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Stony Brook University

The official electronic file of this thesis or dissertation is maintained by the University

Libraries on behalf of The Graduate School at Stony Brook University.

© Allll Riightts Reserved by Autthor..

© A R gh s Reserved by Au hor

‘Abd al-Rahman Jami’s Lawami’: A Translation Study

A Dissertation Presented

by

Marlene Rene DuBois

to

The Graduate School

in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements

for the Degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

in

Comparative Literature Stony Brook University May 2010 Copyright by Marlene Rene DuBois Stony Brook University The Graduate School Marlene Rene DuBois We, the dissertation committee for the above candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, hereby recommend acceptance of this dissertation.

William Chittick—Dissertation Advisor Professor, Asian and Asian American Studies & Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies Sachiko Murata—Chairperson of Defense Professor, Asian and Asian American Studies & Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies Ilona Rashkow Associate Professor Emerita, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies Robert Hoberman Professor, Linguistics This dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School Lawrence Martin Dean of the Graduate School ii

Abstract

of the Dissertation ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami’s Lawami’: A Translation Study by Marlene Rene DuBois Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature Stony Brook University This dissertation discusses a 13th century Arabic poem, the Khamriyya (Wine Ode) by ‘Umar Ibn al-Farid (576-632/1181-1235) and a 15th century Persian commentary Lawami’: Sharh-i Khamriyyat-i Faridiyya (Sparks: Explanation of the Khamriyya of Ibn Farid) by ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (817-898/1414-1492). It places Ibn al-Farid in a historical, religious and literary context, and discusses the imagery of wine-drinking in both pre-Islamic and Islamic thought. It addresses the philosophical connections that were made later between Ibn al-Farid and Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 637/1240), and aims to show how Jami, of the school of Ibn ‘Arabi, brings his own interpretive framework to his commentary of Ibn al-Farid’s poem, and embodies the ideals of his school of thought in the form of his commentary. In order to show Jami’s particular interpretive stance, this dissertation explains how a careful translation methodology that takes into account considerations of genre, readership and style—all of which are naturally limited by one culture’s knowledge of another’s literary and cultural history—are necessary for translation efficacy. The history of translation of Islamic texts by the West—which was fraught with the problems of Old-school Orientalism—illustrates the gradual transformation in translation efficacy, from the ideologically-driven translations of Islamic texts, to the particular issues that always exist in translating Arabic and Persian, no matter what the time period. To illustrate the subtle differences that can exist between two commentaries on the same poem by authors from a single school of thought—which can only be brought out through careful translations—this dissertation includes a comparison of Jami’s commentary to that of al-Qaysari (fl. 8th/14th c.). Finally, this dissertation presents a selection of Jami’s Lawami’ in translation. The chosen selection is one wherein Jami discusses the process by which ideas are “clothed in form” and how human beings use metaphoric language to convey thought about things without form.

Here we will understand Jami through a translation that consults the cumulative knowledge of his school of thought and a methodology that claims limited efficacy—

–  –  –

Introduction: A Poem and Its Commentary The Wine Ode………………………………………………………...1 The Khamriyya and the Lawami’...…………………………………..3

1. Ibn al-Farid His Life...…………………………………………………………....6 Pre-Islamic Arabia………………………………………………….10 Poetic Shifts………………………………………………………...13

2. The Language of Ibn al-Farid The Language of Wine and Love……………………………….…..26 Ibn al-Farid: Desert Poet and Islamic Thinker………………….…..31 Ibn al-Farid and Ibn ‘Arabi…………………………………………36

3. The Orientalist Problem Textual Consequences……………………………………………....39 Sorting Out Misunderstanding from Fact…………………………...44

4. Translation Issues An Overview………………………………………………………...49 The Case at Hand……………………………………………………58

5. Commentaries on the Khamriyya Jami’s Commentary…………………………………………….…..67 Al-Qaysari’s Commentary………………………………………….75 Conclusions……………………………………….…………….…..85

6. A Passage from Jami’s Lawami’…………………..……………….…88 Bibliography…………………………...……….…………………….……………100 Appendix The Wine Song, translated by R. A. Nicholson……………………….…..107 The Wine Song, translated by A. J. Arberry………………………….…...110 The Wine Song (al-Khamriyyah) of ‘Umar Ibn al-Fârid translated by Martin Lings…………………………………………..113 Ibn al-Farid’s Wine Ode, translated by Th. Emile Homerin……………....116





vAcknowledgements

I would like to thank my family, my friends, and my colleagues, who have helped me in innumerable ways. If not for their support and positive regard, this work would never have come to fruition. Ali, Iman and Leila, who never knew a mother who was not reading, writing, or researching, and grew up that way without complaining (very much).

Gretchen Gosnell, for encouraging me to have a single-minded focus. Eva Nagase, for being generous with solace and support, and doing lunch as a matter of course. Jeff Kluewer, Dave Moriarty, Joe Inners, Elaine Preston and the rest of my colleagues at Suffolk, for their support in the balancing act that is academia. Mary Moran-Luba for her support throughout my many years of graduate school. Richard Graugh, for his timely appearance on the scene, and his efforts to help me laugh and keep things in perspective.

And finally, Dr. William Chittick and Dr. Sachiko Murata, whose patience and hard work over many years made it possible for me to see Jami’s sparks in the vast world of Islam.

Introduction A Poem and Its Commentary

The Wine Ode1

We drank wine in the remembrance of the Beloved;

We were drunk with it before the vine was created.

It had the full moon as a cup, and it was a sun;

It was passed around by a crescent moon, and so many stars appeared when it was mixed!

But for its fragrance, I would never have been guided to its tavern;

But for its resplendence, imagination could not have conceived of it.

Time has left nothing of it but a ghost, As if its vanishing were concealed in the breasts of the aware.

Yet if it is mentioned in the tribe, its folk Become drunk, and no shame on them or sin.

It has ascended from the insides of the jugs, And nothing is left of it but the name.

But if one day it should enter into a man’s mind, Joys will settle down therein and grief will depart.

Had the boon companions but gazed on the container’s seal, That seal would have made them drunk without the wine.

Were they to sprinkle a dead man’s grave with its drops, His spirit would return to him and his body would revive.

If they threw into the shadow of its vine’s wall Someone ill, on the verge of death, his illness would go.

If a cripple were brought near its tavern, he would walk;

If a dumb man recalled its taste, he would speak.

If the whiffs of its fragrance were to spread in the East, Smell would return to someone with a stuffed nose in the West.

A touching palm tinged by its cup Will never be lost at night while the star is in hand.

If it were secretly disclosed to the blind man, he would come To see, and by its strainer, the deaf man would hear.

If riders set out for the earth of its land, This translation of Ibn al-Farid’s Khamriyya (“The Wine Ode” or “The Wine Song”) by Marlene DuBois is presented as part of this dissertation. See appendix for other translations.

And among them is one snake-bitten, the venom would not harm him.

If the sorcerer traced the letters of its name on The brow of someone struck by the jinn, the script would free him.

And if its name were inscribed on the banner of the army, That inscription would intoxicate all those beneath the banner.

It refines the character traits of the boon companions, so by it is guided To the path of resolve he who had no resolve.

He whose hand knew no generosity will be munificent, And he who had no clemency will be clement despite anger.

If the stupid man of the tribe should kiss its strainer, That kiss would convey to him the meaning of its virtues.

They say to me, “Describe it, for you are acquainted with its description.”

Yes, I have knowledge of its attributes:

Limpid, but not water; subtle, but not air;

Light, but not fire; spirit, but not body.

Beautiful traits that guide the describers to describe it, So their prose and poetry about it is beautiful.

And he who does not know it becomes joyful at its mention, Like the one longing for Nu’m at the mention of Nu’m.’ They say, “You have drunk sin!” Not at all—I have only Drunk that whose abandonment would be a sin for me.

Good health to the folk of the monastery! How they were drunk with it, Though they did not drink of it, only aspiring to do so.

I was drunk with it before I came to be.

It will stay with me forever, though my bones rot away.

So take it unmixed. If you want to, mix it— It is wrong for you to turn away from the Beloved’s mouth.

Watch for it in the tavern and seek its disclosure there Amidst the melodies of the songs, with which it is booty.

Wine and worry never dwell in one place, Just as sorrow never dwells with song.

If it makes you drunk once, even for the length of an hour, You will see time as an obedient servant, yours to command.

There is no life in this world for the one who lives sober;

And when someone does not die drunk on it, resolve has passed him by.

Let him weep for himself, he whose life has been wasted And who has never had a share or portion of it.

The Khamriyya and the Lawami’

Pre-Islamic Arabia produced a rich tradition of poetry that was carried into the Islamic era with many of its desert-flavors still intact. The cumulative tradition belonging to Islam carried them through the centuries, and mixed their flavors into new language traditions and emerging interpretive frameworks. This dissertation will discuss the above 13th century Arabic poem featuring the flavors of the pre-Islamic Arabs’ desert poetry, and a 15th century Persian commentary on the poem that brings specific interpretations into its reading of the poem. I intend to show how the Persian commentator brings an interpretive framework in his commentary, and even embodies the ideals of his own

school of thought in the very form of his commentary. The commentary is ‘Abd alRahman Jami’s (817-898/1414-1492) Lawami’: Sharh-i Khamriyyat-i Faridiyya (Sparks:

Explanation of the Khamriyya of Ibn al-Farid), which is a commentary on, and includes within its own text, ‘Umar ibn al-Farid’s (576-632/1181-1235) Khamriyya (Wine Ode).

Through the exercise of translating Jami’s text for the purpose of this dissertation, and in reading other Islamic texts and their translations, I have come to the conclusion that the West’s ability to produce accurate translations has depended in part upon its cumulative knowledge of the tradition of Islam. I intend to discuss the specific problems associated with the history of the translation of Islamic texts, and then present my own translation of a portion of Jami’s Lawami’.

The Lawami’ discusses a poem by Ibn al-Farid, who is arguably the most famous Islamic mystical poet who wrote in Arabic. His two best-known works are the Nazm alsuluk (Poem of the Way)—also known as the Ta’iyya (poem rhyming with the letter “t”)—and the Khamriyya. His Khamriyya has been much discussed in the Islamic world, and has twenty-five surviving commentaries, among them Jami’s Lawami’. Jami is one of the most famous Persian scholars of classical Islam, and is credited with texts in diverse fields such as Arabic grammar, Persian grammar, Hadith literature, theoretical Sufism, music, poetry, and the “riddle” (literary device).2 His Lawami’ follows the traditional mode of commentary: he cites a verse or two of the Arabic poem, reverts to Persian prose to explain some key elements in understanding the basic meaning, then goes on to interpret the verses.

Chapter One of this dissertation places Ibn al-Farid, the author of the Khamriyya (Wine Ode), in a historical backdrop that examines his life, the genre he was working in, and also examines how the poetic traditions of pre-Islamic Arabia were transformed into the poetry of the Islamic period. In Chapter Two I will discuss the history of wine drinking in Islamic thought based on its Qur’anic roots, and how Ibn al-Farid stands with one foot in the desert tradition of odes on wine and love, but with the other foot stands in the tradition of Islamic poetry on Divine Love. I will also discuss the philosophical implications of his imagery in context with Ibn ‘Arabi, the famous Andalusian Sufi, whose teaching began a wave of thought in intellectual Islam that included Jami and has continued on until the present day. The students of Ibn ‘Arabi studied the poetry of Ibn al-Farid, describing his poems in the language of Ibn ‘Arabi’s thought, and as a result, Sachiko Murata, Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light, p. 113.



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