javaab-e shikvah
stanzas 21 through 25
(*text with stanza numbers*; *serial glossary*)


"You are violent among yourselves, they were merciful among themselves,
You are fault-doing and fault-finding, they were fault-concealing and generous.

"You all want to dwell on the heights of the Pleiades,
First let someone create a peaceful heart!
"The throne of the Chinese Emperor was theirs, and of Surair too,
Are these just casual thoughts, or is the same zeal in you too?
  ==The Faghfur was, in story tradition, a Central Asian ruler. I have been told that Surair was a port in the Hijaz..
"Self-destruction is your practice, you're so arrogant and self-regarding,
You flee from brotherhood, they sacrificed themselves for brotherhood.
"You're from head to foot all talk, they from head to foot are all character,
You long for the bud, they hold themselves aloof from the rose-garden.
"To this day the communities remember their story,
The stamp of their sincerity is on the page of existence!
"Like the stars, they shone on the horizon of the community,
In love for Indian idols, they also became Brahmins.
  ==The great ancestors are perhaps being praised for their Indian patriotism. But this line could also be a reproach to them for losing their grip on the true faith.
"In the ardor for flight, they also departed from the nest,
The young men were inactive; they became disaffected even from the faith.
  ==Here "they" begins to refer unambiguously to modern South Asian Muslims.
"Culture had freed them from every bond,
It brought them from the Ka'bah and settled them in the idol-house.
"Qais no longer endured the trouble of solitude in the desert,
Having strolled in the city, he no longer wandered in the desert.
  ==Qais, or Majnun, was the exemplary mad desert-wandering lover of Laila.
"He is a madman, whether he remained in the city of not,
It's necessary that the veil on the face of Laila would not remain.
  ==Majnun's desire to unveil Laila is presented as crazy, and culpable.
"There should be no lament about cruelty, there should be no complaint of injustice,
Passion is free-- why shouldn't beauty too be free?

==In the ghazal tradition, the lover's laments and complaints to the beloved represent archetypally desirable behavior. The sarcasm seems to be directed against modern views of women.

"The new era is lightning, it is a fire-striker on every harvest,
Neither any desert nor any garden is safe from it.
   ==Lightning can of course start fires in fields of grain that are ready for harvesting.
"Of this new fire, ancient communities are the fuel,
The community of the Seal of the Prophets has 'flame-in-the-robe'.
  ==This idiomatic expression suggests inner agitation.
"Even today, if the faith of Abraham would be born,
Fire can create the style of a garden.
  ==Abraham, a strong monotheist, defied his idolatrous father.

*On to stanzas 26-30* -- *"Shikvah" index page*


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