Ghazal 22, Verse 3

{22,3}*

sab ko maqbuul hai da((v;aa tirii yaktaa))ii kaa
ruubaruu ko))ii but-e aa))inah-siimaa nah hu))aa

1) all accept the claim of your uniqueness

2a) no one, [oh] idol with a mirror-{face/forehead/aspect}, became face-to-face [with you]
2b) no idol with a mirror-{face/forehead/aspect} became face-to-face [with them/you]

Notes:

siimaa : 'Face; forehead; countenance, aspect; resemblance, similitude'. (Platts p.712)

Nazm:

That is, no one confronted [them/you]. (23)

== Nazm page 23

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {22}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

That is, no one could become your equal. The proof is contained within the claim. (47)

Bekhud Mohani:

(1) No beloved with a mirror-face has confronted you. From this we learn that your claim of uniqueness is accepted by everybody. (2) You are that Uniqueness for whose image (picture and reflection) no mirror is available. (3) No face has emerged in whose mirror-like surface your reflection alone could be seen-- and in that way it could have been said that you had a peer. (56-57)

Faruqi:

The real point is that in the second line there should be [the vocative marker] ay [before 'idol'], but the meaning is not what the others [=commentators] have expressed. This verse should be analyzed in the light of Ghalib's verse {20,10}. The claim of uniqueness is proved because the beloved has a mirror-face. Whoever is before her/him sees in the beloved's face only his own appearance. No one can see the beloved herself/himself. The secret of her/his uniqueness is that no one at all can confront her/him, can come face to face with her/him. What greater uniqueness can there be than this, that before her/him every person goes from being one to being two, from being two to being four? But her/his existence remains only/emphatically unique.

To the beholder, in the beloved's face his own face is seen. In this context, in the Dakan there is a story about the famous venerable elder Hazrat Miskin Shah Sahib, that one disciple of his wrote to him, 'I see in you defect upon defect'. And people considered this insolence, but he himself was very pleased. When he was asked the reason, he commanded, 'We are like a mirror to him. He sees himself reflected within us; this is a proof of the clearness of his heart.'

This verse of Zauq's explicates this aspect of the theme, that the lover's face is reflected in the mirror-faced beloved's face. Zauq has taken the aspect of astonishment, and Ghalib that of uniqueness:

hai;N aa))ine me;N .suurat-e ta.sviir-e aa))inah
aa))iinah-ruu ke saamne ;hairaaniyo;N me;N ham

[in the mirror are aspects/likenesses of the image of the mirror
before the Mirror-faced One, we are among the astonished].

== (1989: 40-41) [2006: 50-51]

FWP:

SETS == MIDPOINTS
IDOL: {8,1}
MIRROR: {8,3}

Theologically speaking, Faruqi is surely right to refer to {20,10}, and in general his preference for (2a) over (2b) makes sense to me, though I wouldn't rule (2b) out entirely, since a verse like this is obviously not designed to be entirely clear or straightforward.

The only other reference in the divan to an 'idol with a mirror-forehead' occurs in {208,6}, and in that case too the interpretation seems very possibly to go along the lines Faruqi suggests.

The verse is also full of sonorous long vowels, especially aa and ii . The yaktaa))ii in the first line and aa))inah-siimaa in the second line strongly echo each other; aa))iinah is shortened to aa))inah for metrical reasons. And there's the wordplay of siimaa and ruubaruu .

But it's a truly strange verse, isn't it? An obscure, mysterious, potent image, that of the 'idol with a mirror-face' (or 'mirror-forehead'). Beautiful, ominous, solipsistic, hypnotically powerful-- what kind of 'idol' or beloved would earn such an epithet? I even sense a little overtone of doubt in the first line-- 'all accept' your uniqueness, but does the 'all' include the speaker? It's almost the kind of thing one says before making a counterargument or offering a challenge. Does the second line suggest that such a face-to-face confrontation just contingently hasn't happened-- that is, it hasn't happened yet?

Compare the similar absence of a face-to-face encounter in {32,1}.