tujh ruu-e ;xve-fishaa;N se anjum hii kyaa ;xajal hai;N
hai aaftaab ko bhii ay maah saal teraa

1) by your perspirationt-{beaded/scattering} face, are only/emphatically the stars shamed?!
2) even/also the sun, oh Moon/'month', feels a pricking/pain/'year' over you



fishaa;N : 'Scattering, strewing; shedding; spreading, expanding, diffusing; strewed'. (Platts p.81)


saal : 'A thorn;—(fig.) pain, affliction, trouble'. (Platts p.626)

S. R. Faruqi:

;xve-fishaa;N = dripping with perspiration, wet with perspiration
saal = pricking, pain

In all the manuscripts, instead of ;xve-fishaa;N there's ;xuu;N-fishaa;N . But the beloved's face is not 'blood-scattering', whereas the beloved's perspiration-drenched face is often mentioned, and is also praised, as it is in the present verse. ( ;xve is scanned like mai ).

Perspiration is dripping [;Tapaknaa] from the beloved's face; the drops of perspiration are so radiant and beautiful that they put the stars to shame. Since the stars keep twinkling, they can be said to be fluttering their eyelashes. To flutter one's eyelashes [palak chhapkaanaa] is a sign of shame.

The actual meaning of saal is 'thorn';by extension people also use it to mean 'pricking, pain, restlessness'. In the sun is the extreme of heat; the speaker has assumed this heat to be a sign of restlessness and agitation, and has generated the conclusion that the sun too, having seen the radiant drops of perspiration on the beloved's radiant face, has given its heart to her and is burning in the fire of passion. Or if it hasn't become a lover, then it's burning in the fire of envy. He's addressed the beloved as maah ; in this connection the wordplay with saal and aaftaab is very interesting.

Probably the first to mention the beloved's perspiration-drenched face was Sa'di. Thus in the 'Gulistan' there's the [Persian] verse:

'On the red rose have been strung pearls, because of the dew,
Like sweat [((araq] on the face of a disheveled beloved.'

Navab Mirza Shauq in bahaar-e ((ishq has directly borrowed Sa'di's idea:

ru;x pah garmii se vuh ((araq kam kam
jis :tara;h gul pah qa:trah-e shabnam

[on the face, through heat, that perspiration, little by little,
the way on a rose, a drop of dew]

The wordplay of maah and chand and mahiine , Sayyid Muhammad Khan Rind has used in one verse, althouth the meaning is very superficial:

us mahiine me;N bhii mah-ruu se rahaa pahluu tihii
((iid kaa bhii chaa;Nd ;xaalii kaa mahiinaa ho gayaa

[in that month too, my side remained devoid of that moon-faced one,
the moon of Eid too became the month of Khali/'empty']

The word 'empty' [;xaalii] is the name of a month [i.e., of the festival-free 'empty' month between 'Id and Bakar 'Id], and in this regard 'devoid' [tihii] is fine. But this theme of Rind's is not his own. Muhammad Aman Nisar had long before composed,

go ((iid ko nah aa))e to ba((d-e ((iid milye
ay rashk-e maah ;xaalii jaataa hai yih mahiinah

[although you might not come at Eid, meet me after 'Id
oh envy of the moon, this month passes Khali/'empty']

[See also {296,5}; {1719,1}.]



I had originally translated ;xve-fishaa;N as 'sweat-beaded'. Then I decided I'd better trade up to 'perspiration', since ;xve was a rare word, and much more elegant than the usual pasiinah ; I had used only 'beaded', adopting the very secondary passive sense of fishaa;N (see the definition above) of 'strewed' or 'scattered', rather than the normal sense of 'scattering', 'diffusing', because I wanted to avoid the unappealing vision of the beloved's sweaty face scattering drops of perspiration in all directions like a sprinkler.

But SRF goes out of his way to speak of the beloved's face as 'dripping' with perspiration, and is quite willing to interpret this as one more expression of the beloved's supreme beauty, so I shouldn't be over-genteel. After all, It's not as distasteful an image as the lover's bursting blisters. But stilll, it's hard to consider a face to be radiant and beautiful precisely by virtue of its being literally 'perspiration-scattering', or dripping with sweat. Never mind, I agree that it's a side issue, and no more bizarre than many other ghazal conventions.

After the first line has left us expecting to hear more about the shame of the stars, the second line not only ignores the stars entirely, but doesn't care about the perspiration-sprinkling issue either. Instead, it is devoted to the allegedly similar [bhii] miseries of the sun, and to some extremely clever and flashy wordplay. In fact it enables us to realize realize that the first line was only designed to set the scene for the wall-to-wall interlocking wordplay delights of the second line.