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Preparing now to face God later
Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood
President, Zakat Foundation of India

A few days ago during the Corona lockdown I WhatsApped my batchmates inviting them to think about the following couplet:

Kuchh aur hi nazar aata hai kaarobaar-e jahaaN
Nigaah-e Shauq agar ho shareek-e beenaee


I indicated the meanings of difficult Urdu words and requested the friends to let at least twenty four hours pass before making any comments. Lo and behold, there was lull for quite a few days, then I sent individual reminders to some - soliciting comments. Our group is highly accomplished and quite watchful yet this friendly homework somehow generated little recognition and generally got greeted with a sense of lackluster or even lassitude. So I have decided to scribble my own understanding of this couplet.

Beenaee is the faculty to see, shareek means companion, ‘Nigah-e Shauq’ is a term coined by the poet meaning a willingness to meet God in the life hereafter preceded by the current groundwork - preparing to answer His questioning.

The power to see is normally understood to permeate three dimensions of the objects in sight. But in the scriptures God repeatedly enjoins upon the humanity to go deeper into what appears to the eye - hinting an additional dimension - we may call it the urge to look into and analyze the sub terrain.

So, here the learned poet is suggesting to us that while looking at umpteen mundane phenomena in our daily life - and elsewhere across the cosmos - we should liberally and habitually expand and enrich the canvas and the penetrability of our sight and keep trying to comprehend the great divine layout including its ultimate purpose, it’s infinity, it’s contumacy of time and space ... and, in the midst of this entire colossus, the triviality of the individual human being.

When a person thus begins appreciating the fragile reality of mundane existence and the undercurrent of the fast changing worldly time s/he begins realizing that one should not squander away the transient opportunity of worldly life nor create mischief in society and should, instead, fill every minute of life with sixty useful seconds - all in accordance with the divine expectations ... in order to score well in the celestial evaluation.

Besides, we are aware that in addition to the feelings of love, happiness, surprise, sadness, anger and fear - as against all other creatures - the human being has been given unusual reflexes like pride, shame, embarrassment, envy, jealousy and disgust. Man’s divine challenge is to suitably manage this second category of reflexes in such a manner that the individual human existence on earth is selflessly helpful in maintaining societal orderliness, peace and tranquility giving rise to greater all round love, happiness and prosperity.

The bodily organ that plays major role in achieving this goal is the human heart. The latest science has ratified the scriptural revelation that inside the heart there is a mechanism enabling the heart to ‘see’. This power of the heart needs to be adequately harnessed by the human being if s/he wishes to make preparations now for measuring up to the divine expectations.

This is the fascinating message that the poet is trying to convey to the humanity through the given couplet.

Several weeks of my confinement during the current Corona lockdown has made me realize that I and my family can pass good life with much lesser wherewithal than what I have appropriated for myself and my family. Many of my cars are simply parked in the garage. I’ve not dined out in a restaurant. Dozens of my high class clothings are simply hanging in the wardrobe. Many rooms of my house have remained shut.

However, the hordes of men who used to gather every morning on the nearby crossing offering their eight hour physical labour culminating in their getting Rs 500 each are also now locked down but in some unfurnished shed somewhere depending upon chance charity food.

As per Mahatma Gandhi I should begin thinking of these most deprived persons. I should estimate their individual net worth and compare it with mine.

Pairing this calculation of mine with the message given in the above mentioned couplet I need to think of making a paradigm shift in my private holdings.

Note: The composer of the above couplet is Poet of the East Dr Iqbal (author of the Indian national song: Saare jahaan se achha Hindostaan hamaara).