Tag Archives: art

The writing on the wall… نوشتہِ دیوار


I was walking around downtown in a rather old part of the city (lets just say somewhere in North America) where graffiti and other public artworks (wanted or unwanted) seem to crop up with regularity. Of course, my own politics/opinions about graffiti are mixed since a part of me thinks its urban art and expression while another part of me believes it to be a form of vandalism. However, I can not help but have a reaction to it and a part of the reaction to this particular picture formed a rather weak ghazal in my head that I present below.

جہانِ فن میں  تیرا کردار ہے کیا؟

دیکھ تو سہی نوشتہِ دیوار ہے کیا

What is your role

In this world filled with art

Take a look

At the writing on the wall


اپنی  دولت  پے تو  اِتراتا  ہے کیا؟

جب نہیں عشق مستیِ پندار ہے کیا؟

Is it your wealth

That makes you proud?

If you have no drive in your heart

Then its your ego which intoxicates you


نہ گھبرا عشق کی افسردگی سے تو

دلِ  رنجیدہ  کوئی  مردار  ہے  کیا؟

And be not afraid

If your soul is gloomy

A sad heart

Can yet be revived


تیرے نام سے ہی تو عزت ملی ہمیں

کون  جانے  تیرا نام  بردار ہے کیا

If I got any respect

It was due to the glory of your name

Who knows

Where your name bearer ranks


نگاہ  پرعزم تو دل میں  خوفِ جفا

استاد جاتا ہے کوئے یار ہے کیا؟

He looks firm

But fears being hurt

Is he going towards

His lovers house?


پرچمِ ہاشمی و حسینی جس کے ہاتھ

تونہی بتا رتبہِ عباس علمدار ہے کیا؟

The signs of Hashim and Hussain

Were given to him

Go ahead and tell me

The rank of Abbas

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Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

A Friend to the Angels… یارِ ملائک

Shams Tabraiz was one of the many influences on Rumi. I do not think it is possible to describe how difficult it was to write that sentence since the relationship between Rumi and Tabraiz is one of the most complicated ones with regard to theology, mysticism and even poetry. I am actually afraid to write anything about the two (other than using the poetic license of verse) since I would not presume to put anything down which seeks to explain one of the most beautiful connections that ever existed. Rumi of course, is one of the great masters of mysticism and esoteric knowledge. Quite literally a source of inspiration for generations of poets and writers from the East as well as the West. Tabraiz being his master/teacher/guide/friend/supporter (the number of slashes only show the jumble in my own thoughts concerning the two!) also holds his own place in the hearts of Eastern writers.

I recently reread some words by Rumi concerning death and rebirth into a higher from which in the original persian sound tremendously beautiful. I also found a related verse by Shams which was as follows; “Ma ba falak budaym yar e malaik budayum”, which in English means, I was living in the heavens, I was friends with the angels. The essential idea being that before we were born we were in the heavens as spirits therefore death will only take us back to the place which is our essential home. Of course, neither Rumi nor Shams had a death wish but I do feel that their poetry and words have an understanding of death as moving to a higher plane of existence.

I have been told that some of my poetry can be quite morbid as it deals with subjects such as death or growing old but I would like to explain that it is simply a move from one plane of existence to another. As Iqbal put it, “Maut kia shay hay? Faqat alam-e-maani ka safar” (what is death but a journey to a different plane of meanings). That, I believe has to be remembered as the essence of what poetic death means and quite a few orders of sufi as well as esoteric schools of thought agree with that idea. With the notion of remembering and forgetting, I present this poor effort for your amusement below.


باخدا   ہمیں   اب  وہ  رات   یاد  نہیں

اس رات میں کہی کوئی بات یاد نہیں

I do not recall that night

I do not recall anything

That was said

That night


سادہ دل لوگ ہیں، جشنِ آزاد مناتے ہیں

جیت انہیں یاد  ہے،  کوئی مات یاد نہیں

They are a simple people

They are celebrating their freedom

They remember a victory that took place ages ago

They do not remember recent defeats


موارخ  سے یہی  پوچھا  کرتا ہوں میں

کمالِ مغرب یاد ہیں، خرافات یاد نہیں؟

Is ask my historian friend

You easily recall the wonders of civilisation

You forget

Its discontents


کس جوش سے مانگتے ہیں اسلامی ریاست

خلافت  تو یاد  ان  کو،   مساوات  یاد  نہیں

With fervor he asks for

The power to govern

He remembers ruling others

Not being equal to the ruled


پھر عشق کی رہ چلے؟ آفریں حافظے پے

رنگِ  عشق   یاد   ہے،  آفات  یاد  نہیں؟

You are walking the path of love again?

What a wondrous memory my friend!

You recall the beauty of love

Not its miseries


ما  با  فلک   بودیم،  یارِ  ملائک   بودیم

استاد تجھے تبریز کی یہ بات یاد نہیں؟

I was living in the heavens,

I was friends with the angels.

Do you not remember

These words of Tabraiz?

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Why do they do it… کیوں کرتے ہیں

دل والے دل ٹوٹنے کے بعد، پیار کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

قریبِ  مرگ  جان  کو، بیمار  کیوں  کرتے  ہیں؟

Those who have a heart

Will love even if its broken

Why do they further ail?

That which is about to die


ملا نفرت بوتے ہیں، پھر چین سے کیسے سوتے ہیں

میری  گل نما  زمین  کو وہ، خار  کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

The mullah sows hate

But sleeps in peace

He turns my beautiful land

Into a land of thorns


فرقوں میں ہے امّت اور سوال ہے ہر فرقے کا

اس دور کے مسلم ہمیں، زنار کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

The notion is in discord

And each faction questions

Why do the others

Hate us so much?


جب  میرا دل بھی آپ کے خدا  کا گھر ہے تو

اس مسجدِ ویراں کو، مسمار کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

Is it not true

That my heart is a house for your God?

Then why do you seek to tear down

This abandoned house of God


دل  نہیں  دینا  تو نہ  دیں،  مرا  تماشا  تو  نہ  کریں

جو بات اپنے گھر کی تھی، سرِ بازار کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

Do not love me if you can not

It is not a compulsion

But do not make my sorrow

A street performance


معاملاتِ  عشق  کو  تجارت  نہ  بنایے  استاد

سوداِ جان تو نقد ہے، ادھار کیوں کرتے ہیں؟

Matters of love

Are not matters of trade

You must deal in real terms

Not credit


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry