Ghazal 9, Verse 9x

{9,9x}

vus((at-e ra;hmat-e ;haq dekh kih ba;xshaa jaave
mujh saa kaafir kih jo mamnuun-e ma((aa.sii nah hu))aa

1) look at the amplitude of the mercy of God-- that there would be pardoned
2) an infidel like me, who didn't become obligated/indebted to/for sins

Notes:

vus((at : 'Latitude; amplitude; spaciousness; capacity; space, extent; space covered, area; dimensions; bulk; --convenience, ease; opportunity, leisure'. (Platts p.1192)

 

ba;xshnaa : 'To give, grant, bestow; to forgive, pardon, excuse'. (Platts p.138)

 

jaave is a variant form of jaa))e ; GRAMMAR.

 

mamnuun : 'Who has received a favour, favoured, obliged; grateful, thankful'. (Platts p.1068)

 

ma((aa.sii : 'Acts of disobedience, sins, crimes'. (Platts p.1046)

Asi:

Just look at the breadth of the mercy of that generous one-- that he has pardoned an infidel like me, who was an infidel from all eternity, and did not become an infidel only through the good offices of sins. That is, I was not the kind of infidel whom sins would have made an infidel. No-- rather, I was a temperamental infidel from all eternity. (56)

Zamin:

In this verse to be mamnuun-e ma((aa.sii is to be repentant for sins; otherwise, it will have no meaning. That is, 'to be indebted to sins' will have the meaning of 'to engage in sins'. Then when he didn't at all engage in sins, he would be declared to be innocent; and when he would be declared innocent, then how is it surprising that he would be pardoned? Beyond this, the bringing together of 'infidel' and 'innocent' will be meaningless. (38)

Gyan Chand:

In the second line the idea has been reversed. It must somehow be made straight. The meaning of 'obligated to sins' apparently seems to be 'indebted to sins'; that is, to accept sins, to embark on sinning. But here there's no scope for such an interpretation. Sin was able to do me the kindness of not making me its prey. But I didn't wish to accept this kindness from it, and I myself made myself available as its practice-slate. The Lord's mercy is so ample that he has pardoned a sinful infidel like me. (73)

Faruqi:

This also means that he was so inconsiderate that he committed no sins, and denied God this opportunity to exercise his benignness. (Marginal note, handwritten in English in my copy of tafhiim-e ;Gaalib , 1980)

FWP:

SETS
INDEPENDENCE: {9,1}
ISLAMIC: {10,2}

See S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The speaker presents himself as an apparently unique, or at least extraordinary, kind of 'infidel'. But what kind exactly? The flexibility of the i.zaafat , and the usual Ghalibian ambiguities, permit his distinctive 'infidelity' to take various possible forms:

=He didn't become 'obligated to sins', because he didn't take any advantage of them-- that is, he didn't commit any sins.

=He didn't become 'obligated to sins', because he didn't accept their offer to refrain from persecuting him; thus he became their prey, and sinned (Gyan Chand's reading).

=He didn't become 'obligated [to God] through sins', because he didn't commit any sins; thus he perversely denied God a chance to receive the obligatory penitence and then to show him mercy (Faruqi's reading).

There's thus an element of paradox in his behavior: an 'infidel' is normally expected to sin; an 'infidel' who stubbornly refuses to succumb to sin is-- what? Not a Muslim exactly, because in this case the speaker specifically identifies himself as an 'infidel', one who has been created as such by the remarkable breadth of God's imagination and power. Is he perhaps a strange, hybrid, virtuous infidel? Or maybe a truly perverse infidel?

In any case, the speaker's emphasis on radical independence, on rejecting all outside influence, is one of the few strongly discernible, consistent strands in Ghalib's poetic self-presentation; for many examples, see {9,1}.