Maulavi khan bahadur Muhammad Yusuf Jafari.

Kalami-i Urdu. (Revised) Being selections for the Urdu proficiency examination online

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( With copious Notes, Explanations, Derivations &Y.).



Chief Maulavl to the Board of Examiners,. Calcutta,



S. U., K. B., M. Y. JAFARI,

1, Gardener Lane, Calcutta.


[ All rights reserved].

Price JRs. 7.

JdSU 1-M




The Jadld Kalam-i Urdu is a revised and enlarged edition of
the Kalam-i Urdu, the text-book originally prescribed for the
Proficiency Examination. In the new edition, the poetry portion
has been considerably reduced, while the prose portion has been
greatly increased. Of the prose selections the first half were all
included in the former edition and consist of articles contributed
by various writers to modern literary magazines. In these the
influence of a Western education is discernible both as regards the
subjects dealt with and also in respect of the manner of treatment.
The second half of the prose portion is entirely new material.
The two pieces, "Namak Ka Daragha" and "Be-gharaz Muhsin"
are from the pen of a young writer of great promise, still living.
The remaining prose selections are from the writings of recognised
masters of Urdu style. The account of Raja Blrbal is taken from
the "Darbar-i Akbari" of the late Maulavi Azad, formerly a
Professor at the Government College, Lahore. In addition to this
history of the Court of Akbar the Great, he was the author of
" Qisa^i-Hind" or "Annals of India," and "Ab-i-ffayatt' a history
of Urdu literature, all of which are much admired and have had a
great influence upon the development of modern Urdu proses.
The Fasana-i Azad, from which the next piece is taken, is a three
volume novel by the late Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar, at one time
editor of the Oudh Akhbar in which instalments of this novel were
first published. The "Fasana-i Azad" and his other best-known
work, the l 'Sair-i Kohsar" consist of a series of very vivid and amu-
sing sketches of Lucknow life more or less loosely grouped round
the central figure of the hero whose adventures constitute a vagf
sort of plot. These are among the most popular works of 5
literature. The writer has a happy gift for exactly la 1 -" 8 off the
speech and mannerisms of the various types of h)'*' ani 'y congre-
gated in a large Indian city. The languajr is not as a rule
difficult except on occasions when the writ" intentionally launches
out into a caricature of the old-fash io^d UrdQ writers.


Next follows a selection from a collection of the letters of MaulavT
Nazlr Ahmad to his son. The last piece in the prose portion is an
extract from the Banat-un-Na l sh of the same author. This work
is a continuation of the Mirat-ul- Arus which was written for the
benefit of his daughters and the two novels are still the most
popular books in the Zenanas of Upper India. Nazlr Ahmad's
other novels the " Taubat-un~Nasuh" "2bu-ul-Vaqf and Muh-
si'nal" were all written with a purpose and are widely read by
serious-minded Muhammadans. As a writer Naztr Ahmad is a
champion of the Delhi school. His language is at once polished
and idiomatic. In his more ambitious works he does not neglect
the rhetorical devices of the old school. Tn fact he appears to
form a link between the old style of ornate conventionalism and
the more simple and natural style of the modern school of Urdu"
prose writers. Of the poetry portion of the Jadld Kalam-i Urdu
it is not necessary to say much. The first seven pieces, retained
from the former edition, are specimens of verse composed by poets
who are trying to free themselves from the "Gu! o Bulbul" tradition
of Persian and Urdu poetry. Lastly there are some 30 quatrains,
each illustrating a proverb or common saying, which have been
selected from the Ruba'Iyat of "Ranjur" which is the "takhallus"
of Shams-ul-'Utlama Muhammad Yusuf J'afarl Khan Bahadur,
the compiler and translator of the ^ Jadld Kaldm-i Urdu,


0. F. J.





(Taken from the Magazine "Lisariu-s-Sidq" Calcutta^


Islam claims to have accomplished many things, and amongst
them that it has eradicated all superstitious observations, evil habits,
and pernicious customs from the world ; and has demolished the
strong barrier of blindly following the footsteps of one's fore-
fathers, 1 that blocked the way of religious and secular advancement.
Just as there are found in Islam certain virtues that other peoples*
and faiths are not fortunate enough to possess, so too there is no
such religion or sect found in this world that can claim to be equal*
to Islam in being free from all the impurities of objectionable
observances. Although the whole world at this time admits the
supremacy 1 of European civilisation, the enlightenment of which
has dispersed from the inhabited world 5 the darkness of ignorance,
yet there are still found in Europe various customs and practices,
which are founded purely on superstition, and by which its peoples
are in no way benefited, but rather have to suffer moral and pecu-
niary loss. Alas that while Islam, on her arrival in India, had to
encounter many other calamities, she had also to suffer this great
loss, that on her fair and bright face there appeared the numberless
ugly spots of detestable practices, on account of which the whole
of God's 6 world, instead of being charmed by her heart-ravishing
form began to look down upon it with contempt or aversion.

1. The sentence overlined in the text is a quotation from the Quran, which
literally means, 'what we have found our forefathers on.'

2. Milal, plural, millat, singular.

3. Lit., of the same head or equal in height.

4. Loha mannd, is an UrdH idiom meaning lit., 'to bow before the sword of.'

5. Lit., the fourth part of the world, supposed to be inhabited.

6. Lit., Divinity : hence everything pertaining to God, i.e., God's creation.

( 2 )

"Islam and its practices" is such a wide subject that if all its
points 1 were to be fully discussed and it were to be clearly shown
what a simple and unostentatious religion it essentially was and
what changes it has undergone in mode and form, and what losses
it has suffered in the many countries it visited it would make a
large volume by itself. All that we have to show in this article is,
how much a free religion like Islam has been fettered with the
bonds of custom. Setting aside those moral injuries which it has
sustained from such customs, our object here is only to show
briefly the pecuniary loss which Indian Muslims have suffered and
are still suffering from the observance of these customs.

First of all let us see whether 2 Islam has in reality made com-
pulsory for every man such customs that in their observance he or
his parents have no other alternative than to undergo needless
expense. Let us examine the span of human life throughout from
birth to death. Now let us suppose that a child* is born. After
birth the first ceremony that Islam has enjoined for him is that the
azan* should be spoken into his ears, Simply to show that he is
adopted into Islam. Now is there any necessity for undergoing
expense on account of this azan ? No ; there is no need for spend-
ing even a cowrie on this. Next comes the ceremony of i Aqiqa or
Nastka, when the child's head is shaved, the child is given a name
and one or two animals are sacrificed in its name. It is evident
that it does not cost much to have a child's head shaved, nor is it
necessary to undergo any sort of expense in having it named. Now,
for the sacrifice ; that too is compulsory but only for persons of
some means : he that can afford it may offer up sacrifice ; he that
cannot afford it may omit it. After that comes the ceremony of
circumcision, for which also nothing requiring expenditure is
necessary. On attaining the age of puberty, for every man and
woman, marriage is enjoined as an absolute necessity. But in this

1. Lit., sides ; points of view.

2. Kiaya. Note that English people generally incorrectly use agar in such

3. Ins3n, lit., 'a man.'

4. A call to prayer.

( 3 )

too Islam has made no restriction 1 of any kind. Of course, the
bridegroom is ordered to give a banquet to celebrate the marriage ;
but the order does not mean that he should to-day borrow three 2
or four thousand rupees from a mahajan at (high) interest to give
a grand dinner of many courses to all his relations and friends
and tomorrow go abegging In the streets in want of his evening
meal. 8 Ttie order simply means that he should feed a few of his-
friends and kindred according to his means, so that the marriage
may be made publicly known and by eating and drinking together
the tie of brotherhood may be tightened. Now, after marriage
till the time of his death no other ceremony is enjoined upon a,
man. After his death his friends and relatives have only one duty
to perform ; they must say the funeral prayers and bury his body-
in the earth ; and that is all.

Now remain the religious duties. They are four : prayer, fasting,
pilgrimage to Mecca 4 and alms. 5 It is manifest that in the per-
formance of prayer or fasting no expense is entailed. As for the

ffajj\ it is restricted by the verse of the Quran, " he who can

find his way to it." In their commentaries the theologians 6 have
fixed many conditions. Now it js a matter of consideration that
when it is universally admitted that national gatherings and
meetings are absolutely necessary for the strength and progress of a.
nation and for this very purpose in India itself for some time past
Congresses, Conferences and other assemblies are held every year in
which the inhabitants of every part and province of the country
undergo the trouble and expense of a journey to meet together-
then what harm has Islam done in having provided for a like annual*
conference or congress in which all its followers, whatever corner of
the earth they may inhabit, are enjoined to attend at least once

1. Pakh t meaning 'restriction' is a modern word not to be found in Dic-

2. Lit., two.

3. Lit., bread.

4. ffajj, 'pilgrimage to Mecca.' //5/i, 'a pilgjjm.'

5. Zakat, one-fortieth part of a Muslim's property giv*ri"TrFcharity. Other
charities are Radqa or Jchairat.

6. Sing., faqik.

( 4 )

during the course of their life, provided their circumstances permit,
and in which they can meet together to exchange their thoughts
and ideas and by mutual conference think of the best way for their
religious and secular advancement. what wrong has it done ? To
spend money on such matters is a boon and blessing for a nation,
not ruin or misfortune. Now, let us turn to giving of alms. What
reasonable man would think this an unnecessary expense ? Every
civilized nation looks upon this principle 1 as necessary and unavoid-
able for preserving the equilibrium of wealth of a country.

Now it is to be seen whether like other faiths and religions, 8
Islam too has instituted any fairs 3 or festivals for its followers, for
which silly expenses are unavoidable. If there are any festivals
prescribed at all for Muslims, they are only two : the 'Idul Fitr and
the 'Idul Azha! Now, is it incumbent on Muslims to make public
manifestations of joy or celebrations for these two festivals, such as
Hindfls make on the Diwalf and Christians at Christmas ? A satisfac-
tory answer to this question may be found in the well-known sermon
of 'All 1 (May God glorify his face! 5 ) containing the following
words, "The 'Id is not for those who put on new clothes." 6 Now,
there remain the sacrifices of the 'Idul Azha ; they are meant for
those who can afford to observe them ; and for those who can afford
it, it is no great matter to make one sacrifice for each" member of
the family or for the whole family, according as their circumstances

i. U$ul, is plural of asl, meaning "root." Her the plural form is used
in a singular sense meaning "principle."
3. Sing., din.

3. Thela used separately has no meaning. It follows the word mela as a
"meaningless apposition."

4. Hazrat, lit., ''his presence," is generally used before the names cf pro-
phets, saints and kings.

5. This phrase is specially used after the name of 'All/

6. The remaining portion of the Arabic sentence is Innama-l-'ldu liman
khafa yauma-f-r~'a'id, meaning, that 'Id is only for those who fear the day of

7. Ft (in Arabic meaning "in") is used in Urdti in the sense of "per,"
e g->fi 3 a <2 P er cent.,//, per diem.

( 5 )

Besides what is mentioned above, there seems to be no other
religious duty or ceremony in Islam in which unnecessary expense,
is considered compulsory. Let us see how far the Muslims of India
have, as regards binding themselves to ceremonies, followed that
Islam which once 1 attracted the whole world by its simplicity.
Great God ! such a vast difference exists between the customs and
practices of those Indian Muslims and true Muslims, that if any man
of the first Muslim era were alive at this time and were to see their
observances and practices, he would just as much hesitate to style
them Muslims, as to call the night day. As we have already shown
the different stages of a man's life from birth to death, and have
explained all the duties 8 and ceremonies really enjoined by Islam
to be performed in them, so too we have Jo show in detail that the
Muslims of India have so fettered a man with the chains of ceremo-
nies from his very birth that release is only possible for him at his
death, nay, he cannot in fact get rid of them even after death.

Now, let us suppose that a child is born. Unless so much money
is squandered on its chhatl (the sixth-day ceremony) and mfihdan
(tonsure), that its parents are actually stripped bare 3 and put to the
utmost straits, 4 that chhatl or muhdan is not worth its name. 4 Let
us look further. What else has to be done ? It is the namak-chashl*
or the khlr-chatal* (the first feeding ceremony). Even in this if
the parents do not spend at least three or four thousand rupees, how
can they show their faces to their kindred ? Now, if the child
happens to be a boy, then on its circumcision, and if a girl, on its
kan-chhedan (perforating the ear, i.e., on her putting on an ear-ring
for the first time), spending a few more thousands is not worth con-
sideration. After this, comes the preparations of the maktab (the
ceremony performed when the child is first sent to school) ; in this
at least such sums 7 have to be spent that not a farthing 8 is left for
giving even an elementary education to the boy. If the parents do not
spend they will be pointed out with scorn both by friends and foes.
In this description we have not given way in the least to exaggera-
tion. Scores of families we have seen with our own eyes which have

I. Note the force of pluperfect here. 2. Sing.far'iza.

3. Lit., shaved. 4. Mark the Urdtt idiom here. 5. Lit , lickingsalt.

6. Lit., licking rice-milk. 7. Lit., capital. 8. Lit., a double pice.

( 6 )

spent thousands of rupees on the "mak/abs" of their children, and
the children in consequence of their parents' poverty, wandering idle
in the streets illiterate and uneducated. Now, let us examine the
marriage ceremony, the most important of all ceremonies ; to this
single ceremony hundreds 1 of other (junior) ceremonies are added as
offshoots of it and secondaries, and escape from these is impossible.
Now, do not ask me about this, for it requires a whole volume to des-
cribe it in detail. If anybody wishes to have a photograph, in
miniature, of a marriage in a respectable Muslim family 8 in India
and specially in the province of Behar, he should look through (the
pages of) the Islahun Nisa by a lady of Patna, the mother of Mr.
Md. Sulaiman, Barrister-at-law. In short, a marriage is only con-
sidered a real marriage if a whole family is utterly ruined by it, and
if in its celebration all th* property of the family is squandered 8 on
fireworks and such like, the result being that the family is compelled
to beg from door to door.

Not to speak of the marriages of human beings we have seen,
with our own eyes, the rise of a family and then its fall 4 due to the
marriages of dolls being celebrated with great pomp and magni-
ficence* : the various ceremonies one and all were duly performed,
and in this way thousands of rupees were squandered without a
regret. But what was the final result of all this folly ? Alas ! we
have seen the children and youth of this once rich family, children
and youth who were brought up in great ease and comfort, and
from whose house hundreds of poor and destitute people were
daily maintained, we have seen them in utter destitution wander-
ing from door to door and stretching out their begging hands. Some,
too, we have seen, who, in their time of luxury, having surrendered
themselves to opium and evil habits because such habits are in
India considered the necessary accompaniments of wealth and
affluence, in their days of hard poverty and distress, have obtained
a few pice from the pity and charity of a stranger and have, instead
of spending that money in securing food and relief for themselves

1. _ Lit., fifties and hundreds.

2. Han is the contracted form of Yakan, meaning, 'place,' 'house.'

3. Lit., blown away or burnt. 4. Lit., 'flow and ebb/
5. Dham is never used singly. Vide note 3, page 4.

( 7 )

from the pangs of hunger, spent it in opium, till from continued
starvation their backs have doubled up. The hearts of their bitterest
enemies, who had seen them in their time of ease and prosperity,
would melt at seeing them in this present pitiable condition and
their sad eyes would shed involuntary tears. "Verily God will not
change his grace which is in men, until, they change their sinful
natures." "So take warning, oh ye men of perception."

Now let us regard the state of life after marriage. If God bless
(the married man) with children, he must for the performance of the
chfcati and maktab spend for each of them as much, if not more,
than his parents spent on like occasions for him. Though his con-
dition may have declined in comparison with that of his ancestors,
yet the dignity 6f his position and birth has not God forbid-
changed a hair's breadth. His Honour and dignity require that there
should not be the slightest departure from the style and manner
in which these ceremonies were performed by his ancestors. If
there is, he will be (spat at) disgraced by all his relations and will
be unable to show his face to any of them. In short, if his parents,
by extravagance, fell into a deep well, he by 1 following them goes
deeper down even to the centre of the earth.

(Hemistich) "At such wisdom and prudence who can

restrain his tears ?"

At first sight it might appear that the connection of a man with
such ceremonies would only last for the duration of his life ; but it
is not so. Although he himself after death is certainly released
from all ties of this world ; but in India, even then his heirs' cannot
get rid of the bonds of custom, for after his death the rites of phul
or tya* chaharum* blwuah* chaltswan* barsl," etc., must necessarily
be performed, and in their performance the survivors of the
deceased must not fall short of their fathers, not even one inch. 8

i. Lit., by the hands of, se being understood after ftathon, 2. Sing., luariq.

3. A ceremony performed in honour of a deceased person on the third
day after his death, when flowers are placed on trays in the midst of
the assembly.

4. The fourth-day ceremony after death.

5. The twentieth-day ceremony. 6. The fortieth-day ceremony.
7. The annual ceremony. 8. Mark the UrdTT idiom.

( * )

Bar st, etc., being over, there is Shab-i-barat } an annual festival,
in which the dead forefathers for seven generations back extort
something in their respective names.

Moreover, even the number of those ceremonies which the
Muslims, specially of India, have made obligatory upon themselves
deeming them their religious duties, and in the performance of
which they are, in no small way, encumbered, is no whit less than
the number of the customs, the observance of which is considered
necessary from a worldly point of view. Setting aside those
customary acts which they perform in the name of Islam, though
in reality those acts have no connection with pure Islam, but are
merely innovations other ceremonies are current amongst ignorant
Muslims which are in reality the special observances and duties of
Hindus, having no connection whatever with Islam, such as the
worship of the Mata* and the Ganges, the observance of the
I Chhath, the Jitiya, the Holt, the Diwall, and such like festivals.

Now to what extent Islam has, in reality, enjoined the observance
of certain ceremonies, and how far the Muslims of India have fettered
themselves with the chains of such ceremonies, and on account of
such observance what bad results 3 they have daily to face, are facts
we have just discussed at some length. Now, we have to see how
such customs and ^ceremonies have become so deep-rooted in the
minds of the Muslims of this country ; who are responsible for this ;
and what plan can be devised to obtain release from the bonds of
these ceremonies. Undoubedly almost all such customs found
amongst the Muslims of this country are taken from the Hindus.

When the Muslim conquerors took possession of India and had
free intercourse with the conquered race, the habits and customs of
the latter became impressed upon the former : and just as the Mus-
lims had taken possession of the country of the Hindus, the customs
and usages of the Hindus began to take possessions of the minds of
the Muslims. But here Arises this serious objection ; according to
the laws of Nature, the habits and customs of the conquering race
should impress themselves on the actions and habits of the conquered,

1. The well-known Mahomedan festival in which offerings and oblations
are made in the names of deceased ancestors.

2. Goddess of small-pox. 3. Sing, natija.

( 9 )

and not the reverse. There is too a holy Tradition, 1 " People follow
the religion of their kings." For example, it is (nearly) two
hundred years since the English took possession of this conntry, but
they have not adopted a single custom, practice or habit of the
Indians, whereas the habits and customs of the English have greatly
affected the Indians. Now, why is it that on the contrary the
Muslim conquerors were influenced by the habits and customs of
the conquered Hindus ? We will tell you the reasons for this.

Although on the face of things the relations of the Muslim con-
querors with the conquered Hindus appear to be identical with
those of the European conquerors with the conquered Indians, yet
in reality no comparison can be drawn between the two. Although
it is nearly three hundred years since the Indians have been
acquainted with the different nations of Europe, still even up to the
present day, each feels a strangeness or want of ease in the society
of the other. While the Englishmen posses the fine qualities of
justice, kindly feeling for the subject 3 races, administrative ability,
(energy in the) suppression of crime, etc., they have also this
characteristic, that they do not care to mix or associate much with
the conquered nations, which is, from one point of view, advan-
tageous, and from another, the reverse.

To discuss this subject in all its different aspect is a political
matter, with which we are not concerned. We have merely to show
here that this not mixing of the English people, their holding
themselves aloof from the society of Indians as well as their educa-
tion, prevented them from being influenced by any customs and
practices of the Indians.

Now let us consider the causes of the Muslim conqueror's being
affected by the customs and practices of the conquered Hindus. As
far as we see, only the following three or four facts have really caused
the Muslims to imitate the customs and practices of the Hindus :

(i) The ignorance of the Muslims generally and of their women
particularly, and their general want of education, reli-
gious or secular ;

1. The word sharif (meaning respectable) is generally added to Quran,
ffad'is^ and holy places such as Mecca, Medina, &c.

2. Ra'aya plural of ra'tyat, a subject.

<2) The Muslim conqueror's adopting India as their home
instead of adopting it as a temporary residence (unlike

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