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The Nur of Joseph


Week 3 Response: Concept of Prophethood and God’s Prophets as Heroes

Medium: Poetry (Punjabi)

Ishq Nu Rawaya Ni

Love was not made to cry,

Ishq Nay Dukh Dard Wich

Love amid pain and suffering,

Andhay Pan Nu Seenay Laya Ni

Caused blindness to grip the chest

Au Husayn Di Dard Samjh Da

He Should have seen the pain of Husayn

Jida Beta Uski Ankhaan Day Samnay Marya

At seeing his son martyred before his very eyes

Aur Husayn Di Ma Tay Ki Biti Hoyay Gi

And what would have befallen the mother of Hussayn

Judon Unhein Husayn di Kameez Nu Mun Laya

When she would have rubbed his bloodstained shirt on her face

Aina Sab Nu Wakhaya Ni

Didn’t show it to everyone

Deedar Sirf Unha nu Honda

Waiting is only done by those

Jinha Ne Mashooq Nu Sab Kuch Banaya Ni

Who haven’t made the admirer into everything

Joseph Day Nur Nay

The Nur of Joseph,

Kinyan Nu Tarpaya Ni

Made so many to shake

Pehlay Kunway Day Wich

First in the well,

Phir Jail Day Wich

Then in the Prison,

Joseph Nay Khuda Nu Bhulaya Ni

Joseph did not forget his God

Noor Nayio Milda Gandeya Noon

Nur is not received by the oppressors

Beshaq Ghulam Hove ya Badshah

Whether he be servant or a king

Khuda Di Shaan Wekho

Look at God’s magnificence

Joseph Nu Jhuklaya Ni

Did not cause Joseph to bend

Udday Khaban Day Wich

In his dreams,

Nur Da Sach Dikhlaya Ni

Nur was made into truth


In week 3 of the course, we analyzed the fantastic account of Joseph’s life, a story of submission to God. I wrote a poem in Punjabi dedicated to Joseph’s perseverance in the face of adversity. It begins by recounting the pain of Joseph’s father, Jacob, for whom Joseph was his beloved; Jacob’s father is gripped with such pain that he goes blind from crying seeing the bloodstained shirt of his son, which is presented to him by his other sons, and the brothers of Joseph, as proof that the wolves had devoured Joseph. This pain of Jacob at seeing his son’s bloodstained shirt, is compared to the pain that Husayn and his mother had to endure at the loss of their respective children, in ta’ ziya plays. Husayn, however, had to see his son die in front of his eyes, unlike Jacob who only heard the account from his other sons and in the ta’ ziya play the pain of Husayn’s mother is given even a higher degree of intensity. We saw this in John Renard’s account of ta’ ziya in the Seven to Door to Islam, “Jacob reflects on the trauma of seeing the bloodstained coat of his son. As he looks into the future, Jacob wonders how much greater the pain of the mother of Husayn will be when she sees the shirt of her son who has been so brutally slain” (pg. 6, John Renard, Seven Doors to Islam)

Then in the poem, I talk about the Nur of Joseph which makes Zulaykha and the Egyptian women become smitten by his looks. The Egyptian women cut their hands while peeling oranges on the sight of Joseph, which reflects on Joseph’s beauty and his Nur. The poem then goes on to salute Joseph’s perseverance, who even despite being put in the well by his brothers and later into a prison by Zulaykha, doesn’t give up on his faith in Allah. Allah in turn rewards Joseph by making his dream come true about being bowed before by the sun and the moon and the eleven stars. In the poem I talk about how the real Nur is not received by servants and kings a like, and it requires perseverance in the name of God. The stature of Joseph, in his dream, is a representation of the real stature that he enjoys at the end of the story, when Joseph is reunited with his father and bowed before by his brothers who Joseph had forgiven for their part in making sure that Joseph lived a life of misery.


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