al-Ittiḥād al-kawnī

The Universal Tree and the Four Birds

Opening page of Shehit Ali 2813
Opening page of Shehit Ali 2813

Written primarily in rhymed prose and poetry, the Ittiḥād belongs to the genre of mystical ascent literature. After a series of poems the author engages in a dialogue with the Supreme Being of his own self, and ascends to the outer limits of creation. There, in a garden at the farthest boundary of the cosmos, he hears the discourse of a Tree and four Birds, who are none other than images of the Perfect Human Being and his four cosmic faculties, the First Intellect, the Universal Soul, Prime Matter and Universal Body.

"From my incompleteness to my completeness, and from my inclination to my equilibrium

From my grandeur to my beauty, and from my splendour to my majesty

From my scattering to my gathering, and from my exclusion to my reunion

From my baseness to my preciousness, and from my stones to my pearls

From my rising to my setting, and from my days to my nights

From my luminosity to my darkness, and from my guidance to my straying

From my perigee to my apogee, and from the base of my lance to its tip...

I am no one in existence but myself, so – Whom do I treat as foe and whom do I treat as friend?...

For I am in love with none other than myself, and my very separation is my union.

Do not blame me for my passion. I am inconsolable over the one who has fled me."