saraapaa me;N us ke na:zar kar ke tum
jahaa;N dekho all;aah all;aah hai

1) having looked [closely] into that one's 'head-to-foot' [view]
2) wherever you look-- it's 'God, God'!



saraapaa : 'From head to foot, throughout, totally; ... —s.m. The whole from head to foot; the whole body; —a complete description in verse (of graces or charms, &c.)'. (Platts p.648)

S. R. Faruqi:

The construction na:zar kar ke dekhnaa , meaning 'to look with attention and concentration', Mir has written in one other place as well, in the first divan [{516,6}]:

gar dekhoge tum :tarz-e kalaam us kii na:zar kar
ay ahl-e su;xan miir ko ustaad karoge

[if you will look closely at his style of discourse
oh people of speech/poetry, you will make Mir your ustad]

This idiom is not found in dictionaries. Farid Ahmad Barkati has entered the meaning [in his dictionary] by guesswork, and has written it correctly. The freshness of this idiom was enough in itself to cause this verse to be included in the selection, but the verse also has aspects of meaning.

On this theme, that every limb of the saraapaa of the beloved is heart-attracting, Mir has composed several verses. For example,


and then, this extremely fresh verse from the third divan [{1132,4}]:

jis jaa-e saraapaa me;N na:zar jaatii hai us ke
aataa hai mire jii me;N yihii;N ((umr basar kar

[to whatever part of her whole body the gaze goes
there comes into my inner-self, 'stay right here for a lifetime']

But the present verse is in a different class. We have already mentioned the freshness of na:zar kar ke dekhnaa . In the second line too, all;aah all;aah hai is the same kind of expression/idiom that is not found in dictionaries-- so much so that even Barkati has ignored it.

The expression all;aah hii all;aah hai is well-known, and it has various meanings. For example, in the same 'ground' and meter there is a ghazal of Dard's in which it has been used to mean 'extreme joy and happiness':

agar be-;hijaabaanah vuh but mile
;Gara.z phir to all;aah hii all;aah hai

[if unveiledly that idol would be available
in short, then-- it's 'God and only God'!

In Mir Hasan's masnavi it has been used hyperbolically for the summer season:

bas uupar jo kuchh jalvah-e maah hai
nah puuchho kih all;aah hii all;aah hai

[enough-- above there's such glory of the moon
don't ask-- it's 'God and only God'!

In this same ground and meter, Ghalib's verse is widely known. Here the expression means 'the Lord is everywhere, there's no hope in anything else' [G{382x,1}]:

dam-e vaapasii;N bar sar-e raah hai
((aziizo ab all;aah hii all;aah hai

[the last breath is on its way
dear ones, now it's 'God and only God']

By way of commentary I would also say that the [dictionary] nuur ul-lu;Gaat is wrong to say that 'Al-lah' [=long-long] is the popular pronunciation. Dard, Mir, Hasan, and Ghalib all three could also choose to scan it as 'Al-laa-h' [=long-long-short]; Mir too was able to have the same range of choice. In this verse he could have written, instead of all;aah all;aah hai , the longer form all;aah hii all;aah hai . His usage in this verse is proof that he considered all;aah all;aah hai to be an established idiom, and probably in terms of meaning too considered it to be different from all;aah hii all;aah hai .

Thus the question is, what does all;aah all;aah hai mean? From the context it seems that it has been used for amazement, surprise, and uniqueness. The first two meanings are comprised in all;aah all;aah . For example, in the first divan [{424,2}]:

mar jaa))o ko))ii parvaa nahii;N hai
kitnaa hai ma;Gruur all;aah all;aah

[if you would die, she has no care
how arrogant she is-- 'God, God'!


vuh la:taafat vuh .safaa))ii hai kih all;aah all;aah
.saaf billaur kaa goyaa kih shajar hai vuh badan

[there's such delicacy, such clarity, that-- 'God, God'!
it is, so to speak a tree of clear crystal, that body]

For the third meaning, 'uniqueness', I have found no 'warrant', but this meaning seems to be suited to the circumstances-- that the way God is entirely one and without a partner, in the same way every limb of the beloved's saraapaa is peerless and single in its place. Or again, that with regard to the quality of singularity, there's no one superior to the beloved's saraapaa except God Most High.

If instead of na:zar kar ke dekhnaa we suppose that we should read simply na:zar karnaa (meaning 'to look at, to pay attention to'), then the prose would be: tum us ke saraapaa me;N na:zar kar ke ( phir ) jahaa;N dekho all;aah all;aah hai . Now even more interesting meanings are obtained. One is that after seeing the beloved's saraapaa , in every place God's glory can be seen. A second meaning is that after seeing the beloved's saraapaa , nothing can be seen (in the [dictionary] farhang-e aa.sifiyah the idiom is given all;aah na:zar aataa hai , with the meaning 'nothing can be seen'). A third meaning is that after seeing the beloved's saraapaa , one's temperament so greatly changes, and attachment to God becomes so overpowering, that wherever one looks people will be seen saying 'God, God!'.

It's an extraordinarily interesting and multi-layered verse-- 'God, God!'.



This verse is a sort of limit case of the insha'iyah power of exclamatory speech. Like 'oh God!' in English, yaa all;aah can be used to show and emphasize almost any strong emotion. It need not have any direct relationship to God-- but of course, it can have one if the speaker so intends. In both cases it can be a form of the 'inexpressibility trope', by conveying the idea that the speaker's descriptive powers have broken down and no information can be conveyed; the place where information would be is now occupied by pure, intense emotion.

Ghalib makes a similar point about how we can conflate visions of the earthly and the overwhelmingly divine, in


Note for meter fans: I have slightly simplified and compressed SRF's metrical comments. The basic issue is that all;aah can be scanned either = = - (as it officially should be) or = = . The reason SRF says that Mir's usage in the second line shows that he considers the two idioms (one without, and one with, the hii ) to be separate is that in the metrical space available MIr could have fitted in all;aah hii all;aah if he had so wished, knowing that we would then simply have read the first all;aah as = = , thus leaving room for hii (here a short syllable), and then we would have read the second all;aah fully, as = = - .