Kalam Hazrat Ameer Khusrow “Nami Danam Cheh Manzil Bood”
Wazir Dayers is a leading author on Sufism. Below is an exclusive letter to TheSufi.com, which I am printing with compliments.
Dear Brother W,
I’m sending you a qawwali by the Sabri Brothers, performed live in France in 1987: a magnificent Persian kalam of Hazrat Amir Khurau (R.A.): “Nami Damam Cheh Manzil Bood Shab Jaye Keh Man Boodam”, “I don’t know what place it was, were I was the other night”. Even though the subject of this kalam is ecstasy, it is sung in a rather relaxed and unhurried way. And yet, as the songs progresses, the passion can be felt.
The opening verses are in Urdu, which you of course will understand. Here’s a translation of the Persian text:
“I don’t know what place it was, where I was the other night
Victims of the Dance of Slaughter* lay everywhere, where I was the other night
There was a nymph-like Beloved with a cypress-like form and a tulip-like face,
Causing hearts to suffer utter torment**, where I was the other night
Rivals competed with their voices, He was full of coquetry***, and I was filled with fear
It was so difficult to speak, where I was the other night
God Himself presided over the assembly, and Khusrau (or Khusro) was in la makan****
Muhammad (S.A.W.S) was the Burning Candle that lit up the gathering, where I was the other night”
* “Raqs-e-Bismil” – “The Dance of Slaughter”. This may refer (I’m not 100% sure) to people who go into ecstasy during ritual Sufi gatherings, and start to move uncontrollably. The Sufi term for this involuntary movement is “raqs”, literally meaning “dance”. This movement is caused by the attraction exerted by the Divine Being. Another explanation that I’ve read somewhere (can’t remember where) is this: “Bismil is the name given to the lamb which is about to be slaughtered in the name of Allah. So Raqs-e-Bismil is the twitching of the lamb while being slaughtered.”
** Literally “disaster” (‘aafat)
*** In Sufism, a Master often plays the game of “Naz-o-Niyaz”: the Master attracts the mureed in all kinds of ways (= “naz” – “coquetry”) and then pushes him away, in order to increase the mureed’s longing and need for the Master’s Love and attention (“niyaz”) even more. This really is the Sufi version of “playing hard to get”!
**** La makan: this literally means “no place”, or “spaceless space”, i.e. “the Placeless Realm”, the place of the deity, where there is no space and time, a state beyond our conception.