Les Oiseaux et les Fleurs. Allégories Morales d’Izz al-Din Abd al-Salam Ibn AhmadIbn Ghanim al-Makdisi, publiées en arabe, avec une traduction et des notes par M. Garcin de Tassy. TWO PARTS IN ONE VOLUME.

Ibn Ghanim al-Makdisi, Izz al-Din Abd al-Salam Ibn Ahmad.

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Book ID: 7706


8vo. xxviii, 240 pp., of French text, 118 pp., of Arabic text, half-titles, contemporary vellum boards, gilt-tooled spine with red leather lettering piece, light foxing on French and Arabic preliminaries, speckled edges, otherwise copy in very good condition, Imprimerie Royale, Paris, first edition, 1821.


FIRST edition of a 13th-century collection of spiritual allegories interpreting silent messages communicated by birds, flowers, and animals. The author, ‘Izz al-Din al-Maqdisî, begins by establishing that there is nothing in Nature which is not endowed with the faculty of being heard by an intelligible way. To Man alone is reserved the use of speech; but the other creatures, whether animate or inanimate, also seem to express themselves, in their manner of being, in a silent language. Moreover, this language is ” more eloquent than speech and more es­sen­tially true. Thus, the roses spread a precious perfume which penetrates to the bottom of the heart and which tells their secrets; the nightingales, on the branches which sway them, modulate their loves; and the high peaks of the trees move as if to celebrate the vision of God. Starting from this idea, the author is supposed to be in the middle of a grandiose garden; there, busy studying the discourses of all the beings that Nature offers to his senses, he applies himself to interpret them and discover therein lessons not only moral, but also spiritual and mystical. ”
Be­lieve, ” he says, ” that he who does not know how to draw an al­le­go­ri­cal sense of the sour cry of the door, the buz­zing of the fly, the bar­king of the dog, the mo­ve­ment of the in­sects that agi­tate in the dust; that he who does not know how to un­ders­tand what is in­di­ca­ted by the march of the na­ked­ness, the gleam of the mi­rage, the hue of the fog, is not among the num­ber of in­tel­li­gent people. To avoid falling into the darkness of thought where many other Sufis have fallen, al-Maqdisi follows a gradual march. So his first allegories are more earthy than his last, where there is a question of divine love: ” The veil of mys­tery, at first thick, gra­dually ligh­te­ned and so­me­times lif­ted up; fi­nally, it falls en­ti­rely, and the name of God comes, in the last allegory to explain all the enigmas”..

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