dekhuu;N to chaa;Nd ab kaa gu;zre hai mujh pah kaisaa
dil hai kih tere mu;Nh par be-mihr maah dekhuu;N

1) let me see what kind of present moon/month passes over me
2) it's [a desire in] my heart that {on your face / in your presence} I would see, unkind/'sun-less', the moon



chaa;Nd : 'The moon; ... ; a lunar month'. (Platts p.444)


chaa;Nd dekhnaa : 'To look out for, or to see, the new moon as soon as it is visible'. (Platts p.444)


mihr : 'The sun; —name of a Persian month in which falls the autumnal equinox (the month of September)'. (Platts p.1099)


mihr : 'Love, affection, friendship, kindness, favour; mercy, pity, sympathy, feeling'. (Platts p.1099)

S. R. Faruqi:

chaa;Nd = month

For the wordplay of chaa;Nd , maah , mahiinah , see:


In the present verse, there are several kinds of pleasure. In the first line is an internal rhyme ( ab kaa , kaisaa ); in the second line the tavaazun of par , be-mihr is fine [[SRF can no longer recall what he meant by this (Apr. 2018).]]. Between mihr and maah , the pleasure of the zila is apparent. Between chaa;Nd and maah is an iham. An additional pleasure is that chaa;Nd means 'month', for which the word maah is used. And maah means chaa;Nd , which is a more familiar and frequent word. Between dekhuu;N and chaa;Nd is the pleasure of a zila; between dil and mu;Nh is a 'meaning-play' [ma((navii ri((aayat]. Between dil and mihr (meaning 'love') too is a meaning-play. Then, among mihr (meaning 'sun') and maah and mu;Nh there's the pleasure of a zila, because sun and moon are used as similes for the beloved's face. In short, it's hardly a verse-- it's a treasury of wordplay.

Now let's consider what is meant by seeing the moon on the beloved's face. One meaning is that in the presence of the beloved, the chance would come to see a new moon-- that is, that we and the beloved would be together. In this is the cultural point that people get together with their specially dear ones and look at the moon.

A second meaning is that on your face I would see the moon gleaming. A forehead-ornament [maathe kaa jhuumar] is also called a 'moon', as in the verse of Zauq's:

jhuumar kaa na:zar sar pah tire ab to pa;Raa chaa;Nd
laa bosah cha;Rhe chaa;Nd kaa va((dah thaa cha;Rhaa chaa;Nd

[the forehead-ornament on your head now has come into view as a moon
come, kiss me; you had promised for when the moon rose-- the moon has risen!]

Thus the meaning of seeing the moon gleaming on the beloved's forehead is that we would see the ornament on the beloved's forehead; or would see her smiling, from which her face would be radiant like the moon.

A third meaning is that in some months (for example, the [Arabic] month of .safar ), to see the moon and then look into a mirror is considered auspicious. Thus having seen the moon, the beloved's face (which is like a mirror) would be looked at.

A fourth meaning is that having seen a new moon, we will see the face of some beloved. Thus this time when I would see the moon, then afterwards I would have access to you and I would see your face.

Such an abundance of meaning has been created that he has used mu;Nh par in its idiomatic meaning ('in the presence of'), and its dictionary meaning ('on the face') as well.



SRF has dissected out so much wordplay, you wouldn't think there could be anything left unmentioned. But in such a wordplay-rich verse, surely be-mihr too (see the two definitions above) will repay some special attention. It's positioned as what I call a 'midpoint': if we read it with the phrase before it, then it readily becomes a vocative: the beloved is being addressed with intimate grammar, and what more natural than to call her 'unkind [one]'? After all, in the ghazal world, it's an epithet that she almost always deserves.

And if we read be-mihr with the phrase after it, then it looks to be an adverb describing the way we would see the 'moon': it would be literally 'sun-less'. So we might see the moon without the (light of the) sun; astronomically speaking, this is of course an impossibility. Perhaps Mir knew this astronomical fact, and enjoyed using it to add one more fillip to his verse. Of course, the reference could also be to the 'moon' of a forehead-ornament [jhuumar].