Mere Rashk-e Qamar: Envy of the Moon

AI-generated art depicting a lightning strike during a full moon

About the Poem

AuthorFana Buland Shehri
Time Period20th century CE
Metermutadaarik musamman muzaa’af saalim
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“Mere Rashk-e Qamar” is an Urdu ghazal that was penned by the Pakistani poet Fana Buland Shehri (?-1986) and performed as a qawwali in the 1980s by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997). Although there is not much information available about the poet’s life, some other famous poems are also attributed to him, including “Aankh Uthi Muhabbat Ne Angraa’i Li”. “Mere Rashk-e Qamar” was generally not one of the most famous qawwalis by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, but it has gained in popularity after his death, particularly after the 2013 A1melodymaster remix and 2017 Bollywood version (links below). 

Thematically, “Mere Rashk-e Qamar” deals with the overwhelming experience of coming face-to-face with the beloved. It contains quite a lot of strong visual imagery related to passion, including the moon, lightning, fire, and goblets of wine. In Urdu poetry, meeting with the beloved is often what the speaker yearns for – but the fulfillment of that wish can be a double-edged sword. Here, the beloved is a cup-bearer, who intoxicates the speaker with her beauty. By the end, the speaker literally passes away from the intensity of the encounter. On a spiritual level, this is reminiscent of the story of the prophet Moses’ meeting with God on Mount Sinai, in which he faints from seeing just a small glimpse of God’s form. 

An enjoyable feature of this ghazal is the double utilization of the takhallus (تخلّص), which is a poet’s pen name that usually appears in the last couplet of the poem. While it is often just the poet’s name, sometimes the takhallus can have meaning as a regular word as well. In “Mere Rashk-e Qamar”, the poet Fana included his takhallus twice in the line: “ai fana shukr hai aaj ba’ad-e fana / us ne rakHli mire pyaar ki aabroo”. Fana is not only the author’s name, but it also means annihilation, death, or demise. This adds another meaning to that line, which we can see in the English translation: “O Fana (O death), today I am grateful that after my demise, she has maintained the honor of my love.”

Featured Rendition

Original recording of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Text, Transliteration, and Translation

میرے رشکِ قمر تو نے پہلی نظر جب نظر سے ملائی مزہ آ گیا

mere rashk-e qamar tu ne pehli nazar / jab nazar se milaa’i maza aa gaya
O my envy of the moon, when your eyes first met mine, it was a delight!

برق سی گر گئی کام ہی کر گئی آگ ایسی لگائی مزہ آ گیا

barq si gir ga’i kaam hi kar ga’i / aag aisi lagaa’i maza aa gaya
Lightning struck and destroyed me; you ignited such a fire that it was a delight!

جام میں گھول کر حُسن کی مستیاں چاندنی مسکرائی مزہ آ گیا

jaam meN gHol kar husn ki mastiyaaN / chaandni muskuraa’i maza aa gaya
Mixing beauty’s mischief into my drink, the moonlight smiled – what a delight!

چاند کے سائے میں اے مرے ساقیا تو نے ایسی پلائی مزہ آ گیا

chaand ke saa’e meN ai mire saaqiya / tu ne aisi pilaa’i maza aa gaya
In the moon’s shadow, O my cup-bearer, you poured me such a wine that it was a delight!

نشہ شیشے میں انگڑائی لینے لگا بزمِ رنداں میں ساغر کھنکنے لگے

nasha sheeshe meN angRaa’i lene laga / bazm-e rindaaN meN saaghar kHanakne lage
Intoxication spread through the bottle, and goblets clinked in the party of debauchees.

میکدے پہ برسنے لگیں مستیاں جب گھٹا گھر کے چھائی مزہ آ گیا

maikade pe barasne lageeN mastiyaaN / jab gHaTa gHir ke chHaa’i maza aa gaya
Mischief descended upon the tavern, and when storm clouds poured down, it was a delight!

بےحجبانہ وہ سامنے آ گئے اور جوانی جوانی سے ٹکرا گئی

be-hijaabaana vo saamne aa ga’e / aur javaani javaani se TakRa ga’i
She came before me unveiled, and her youthful splendor collided with mine.

آنکھ اُن کی لڑی یوں مری آنکھ سے دیکھ کر یہ لڑائی مزہ آ گیا

aankH un ki laRi yooN miri aankH se / dekH kar ye laRaa’i maza aa gaya
Her eyes struck my eyes in such a way that seeing this collision was a delight!

آنکھ میں تھی حیاہ ہر ملاقات پر سرخ عارض ہوئے وصل کی بات پر

aankH meN tHi haya har mulaaqaat par / surkh ’aariz hu’e vasl ki baat par
Modesty was in her eyes every time we met; her cheeks turned red when I spoke of our union.

اُس نے شرما کے میرے سوالات پہ ایسے گردن جھکائی مزہ آ گیا

us ne sharma ke mere savaalaat pe / aise gardan jHukaa’i maza aa gaya
Blushing at my questions, she lowered her head in such a way that it was a delight!

شیخ صاحب کا ایمان مٹ ہی گیا دیکھ کر حسنِ ساقی پگھل ہی گیا

shaikh saahib ka eemaan miT hi gaya / dekH kar husn-e saaqi pigHal hi gaya
The shaikh’s faith was obliterated; upon seeing the cup-bearer’s beauty, it melted away.

آج سے پہلے یہ کتنے مغرور تھے لٹ گئی پارسائی مزہ آ گیا

aaj se pehle ye kitne maghroor tHe / luT ga’i paarsaa’i maza aa gaya
Before today, how proud he was; now his holiness has been ruined – what a delight!

اے فناؔ شکر ہے آج بعدِ فنا اُس نے رکھلی مرے پیار کی آبرو

ai fana shukr hai aaj ba’ad-e fana / us ne rakHli mire pyaar ki aabroo
O Fana, today I am grateful that after my demise, she has maintained the honor of my love.

اپنے ہاتھوں سے اُس نے مری قبر پر چادرِ گل چڑھائی مزہ آ گیا

apne haatHoN se us ne miri qabr par / chaadar-e gul chaRHaa’i maza aa gaya
With her own hands, she spread a sheet of flowers over my grave – what a delight!

Further Reading and References

  • On the website Sufinama, you can read this poem and other works by the poet Fana Buland Shehri. [link]

Further Listening

  • Remix by A1melodymaster from 2013 [link]
  • Rahat Fateh Ali Khan version, released in 2017 for the Bollywood movie Baadshaho [link]
  • Tulsi Kumar version, released in 2017 for the Bollywood movie Baadshaho [link]
  • Baba Sehgal version, released in 2017 [link]

Suggested Citation

Shad, Hamza. “Mere Rashk-e Qamar: Envy of the Moon”. The Khusrau Circle. 12 February 2023.