Ye masail-e-tasavvuf, ye tera bayan “Ghalib”

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This is the 11th verse of Ghalib’s 21st ghazal

Ye  masail-e-tasavvuf,  ye  tera   bayan  “Ghalib”
Oh Ghalib, your breathtaking interpretation of complex and complicated hidden meanings of mysticism!
Tujhe hum vali samajhte, jo na baada-khvar hota
We would have believed you a friend of God, were you not a drink reveler

Masail=esoteric, Mysterious or hidden doctrines;   tasavvuf = Islamic mysticism. theopantiam, Sufism;             vali =friend of God          baada-khvar= drink reveler

Meaning: Last verse of a Ghazal is called “Maqta” or the ending verse. In this verse, the poet includes his Takhallus or pen name and talks about his own greatness and uniqueness. In the current Ghalib says, “ Oh! Ghalib, you explain delicately complicated problems and hidden meanings of Islamic mysticism in such a breathtaking way that If you were not wine drinker, you would have been believed as “”Wali” or friend of God. When the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar heard this verse, he said to Ghalib, “even if you were teetotaler (abstinent from alcohol), I would not have believed you a Wali. Mirza Ghalib quipped, “Your majesty, even now you think I am a Wali. I am saying this to keep my feet on Ground and not be arrogant in my head feeling I was Wali or a Friend of God”

Finer aspects: Those who are Vali or friends of God stay away from alcohol and those who consume alcohol cannot be friends of God. However, Ghalib wants be two contradictory thing at once. It is God only, who can be tyrant and kind or life snatcher and life giver, in the same breath. Probably Ghalib is saying, if God can be two contradictory things at once why a man like Ghalib can’t be both Vali and drink reveler at the same time.


This post is also available in: Hindi Urdu Gujarati