Arabic Language Blog

Mostafa Mahmoud’s “Tree” Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

We talked before about the famous Egyptian scientist and writer Mostafa Mahmoud. Today we are going to explore one of his articles about woman. The article is taken from his mystic book “Anthems of Sin and Innocence أناشيد الإثم و البراءة pages 73 – 75 . In the article, Mahmoud takes us smoothly from Materialism المادية to Mysticism الروحانية and Sufism الصوفية . He looks at the body of the woman and its beauty as a source of guidance and inspiration that, in turn, takes us to God. It is that look of a true Sufi who sees everything in that huge universe as a sign and witness to the existence of the Almighty Creator of every beautiful thing. Ok, Let’s start reading my own translation to a part Mostafa Mahmoud’s “Tree”.

Woman المرأة , like life, has the changes of the four seasons. One day, you get there to find shade, green, scent and fruit while some other day, you see her bare of leaves, dry of life with no giving, no shade, no flower and no fruit. Time wraps it like day and night, spring and autumn, rain and dryness, drought and vitality. So, if you had adored the shade, green, scent, and fruit, then that is not the face of woman. Woman has all faces of life. She shows up and off like the moon. She rises and sets off like the sun. She foliates and fades away like flowers … If it is that evening glow in her eyes that you adored, then you never adored her face, but rather the face of Allah that shone on you and on her one evening. And wherever God’s face shines, all appearances glow and all trees foliate and all flowers bloom and all fruit grant and all boys smile and all lovers’ hearts long for whom the blessing clung to, and in whom the generosity appears.

Here, our feet mistake the address, and our tongues mistake the name which they praise .. and we forget the creator of grace … we forget that neither me nor you has anything to do … but rather, all what happened was that Allah, on the tongue of all appearances one evening and in a moment of manifestation – said, ” I Am Here … I Am the Originator of Heavens and the Earth ..”  We forget all that and stop at the moment, freeze at the body, cheek, waist and breast … We forget the source of generosity and so He, the Owner of all-Credit, forgets us and turns His gracious face away from us and so the leaves fall and the flowers fade away and the green turns yellow and fruit abstain and nothing remains in the branch except for the dry wood with no water, no mercy, no love and no tenderness. Then, Allah lets us taste the loneliness while we are so near and lets us feel the disappointment while working hard and (He) sets the seal with failure while we are mad in love.

That is the lovers’ shock that all poets described and prolonged. The shock which in its essence is a sign of mercy from Allah that He uses to awaken all those who went astray following their whims and forgetting the real Lover, Idol and Owner of  All Credit … the Source and the Only Source … the Collective Name of all Perfections … the Name that was the eye of Bliss , the eye of the moment that looked like eternity and paradise. And that was eating from the Tree. And then, the descent after eating from the tree .. the descent from the broad heavens of knowledge to the prisons of pleasures and the cells of moments.

That is the same story which is repeated everyday since the time of Adam and Eve and which is repeated whenever a son and a daughter of them meet. The same failure is repeated and the same disappointment. Yet, no sane person considers nor an ignorant. And those who were shocked in love, go back to a new love, to a new disappointment and the hopeful people are not satisfied with hopelessness. And every time, the vision and the cell get narrower and no one survives in that sea except for those whom Allah protects. It is the sea of thirst that runs between the woman’s arms. Every time you drink from it, you even get more thirsty and more burnt. You think you are killing your thirst, but you are never and never satisfied. He (Allah)  only has all satisfaction and stability (at His door)……


* You can read the full article in Arabic here

* You can view the full list of Mostafa Mahmoud’s works at

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Peace سلام   / Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Renuka Karthik:

    I totally like this.
    There is a philosophy called Advaita that is very similar to Sufism where one sees the Universal Consciousness of God in everything..animate or inanimate…even in the paradox.

    Nature is denoted as Feminine..Her ways are mysterious like a veil.
    Beautiful yet deluding..every season denotes the changes of time and transientness of Nature.

    In that beauty of Nature one can still be totally drown in attachment and never sail through the ocean of existence to realize Truth..Consciousness..Bliss.