saath apne nahii;N asbaab-e musaa((id mu:tlaq
ham bhii kahne ke ta))ii;N ((aalam-e asbaab me;N hai;N

1) with us, no helpful resources/provisions whatsoever
2) even/also we are, {it is said / so to speak}, in the 'world of resources/provisions'



asbaab : 'Causes, motives, means; resources; —s.m. sing. Implements, tools, instruments, apparatus, materials; goods, chattels, effects, property; furniture; articles, things; commodities, appliances, machinery; stores, provision; funds; necessaries; baggage, luggage; cargo'. (Platts p.47)


musaa((id : 'Aiding, assisting, helping; favourable'. (Steingass p.1225)


ke ta))ii;N : 'To, up to; ... ke ta))ii;N = ko '. (Platts p.353)

S. R. Faruqi:

In this verse the word asbaab has been well used. It is a quality of God's that he needs no resources in order to do any deed. By contrast, a human can do a task only when he would have for it some equipment, some means. Thus the world is called the ((aalam-e asbaab , and God Most High is called the Causer of Causes. But another meaning of asbaab is 'household equipment, stores, etc.' Thus in Urdu 'property and goods' [maal-o-asbaab] is used in daily speech. This meaning also exists in Persian.

By keeping in view both meanings of asbaab , Mir has created in the verse a superb ironic tension. Normally we are in the ((aalam-e asbaab (that is, in the world that is established upon asbaab ), or we are in a world where in every direction are goods and resources and provisions. But the narrow-eyed jealousy of the arrangers of fate and destiny, or their lack of kindness, is such that for our tasks there are no helpful provisions at all. That is, nothing comes into view that would be able to become a cause [sabab] of our achieving our task.

We have with us no favorable/helpful resource; this can also mean that those things that became the causes of our coming into existence, became unfavorable-- or rather, contrary. Thus the very foundation of our existence itself is flimsy and unfavorable. This theme Mir has, in his old age, composed like this in the fifth divan [{1694,2}]:

ko))ii sabab aisaa ho yaa rab jis se ((izzat rah jaave
((aalam me;N asbaab ke hai;N par paas apne asbaab nahii;N

[may there be some resource, oh Lord, from which our honor might remain!
we are in the 'world of resources', but we have no resources]

The theme of ((izzat rah jaanaa is a fine one. In this verse below from the sixth divan, he has introduced the theme of the 'Causer of Causes', but without as much fineness and clearness as exist in the present verse and {1694,2}. From the sixth divan [{1860,6}]:

chaahtaa hai jab musabbab aap hii hotaa hai sab
da;xl is ((aalam me;N kyaa hai ((aalam-e asbaab ko

[when he wishes, the First Cause himself is everything
what entry into this world does the 'world of resources' have?]



There's also kahne ke ta))ii;N , that wonderfully ironic little postpositional phrase equivalent to the modern kahne ko . Because we have no resources, we aren't really in the 'world of resources'-- we're only in it 'in name only', in a 'so-called' way, as a figure of speech-- as some kind of metaphor or image or unsubstantiated claim. (For after all, if we aren't in that world, where are we?)

And yet, just to push the phrase a little further, doesn't the invoking or speaking of that description seem to have a power of its own? It seems to be the only thing that anchors us in this world (in which we have no other anchor); so perhaps the power of speech itself constitutes a 'resource'. We can be in this world on the strength of our own, or other people's, speaking-- 'from saying so'. Especially, of course, if we remember that the 'we', the speaker, the powerful poet, might be subtly reminding us of his own verbal magic.