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Umar Ibn al-Farid
(1182 - 1235) Egypt

Umar Ibn al-Farid

Poet, mystic

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Ibn al-Farid was born in Cairo. He used erotic imagery in his mystical poetry, and also wrote orifne verse, for example a poem in popular style about a handsome butcher boy. He achieved fame as a mystic poet, but, althought widely venerated, he was accused by certrain theologians of the heresy of (incarnationism". Certainly his poems use a very antrhropomorphic symbolism, dravn from love of both males and females. His works include at-Tâ'iyya al Kubrâ (The Greater Taiyya), and the Dîwân.

An example from Farid's Dîwân -

A sword his eyelids draw against my heart, and I see the
very languor thereof doth whet its blade;
All the more sheds he suddenly our blood, picturing them
that Musawir slew among the Beni Yazdadh.

No wonder is it, that he sould have taken the hairs upon
his cheeks to be the suspender-thongs of his sword, seeing
that he is ever smiting and slaying therewith...
The sun's self, yea, and the graceful gazelle submit humbly

before his face as he gazes about him, and take refuge
and shelter in his beauty... The harshness of his
heart rivals the tempered steel.
The mole upon his cheek embraces in its conflagration what
man soever is passionately occupied with him, and scorneth
to seek delivrance.
Ice-cool are his deep red lips, and sweet his mouth to kiss
in the morning, yea, even before the toothpick's
cleansing excelling the musk in fragrance and investing it
with its own perfume.
Of his mouth and his glances cometh my intoxication; nay,
but I see a wintner in his every limb.
(Arberry translation, 1956:46-47)

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