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Search for a True Friend

A poem by Imam Shafi‘i

Translated by Amir Toft

When friends are in hard times of no avail,

They’re near to foes when weighed upon the scale.

What get you now from all of God’s creation

Save now and then some shallow consolation?

In vain has been my weary lifelong search

For a friend who’d never leave me in the lurch.

The world and those thereon have grown so brutal,

That now its people seem no longer people.

Original Arabic:

صديق ليس ينفغ يوم بُؤس       قريب من عدو في القياس

ومايبقى الصديق بكل عصر       ولا الإخوانُ إلا للتآسي

عبرتُ الدهر ملتمسا بجهدي       أخا ثقة فألهاني التماسي

تنكرت البلاد ومن عليها       كأن أناسها ليسوا بناس

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