Praising the Praised One (SAW)
GHAYUR’S DAEL IS A COLLECTION OF BLESSINGS FOR THE ONE WHOM ALLAH BLESSES TOO. MAY PEACE BE UPON HIM, REVIEWS PROF. MUHAMMAD ASLAM
In the Muslim-world one can hardly find a poet who has not written naats (encomiums) in praise of the last Prophet of Islam (SAW). Hassan bin Thabit (RA), a companion of the Prophet, was well-known among sahabas for singing naats even in presence of the Prophet. Sheikh Saadi wrote a beautiful rubayee in praise of Prophet: “Balaghal-’ula be-kamaal-e-hi, Kashafad-duja be-jamaal-e-hi, Hasunat jamee’u khisaal-e-hi, Sallu ’alae-hi wa aal-e-hi ...” Maulana Nurudddin Jami expressed his deep love for the Prophet (SAW) through his naats as Allah commands (Quran. 33:56), “Verily Allah and His angels bless the Prophet. Therefore, O believers! Bless him and give yourselves up in utter self-surrender.”
Kashmiri naat poetry is very old. From classical to the modern, almost all poets have tried their hands in naat poetry. Interestingly, some non-Muslims poets have also written naats. These naats have become a part of the daily worship with a major chunk of Muslim population in Kashmir and Kashmiri speaking areas. Most of these naats have centred around the Prophet’s message and mission that he spread through the Quran and hadith, his physical features, elevated manners (khuluq), his love for the poor, etc. The poets have used different epithets derived the Quran— for instance, yaseen, taaha, muzamil, muddathir etc— and the hadith books to describe the most beloved Prophet for Allah says in the Quran (33:6): “The Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than [they have on] their own selves, [seeing that he is as a father to them] and his wives are their mothers”. Kashmiri poets have written beautiful encomiums and sent in their blessings (salawaat) to the Prophet. Azad, Mehjoor, Fazil, Haqani, Sarfi, Janbaz, Ghamgeen and others have added many encomiums to the Kashmiri literature and most of them are sung from shrines and mosques in the length and breadth of the valley, especially by ahnaaf.
Late Ghayur’s collection of encomiums, dael (Present), follows the tradition but with a difference in terms of diction and style. That Ghayur was a great scholar, a social and political activist, and a poet, would have remained in darkness had not his son, Showkat Ghayur, brought out his slain father’s works posthumously. As an editor, he has taken great pains to retrieve from his father’s archives, some brilliant pieces of prose and poetry which he published in the form of two books: a prose collection nathri khake; fikri zaviye which the present reviewer reviewed earlier the GK. At that time, I had likened Ghayur’s prose with Bacon’s wit and Emily Dickinson’s brevity. The present book dael which I have translated into Present is an anthology of 87 naats including some rubayat which have been commented upon by various writers—for instance, Rehman Rahi, G N Gowhar, Late Hakeem Manzoor etc—and which have been provided at the end of the anthology. Through Present, Ghayur addresses the Prophet as “O King of Arabia and Persia” (p. 26) and requests him that his Present (“cries of heart”) may be accepted. While making the request, he says that though he had a smile on his face, his eyes were wet with tears (ibid.). These mixed feelings are a natural product of love and reverence that every Muslim feels for the Prophet (SAW). Ghayur, like many other naat poets of Kashmir, makes use of the morning breeze as a vehicle for carrying his request to the Prophet. He says: “O morning breeze, go with a fragrant bouquet towards Madina. Tell my whereabouts for there is light of the King of Prophets (p. 40). He very tenderly addresses the Prophet and asks whether Ghayur should be so sad when the King of Arabia and Persia (ie, the Prophet) is always ready to attend to any body’s entreaties. Like any other naat poet, Ghayur’s naats are also varied in their themes. Some times he prays for the Prophet’s favours and at times, he longs to see him. In “Pain of My Heart”, Ghayur entreats the Prophet to grant him peace of mind and in “In Memory of the Loved One”, he describes the Prophet in terms of his prophethood. Ghayur tells himself that writing the Prophet’s qualities is very difficult—ghayur mushkil lekhaen wa-Allah wasaf zati sarwari aa’lam—and warns himself not to be impudent in his description. In spite of taking every care, he is too conscious of the fact that, unwittingly, he might have committed some mistake and seeks the Prophet’s pardon (see, “Is there Anybody Else?”, pp.76-77).
To me, Ghayur’s forte as a naat poet lies in his describing the Prophet’s qualities, using his mature diction and style and communicating deeper meanings through very few words. As in prose, in his poetry, too, he has chosen words that contain within them the entire history and philosophy of Islam. For instance, in “This Suits in Ecstasy” (p. 29), the second line in each two line-stanza ends with the same refrain containing the Prophet’s name and the line acts as an answer to the several two-word indirect questions asked in the first line. For instance, look at the two lines: “Prayer; beauty of prayer; letters of prayer; dignity of prayer/[is]Muhammad, only Muhammad; Muhammad; only Muhammad”. The repetition of the name bears testimony to the fact that without remembering the Prophet (SAW), no prayer can be complete. Allah says at several places in the Quran that in obeying the Prophet, believers are obeying Allah, or ‘Obey Allah and His Apostle’. In “Is there Anybody Else?” (p. 76), we find Ghayur conscious of this fact when he says that there is none other the Prophet (SAW) to fall back upon in distress.
Ghayur has not used stale Kashmiri or heavily loaded Arabic-Persian vocabulary while writing naats. He seems to be conscious that his encomiums would be read/sung even by unlettered Kashmiris who would not be able to comprehend unfamiliar expressions. That does not however mean that he has forgotten to achieve his rhythm by using Quranic or Persian expressions wherever necessary. He has beautifully used each line of a famous rubayee “ya saahibal jamal wa ya sayidal basher/ min wajhakal muneer laqd nuwarul qamar/ la yamkins sanau’ kama kana haqahu/ba’d az xuda buzurg tui qissa mukhtasar” to a four- stanza naat “namoos-i-kayinat” (Universe’s Honour, p. 73). This shows his acumen as a multilingual scholar.
On the whole, the collection of naats is a rich tribute to and remembering of the Prophet (SAW), a present to the one who has been recognized as unparalleled in his manners and eloquence. In presenting the Present to the Prophet, Ghayur has fulfilled his obligation of sending salawaat on the one whom Allah and His angels bless all the time. The anthology is hardbound with a beautifully designed jacket. Printed on a high quality coloured paper, the collection of naats is a priceless gift to Kashmiri Muslims at a nominal price of Rs 300. The editor, Showkat Ghayur, deserves all appreciation for making know to people his father’s rich contribution to local literatures, especially his mother tongue.
(The author teaches at Department of English, University of Kashmir)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Apr 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 25 Apr 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 26 Apr 2010 00:00:00 IST
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