;Ganiimat jaan fur.sat aaj ke din
sa;har kyaa jaane kyaa ho shab hai ;haamil

1) know it to be plunder/boon/luck/sufficiency, the leisure/interval of the day today
2) how would one know what dawn would be? --the night is pregnant!



;Ganiimat : 'Plunder, spoil, booty; a prize; a boon, blessing, a God-send; a piece of good luck, good fortune; abundance; convenience; accommodation'. (Platts p.773)


;haamil : 'A bearer, carrier, porter; —adj. Pregnant'. (Platts p.474)

S. R. Faruqi:

;haamil = pregnant [;haamilah]

In Arabic there's a proverb to the effect that 'in the womb of the night is the embryo of the day'. It should be kept in mind that in Arabic ;haamil itself is feminine, because a child cannot be in the stomach of a man; but the Urdu- and Persian-speakers haven't accepted that, and have established ;haamilah as the feminine form of ;haamil . The Persian-speakers have reproduced this proverb very beautifully in their language as shab ;haamilah ast taa chih zaayad , and have taken it to mean that no one knows the future-- to despair, or to be full of hope, are both useless.

Using this proverb as a basis, the Persian-speakers have created several interesting themes. For example, Khusrau:

'The pregnant night constantly brings forth for me pains,
Because of these pains brought forth by the pregnant night, who knows what state I'm in?'

Sa'di says [in Persian]:

'If you are without an intention, don't burn up your heart with thought
The night is pregnant, oh brother, with the day.'

Sa'di has straightforwardly expressed the theme of the proverb; in his verse there's no [other] point. And in Amir Khusrau's verse, except for the wordplay of 'pains' and 'pregnant' there's no theme.

Now consider Hafiz. He has versified the whole Arabic proverb, and also created an entirely new theme:

'Because of the proverb that the night is pregnant with the day,
I count the stars: let's see to what the night gives birth.'

Compared to Hafiz's verse, it's difficult for anyone's lamp to burn brightly.

Mir's verse too isn't very good, but I placed it in the intikhab because to the best of my knowledge, among the Urdu-speakers only Mir had the courage to use this theme, and he also created in it two aspects. As I've said above, the point of the Persian proverb is that the future contains both good and bad; no one knows what is to come, so to despair or to be full of hope are both useless.

Now Mir also creates the aspect that when no one knows about tomorrow, you should consider today to be a ;Ganiimat . No matter what today is like, it's in your hands-- take what you can from it. That is, by juxtaposing the day to the night, Mir has created a new theme.

It seems that the image of time as being pregnant was in the West too, or it's possible that it might have reached there through the influence of Arabic. Thus in Shakespears's drama ['Othello', Act 1, Scene 3], Iago says,

'There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.'



A small personal anecdote: Many years ago I was with friends and we were in the process of formally inviting a distinguished person to do something. To do my share of cajoling, I said that his presence would be a ;Ganiimat for us. I was rather proud of that fine compliment, which also gave me a chance to show off my Urdu vocabulary. To my surprise, though, everybody fell silent for a moment in kind of a shocked way, and then there was a bit of nervous, uneasy laughter. Only later did I learn that ;Ganiimat is used idiomatically to mean something like 'as good as we're going to get', so that to call something a ;Ganiimat means, more or less, 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'. Moral: Language learners, watch out for idioms! They can leap up anywhere, undetectably, and bite you on the-- posterior.

Note for grammar fans: We could also read the first part of the second line as 'How would the dawn know what would be?' But since there's an intimate imperative in the first line, to read the same subject in the second line gives more 'connection'.