Saturday, December 17, 2022

Rumi's Poetry: Life without devotion (worship or total submission) is a disgrace زندگی بے بندگی شرمندگی

In my childhood, I used to accompany my family to visit an uncle living in the then emerging and thriving colony 'Shad Bagh,' near Lahore Railways station across the 'Do Moria Pull - A bridge with two entrances)'. En route there was a mosque on which there was a big board displaying three words as written above. These were my father's favourite but I was too small to understand the literal meaning of these words.

It was only not many decades later when before proceeding on a yearlong course in Iran, I underwent a diploma level Persian language course at the National Institute of Modern Languages 'NIML' (now NUML after being elevated to the level of a university) that I came to know the true meaning of these three words:

زندگی آمد، برائے بندگی
زندگی بے بندگی شرمندگی

Zindagi Aamad Bara'ay Bandagi
Zindagi Be Bandagi Sharmindagi

Life is only for devotion.
Life without devotion (worship or total submission) is disgrace

And more so, it dawned on me that these mystical words flowed from the mind and pen of none other than one of the great Persian language poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī (جلال‌الدین محمد بلخى‎) - also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (جلال‌الدین محمد رومی). Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic, was born in Wakhsh (present-day Tajikistan) and rose to be highly revered poet and religious scholar.

Rumi drew spiritual aspiration from one of the great names in the mystic world Shams-i-Tabrīzī or Shams al-Din Mohammad. It is said that one day Rumi was reading next to a large stack of books. Shams Tabriz, passing by, asked him, "What are you doing?" Rumi scoffingly replied, "Something you cannot understand." On hearing this, Shams threw the stack of books into a nearby pool of water. Rumi hastily rescued the books and to his surprise they were all dry. Rumi then asked Shams, "What is this?" To which Shams replied, "Mowlana, this is what you cannot understand."

So, this the level of these two great names in poetry and spiritual world and both are revered til  today by Iranians, Turks, Afghans, Tajiks, and other Central Asian Muslims as well as the Muslims of the Pakistan and India. However, the name of Shams-i-Tabrīzī should not be confused with Shah Shams Tabrizi buried in Multan, Pakistan. 

Now with this background (or if you want to read more about these two spiritual personalities, hit on the highlighted links for details given in Wikipedia), I came to understand the true meaning of the three words which did not make sense to me in my childhood and I wondered then as to why my father liked these three words so much. Since my father knew Persian very well, he must have known the background, which I learnt many years later in my life.

Read the full poetry of Rumi given here in under and see how beautiful spiritual and mystic thinking can be be. And you would also know the correlation between زندگی بے بندگی شرمندگی with the rest of the poetry:

تو کریمی، من کمینہ بردہ عم
لیکں از لطف شمار پروردہ عم

Too Karimi Mun Kamina Barda Um
Laikin Az Lutf E Shuma Parwarda Um

You are gracious and I am the ignoble, standing at your door.
You are my cherisher.

زندگی آمد، برائے بندگی
زندگی بے بندگی شرمندگی
Zindagi Aamad Bara'ay Bandagi
Zindagi Be Bandagi Sharmindagi

Life is only for devotion.
Life without devotion (worship or total submission) is a disgrace.

یاد اے او سرمایہ ایماں بو ند
ھر جگہ، از یاد او سلطاں بوند
Yaad E Oo Sarmaya E Eeman Bo'ad
Har Gada Az Yaad E Oo Sultan Bo'ad

Remembrance of him is the foundation of faith.
The beggars are like kings due to his remembrance.

سید و سرور محمد(صلی اللا علیہ وسلم) نور جاں
معتر او بھتر شفیع مجرمان
Sayyad O Sarwar Mohammad Noor E Jaan
Mehtar O Behtar Shafi E Mujrimaan

Mohammad (pbuh) was purified of worldly things,
he got this reward:
God said to him, Whatever direction you face your prayer,
My face is to that direction.
His soul like an eagle of Heaven as God called him Mercy for all the creations of God.

چوں محمد(صلی اللا علیہ وسلم) پاک شد از نار او دود
ھر کجا روح کرد وج اوللا بود
Choon Muhammad Pak E Shud Az Nar O Dood
Her Kaja Roo Karad Wajhullah Bood

There is no greater or better of all the prophets than Mohammad (pbuh).
He is the praise of God and therefore has been praised very much.
He is the reflection of God in the shape of a worshipper of God.

شھباز لاماکانی جان او
رحمت لل عالعمیں در شان او
Shahbaaz Lamakani Jaan E Oo
Rehmatal Lil Aalameen Dar Shaan E Oo

The friends of God are like God because God is their friend and in this way he who has seen his spiritual leader, sees God.
one who doesn't see his spiritual leader as God is not a true spiritual disciple.

معترین او بھترین انبیاہ
جز محمد(صلی اللا علیہ وسلم) نیست در ارض و سماں
Mehtareen O Behtareen E Ambiyaah
Juz Muhammad Naist Dar Arz O Samaa

There is no greater or better of all the prophets than Mohammad (S.A.W)*.
* SallaAllah-u-Alaih-e-Wasslam (Peace be upon him)

آں محمد(صلی اللا علیہ وسلم) حامر او محمود شد
شکل عابد،صورت معبود شد
Aan Mohammad Hamid O Mahmoud Shud
Shakal E Abid, Sorat E Ma'bood Shud

اولیاہ، اللا ہ اللا اولیاہ،
یعنی دید پیر، دید کبریاہ
Auliyah Allah O Allah Auliyah
Yani Deed E Peer Deed E Kibriyah

ھرکہ پیر او زات حق راہ یک نہ دید
نے مرید او نے مرید او نے مرید
Her Ka Peer O Zaat Haqra Aik Na Deed
Nai Mureed O Nai Mureed O Nai Mureed

مولوی ھر گز نہ شر مولائے روم
تا غلام شمس تبریزی نہ شد
Maulvi Hargiz Na Shud Maula E Rum
Ta Ghulaam E Shams Tabraizi Na Shud

Maulvi (Rumi was also called Maulana / Maulvi Rumi for being a religious teacher as well) could never be Maula-i-Rum (spiritual leader or Master) if he had not devoted himself to Shams Tabrizi - The spiritual Master of Maulana Rumi (Rehmatullah-e-Alayeh)

The last verses are attributed by Rumi to his spiritual teacher and guide Shams Tabrizi - a great thing only great minds and hearts can do. Otherwise, small people like us disregard any attribution to our elders and take all undue credit to show our false elevation in literature and spiritualism. And perhaps for this Tabrizi had told Rumi: 'Mowlana, this is what you cannot understand' - not intended for Rumi but for us......

This post was originally posted in my blog: The Fire Within

Phot: Pixabay | References: | Wikipedia | Rumi's Poetry/Persian Text/Translation courtesy Sufi Music
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Sunday, December 11, 2022

Morocco in FIFA world Cup Semis - History in the making

Ever felt privileged to be part of history in the making? Yesterday I felt being that privileged one "watching" history in the making. The quarter final match between Portugal and Morocco was the venue of this historical event being penned down in the history. 

Noone could image that an African country, and a Muslim country, ever to make it to the semis of the FIFA World Cup Soccer? Well, it was yesterday that all myths were broken. The 1:0 win be favorites Portugal in the quarters led them to the semis - a great feat for the Moroccans and the Africans.

Ass per FIFA, "What a journey it has been. Group F had been widely viewed as Qatar 2022's toughest, containing as it did the teams that finished second and third at the last FIFA World Cup."  The lone goal in the later part of the first half was a maestro. And thereafter even calling ‏Cristiano Ronaldo in the early second half could not turn the sides and Morocons finished semifinalists. Wow

Watch the highlights of this memorable historic FIFA match ever:
Let us now wait and see whether the resilient Moroccans continue to make history till the final of the FIFA World Cup soccer at Qatar 2022. 
Photo | References | 1 |
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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A prayer for the new morning

Every new morning is a blessing from the Almighty God, After a hard day's night, we fell asleep, mostly sound sleep, and we never know what is happening outdoors or anywhere else in the world. Then the rooster's morning call and adhan from the nearby mosque wakes us up. And then we realize that we are alive for yet another day and we really thank God for this great blessing. 

Some of us open the window and feel the cool breeze that is silently hissing past carrying the unpolluted freshness that is so very refreshing and soul enchanting. Thanking God, I bow my head to my Creator and seek in my true earnest forgiveness.

Then I supplicate and silently cry out to my Lord and say with tearful eyes: 
O my Creator, the merciful and bountiful!!
Please forgive me - a forgiveness after which there are no sins
Please bless me with guidance, after which there is going astray
Please grant me such health, after which there is no illness or ailment
Please bless me with your countless blessings, after which there is no drought of your blessings for me and my family
And I wish love and peace to everyone who reads this and prays in one’s earnest for forgiveness of one’s sins and thanks the Almighty for another beautiful day to day.
Happy good morning 

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Roses in my life

Roses are probably the most liked flowers around the world for their exotic colours, scented aromatic smell and beautiful shapes. Although roses come in many colours, but red roses stand out from the rest for their majestic shape, beauty and fragrance. While roses are synonymous with love and happiness, these also come with thorns of pains:
If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns which it bears.” – Isaac Hayes
That is rose brings love but also bears thrones that brig sadness and harsh realities of life. And I am going to talk of both love and happiness, and sadness and pain when talking of red roses. Roses remind me of two special events of my life that both happened on 10th of June, though years apart.

It is the day when I got engaged for life with my wife almost four decades ago and a garland made of fresh roses was hung around my neck when I reached the house of my spouse. That was the first of roses and it was a day of celebrations and joy for our two families.  That was my first encounter with red roses that infused lifetime happiness and love in my life..

And then came another 10th of June many years later – a sad day for me as I bade farewell to my father who boarded his heavenly flight and left me forever. And when he had been buried, I showered rose petals on this grave to bid him farewell amid the scent of fresh roses. That was though a day of roses for me, it was utterly sad and lamenting as I had lost not only my father, but a friend, a mentor, a teacher and someone who shaped me to live a life of integrity and honesty as he had lived all along his life.

So I celebrate the day with a tinge of joy and sadness as roses remind me of my engagement – which started my married life, and roses again that were scattered on the grave of my father. How could I forget roses and 10th of June ever in my life!!
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Saturday, March 19, 2022

I always let it get too late

Procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there will be negative consequences for doing so. There are a large number of people around the world who for many known and unknown reasons delay doing things, and so do I.

I for one have suffered for delaying or postponing things for no good reasons and have suffered for not having done things in time - time when I could have picked up courage or strength and finished doing my work rather than delaying it for another day. 

While we are sitting idle and random thoughts wandering in our memory, there are times when some bright idea suddenly pops up - and that was the time to materialize that idea, just as E. L. Simpson said: "Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something." But if one does not feel the prick of the pin and let that idea get lost in many useless thoughts, one has lost a fortune.

Or as famous scientist Sir Alexander Graham Bell said: "The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action." He cashed on to this idea and became known for many of his inventions, specially the telephone.

So back to losing time and delaying things, which can sometimes saves lives or save an innocent by being prosecuted by divulging the truth. and when talking of procrastination, one of my favourite poetry is by Pakistan's renowned poet Munir Niazi, whose poem "Hamesha dair kar deta hun main" or in other words I always let it get too late starts playing in my memory. 

Herein under is the Urdu text of Munir Niazi's poem - verses repeated in Roman English. This piece of poetry is a masterpiece to express one's inability to do things in time and delay these which often cause harm and regret for not acting in time: 

ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main
ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main

ضروری بات کہنی ہوں
Zarori baat kehni ho
کوئی وعدہ نبھانا ہو
Koi wadha nibhana ho
اُسے آواز دینی ہوں
Ussey awaz deni ho
اُسے واپس بُلانا ہو
Ussey wapis bulana ho
ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main

مدد کرنی ہو اُس کی
Madad karni ho us ki
یار کی ڈھارس بندھانا ہو
Yaar ki dharas bandhana ho
بُہت دیرینہ رستوں پر
Buhat derina rastoon par
کسی سے ملنے جانا ہو
Kissi se milney jana ho
ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main

بدلتے موسموں کی سیر میں
Badaltey mousmoon ki shair mein
دل کو لگانا ہو
Dil ko lagana ho
کسی کو یاد رکھنا ہو
Kissi ko yaad rakhna ho
کسی کو بُھول جانا ہو
Kissi ko bhool jana ho
ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main

کسی کو موت سے پہلے
Kissi ko mout se phele
کسی غم سے بچانا ہو
Kissi gham se bachana ho
حقیقت اور تھی کچھ
Haqeeqat aor thi kuch
اُس کو جا کے یہ بتانا ہو
Us ko ja key yeh batana ho

ہمیشہ دیر کر دیتا ہوں میں
Hamesha dair kr deta hoon main

Now listen to the legendary poet Munir Niazi reciting the above said poem in his own very style (video is in Urdu with English sub titles):
How about you? Are you one of the people being referred to in this post? Has it ever left you in regret ever?

Photo | References | 1 | 2
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Sunday, March 13, 2022

Boeing 707 barrel-rolled on the day I was born

Do you remember any meaningful event that is related to the day you were born? Well I do and it was one of the most astonishing feats of aviation history that was performed by Alvin “tax” Johnston on 7th August 1955 – the day I was born.

Early 1950s were the days of the development of the first jet engine aircrafts of the world – then under development by the world renowned company, the Boeing. And the earlier days made history every day the aviation moved closer to commercial jetliners.

During that time, Boeing was testing the 707 prototype – the Dash 80. It was the first jetliner developed by the company and was supposed to bring down travel time significantly. Boeing's chairman at the time, Bill Allen, realized it was the perfect opportunity to show off the prototype to all the airline executives who had assembled there from around the world. Allen asked Johnston to perform a flyover of the Dash 80 over Lake Washington for the benefit of industry executives watching it from chartered boats on the lake. Johnston agreed but had a surprise planned.

Instead of performing a simple flyover, as decided, Johnston decided to surprise everyone by performing a barrel roll. According to the Seattle Times, he executed the barrel roll at a speed of 490 miles/hr (789 km/hr), flying the airplane upside down. And on 7th August 1955, Alvin “tax” Johnston barrel-rolled the Dash-80, the prototype of the Boeing 707, overhead some 25,000 people watching the huge aircraft flying over their heads at Lake Washington. Remember barrel-roll is a 360 turn of an aircraft around its axis – a feat normally undertaken by fast speed tiny jet fighters as their roll takes far lesser time than rolling over a huge commercial airliner.

As if doing it once was not enough, the ace pilot repeated the maneuver in case anyone had missed it. In an interview, Johnston spoke about his decision to perform the barrel roll twice, stating, “I knew that no one would believe what they had seen, so I turned around and I came back and repeated the same thing on a westerly heading.”

Now you may like to watch the Boeing Barrel-Roll for yourself, for it was a once in life time feat of professional excellence:

Do you remember any such big event related to your birthday?

References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Friday, March 11, 2022

Pakistan officially inducts J10C 4.5+ Generation fighter aircraft in its air force

11th March 2022 is a landmark day in the history of Pakistan as it officially inducted multi-role J10C 4.5+ generation Chinese combat aircraft into its air force today in a special ceremony held at PAF Base Kamra. The prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was the chief guest. The induction of J10 aircraft is seen as a counter balance to the recently inducted Rafale aircraft in the Indian air force. The J-10C will significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the Pakistan Air Force.

China, a long tested ally of Pakistan, has been consistently providing cutting-edge military equipment to its closest ally and iron brother, Pakistan. This military cooperation is seen by many as a Chinese ploy aimed at counterbalancing India’s military power in the region.  the J-10C also took part in the Pakistan-China joint exercise Shaheen, during which it successfully hit all targets. Due to their close military ties, Pakistan and China hold Joint Air Exercises every year. Pakistan hosted the first such drill in March 2011.

Already both China and Pakistan have jointly produced JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft, of which three variants have already been inducted into its air force. Not only this, Pakistan has also exported JF-17 Thunder aircraft to Myanmar and Nigeria and many countries have showed their interest in low cost high performance aircraft.

The Chengdu J-10 (simplified Chinese: 歼-10; traditional Chinese: 殲-10; NATO reporting name: Firebird) also known as Vigorous Dragon (Chinese: 猛龙; pinyin: Měnglóng), is a medium-weight, single-engine, multirole combat aircraft capable of all-weather operations, configured with a delta wing and canard design, with fly-by-wire flight controls. The J-10 is mainly designed for air-to-air combat, but can also perform strike missions.
J-10C is the upgraded version of J-10B, it is equipped with an indigenous Active electronically scanned array (AESA) fire-control radar and is equipped with imaging infrared seeker (IIR) PL-10, WS-10B engine[59] and new dual pulse rocket motor PL-15 air-to-air missile (AAM).

Watch the officially launched video of J10C by  Pakistan Airforce today:
Know more about J10C aircraft and its design features by clicking here.

Photo: PAF Fighters | References | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Today, yet another meaningless day passed away

Is our life meaningless? Well for the ordinaries, life is full of challenges and there is hardly any time to ponder over the meaning of the true life or whether it is meaningless or not. For some who are depressed for some reasons, be economic, social, spiritual or family disturbances, at some point in time their depression makes their life meaningless. Under such circumstances, negativity surrounds him and living becomes difficult.

Poets are normally people who live in utter poverty or their circumstances builds an aura of melancholy around them which results in poetic works full of sadness and expression of one's difficult times. In such distress, they do not feel like doing anything except writing some superb poetry as famous Punjabi-Urdu language poet of Pakistan Munir Niazi wrote.

Herein under is a piece of his Punjabi poetry in which he laments of a wasteful day. I have tried to translate each worse in English. Though this translation cannot match the rhythmic tone of his poetry, yet it may give an idea what he is trying to say:

Scroll down for video of this poetic work by Munir Niazi himself 

Aj da din vi aenwein langya
yet another meaningless day passed away
koi vi kam na hoya
no worthwhile work could be done

purab valon charya suraj
The sun rose from the east
pascham vang khaloya
Came to set at the west

na milya mai khalqat nu
Neither did I meet any people
na mai yaad khuda nu kita
Nor did I remember God

na mai parhi namaz
Neither did I offer my prayers
na mai jaam sharab da pita
Nor did I drink a peg of wine

khushi na gham koi kol na aya
Happiness or sadness, nothing came near me
na hasya na roya
Neither did I laugh nor did I cry

Aj da din vi aenwei langya
yet another meaningless day passed away

Now listen to Munir Niazi in his very own style reading his above shared poetry:
About the poet: Munir Ahmed Niazi, (Punjabi: منیر نیازی ) (9 April 1923– 26 December 2006) was an Urdu and Punjabi language poet from Pakistan. He also wrote for newspapers, magazines and radio. Originally of Pashtun descent, Munir Ahmed used to call himself Punjabi as Punjabi definition is cultural and geographical and most of his poetic expression was done in the Punjabi language. He was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) Award in 2005 and Pride of Performance Award in 1992 for his notable services in Urdu and Punjabi poetry.

Photo | Reference | 1 | 2 |
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Why would someone wait for me!!

I am making this post extremely short to just give a message.  It is up to my friends and connections to ponder over it and g down into the meaning of these four lines:

Would someone wait for me?
Would someone waste life for me?
I am not special for someone
So why would someone remember me?

We all think that we are special for many around us – but so do everyone else. Thus everyone expects to be treated like a special entity – but how could a special person like other special person because then his degree of being special will lose marks. So we keep waiting for someone to walk over to us and tell us how special we are for him/her.

So we keep waiting all along our lives for someone to wait and remember us!!
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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The answer is blowing in the wind

Peace is one thing that everyone longs for. Writers, thinkers and peace lovers have been struggling for establishment of peace all over the world and condemning the use of force to settle score between people and nations. Yet nations, fond of wielding their muscles for gaining top s lots in world dominance continue to ignore calls for peace and are hell bent to destroy it.

The musicians and song writers too have joined the peace lovers and some very moving lyrics have been sung to draw world attention to peace. Bob Dylan (Noble price in Literature for 2016 ) once wrote and sang a beautiful song. He draws attentions to the wrongdoings the answer of which is known to everyone but no one is ready to accept and say it boldly, so he simple says "The answer is blowing in the wind."
And what do we mean by this: The answer is blowing in the wind? For example the people of Palestine and Kashmir are suffering from the atrocities of  Israel and India and denied their right to peace and independence, yet these two countries are supported by some world powers to continue with their rule of oppression and deny rights to the people they oppress. Most people know that the these two people are to be liberated from the yoke of oppression and given independence, but no one is bold enough to say it. Yes, “the answer is blowing in the wind”.
Read the lyrics of the song below and I have highlighted some of the mind boggling lines of which the entire world knows the answer, yet it is blown in the wind:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind

 how many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind

and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

See, how easy these questions are and how candidly have these have been said, yet no one cares, and we just simple enjoy this melodious song and keep sinning it of and on, yet not raising voice so that these could be addressed and peace prevails.

You may listen to this song, but please don't blew up the answer to the wind (re-sung by Jessica Rhaye:
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