Friday, 25 September 2009

Meda Ishq Vi Tu – You are also my Love

Celebrating Eid away from home (Scotland) was not easy for me but I was pleasantly surprised to have the good fortune of spending it with two new colleagues and friends and their families, Professor Naeem Inayatullah and Professor Asma Barlas who are both in the Politics Department at Ithaca College.

During our wonderful conversations the topic of music and ghazals came up. It was at this point that Naeem introduced me to Pathanay Khan’s ‘Meda Ishq Vi Tu’ – I had heard parts of Ghulam Farid’s Kafi (more on Ghulam Farid: with the ‘Radeef’ (refrain) on ‘Vi Tu’ – ‘are also you’, in the songs of Attaullah Khan EesaKhailvi. I also remember that I was once abruptly told to put off this song playing in my car because it was ‘idolatry’. The memory of that moment came flooding back after I heard Pathanay Khan’s beautiful rendition of this Kafi which has pushed me to re-examine this piece in light of my thoughts today. Is this really idolatry? Or is this truly about the Beloved (God)? So here is the Kafi and my simple commentary. I am also grateful to Saba who focused my attention to these ‘youtube’ clips without knowing that I was already thinking about this Kafi. I am taking some of the translations that I found on the web and adding my own translation. Leaving you all to ponder and reflect upon the words…

‘These knots, knots…my beloved, these knots by the hundreds

The material world, the difficulties, the pain, the splendor, oh how they have taken over my eyes and ended me in difficulty…knots…these knots

These eyes weep, they weep, complain, turmoil, recalling the troubles that emerge from you, these knots are attained, over and over again

Oh friend, Farid, they are surely blessed who are attached to the beloved’

Even though God ‘bestows’ knots, difficulties in the body and eyes of the believer there still remains a passion of attaching/associating oneself to the Beloved (God).

Translated by Asif J Naqshbandi
You Are My Ardour
You are my ardour, my friend, faith, creed.
You are my body, you are my spirit, heart, soul.
You’re the direction towards which I pray.
You are my Mecca, my mosque, my pulpit.
You are my holy books and my Koran.
You are my religious obligations,
My Hajj, charity, fasting, call to prayer.
You are my asceticism, worship,
My obedience and my piety.
You are my knowledge and you’re my gnosis .
You’re my remembrance, my contemplation
You are my tasting and my ecstasy.
You are my love, my sweet, my darling, my honey
You are my favorite, and my soulmate!
You’re my spiritual preceptor, my guide ,
You are my Shaykh and my Enlightened One
You are my hope, my wish, my gains, losses.
You’re all I see, my pride, my deliverance.
You’re my faith, my honour, modesty, glory
You’re my pain, sorrow, my crying, playing
You are my illness and my remedy.
You are what lulls me to a peaceful sleep.
You are my beauty and my fate, fortune, fame.
You are my looking, enquiring, seeking
You are my understanding, my knowing
You are my henna, my collyrium,
My rouge, my tobacco, my betel-leaf!
You are my terror, my passion, madness
You’re my crying and my lamentation.
You are my Alpha and my Omega,
My Inner, Outer, Hidden, Manifest.
If, O’Belovéd, you accept Farid
You are my Sovereign and my Sultan.

Who is the ‘you’? What does this ‘you’ really mean to us? If God is love then the entire material world, ritualized life must be imbued in that love which pushes us to consider how can such a passionate world view be physically manifested? Is this a wrong view of spirituality? Love can never be idolatry – love is always God.


  1. Your work is gift to us all.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say Aman. I am surprised that a poem on Divine love is thought of as idolatery and it makes me dispair.

    God is love and vice versa and it is as simple as that and no more. And 'Meda ishq vi tu' is almost the ultimate expression of that love.