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Kithay Mehar Ali, Kithay Teri Sanaa’: A Masterpiece of Punjabi Poetry in Praise of the Prophet (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam)

Transliterated and translated from the Punjabi by Asif Jehangir Naqshbandi

Source: Masud Ahmad Khan


This Punjabi poem in praise of the Prophet Muhammad (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) is, without doubt, the most acclaimed and revered naat in the whole of Punjabi devotional and religious poetry.

It is also unique in that its’ author, the venerable scholar, Saint, and Friend of Allah (wali) , Hazrat Pir Sayyid Mehar Ali Shah Golrawi Chishti(Ra), had a waking vision of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) whilst he was composing this naat. This led him to write the immortal last two lines which are known to all in the Subcontinent.

How can they not be immortalised when the Beloved Prophet (salla lahu alayhi wa ale’ hi wasallam) showed himself to the Shaykh? Allahu Akbar!

The transliteration of the Qalaam.

Verses from this poem are frequently sung at nearly every event organised by Sunnis of the Subcontinent but the whole poem rarely.

§         Aj sik mitran di vadheri ay                   

§         Kyon dilri udaas ghaneri ay?                               

§         Loon loon vich shauq changeri ay     

§         Aj nainaan laiyaan kyon jhariyan?    

§         At-t.aifu sara min t.al’atihi                

§         Wa-shadhdhu bada min wafratihi  

§         Fasakartu huna min nadhratihi        

§         Nainaan diyan faujan sar chariyan   

§         Mukh chand badr sha’ashani ay       

§         Mathay chamakay laaT noorani ay   

§         Kali zulf tay akh mastani ay                 

§         Makhmur akheen hin madh-bhariyaan

§         Do abroo qaws misaal disan                               

§         Jeen toon nauk e mizha day teer chuTTan

§         Labaan surkh aakhaan ke la’l e Yaman 

§         ChiTTay dand moti diyan hin lariyaan  

§         Is surat noon main jaan aakhan?      

§         Jaanan ke jaan e jahaan aakhan?     

§         Sach aakhan tay Rabb di shan aakhan

§         Jis shan theen shaanan sab baniyaan           

§         Ay surat hai bai-surat theen                             

§         Baisurat zahir surat theen   

§         Bairang dissay is surat theen

§         Vich vahdat puThiyaan jad ghariyaan               

§         Dassay surat raah Baisurat da            

§         Tauba, raah kii, ‘ain Haqiqat da!        

§         Par kam nahin baisoojhat da             

§         Koi virliyaan moti lay tariyaan             

§         Aihaa surat shaala paish e nazar       

§         Rahay vaqt e naza’ tay Roz e Hashr 

§         Vich qabr tay Pul theen hosi guzar   

§         Sab khoTiyaan theesan tad khariyaan

§         “Yu’tika Rabbuka” daas tussaan     

§         “Fatard.a” theen poori aas asaan    

§         Lajpaal karesii paas asaan                    

§         Wa-shfa’u tushaffa’ sahih parhiyaan

§         Laaho mukh toon burd e Yaman       

§         Man bhaanvari jhalak dikhao sajan 

§         Oha miThiyaan galeen alao’ miThan

§         Jo Hamra vadi san giriyaan                  

§         Hujray toon masjid aao Dholan       

§         Noori jhaat day karan saaray sikan!

§         Do jag akhiyaan raah da farsh karan

§         Sab ins o malak hooraan paRiyaan.

§         Inhaan sikdiyaan tay karlaandiyaan tay 

§         Lakh vaari sadaqay jaanDiyaan tay   

§         Inhaan burdiyaan muft vakaandiyaan tay

§         Shala aavan vit bhii auh ghaRiyaan   

§         Subhan Allah!  Ma ajmalaka! Ma ahsanaka! Ma akmalaka!

§         Kithay Mihr Ali, kithay teri sanaa’, gustaakh akheen kithay jaa aRiyaan.

Translation into English verse.

This masterpiece has been translated by Asif Jahangir Naqshbandi, which of course is a mountainous task given the difference in language and the superior poetry as composed by Sayyed Mehar Ali Shah (Rahamatullah hi alayh) 

1.  Today, the longing for my Beloved

2.  Is over-powering; why’s my heart so sad?

3.  Desire, like a flame in every vein.

4. Today, why do my eyes weep floods of tears?

5. His radiant face in a vision I saw.

6. And from his tresses there came a fragrance

7. The sight of such visions caused me to swoon

8. His eyes’ foot-soldiers overpowered me!

9. His face is bright, a moon at its fullest.

10. A light flashes from his brow; his tresses

11. Are jet black, his gaze intoxicating.

12. His wine-filled eyes cause inebriation!  

13. His two eye-brows are like an archer’s bow

14. Firing arrows of sharpened eye-lashes!

15. Shall I call his lips red or rubies from

16. Yemen? His white teeth are a string of pearls.

17. Shall I call this face life, or the Essence

18. Of Life, or the life of both the worlds? In

19. Truth, I should call it God’s greatest glory

20. From which He created His creation!

21. This face is really from the Faceless One

22. The Faceless One manifests through this face.

23. The Formless One has been seen through this face

24.  Ever since Unity blossomed into

25. Diversity. This face shows the way to the

26. Faceless. Nay, not the way, the Essence too!

27. Yet this secret is not for the common;

28. Just the Elect may discover this pearl!

29.  By God! May this face stay before my eyes

30. At the time of Death and on Judgement Day!

31. In my grave and when I’m crossing the Bridge.

32. Then alone shall the fake become pure gold!

33.  Your rank is: “Thy Lord shall give thee” and we

34. Place our hopes in, “So thou art well-pleased

35. This test we shall pass as the Gracious said:

36. “Intercede and thy intercession shall

37. Be accepted!” Remove thy Yemeni

38. Cloak and grant me a glimpse of your lovely

39. Face, my love!  Repeat again those sweet words

40. Which you spoke in the valley of Hamra.

41. Come from your cell to the mosque, Beloved! 

42. All yearn for your radiant countenance!

43. Both the worlds furnish thy way with their eyes

44. All men, angels, houris, and faerie-folk.

45. For all these yearning and pining ones; for

46. Those dying to sacrifice themselves in your

47 Love; and all those ready to be your thralls

48. May those moments of bliss return again!

49. Praise God! You’re most Beauteous! Excellent! Perfect!

50. Where is Mehar Ali and how esteemed is your praise? How did these erroneous eyes glance at you?