mu((aa;z-all;aah da;xl-e kufr ho islaam me;N kyuu;N hii
;Gala:t aur puuch naa-ma((quul ba((.ze yaar kahte hai;N

1) I take refuge in God!-- why would there be an entry of infidelity into Islam?!
2) erroneous and nonsensical, non-intelligible [things], certain/various friends say



puuch : 'Empty, worthless, vain, absurd, of no moment or consequence, useless, unsubstantial, unsound, feeble, weak; petty, trivial, trifling, insignificant; unmeaning, nonsensical, inordinate, injudicious'. (Platts p.278)


ba((.ze : 'Some, some few, certain, several; sundry, diverse, miscellaneous; some people; certain ones'. (Platts p.158)


sang-e sulaimaanii : 'Agate, onyx'. (Platts p. 686)

S. R. Faruqi:

These two verses [this one and the next, {344,6}] are a verse-set. The verses aren't very good. But I've placed them in the intikhab because their meaning can't be understood without having recourse to verses by Sauda and Tek Chand Bahar.

Sauda's verse itself, which is the first opening-verse of one of his odes in praise of the Prophet [na((tiyah qa.siidah], is particularly difficult:

hu))aa jab kufr ;saabit hai yih tam;Gaa-e musalmaanii
nah ;Tuu;Tii shai;x se zunnaar-e tasbii;h-e sulaimaanii

[when infidelity became steadfast, this is the stamp of Muslimness
the sacred-thread of the sulaimani prayer-beads was not torn by the Shaikh]

Bahar's verse is:

agar jalvah nahii;N hai kufr kaa islaam me;N :zaahir
sulaimaanii ke ;xa:t ko dekh kyuu;N zunnaar kahte hai;N

[if the glory/appearance of infidelity is not manifest in Islam
look at the lines in a sulaimani-- why do they call them a sacred-thread?]

Sauda's theme, Ghalib has presented in a much better style:


Sauda's verse is based on the theme that the lines in 'Solomon's stone' [sang-e sulaimaanii] are called 'sacred-threads' [zunnaar]. The sacred thread is a symbol of infidelity. Now it's clear that nobody can tear the 'Solomon's stone'; thus the Shaikh too is unable to tear this sacred thread. And if that sacred thread could not be torn, then the meaning is that it was not false/vain. The sacred thread could not be torn because it was embedded in the stone. That is, the 'Solomon's stone' stood firm in its faith (because the sacred thread was embedded in its heart).

In this way it was proved that if infidelity would acquire firmness and steadfastness, then the rank of Islam is obtained. The idea is that faithfulness and steadfastness is the essence of faith and Islam. The proof is that in the 'Solomon's stone', the sacred thread stands so firm that even the Shaikh cannot tear it. If the sacred thread had been false/vain, then the Shaikh, who is the representative of truth, could have torn it.

It's clear that Sauda has adopted in this verse the principles of religious discourse and argumentation. Mir was a particularly broad-minded person, but the Lord knows why this 'poetic proof' and theme seemed to him, from a religious/sectarian [ma;zhabii] point of view, very objectionable. Sauda's verse is commonplace, and technical objections to it too are possible. But Mir, instead of making technical objections, made religious/sectarian objections.

Then in the second verse [{344,6}] he also gave a kind of proof based on religious/sectarian discourse, which itself is very feeble. In Tek Chand Bahar's verse there's none of the kind of convolutedness that's in Sauda's verse. But his proof is exactly the same as Sauda's, and his style is more suitable/trim.

In the first verse of the verse-set, Mir has made an attack on Sauda and Bahar: 'The people who say that even/also infidelity enters into Islam say erroneous and nonsensical and non-intelligible things. I take refuge in God-- good heavens, how can there be an entry of infidelity into Islam!' In the second verse [{344,6}] he says that Bahar's and Sauda's proof-- that the 'sacred thread' in the Solomon's stone is the same thing as the infidels' sacred thread-- is erroneous. When a name is given, it's not necessary for there to be a reason for the naming. That is, if a thing has a certain name, it's not necessary for there to be a logical relationship as well between the name and the thing. In a Solomon's stone there's only a line, not a sacred thread. But people call it a sacred thread; merely from the giving of the name, that line will not assume the status of a sacred thread.

Mir has rightly said that there's not necessarily a reason for the giving of a name. That is, it's not necessary that a thing would also have the quality that's in its name. Modern linguistics places great emphasis on this fact, but the Muslim philosophers too were aware of it. Nevertheless, to use a metaphorical meaning in the sense of a dictionary meaning and thus to establish a 'reversed metaphor' [isti((aarah-e ma((kuus], has been a special practice of Persian and Urdu poets. Mir himself has done it hundreds of times. Thus it wasn't appropriate for him to object.

It seems that during the period in which he composed this ghazal, Mir was dominated by religious/sectarian feelings. Proof of this point is also available from the closing-verse of this ghazal [{344,10}]:

sag ko miir mai;N us sher-e ;haq kaa huu;N kih jis ko sab
nabii ke ;xvesh-o-bhaa))ii ;haidar-e karaar kahte hai;N

[Mir, I am as a dog of that lion of the truth, whom all
call a kinsman and brother of the prophet, Haidar the Impetuous]

Mir certainly has a few verses in which there's a flash of excessive reproof/hectoring. From the second divan [{665,7}]:

thii guft-guu-e baa;G-e fadak ja;R fasaad kii
jaane hai jis ko ((ilm hai dii;N ke u.suul kaa

[discussion of the garden of Fadak was the root of turbulence/rebellion
he who knows which, has knowledge of the principle of the faith]

Also from the second divan [{665,8}]:

da((v;aa jo ;haq-shinaasii kaa rakhye so is qadar
phir jaan buujh karye talaf ;haq batuul kaa

[if you would make a claim of Truth-knowledge-- thus to this extent
then knowingly cause the ruin of the right of the Virgin [Fatimah]]

From the fourth divan [{1535,5}]:

hai mutta;hid nabii-o-((alii-o-va.sii kii ;zaat
yaa;N ;harf mu((tibar nahii;N har buu al-fu.zuul kaa

[they are united, the identity/essence of the Prophet and Ali and the Guardian
here, the word of every fool/meddler is not trustworthy]

Thus we're obliged to say that at the time when Mir composed {344,6}, religious/sectarian poetry held sway over him.

It's also possible that the special target of his present verse-set was not Sauda's verse, but rather Tek Chand Bahar's. In 'Nikat ul-Shu'ara', in the introduction to Tek Chand Bahar, before nothing this verse Mir wrote 'may the Lord instruct him and vouchsafe to him Islam'. From this we learn that Mir had placed Bahar's verse especially in the context of religious/sectarian debates, and considered it necessary to reply to it.

He says that at this powerful [Persian] verse of Chandar Bhan Barhaman's, Shah Jahan too had become angry:

'Oh Shaikh, look at the wonder of my idol-house--
When it was ruined, then it became the house of the Lord.'

It's possible that Shah Jahan might have understood this verse as sarcasm against the house of the Ka'bah. But he was a king, he was not a poet. Mir was not only a poet, but in fact a very great poet. For him to express such bigotry-- and that too in such wretched verses-- is a great cause for regret. Thus they say in English that sometimes even Homer nods.

The enjoyable thing is that Mir himself then took up Sauda's theme, and versified it in the fifth divan better than Sauda had [{1603,3}]:

islaamii kufrii ko))ii ho hai shar:t dard-e ((ishq
dono;N :tariiq me;N nahii;N naakaarah dard-mand

[A Muslim, an infidel-- whoever it might be, the condition/stipulation is the pain of passion
in both paths, the afflicted/compassionate one is not worthless/idle]



What strikingly poor verses they are, both this one and {344,6}! They take Mir into a domain of religious polemic where he apparently doesn't have the same scope-- or desire-- to create real poetry. The tone feels petulant. The speaker is so vexed with his foolish 'friends' that he wants to harangue them and us all too straightforwardly, not to give free rein to his matchless powers of convolution. We can take comfort in knowing how extraordinarily rare such verses are, within his six divans and over 1,900 ghazals.

Ghalib too composes some of his weakest verses when he steps out of the real ghazal world (in his case, into conventionalized elegy):