– Jaihoon

It is in the tradition of love
To the Beloved much praise give

A hundred names or more lovers assign
Titles which testify to their love’s sign

Then,

What is the case of the Chosen One
Whom Allah called His Dear One

Why is he named Unlettered?
Although revealed a message: Read!

Is he not-
The City of Knowledge?
Camel drivers became destiny drivers-
After swearing to him pledge

He helped us find our own self
We read Your Signs using his harf

What good then is there in such a name?
To grasp its truth Jaihoon’s senses are lame…

“My Beloved is free of any fault
His greatness is filled beyond your silly world

Were I to-
Call him lettered
It means that another would have-
To him knowledge rendered.

But who among the created is of such worth-
That to My Beloved can they knowledge impart?

Such is the beginning of his name
That Ilm ends where begins Mim

Unlettered he is though for this universe
But I have taught him verse by verse

He is free of any others teacher
None else dare to give him lecture

I taught him more than what-
You creations will ever learn
A book he is whose pages will remain unread
Even if for centuries you continue to turn

sallallahu ala Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam!

May 2005. Seated at the verandah of home in Kerala.

Notes

It is the habit of lovers to address their beloved with sweet names. Each name signals perfection for their loved one. However, the Creator has called his Beloved (i.e. the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) as Unlettered at a place in Holy Book. This creates doubt in the minds of common man at a juncture when literacy is looked upon as a primitive sign of the civilized world. How is it possible that the Dear one of the Lord, who is the most perfect being after the Lord himself, is addressed in such terms?

The poet is trying to solve this disturbing problem.

revealed a message: Read! : The first command of Revelation was to ‘Read in the name of the lord who created you.

Harf: Letter

Ilm ends …Mim: Ilm (knowledge) ends with Mim, the first arabic letter of Muhammad, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.