the darkness of the prison house

بجھا جو روز-ا-زنداں تو دل یہ سمجھا ہے
کے تیری مانگ ستاروں سے بھر گئی ہوگی

چمک اٹھے ہیں سلاسل تو ہم نے جانا ہے
کے اب سحر تیرے رخ پر بکھر گئی ہوگی


bujha jo rauzan-e-zindaan to dil ye samjha hai
ke teri maang sitaaron se bhar gayi hogi

chamak uthe hain salaasil to ham ne jaana hai
ke ab sahar tere rukh par bikhar gai hogi

as my prison house becomes dark, i realise
that the parting of your hair would be lit up by the stars

and when my chains become visible again, i know
that the light of dawn would have illuminated your face

– faiz ahmed faiz

An immense delicateness that perhaps only Faiz is capable of is embodied in these lines. It is the delicateness of that deeply intimate relationship with the beloved, both earthly and divine, where there is no space for the crudity, coarseness, roughness of the world. In the slightest wavering of attention, this deep relatedness is broken. But while it lasts, it connects one to the rhythms of creation, and to the heart of all reality.

Like a quintessential Sufi, Faiz sees his darkness only in contrast to the beauty of the beloved. The prison house is dark because the stars light up the world of the beloved. Sorrow is sorrow because it is the absence of beauty. And therefore, it is a reminiscence of beauty. And hence, the spiritual significance of visaal, the grief of separation, as a reminder of the beauty of the beloved in a brutalised world.

When one’s chains become visible again, one knows the refulgence with which the face of the beloved would shine in the first rays of dawn. One is enslaved, but only because real freedom lies in communion with the beloved.

As often, Faiz is no stranger to oneness with nature. The light of the stars, silvery and dispelling of darkness, and the first rays of dawn, bringing new life, are precious reminders of the pristine beauty of the Real.

Earthly love, spiritual communion, and the purity of nature unspoilt come together in these lines, expressing the best there is in the Urdu language and in the mystical streams of Islam.






~ by tdcatss on June 23, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: