Where was I Last Night?



I don’t know what place it was, where I was last night,
The dance of death whirled all around me, where I was last night
A nymph-like beauty with tulip cheeks and a cypress body
was wreaking havoc in the hearts, where I was last night
God himself was the master of ceremonies, in that placeless place, oh Khusrow
Muhammad was the candle of that party, where I was last night.


Nami danam chi manzil bood shab jaay ki man boodam;
Baharsu raqs-e bismil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Pari paikar nigaar-e sarw qadde laala rukhsare;
Sarapa aafat-e dil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.
Khuda khud meer-e majlis bood andar laamakan Khusrau;
Muhammad shamm-e mehfil bood shab jaay ki man boodam.


I have found my love

Another gem from Amīr Khusrow, about his Shaykh Niẓamuddīn Awliyā’:

amir khusro nizam ad-din



What a glow I see everywhere , Oh mother, what a glow;
I’ve found the beloved, yes I found him,
In my courtyard;
I have found my pīr Nizamuddin Aulia.
I roamed around the whole world,
looking for the perfect beloved;
And finally this face has enchanted my heart.
The whole world has been opened for me,
I’ve never seen a glow like this before.
Whenever I see now, he is with me,
Oh beloved, please dye me in yourself;
Dye me in the colour of the spring, beloved;
What a glow, Oh, what a glow.


Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri
Moray mehboob kay ghar rang hai ri
Sajan milaavra, sajan milaavra,
Sajan milaavra moray aangan ko
Aaj rung hai……..
Mohay pir paayo Nijamudin aulia
Nijamudin aulia mohay pir payoo
Des bades mein dhoondh phiree hoon
Toraa rung man bhayo ri……,
Jag ujiyaaro, jagat ujiyaaro,
Main to aiso rang aur nahin dekhi ray
Main to jab dekhun moray sung hai,
Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri.

From: http://allpoetry.com/Aaj-Rung-Hai-#sthash.uw93K4hy.dpuf

amir-khusro nizam

Love’s Martyr: Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiar Kaki



The great Indian Sufi shaykh, disciple of Mu’in ad-Din Chisti and master to Baba Farid, is said to have heard the following verses during a qawwali performance:


كشتگان خنجر تسليم را

هر زمان از غيب جان ديگر است


For the victims of the dagger of surrender

There is new life at every moment from the unseen


and fell into a trance for three days.  On the fourth day he died, and became known as the “Martyr of Love.”  These verses are now considered taboo in qawwali performances-you don’t want to kill the best members of your audience! 

Before he died, Shaykh Kaki wrote some beautiful poetry of his own that is still peformed
by qawwals today:




Translation and original (courtesy of Fuad Naeem):

 1.  Dil pareeshan deeda hairan kardah ee . . .  Jan-e mun too kardah ee haan kardah ee
دل پریشان دیدہ حیراں کردہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔ جانِ من تو کردہ ای ہاں کردہ ای
 You took away the peace of my heart, and dazzled my eyes . . . O! My life ! you have done that, have done that!


2.  Deedah giryaan, seena biryab kardah ee . . . ( 2nd part of the couplet is unintelligible ).
– – – – – – – – – – – –  – – – – دیدہ گریاں سینہ بریاں کردہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔
You make my eye shed tears, and my heart to burn . . .


3.  Shokhee o baibaki o naaz o adaa . . .  Behr-e yak-dil een cheh samaan kardah ee
 شوخی و بیباکی و نا زو ادا  ۔ ۔ ۔  بہرِ یکدل ایں چہ ساماں کردہ ای
 Your playfulness, openness, vanity and captivating demeanor . . . All this to enchant the one (poor) heart of mine!


4. Az kuja mee aayee aey toofaan-e husn . . . Aalmay ra khana weeran kardah ee
از کجا می آئی اے طوفانِ حسن ۔ ۔ ۔ عالمے را خانہ ویراں کردہ ای
Your beauty is like a tsunami . . . from where has it come to come to crash and lay bare the entire world?


5.  Jan hum shukrana ast aey dard-e ishq . . . Murdan-e dushwar az aasaan kardah ee
جان ہم شکرانہ است اے دردِ عشق ۔ ۔ ۔ مردنِ دئشوار از آسان کردہ ای
 My life is an humble offering at the alter of my (painful)  love for you . . .  You have  made my dying harder from easier ( i.e., I cherish your love so much and hence my life all the more, my life is of more value to me now as I cannot love you unless I am alive).


6.  Murgh-e sahra dar qafas afgandah ee . . . Bay-gunahay ra ba-zindaan kardah ee
مرغِ صحراء در  قفس افگندہ ای ۔ ۔ ۔ بیگئاہے را بزنداں کردہ ای
You have (captured and ) put in the cage the free bird of the wild  ( i, e , my carefree heart). . . O! you have imprisoned an innocent one!


7.  Mun cheh goyam hust too Khawja Mueen . . . Abd-e khud ra qutb-e dowraan kardah ee
 من چہ گویم ہست تو خواجہ معین ۔ ۔ ۔ عبدِ خود را قطبِ دوراں کردہ ای
O Khawaja Mueen! mine are  only the (vain) words, but you embody the reality . . . (As) you have elevated your slave to the Axial Saint (Qutb) of this age.


Sung lyrics:

Dil pareshan dida hairan kar gayi
Dil pareshan dida hairan kar gayi
Zanemangi kar dayi aaa kar dayi kar dayi
Dil pareshan
Sukhiyo baiba kiyo naazo ada
Behre ek dil eeche saama kar gayi
Man che goyam basbe to khwaja moinuddin
Ab de khudra khud pe daura kar gayi
Dil pareshan dida hairan
Kar gayi kar gayi



The following verse, which perfeclty expresses the connection between love, spirituality, and music, is also attributed to Qutb ad-Din Bakhtiar Kaki:


What is music and why there is so much of the enchantment of love in it?
Music is the secret of Love and Love is the secret of God


Sarod cheest ke chandeen fasoon-e-ishq daroast?
Sarod mehram-e-ishq ast-o-ishq mehram-e-oast



سرود چيست كه چندين فسون عشق داراوست

سرود محرم عشق است و عشق محرم اوست

More Aziz Mian…

There’s no one quite like ‘Aziz

Some lines:

Main sharaabi, yaaron mujhe muaaaf karo Main nashe mein hoon, yaaron mujhe muaaaf karo Sheeshe mein mai, mai mein nasha, main nashe mein hoon Ye apni masti hai, jisne machayi hai halchal Nasha sharaab mein hota to nachti botal

  I’m a drunkard; forgive me, my friends. I’m intoxicated; forgive me, my friends. There’s wine in the glass, there’s intoxication in the wine, and I am intoxicated. But, no, this hubbub is of my own nature. If intoxication lay in the wine, the bottle would do a drunken dance.

Jannat jo mile, laa kar maikhaane mein rakh dena Kausar ko mere chhote se paimaane mein rakh dena Mayyat na meri jaa kar veerane mein rakh dena Balki paimaanon mein dafnaa kar maikhaane mein rakh dena Saaqi abhi maikhaane ka dar band na karna Shaayad mujhe jannat ki hawa raas na aaye

  If they give me paradise, just leave it for me in the tavern. Pour the entire fountain of paradise into my little goblet. When I die, don’t go leaving my body in some forlorn place. Just bury me in goblets, and leave them in the tavern. And, listen, don’t lock up the tavern just yet either. It’s entirely possible that paradise won’t suit me too well.



Kho gaya hai kya khuda jo dhoondhta phirta hai tu?
  Has God got himself lost that you go searching for him everywhere?




To farishte poochhenge mehshar mein paakbaazon se Gunah kyoon na kare, kya khuda rahim na tha?

  Trust me, the angels will ask the pious on judgement day: “Why didn’t you sin? Didn’t you trust in God’s mercy?”


Ay Allah, waiz ki bandagi hai jahannum ke khauf se Maine gunah kiye tujhe ghaffar samajh kar

 The preacher is pious only because he’s terrified of hell, Lord. Whereas me, I sinned freely, trusting in your mercy (Hashr Ke Roz Main Poochhunga)

Aziz Mian-It doesn’t get much better than this…


Mein Kya Janu Raam

Oh God how can I figure out Your unfathomable ways?”

Probably my favorite qawwal.  The imagery, the rhythm, the sincere intensity, the pure poetry of the performance is almost overwhelming

Every wise man has given up
what strange disguises man has adopted in this curious world of Yours
God how can I figure out your unfathomable ways?
O wise man, understand this, but do not use this understanding
Do not use it, why?
Reason is cunning, it changes its face too often
Abraham leapt into Nimrod’s flames
reason is fascinated by outward charms
O wise man, understand this
reason dictates pleasure
Love dictates suffering
reason dictates wealth
Love dictates poverty
reason strives for glory
Love strives for wilderness
reason strives for the glitter of the world
Love for the beloved’s humble home
So you wise men, understand this
but do not use this understanding
If you can understand something, then do so
But say nothing
If you speak, say only:
Oh God how can I figure out
Your unfathomable ways?
Do the perverse stars in the sky belong to you or me?  How can I figure that out?
You are educated people-I am making my point in an unusual way
I am yearning for the one whom I cannot forsake
I am searching for the one whom i cannot find
O God you are invisible
and it is futile to search for the Invisible One
But what am I to do?
The invisible is omnipresent
O God, you are found in everything
O God, you are found in everything-Why?
What a way You have with You
Wherever I look I see You
O God you are found in everything
without a doubt
Yet you are still invisible
When I set out to search for you I kept saying “invisible”, “invisible”
“in visible”…”in       visible”…
How can I figure this out, why?
Your glory is everywhere
wherever I look I see you
You are everywhere
You are everywhere in everything and in You
Beloved I have seen you everywhere
Obvious here, concealed there
At times human, at times divine
At times possible, at times certain
perishing here, eternal there
a prince here, a pauper there
Love here, yearning for love there
Here a sacrifice, there an executioner
Sounds of truth and of lies
A flowing river and a shore
In the places of worship
in the tragic tales of legendary lovers
in the goblet of a king
in the full moon
in the verses of the Qur’an, flowing water, mortality
and in the splendor of martyrdom
O God when You are everywhere-then can I ask
Who has come to this altar with prayer beads?
If your name is uttered with every bead, then what of the bead itself?
If you reside in a settlement, then who is in the wilderness?
If You are the flame, then who is the moth?
If you are the cup-bearer, then who is in the cup?
If you are in Mecca, then who is in idols?
Oh God how can I figure out
Your unfathomable ways?