mat un namaaziyo;N ko ;xaanah-saaz-e dii;N jaano
kih ek ii;N;T kii ;xaa:tir yih ;Dhaate he;Nge masiit

1) don't consider those namaz-doers to be house-{builders/built} of the faith
2) since for the sake of a single brick, they will be destroying the mosque



;Dhaanaa : 'To break, batter, shatter, throw down, pull down, knock down, raze (a building, &c.), destroy, demolish; to cause to befall, to bring (trouble, &c. upon)'. (Platts p.570)


masiit : '(dialec.) corr. of masjid '. (Platts p.1037)

S. R. Faruqi:

masiit = mosque

The freshness of masiit is worthy of praise. Because by using a word that pedantically-minded people will call rustic and non-refined, Mir has expressed his own disdain for the kind of people who are hypocritical prayer-doers [riyaa-kaar namaazii]-- that is, externally-minded [ahl-e :zaahir]. That is, for hypocritical and superficial people the word masiit is, in Eliot's terminology, [in English] an 'objective correlative' [ma((ruu.zii talaazamah].

The word ;xaanah-saaz has two meanings. One is 'house-builder', and the other is 'built by a house'. With regard to both meanings, the image of mosque destruction is very fine. By using an off-the-beaten-track construction like ;xaanah-saaz-e dii;N , Mir has also created the suggestion that the speaker has used the word masiit deliberately; otherwise, the person who can invent a construction like ;xaanah-saaz-e dii;N could not, even accidentally, use a word like masiit . Thus masiit has been brought in intentionally, and to fulfill some special purpose. And it's clear that the purpose is exactly this: to express disdain for hypocritical prayer-doers and the externally-minded.

Further support for this view can also be found in Mir's expression of this theme in the second divan [{1014,3}]:

;xaanah-saaz-e dii;N jo hai vaa((i:z so yih ;xaanah-;xaraab
ii;N;T kii ;xaa:tir jise masjid ko ;Dhaayaa chaahiye

[if the Preacher is a house-builder of the faith, then he is the kind of house-wrecker
who for the sake of a brick, would want to destroy the mosque]

The phrase ;xaanah-saaz-e dii;N is present, and to back it up the wordplay of ;xaanah-;xaraab is also present, but because the word masiit is not there, the Preacher's bad behavior seems to be more a kind of destructive and scheming selfishness, rather than simply ignorant and crude.

In the present verse, the mosque-destroying namaz-doer is thoughtless and foolish, and is devoid of reverence for the mosque, but in his destructiveness there's not the schemingness of the Preacher. For the Preacher, the word masiit is as inharmonious as would be the word masjid for ordinary believers. This doesn't mean that the word masjid can't be used with regard to ordinary namaz-doers. The meaning is only that with regard to the theme of the present verse masiit is utterly harmonious and appropriate.



The striking vision of (hypocritically?) hyper-religious 'namazis' who 'for the sake of a brick, will destroy the mosque' has echoes than fan out in all directions. It seems to be a proverbial saying, and I thank Zahra Sabri for finding (May 2013) an online citation of it as such, in almost the same words: ek ii;N;T kii ;xaa:tir masjid ;Dhaanaa . More classically, Irfan Khan has pointed out (May 2013) that in the nuur ul-lu;Gaat there's an entry for ek ii;N;T ke liye masjid ;Dhaanaa , defined as either 'for the sake of a small gain, to accept a very large harm' or 'for the sake of the world, to lose one's faith'. In a related entry on ii;N;T ke liye masjid ;Dhaanaa , the dictionary provides the following verse by Atish:

kaun chhiine but ko to;Re barhaman ke dil ko kaun
ii;N;T kii ;xaa:tir ko))ii kaafir hii masjid ;Dhaa))egaa

[who would steal an idol, who would break the Brahmin's heart?
for the sake of a brick, only/emphatically some infidel would destroy the mosque]

But while the proverb itself in all its forms uses the standard masjid , Mir has substituted masiit , which helps to turn our minds in a rustic, village-wisdom direction.

It also might seem to evoke the incantatory English proverb 'For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost', and so on, that serves to emphasize the importance of seemingly very small things. But in the present verse the point is that being too attentive to small things (rather than losing or neglecting them, as in the English proverb) damages the interest of the whole larger structure of belief. And it's worth noting that not all 'namazis' are necessarily contemptible, but only a certain subset: those who behave in such 'brick'-focused ways.

As so often, we're left to decide for ourselves what this nit-picking focus on individual 'bricks' might consist of. Does the verse point toward personal aggrandizement? Toward Shia-Sunni tensions, or other sectarian splits? Does it have to do with Sufism vs. strict legalism? With tolerant behavior toward non-Muslims? With indulgence toward Muslims who don't pray regularly?

In fact, it's a shock to come upon this later, and resoundingly anti-clerical, verse in the same ghazal itself, {1112,4}:

hazaar shaanah-o-misvaak-o-;Gusl shai;x kare
hamaare ((indiye me;N to vuh hai ;xabii;s paliit

[let the Shaikh do a thousand combings and tooth-cleanings and bathings
in our private-opinion, well, he is a filthy/polluted evil-spirit]

How are we to interpret such a polemical-seeming attack? Its directness certainly lessens its poetic effect. The present verse, in its obliqueness and suggestive undecideability, obviously works much better.

Note for grammar fans: In the first line ;Dhaate he;Nge is archaic for ;Dhaate ho;Nge . This certainly looks to be a presumptive statement: in normal grammatical usage, it is about what these people 'will presumably be doing' right now (compare 'Right now he will be boarding the plane in Phoenix'). But it could also be made to apply to the actual future: it could be taken to be about what these people 'will be doing' at some future time.