The Dove's Neck-Ring about Love and Lovers
- Tawq ul-hamamah fil-ulfah wal-ullaf
by Abu Muhammad 'Ali Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi,
translated by A.R. Nykl, 1931
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Chapter 3: Signs of love
Love has its symptoms which are detected by the sagacious man, and by which is guided the intelligent man. The first of them is the continuous look: indeed, the eye is the wide open gate of the soul; it is the path for scrutinizing its secrets, and a bridge to its innermost thoughts, and a clear expression of its intimate secrets. Thus you will observe the onlooker not casting his look (in one direction): he shifts it from one end to another according to the changed position of the beloved and makes it approach according to the approaching (of the beloved), and inclines to wherever he inclines, like a chameleon according to the sun; and on that subject I have a poem, from which I quote:
There is no stopping place for my eye except upon you,
Then comes the engaging in
conversation wherein he cannot
himself to another person than his beloved even if he does it on
however, constraint will indeed become apparent to anyone who casts a
glance upon him; then, the listening in silence to his talk when he
beloved) is telling something and wondering at anything he says, even
it be the very acme of absurdity and unheard of; when he believes him,
even if he lies; and agrees with him, even though he does wrong, and
for him, even if he commits injustice, and when he follows him in his
and in every aspect of the way of talking he may adopt; then comes
in going toward the place where the beloved may be, and seeking pretext
to sit near him and to be in his proximity, and abandoning of affairs
would necessitate staying away from him, and disdain of any important
which would call for the keeping away from him, and procrastination in.
something that would delay his departure from him, and on this I say
When I start to go away from you I walk only
Another sign is the surprise
which occurs, and the thrill that
over the lover when he sees unexpectedly the person loved, or when that
person suddenly appears before him; and the confusion which comes over
the lover when he sees someone that resembles his beloved, and when he
hears his name all of a sudden, and on that I have composed a poem, in
which these lines occur:
Whenever my eyes see someone dressed in red,
Then comes the effort of man to do with all his power what he was incapable of doing before , as if he were the one to whom something was being given and for whose. happiness he was working; all this in order to show his good qualities, and to make himself desirable. And how many a stingy one became generous, and a gloomy one became bright-faced, and a coward became brave, and a grouchy-dispositioned one became gay, and an ignoramus became clever, and a slovenly one in his personal appearance "dolled up", and an ill-shaped one became handsome, and an aged one became youthfully sprightly, and a pious one foolhardily broke his vows, and a chaste one was covered with shame!
And these sign's will occur
before the fire of love spreads,
heat becomes burning, and its ardor is kindled and burns, and its
shoot out far: but when it takes possession and hold of its victim,
you will see secret talk, and turning aside openly from all present,
from the beloved one. And I have composed some verses in which I have
together many of these signs, reading in part thus:
I like the talk whenever it reminds me of,
And other signs and indications of love which are apparent to everyone who has eyes is the excessive great rejoicing, and getting very close together in a spacious place, and being attracted to something picked up by one of the two, and the frequency of surreptitious winks with the eye, and the inclination toward leaning against each other, and intentional seeking of touching the hand while talking, and feeling with the hand whatever visible limbs might be touched, and drinking the wine which the beloved left in glass, and selecting the place where the beloved's mouth touched it.
There are also reverse signs which are according to circumstances arising, and accidents brought into play, and causes set in motion, and thoughts excited: and the opposites are likes and things if they go far beyond the limit of their opposites and stop at the extreme of the limits of their. difference, resemble a power from God, Most High and Exalted, by which minds are misled (beyond comprehension). Thus ice, if it be held a long time in the hand, will perform the action of fire; and we find that excessive joy kills, and excessive sorrow kills, and if laughter is prolonged and grows in intensity, tears will flow from the eyes and such things are many in the world. Hence we find that if two lovers  are equally corresponding to each other in love and it becomes strong between them, break-offs become frequent between them without any meaning (plausible cause), and their intentional opposition in speech, and attacking one another in any small matter, and careful following up of every word that drops from the mouth of the other, and interpreting it differently from its meaning, all this is a test for bringing out whatever each one firmly believes of the other. The difference between this and between true separation (rupture of relations), and opposition born of hatred and resulting quarrel, is the quickness of reconciliation: so while you see lovers having reached the limit of difference (dispute) which you not suppose could be made up (adjusted), in the case of a person of quiet mind, free from (the possibility of being excited to) secret hatred (except) after a long time, and which in the case of one who harbors a hatred never can be rectified - you soon see them coming back to the best of friendship, and their mutual scolding has passed away without trace, and the difference is removed, and they in that very moment revert to mutual laughter and joyful chatter; and this often at the same time. And if you see two people behaving in this manner let no doubt make you wobble and let by no means any uncertainty enter your mind at all and do not have any misgivings but that there is between them a love secret, deeply hidden, and be sure of it with the trenchant proof which no one in the world can disprove - and this is the true test and veritable experiment! This never happens except when there is equal correspondence in affection and true companionship; and I have seen a good deal of this.
Another sign of love is: you find that the lover provokes hearing the name of the person beloved, and takes delight in talking about him and makes of such talk a subject of constant repetition and nothing pleases him so much as this, and he is not checked in this by the fear of the one who hears comprehending, and he who is .present understanding (his secret). If you love a thing it makes you blind and deaf! And if the lover could so arrange it that in the place where he is there should be nothing mentioned but the person he loves he would not wish to go beyond it (elsewhere); and it happens to a man truly in love that he begins eating when he has a desire for it, yet the very moment when he becomes excited by the mention of the beloved the meal becomes a choking obstruction in his throat and a throttling morsel in his oesophagus: thus it is with both water and talk; when he begins to talk to you he may be exceedingly gay, but then some casual thought comes to him concerning his beloved, and there at once becomes evident a sudden change of his enunciation and cutting short of his talk: and a sign of this is his remaining silent with downcast eyes, and perplexed hanging down of the head, and self-concentration: and while (before) his face was beaming and his motions were light, it becomes as if rigidly covered up and inert, his soul confused, his motions rigid, he is annoyed and weary in his speech, ill at ease when questioned.
Another sign of love is predilection for solitude  and preference for being alone, and excessive thinning of the body without any fever, or any illness preventing a change for the better, and the motions (of the body) and manner of walking are a proof which does not lie, and an indication which does not deceive about the languor lurking within the soul.
Staying awake nights is also one
of the accidents of lovers.
been very prolix in describing this, and said that lovers are shepherds
of stars and expatiated on the length of the night and on this subject
I say, mentioning the keeping of a secret, and that it will be
Clouds have learned from my lachrymal glands,
And on something like this I have a poem, part of which says:
I guard the stars as if I had been commissioned
And a thing is mentioned on
account of what occasions it! It
to me in these verses to compare two things in one verse, and it is the
verse which begins: "And they and the night resemble" which is rather
in poetry; but I have written something more perfect still, namely, the
comparison of three things in one verse and a comparison of four things
in one verse, and both of these comparisons are in this poem which I
cite, as follows:
Burning with an ardent desire, afflicted, he does not sleep, a victim of insomnia:
And let critics not criticize me
for the word Qiran. Those who
astronomy call the conjunction of two stars on one degree Qiran. I have
composed something still more perfect than the foregoing, namely,
of five things in one verse in the following poem:
I was alone with her in a secluded place and perfume was the third present,
This is a situation beyond which nothing more can be done, and no one can do more than that, since neither versification nor the construction of words allow more than this.
The lover is also subject to anguish from either one of the two situations :
One of these is when the lover wishes to meet the beloved and some obstacle occurs therein.
Story. I know someone whom his
beloved dated up for a visit,
him going up and down, not being able to stand still, nor stay in one
going forward and backward; joy made him light after rigidity, and made
him sprightly after gravity, and I have written the following on the
of the expectation of a visit:
I stayed until night came upon me, hoping to
The second of these is in the event when there happens to be a quarrel between them, the truth of which cannot be known except by (personal) explanation, and in such case anguish grows until the matter is cleared up - and then its burden either is removed if he hopes for pardon, or anguish becomes sorrow and grief if avoidance is feared, and when a humiliation happens to the lover because of the beloved's harshness to him. And this will be explained in its chapter, if it please God, Most High.
And among the accidents of love
is the violent anxiety and
intensity of feeling which overcome the lover when he sees the beloved
avoiding him and eschewing him; and the sign of that is sighing, and
of vivacity, and sobbing, and heaving deep sighs: and on that subject
I have made a poem, from which I quote:
The beautiful patience is imprisoned,
Another sign of love is that you see the lover love his beloved's family and relatives and people of his household to such an extent that he cherishes them more than his own people and himself and all his relatives.
Weeping is one of the signs of love, but there are various degrees of its abundance. There are some people who have abundant tears, with lachrymal glands filled with moisture, whose eyes respond to them, and bring out a stream of tears whenever they wish. And there are people with dry eyes, devoid of tears, and I am one of them. The origin of this was my habit of taking incense on account of heartbeating which was an accident that happened to me in my youth; and I may suffer a terrible, painful blow, when my heart would seem to be split and cut to pieces, and I may feel in my heart a lump more bitter than colocynth, making a proper utterance of speech impossible for me, and nearly suffocating me internally at times: yet my eye absolutely refuses to respond to me, except on rare occasions when it did yield a few tears.
Story. This paragraph made me
think of the day when I and Abu
b. Ishaq, my friend, were taking leave of Amir Muhammad b. Amir, a
of ours, may God have mercy upon him, on the occasion of the journey to
the East, after which we never saw him again. Abu Bakr began to weep
taking leave of him, and recited the following parable in verse.
Is not the eye which does not abundantly shed on the day of departure,
which occurs in the elegy of
Yazid b. Omar b. Hubeira, may God
mercy upon him - and we were standing on the seashore at Mýlaga
- and though I was filled with the greatest grief and sorrow my eye did
not help me (to show it), and I said in reply to Abu Bakr:
And certainly if a man's beautiful patience does not part from him in this case
And on the belief held by people
(in general) I say in a poem
composed before I had reached the age of puberty, and which begins:
The proof of pain is the fire which burns on the heart,
There also occur in love evil
opinions and suspicions of every
uttered by either one of the two lovers, and giving it the wrong
this is the origin of quarrels between the lovers. And I do know a
who was the best-opinionated  and exceedingly broad-minded, and
patient, and most forebearing, and exceedingly compassionate: yet could
not suffer anything from those he loved; and the slightest difference
occurred between him and the beloved gave rise to all sorts of repeated
reproaches, and all kinds of evil opinion (suspicion); and on this
I have a poem, from which I quote:
I have a bad opinion of everything I find despicable
Then you will see that the lover, if he does not trust the constancy of his beloved's intimate feelings toward him, begins to watch himself more closely than he did before, correcting his (own) words, elaborating on his gestures and glances of his eye, and especially if he has the misfortune (to love one) inclined to making false accusations and to be petulant; and the indications of this are: the observing by the lover of the beloved and taking note of every word he says, and investigating what he is doing, until nothing, great or small, escapes him. He also follows him closely in his motions; and by my life, you will see the simpleton become intelligent in this matter, and the heedless one very perspicacious!
Story. I was one day in Almeria
sitting in the shop of Isma'il
the Israelite physician, and he was a very skillful and expert
We were engaged in friendly talk, when Mujahid b. Al-Husein Al-Qaisi
to him: "What do you say of that?" and he pointed to a man who was
in the direction away from us: his name was Hatim and his surname
And he looked at him for a brief moment, and then said "He is a man
in love." And Mujahid said to him: "True enough! And how did you know
And he said: "On account of the excessive absent-mindedness showing on
his face and nothing else, without (speaking of) the rest of his
and I knew that he is a man deeply in love: there is no doubt of it."
IBN HAZM (An 384-456/994-1064 CE), more fully Abu Muhammad 'Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Sa`id ibn Hazm; Muslim theologian and man of letters. Born in Cordova to a rich and influential family, Ibn Hazm received a distinguished education in religious sciences, literature, and poetry.
Tawq al-hamamah (The Dove's Neck-Ring), a youthful work that was clearly revised later, is interesting in several respects .What sets it apar is Ibn Hazm's penetrating observation of human psychology, a trait found in his later study of characters and conduct, Kitab al-akhlaq wa-al-siyar, as well.
Although he was originally a Shafi'i jurist, Ibn Hazm joined the Zahiri school and brought to it a systematic structure of logic. Among his books on jurisprudence are Al-ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (Judgment on the Principles of Ahkam), and a voluminous treatise on Zahiri law, Kitab al-muhalla (The Book of Ornaments).
Ibn Hazm is also famous for his great work, the Fisal (Detailed Critical Examination), in which he offers a critical survey of different systems of philosophical thought in relation to religious beliefs among the skeptics, Peripatetics, brahmans, Zoroastrians and other dualists, Jews, and Christians. Using the examination of these religions to establish the preeminence of Islam, he also attacks all the Muslim theologians, the Mu'tazilah and the Ash'ariyah in particular, along with the philosophers and mystics.