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The Lips of My Beloved
A summary of Arshi's commentary on Masnavi 1.27 (plus additional notes)
In Masnavi 1.27, Maulana says:
bā lab-e damsāz-e khod gar joftami
hamchū nay man goftanīhā goftami
If I were joined to the lip of my beloved,
then, like the reed, I too would say all that needs to be said.
Joftami is the singular, second-person, past subjunctive of joftīdan, which is derived from joft, meaning pair. This is similar to the way chirāghīdan is derived from chirāgh. The letter yāʾ in goftanī is called yāʾ-e liyāqat or the yāʾ of suitableness. Thus it means lāʾiq-e goftan or worthy of saying. Damsāz means confidant or consort but also harmonious, singing together, as in naghma-e damsāz (musical harmony).
Part of the beauty of this couplet is murāʿāt al-naẓīr among lip (lab), beloved (damsāz), and reed (nay). See further ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ʿAtīq, ʿIlm al-badīʿ, 179.
Because the secrets of love are beyond the understanding of the masses, explaining them to the masses leads to misunderstanding, which turns them away from God. That is why Maulana wishes for a confidant whom he can speak to, so he can open his heart to him.
Not every truth is appropriate for every person. Emily Dickinson said:
For this reason, taqiyyah is considered an essential component of faith. For instance, Imam Baqir is reported to have said, “Taqiyyah is part of my religion and the religion of my forefathers. One who has no taqiyyah has no faith” (al-taqiyyatu min dīnī wa-dīni ābāʾī wa-lā īmān li-man lā taqiyyata lahu).
Sometimes, however, deeper truths are hidden in plain sight. In al-Kalimāt al-maknūnah, Fayz-e Kashani says:
[The Prophet and his House], may God’s blessings be upon them, uttered the core of wisdom both through candidness and through intimation, and they brought the quintessence of knowledge and that hidden within in using both allusions and unveilings, acting thus in consideration of the varying capacities for understanding in the minds of those they addressed (translated by Cyrus Zargar).
وروي عن أمير المؤمنين عليه السلام أنه قال جُمِعَ خَيْرُ الدُّنيا وَ الآخرةِ فِى كِتمانِ السِرِّ وَ مُصادِقَةُ الأخْيارِ وَ جَمِيعَ الشَّرِ فِى الأذاعَةِ وَ مُواخاةُ الأَشرار