The verses of rhyme that follow—while they do not appear in the book to which this site is dedicated—are the logical conclusion of a point I had set forth unambiguously, up front on the Welcome page: The original work by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, which is titled Kishti-e-Nuh (in the Urdu language), possesses expressive power that borders on the lyrical. And what better way to book-end this site than to pay a tribute, by way of the poem that follows, one that’s inspired by the glory and lyricism of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s own poetry.

I invite you to keep in mind a second point—it so happens that I’d drawn attention to it, too, in the Welcome page—which is that “mapping” the original (in Urdu) to the translated (in English) was far easier said than done 😀

But I had to try.

So my translation (of this poem by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) is, to use my aforementioned “mapping” metaphor, mapped-on to—and closely follows—the narrative of his poem titled A Paean to Islam and to its Founder, one that he published in 1893 as part of one of his books.

Finally, if you will humor me, and allow me to wedge in a third point in this Preamble that does admittedly ramble—my promise to you is that it’ll help you better appreciate the verses of rhyme that follow—please know that where one pair of rhyming verses appeared (in the original in Urdu), two pairs appear in their place, in their “mapping” (in my “translation” in English.)

I do say I’ve spilled enough digital ink already (for a preamble, anyway.) Whew! 😀

And with that, my translation—i.e. the result of the aforementioned “mapping” experiment—now (finally) follows for you to enjoy.

A Paean to Islam and to its Founder (English)

Along every avenue of spiritual yearning I pored my thought;
The remotest like of Prophet Mohammad's faith was found not
Searched near, search afar, and searched even beyond the realm of sight;
Ever mindful to do so with all my might
        No religion could hither be brought;
        Wherein spiritual signs could be seen or sought
        But all was set aright;
        When, from the Prophet's garden, I ate sweet fruit—a delight
Trying Islam for myself has been my happy lot;
It is pure light, one which erases every besmirching blot
Arise, I say, to its luminous sight;
There, I have told you sincerely, I've told you outright
        Other faiths—I examined them all—had no light, the whole lot;
        Mere conjectures abounded, wherewith they were fraught
        Come and show if ever the truth I've tried to blight;
        Doing so—hiding the truth—would simply not be right
I tire, at times, of saying the same things, even as I continue to exhort;
The message remains the same—the themes, though, I assort
In every which direction I issued forth the arrows of invite;
Shot forth the arrows from my quiver, by day and by night
        Nobody rose to the challenge, though I laid the gauntlet athwart;
        Nobody, but nobody, dared rise to the challenge thus wrought
        Invited though I did—all opponents—in broad daylight;
        They did not come, perhaps facing the truth caused them fright
Alas, they slumber the sleep of ignorance, caring nought;
Not realizing what's at stake, alas, what is being fought
From your slumber you awake not, O spiritual Luddite;
Heedless you are, your torpor shames the night
        Burn in the inferno of malice and distrust they all do, the whole lot;
        In that, they are as one, even as they mingle and consort
        Desist they do not, such is their vengeance, so venomous their spite;
        Spurning my entreaties to cease, they ceaselessly plot and incite
O people! Come hither and receive your luminance, your spiritual passport;
This is what you need, this is what ought to be sought
There, I have showed you the path of the upright;
Of true solace and comfort that'll relieve your plight
        Today, this humble man is filled with spiritual lights that do shimmer and cavort;
        They have suffused my very being—they surround me and everywhere do escort
        It is perhaps a passage, intimations of a spiritual rite;
        That my very existence has been lit, shone through outright
Ever since my good fortune in the Prophet's light falling to my lot;
Ever since then those glorious moments—methought
I have evermore relished to reunite;
My very being, with The Source of Eternal Light
        May Your infinite Peace and Mercy on the Prophet be brought;
        For, without him, I couldn't have received aught of what I got
        It is through his aegis that I was showered with the splendor of light;
        From Him, from Our Creator, Who sustains and gives spiritual sight
For my being to resonate with the life of Prophet Mohammad, thus so have I my Lord besought;
My life without him is nought—the blessed Prophet is all I got
My spiritual thirst was, in his obedience, quaffed—a delight;
In him I saw daylight when all else was gloomy night
        I scoured the universe, undertook searches both focused and scattershot;
        Having found him, my searches I brought to a close, and not merely abort
        Innocuously enough, and guiltlessly so, from all else I untwined my heart aright;
        Did so, though nothing warranted guilt or being contrite
I was turned into an object of others' derision—no rhyme or reason, sans plot;
With scorn of me, their sentiments were evidently shot
Ever since I put the Prophet's love at my heart's foundational site;
Layers of his love I put at my heart's core, which perhaps is what my opponents' anger did incite
        Conceited and vain is my messianic claim—is what they've said, is what they've thought;
        Bewildered I was by their antics, even as from afar I watched
        Deceitful and insane, they called my ways, and deemed them as not right;
        As if I had foisted upon the day's light the gloom of night
Called me an infidel, a heretic, and an Antichrist—even as their lips did contort;
Is this the end of their minds' tether, is this all they got?;
Such, such are they abusive names heaped on my blameless plight;
Servile and vile their defamation, one perhaps that is futile with to fight
        Being made the target of abuses should have remained in the realm of the unthought;
        But I patiently listen, reciprocating instead with well-wishes, doing what my Lord has taught
        My mercy, as I face them, is at its zenith—at its height;
        In the hopes of staving off their spiritual twilight
I swear by you, my beloved Prophet, even as I stand distraught;
All that I've stood for, all that for which I've fought
It is but for you, O blessed Prophet, for whom I've set my life alight;
I weather the enemies' blows for you, even as they sting and smite;
        Your love permeates my every iota, as ever, by default;
        Much as yonder ocean is permeated by brine and by salt
        In my breast, the bond of our love is so tight;
        Wherefore I can say sincerely that an entire realm indwells alright
Row upon row of opponents I took on in the realm of argumentative assault;
Vanquishing them beyond certainty, such as none could fault
Showing therefore, and perforce—it's not the sword, but the use of the pen wherewith I write
Not with physical blows, but with arguments—does one—opponents smite
        And to which course did I not resort?;
        That your spiritual brilliance—in its shining be made known—all else but nought
        Certifying the might of the sword, I defeated my opponents, saw their schemes ablaze alright;
        Obliterated their dreams, reducing them to the flimsiness of an untethered kite
Nay, I effaced my own self, subduing and cooling it like becalmed frost;
Effacing my own self in your love till it was erased, till it was lost
Every iota of myself did I scatter and blamelessly indict;
Immolated, as it were—my personal desires as I set them afire—and did ignite
        Your cellar of spiritual drinks, O Prophet, has thus wrought;
        The burgeoning realization of your splendor—that all else is nought
        Finding the cellar thus, I zealously imbibed each and every spiritual delight;
        Feeling felt, the unthought known raveled into place—my love did requite
The glory of Our Maker do I see in you, methought;
O blessed and beloved Prophet, the unlettered, the untaught
In finding you did I with Our Maker reunite;
My spirits soared, my soul felt the flight
        Taking refuge in your cloistered sanctuary is the emancipation to be sought;
        Freedom from worldly shackles to be gained thereby, and—for the heart—life-support
        Guiltless, I, at your threshold, nonetheless, lowered my head, humbly contrite
        My devotion to you—I trust—my actions speak to and do recite
O beloved Prophet! I swear and dutifully report;
Your gloriously-lived message is unrivaled—all that you have taught
So as to reduce my own existence to the margins, to the trite;
Your love furnishes all, it does surely enlight
        By God, the tracks and footprints of others stand effaced, reduced to nought;
        This transpired during my journey to you—with my soul—wherewith you I sought
        Your splendor reigns glorious, ever shines in my sight;
        Affixed—nay, transfixed—immovably so, foremost in my sight
In seeing you, I was—by the splendor of your spirituality—overwrought;
But I knew the sighting had to be gained at any cost
Fortified thus, therewith I set all devils alight;
Set the devils afire, reduced them to ashes—to mere scattered blight
        O leader of prophets! I became the best in the nation, purely by following what you have taught;
        Your ineffable glory leaves the imagination in a state of overwhelm, of glorious exhaust
        Wholly in your obedience did I take each step forward, stepping aright;
        Following you remained ever the goal, ever in sight
Let alone humans, even the angels do resort;
To sing your praises, attuned to the song I offer—the one I've humbly wrought
Yes, the angels, too,  praise you and recite;
Singing your praises with words that I did write
        O benighted nation of mine, you beleaguer me with troubles as would overrun a massive vault;
        Vex me even as you do, I will ever keep the Prophet's message aloft;
        Vexed mercilessly by them, though, I do have to—O Prophet—make known my plight;
        Wherefore, and most humbly, in your court—O Prophet—this plaintive message I did recite.


I will be happy as a clam if the verses of rhyme presented above brings even a glimmer of the lyric glory suffusing Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s poetry. All that’s left now—and this is for those of you who can read the Urdu language script—is for you to check the original verses of rhyme (in native Urdu), the ones that inspired me to write the inspired translation which appears above.

(Having the two versions—the “inspired” English translation which appears above and the original verses in Urdu that appear below—readily available just might, I hope, add to your enjoyment.)

A Paean to Islam and to its Founder (Urdu)

How This Poem Was Made

Slowing the creational process down to the speed of thought is crucial; without it, poetry simply can’t happen. And the indispensable aid to achieving that slow rhythm—one which enables the tendrils of versifying to gain purchase—is the trusty duo of pen and paper.

With that thought in mind, I now invite you to witness—plus taking you behind the scenes here—how such a creational process unfolded, by way of a view of my inspired poem translation, committed to college-ruled paper, in longhand, decked-out (below) on a sheet of verdant expanse, green and emblazoned with osculating circles, striking notes of harmony and polite diffidence. Okay, I’ll stop—for now, anyway.

Poems Have a Knack for Regeneration

Through some mysterious process—and here we’re staring straight in the face that timeless question, “Is creativity a renewable resource?“—verses of rhyme possess this power, they have a propensity if you will, for perpetuating themselves. Simply put: Once you start versifying, there’s no cessation in sight, because the floodgates have been opened.

And the rest of this offering is dedicated to that end. (The least we can do, I figured, is to do our bit for promoting poetry.)

What you get next is my translation of another poem by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, one that he published in 1901. To use the “mapping” metaphor, this translation is mapped one-to-one onto the original poem, i.e. where one pair of rhyming verses appeared (in the original in Urdu), one corresponding pair appears in the “mapping” (in my “translation” in English.)

The Criteria of a Living Faith (English)

The refrain from the phonograph comes this way
Search for God with your heart, not with abstraction
    Till your deeds are informed by a purified heart, one that that doesn't sway
    No better will be your deeds than going around an idol in circumambulation
As long as spirituality lies dormant, moribund, and akin to lifeless clay
Nothing, but nothing, is to be gained from religious sparring, from wars of opposition
    Futile is that faith which is devoid of God's true way
    Servile, too, that faith from which absent is divine intervention
That religion which doesn't create conviction is idle sport, mere games that people play
That religion is drained of meaning which lacks God's support—it is, in fact, misdirection
    That religion is from God wherein rivers of spirituality gush and hold sway
    Without belief in a Living God, religion is robbed of its central dimension
That religion is from God which leads you to God's way
What use is that faith which offers no solution?
    Otherwise, faith is enfeebled, enervated and lacking the power to stay
    Unable to draw one out of the world's pull, slavishly following worldly gyration
Those lacking faith, undeveloped in spiritual insights, with mere lip profession at play
Idol-worship though they may have eschewed, they remain enslaved—in need of emancipation

The Criteria of a Living Faith (Urdu)

Versifying, Or, Credentials for Writing Poems…

Poetry: I have no credentials in this area. None. (Just ask any one of the ducks mingling above, in particular the two in the vanguard, earnestly exchanging notes on what floats and what does not, while the rest are eager-eyed and on the prowl for aquatic morsels as may be found swimming in the pond.)

Prose: I can do a bit—and then only, slightly—better on this terrain. Truth be told, I have, in the past, gone out on a limb and written up five whole monographs to elaborate my views of the subject—prose—which remains for me the indispensable terra firma for spilling digital ink:

  1. On Writing: Or Why I Write
  2. On Writing: Or How I Write
  3. On Writing: Or Wow I Write
  4. On Writing: Or Now I Write
  5. On Writing: Or A Row With How I Write

What I’m trying to get at (by marshaling the above-cited material) is that the land of poetry isn’t exactly terra incognita for practitioners of prose. We are, in fact, going to take inspiration from how

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer

And then it’s off to the proverbial race, amirite? Speaking of which, I now have for you the translation of one more poem by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, one that he published in 1908 as part of his monumental work titled Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. The poem (my English translation) appears below, followed by the original (in Urdu). Both await you right after this image—symbolizing the relevance of the human touch even as it intersects with the relevance of faith to modern life—and offered by way of an interlude…

The Holy Quran is Untainted by Fables (English)

No words can be found to express our enormous gratitude to Our Great Lord
Whose words are what lit the path to Him, for us to move forward
    The glorious light suffusing the Quran, which we find in its pages
    Is not to be found in thousands of suns—in their missives and envisages
It purified the mind, the heart, and the intellect
And we came full circle, for the mirror to then reflect
    It gave to the soul the nourishing fruit of spiritual direction and insight
    Washing away the impurity of doubt, changing the trajectory of life—its very flight
Lighting up the way which shows the existence of The Most High
That way which purifies the heart, dipping it in spiritual dye
    That way, aye, which beckons The Friend from whom we got separated
    That way which nourishes the soul with love venerated
That way, verily, which is for His Existence a certifying argument
That way which is to His Existence the way of attainment
    It lit up the world with the glorious path to reach Him
    In doing so, it rinsed away doubts both occluding and grim
The sadness weighing down hearts—the oppressive weight was lifted
And with glory—out of darkness and into the light—humankind was gifted
    The bitter cold of winter was replaced by spring
    The embers of God's love into the heart it did bring
All trees that had life grew verdant, they did burgeon
So profusely the bore fruit that their branches they did burden
    Its tidal waves wiped away the damning dikes of religious doubt
    Crashing straight through the mound of irreligiousness with its clout
The Quran leads one to God—it is, after all, the Word of The One Who Created
Without it, the garden of spiritual insights remains wanting, stands fragmented
    Those who shivered from the petrifying frost of doubt
    Now find in the warmth of the glorious Quran comfort throughout
All this clamor, sowed by religions that are actually faithless
Not having a glimmer of spiritual light—a medley of tales—fruitless
    But the Quran manifests the unmistakably glorious light of God
    Ineluctably leading one to Him—through signs—like a divining rod
That religion which is built on the shifting sands of tales
Is really not a religion, and rather a tower of fables that impales
    Can one that rely on fables, can one, and frankness?
    Fables are—are they not?— replete with crassness
That religion is true which doesn't make its business the telling of tales
Instead, through living signs, through vitality, the right path it unveils
    That religion is righteous Whose God is self-evident
    Who shows, through the display of His Powers, where He is resident
The so-called miracles you hear of nowadays—the hearsay—by way of fable
And offered as arguments—as if they were the vestige of the credible
    All the sects, you see—this is now their be-all, their end-all
    Regaling fantastic miracles in fables—alpha, omega, overall
Alas, of their own faith, they offer for its truth no supporting manifestation
As if the powers of the Lord of the heavens and Earth had retreated onto cessation
    As if He no longer wields of days yore that Might, that Power
    That Governance, that Strength, and that Grandeur
As if God no longer embodies Mercy as he did in days past
As if His intentions changed, or his Affection did not last
    Such grievous notions are faulty—He is free of fault
    And the result of such notions is on human dignity an assault
Truth be told, such religions have withered away
Bereft of vitality–untethered–they shriveled away
    Followers of such faiths have greedily fallen on the world
    Ignorant of spiritual taste and discernment, dwelling in a dream-world
Their goal in life is to blindly follow ambition
They are not believers—Rather, they tread on terrain of evil volition
    See how their hearts are covered with—spirituality-denuding—occluding rust
    Their having fallen on the world—hearts occluded, denuded—turned to ashen dust
What use is that faith that cannot manifest God?
It's but a hollow vessel—callow, without an echo of God
    Does the grandeur of guidance—in such a faith—inhere in it?
    Alas, glory has departed, and distinction no more its perquisite
The signs of God's glory therein no longer in that religion abide
Neither does God's Unity enrich it, nor do blessings therein reside
    O people! That god, remember, is manifestly not The Living God
    Who is not evermore manifesting glory whereby humans be awed
Ancestor-worshippers, they who worship by mere fable
Bereft thus of vitality, abject defeat is their label
    Without the certainty of sight, O friends! The heart is never satisfied
    This incorporeal and oft-erring self, how can it by mere fables be rectified?
Mortals ever thirst for fresh signs from the Divine
Those fantastic fables are, after all, ineffective, stolid as bovine
    How can the Divine Beloved—through mere fables—be found?
    But you find a true sign—one solitary sign—and the fruit of life does abound
Alas, the prevalence of fantastic tales has turned hearts astray
With lip-profession customary, hearts now injustice obey

The Holy Quran is Untainted by Fables (Urdu)

(More to follow. So stay tuned.)

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