoning of affairs that would necessitate staying away from him, and disdain of any important matter which would call for the keeping away from him, and procrastination in. something that would delay his departure from him, and on this I say these verses:

When I start to go away from you I walk only
Like a captive led to his death!
When I go to see you I hasten like the crescent moon
When she pierces the far regions (of heaven):
And my going away when I start to go is like
The slow motion of the high fixed stars!

Another sign is the surprise which occurs, and the thrill that comes over the lover when he sees unexpectedly the person loved, or when that person suddenly appears before him; and the confusion which comes over the lover when he sees someone that resembles his beloved, and when he hears his name all of a sudden, and on that I have composed a poem, in which these lines occur:

Whenever my eyes see someone dressed in red,
My heart splits and bursts with sorrow:
He turned out to be one who spills the people's blood by his look,
And his clothing was drenched in blood and was colored purple!

Then comes the effort of man to do with all his power what he was incapable of doing before [13], as if he were the one to whom something was being given and for whose. happiness he was working; all this in order to show his good qualities, and to make himself desirable. And how many a stingy one became generous, and a gloomy one became bright-faced, and a coward became brave, and a grouchy-dispositioned one became gay, and an ignoramus became clever, and a slovenly one in his personal appearance "dolled up", and an ill-shaped one became handsome, and an aged one became youthfully sprightly, and a pious one foolhardily broke his vows, and a chaste one was covered with shame!

And these sign's will occur before the fire of love spreads, and its heat becomes burning, and its ardor is kindled and burns, and its flames shoot out far: but when it takes possession and hold of its victim, then you will see secret talk, and turning aside openly from all present, except from the beloved one. And I have composed some verses in which I have brought together many of these signs, reading in part thus:

I like the talk whenever it reminds me of,
And then impregnates me with, the odor of sweet-smelling amber
When he spoke I did not listen stealthily to what those who were sitting near me were saying,
But only to the words of the bashful flirting one!
And even if the Commander of the Faithful were with me,
I would not step aside from him (my beloved) on account of him!
And when I leave him being compelled to it,
I never cease to look backwards, and my walking is that of an aching hoof;
My eyes are upon him and my body is traveling away from him,
Like the look (backwards) toward the land of one who is drowning in the waves of the ocean;
I choke in the water when I recall my getting farther away from him,
Like one who has become tired amidst swamps and a fierce blaze;
And if you say that it is possible to reach heaven, I say:
"Yes, and I certainly know where the stairway is!"

And other signs and indications of love which are apparent to everyone who has eyes is the excessive great rejoicing, and getting very close together in a spacious place, and being attracted to something picked up by one of the two, and the frequency of surreptitious winks with the eye, and the inclination toward leaning against each other, and intentional seeking of touching the hand while talking, and feeling with the hand whatever visible limbs might be touched, and drinking the wine which the beloved left in glass, and selecting the place where the beloved's mouth touched it.

There are also reverse signs which are according to circumstances arising, and accidents brought into play, and causes set in motion, and thoughts excited: and the opposites are likes and things if they go far beyond the limit of their opposites and stop at the extreme of the limits of their. difference, resemble a power from God, Most High and Exalted, by which minds are misled (beyond comprehension). Thus ice, if it be held a long time in the hand, will perform the action of fire; and we find that excessive joy kills, and excessive sorrow kills, and if laughter is prolonged and grows in intensity, tears will flow from the eyes and such things are many in the world. Hence we find that if two lovers [14] are equally corresponding to each other in love and it becomes strong between them, break-offs become frequent between them without any meaning (plausible cause), and their intentional opposition in speech, and attacking one another in any small matter, and careful following up of every word that drops from the mouth of the other, and interpreting it differently from its meaning, all this is a test for bringing out whatever each one firmly believes of the other. The difference between this and between true separation (rupture of relations), and opposition born of hatred and resulting quarrel, is the quickness of reconciliation: so while you see lovers having reached the limit of difference (dispute) which you not suppose could be made up (adjusted), in the case of a person of quiet mind, free from (the possibility of being excited to) secret hatred (except) after a long time, and which in the case of one who harbors a hatred never can be rectified - you soon see them coming back to the best of friendship, and their mutual scolding has passed away without trace, and the difference is removed, and they in that very moment revert to mutual laughter and joyful chatter; and this often at the same time. And if you see two people behaving in this manner let no doubt make you wobble and let by no means any uncertainty enter your mind at all and do not have any misgivings but that there is between them a love secret, deeply hidden, and be sure of it with the trenchant proof which no one in the world can disprove - and this is the true test and veritable experiment! This never happens except when there is equal correspondence in affection and true companionship; and I have seen a good deal of this.

Another sign of love is: you find that the lover provokes hearing the name of the person beloved, and takes delight in talking about him and makes of such talk a subject of constant repetition and nothing pleases him so much as this, and he is not checked in this by the fear of the one who hears comprehending, and he who is .present understanding (his secret). If you love a thing it makes you blind and deaf! And if the lover could so arrange it that in the place where he is there should be nothing mentioned but the person he loves he would not wish to go beyond it (elsewhere); and it happens to a man truly in love that he begins eating when he has a desire for it, yet the very moment when he becomes excited by the mention of the beloved the meal becomes a choking obstruction in his throat and a throttling morsel in his oesophagus: thus it is with both water and talk; when he begins to talk to you he may be exceedingly gay, but then some casual thought comes to him concerning his beloved, and there at once becomes evident a sudden change of his enunciation and cutting short of his talk: and a sign of this is his remaining silent with downcast eyes, and perplexed hanging down of the head, and self-concentration: and while (before) his face was beaming and his motions were light, it becomes as if rigidly covered up and inert, his soul confused, his motions rigid, he is annoyed and weary in his speech, ill at ease when questioned.

Another sign of love is predilection for solitude [15] and preference for being alone, and excessive thinning of the body without any fever, or any illness preventing a change for the better, and the motions (of the body) and manner of walking are a proof which does not lie, and an indication which does not deceive about the languor lurking within the soul.

Staying awake nights is also one of the accidents of lovers. Poets have been very prolix in describing this, and said that lovers are shepherds of stars and expatiated on the length of the night and on this subject I say, mentioning the keeping of a secret, and that it will be understood by signs:

Clouds have learned from my lachrymal glands,
And covered everything in the abundance of falling rain!
And this night became my companion because of you in that,
Or my aid in staying awake:
And if the darkness had not dissipated (in the morning),
Would my eyelids not have been closed by slumber?
There is no way for us to (get to) the day,
Yet our sleeplessness is increasing, every minute:
It seems as if the dark clouds which hide
The brilliance of its stars from the look of the eyes
Were like my heart which is (absorbed) in the affection for you, my delight,
Though it is not visible except in imagination!

And on something like this I have a poem, part of which says:

I guard the stars as if I had been commissioned
To guard all the fixed stars and planets:
And they and the night resemble the fires of passion
Which have been kindled in my thoughts coming from the dark night,
And it seems as if I had started in the evening as the watchman of a green garden,
And its (green) plants had girt themselves with (white) narcissus.
If Ptolemy were living he would have been certain that I am
The strongest of men in the observation of the orbits of stars!

And a thing is mentioned on account of what occasions it! It happened to me in these verses to compare two things in one verse, and it is the verse which begins: "And they and the night resemble" which is rather extraordinary in poetry; but I have written something more perfect still, namely, the comparison of three things in one verse and a comparison of four things in one verse, and both of these comparisons are in this poem which I shall cite, as follows:

Burning with an ardent desire, afflicted, he does not sleep, a victim of insomnia:
By reason of the wine of false accusations he is constantly brooding,
And in a moment he shows you wonderful things:
Becomes unfriendly, and amiable, and is brought near, and is removed;
As if separation and reproof, and avoidance and reconciliation,
Were conjunction and divergence (of stars), and calamity and happiness!
He took pity on me because of my affliction after a long staying away,
And I became the envied one, after I had been envious! [16]
We rejoiced at a white flower shining forth from the flower garden;
It was sprinkled by morning rain and was grateful and pleased;
It seemed as if the rain and the cloud and the fragrant garden,
Were tears and eyelids and rosy cheeks!

And let critics not criticize me for the word Qiran. Those who know astronomy call the conjunction of two stars on one degree Qiran. I have composed something still more perfect than the foregoing, namely, comparison of five things in one verse in the following poem:

I was alone with her in a secluded place and perfume was the third present,
The wings of the night's darkness were spread and came quietly upon us:
A damsel, in whose proximity alone I felt not deprived of life!
In the desire to live is there a woe for you from sin?
It seemed as if I and she, and the goblet, and the wine, and the starless night,
Were softened ground, and rain, and pearls, and gold sand, and jade!

This is a situation beyond which nothing more can be done, and no one can do more than that, since neither versification nor the construction of words allow more than this.

The lover is also subject to anguish from either one of the two situations :

One of these is when the lover wishes to meet the beloved and some obstacle occurs therein.

Story. I know someone whom his beloved dated up for a visit, and I saw him going up and down, not being able to stand still, nor stay in one place, going forward and backward; joy made him light after rigidity, and made him sprightly after gravity, and I have written the following on the meaning of the expectation of a visit:

I stayed until night came upon me, hoping to
Meet you, oh desired and the most hoped-for one!
And darkness made me lose hope about you, yet (formerly)
I was never in despair that the night, when it began, might grow longer:
I have a proof whose indications do not lie,
By one like it one can be guided in a deep problem:
That is, if you wanted to visit me, there would be no
Darkness, but light would stay with us constantly!

The second of these is in the event when there happens to be a quarrel between them, the truth of which cannot be known except by (personal) explanation, and in such case anguish grows until the matter is cleared up - and then its burden either is removed if he hopes for pardon, or anguish becomes sorrow and grief if avoidance is feared, and when a humiliation happens to the lover because of the beloved's harshness to him. And this will be explained in its chapter, if it please God, Most High.

And among the accidents of love is the violent anxiety and silencing intensity of feeling which overcome the lover when he sees the beloved avoiding him and eschewing him; and the sign of that is sighing, and lack of vivacity, and sobbing, and heaving deep sighs: and on that subject [17] I have made a poem, from which I quote:

The beautiful patience is imprisoned,
And tears are bursting forth from the eyes!

Another sign of love is that you see the lover love his beloved's family and relatives and people of his household to such an extent that he cherishes them more than his own people and himself and all his relatives.

Weeping is one of the signs of love, but there are various degrees of its abundance. There are some people who have abundant tears, with lachrymal glands filled with moisture, whose eyes respond to them, and bring out a stream of tears whenever they wish. And there are people with dry eyes, devoid of tears, and I am one of them. The origin of this was my habit of taking incense on account of heartbeating which was an accident that happened to me in my youth; and I may suffer a terrible, painful blow, when my heart would seem to be split and cut to pieces, and I may feel in my heart a lump more bitter than colocynth, making a proper utterance of speech impossible for me, and nearly suffocating me internally at times: yet my eye absolutely refuses to respond to me, except on rare occasions when it did yield a few tears.

Story. This paragraph made me think of the day when I and Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ishaq, my friend, were taking leave of Amir Muhammad b. Amir, a friend of ours, may God have mercy upon him, on the occasion of the journey to the East, after which we never saw him again. Abu Bakr began to weep when taking leave of him, and recited the following parable in verse.

Is not the eye which does not abundantly shed on the day of departure,
For you, the remainder of its tears, a tearless one?

which occurs in the elegy of Yazid b. Omar b. Hubeira, may God have mercy upon him - and we were standing on the seashore at Mýlaga - and though I was filled with the greatest grief and sorrow my eye did not help me (to show it), and I said in reply to Abu Bakr:

And certainly if a man's beautiful patience does not part from him in this case
When you part from him, he surely is very patient!

And on the belief held by people (in general) I say in a poem I composed before I had reached the age of puberty, and which begins:

The proof of pain is the fire which burns on the heart,
And tears which flow and are shed on both cheeks
If the passionate lover hides the secret of his bosom,
The tears of his eyes will show and disclose it:
Whenever the lachrymal glands of the eyelids send forth their streams,
Then surely there is an illness in the heart afflicted on account of ardent desire!

There also occur in love evil opinions and suspicions of every word uttered by either one of the two lovers, and giving it the wrong interpretation; this is the origin of quarrels between the lovers. And I do know a person who was the best-opinionated [18] and exceedingly broad-minded, and most patient, and most forebearing, and exceedingly compassionate: yet could not suffer anything from those he loved; and the slightest difference which occurred between him and the beloved gave rise to all sorts of repeated reproaches, and all kinds of evil opinion (suspicion); and on this subject I have a poem, from which I quote:

I have a bad opinion of everything I find despicable
In what you are doing; and he who disdains (such things) becomes himself despicable;
In order that the origin of avoidance and hatred may not appear,
For fire in its beginning is mere sparks!
The origin of great things are the most lowly ones,
And from a small (date) seed you see the (date) tree grow!

Then you will see that the lover, if he does not trust the constancy of his beloved's intimate feelings toward him, begins to watch himself more closely than he did before, correcting his (own) words, elaborating on his gestures and glances of his eye, and especially if he has the misfortune (to love one) inclined to making false accusations and to be petulant; and the indications of this are: the observing by the lover of the beloved and taking note of every word he says, and investigating what he is doing, until nothing, great or small, escapes him. He also follows him closely in his motions; and by my life, you will see the simpleton become intelligent in this matter, and the heedless one very perspicacious!

Story. I was one day in Almeria sitting in the shop of Isma'il b. Yunus, the Israelite physician, and he was a very skillful and expert physiognomist. We were engaged in friendly talk, when Mujahid b. Al-Husein Al-Qaisi said to him: "What do you say of that?" and he pointed to a man who was going in the direction away from us: his name was Hatim and his surname Abu-l-Baqa'. And he looked at him for a brief moment, and then said "He is a man deeply in love." And Mujahid said to him: "True enough! And how did you know it?" And he said: "On account of the excessive absent-mindedness showing on his face and nothing else, without (speaking of) the rest of his behavior, and I knew that he is a man deeply in love: there is no doubt of it."

Those who fall in love with (on account of) a quality, and afterwards do not like (approve) another, differing from it. (return to top)

And know, my dear friend, that love exerts on souls an efficacious power, a decisive sovereignty, a verdict which cannot be gainsaid, a power which cannot be disobeyed, an authority which cannot be transcended, an obedience which, cannot be turned aside, and an efficacy (influence) which cannot be repelled: it perturbs (shakes) the strong, undoes the most firmly knit, dissolves the solid, loosens the firm (nature), descends into the region of the heart, makes the forbidden permissible. And I have seen many people who were not suspected of (being deficient) in their understanding, nor could it be feared that there might be a lapse in their knowledge, nor unsoundness in making the right choice, nor a shortcoming in their quick intelligence, who have pictured their friends to themselves in some of their qualities in something which may not be approved of by people, nor is it acceptable in (the name of) beauty, [26] and it became a craze with them, and an object of their affections, and the utmost degree of their liking: then such friends disappear, either by being forgotten or going to a distant place, or there is a breakoff, or some other accident of love comes to pass; but the liking of those qualities does not leave them, nor does the preference for such qualities over what is better than that in the whole creation become separated from them, and they will not incline toward any other, on the contrary, such qualities as people judge excellent will be eschewed by them and will be considered base in their opinion, until they part. from the world and their lives are ended: (as a token of) tender affection on their part for the person they lost and of love for the person whose friends they were. And I will not say that this is artificiality, but truly natural (behavior) and a choice unalloyed, and they see nothing but it (those qualities), and they do not ardently desire, in keeping their pact, (to replace it by) anything else. And I know a person whose friend's neck was somewhat stout and after that he did not like a lithe-necked man or woman: and I know one whose first love attachment was a slave-girl inclining somewhat to shortness and be never liked a tall woman after that; and I also know one who loved a slave-girl whose mouth was slightly wide, and he considered any small mouth loathsome, and found fault with it, and hated it with a real hatred.

And I am not describing people devoid of great parts in science and in letters, but (speak of) men who were most gifted in minute perception, most entitled to being called men of understanding and well-informed. And of myself I will tell you that in my adolescence I fell in love with a slave-girl of mine who had blond hair, and from that time on I never liked girls with black hair, even though it were more beautiful than the sun, and were the image of beauty itself; and I find that to be (rooted) in the origin of my make-up; from that time on my soul cannot respond to anything else, and does not love anything but it, at all: and this very same accident happened to my father, may God pardon him, and like that he remained until his appointed time was up. And as regards the Khalifs of the family Beni Merwan, may God have mercy upon them, and especially An-Nasir's boys among them, all of them were naturally disposed to prefer blondness, and not a single one of them was in this respect different - and we have seen them and we saw those who had seen them from the time of An-Nasir's reign until now. There was no one among them except blond, taking after their mothers, until it became their inborn trait, except Suleiman az-Zafir, may God have mercy upon him; I indeed saw him to have black locks of hair and beard: and as regards An-Nasir and Al-Hakam Al-Munstansir, may God pardon them, I was told by the wazir, my father, may God have mercy upon him, and by other people, that both were blond-haired and blue-eyed, and in the same way Hisham Al-Mu'ayyad and Muhammad al-Mahdi, and Abd-ur-Rahman Al-Murtada, may God have mercy upon them: I indeed have seen them often and called on them, and saw them blond-haired and blue-eyed, and likewise their children, and brothers and sisters, and all of their near relatives. And I do not know whether this liking (for blondness) was innate in [27] all of them or was due to a tradition which obtained among their ancestors in this matter and they followed it. This is apparent from the poetry of Abd-ul- Malik b. Merwan b. Abd-ur-Rahman, son of the Commander of the Faithful An-Nasir, who was known as At-Taliq (the Pardoned one) who was the most talented of all Andalusian poets in their time (of Beni Merwan) and the greatest part of his love poetry is about blondes: I saw him and sat in company with him.

And there is no wonder that someone may love some ugly person when he would not do likewise in the case of another (person). For such things. have happened, and not in the case of one whose character it was from the beginning of his existence to have preference for the basest, but in one who could see (things) with the eyes of truth and then was overpowered by love which appeared after his long remaining in close company, and turned him from what were the. usual habits of his soul to a different habit which became his (new) nature and his original nature disappeared. He knows that he was better before, and if he turned within himself he would find that he despises nothing but baseness, and would be astonished at this strong defeat and mighty domination (of which he is the victim). Such a one. is truly the most really in love, not he who (merely) puts on, in appearance, the ways of people to whom he does not belong, and pretends to have a native disposition which does not attach to him, and imagines he prefers the person whom he loves. As regards the case when love. distracts his intelligence, and destroys his (power of) thinking, and damages his (power of) discernment, it would then place itself between himself and between choice and wish and on this subject I composed a poem, from which I quote:

There was a young man whose beloved had a stout neck,
And slender-necked girls seemed ugly to his eyes:
And he was elated over the excellency of his choice,
On the basis of a proof the correctness of which was made clear in speech:
"Verily, wild cows represent the sum total of comparison:
No man will ever deny that there is beauty in them!
They are stout-necked, there is not a single one long-necked among them:
And do camels look pretty with their long necks?"
Another's beloved one had a wide mouth,
But he says: "My idea of (pretty) mouths are those of gazelles!"
And a third one had a sweetheart short of stature,
So he says: "The long girls are veritable monsters!"

And I also say:

They criticized her to me on account of the blondness of her hair,
And I told them: "This is exactly what makes her look pretty to me!"
They blame the color of light and gold in great error,
On account of a most stupid, extremely mistaken opinion!
Has anyone ever blamed the color of freshly-unfolded narcissus?
Or the color of stars blossoming forth in the distance?
And the furthest removed of God's creation from every wisdom
Is he who prefers a body dark in color, blackened:
In black are described the colors of the dwellers of Jahannam,
And the clothing of those who weep, have lost a child, and are in mourning;
And since the black flags have appeared the souls of men
Became certain that there is no way to right! [28]

Submissiveness (Obedience). (return to top)

The surprising thing which happens in love is the submissiveness of the lover to his beloved, and his willy-nilly revirement of his natural character to the natural character of the person he loves: thus you will see a man of rude and quarrelsome disposition, who is very difficult to deal with, very obstinate when it comes to being led, very resolute in his purpose, very particular about preserving his dignity, who refuses to be humiliated: yet the very moment he inhales the soft breeze of love, and plunges headlong into its waves and swims in its ocean, his rudeness turns into smoothness, and his difficulty into easiness, and his resoluteness into weariness, and his watchfulness into surrender, and on this I have a poem, from which I quote:

Is there a return to a meeting for us?
Is there a limit to the changes of this fate?
The sword became the slave of the hilt,
And the captive gazelle became a lion!

And I composed verses, some of which run thus

I indeed, when you reproach me, am the most negligible of those perishing,
Like a bad coin which was found too light in the hand of an assayor:
Nevertheless, my death by reason of my love for you is sweet to me;
How marvelous (to see) a perishing man (who is) delighted by it

Also this:

If the Persians saw the lights of your face,
They would cause them not to care for Harmuzan and Mubed!

And it may be that the beloved dislikes being shown complaint, and is disgusted at listening to ardent love talk: and then you will see the lover hiding his grief, and suppressing his sorrow, and covering up its cause. And when the friend (=beloved) accuses falsely, it is up to the lover to excuse himself of any guilt and to confess a crime of which he is innocent by way of submitting to what the beloved says and giving up opposition to him. And I know a person to whom something like this happened; he did not stop alleging wrongdoings to himself when he was not guilty, and heaping up blame and anger upon himself when he was beyond reproach. And I composed a poem for a friend of mine which comes near to what we are talking about, though it is not poetry, and which runs in part thus: [40]

You have met me with a face, in whose proximity there is the joy of a reunion:
And how irksome is the going away from its proximity!
My nature does not dislike a slight reproach,
Though some people might blame a white streak in the hair;
For man at times reproaches himself in thought,
And a little mole or spot on the face looks pretty;
Such things adorn when they are few, but look ugly
When excessive; and does anyone praise excess?

And also:

Help him, for on account of his excessive worries
He weeps bitterly, as if he were paper, and ink, and the writing!

And let no one say, please, that the lover's patience with the sweetheart's ignoble acts is a baseness of the soul, for he would be in error: because we know that the beloved is not his compeer or equal in strength, so that she should be repaid according to her deserts for her wrongs; none of the injuries or harshness are of the kind that would shame a man, nor that they would be remembered for ages to come, nor are they such as would happen in the council of Khalifs, or assemblies of chiefs - so that patience would drag one into baseness of character, and humbleness would lead into abjection. Why, you will see a man infatuated with his slave whom he possesses by bondage, no one being able to step between him and her so he would not maltreat her: what would, then, victory over her amount to? Cases when angry epithets and insulting remarks come from the master are different; however, that is the case among the highest of men whose sayings are carefully observed, and the meanings of whose talk are followed and give very deep significance, because they do not utter them carelessly and express them in a haphazard manner; but as far as the beloved is concerned she is a tender bamboo and a pliable twig; she is harsh and pleasant when she wishes, without any special meaning and on this subject I say:

Submission in love is not odious,
For in love the proud one humbles himself:
Do not be surprised at my docility in my condition,
For before me Al-Mustansir has suffered the same lot!
The beloved is not to be considered your equal (in strength),
So that your patience, if you bear it patiently, would be vile
An apple fell and its falling caused pain:
Would cutting it be on your part a triumph worth mentioning?

Story. I was told by Abu Dulaf, the paper dealer, as from Maslama b. Ahmad, the philosopher known as Al-Majriti, that he said, in the mosque, which is east of the cemetery of Quraish in Córdoba, opposite the house [41] of the wazir Abu Omar Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Jadir, may God have mercy upon him: In this mosque was the permanent staying place of Muqaddam Ibn-ul-Asfar, in the days of his youth, on account of his passion for Ajib, a page of wazir Abu Omar mentioned before. He was giving up the prayer in the Masrur mosque in which was his abode, and he would come day and night to this mosque on account of Ajib. More than once the guard came upon him at night when he was leaving after the last evening prayer, and he was sitting and looking at Ajib: until (once) the young man became angry and annoyed, and went to him, and struck him, and slapped him on both his cheeks and eyes: and he was overjoyed by it, saying "This, by God, is my highest bliss and now I am happy!" And he walked along with him after that for quite a while. Said Abu Dulaf: "Maslama told us this story more than once in Ajib's presence, when he saw the might of Muqaddam Ibn-ul-Asfar, and the display of his power and prosperity. The situation of Muqaddam Ibn-ul-Asfar became very powerful. He became a very intimate friend of Al-Muzaffar b. Abi :Amir, and became closely attached to the latter's mother and relatives; it was through him that mosques and drinking fountains were built, and not a few beneficial works were undertaken; besides his engaging in whatever men of power undertake in matters meant for the welfare of the people and other purposes."

Story. The most abominable of (cases of submissiveness) is this: Sa'id b. Mundir b. Sa'id, the prayer leader in the Great Mosque of Córdoba in the days of the reign of Al-Hakam Al-Mustansir billahi, may God have mercy upon him, had a young slave-girl whom he loved very much: and he proposed to her that he would free her and marry her. And she said to him making fun of him - for he had a mighty beard: "I find your great beard detestable, and if you had it cut off, that would be what I should like." So he put scissors to work on it until it became dainty. Then the two called a number of witnesses and he made them to be witness of her being set free: then he asked her in marriage for himself, and she did not accept him. And among those present was his brother Hakam b. Mundir and he said to those present: "I propose to her that I ask her to be my wife." And he did so, and she consented, and he married her in that very assembly. And he (Sa'id) consented to this crushing shame, despite his piety, and devotion, and religious zeal. I knew this Sa'id: he was killed by the Berbers on the day when they entered Córdoba by force and sacked it. And the aforementioned Hakam, his brother, is the chief of the Mu'tazilites in Andalus, their great man, and teacher, and speaker, and model of piety: in addition, he is a poet, a physician, and a faqih. His brother, Abd-ul-Malik b. Mundir was suspected of being also of this [42] same sect: he was accused of having apostatized in the days of Al-Hakam, may God be pleased with him; and he is the one whom Al-Mansur b. Abi Amir crucified, since he suspected him and a number of faqihs and judges in Córdoba that they were secretly supporting Abd-ur-Rahman Obeid-ullah, son of the Commander of the Faithful An-Nasir, may God be pleased with them. And Abd-ur-Rahman was slain, and Abd-ul-Malik b. Mundir was crucified, and the whole clique of the suspected ones was broken up. And their father, the Chief Judge Mundir b. Sa'id was also suspected of belonging to the sect of I'tizal. And he was the most eloquent and learned of men in every branch of learning, and the most pious, and the most facetious and witty. And the Hakam I spoke of, is living now at the time of writing this treatise for you: he has become blind and has aged greatly.

Story. And (this is) a very strange case of submissiveness of lover to his beloved: I know of a person who stayed up many nights and encountered the greatest of trouble, and his heart was cut by all manners of love-sickness: then he conquered the person he loved: and while there was no obstacle, nor was there anything to prevent him from it, yet when he saw some aversion in his beloved to something he intended to do, he left her and went away from her: not because of abstinence or fear, but because of an insistence to do what would coincide with her pleasure: and he did not find within himself an encouragement to undertake anything for which he saw no enthusiasm in his beloved, since she felt the way she felt. And I know one who did this same thing, then he repented on account of a betrayal on the part of his sweetheart and on this subject I have said:

Grasp the opportunity, and know that
Like the passing of a lightning do opportunities pass by!
How many things were possible, yet since I went slowly about them,
They became bitter pills for me when they had gone!
Make haste with the treasure you have found,
And grasp the prey like a falcon that is hunting

Something exactly like this had happened to Abu-l-Muzaffar Abd-ur-Rahman b. Ahmad b. Mahmud, our friend: so I recited my verses to him, and he was crazy over them, and took them from me, and never tired of repeating them.

Story. One day Abd-ullah Muhammad b. Kuleib, a native of Qairuwan, asked me in the days of my stay in the Old City, - and he was very long-tongued, keen in asking questions about every branch of learning - he said to me, when we were talking about love and its aspects: "When the person I love hates to meet me and avoids being near me, what shall I do?" I said: "I opine that you should endeavor to bring pleasure to your soul by meeting him, even though he hates it." [43] Said he: "But I do not think so, on the contrary, I would give preference to his love rather than mine and to his wish rather than mine: and I would wait and wait, even if therein were death." I said to him: "However, (I reason thus): I fell in love with that person for myself and in order to delight my soul with her image: hence I follow my analogy, and go by my basic principle, and conform to my rule in favor of the desire for its joy." And he said to me: "This is wrong analogy: worse than death is what makes one desire death, and dearer than the soul is that on account of which the soul is giving up its life." I said to him: "Truly, (in such case) the giving up of your soul would not be because of free choice, but would be constrained; and if it were possible for you not to give up your soul on account of what you have given it up, then in your renouncing the meeting of your beloved of your free choice you would be to blame on account of constraining your soul and bringing death upon it." And he said to me: "You are a cantankerous man and disputes about love are not to be heeded." And I said to him: "If the one who loves is unfortunate (in it)" and he said: "And what is a greater misfortune than love?"


Union. (return to top)

One of the aspects of love is union: this is a sublime bliss, and a lofty rank, and a high degree, and an outstanding happiness nay, it is the RENEWED LIFE and an exalted existence, and a permanent joy, and a great mercy of God. And were this world not an abode of bitterness, trials and troubles, and Paradise the abode of retribution and security from all unpleasant things, we would say that the union with the beloved is an unalloyed joy in which there is no trouble whatever, and a rejoicing in which there is no blemish and there is no grief attached to it: it is the perfection of the feeling of security and fulfillment of hopes. I certainly have experienced multifarious pleasures and tasted blessings of various kinds: and neither the being near to the Sultan, nor having the enjoyment of wealth, nor the finding after losing, nor return after a long absence, nor security after fear, nor seeking after wealth, act upon the soul the way union acts upon it; especially [56] after a long refusal and persistent avoidance, until violent passion is burning in the lover's soul, and the flame of desire is kindled in him, and the fire of hopeful fear flames up: and the variegated plants after the country has been soaked with rain, and the coming forth of flowers after the rain-bringing clouds have passed over the country in clear and temperate weather, and the rushing of loosened waters on all sorts of flowers, and loving enjoyment of the view of white castles surrounded by green gardens, cannot surpass the pleasure of the lover when his character has found favor, and his natural disposition has been approved, and his good qualities were matched by like ones in beauty. It is impossible for the most eloquent tongues to describe it, and all the eloquence of the most masterful speakers falls short of it and in the face of it the keenest intelligences fail, and the power of comprehension shrinks, and on that subject I say:

Someone questioned me as to how old I was,
Since he saw white hair on my temples and forelocks;
I answered him: "One moment, for there is nothing beside it that I consider
To be life, judging it by reason and just opinion!"
And he said to me: "How is that, explain it to me, for you surely
Have apprised me the most stupendous news and novelty!"
And I said: "The one to whom my heart is attached
I kissed one day, with a little kiss, by surprise
And I do not count, even though my years may be many,
But that little while to be, in reality, my life!"


Ugliness of illicit practices (return to top)


Now what I shall describe to you, you will see it plainly namely, that I have never seen a woman anywhere, when she feels that a man sees her, or hears her noise, but will start a superfluous motion which she was far from making, and starts superfluous talk which she might have very well done without, both of which actions will be contrary to her talk and motion before that; and you will see that she makes a special effort as to the articulation of her words, and the form of her wiggling around, which is visible in her, and apparent on her, and cannot be concealed. And men do likewise when they feel the presence of women. And as regards the showing of adornment, and the manner of walking, and making facetious remarks when a woman passes a man, or when a man goes past a woman, this is a thing more evident than the sun everywhere, and God, Most High, and Exalted, says: "Say to the believers that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts," and He whose names are holy said: "and they beat not with their feet that their hidden ornaments many [sic] not be known."

And if God, Most High and Exalted, did not know the finesse of their eyelids in the strategy of attack of their love on the hearts, and the cleverness of their intrigue in the invention of tricks, in order to excite passion, He would not have revealed this far-reaching and profound meaning, than which there is none deeper. And this is the limit of exposing oneself (to danger), and what about anything beyond it! And certainly I have penetrated into tightly concealed secrets, in this matter, among men and women in many cases. And the origin of this is that I never could think well of anyone in this matter, in addition to the strong jealousy with which I am endowed. We were told by Abu Omar Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Ahmad, we were told by Ahmad, we were told by Muhammad b. Ali b. Rafa'a, we were told by Ali b. Abd-ul-Aziz, we were told by Abu Obeid Al-Qasim b. Salam, (who was told) by his shekhs that the Prophet. of God * said: "Jealousy is a part of faith." And I did not cease to investigate stories about women, discovering their secrets; and they knew that my custom was discretion, so that they were telling me about the most profoundly hidden of their affairs; and were I not mindful of not divulging shameful things - against which God is asked for refuge - I would state here about their wideawakeness in evil and their astuteness in it, [118] marvelous things which would astonish men of intelligence.

And I know all this and am acquainted with it with absolute certainty, and despite that God knows - and His knowledge is sufficient - that I am completely guiltless, entirely sound, without reproach (in sex matters), pure in my habits; and I do swear to God by the most solemn oath that I have never taken off my underwear to have an illicit sexual intercourse, and my Lord will not ask me to give account to Him for a major fornication since the time I became reasonable until this present day: and I praise God for it, and I thank Him for what is gone by and ask His protection for what remains (of my life.)

[... skip of approximately 12 pages of Ibn Hazm's text dealing with illicit heterosexual practices (adultery, etc.) ...]

What has been approved unanimously by all the people, and is known by all the sects and by the partisans of every school that exist among the people of the qibla (orthodox Muslims), except a small group of the Khawarij, who do not count, is, that the blood of a Muslim should not be spilled except because of disbelief after belief; or life for life; or because of waging war on God and the Prophet when the person draws his sword in so doing, and causes corruption on earth insistently and does not desist; and for adultery after marriage. And indeed, from the fact that the punishment which God assigned to disbelief in God, Most High and Exalted, and to waging war against him, and the destruction of his proof on earth, and open hostility to his religion one must conclude that it is a great crime, and an abominable disobedience; and God, Most High and Exalted, says: "If you avoid great sins from which ye are forbidden, we will cover your offences," and: "Those who shun great sins and iniquities all but venial faults - verily, thy Lord is of ample forgiveness," and though the learned men differ as to terminology, all of them are unanimous, despite their differences concerning what it embraces, that adultery is a greater sin: there is no difference among them in this, and God, Most High and Exalted, does not threaten in His Book with Fire as a punishment, next to idolatry (associating other deities with Him) except for seven sins, which are the great sins, and adultery is one of them, and the accusing of married women of adultery is also one of them, as clearly defined (in the Qur'an.) All that is in the Book of God, Most High and Exalted.

And we have mentioned that the killing of anyone among the sons of Adam does not behoove, except for four sins, which we have already mentioned. And as regards unbelief among these, if the one guilty of it returns to Islam, or comes back to protection, if he did not apostatize, the assurance would be accepted from him and death would be set aside from him. And as regards murder, if the proxy would receive the blood-money - according to what some jurists say, or pardon - according to what all of them say, the killing in revenge would be dropped from the murderer. And as regard corruption on earth, if the one guilty of it repents before he is overpowered, he would escape being put to death. But there is no way in what anyone says, be he a partisan or an opponent, concerning giving up the stoning of a married (adulterer), and there is no chance of his being pardoned from death at all. Among what proves the hideousness of adultery [130] is what we were told by qadi Abu Abd-ur-Rahman, from the qadi Abu 'Isa from Abd-ullah b. Yahya, from his father Yahya, from Al-Leit, from Az-Zuhri, from Al-Qasim b. Muhammad b. Abu Bakr, from Obeid b. Omeir that Omar b. AI-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, met in his time people from Hudeil; and a girl ran out of their ranks and a man followed her wishing to force her, and she threw a stone at him and smashed his liver. And Omar said: "This is a victim of God, and no blood-money will ever be paid by God!"

And God did not establish in the matter of adultery four witnesses - while in every judgment (verdict) there are two witnesses - except as a protection from Him that the knowledge of (this) immorality should not spread among His servants, on account of its being a great, detestable, and ugly sin. What else could it be but a detestable sin since he who insultingly accuses of it his brother Muslim or sister Muslima without exact knowledge or certain information, commits a great sin among great sins, deserving for it the Fire the next day, and according to what is indicated in the text of the Revelation his skin ought to be given eighty blows with a scourge! And Malik, may God be pleased with him, is of the opinion that in no matter allusion without clear accusation is punished, except in the matter of an insulting accusation of adultery; and on the aforementioned isnad, from Al-Leit b. Sa'd, from Yahya b. Sa'id from Muhammad b. Abd-ur-Rahman, from his mother Omara bint Abdur-Rahman, from Omar b. Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, that he ordered a man to be flogged who said to another: "My father is not an adulterer, nor is my mother an adulteress!" in a long hadith; and on the basis of the unanimous opinion of the people, without anyone dissenting, we know that if a man said to another: "You unbeliever, or you murderer, of a person whose killing God forbade" no punishment is made obligatory upon him, by way of protection from God, Most High and Exalted, in order that this great crime be not confirmed about a Muslim man or woman.

And Malik, may God have mercy upon him, also says that there is no punishment in Islam where killing dispenses with it, and abolishes it, except the sentence for insulting accusation of adultery, for it is obligatory that the one for whom the putting to death was made obligatory be (first) sentenced to flogging and then put to death. Said God, Most High: "Those who cast (imputations) on chaste women and then do not bring four witnesses, scourge them with eighty stripes, and do not receive any testimony of their ever, for these are the workers of abomination. Except such as repent" etc., and said the Most High: "Verily, those who cast imputations on chaste women who are negligent but believing shall be cursed in this world and the next, and for them is mighty woe." And it is told about the Prophet of God * that he said: "Anger and cursing are mentioned in [131] the mutual anathema procedure, for they are mortal sins."

We were told by Al-Hamdani, from Abu Ishaq, from Muhammad b. Yusuf, from Muhammad b. Isma'il, from Abd-ul-Aziz b. Abdullah, who said: We were told by Suleiman, from Taur b. Yazid, .from Abu-l-Geit, from Abu Hureira, from the Prophet * that he said: "Avoid seven capital sins." They said: "What are they, Prophet of God?" He said: "Association of other deities with God, sorcery, killing of a person which God had forbidden, except by right, usury, consuming the property of an orphan, turning one's back on the day of battle, and casting of imputations of adultery on chaste women who are negligent, yet believing."

Verily, in adultery there is a profanation of women, and corruption of progeny, and separation between husband and wife - a fact which God has considered grave and what cannot be regarded lightly by any man endowed with reason and by him who has the least moral character: and were not this element in man so important, and because it is not safeguarded from being overcome - God would not have lightened the punishment of the unmarried ones, and made it heavier on the married ones. Thus it is with us (Muslims) now, and in all the ancient laws revealed by God, Most High and Exalted, as a permanent verdict, which was not abrogated and will not be caused to cease (repealed): blessed be the one who observes His servants, who is not prevented from - by anything, however mighty it may be in His creation; nor does anything in His universes, however great it may be, lessen His power of, His observing the least little thing in them: for He is as the Mighty and Exalted One said: "the living, the self-subsistent, slumber takes Him not, nor sleep." And He said: "He knows what goes into the earth, and what comes forth therefrom, and what comes down from the sky, and what ascends thereto." "He knows things hidden, not the weight of an atom escapes from Him in earth or in heaven."

Verily, the greatest sin that a servant may commit is the disclosure of the protection of God, Most High and Exalted, about His servants; and there is recorded about the sentence of Abu Bakr, the Truthful, may God be pleased with him, that he struck a man who had pressed himself against a youth until he had the orgasm, a blow which caused his death; and about the admiration of Malik, may God have mercy upon him, at the religious zeal of the Emir who struck a young man who gave a man a chance to kiss him so long until the man's semen was ejected: he beat him until he died; (enough) to make people forget the assaults of the motives in this matter and its causes. And the increase of Ijtihad, though we do not hold that opinion, is commended by many learned men whose view is followed by the learned among the people: and as regards the one we follow, it is the one we were told by Al-Hamdani, from Al-Balkhi, from Al-Firibri, from Al-Bukhari, who said: "We were told by Yahya b. Suleiman, we were told by Ibn Wahb, who said: [132] I was told by Amru that Bukeir had told him from Suleiman b. Yasar, from Abd-ur-Rahman b. Jabir, from his father, from Abu Burda Al-Ansari, who said: "I heard the Prophet of God * say: "There shall be no scourging above ten stripes, except in a punishment among the punishments of God, the Mighty and Exalted." And this is the belief of Abu Ja'far Muhammad b. Ali An-Nasa'i Ash-Shafi'i, may God have mercy upon him.

And as regards the act of Lot's people it is hideous and despicable. Said God, Most High: "Do ye approach an abomination which no one in all the world ever anticipated you in?" And God threw upon those who practiced it stones of marked clay, and Malik, may God have mercy upon him, holds that the active and passive doer of it should be stoned, be they married or not married. And some of the partisans of Malik argue in proof of it that God, Most High and Exalted, says about the hitting of the doers of this by stones "and these are not so far from the unjust!"; hence it is necessary, according to this, that if anyone acted wrongly now, practicing what they did, stones are near him. And to defend a dissenting opinion in this matter does not belong here.

Abu Ishaq Ibrahim b. As-Sirri mentioned that Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, burned by fire because of it, and Abu Obeida Ma'mar b. Al-Mutanna mentioned the name of the one burned, and said: "It was Shuja' b. Warqa Al-Asadi, whom Abu Bakr, the Truthful, had burned by fire, because he offered his hindquarters as a woman offers (her forequarters.) And an intelligent man has indeed ample ways of behavior apart from immoralities, because God did not forbid anything but He put in its place for His servants things permitted which are better than the forbidden and nobler; there is no God but He!"


Excellence of continence. (return to top)

And among the noblest things a man may do in his love is continence, and giving up the launching upon illicit practices and abomination; and that he should not turn away from his Creator's reward by the blessings of the Abode of Permanence, and that he should not disobey his Lord who has distinguished him (above all things and who made him a place for, and worthy of, what He commands and what He forbids; and has sent His messengers to him, and has made His Word clearly established with him - as a solicitude from Him for us, and as His favor to us. And verily when one's heart has become inflamed with love, and his mind worried, and his yearning has grown strong, and his amorous rapture wants to vanquish his reason and his desire is about to be victorious over his religion: then justice sets up a protection against his soul and he realizes that "verily, the soul is very urgent [134] to evil", and he reminds it of the punishment of God, Most High, and begins to think of his temerity against His Creator who indeed sees him and warns it before the Day of Appointment and the standing before the King, the Mighty, the Severe Punisher, the Compassionate, the Merciful, who does not require any proof; and when he looks with the eyes of his conscience into his being devoid of any defensor in the presence of the Knower of things hidden "the day when wealth shall profit not, nor sons, but only he who comes to God with a sound heart" - "on the day when the earth shall be changed for another earth, and the heavens too" - "the day that every soul shall find what it has done of good present before it; and what it has done of evil, it would fain that there were between itself and that a wide interval" - "on the day (when) faces shall be humbled before the Living, the Self-subsistent tent; and he who bears injustice is ever lost" - "on the day they shall find present what they have done; and thy Lord will not wrong any one" - "on the day of the great predominant calamity, on the day when man shall remember what he strove after, and hell shall be brought out for him who sees! And as for him who was outrageous and preferred the life of this world, verily, hell is the resort! But as for him who feared the station of his Lord, and prohibited his soul from lust, verily Paradise is the resort!" And on the day of which God, Most High, has said: "And every man's augury have we fastened on his neck; and we will bring forth for him on the Resurrection Day a book offered to him wide open. Read thy book, thou art accountant enough against thyself today!" On that day, the sinner will say: "Alas for me! what ails this Book, it leaves neither small nor great things alone, without numbering them?"

And how about him whose heart was hiding greater heat than the burning of tamarisk, and whose side was hiding a sharper sting than that of a sword, and who swallowed mouthfuls bitterer than colocynth, and turned his soul against its will away from what it craved, and knew surely it would attain, and for what it was preparing without there being any obstacle? He surely deserves that he rejoice on the morrow of the Resurrection Day, and be one of those near God's throne, in the Abode of Reward and in the Eternal World, and that he be safe before the fears of the resurrection, and the terrors of the last judgment, and that God should exchange this natural disposition for that of peaceful safety on the Day of Gathering.

I was told by Abu Musa Harun b. Musa, the physician, who said: ñI saw a young man of a very handsome face, a native of Córdoba, who had devoted himself to the service of God and renounced. the world: he had a brother in God, with whom he lived on very familiar terms, and he visited him one night and was invited by him to stay overnight in his house; and there came up for the host an urgent business with some of his acquaintances living far away from his house; and he arose as a consequence, and went away in haste. And the young man stayed at his house [135] with his host's wife, who was very beautiful and of about, the same youthful age as the guest. And the host was very long in staying (with his friend), until the night watchman began his rounds and it was not possible for him to get away and go home. And when the woman knew that the time for return had gone by, and that it would not be possible for her husband to come back that night, she conceived a strong desire for that young man, and made advances to him and called him to lie with her: and there was no third person with them except God, Most High and Exalted. And he was on the point of falling when he recovered his reason, and he bethought himself of God, Most High and Exalted, and placed his finger on the flame of the lamp until it was burnt red, and said: "Oh my soul, taste this, and what is this compared to the fire of Hell." And the woman was terrified at what she had seen - then she again tried to seduce him and he again was seized by passion, inherent in man, and did the same as before. And the dawn came and his index finger was maimed by fire. For what other reason do you think did his soul reach this point except on account of the passion that was raging in him. Or do you think that God will make him lose his merit? Not indeed, for He is nobler than this and the better informed.

And I was told by a woman whom I trust that a young man handsome as she was fell in love with her, and she fell in love with him, and talk spread about them: And one day they met where they were quite alone and he said: "Come on, and let us actually do what people say about us." And she said: "No, by God, this will never happen, for I know by heart what God says: "Friends on that day shall be foes to each other, save those who fear." Said she: "And only a short time after that we came to have intercourse in the permitted way."

And a trustworthy friend of mine told me that one day he found himself alone and in a solitary place with a slave-girl who had been his equal in youth, and she alluded to some of those veiled meanings, but he said: "No, indeed, and verily I must show myself thankful to God for the favor that He granted me a union with you which was the fondest of my hopes, in order that I may abstain from my passion in accordance with His command."

And by my life, this certainly is strange (to have happened) in the days gone by, and how about a time like this in which all good is gone and all evil present! And I do not suppose in these stories, and they are true, except one of the following two aspects, of which there is no doubt: either the natural disposition was already inclined to other things than this sort of thing and its knowledge strengthened the preference (of such conduct) to something else; hence it does not respond to the urge of courtship in one word nor in two words, and not in one day nor in two days; yet if this sort of temptation had continued to tempt these tempted ones for a long time, their natural disposition would have been confused and they would have responded to the call of the evil temptation, but God protected them by cutting off the provoking cause, by way of watching over them and because of knowing what was in their innermost thoughts in the form of their demand of refuge in Him from. abomination, and their praying for right guidance: there is no God but He; or an enlightenment put in an appearance at the time, and the idea of being detached [136] from worldly things, by which the first indications of passion were checked back at that moment, due to a favor which God, Most High and Exalted, wanted to bestow upon such a person; may God make us of the number of those who fear Him, Amen.

And I was told by Abu Abd-ullah Muhammad b. Omar b. by Mada' who heard it from men of the Beni Merwan, trustworthy ones, who trace the story back to the authority of Abu-l-Abbas Al-Walid b. Ganem, that he mentioned that the Imam Abd-ur-Rahman b. Al-Hakam went away on one of his razzias (military expeditions) for several months, and forbade to his son Muhammad, who inherited the Khalifate after him, the access to the castle and he fixed him up on the roof (azotea) and arranged for his staying there during the daytime, and his sleeping there at night, and he was absolutely not permitted to leave it. And he arranged for every night that a vizier of his viziers and a young man of the noblemen's sons should stay overnight with him on the roof. Said Abu-l-Abbas: And thus matters went on for a long time, and it had been a long time since he saw his folks, and he was twenty years of age or thereabouts, until once it so happened that when I was staying with him overnight, it was the turn of a young man of noblemen's sons, and he was of a tender age and of an extremely handsome face. Said Abu-l-Abbas: And I said to myself: I fear that tonight Muhammad b. Abd-ur-Rahman's soul will perish by reason of being assailed by (a temptation to commit) an immorality, and by Iblis' blandishments, and his following him. Said he. Then, I took my couch to the outer roof and Muhammad was on the inner roof which faced the harem of the Commander of the Faithful, and the boy was on the other edge which was near the exit. And I continued watching him carefully, while he thought I had already gone to sleep, and did not notice that I knew well what he was doing. He said: And when part of the night had passed I saw him rising, and he remained sitting for quite a while; then he asked for refuge against Shaitan and went back to his sleeping place. Then he rose after a while and put on his shirt, and remained on the look-out (half reclining on the bed): then he took the shirt off, and returned to his place of sleep. Then he arose for the third time and put on his shirt and let big feet go down the bed and remained thus for a while. Then he called the boy by his name and the boy answered. And he said to him: "Go down the roof and stay on the wall which is below it." And the boy arose and did as he was ordered. And when he had descended Muhammad arose and locked the door from the inside; then returned to his bed. Said Abu-l-Abbas: And I knew from that time on, that God was wishing him good.

We were told by Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Al-Jasur, from Ahmad b. Mutarrif, from Obeid-ullah b. Yahya, from his father, from Malik, from Habib b. Abd-ur-Rahman al-Ansari, from Hafs b. Asim, from Abu Hureira, about the Prophet of God * that he said: "There are seven whom God will overshadow with His protection on the day when there is no protection, but His: a just Imam, [137] and a young man who was brought up in the service of God, Most High and Exalted, and a man whose heart is attached to the mosque when he leaves it until he returns to it, and two men who love each other in God, foregather in this spirit and separate, and a man who remembers God alone and his eyes overflow with tears, and a man whom a woman of high rank and beautiful invites (to love) and he says: "Verily, I fear God," and a man who gives alms in truth and secretly, so that his left hand does not know what his right hand spends."

And I remember that I was invited to a party, where there was one whose appearance pleased the eye, and whose conduct caused hearts to cultivate his friendship for (the sake of) conversation and sitting together in company, without anything forbidden or hateful; and I was making haste to go to it, and this was early in the morning: and after I had finished my morning prayer and dressed myself to go out a thought struck me and verses occurred to my mind: and there was with me a man from among my friends, and he said to me: "Why this sudden silence?" And I did not answer him until I had completed them, then I wrote them, and gave them to him, and gave up going where I had the intention to go; and these are some of those verses:

Have you been upset by a beauty, the absence of which is for you the cause of sleeplessness?
And by the cooling-off of union, the secrecy of which is in you the cause of warming up?
And the proximity of place, which requires that you separate yourself from him quickly,
While were there no nearness, there would not be separation?
And the delicious taste, which is bringing to you great bitterness in its wake,
And the ample freedom, in the redoubling of which there is straitness?