jaan'naa baa:til kisuu ko yih qu.suur-e fahm hai
;haq agar samjhe to sab kuchh ;haq hai yaa;N baa:til hai kyaa

1) to consider something [to be] false/vain-- this is a deficiency/error of the mind
2) if one would understand truth/God, then everything is truth/God here-- what is false/vain?!



baa:til : 'False, untrue, wrong, incorrect; fictitious, spurious, unreal, unfounded, unsound; vain, futile, worthless, useless, unprofitable; devoid of virtue or efficacy, of no effect, ineffectual, null, void, of no force, of no account, naught, going for nothing; annulled, abolished, counteracted'. (Platts p.122)


qu.suur : 'A falling short (of), a failing (of or in); deficiency; decrease; defect; failure, want, default; omission; miss; shortcoming, error, faultiness, fault, sin; inaccuracy, incorrectness'. (Platts p.792)


;haq : 'Just, proper, right, correct, true; suitable to reality or fact ... —s.m. Justness, propriety, rightness, correctness, truth; reality, fact; —justice; rectitude; —equity; ... —the Truth, the true God'. (Platts p.479)

S. R. Faruqi:

This verse is situated at the stage of wisdom and mystical knowledge where the borders of Vedanta and the 'oneness of being' [va;hdat ul-vujuud] meet.

From the side of Vedanta, the Lord is a single boundless being and boundless consciousness, and in him every being and every consciousness is present. From the perspective of this idea, truth and falsehood, existence and nonexistence-- all these are meaningless. Because all these things are part of this boundless consciousness that pervades the whole of creation. Everything is in the 'atman' [aatman], it is the beginning and end of everything. The human 'atman' too is a part of it.

From the side of the 'unity of being', things, to the extent that they are present, are part of the Divine Truth [;zaat-e ;haq]. In Mir's second line, ;haq agar samajhe means 'if someone would understand reality'. Then, it also means 'if someone would understand the Lord' (that is, ;haq meaning 'the Lord').

But if we would take this interpretation in another direction, then two more meanings appear. From their perspective, this does not remain a verse of 'oneness of being' or Vedanta. For ;haq agar samajhe can mean 'if anyone would believe in the Lord'-- that is, all this is only a matter of supposing and considering: 'if you wish, then consider everything to be the Truth'. In such a case, nothing is false. The power of belief makes everything into the Lord. On this interpretation, 'the Truth' or 'the Lord' is a human creation. Humans feel themselves to be alone in the universe; thus they search for some kind of Being who would be related to everyone and who would also strengthen mankind's own relation to the universe. Thus they create the image of the Lord, and believe something or other-- the manifestation of nature, the trees and vegetation, the Absolute Creator-- to be the Lord. Thus if you would want, then everything is the Lord, everything is the Truth, nothing is false. From the perspective of this interpretation, the verse is not mystical, but rather becomes a verse of 'liberal atheism' [raushan-;xayaal dahariyat , trans. provided by SRF].

A third interpretation of ;haq agar samajhe is also possible: that no belief is false, all are true in their own ways. It's a shortfall of our understanding that we call one person an infidel and another a'true believer'; everyone's path is the same. If there would not be a flaw in your understanding, and if you would understand in a correct way, then everything is true. With regard to this interpretation, this verse becomes a verse of 'liberal humanism' [raushan-;xayaal insaan-dostii , trans. provided by SRF]. Liberal humanism is basically a rejection of a Lord, but it gives all people the right to maintain their own beliefs. In the verse.

All these subtleties cause ;haq agar samajhe to have an irresistible eloquence [balaa;Gat]. If the interpretation would be taken as 'if you would truly understand the Lord', then this verse is mystical and Vedantic. If the interpretation would be taken as 'if you would understand [it as] the truth', then the verse is a 'liberal atheist one'. If the interpretation would be 'if you understand correctly', then the verse is becomes a 'liberal humanist' one.

Even without giving it the final 'liberal humanist' aspect, the verse can still be said to have the theme of 'universal peace' and 'the truth of all religions'. That is, it's not necessary that Mir would be assumed to be aware of traditional 'humanism' (although examples of it appear in Islamic thought also). We can say that this verse presents the general view of humanism, according to which all religions are true, because their origin and their destination is one. In any case, no matter how it's looked at, this verse is an uncommon one.



This is a verse of what I call 'word-exploration'-- almost all the real work of the verse is done by the two occurrences of ;haq , and the manifold permutations and combinations that can be made from them. SRF explicates chiefly the first occurrence, but obviously the same possibilities inhabit the second occurance as well, and the mixing and matching that become possible generate a really remarkable set of empirical and/or theological choices.

The grammar of the first occurrence is also flexible, as is implicit in SRF's account: ;haq agar samjhe , 'if one would consider truth/true/God', can also be short for us ko ;haq agar samjhe , 'if one would consider him/her/it/that to be truth/true/God'.

Compare Ghalib's equally radical exploitation of the possibilities of ;haq :


Note for grammar fans: Nowadays ko))ii as a pronoun would normally be reserved for human subjects, so that kisii ko would apply to a person; for a thing or an idea, you'd have to use kisii chiiz ko or kisii baat ko . But then, we nowadays can't use kisuu ko at all, so it just shows that the past is another country.