yih do hii .suurate;N hai;N yaa mun((akis hai ((aalam
yaa ((aalam aa))inah hai us yaar-e ;xvud-numaa kaa

1) there are only/emphatically these two aspects: either the world is a {reflection / reflection-source}
2) or the world is a mirror of that self-showing friend/beloved



.suurat : 'Form, fashion, figure, shape, semblance, guise; appearance, aspect; face, countenance; prospect, probability; sign, indication; external state (of a thing); state, condition (of a thing), case, predicament, circumstance'. (Platts p.747)


mun((akis : 'Inverted, inversed, reversed, reflected (as a figure in a mirror or water); turned upside down, topsy-turvy; —inverse; contrary'. (Platts p.1078)

S. R. Faruqi:

mun((akis = a thing by which a reflection would have been cast

He has presented a very subtle and complex idea with great simplicity. By saying 'there are only/emphatically these two aspects', he has made it clear that after detailed thought and consideration, he has arrived at the conclusion that the sensory world has no existence. But this world also is visible to us, surrounding us on all sides. Thus either there is some real and true world, and this world is its reflection, or else there is some self-showing beloved who has wanted to make him/herself manifest; thus s/he has made a mirror, and looks at him/herself in it. That very same reflection, we too see.

The original source of the first alternative is a Platonic principle. Thus some people think that Islamic Sufistic philosophy was originally Platonic. In the second alternative is an attempt to solve the problem: that if the existence of the world is contingent, then why is the world visible?

Some Sufis have answered this question by saying that to the extent that creation exists, to that extent it is endowed with the quality of longevity by the the Divine Court. If all the subtleties of this view aren't kept in mind, then its limits seem to border on 'assigning a partner to God' [shirk]. For this reason some people have declared these ideas of Shaikh Akbar, etc., to be incorrect.

By calling the Lord the 'self-showing beloved', Mir has alluded to this famous saying [qaul], in which God has said, 'I was a hidden treasure, I wanted to be recognized; thus I created the world'.

If we take mun((akis to be an active noun (as some people consider it to be), then the difficulty appears that the world of which the reflection is falling on the eye-- which one is it, and where is it? If it's that very same world that's before us, then saying that it's a reflection in our eyes has no effect, but rather the existence of two worlds becomes necessary. Thus it's better to say that the real world is somewhere else, and the world that we're seeing is a reflection-- that is, it reflects the ideal world. See






There are apparently two senses of mun((akis , the active (an image, a source for a reflection) or the passive (a reflection). When we put these together with the 'mirror' possibility offered in the second line, it seems that there are really not two but three 'aspects' (or of course, more intriguingly, 'faces'): the world might be a reflection-source, or a reflection, or a reflector (a mirror).

Or, through the grammatical workings of 'symmetry', a reflection-source, a reflection, or a reflector might be the world (or 'a' world). The same reversal is also possible in the second line (a mirror of that self-showing friend/beloved is a/the world). This verse is so abstract that it hardly seems to make much difference.

This kind of thing can go on and on through all sorts of Sufistic convolutions. It's like trying to mentally swallow disconnected bits of tile and experience them as a mosaic. The really annoying thing is that in the present verse the effort is not rewarding, not worth it-- other than main-line Sufistic didacticism, there's really no there there. I like to swallow the bits of tile with spices and achars.