dunyaa hai be-.sarfah nah ho rone me;N yaa ku;Rhne me;N tuu
naale ko ;zikr-e .sub;h kar girye ko vird-e shaam kar

1a) the world is unexpended/unprofitable/unprofuse-- don't you be [so] in weeping or in grieving
1b) the world is/exists; don't be unexpended/unprofitable/unprofuse in weeping or in grieving

2) make lamentation the recital/mention of the morning, make weeping a task/reading of the evening



.sarfah : 'Expending, expense, expenditure; economy; utility, profit; addition, surplus, excess, redundance, profusion'. (Platts p.744)


be-.sarfah : 'Unprofitable'. (Platts p.203)


ku;Rhnaa : 'To be vexed or annoyed; to be disgusted; to be afflicted; to be grieved or distressed (for); — to grieve, mourn, lament, repine, pine, fret'. (Platts p.832)


;zikr : 'Remembering, remembrance; memory; commemoration; —mention, telling, relating, relation, recital, report, account; praise, eulogy, fame; the praise and glorification of God'. (Platts p.577)


vird : 'Approach, access; —continual motion or employment, incessant labour; daily use; habitual practice; practice, habit; —a task; a self-imposed daily task or service; —a portion or section of the Quran (fixed for reading at a certain time)'. (Platts p.1187)

S. R. Faruqi:

The meanings of .sarfah are: first, expense, to spend; thus the interpretation becomes that the world is not about to be expended-- that is, to be finished. The second meaning of .sarfah is 'miserliness'; now the interpretation becomes that the world is not miserly. Using these two opposite meanings, he has created an interesting theme: that is, that if the world is not miserly, and is not about to be expended, then you too should not be miserly in weeping and grieving.

Or, in the command that you should not stop weeping and grieving there is a subtle suggestion that your world consists only of weeping and grieving. And a characteristic of the world is that it is be-.sarfah ; thus you too should be be-.sarfah in weeping and grieving.

In the next line he has expressed the manner of being be-.sarfah in weeping and grieving: ordinary people in the morning make recital/mention (of God). (Or they make recital/mention of the beloved.) You, instead of this, should establish as your recital/mention, lamentation and complaint. In the evening, prayer-beads are counted over, prayers and divine names are repeated as blessings. You should establish weeping as your form of repeating a blessing.

The subtle point is that ;zikr and vird are both religious terms, and they are being used for instruction in worldliness.

[See also {178,6}.]



The positioning of be-.sarfah gives it an unusually emphatic 'midpoints' doubleness. A 'midpoints' word is what I call one that can be read with either of two clauses; usually the choice is between the clause before it, or the clause after it. And in the present verse, on one reading it can be applied to both clauses: 'the world is X; don't you be [X] yourself' (1a). Thus the second line then enjoins the addressee to confine lamentation and weeping to fixed times at the beginning and end of the day.

Alternatively, we can read the first line as 'the world is/exists; don't you be X' (1b), though this is perhaps less piquant. On this reading, the second line enjoins the addressee to practice regular and significant amounts of lamentation and weeping. As SRF notes, these are to be practiced almost like religious rituals. But they are to be a response not to the Divine, but to the existence and nature of the world.

There's also the question of what the addressee is to do during the rest of the day, between the weeping at dawn and the grieving in the evening. Is that morning-evening structure meant to be like alpha-omega or A-Z, so that it includes everything in between? Or is the addressee being encouraged to devote the main part of the day to getting things done, or even sometimes having a bit of good cheer?