((ishq ma((shuuq ((ishq ((aashiq hai
ya((nii apnaa hii mubtalaa hai ((ishq

1a) passion, the beloved; passion is the lover
1b) the beloved, passion; the lover is passion
1c) passion of/for the beloved is passion of/for the lover [with izafats]
1d) passion of/for the lover is passion of/for the beloved [with izafats]

2) that is, only/emphatically its own devotee/victim, is passion



mubtalaa : 'Sorely tried, afflicted, distressed, distracted, ... involved (in), overtaken (by); entangled; fascinated, enamoured (of)'. (Platts p.988)

S. R. Faruqi:

Aristotle has said in his 'Metaphysics' that the time when we can learn about things is when we would know their 'essence'. Up to this point, Aristotle and Plato are more or less in agreement. But Aristotle goes beyond that and says that when the essential qualities of things would be known, then between the known thing and the knower, oneness of existence is created. It's possible that Mir's verse might be a ray of this thought. Muslim intellectuals had borrowed much from the like-minded among the Greeks. Thus it's possible that this idea, which apparently seems to be Sufistic, might originally be Greek.

Even if this idea isn't accepted, this interpretation of the verse nevertheless remains solidly in its place: that the essence/glory of human existence is passion. And when the lover understood this, he also knew that he and the beloved were both one. Because the beloved's essential quality too is passion. And because of his having pawned his life to passion, the lover and passion have already become one. Thus the lover and the beloved too are both one. That is, the prose form of the line will be like this: ((aashiq ((ishq hai aur ma((shuuq hai .

But the prose form of the line can also be different: that is, ((ishq ma((shuuq hai aur ((ishq ((aashiq hai . Now the point has become: 'What is passion? It is the beloved. And what is the lover? He too is passion.' That is, if there would be no passion then between lover and beloved that connection would not exist, through which one person is a lover and one person is a beloved.

If an izafat is assumed to exist between ((ishq and ma((shuuq and between ((ishq and ((aashiq , then the meaning emerges that to love the beloved is in reality to love the lover. In the sense that the lover's existence has in reality become one with the beloved's existence, such that to desire the one is equal to desiring the other. Or again, in the sense that when the beloved seems beautiful, then her lovers too seem beautiful, as in this verse of Faiz's (but in a very weak style):

vuh to vuh hai tumhe;N ho jaa))egii ulfat mujh se
ik na:zar tum miraa man:zuur-e na:zar to dekho

[that's all very well, you will feel love for me!
you just take one look at the one I love to look at]

In this the point should also be kept in mind, that if passion itself is the beloved, then it's not necessary for some other person to be the beloved. The existence of the beloved is dependent upon the lover, and if passion itself is the beloved, then the rank of the lover is established as somewhat higher than that of the beloved-- that is, than that of a beloved who would be other than the lover, because passion does not need her/him.



The verse makes excellent use of what I call 'symmetry', the fact that in terms of Urdu grammar, to say that 'X is Y' is equally, and unavoidably, to say that 'Y is X'. It also takes fine advantage of its own 'list'-like first line, with its extravagant set of profusions and confusions.

The second line then claims to paraphrase or explain the first line: 'that is' [ya((nii], this kind of convolution comes about because passion is self-absorbed and even self-victimizing (see the definition above). In fact mubtalaa is a perfect word, because it suggests a mixture of absorption, ensnarement, and suffering that is a wonderfully apt analysis of passion.