I am horrified that someone would simplify the lyrics of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's songs to " 'Oh, please don't be bad to each other' in various ways."
Nusrat's songs derive from an ancient Sufi
tradition--the mystical Islam
ic tradition that glorifies a sublimely transcendent
and fiercely immanent God
. His lyrics range from the most human, emotional, painful and blissful experiences of God
as a friend
, to the most sublime, cosmological, and universal aspects of a God
in comparison with whom we are nothing. Some examples of his most lyrically beautiful songs include:
Sanson Ki Mala Pe Simaroon Mein Pi Ka Naam
The title means: "I pray the name of God
on a rosary
of breaths." Muslim
s (like Hindu
s and many Christian
s) use a string of beads to keep track of certain prayers. In this song, Nusrat is using each breath as a bead, keeping God on his mind continuously. As the song progresses, he becomes lost in the prayer
s, and night falls without him noticing the passage of time. Eventually, Nusrat becomes the prayers themselves.
Kiven Mukhare Toh Nazaran Hatavan Ve Tere Vich Rab Disadan
The title means: "How can I avert my gaze from your face, as I see God
in you?" This song intoxicate
s me; the idea of a love so strong and pure that it centers on the image of God
is such a beautiful concept!
Tumhen Dil Lagi Bhul Jani Paregi
This song compares the minor loves of our world to the true Love of God
. The title translates as "You'll have to forget these small loves..." For this song translating some principle verses is worthwhile:
Tumhen dil lagi bhul jani paregi; muhabbat ki rahon mein aa kar to dekho.
You'll have to forget all these small loves . . . take a chance and bask in the light of the true Love.
Tarapane pe mere na phir tum hasoge, kabhi dil kisi se laga kar to deko.
You'll no longer laugh at my anguish
, if you take a chance at the true Love.
Zakham pe zakham kha ke ji. Zakham pe zakham kha ke ji. Apane lahu ke ghunt pi. Aha! na kar, labon ko si, ishq hai ye dil lagi nahin!
Suffer wound after wound. Survive by drinking your own blood. Don't complain and shout, this is the true Love, not some minor attachment
Yeh ishq nahi asan, bas itna samajalijiye. Ik aag ka dariya hai aur dub ke jana hai.
This Love is not easy, understand this much. It's a river of fire
crossed only by drowning.
Wafaon ki humse tawwaqo nahin hai; magar ek bar azaman kar to dekho.
We are faith
less and not known for our loyalty, but oh Lord, take a chance on us just once!
Zamane ko apana bana kar to dekha, hame bhi tum apana bana kar to dekho.
You made the entire world yours, now Lord make me yours too!
I apologize for awkwardness in the translation, as I am neither a skilled translator or poet, I just did the best I could.