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Rahman Baba

November 22, 2009

Rahman Baba (1653-1711) is a renowned Pushto Sufi poet. He is fondly called the Nightingale of Pukhtoonkhuwa. In the preface of the book called ‘The Nightingale of Peshawar’ by Jens Enevoldsen, Professor Pareshan Khattak writes:

Pashtuns are proud of Khushal Khan Khattak, the warrior-poet of the nation, the venerate Ahmad Shah Abdali, they have a taste for Hamid Baba and Kazim Khan Shaida and they appreciate even lesser poets. But Rahman Baba rules their hearts and minds. Love of Rahman Baba is in the blood of every Pushtun. His advice is binding, his decisions are final.

Rahman Baba is often quoted by literate and illiterate people alike. His couplets could be seen painted on the local buses and rickshaws.

As Professor Preshan Khahttak explains about the poetic style of Rahman Baba:

He as a master craftsman, coveys his thoughts through word association rather than through the direct meaning of the words themselves. He was so skilled in use of his language for his words have something to say to everyone who reads them. To the uninitiated his words are simple, soft and easy. For the mystical mind they are unfathomably deep.

About the Author

Jens Kristian Enevoldsen (1922-1991) was born in Esbjerg, Denmark. He earned an MA Theology (1954) and was the Minister of churches in Erritsoe (1954-58) Tjorring (1972-81) and Utterslev (1981-89).

Jens Enevoldsen came to Pakistan in 1958. He taught European History at the University of Peshawar and was a volunteer researcher at the Pushtu Academy. Jens worked to increase the awareness of the Pashtu literature in the North West Frontier Province and the West.

With Lorens Hedelund and in cooperation with the Pashtu Academy he started mobile Pashtu Literature Service, travelling to villages throughout the NWFP.

Throughout the Frontier, Jens Enevoldsen was known by his Pushto name, Ghulam Isa, ‘Servant of Jesus’. As a padre, teacher and scholar Jens Enevoldsen sought to build bridges between his faith and that of his Muslims friends.

Taken from ‘The Nightingale of Peshawar’

I have taken that poem from the above mentioned book translated by Jens Enevoldsen.

Bad Days

When bad days come
What can the clever do?
When fate shows up
What can a wise man do?

The parents pray:

God give us offspring good!
When luck is bad
What can the parents do?

A big hand may
Set friend from friend apart
When that hand stays
What can the lovers do?

You pray, you curse
But God alone decides

If God won’t act
What can your prayers do?

By force or gold
No one has made his luck
Be weak or strong
In this, what can you do?

The moth complained
About the candle’s heat
RAHMAN, what can

Your tears, your laughter do?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2009 1:06 pm

    Thanks for blogging Rehman Baba. He left a great impact on our lives.

    Cheers

    • November 24, 2009 5:33 pm

      He is the greatest Pushtu poets! I will try to post more of his poems as well.

  2. Asif permalink
    November 24, 2009 8:36 am

    Nice work 🙂

  3. jahangir khan permalink
    January 11, 2010 7:43 am

    lovely
    marvalous

  4. abdur raziq afridi permalink
    January 14, 2010 10:43 am

    Rehman baba is one of the greatest poet in pushto society.his poetry is full of nature.
    He is a great poeter.his poetry is mainly consist of monothestic in ordinary life study.

  5. Adnan permalink
    January 14, 2010 7:32 pm

    Poets and sufi poets are always Great people and Rehman Baba is one of the Greatest Poets of all times..

    • January 16, 2010 1:58 pm

      The miscreants had bombed his tomb. That was such a shameful and despicable act.

  6. April 10, 2010 9:06 pm

    Poem by REHMAN BABA

    Lights in the world are those, who know,
    Guides of mankind are those, who know

    When looking for the road to God
    And prophet, ask from those, who know

    The alchemist in his research
    Finds sympathy with those, who know

    A desert stone will turn to gold
    In company with those, who know

    An ignorant is like a corpse,
    Like Jesus Christ are those, who know

    For by His breath the dead arose,
    The saintly breath of those, who know

    Those are not humans, only shells,
    The empty ones, who do not know

    No matter to which low degree,
    REHMAN will serve the ones, who know

    (Translated by Jens Enevoldsen. The Nightingale of Peshawar: Selection from Rehman Baba. Published by InterLit Foundation, Peshawar)

  7. kamran amir permalink
    May 7, 2010 9:07 pm

    god will give the place in the paradise ,kuday bakhalay rehman baba

  8. Qahraman kakar permalink
    December 12, 2012 4:13 pm

    laywanaee shwama nand me yar lidalay na daee
    ma da dwo jahano sardar lidalay na daee
    che paisa warsara na wii khu gharreeb wii
    ma gharib saraee ukhiyar lidalaee na daee
    har rawana khpala khwa la me niwani nasi
    pa naranj ki me annar lidalay na daee
    za Rehman da Muhammad da dar khakroob yama
    Ma da da pa shan darbar lidalay na dae
    Rehman Baba

    dair khushala swama sta pa lik da Rehman Baba pa arra , illa kawama chii yaoo pra waraka jora kay chi da Rehman baba pushtoo sherrona aoo tarjuma da hewad aoo tola duniya la para wiii 🙂 , sha wakht dar la ghwarama

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