dhote hai;N ashk-e ;xuunii se dast-o-dahan ko miir
:taur-e namaaz kyaa hai jo yih hai vu.zuu kii :tar;h

1a) we wash our hands and mouth with bloody tears, Mir
1b) she washes her hands and mouth with bloody tears, Mir

2) what is the manner of the namaz, if/when this is the style of the ablution?



;xuunii : 'Relating to blood, or to murder; bloody, sanguinary; —a murderer, an assassin'. (Platts p.497)


vu.zuu : 'Sacred ablution performed before prayer, and which consists in washing, first the hands, then the mouth inside, then throwing water on the forehead, washing the whole face, the arms, and lastly the feet)'. (Platts p.1196)

S. R. Faruqi:

Here too that same astonishing style of Mir's is operative, that he says a painful thing, but in the tone there's a tranquility [sukuun] of the kind that is adopted when narrating an admirable scene (that is, a scene in which there would be a mood of praise and approbation). To have such forceful control over his condition, is within the power of only a very strong personality; and to express it an uncommon poetic reach is required.

Also, reflect a bit on the meaningfulness of ashk-e ;xuunii . If he had said ashk-e ;xuunii;N , then there would be only one interpretation: blood-like tears. In ;xuunii there's that meaning, and also the meaning 'murderous' as well. Then, to construe the wetting of hands and face with blood as 'ablution', and to ask that 'when the ablution is such, then how will the namaz be?'-- is a peerless high-flyingness [buland-parvaazii] of thought.

Then, also keep in mind that if blood would adhere to the body, there would be no [ritually pure] namaz; and if blood would drip from the body, then the ablution becomes ineffective. And again, to what degree would he be drowned in passion, who thinks to do the ablution by wetting his hands and face with blood?

And what kind of a life-consuming namaz would it be, for which it would be necessary to do the ablution in bloody tears? It's clear that this namaz will be only/emphatically the namaz of passion. But fundamentally, the beauty of the verse is in seeing bloody tears flowing on hands and face, and with them the necessity of ablution and namaz.

[See also {100,7}.]



Well, here's another of those verses in which SRF perceives a fixed, reliably established 'tone' (one of tranquility and admiration). I can see that as one possibility, but to me an ominous, sinister tone is much closer to the surface. No doubt there could be other tones (despairing, grimly humorous, etc.). For more on this question of tone, see {724,2}.

And whose face are we talking about? The lover always has a handy supply of bloody tears, so he could of course be speaking of himself (1a). But equally, the cruel, bloodthirsty beloved owns and commands every drop of the lover's blood, and pierces each drop with her eyelashes, and so on, so she could quite well be making use of resources that are so entirely within her grasp (2b). For a case in which she struggles to wash her thoroughly blood-caked hands, see


Is the present verse an example of 'grotesquerie'? I would say so, except that its ominousness, its enjoyably (and also terrifyingly) sinister quality, seems somehow to redeem it. After all, a horrific premonitory image for a horrific (and carefully, subtly undescribed) later scene of cruelty and suffering, seems no more than appropriate. If a preparatory 'ablution' of bloody tears is sacrilegious and terrifying, what about whatever will come after it?

What a chillingly evocative verse! The powerful obliqueness of the insha'iyah second line summons up all the resources of our own imaginations. (And I was very glad to find just the right embroidery piece for this one, too.)