من كنت مولا

من كنت مولا فعلي مولا

I found out what that actually means, finally.

The first time I heard those words was when sung by Abida Parveen on the album entitled “Ishq” and, with my fabulous Arabic chops, I translated that “Who am I, O Lord?” I’m an idiot. Not because of my Arabic skills, which aren’t great, but I knew that; but because I should have known that Sufi songs quote things, which means that this would have to be something oft-said.

It’s a hadith of the Prophet and it means, idiomatically rendered, “Ali is the lord of whoever takes me as lord.” Lord with a small L. It is a well-reported hadith, interpreted in Shi’i tradition to be a clear indication that the Prophet designated Ali as his successor.

Stupid, stupid Kyla.

But, sue me, it was the way she sang it.

من كنت ُ مولا فهذا علي مولا

در بھی میں دربان بھی میں ہاں

Stumble it!

2 comments ↓

#1 a. on 03.05.07 at 9:24 pm

yes, I can see you right now, with both hands questioning, palms turned up, in a loose but controlled motion that is kyla, saying “who am I lord?”

#2 zuhaer on 06.16.10 at 6:18 am

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