Saturday, November 22, 2008

quatrain 161

Sunlight offers this version of quatrain 161:
A step toward your own heart
    is a step toward the Beloved.

In this house of mirrors
    you see a lot of things –
Rub your eyes.
Only you exist.

version by Jonathan Star and Shahram Shiva


Saturday, November 15, 2008

quatrain 1115

Zara Houshmand translation is at sadness and silence, with a shell of a commentary from me.

Sunlight also offers these two versions:
I am happy
when I am sad
I am together
when fallen apart
like earth
when I am silent
I have thunder
hidden inside

translation by Nader Khalili

When compassion fills my heart,
free from all desire,
I sit quietly like the earth.
My silent cry echoes like thunder
throughout the universe.

trans by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 08, 2008


In this illustration from a 16th-century Ottoman manuscript, an astronomer calculates the position of a star with an armillary sphere and a quadrant.

The second difficulty the author confronts is the notion that Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111), probably the greatest Muslim religious philosopher, put an end to scientific activity in the Muslim world by his attack on the philosophers. This simplistic formula is also a nineteenth-century view first put forward by Edward Sachau. Here again the reader is given no background on the debate, no clue about what Ghazali argued, how Muslims reacted to the arguments, nor the century-long debate that culminated in a rebuttal by Averroes (Ibn Rushd) in the twelfth century. At issue was Ghazali's denial of natural causality and his marshaling of Greek philosophy to the aid of "Islamic occasionalism," the view that all events, human and natural, are controlled by God instead of through the blind workings of natural processes.

Whatever impact that doctrine had on Muslims, Saliba's exaggerated imputation to Ghazali claims too much. At the same time, he fails to draw an obvious insight that applies to astronomy. The author notes that one objection to Greek astronomy in the Muslim world was its association with astrology, as astrologers claim to predict the future. Such a claim is profoundly at odds with the Islamic view that only God knows the future, encouraging the extreme reluctance of Arab astronomers to work out ephemerides, tables listing the positions of the sun, moon, and planets on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Saliba acknowledges the surprising absence of ephemerides but declines to comment on the deeper issues.

from Toby E. Huff's review of George Saliba: Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 01, 2008

quatrain 181

Sunlight has three interpretations of Quatrain 181:
you see no center
you're so ego ridden
within your shell
your senses are
the brain of your body
and your brain
the sense of your soul
that there is a friend
within your soul
once your surpass
the body sense and soul
there is nothing but the friend

translation by Nader Khalili

Don't forget the nut, being so proud of the shell,
The body has its inward ways,

the five senses. They crack open,
and the Friend is revealed.

Crack open the Friend, you become
the All-One.

(probably) version by Coleman Barks

Deafened by the voice of desire
you are unaware the Beloved
lives in the core of your heart.
Stop the noise,
and you will hear His voice
in the silence.

trans by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi

Labels: , ,