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English Translation by R. Nicholson, may Allah have mercy on his soul:

While in Farsi Khudi means ‘self’or 'being my self', Farsi does include the Arabic word/terminology Nafs and Nafs has been used as the spiritual term Nafs of Qur’an. In other words to me the term Khudi is one step beyond Nafs/Self and it really indicates I-ness (Anāniah). So in my opinion Khudi indicates the Nafs-induced I-ness: what makes Dara a discernable individual in and of himself with all the necessities, qualities and instrumentation of Nafs.

Note: Al-Anāniah is a term roughly means Self-Importance or Persona or Ego. According to Sheikh Sahrawardi founder of the Philosophy of Ishrāq (Illuminism) Al-Anāniah is a Singleton Divine Light shining upon the universe and human beings, a Self-Understander (Modrek) Light conscious of itself, forming some kind of consciousness about one’s Self one’s own existence. (Source Sajjadi’s Sufi Terminologies)

“My earth and My heaven have no holding capacity for Me, however My slave’s heart has the capacity for Me”—mentioned as Hadith in Al-Ghazali’s Ihyā though no authentication has been found—and the Hadith: “Indeed for Allah there is a container from the people of this earth, and the container of your Lord is the hearts of ITs/His righteous slaves” are indications of something unusual amongst humanity with capacity/faculty for containing the ‘Ilm (Divine Knowledge) and Mahab-bat (Divine Love) for Allah!

(إن للّه تعالى آنية) جمع إناء وهو وعاء الشيء (من أهل الأرض) من الناس أو من الجنة والناس أو أعم (وآنية ربكم) في أرضه (قلوب عباده الصالحين) أي القائمين بما عليهم من حقوق الحق والخلق بمعنى أن نور معرفته تملأ قلوبهم حتى تفيض على الجوارح وأما حديث ما وسعني أرضي ولا سمائي ووسعني قلب عبدي المؤمن فلا أصل له (وأحبها إليه) أي أكثرها حباً عنده (ألينها وأرقها) فإن القلب إذا لان ورق وانجلى صار كالمرآة الصقيلة فإذا أشرفت عليه أنوار الملكوت أضاء الصدر وامتلأ من شعاعها فأبصرت عين الفؤاد باطن أمر اللّه في خلقه فيؤديه ذلك إلى ملاحظة نور اللّه تعالى فإذا لاحظه فذلك قلب استكمل الزينة والبهاء بما رزق من الصفاء فصار محل نظر اللّه من بين خلقه فكلما نظر إلى قلبه زاده به فرحاً وله حباً وعزاً واكتنفه بالرحمة وأراحه من الزحمة وملأه من أنوار العلوم قال حجة الإسلام: وهذه الأنوار مبذولة بحكم الكرم الرحمني غير مضنون بها على أحد فلم تحتجب عن القلوب لبخل ومنع من جهة المنعم تعالى عن البخل والمنع بل لخبث وكدورة وشغل من جهة القلوب لما تقرر أن القلب هو الآنية والآنية ما دامت مملوءة بالماء لا يدخلها الهواء والقلوب مشغولة بغير اللّه لا تدخلها المعرفة بجلال اللّه.
(طب عن أبي عنبة) بكسر المهملة وفتح النون والموحدة الخولاني اسمه عبد اللّه بن عنبة أو عمارة صحابي له حديث قيل أسلم في عهد المصطفى صلى اللّه عليه وسلم ولم يره بل صحب معاذ بن جبل ونزل بحمص ومات في خلافة عبد الملك على الصحيح قال الهيثمي إسناده حسن وقال شيخه العراقي فيه بقية بن الوليد وهو مدلس لكنه صرح بالتحديث فيه.

When human being prays: “I need…” or “Give me…” or when the human tongue utters: “Allah said…” or “Allah’s attribute mercy…” here a grand creature is at work, someone with unbelievable capacity for cognizance, verbiage and appetition for interfacing the Divine Presence.

When you pray: “I need… give me…” this pronoun ‘I’ or ‘me’ is the Khudi of Iqbal. What Iqbal saw was a powerful structure, intricate, immense, above and beyond the abilities and faculties of universe, angels and so on, and all that incubated within. And this structure has a purpose and its purpose is what makes him a human being capable of cognizance for Allah: “I believe in Allah” or “I do not believe in Allah” and in either phrase what are in common? Answer: Allah and I!

The fact that one can say ‘I’ is the primordial and the everlasting proof that there is Allah. Had there been no ability or cognitive faculty to say ‘I’ then human being would have been lost seeking Allah forever. This pronoun ‘I’ and others such as ‘you’ or ‘me’ are Divine Endowments for humanity as was Kashaf (Discovered) by Sheikh Semnani:

Italic Text is the Nicholson text:

Title: Showing that the system of universe originates in the Khudi (Self, I-ness)…

Better translation true to the Farsi sense is: “Showing that Khudi is the genuine origin of the universe…”.

Title: And that the continuation of the life of all individuals depends on strengthening of the Khudi (Self, I-ness) 

Well the title reads in Farsi: And that the continuation of the life of the Ta’ay-yunāt (Discernable) Wujūd (Being) relies upon the strengthening of the Khudi (Self, I-ness).

Ta’ay-yunāt or Ta’ay-yun in Sufism means Discern-ability of one object against the rest of the universe. The concept sometimes is used more like contrast of object, one against the rest and going in and out of focus. So strengthening the Khudi can help to increase the contrast between the objects and its weakening decreases the contrast/discern-ability like a camera lens going in and out of focus.

The form of existence is an effect of the Khudi (Self),

The make-up or the structure of the Being-ness is that of the effect/traces/impacts of Khudi (Self, I-ness): You can see an apple in the supermarket shelf and you can see an apple on a tree and you can see an apple in your shopping bag, all these objects are apples but somehow you can discern the one on the shelf from the one on the tree from the one in your bag. Just like you can see your brother, your wife and your neighbour and though they are all human beings somehow you are able to discern them from each other.

So Iqbal has concluded that primordially there had to be a mechanism for any kind of Khudi (Self, I-ness), as we understand in human terms, and then it was fused into the foundation of genesis of the universe and replicated unnumbered many times into many objects, discernable objects at that.

Had this Khudi (Self, I-ness) not being there from the very beginning the universe would have been an indivisible object, as a whole or as an ensemble of components, it would have been beyond any potential cognition. In such a Khudi-less universe we could not tell apart the apples, the human beings, light from darkness, hate from love and so on.

Whatsoever thou seest is a secret of the Khudi (Self),

Iqbal carefully uses the visual phrase: “All that you see…” You know your brother is different than your neighbour, because you saw them apart not because you have an innate knowledge. While we cannot understand how Khudi (Self, I-ness) was replicated into everywhere and everything, yet we can see that. And that seeing, Iqbal verses it to be the uncovering of secrets of Khudi (Self, I-ness).

When the Self awoke to consciousness

The correct translation is: Once “one’s own self’ was awakened by Khudi (Self, I-ness) meaning there was a creature and once it became discernable into Dara, prior to the application of Khudi (Self, I-ness) Dara was unconscious i.e. it was indiscernible from Toni Braxton or George W. Bush!

It revealed the universe of Thought. 

This is what René Descartes said: “I think therefore I am” however with a bit of a twist: “I think therefore/because I am discernable from the rest of the universe”. If I am not discernable from the rest of the universe I cannot think because my thought, as being a part of the universe, will not be discernable from me i.e. I cannot claim I am thinking since I and my thoughts are one thing! Khudi (Self, I-ness) had to be there to give me the necessary parting-boundary for I-ness and all the necessary instrumentation and faculties incubated within this I-ness so claimed can be issued: I am thinking.

Moreover had the Khudi (Self, I-ness) not being there, how could I know is it ‘I’ who is thinking or someone else is thinking?

A hundred worlds are hidden in its essence:

Within this Nafs+I-ness manifold of Khudi one can fit hundreds of universes each as large as cosmos! Imagine a computer program that is made of millions of lines of code and all you see is a little palm-top running that software.

Self-affirmation brings Not-self to light. 

Correct translation is: Other than he/it are being made patent i.e. other objects since that manifestation of other objects is due to Khudi’s functioning. So I can see other than ‘I’ and that is the established functioning of the Khudi (Self, I-ness) and that is the proof of existence of Khudi.

By the Self the seed of opposition is sown in the world:

Correction translation is: Khudi (Self, I-ness) has sown the seeds of enmity.

It imagines itself to be other than itself 

Correct translation is: It considers itself other than Khudi (Self, I-ness) and that could mean once Khudi (Self, I-ness) fabricated ‘I’ fully discernable from others than itself, then it proclaims: Hey! I am not like the rest of you, though a moment ago it was all one thing prior to the application of Khudi (Self, I-ness) that caused the partition.

It makes from itself the forms of others         

Khudi (Self, I-ness) causes the partition of ‘I’ from the previously integrated indivisible ensemble. This is what Khudi (Self, I-ness) does by design, default and definition.

In order to multiply the pleasure of strife.

Well Khudi (Self, I-ness) did partition ‘I’ from the rest so it can be number of things e.g. cruel, selfish, miser, competitive, arrogant, ambitious, warrior, defender, helper and so on. In order to be generous Khudi (Self, I-ness) has to separate itself from miser, in other words Khudi is the source for partition of the opposite attributes causing the strife.

It is slaying by the strength of its arm

Khudi (Self, I-ness) not only partitions ‘I’ also partitions force and power for ‘I’ from the rest of the universe, therefore Khudi is its own energy and force as well.

That it may become conscious of its own strength.

Well had Khudi (Self, I-ness) not partition energy and force for ‘I’ separate from the rest of the universe, and had Khudi not use this force against others which it has created out of being other than itself, then there is no proof that there is Khudi (Self, I-ness). In other words Khudi needs force to be something other than the rest of the world.

Its self-deceptions are the essence of Life;

Khudi (Self, I-ness) is not a reality it is a virtual simulation conducted by the Nafs the very foundation (CPU) of its existence. So Dara walking with a stomach full and chuck full of dollars in streets of Toronto and a Haitian thirsting child dying from AIDS are indeed one and the same so far as the Realm of Souls is concerned, but Khudi (Self, I-ness) deceives Dara thinking he is the lucky one discernable from the Haitian ailing child.

Like the rose, it lives by bathing itself in blood

Basically Khudi (Self, I-ness) lives by consuming the resources of the others, the selfishness that is the very fundamental definition of Khudi.

The excuse for this wastefulness and cruelty
Is the shaping and perfecting of spiritual beauty.

The spiritual beauty comes out of this murder and mayhem of the Khudi’s (Self’s, I-ness) tyranny since again by its very essence and nature Khudi wants to be something other than Khudi, thus wanting to return to the original integrated ensemble of souls and next thing you know you are in some village in Nairobi treating Tuberculosis victims for free! Leaving behind your well paying job and loving family. Khudi goes to the extreme of Khudi and wanting to distance itself, discern itself from Khudi.

The loveliness of Shirin justifies the anguish of Farhad.
One fragrant navel justifies a hundred musk-deer.
'Tis the fate of moths to consume in flame:
The suffering of moths is justified by the candle.

Shirin was loved by the Persian Emperor Kbusrau Parwiz Farhad fell in love with her and cast himself down a precipice on bearing a false runmour of her death. As I remember Farhad was asked to dig a brook upwards a tall mountain to make the water flow upwards and he did so. So in Iqbal’s original verse there is no Farhad instead there is the phrase ‘mountain hacker’.

So the beauty of a doctor leaving her family behind and traveling afar to save African victims of TB is worth the suffering the Africans endure, claims Iqbal. Had that beauty not been there, the TB would not have been there. And moreover that beauty is indivisible i.e. without the application of Khudi (Self, I-ness) we do not know whether that beauty is that of the doctor or the African victims or both!?

The pencil of the Self limped a hundred to-days
In order to achieve the dawn of a single morrow.

I have no idea about the word ‘limped,’ it basically reads: The pencil of the Khudi drew the designs for hundreds of todays that perhaps it could see a single tomorrow, an exaggeration to indicate what Khudi (Self, I-ness) has to go through of efforts in order to make the spiritual beauty of previous verses patent e.g. sacrifices, self-denial and so on.

© 2005-2002,  Dara O. Shayda