January 28th, 2006 Selections from the Exordium (tashbîb) From the direction of Benares went a cloud toward Mathura; The breeze brings Ganges water on the shoulders of lightning. The cypress-statured residents of Gokal perform ablutions right [in their] home; For to go to bathe in the River Jumna is a prolonged hope. News has just reached the great forest that The wind-borne clouds are proceeding to the [Hindu] pilgrimage sites. The dense black clouds extend far into the distance; The idols hold sway not only in Hind [India] but indeed the whole world. The invasion of black clouds proceeds towards the qibla: Perhaps Lât and Hubal may yet again lay siege to the Ka’ba. In the entire day, not even for a couple hours did it [the rain] cease; For fifteen days there has been a joyful abundance of water Neither the moon is visible at night nor the sun during the day; This tumultous darkness is the influence of Saturn. The density of the dark clouds is such that it renders the candle invisible, Even though the moth searches for it with a torch. The pupil of the eye was concealed in the veil of darkness; The eye of the world-seeing sun contains symptoms of cataract. The smoke of the fire of the rose reached the ceiling of the spheres; Lamp-blacked congealed on the ceiling of the house of the sun! So blinding is the darkness that the cloud itself cannot move; Thunder says to lightning, “Better bring a torch!” Selections from the Panegyric (madh) The saplings of anthropomorphism are verdant in the garden of attributelessness Of which the prophets are the branches and the gnostics are the buds. The beautiful rose of the Arabian, Medinan, Prophet Adorns the skirt of eternity and ornaments the turban of pre-eternity. No one resembles him, equals him, or is like him; Neither is there anyone who is similar, comparable or who can replace him He is the moon of the highest zenith, the fruit of the palm-tree of the two worlds; The pearl of the ocean of Oneness, the lotus of the fountain of multiplicity; The light of the sun of monotheism, the new moon of the zenith of honor; The flame of the candle of creation, the lamp of the assembly of messengership. The refuge of the Trusted Spirit (Gabriel), the adorner of the heavenly thrones sublime; The protector of the firm religion, the abrogator of creeds and nations. He is the high-ranking King in the seven climes of dominion; The messenger sent for the four directions of guidance. I wish to write many befitting hemistiches. If only the pen would not become ecstatic and fly off from my hand! He was the chose selection of the manuscript of Oneness on the day of pre-eternity. There is neither a second to Ahmad nor a predecessor to the One. How [beautifully] the cloud prostrates toward the Ka’ba, the qibla The cloud prostrates towards Yathrib and Bathâ Having abondoned the tavern of India and the idol house of Braj, Today the cloud has spread its prayer rug in the Ka’ba. Having put on blinkers on the grey horse of the heavens, The black cloud has brought it for the Arabian rider. In the ocean of contigency, the Arabian messenger is a unique pearl; The cloud is a special mercy of the Lord Almighty. The Ka’ba of the eyebrow of the Prophet is the qibla for the people of insight, The black cloud is the hair surronding the head of the qibla [Muhammad] Lightning weeps out of envy of the flame of that face, The cloud has placed a shawl on the face of lightning. Widespread is the fame of the life-bestowing lips of the Prophet, Listen a moment to what Jesus says to the cloud: “Look with the eye of justice at his [the Prophet’s] noble teeth, He is your unique pearl even though you are a unique cloud.” The thread of angels was bound around the holy pearl; On the night of the mi’râj the cloud was at the exalted divine throne. In ascending and descending, Burâq was equal to lightning The cloud was the verdant meadow of the world above. Selections from the Supplication (du’â) Your rank is the highest and the most excellent; This is the essence of my detailed faith. It is my wish that none of my poetry, be it qit’a, or qasîda, or ghazal, Should be devoid of your praise. In religion and the world I should have no other refuge; Only on you do I depend, on your strength, on your power. May [you be] my fibre of hope and palm tree, fresh and green Whose every branch has flowers, and whose every flower contains a fruit. My desire is that I continue to think of you till the moment of death, That I see your form when death comes. With the name of Muhammad on the tongue and the secret of “without mîm” in the heart, On my lips be the blessing on the Prophet and in the heart the glorification of God. May the angel of death, ‘Azrâ’îl, lovingly say to my soul: “My dear, if you are coming along to Medina then let’s go.” At the moment of death let this be the sign of your intercession: “Don’t worry about the day of resurrection, we’ll take care of it tomorrow.” The memory of the mirror-like face may confound me, May I see the mirror palace in the corner of my grave. May the two scribe angels, my hosts, say: “Feel at home [here]; Don’t worry about a thing, don’t be anxious!” May I remember your resplendent face after annihilation (fanâ) So that it may come as my companion on the road of non-existence as a (guiding) torch. May my sins, heavy and light, be erased, When my deeds, righteous and noble, come to the scales. May your panegyrist be with you in the ranks of resurrection, Holding this intoxicating qasîda and ghazal. When Gabriel signals and says “Yes, begin in the name of God, ‘From the direction of Benares went a cloud towards Mathura’” Muhsin Kakorawi Madîh khair al-mursalîn (Eulogy for the best of messengers) [Ali S. Asani & Kamal Abdel-Malek, Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry] *** It would be interesting in someone could post the original language version too. It is his most famous naat. It begins 'Mathura se..."