Philosophical Views Of Abu Al-Ala Al-Maarri

Poem By Abu al-Alaa Al-Maarri

In my estimation and firm belief,
Crying of weepers and rejoicing of singers,
Are equally useless
Voices of the announcer of death
And the harbinger of birth
Are similar, when compared
Has yonder dove, perching on its swaying branch
Wept or cried
Behold, the earth is filled with our graves!
Where are the rest of the graves
Since the time of Ad
Tread softly, walk gently;
For I believe the soil of this earth
Is nothing but the crumbled dust of these bodies
It is unbecoming of us, disgraceful,
To desecrate our fathers and forefathers,
Although separated from us by countless ages
Walk leisurely on air, if able to;
Not self-conceitedly, on peoples’ mortal remains
The same grave, perhaps repeatedly used,
Scoffs at the crammed corpses
Of both men and women, interned therein
Lo, one body atop another,
Throughout eternity; since time immemorial
Inquire of the two luminaries, ask the North Star
About diversified races they witnessed;
The nations, they sleeplessly gazed at
How oft they tirelessly watched the passage of days,
And illumined travelers’ paths in the dark
Life is nothing but wrestle and struggle,
Yet, I wonder why people harbor desires
For increasing their lot
The grief experienced at the hour of death,
Is far greater than the joy felt when a newborn announced
People have been created and destined for immortality,
Although some delusively think
They are doomed to extinction
They are merely transported
From a sphere of toil and endeavor,
Into a sphere of either misery, or enlightened guidance
The slumber of death is a repose,
Where the body rests
And the faculties awake
O cooing doves, do impart gladness,
Or promise the inconsolable some joy
May you be blessed, indeed!
You know how to maintain
Devotion; abiding love
However, I do not approve of your cooing;
While collars adorn your necks
First remove your ornaments,
Borrow mourning attire
From the gloom of darkness
Then warble your carols in funerals;
Join the wailing maidens and damsels
In pouring forth your plaintive orison
Whatever is built; either by lark or lord
Will eventually come apart; lay in ruin
Man is a traveler in the desert of life,
A shady tree will afford him comfort,
No need for pitching tents and laying foundations
God’s truth has been revealed,
Yet people dispute amongst themselves;
Some preach falsehood and delusion,
Others teach right guidance
And most mysterious of all creatures:
An animal fashioned of inanimate matter
The wisest of the wise is the one
Who is undeceived by a universe,
Whose ultimate end is corruption and decay

Translated by: Mahmoud Abbas Masoud

Comments about Philosophical Views Of Abu Al-Ala Al-Maarri

It is marvelous piece of poetry with splendid translation.. He was really a great voice of reason.


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