“My Beloved, He visited me before dawn,
And my scandalous state was never sweeter,
He gave me a drink of wine and He told me: ‘rejoice,
for he who loves Me can never be deemed sinner’.” – Al-Sustari
They call him the Prince of the Austere, the Juggler of Love, the Pride of the Poor, the Buddha of al-Andalus, to the end of the long list. His real name is Abul Hasan al-Sustari (13th c.), one of the most interesting poets and mystics of al-Andalus, almost always misunderstood for his sensual metaphors and figures of speech. Though not as famous as Ibn Arabi, Abu Madyan or al-Mursi, he remains to be a very influential figure in medieval mysticism ever since he left his hometown near Granada and till he died near Damietta in Egypt.
Here is his full story in my latest article published by Ahram Online: