Humanities

Reimagining Hum Dekhenge

Author: Bilal Irfan orcid logo (University of Michigan)

  • Reimagining Hum Dekhenge

    Humanities

    Reimagining Hum Dekhenge

    Author:

Abstract

This paper investigates Pakistani writer Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous poem, ham dekheñge. In recent times, it has become a source of controversy for the language utilized and the Islamic-themes oriented within it, as seen by coverage surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India in 2019. Building upon the sayings of literary commentators, this research dwells onto the Qur’anic and Ṣūfī origins for this poem, as well as its distinctly anti-colonial nature. It investigates the relationship with Faiz’s Marxist leanings, the evidently Pan-Islamic motif, and the original context of the poetry as a source of defiance to Zia ul-Haq’s regime in Pakistan by its famous singing by Iqbal Bano in 1986.

How to Cite:

Irfan, B., (2023) “Reimagining Hum Dekhenge”, University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Journal 16. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/umurj.3786

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Published on
21 Mar 2023
Peer Reviewed
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CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Introduction on the Faizite essence

The rebirth of Urdu literature in the second half of the 19th century until the end of the Cold War can be attributed to the momentum spurned out by one legendary figure, Shamsuíl-ʿUlamāʾ Maulvī Syed Mīr Ḥasan. He was the teacher of Muhammad Iqbal, who was posthumously honored as the national poet of Pakistan for the religious rebirth he gave to Indian Muslims. Yet he also served in another more distinct capacity, as the Arabic and Persian teacher to Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Faiz grew up in a middle-class family from Sialkot, Punjab and was schooled in the literary traditions of English, Urdu, Arabic and Persian as was customary to advancing figures in the social sciences in the post-Mughal era. Without a doubt, Faiz’s upbringing instilled a unique appreciation for the Indo-Persian, Perso-Arabic, and Turkic traditions that were found within mainstream sensibilities of classical Urdu. Faiz grew up during a time wherein the subcontinent was engulfed in political strife, having witnessed the Partition of India and the first military take-over of Pakistan in 1958. Thus, he was inclined to break free from the shackles of the ghazal-oriented love odes, be it to another man, god, or community, which dealt with the agonies of an unrequited love that individuals faced.1

Faiz joined the Muslim Anglo-Oriental College in 1933 in a capacity as a lecturer and went on to join the All-India Progressive Writers Association three years later. That formed the bedrock to his later involvement in offshoot movements in Pakistan, wherein he was also a leading writer for the Communist Party which received state-sanctioned backlash. His revolutionary movements were seen largely through the restricted lens of being a Communist, which left his works to the whim of interpreters, filled with ideological prejudice and subjectivity. For what else is the role of a historian in the modern sense but to recreate works and rejuvenate them with life and meaning through an artistic metabolic function (Nora 1996, 13). Many activists and intellectuals are thus unable to see Faiz as anything but a social revolutionary. Presentations of his works are reduced down to tangential explanations based on his other sayings or sentiments, instead of a lens being applied solely to the text of his poems. By virtue of existing in a postcolonial timeframe, the precolonial elements of his work, such as the recurring Ṣūfī themes and references to Hallaj are all but lost as everything is interpreted in the context of an Urdu ghazal blemished with new political undertones. The epistemological limitations of such a framework are expansive to say the least. While a logical examination may help in concentrating on how legislative issues and public activity shapes writing as well as the other way around, putting sociological marks on verse is restricting and devastating for abstract examination. However long the nazm (poem) stays attached to the writer, it has no abstract independence, no unique kind of energy. In truth, all together for all its likely implications to be understood, the creator needs to vanish.

The multifold meanings of lines within Faiz’s poems, such as ham dekheñge which are layered with multiple different metaphors and possible historic references all leading to different interpretations and outlooks in the piece are a classic example of ma’ni āfirini (meaning-creation). Such multiplicity of meanings ensures there is no one diaphragm to utilize to express the multivocality of poetic voice in Urdu, which is often coupled with mazmun āfirini (theme-creation). The intermixing of Indic sounds and morphology to the Persianized register of Hindustani is a tool exploited to enhance the sound-depth ratios that are vital to Faiz’s critical acclaim in the popular spotlight (Faruqi 2006, 45). Sabk-e-hindi (the Indianized version of Urdu) has quite a significant amount of Dhvani (echo), an aesthetic device derived from Sanskrit, embedded within that serves to emulate a new meaning that may be overriding the otherwise quite apparent literal meaning.2 Lines such as sab but uṭhvāe jaayeñge (every idol will lie displaced) can imply more than just what comes to eye, despite the very literal historical background to this within Islamic narrations and history (Faruqi 2005, 22). The inconclusiveness, ibam, within Indic-formulated Urdu poetry is more often than not credited to Amir Khusrow for his rejection of adapting such themes into Persian and Arabic loanwords in Urdu, and their respective literary theories (Alam 2003, 180). Kaifiyat is a state of being wherein a poem is able to yield a lot more than its discernible context, and emotions of tragedy riddled with hope and underlying agony and sadness are found (Faruqi 2003, 855–866).

The poly-interpretability of Faiz’s works is an undeniable factor in what makes them so appealing, given the clashes between an assortment of different perspectives that it can be seen to be propagating. Islamic socialism, to the distinctly Soviet brand of Marxism, or the anti-colonial struggle of an Indian independence activist or one fighting the settler colonialism in Islamabad and Delhi elites. His poems can not be constricted to one dimensional views by classifying him as a revolutionary within the Eastern world or ‘third-world’, in the context of Cold War politics in which Faiz was well-versed, as it would reduce interpretive capability to appreciate the breadth of his aesthetic technique. A sociological frame of reference may benefit more from noting the appeal and reception of the masses to his works. It would compel the inquirer to adopt a different set of instruments and frame of reference to analyze Hum Dekhenge, and should then be done in conjunction with frames on Iqbal and Habib Jalib’s works (Shahid 2013, 8).

Background

To understand the depth and message of one of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s critically acclaimed works, ham dekheñge, is no easy feat. It was written originally in Urdu in 1979, acquiring its first publication two years after in his seventh poetry book - Mere Dil Mere Musafir - which was dedicated to Yāsir ‘Arafāt due to Faiz’s sympathies for the cause of Palestinian liberation. Even the title of the poem is a misnomer, a reflection of the adaptation of South Asian society to its own cultural norms in rejection of the earlier pure Arabic subject, Va Yabqá Vajhu Rabbika (And the countenance of your Lord will outlast all). The phrase comes from Surah (chapter of the Quran) Ar-Rahman, Verse 27:

وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ

“And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor”3

“Only your Lord Himself, full of Majesty and Honor, will remain forever.”4

Abu al-Fiḍā ‘Imād Ad-Din Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathīr al-Qurashī Al-Damishqī, colloquially known as Ibn Kathir, wrote in his famous Tafsir5 that the aforementioned verse is parallel to the following verses in a number of regards:

كُلُّ شَىْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلاَّ وَجْهَه

“Everything will perish except his face” (28:88)

In this verse Allah describes his face as one worthy of being esteemed, and thus demanding of obedience.

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِىِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ

“And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face.” (18:28)

إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ

“We feed you seeking Allah’s Face only.” (76:9)

Abdullah ibn Abbas has suggested that the meaning of Dhul-Jalal wal-Ikram, omitted by Faiz in the titling of the poem, refers to [Allah] being the owner of greatness and pride himself. Yet the contents of the nazm (poem) reveal that it is in fact a literal manifestation of the power of God, with false idols being removed to signify the pride and authority of ‘the One’. The first verse (Miṣrʿ) of the poem, ham dekheñge (we will see) signals to many a call towards the end of times, corroborated by the preceding verse of Surah Rahman stating that all will perish on this earth and that God alone will remain to judge them in the Hereafter. Reference to the ‘Face’ as a divinely attribute to be accepted without question or anthropomorphic reasoning is also implied in chapter two6 of the Quran wherein earth-shattering punishment is ordained for transgressors. Other notable references to the Allah’s Face as a manifestation of authority and executive decision-making are also present in the Quran7, with analogies of control of the East and the West being reminiscent of Islamic beliefs regarding the rising of the sun from the west on the Day of Resurrection/Judgment.

Interpretative methods

Prior to embarking upon the journey of unraveling Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s critically acclaimed poem, one must take into consideration the differing ways in which it can be interpreted. Literature as a whole is subject to the whims of people, be it fellow writers and poets, or readership and critics. The same is true for the genre of poetry within the liberals arts, and this is only magnified by the political, social, and religious intersection of a piece such as ham dekheñge.

There are some who contend that the underlying intentions of the author is the only correct mode of interpretation and analysis. On the flipside, others hold that intention is of no consequence and that the fluidity of words renders any grasping onto the thoughts of the original writer a futile effort. This forms the basis of a heated debate, one exacerbated by the various critics of major pieces who find themselves in a position to justify one argumentative approach over another to serve the interests of their era (Swirski 2010, 133). Some go so far as to suggest that it is in fact the character of the speaker, in this case Faiz Ahmed Faiz, that allows for persuasion to the audiences to formulate concurring views on the subject matter. In a famous oratory lecture, John Lawson sums such a position by claiming that one “cannot be much affected by what he (the speaker) says if you do not look upon him to be a Man of Probity, who is in earnest, and doth himself believe what he endeavoreth to make out as credible to you” (Lawson 1760, 172). Naturally this poses the question of if the speaker is thus monolith, as Iqbal Bano is the first to publicly sing this poem in front of a large crowd. Should her background be looked at then, and in what context given the ranging views of conservative Islamists and social democrats of the Pakistani People’s Party on her performances? Would Coke Studio’s 2018 version, which omitted some lines from the text, now be the authoritative body whose background readers should seek to understand to accept the validity of the poem’s underlying message?

Charles Fillmore paved the way for another outlook on understanding readership, worth quoting as length as follows:

“A text induces the interpreter to construct an image or maybe a set of alternative images. The image the interpreter creates early in the text guides his interpretation of successive portions of the text and these in turn induce him to enrich or modify that image. While the image construction and image revision is going on, the interpreter is also trying to figure out what the creator of the text is doing--what the nature of the communication situation is. And that, too, may have an influence on the image creating process (Fillmore 1974, 4).”

The idea that people are ultimately influenced in any discourse by the context in which utterances are made stems back to a very generic argument circulated as a quasi-middle ground approach attempting to shelve away from the debate between proponents and opponents of intentionality (Erickson & Schultz 1977, 6). An investigation conducted by the University of Urbana-Champaign a significant impact from author-reader relationship, be it from from personal acquaintance to shared goals to background on the subject, on the evolution of the thought process of readership in grasping a piece (Tierney et al. 1983, 7). Others have also pushed the prevailing view that readers ought to be respected and elevated in stature for their insurmountable contributions at understanding how an author’s works are a patchwork of so many different cultural nuances and source-materials, including those not intended to be the case by the author themselves due to how it may have simply been transmitted into their style in the most natural of ways (Roland 1977, 146).

That is not to say of course that all interpretations are valid, as they must be conducted within the realm of reason. Ham dekheñge’s use of Islamic imagery is notable since it was used in opposition to a regime that identified with a Pan-Islamic identity, and people speaking to its literal allusion to the end of times is more acceptable than the fatuous suggestion that the piece promotes an anti-Hindu sentiment based on a line referencing the nullification of false idols. The multiplicity of options in regards to meanings, noting that reading context can significantly alter and color interpretations, does not necessarily imply that all such viewpoints are contextually legitimate. Needless to say, explication has its limits and the coherence of a text coupled with a reader’s background, an inherent bias, will influence decision-making in attempting to elucidate the meaning of a text (Eco 1997, 41, 59).

The circumstances surrounding a poem’s birth are often forgotten in future generations unless there is some explicit textual mention of it, something not found in ham dekheñge. Hence, the versatility of the poem allowed it to be sung by a march of student protestors rallied in opposition to the Indian Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019. Definitive references to a specific space or time are scarcely ever present in Faiz’s works, with ham dekheñge being no exception to this underlying theme. His poems have largely been recited and sung more than they have been close-read, hence the need to obscure the underlying cause and effect that brought about the piece to begin with.

Analysis and Islamic imagery

When looking at a poem such as ham dekheñge which is written originally in the Urdu language, one must recognize the backdrop of the literary society that nazms (poems) originated in. Urdu’s original name was Zaban-e-Urdu (language of the [exalted] camp) given ‘ordu’ meaning camp in Turkic languages such as Chagtai. It was a symbol of the literary and societal elites, as it was championed under the Mughal Empire. Thus, this Persianized register of the Hindustani language became the preferred tongue for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, with the less Prakrit or Sanskrit drawn vocabulary, in favor of Persian and Arabic, noting higher degrees of prestige.

Faiz’s poetry must be read through the context of his own political leanings, a Marxist by his own admission, which landed him in the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and found himself in exile in Moscow. Ham dekheñge (we shall see) is an allusion to seeing a change in time, intended to be against Zia ul-Haq who is considered the archnemesis of this polemic. At first glance, many can also think that it is speaking out of a disheartened state of mind with the world around us and thus looking forward to the Day of Judgement, prophesied in Abrahamic faiths, as an end of time-event where justice will be delivered in the courts of Allah. As with much of this poem, there is a play on a Quranic phrase here, “Fa satubṣiru wa yubṣirụn (So, you will see, and they will see).8 The very word maftun in the succceeding verse refers to one being demented, and is in the context of an assurance by Allah that the accusations derailed against the Prophet Muhammad will be disproven for their position at a later time when justice will prevail.9 It turns the tables on the accusers, by fermenting a prophecy in an unequivocally challenging tone, akin to that of Faiz’s, that the test of time will prove who was insane and in error. It is worth mentioning that in Maarif-ul-Quran, those who did not read the signs of time are construed as having additionally failed to recognize the “light of Truth”. This is reminiscent of another phrase An-al-Haq (I am Truth) in this poem. In the succeeding line, lāzim hai ke ham bhī dekheñge (Inevitably, we shall also see the day) there is this concentrated reaffirmation of how certain it is that they will see this day. No room for negotiation or bending of will is present in this expressed sentiment.

Interestingly enough, Faiz largely rejects the confines of Arabic metre and prosody such as ramal, which was championed by the other ‘Poet of the East’, Muhammad Iqbal, in shikwa and javāb-e-shikvā. Yet nevertheless, Qafiya and Radif (Persian for order) are still embedded within it, with vaada hai and likha hai repeating the āsound for Qafiya and hai for Radif across the hemistich in the second shʿr (prosodic unit). Following that, another word, vʿdā (promise) is used in lieu of lāzim (inevitably) to signify that this is a promise from Allah, one that was promised to them as a people. The people, known to be referring to a pluralistic group due to ham signifying we, are akin to those mentioned in Surah Taha Verse 86: “Faraja’s Moosaaa ilaa qawmihee ghadbaana asifaa; qaala yaa qawmi alam ya’idkum Rabbukum wa’dan hasanaa; afataala ‘alaikumul ‘ahdu am arattum ai yahilla ‘alaikum ghadabum mir Rabbikum fa akhlaftum maw’idee (Then Mûsâ - Moses - returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow. He said: “O my people! Did not your Lord promise you a fair promise? Did then the promise seem to you long in coming? Or did you desire that wrath should descend from your Lord on you, that you broke your promise to me (i.e disbelieving in Allâh and worshiping the calf)”.10 Din is used for day instead of the Arabic-origin Yaum, which hints that Faiz’s intention is not to speak of the Day of Judgment in the literal sense as written in the Quran. There is instead an underlying theme of an eternal truth, something that irrevocably will happen. For example, after a period of warmth comes cool, be it seasonal or after years of climate change, and that after day comes night, no matter the length or duration of either. In this case, Faiz claims that after oppression comes ease, a regurgitation of Surah Ash-Sharh verse 4: “Fa inna ma’al usri yusra” (Verily, along with every hardship is relief).11 The ease is considered to be one coming in abundance, with the verse being repeated right after in a similar form in that chapter.12 This mythological dilemma was thus presented to the masses as a reassurance that the forces of civil liberties will prevail after the inevitable collapse of the authoritarian government.

Lau-e-azl literally means the tablet of eternity, used within Quranic discourse, this refers to an eternal slate on which the destiny of the world and all its inhabitants has been written and determined. Naturally, its implications regarding presdestination has puzzled many Muslim theologians. Yet this verse has not only intrigued elites/academics/thinkers/theologians, etc. but also the common masses. It comes in the last Juzz of the Quran, in a chapter oft known and memorized by the masses and those who are not as well acquainted with the rest of the Islamic text.13 Its accessibility is imperative to formulating its narrative to begin with. The metaphor is used to also refer to the Quran itself in the last verse of Surah Al-Buruj, with lauh-e-mahfooz referring to the Quran’s eternal nature, coinciding with the Ashari/Maturidi theological position on the subject.14 The destiny of revolution is thus protected by divine ordinance, something the oppressor cannot grapple with.

In the next six lines, the imagery in regards to the end of times is akin to Quranic tropes on doomsday narratives preceding the final day of judgement. For example in Surah Al-Qari’ah verse 4–5, “Yauma ya koonun naasu kal farashil mabthooth. Wa ta koonul jibalu kal ‘ihnil manfoosh” (It is a Day whereon mankind will be like moths scattered about, and the mountains will be like carded wool).15 Carded wool, presumably fluffed up, has the same meaning as rūi (cotton fluff). The line in the poem jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaañ (when dark peaks of torment and tyranny) is claiming that when a valley is filled up with so much oppression that the people cannot withstand it any further, then the promise from Allah will be fulfilled and it will flow away.

The next four lines dealing with crashing lightning and the beating heart of earth need to be read together. Mahkūmoñ comes from the Arabic and Urdu base ḥākim which roughly translates to a ruler. When a ruler gives a command, the recipient becomes a mahkūm. The use of the plural we, ham, before it means that when people stand united, only then will they rise above the paaoñ (feet). Yet the masses’ feet are considered broken, due to not having stood against tyranny together and they are also meant to dually shatter the feet on which the ḥākim stands. This is a call for a complete revolution, akin to the Marxist leanings of Faiz, as a call against exploitative capitalism, authoritarianism, and imperialism. In India and other Muslim-majority countries, ḥakim and ḥakīm refer to physicians or a wise man. The use of this word instead of rāj for kingship or another Prakrit-drawn equivalent to describe the domain of a ruler is particularly interesting given Faiz strays away from that in the end of his poem. Over there it uses the word rāj to describe the moment of victory when the people will take control, a stylistic choice rejecting the Islamist regime of Zia ul-Haq in favor of the terminology derived from its professed archnemesis, “Hindu India”. dhaṛ dhaṛ dhaṛkegī is speaking of the heart of the earth, a call deep within mother nature begging for change. This too resembles Islamic themes of earth shattering punishment as well as the physical changes to come to the earth that will bring about its collapse, with descriptions of lava and the things within the core being akin to the punishment of eternal hellfire. The alliteration in that line and kaṛ kaṛ kaṛkegī is not lost, given it emphasizes the actions that will take place as a rallying cry for the people to awaken from their long slumber. Without explicitly using the word for heart in Urdu, it is implied that humans will be able to possess a true heart, individually and collectively when revolution breaks out as their combined weight will cause the ground to shake and the oppressor’s feet to collapse. Asmaisout (onomatopoeia) is also present extensively in this in terms of the sounds of a beating heart and a lightning storm being present reflecting what actually occurs during those phenomenons. There is of course Radeef rhyme present at the end of the two lines with the kegī phrase repeating itself. Thereafter, the phrase ahl-e-ḥukam is used to refer to the tormentors who persecute revolutionaries and those failing or refusing to conform to the political standard of the time. Once again the word that resembles the ḥakim physician-like attributes is used, despite the connotation being completely different. Instead, aḥl implies a gathering of people, a household or group of sorts, and thus Faiz suggests there is a large and embattled conspiracy against the people that gather together to plot.16 The revolutionaries are also being foretold to expect the lightning to go sar ūpar (above the head) as in that their power will so far exceed that of the current oppressors that they will tremble with fear, a stark contrast from being underneath the feet of them prior.

In jab arz-e-ḳhudā ke kʿbe se (When, from the seat of the Almighty) a great many literary features are present, including alliteration with the ‘k’ sound at the beginning of several words. jab once again refers to destiny and a time to come that is being awaited for by the people and narrated to for its signs. arz usually refers to someone speaking at length, but also from an Arabic root literally translates to earth. ḳhudaa is the generic name for god in Urdu, with Allah being specific towards the Lord’s name per Islamic beliefs. In the context, the phrase arz-e-ḳhudā seems to be taking the outlook by naming the people who call themselves god, or act in such an authority or manner that defies the thought of challenge. The confidence and conviction that the oppressors have that they are in fact Almighty, can do as they please with no accountability or reckoning is being mocked here. kʿbe refers to the kʿba, Islam’s holiest site in Mecca which serves as the center of worship and a house of Allah. kʿba literally means a cube in Classical Arabic, but per references from the Quran it is clearly evident that it can also signify a temple of sorts or seat of authority.17 But, pronounced not with a hard ‘t’ in Urdu but with emphasis on the latter letter, translates to idols. It is a clear play on the story of the Conquest of Mecca as narrated in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, wherein the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslim armies entered largely without bloodshed into the now epicenter of global Islam and struck down some 360 idols and promised that never again will falsehood find its way from there or emerge from within.18 In the next two lines, there is also kkʿbafiyā with the ‘se’ and ‘ge’ sound at the end of the individual misrs, as well as rhyming patterns in ‘jab’ and ‘sab’. Thus there are clearly two profound meanings here, one being that from the land of God (when applying the earth definition of ‘arz’), which encompasses the entirety of the world, false ideologies will be removed. Pakistan claims itself to be such on the basis of being a homeland for Indian Muslims. In such a claim, a parallel is being drawn between the Quraysh of Mecca, known for their atrocities in pre-Islamic Arabia to the authoritarianism of Zia ul-Haq’s regime. Despite the allusion to a dystopian end of time scenario, the other plausible and intended meaning is that those who are self-proclaimed gods, i.e dictatorial rulers or imposers of their own will, will be removed.

The next two lines represent a shifting tone, from the continuous references to a future with ‘jab’ to something that is coming sooner, more tangible and in the soon to be present. Ahl-e-safā means the pure people, those with rightly guided intentions on the straight path per Surah Fatiha’s supplication of being on the path of those not led astray. Aṣ-Ṣafā also refers to the mountain in Mecca, adjacent to Marwah, where Muslims routinely walk between in pilgrimage in emulation of Hajer’s, the second wife of Ibrahim, drought-filled journey before discovering zamzam water. To be considered the people of Aṣ-Ṣafā denotes a high degree of honor, as it is a semblance of purity of intentions and Allah’s promise and favor amongst the aforementioned group. It is important to note that jabl or pahaar was not used when referring to safā but rather ahl, akin to the Pakistani motto of purity and advancing the notion that the land is in fact pāk (pure).19 Ḥaram means something that is forbidden in traditional Islamic jurisprudence, yet also encapsulates simply a sanctuary such as Mecca which is a ḥaram due to the stringent laws pertaining to the actions, crimes, and prosecutive measures within its confines. It has even been noted to be a sanctuary for alleged criminals seeking recourse, and to the contemporary era poses a challenge for state officials such as Saudi Arabia in tackling the 1979 Grand Mosque Seizure. This is particularly as a result of the ban on firearms in the ḥaram and weapons of any sort, save those ordained for ritual sacrificial slaughter. The poem can be seen to be condemning the use of lethal force by Zia’s regime against civilians and protestors. In Classical Farsi, Marūdd means a castaway, reprobate, an anathematized individual, or an offcast. Thus mardūd-e-ḥaram implies someone who has been rejected from the higher echelons of society which is guarded and gets away with their crimes against humanity. Masnad is a seat or position, different from a throne, but one that is lavish and couch-like and filled with pillows and riches. It resembles that which princes, shehzadas, and nawabs sit upon while feasting on food in their ḥarems, another layer adding to the depth of Faiz’s word choice and stylistic choices. It is also foretold as a sign of grace by Allah on the followers of the Prophet Muhammad and their eventual success, as in the following verses. In Surah Al-Kahf verse 31, “Uleaika lahum canneatu aadnin tacree min taahtihimul anhaaru yuhaallavna feehea min aseavira min zahabin va yalbasoona siyeaban hudran min sundusin va istabrakın muttakieena feehea aalal areaik, ni’mas saveab, va haasunat murtafakea” (These! For them will be ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens); wherein rivers flow underneath them; therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine and thick silk. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good is the reward, and what an excellent Murtafaq - dwelling, resting place).20 Again in Surah Ya-Sin verse 56, “Hum va azveacuhum fee zılealin aalal areaiki muttakioon” (They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones).21 Reference to plush couches are also made one more time, perhaps one of the most notable one in terms of the context being akin to that presented by Faiz, in Surah Al-Waqi’ah verse 34: “Va furushin marfooaah” (And on couches or thrones, raised high).22 The line is calling upon a time that the people will finally sit on these seats, not in the sense of a transfer of power, but that democracy and the people’s voices will prevail to be in the noble sanctuary. biṭhāye and jāyeñge both have similar rhyming sounds within in terms of the ‘āy’ getting repeated in pronunciation.

The promise of an eternal democracy and the removal of any last remnants of kingship, frequently akin to absolutism as was practiced by the authoritarian meaning of Zia ul Haq’s government, is then cast to be permanently over. All crowns and thrones are being foretold to fall off the mighty heads of the oppressors, with sab and jāyeñge repeating itself in the beginning and end rhythmically. Again, the ‘āy’ sound occurs twice with uchhāle and girāye, as well as the obvious play on similar structuring with tāj and taḳht starting with similar ‘ta’ sounds.

Bas nām rahegā a Allah kā aa (Only Allah’s name will remain) references a time in Islamic beliefs that will come after the fitnah (strife) of Dajjāl (the antichrist), wherein only the name of Allah will prevail in the land. Of the 99 known names of Allah as mentioned in the Quran, Faiz choses to reference the Urdu equivalents of four of them. These are particularly noteworthy as unseen alludes to how belief in Allah is supremely important, and that he lies on a throne above that of the worldly oppressors. Ubiquitous draws on the Asharite belief of Allah’s omnipresent nature and then further corroborates it with how he can see everything, having the vision. This showcases that the world is a test and trial where a period of accountability will befall all peoples, even those who claim to be god-conscious yet consider themselves ḳhuda (god) while only Allah is worthy of being worshiped and adored. In Arabic, ilahi refers to God, while Allah is the supreme and ultimate name for the Muslim belief of God. Faiz uses Allah as a metaphor for truth and justice, signaling that it will present eternally once oppression is lifted from the people. He emphasizes that while people can not hope to see justice (it is ġhaayab), they can manifest it and see its attributes and that it is still somewhere (ḥaazir). It is particularly interesting that Allah is used here instead of God, and it seems to draw on Islamic versions of tahlil and the shahada (testimony of faith). Abu Huraira is reported to have claimed that the Prophet Muhammad said: “He who uttered these words: “There is no god but Allah, the One, having no partner with Him. Sovereignty belongs to Him and all the praise is due to Him, and He is Potent over everything” one hundred times every day there is a reward of emancipating ten slaves for him, and there are recorded hundred virtues to his credit, and hundred vices are blotted out from his scroll, and that is a safeguard for him against the Satan on that day till evening and no one brings anything more excellent than this, except one who has done more than this (who utters these words more than one hundred times and does more good acts) and he who utters:” Hallowed be Allah, and all praise is due to Him,” one hundred times a day, his sins are obliterated even if they are equal to the extent of the foam of the ocean.”23 Another excerpt from Muwatta Malik reinforces this point, “Yahya related to me from Malik from Ziyad ibn Abi Ziyad from Talha ibn Ubaydullah ibn Kariz that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The best dua is dua on the day of Arafa, and the best thing that I or the Prophets before me have said is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner’ (La ilaha illa’llah, wahdahu la sharika lah)”’.24 In the shahada, Muslims explicitly state that there is no God but Allah, using ilah and Allah separately, with the former being the equivalent of the Urdu ḳhudā.25 Kafiyā and Radīf are present with the repetition of bhī and the similar sounds of hāzir and nāzir, with the overall structure of the two misr (lines) being similar to a high degree.

The next two lines are amongst the most controversial within Islamic discourse, due to the use of ‘An-al-haq’ (I am the Truth) which lays a claim to a godly attribute in a human. In traditional Islamic belief, only Allah knows the ‘Truth’ and represents it through his justice, something humans can not hope to achieve. Al-Ḥaqq is one of the ninety nine known names of Allah, and is reported to be amongst the most famous shaths uttered.26 Abū ‘l-Muġīth Al-Ḥusayn bin Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj, otherwise known as Mansour Hallaj, or simply Hallaj, is reported to have said it in the mosque of Caliph Al-Mansur, with other accounts claiming he said it in consultation with Junayd al-Baghdadi.27 In popular imagination, the saying has become intertwined with his execution, despite the other political and social causes and intrigue of the time, due to biographer Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm including it in his works.28 Other controversial lines by Hallaj include: “There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God”, “Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh” (There is nothing in my cloak but God) while allegedly pointing to his cloak, and a saying,

I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart
I asked, ‘Who are You?’
He replied, ‘You’.

Hallaj’s saying has persisted and perplexed Ṣūfīs and the followers of various orders throughout the centuries, and has been associated with a cry of revolution and plight during an era of like-minded authoritarianism and the crushing of any forms of dissent. He promoted a search for the loving union between God and the human soul, with his mystical inclinations resulting in his summary detention and execution. Narratives of his plight have been found in literature spanning the Persian, Ottoman Turkish, Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, and Sindhi languages. His conflict with state authorities, namely the Abbasids, is widely reported due to allegations levied against him that he viewed himself as an incarnation of God. Thus, he was considered to be an agent of a revolutionary movement, some considering it akin to the ultranationalism of the Mu’tazilites and others to Greek occidentalism, during a period of political crisis in the second major dynastic Islamic caliphate. Opinions regarding him have ranged from full acceptance and ready canonization of his statements to exclusionary practices and outright condemnation. Faiz uses the naara (call, cry) of ‘An-al-haq’ to draw on the common Ṣūfī backgrounds of the Barelvi-inclined masses of Pakistan to come together as being of an inextricable common lineage by virtue of being God’s creation.29 It calls for a populist revolution, instead of everyone acting as independent agents in the pursuit of their own desires and acting on their whims. There is no shortage of legends describing stories associated with anā al-ḥaqq. One such account claims that Hallaj knocked on the door of his famous teacher, Junayd al-Baghdadi and in response to being questioned on who was there used the phrase, “I am the truth”. Baghdadi disapproved of the use according to this account. Other reports, by later Ṣūfīs, suggest Hallaj used the phrase to annul himself and maintained the support of his students and disciples, with political opponents going after him and fabricating heresy against him. ʻAṭṭār writes that Hallaj continued to say “I am the truth” even after being executed, as a mystical spirit resonating the truth as his ashes are scattered in the Tigris River. South Asian literature is also filled in excess in Urdu and Punjabi with references to this, with Iqbal himself considering Hallaj a role model for Muslims seeking liberation. Aurangzeb is also noted to have executed Sarmad for saying this nʿra, which was viewed as anti-Islamic by regressive outlooks on the political and social sphere. In a style emulating Khalil Gibran, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer wrote a short story on Mansour’s life known as Ana Al-Haqq.30 In it Basheer draws a parallel between Anā al-Ḥaqq and Aham Brahmasmi, the Upanishad Mahāvākya, which roughly translates to ‘I am Brahma’ (the Ultimate Reality in Hinduism). There are also some noticeable similarities with the Latin phrase, “Via et veritas et vita” (the way and the truth and the life) allegedly spoken by Jesus in reference to himself.

The repetition of jo maiñ bhī hūñ, aur tum bhi ho is again present in the last two stanzas by Faiz as a way to emphasize the general people’s role in fermenting a revolution. tum is also used instead of the Persian-derived āp, which denotes a higher degree of respect, signifying there is no formality between the people who will topple authoritarianism and those who put themselves on but (pedestals).

Rāj here once again refers to a populist appeal, akin to British India being referred to as the British Raj, a Hindi-word denoting rulership. Ḳhalq-e-ḳhuda literally means the creation of God, and is found as a phrase in the works of other prominent poets attempting to convey this revolutionary language.31

Conclusion

In essence, Faiz begins creating a world in this poem that is not in control of its destiny, in rejection of the prevailing Western European norms of individualism. God and spirits have agency here, as the revolution is predicted in an eternal tablet and can not be altered regardless of the futile attempts of humans. Attempts to read Faiz’s works, which clearly are acting as a metaphor and call for political change, can not be simplified to just that as it would remove the essential components to the discourse of the society from which he writes in. In a renowned essay published in 1986, “Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism”, Fredric Jameson emphatically states that failing to keep a keen eye on the “language and idiom and respect for their grafting [would bind people] to the inevitable themes of tradition and modernity, collectivity and individualism” which clearly are present (Spivak 2003, 26). The plunge of Faiz’s discourse is Islamic imagery, a cultural aspect of the Muslim-majority society he was raised in, and the lens through which he writes to promote an individualistic, yet equally collectivist narrative. In many ways, he is similar to Iqbal in that he attempts to awaken the modern political conscious by drawing on the established tradition of Ṣūfīs and Islam. Such is the reason why he is able to express Hallaj’s truth, which lives on in the “heart of every atom and every drop of water” of those who profess ‘anāíl-Ḥaqq’ (Schimmel 1996, 75). While the ideal form of government is not spelled out literally in this poem, enough allusions are made to suggest it is one by the people and for the people, democracy at its finest. Yet a precapitalist and premodern undertone is also present, with the relative relationship and location of a man in God’s world being talked about. The Marxist inclinations of Faiz are embodied in the framework of an authentic Islamic lens, crossing the boundaries of jurisprudence and tradition, to formulate a piece that may as well have been written by a firm believer of Pan-Islamic unity and the restoration of a Caliphate. Faiz leaves a mystery that the likes of Javed Akthar are simply left dissecting, given the interpellation posed by the poet offers different routes of engenderment depending on the setting, be it Iqbal Bano’s 1986 Lahore theater or Delhi-based Indian civil rights activists in 2020. Secular Marxist principles are disavowed, and no room is left for the formation of a Cartesian individual who is firm in their sovereignty due to having mastered the liberal Western themes and traditions (Shahid 2013, 16). Foucault’s charge that Marxism aids in the reproduction of such a thought process is rejected in this synthesis emerging distinctly from the bedrock of Islamic civilization. The far reaching dream of a humanist revolution is coaxed with the plural ham (we) being used in the imaginative thought of a future devoid of pain and suffering based on an eternal revolution. The very confines of the ontological understanding of the world is laid to bare as destiny is written on an eternal tablet by higher beings propelling worldly forces into action. In this manner the nazm is able to make way for a postcolonial, innovative narrative and creative mind, a misplaced heterotopic lieu de mémoire that formulates a grassroots approach to the development of a national memory and heritage.32 Europeans and Islamists are quick to ascribe labels to Faiz, that of a Marxist, progressive, or leftist, to bottle down an array of views into one paradigm. Such ignorance fails to acknowledge his distinct and praiseworthy ability to bring the dough out to bake the recipe of a new front of nuanced revolution. The textuality and feel of his verse alongside the chronicled esteem it portrays is lost in such reductionist accounts, and its cosmopolitan nature is all but disregarded. Ham dekheñge goes beyond the confines of the imaginations of a postcolonial writer, and draws on the issues of class, nationhood, and religion in a unique manner that befits the prevailing narratives in South Asia. Historicity and the wholesale historical account from which it is derived from can not be pretermitted, as it emerges from the world of the Orient, the Islamic East’s own awakening. The adoption of a Western lens - whose homogeneity is present in literature - or that of other civilizations, like Hindu as done by right-wing nationalists in India, denies this poem the existing parallel space it deserves. Otherwise, it too will be silenced under the universality-approach of Western ideals instead of being seen for the integration of culture and religious thought that it is.

    Notes

  1. Unrequited love in relation to God could include works such as Iqbal’s Shikwa (complaint to God).
  2. Not to be confused with the Sanskritized and Prakit-influenced register of Hindustani, Standard Hindi.
  3. Translation provided by Sahih International
  4. Translation provided by Dr. Mustafa Khattab in “The Clear Quran”
  5. Exegesis of the Quran.
  6. Surah Baqarah, Ayah (verse) 19: “Or [it is] like a rainstorm from the sky within which is darkness, thunder and lightning. They put their fingers in their ears against the thunderclaps in dread of death. But Allah is encompassing of the disbelievers.” - Sahih International
  7. Quran, translation provided by Saheeh International - 2:115: “And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”; 2:272: “Not upon you, [O Muḥammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the face [i.e., approval] of Allah. And whatever you spend of good - it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.”; 13:22: “And those who are patient, seeking the face [i.e., acceptance] of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good - those will have the good consequence of [this] home”;
  8. Surah Al-Qalam Aya 5 - Translation provided by Maarif-ul-Quran
  9. Worth quoting at length here are Urdu Tafsirs for verse 5 and 6 (to be read together) provided in Fi Zilalul Quran and Bayan ul-Quran:

    فستبصر… .… .… .… .… .… .… . بالمھتد (7) (86: 5 تا 7) ” عنقریب تم بھی دیکھ لوگے اور وہ بھی دیکھ لیں گے کہ تم میں سے کون گمراہی میں مبتلا ہے۔ تمہارا رب ان لوگوں کو بھی خوب جانتا ہے جو اس کی راہ سے بھٹکے ہوئے ہیں ، اور وہی ان کو بھی اچھی طرح جانتا ہے جو راہ راست پر ہیں “۔المفتون (86: 6) سے مراد ہے گمراہ۔ اللہ فرماتا ہے کہ اللہ ہدایت یافتہ لوگوں کو بھی جانتا ہے اور گمراہوں کو بھی۔ یا اس کے معنی ہیں وہ شخص جو آزمائش میں ڈال دیا گیا ہے اور جس کا نتیجہ نکلنے والا ہے۔ دونوں مفہوم قریب قریب ہیں۔ اس وعدے میں رسول اللہ اور مومنین کے لئے اطمینان ہے جبکہ مخالفین کے لئے دھمکی ہے۔ انہوں نے رسول اللہ ﷺ پر جنون کا الزام لگایا تھا۔ اس جنون سے ان کی مراد یہ نہ تھی کہ آپ کی عقل چلی گئی ہے کیونکہ واقعی صورت حال اس کی تکذیب کررہی تھی بلکہ اس سے مراد لیتے تھے کہ آپ پر جنون کا اثر ہوگیا ہے اور اس میں ان کا اشارہ اس طرف تھا کہ ہر شاعر کے ساتھ ایک شیطان ہوتا ہے ، جو اس پر شعر وحی کرتا ہے۔ اشارتاً وہ نبی ﷺ کی طرف اس بات کو منسوب کرتے تھے جبکہ نبی ﷺ جو تعلیمات پیش کرتے ، ان کا تعلق نہ شعر سے تھا اور جنون کی باتوں سے۔اس آیت میں اللہ تعالیٰ تسلی دیتا ہے کہ مستقبل نبی ﷺ کی حقیقت کو بھی ظاہر کردے گا اور آپ کی تکذیب کرنے والوں کی حقیقت کو بھی۔ اور معلوم ہوجائے گا کہ دونوں میں سے کون گمراہ ہے ؟ اور مزید اطمینان کے لئے کہا جاتا ہے کہ رب تعالیٰ تو جانتا ہے کہ کون گمراہ ہے اور کون راہ راست پر ہے۔ یہ کلام تو وہی وحی کررہا ہے۔ لہٰذا اس سے کوئی بات پوشیدہ نہیں ہے۔ یہ ایسی بات ہے جس کی وجہ سے آپ دشمنوں کی ہر زیادتی کو برداشت کرلیتے تھے اور اس کے نتیجے میں آپ کے دشمن پریشان ہوجاتے تھے اور آپ کی ثابت قدمی کی وجہ سے ان کے اندر قلق اور تزلزل پیدا ہوجاتا تھا ، جیسا کہ اگلی آیات میں آتا ہے۔اگلی آیت میں آپ کو بتایا جاتا ہے کہ اندر سے ان لوگوں کا حال بہت پتلا ہے۔ ان کی سوچ اندر سے کھوکھلی ہوچکی ہے۔ بظاہر تو وہ مخاصمت کرتے ہیں ، جھگڑتے ہیں ، حق کا انکار کرتے ہیں ، آپ ہر طرح کے الزامات لگاتے ہیں ، لیکن اندر سے ان کے اندر تزلزل پیدا ہوگیا ہے۔ وہ ہل گئے ہیں اور جن عقائد پر وہ جمے ہوئے نظر آتے ہیں ، درحقیقت ان کے ایک بڑے حصے پر خود ان کو اعتماد نہیں ہے۔ یہ سودا بازی کے لئے تیار ہیں ، یہ چاہتے ہیں کہ کچھ آپ نرم ہوں اور کچھ یہ نرم ہوں لیکن جن لوگوں نے نظریاتی انقلاب لانا ہوتا ہے وہ تب ہی لاسکتے ہیں جب وہ اپنے اخلاقی نظریات پر جم جائیں۔ ان لوگوں کے جو عقائد ہیں یہ ان کے بارے میں کچھ زیادہ سنجیدہ نہیں ہیں۔ انہوں نے چند ظاہری رسول کو پکڑا ہوا ہے جن کے ساتھ ان کے مفادات وابستہ ہیں۔ لہٰذا ان کی کوئی بات نہ مانو۔آیت 5{فَسَتُبْصِرُ وَیُبْصِرُوْنَ۔} ”تو عنقریب آپ ﷺ بھی دیکھ لیں گے اور وہ بھی دیکھ لیں گے۔“یہ بڑا پیارا اور ناصحانہ انداز ہے۔ جیسے کوئی بڑا کسی چھوٹے کو سمجھاتا ہے کہ آپ مخالفانہ باتوں پر آزردہ نہ ہوں ‘کچھ ہی دنوں کی بات ہے ‘اصل حقیقت بہت جلد کھل کر سامنے آجائے گی۔ پھر کسی کو کوئی شک و شبہ نہیں رہے گا

  10. Translation provided by Abridged Explanation of the Quran.
  11. Translation provided by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
  12. Worth quoting at length here is Maarif-ul-Quran and Fi-Zilalul Quran’s Urdu Tafsir for verse 5 and 6: “Grammatically, if the Arabic definite article al- is prefixed to an Arabic noun and is repeated with the same definite article al-, they refer to the same antecedent. However, if the same noun is repeated without the definite article, they refer to different antecedents. The word al-’usr ‘[the] hardship’ in verse is the repetition of al-’usr ‘[the] hardship’ occurring in verse. It does not refer to a new hardship. In contrast to this, the word yusr ‘ease’ in both verses occurs without the definite article. This indicates that the second yusr ‘ease’ in verse is a different antecedent to the yusr ‘ease’ occurring in verse. Thus it may be concluded that there is only one ‘usr ‘hardship’ and two yusr ‘twofold ease’. ‘Twofold ease’ does not mean twice as much. In fact, it means ‘manifold ease’. The verse signifies that only one kind of hardship will face him, but in the wake of it many kinds of ease are assured. Sayyidna Hasan Al-Basri (رح) reports that once the Holy Prophet ﷺ emerged from his home in a very happy mood and, giving cheerful news to his Companions on the basis of the current verse, said: “One hardship cannot overcome twofold ease”. Thus history and biographical books written by Muslims and non-Muslims - all bear ample testimony to the fact that the most difficult task, even the seemingly impossible task, became easy for him. The above narration further indicates that the Arabic definite article al- signifies that it is an article used to indicate previous knowledge [that is, al- lil ‘ahd] and refers to the hardship of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and his Companions. Allah kept to His promise to them in such a way that the world saw it visibly how in the wake of every hardship the Holy Prophet and his Companions experienced the manifold ease that made their task easy. If a person does not achieve ‘ease’ after ‘hardship’, it does not contradict this verse. In fact, even now Allah’s universal principle applies. One needs to exercise fortitude against hardship, rely on Allah with purity of heart, devote oneself totally to Him, hold onto high hopes for His grace, and one should not despair of His mercy if there is delay in success - He certainly will grant relief after every instance of hardship. [Fawa’id-e-’ Usmaniah]. Hadith narratives support this.”

    پس حقیقت یہ ہے کہ تنگی کے ساتھ فراخی بھی ہے۔ بیشک تنگی کے ساتھ فراخی بھی ہے “۔”حقیقت یہ ہے کہ مشکل کے ساتھ آسانی لازمی ہے اور مشکل کے بعد آسانیاں ہوتی ہیں۔ اور اے نبی یہ آپ کے ساتھ بھی لازم رہی ہے۔ جب آپ پر دعوت کا بوجھ بھاری ہوگیا تو ہم نے آپ کا دل کھول دیا ، یوں آپ کا بوجھ ہلکا ہوگیا جس نے آپ کی کمر توڑ دی تھی لہٰذا مشکل کے ساتھ ہی آسانی جڑی رہی اور یہ بھاری بوجھ ہلکا ہوگیا۔یہ اصول ایک اٹل اصول ہے ، اس لئے اسے انہی الفاظ میں مکرر لایا گیا ہے۔فان مع… .… .… .… .… .… . یسرا (6:94) ” پس حقیت یہ ہے کہ تنگی کے ساتھ فراخی بھی ہے۔ بیشک تنگی کے ساتھ فراخی بھی ہے “۔ یہ تکرار اس بات کا اظہار کررہا ہے کہ جس وقت یہ آیات نازل ہورہی تھیں حضور اکرم ﷺ بےحد مشقت اور تنگی میں تھے۔ اس لئے اللہ نے اس مسئلہ کی طرف اس طرح توجہ فرمائی ، یاددہانی فرمائی ، اللہ نے حضور کی ذات کے حوالے سے اپنی سابقہ مہربانیاں گنوائیں اور اپنے فضل وکرم اور دستگیری کا ذکر کیا اور آئندہ کے لئے بھی اسی اصول کو تاکید مزید کے ساتھ بیان کیا ، تاکہ آپ کو تسلی ہو کہ بہتر دور آنے والا ہے۔ یہ بات معلوم ہوتی ہے کہ حضور اکرم جن مشکلات میں گھرے ہوئے تھے وہ کوئی سخت مشکلات تھیں۔اب بتایا جاتا ہے کہ آپ پر جو بہتر دور آنے والا ہے وہ کس طرح آئے گا اور انشراح صدر کے حقیقی اسباب کیا ہوا کرتے ہیں اور دعوت اسلامی کی طویل راہ میں اور دشوار گزار سفر میں زادراہ کیا ہے ، سیراب ہونے کے ذرائع کیا ہیں۔

  13. The 114 Surahs will be considered chapters for the sake of this paper, and the 30 Juzz will be noted as they are with no English modification.
  14. It is reported by Ibn Manzoor that Al-Lawh refers to every wide, flat surface or sheed. Al-Azhari claims that al-Lawh is in fact a flat source of wood, which when written on can be called a lawh in its truest form. He adds that it also refers to the shoulder blade of an animal. Lissan al-Arab (2/584) contains mention of the plural form of lawh being alwaah, and that it means every wide bone. Ibn Katheer said al-Lawh al-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet) means it is among the higher group (i.e., angels), preserved and protected from anything being added or taken away, or any alteration or changes (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/497, 498). Ibn al-Qayyim said that implies preservation, given that most readers recite this with a kasrah, implying a description of the Lawh itself. It suggests that satan and devils could not hope to bring it down due to its location and reach being far beyond their confines, and that its own protection ensures that no one could take or add anything to it. Surah Hijr verse 9 further affirms Allah’s promise as having sent down the Quran as a source of guidance and the promise to protect it. It can thus be understood that Allah is not only protecting its location, safeguarding it from omission, deletion, or distortion, but is also protecting its meaning from being twisted or changed alongside its letters. (al-Tabyaan fi Aqsaam al-Quraan, p. 62). Other reports found in Tafseer books suggesting that al-Lawh al-mahfooz is found specifically on the angel Israafeel’s forehead or that it was born out of green chrysolite have not been proven conclusively. In Islamic eschatology, it is viewed as something that is part of the knowledge of the Unseen (ilm ul-ghayb). In Bayan-ul-Quran the following is said of the verse:

    یعنی اصل قرآن مجید اللہ تعالیٰ کے پاس لوح محفوظ میں ہے۔ جس مقام کا ذکر یہاں لوحٍ مَّحْفوظ کے نام سے ہوا ہے ‘سورة الزخرف کی آیت 4 میں اسے اُمُّ الْکِتٰب ‘سورة الواقعہ کی آیت 78 میں کِتٰبٍ مَّÙ€کْنُوْن اور سورة عبس کی آیات 13 اور 14 میں اسے صُحُفٍ مُّکَرَّمَۃٍ مَّرْفُوْعَۃٍ مُّطَھَّرَۃٍ کہا گیا ہے

  15. Translation provided by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Fi-Zilalul Quran contains the following explanation:

    یہ تو تھا اس کھٹکھٹانے والی اور عظیم حادثے کا پہلا منظر۔ اس کو دیکھتے ہی دل ٹکڑے ٹکڑے ہوکر اڑنے لگتا ہے۔ انسان پر کپکپی طاری ہوجاتی ہے اور وہ یوں محسوس کرنے لگتا ہے کہ اس دنیا کی ہر وہ چیز جس کا سہارا وہ لے سکتا تھا ، اڑی اڑی سی جارہی ہے۔ وہ ہوا میں اس طرح اڑتی ہے جس طرح ذرے اڑ رہے ہوتے ہیں اور اچانک آخری اور مکمل خاتمہ سامنے آجاتا ہے۔

  16. The word ahl (أهل‎) refers usually to the person of one’s household including clansmen and extended relatives identifying as part of this group, be it on social, religious, national, or in this case political grounds.
  17. Quranic examples of references to the Ka’bah: al-Bayt (Arabic: ٱلْبَيْت‎, lit. ’the house’) in 2:125, Baytī (Arabic: بَيْتِي‎, lit. ’My House’) in 22:26, Baytik al-Muḥarram (Arabic: بَيْتِكَ ٱلْمُحَرَّم‎, lit. ’Your Inviolable House’) in 14:37 as spoken in Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)’s voice, al-Bayt al-Ḥarām (Arabic: ٱلْبَيْت ٱلْحَرَام‎, lit. ’The Sacred House’) in 5:97, al-Bayt al-ʿAtīq (Arabic: ٱلْبَيْت ٱلْعَتِيق‎, lit. ’The Ancient House’) in 22:29.
  18. Bukhāri 2000, 59: 583
  19. Pakistan in Persian consists of two words put together, “Pak” meaning pure and ‘stan’ referring to land, with an i being added to ease pronunciation. It literally translates to land of the pure. It also is an acronym as stated by Choudhry Rehmat Ali in his 1933 pamphlet Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever? with P standing for Punjab, A for Afghania (another name for the North-West Frontier Province, now known as Kyhber Pakthunkwa), K for Kashmir, S for Sindh, and tan for Baluchistan.
  20. Translation provided by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Maarif-ul-Quran dives into talk on issues pertaining to Islamic ethics and society in regards to gender norms and the shattering of such in different spaces and times, opinions and interpretations therein do not necessarily reflect the view of the author of this paper: “At this point, someone may doubt that this advice was reasonably practicable. A separate gathering for them would have not hurt. In fact, it would have made it easier to convey the message of Islam to them and equally easier for them to accept it. But, the creation of such a division would have amounted to seating the rebellious rich on a pedestal of honor, an action that could have broken the hearts of poor Muslims or dampened their courage. Allah Ta’ ala, in His ultimate wisdom, would not put up with anything like this. Instead, the ground rule of Da’wah and Tabligh given by Him was that there should be no discrimination or distinction against or for anyone in it. Allah knows best. Ornaments for the People of Jannah - It has been mentioned in verse 31: يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا (They will be adorned therein) that men inmates of Jannah will also be adorned with bracelets of gold. The question it may bring up is that wearing ornaments is neither becoming for men, nor can these be called beauty and embellishment in any relative sense. If bracelets were put on them in Jannah, maybe they would make them look awful. The answer is that embellishment and beauty are subservient to practice or custom as recognized in a society. What is considered to be embellishment and beauty in one country or region could more than often be detested in other countries and regions. And this could be the other way round as well. Similarly, something is taken to be an embellishment in a given period of time. Comes another time and it becomes a blemish. When ornaments and silk dresses will come to be established as embellishment and beauty for men of Jannah too, no one is going to feel strange with it there. That which puts restraints on us here is a law of this world which stipulates that it is not permissible for men to wear any ornament of gold, even a ring or chain for a watch made of gold. Similarly, silk clothes are not permissible for men. This will not be the law of Jannah. That is a universe of existence separate from this entire universe of our experience. It cannot be imagined on the analogy of anything in and around us on this basis alone.” Fi Zilalul Quran presents the following account:

    “یعنی یہ بدترین تواضع ہوگی جو گرمی سے جلے ہوئے ان پیاسے لوگوں کی کی جائے گی۔ کیا بری آگ ہوگی اور پھر اس آگ کے وہ خیمے کس قدر برے ہوں گے ، جو ان کے ٹھہرنے اور آرام کے لئے ان کو مہیا کئے جائیں گے۔ ان کو رہنے کے لئے جو سہولیات دی جا رہی ہیں ان میں بھی ان کے ساتھ ایک نہایت ہی سخت مذاق ہوگا ، کیونکہ وہاں ان کو سہولیات تو نہیں فراہم کی جا رہی ہیں۔ یہاں تو ان کو بھول ڈالنے کا انتظام ہوگا۔ البتہ یہاں آگ کے خیموں کا ذکر اس لئے ہے کہ ان لوگوں کی سہولیات کے ساتھ ان لوگوں کی سہولیات کا مقابلہ ہوجائے ، جو ایمان لائے اور جنہوں نے عمل صالح کیا ، لیکن دونوں کی سہولیات میں زمین و آسمان کا فرق ہوگا۔یہ تو رہے حالات ان لوگوں کے جنہوں نے کفر اتخیار کیا۔ اب رہے وہ لوگ جنہوں نے دعوت حق کو قبول کیا اور نیک عمل کئے تو ان کے لئے سدا بہار باغات ہوں گے اور یہ ان باغات میں رہیں گے۔ ان کے نیچے سے نہریں بہہ رہی ہوں گی۔اونچی مسندوں پر تکیے لگا کر بیٹھے ہوں گے “۔ اور ریشم کے قسم قسم کے کپڑوں میں ملبوس ہوں گے۔ نرم ریشم کے اور اطلس کے نرم اور موٹے کپڑوں میں اور زیب وزینت کے لئے انہیں سونے کے کنگن پہنائے جائیں گے۔نعم الثواب و حسنت مرتفقا ” بہترین اجر اور اعلیٰ درجے کا جائے قیام! “اب جس کی مرضی ہو وہ اس راہ کو اختیار کرے ، جو چاہے ایمان لائے اور جو چاہے کفر اختیار کرے ، جو چاہے فقراء ایمان کی مجلس میں بیٹھے جبکہ انکے جبوں اور لباس سے پسینہ کی بو آرہی ہے اور جو چاہے ان سے نفرت کرے ، جن لوگوں کو ان غریب حضرات کے لباس سے پسینے کی بو پسند نہیں ، جن کے دل پاک ہیں اور ذکر ِ الٰہی سے معطر ہیں تو پھر ان کو چاہئے کہ وہ جہنم کی آگ سے بنائے ہوئے محلات اور خیموں کی سہولیات حاصل کرلیں اور پھر تیار ہوجائیں ، تیل کی تلچھٹ یا پیٹ کا شربت پینے کے لئے ، جس سے اہل جہنم کے منہ بھر جائیں گے۔اس کے بعد باقی رہنے والی اسلامی اقتدار اور فنا ہونے والی کافرانہ اقتدار کو سمجھانے کے لئے دو آدمیوں اور دو باغیوں کا قصہ سنایا جاتا ہے ۔ دو کردار پیش کئے جاتے ہیں۔ ایک کردار ان لوگوں کا ہے جو زوال پذیر اقدار کے حامل کا نمونہ ہے اور دوسرا کردار ان لوگوں کا ہے جو لازوال اقدار کے حاملین ہیں۔ یہ دونوں نمونے نہانے ہی واضح طور پر پیش کئے جاتے ہیں تاکہ ان نفوس کے لئے نمونہ ہو ، جو اس دنیا کی زندگی کی فانی اقدار کے دلدادہ ہیں اور ان لوگوں کے لئے بھی نمونہ ہو جو اللہ کی رضا اور آخروی اور اقدار کے دلدادہ ہیں اور یہ کردار دونوں قسم کے لئے ایک انسانی نمونہ ہیں جو شخص دو باغوں کا مالک ہے اور دنیا داروں کا نمونہ ہے ، جسے دولت اور ثروت مدہوش کردیتی ہے اور سازو سامان دنیا اسے سرکش کردیتا ہے اور وہ اس قوت قاہرہ کو بھلا دیتا ہے ، جو لوگوں اور ان کی تقدیر کی مالک ہے۔ ایسے لوگ یہ سمجھتے ہیں کہ ان کی یہ دنیا داری دائمی ہے اور اس کے لئے کوئی فنا نہیں ہے اور اس شخص کا ساتھی اہل ایمان کے لئے ایک نمونہ ہے ، ان لوگوں کے لئے جن کو اپنے ایمان پر فخر ہوتا ہے ، جو بروقت اپنے رب کو یاد کرتے ہیں۔ وہ دیکھتے ہیں کہ ان نعمتوں کا بھی کوئی خالق ہے اور ہمارا فرض ہے کہ ہم اس کی حمد و شکر بجا لائیں ، اس کی ناشکری نہ کریں اور انکار بھی نہ کریں۔قصے کا آغاز دو باغوں کے بیان سے ہوتا ہے کہ وہ کس قدر قیمتی اور سر سبز باغ ہیں۔”

    Bayan-ul-Quran adds the following: یعنی ان کا اوپر کا لباس باریک ریشم کا ہوگا جبکہ نیچے کا لباس موٹے ریشم کا ہوگا۔
  21. Translation provided by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Per Maarif-ul-Quran, “The word: اَزوَاج (azwaj) as used here includes the Hurs حُور of Jannah as well as wives of the mortal world.”
  22. Translation provided by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan. Per Maarif-ul-Quran, “The word rush is the plural of firash which means ‘bed, couch, mattress’. The word marfu’ah lexically means ‘upraised, elevated’. The couches could be upraised or elevated for one of several reasons: because the place itself is high; because the mattresses will not be on the ground, but on the thrones or beds; or because the couches themselves will be thick (and of high quality). Some exegetes have taken the word ‘rush’ in the sense of ‘women’, because it is one of the meaning of ‘firash’ is referred as firash, as in the Prophetic Tradition اَلوَلَدُ لِلفَرَاشِ. ‘The child belongs to the firash’. The word firash refers to ‘wife’. This is corroborated by the characteristics of the women of Paradise described in the forthcoming verses. In this case, the word marfu’ ah would mean ‘high-ranking’.” Fi Zilalul Quran gives the following view:

    یہاں ان کی نرمی اور ان کی ترتیب کا ذکر نہیں کیا گیا بلکہ یہاں صرف یہ ہے کہ اونچی نشست گاہیں۔”اونچے کے دو معنی ہوتے ہیں ، مادی اور معنوی ، دونوں ایک دوسرے کے ساتھ لازم ہیں۔ اونچا مکان ہو تو وہ پاک بھی ہوگا اور وہاں گندگی نہ جمع ہوگی اور معنوی رفعت بھی ناپاکی سے دوری ہے۔ اونچی نشست گاہوں میں پھر بیٹھا ہوا کون ہے ؟ اس لئے یہاں بیویوں کا ذکر ہوتا ہے۔”‘

  23. Sahih Muslim 2691, Book 48 Hadith 38 -- USC-MBA web English reference: Book 35, Hadith 6508
  24. Muwatta Imam Malik Book 15, Hadith 504 -- USC-MBA web English reference: Book 15, Hadith 32
  25. lā ʾilāha ʾillā -llāh u (لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ), meaning “There is none worthy of worship except Allah”
  26. A shath (Arabic: شطح‎ šaṭḥ, plural: šaṭaḥāt or šaṭḥiyyāt) within the Islamic traditions of Tasawwuf, mysticism, is an ecstatic utterance characterized for being largely outrageous or borderline blasphemous in nature. The word itself comes from an Arabic root of š-ṭ-ḥ which omits the sense of extreme outpouring of emotion, such as wailing, due to sadness or agitation. It is similar in respect to the etymology of Ghazal, a type of Urdu poetry, being the namesake of the mortal shriek that comes from a deer as a prey catches upon it. Some famous shathiyat include Bayazid Bastami’s expression, “Glory be to me, how great is my majesty”. Certain Ṣūfī writers have at times claimed that shath were a result of states of madness or intoxication, or wrongly attributed in mistranslations or misinformation to certain individuals who were otherwise hailed as pious figures. Al-Ghazali for example displayed a degree of ambivalence regarding the blasphemous nature of some of these utterances, all the while admiring and acclaiming the spiritual piety of those who said them. The prime of shath happened during the traditional time of Ṣūfīsm from the 10th to twelfth century AD (the third to 6th century AH). The chief Ṣūfī translation of the shathiyat which appeared as “I am” expressions differentiated the lastingness of God (baqā’) with the magical obliteration of the singular self image (fanā’), which made it feasible for God to talk through the individual. They later figured as topoi of Persian Ṣūfī verse (particularly that of Farid al-Din Attar) prior to being decreased by later Ṣūfīs to simple moral stories for Ibn Arabi’s way of thinking.
  27. Basra grammarians claimed the account of having said it in Al-Mansur’s mosque, and are critiqued for having apparently maintained a bias due to the emerging political climate of the time.
  28. Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm’s pen names are Farīd ud-Dīn and Aṭṭār of Nishapur (aṭṭār meaning apothecary).
  29. A naara is a call, such as narae-takbeer referencing a call to cry Allahu-Akbar (God is Great).
  30. In a 1982 edition of Anargha Nimisham, a collection of short stories written by Basheer originally published in 1946, a note was added by the author saying “This story was written some forty years back. Now I believe that ordinary human beings who are just the products of the Almighty saying things like ‘I am God’ is a sin. I had also claimed that the work is based on a real story, but now; take it just as a fantasy.” Many have noted the marked change in attitude, attributed by some towards added religiosity towards the end of his life wherein he contradicted some of his earlier works. Nevertheless, even this note was supplemented with an ending Anā al-Ḥaqq, akin to the recurring protagonist of the story.
  31. Abu Muhammad Sahar writes, “marzī ḳhudā kī kyā hai koī jāntā nahīñ kyā chāhtī hai ḳhalq-e-ḳhudā ham se pūchhiye”. Waliullah Muhib writes, “tamām ḳhalq-e-ḳhudā zer-e-āsmāñ kī samet zamīñ ne khaa.ī va-lekin bharā na us kā pet”. Even Haidar Ali Aatish has a reference to it in the following manner, “sun to sahī jahāñ meñ hai terā fasāna kyā kahtī hai tujh ko ḳhalq-e-ḳhudā ġhā.ebāna kyā”.
  32. Pierre Nora’s definition of lieux de mémoire is a group in which a “residual sense of continuity remains” (Pierre 1996, I). Nora further contends that memories constitute a phenomenon for the present to gaze at, i.e. notions, myths, and legends that constitute the shared consciousness of a people identified by cultural similarities.

References

Alam, Muzaffar. 2003. The Culture and Politics of Persian in Precolonial Hindustan. In Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. Edited by Sheldon Pollock. Berkeley: University of California Press. 131‒98.

Barthes, Roland. 1977. Image, Music, Text. Translated and edited by Stephen Heath. London: Fontana.

Eco, Umberto. 1997. The Limits of Interpretation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Erickson, F., & Schultz, J. When is a context? Some issues and methods in the analysis of social competence. Institute for Comparative Human Development, 1977, 1, 5–10.

Ernst, Carl W. (1985). Words of Ecstasy in Ṣūfīsm. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman. 2006. Sheʿr Shōr-Añgēz (Fervent Poetry), Vol. 1.3rd ed. New Delhi: Qaumī Kaunsil Baraʾ-e Farōgh-e Urdū Zabān.

Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman 2005. How to Read Iqbal. The Annual of Urdu Studies 20:1–33.

Faruqi, Shamsur Rahman 2003. A Long History of Urdu Literary Culture, Part 1: Naming and Placing a Literary Culture. In Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia. Edited by Sheldon Pollock. Berkeley: University of California Press. 805–63.

Fillmore, C. Future of semantics. In Fillmore, Lakoff, & Lakoff (Eds.), Berkeley studies in syntax and semantics, 1974.

Foucault, Michel. 1994. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. New York: Vintage Books.

Lawson, J. Lectures concerning oratory. Dublin, 1760.

Louis Massignon, Louis Gardet (1986). Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., Vol. 3, “Al-Halladj”. Brill. pp. 99–100.

MEAGHER, GENOVEVA CASTRO. “Lecturas de ‘Hum Dekhenge’ de Faiẓ Aḥmed Faiẓ. ¿Imágenes Islámicas, Revolución o Sentimientos Antihindúes? - Readings of ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiẓ Aḥmed Faiẓ. Islamic Images, Revolution, or Anti-Hindu Sentiments?” Estudios de Asia y Africa 56, no. 3 (176) (2021): 423–50. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27045123.https://www.jstor.org/stable/27045123

Naeem, Raza. “Calling Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge ‘Anti-Hindu’ Is Both Laughable and Insulting.” The Wire, January 16, 2020. https://thewire.in/culture/faiz-ahmad-faiz-hum-dekhenge-anti-hindu.https://thewire.in/culture/faiz-ahmad-faiz-hum-dekhenge-anti-hindu

Nora, Pierre. 1996. “General Introduction: Between Memory and History.” In Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, Volume I. Under the direction of Pierre Nora. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. English-language edition edited and with a foreword by Lawrence D. Kritzman. New York: Columbia University Press.

Shahid, Taimoor. “The Politics of Enchantment: Remapping the Precapital in Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Postcolonial Poetry.” Annual of Urdu Studies 28 (2013).

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2003. Death of a Discipline. New York: Columbia University Press.

Swirski, Peter. 2010. Literature, Analytically Speaking: Explorations in the Theory of Interpretation, Analytic Aesthetics, and Evolution. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Tierney, Robert J., Jill LaZansky, T. Raphael, and Philip R. Cohen. Rep. Author’s Intentions and Readers’ Interpretations. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, 1983.

Index

  • ہم دیکھیں گے

  • لازم ہے کہ ہم بھی دیکھیں گے

  • وہ دن کے جس کا وعدہ ہے

  • جو لوحِ ازل پہ لکھا ہے

  • ہم دیکھیں گے

  • جب ظلم و ستم کے کوہِ گراں

  • روئی کی طرح اُ ڑ جائیں گے

  • ہم محکوموں کے پاوٗں تلے

  • یہ دھرتی دھڑ دھڑ دھڑکے گی

  • اور اہلِ حکم کے سر اوُپر

  • جب بجلی کڑ کڑ کڑکے گی

  • ہم دیکھیں گے

  • جب ارضِ خدا کے کعبہ سے

  • سب بت اُٹھوائے جائیں گے

  • ہم اہلِ صفا مردودِ حرم

  • مسند پر بٹھلائے جائیں گے

  • سب تاج اُچھالے جائیں گے

  • سب تخت گرائے جائیں گے

  • بس نام رہے گا اللہ کا

  • جو غائب بھی ہے حاضر بھی

  • جو منظر بھی ہے ناظر بھی

  • اُٹھے گا انالحق کا نعرہ

  • جو میں بھی ہوں اور تم بھی ہو

  • اور راج کرے گی خلقِ خدا

  • جو میں بھی ہوں اور تم بھی ہو

  • ہم دیکھیں گے

  • لازم ہے کہ ہم بھی دیکھیں گے

  • ہم دیکھیں گے

  • Hum dekhenge

  • We shall see

  • Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge

  • Inevitably, we shall also see the day

  • Woh din ke jiskaa waada hai,

  • that was promised to us,

  • Jo lau-e-azl mein likha hai

  • decreed on the tablet of eternity.

  • Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaan

  • When dark peaks of torment and tyranny

  • Rooi ki tarah udd jaayenge,

  • will be blown away like cotton fluff

  • Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale

  • jab dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi,

  • When the earth’s beating, beating heart,

  • will pulsate beneath our broken feet;

  • Aur ahl-e-hukam ke sar oopar

  • Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi,

  • When crackling, crashing lightning

  • will smite the heads of our tormentors;

  • Jab arz-e-khudaa ke kaabe se

  • Sab but uthwaaey jaayenge,

  • When, from the seat of the Almighty

  • every idol will lie displaced;

  • Hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram

  • Masnad pe bithaaey jaayenge.

  • Then, the dispossessed we; we,

  • who kept the faith will be installed

  • to our inalienable legacy.

  • Sab taaj uchaaley jaayenge.

  • Sab takht giraaey jayyenge.

  • Every crown will be flung.

  • Each throne brought down.

  • Bas naam rahega Allah kaa,

  • Jo ghaayab bhi hai, haazir bhi,

  • Jo manzar bhi hai, naazir bhi.

  • Only Allah’s name will remain; He,

  • who is both unseen, and ubiquitous; He,

  • who is both the vision and the beholder.

  • Utthegaa ‘An-al-haq’ kaa naara

  • Jo main bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho,

  • When the clarion call of ‘I am Truth’,

  • the truth that is me and the truth that is you will ring out,

  • Aur raaj karegi Khalq-e-Khuda

  • Jo mai bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho.

  • all God’s creatures will rule,

  • those like me and those like you.

  • Hum dekhenge

  • We shall see

  • Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge

  • Inevitably, we shall also see the day

  • Hum dekhenge

  • We shall see