;xa:t likh ke ko))ii saadah nah us ko maluul ho
ham to ho;N bad-gumaan jo qaa.sid rasuul ho

1a) having written a blank letter to her, let no one be dispirited/dejected
1b) having written a letter to her, let no guileless/simple person be dispirited/dejected
1c) having written a candid/open letter to her, would anyone not be dispirited/dejected?

2a) we would be suspicious, even if the Messenger would be a prophet
2b) we would be suspicious, if the Messenger would be the bearer of an oral message



saadah : 'Plain, unadorned; white; pure, unmixed, simple; unseasoned; smooth; beardless; without writing or impression, blank (as paper, &c.); unstamped (paper); candid, sincere, artless, guileless, open, frank'. (Platts p.623)


maluul : 'Fatigued, tired, weary; languid; sick, indisposed; vexed; affected; grieved; sad, dejected, melancholy, out of spirits'. (Platts p.1066)


qaa.sid : 'A messenger, courier, an express, a postman, letter-carrier'. (Platts p.786)


rasuul : 'One who has a message, a messenger; an apostle, the apostle Mohammad'. (Platts p.593)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the first line there's a bit of 'entanglement' [ta((qiid]-- saadah in fact modifies 'letter'. That is, even if someone should send her, instead of a letter, a blank piece of paper, there's no reason to be dispirited. That is, if the abundance of ardor couldn't be expressed, and the heart would be comforted by sending only a blank piece of paper, then there's no need to be melancholy. Up to this point, the meaning emerges that there's no limit to the recounting of ardor-- thus if he has not written a letter, but has only sent a blank piece of paper, then it's no harm.

If we consider further, then in the first line we perceive two more meanings as well. In the light of the first of these, saadah will be construed as a quality not of the letter, but of the letter-writer. This first meaning thus becomes that someone who has written her a letter and is not dispirited-- that person can only be 'simple' (foolish). In order to establish the second meaning, assume the line to contain a negative rhetorical question. Now the prose will be like this: 'Having written her a simple letter, would anyone not be dispirited?!' (That is, it's impossible that he would not be dispirited-- he will be dispirited, and certainly will be so!)

In order to legitimate all three meanings, in the second line an absolutely new idea comes before us: that with regard to the Messenger there is always the suspicion that he might open the letter and read it. Thus instead of a letter, it's better to send a blank piece of paper. Even if the Messenger would have the rank/status of a prophet, I will still remain suspicious of him-- that he might read my letter!

The word rasuul has the meaning of a message-bearer [payaam-bar], and especially one who would bring some oral message. Thus in qaa.sid rasuul ho there's an excellent ambiguity. Even if I sent a blank piece of paper, I would still suspect the Messenger of extracting some kind of meaning from it. Or in any case the regret would remain that if I didn't suspect the Messenger of opening and reading the letter, then instead of a blank piece of paper I would have written down and sent the state of my heart. Thus in both cases, dejection will remain, because in any case the suspicion would remain that the Messenger would read the letter.

The 'connection' of a zila between ;xa:t meaning down on the cheek, and saadah meaning 'one on whose cheek down has not yet grown', is extremely fine. The affinity between qaa.sid and rasuul is obvious. He's composed a devastating opening-verse.



The first line is about an unknown 'someone' who who writes a (possibly blank) letter to the beloved and may perhaps be 'guileless, simple' and/or 'dispirited, dejected'. Since saadah is a 'midpoint' adjective, it could modify either the letter ('blank', or else 'clear, candid'; see the definition above), or else the letter-writer ('guileless, sincere'). The future subjunctive verb ho can be read as 'would, might, should'; it can thus express wishes, hopes, fears, or neutral possibilities; so here too there are many permutations possible. As SRF notes, each reading could be taken as either a statement or a question, which further multiplies the permutations.

The second line of this 'A,B' verse is about how 'we' (the speaker himself, or lovers in general) behave. On one reading, the speaker is so paranoid that he would be suspicious of the Messenger even if he were a divine emissary-- a prophet (or even 'the' Prophet). On another reading, he would be suspicious of the Messenger if he bore, in addition to a written letter, an oral message as well-- since rasuul can, as SRF notes, imply the bearing of an oral message.

By now, we readers are surrounded by a cloud of possible permutations. I won't seek to ring the changes. Instead, by way of illustration I'll just paraphrase in clearer detail the logic of the three basic possibilities outlined by SRF.

For SRF's first reading of the first line (1a), an expanded paraphrase can be: 'No one should be sorry about sending her a blank letter-- such prudence or paranoia is just normal behavior, for we lovers are always suspicious of the Messenger'. For SRF's second reading (1b), a similar paraphrase can be: 'No simple, sincere person should be sorry about sending her a letter-- the risk is worth running, for we lovers are always irrationally suspicious of the Messenger, whether or not there's any cause'. For his third reading (1c), a paraphrase can be: 'How could anybody who sends her a candid, open letter not be unhappy afterwards? We lovers are always suspicious of the Messenger!'

Are the lovers' suspicions perhaps well-grounded (because the Messenger is gossipy or unreliable, or has been bribed by some Rival, or is likely himself to fall in love with the beloved), or are their suspicions irrational and paranoid (because they are born of the mad lovers' wild, disproportionate emotions)? As so often, it's left up to us to decide.