Wasif Ali Wasif

Published on by KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ


Wasif Ali Wasif (15 January 1929 – 18 January 1993) was a teacher, writer, poet and sufi intellectual from Pakistan. He is famous for his unique literary style. Many of his APHORISMS have become proverbs in recent years. His first book "Kiran Kiran Suraj" containing these Aphorisms was published in year 1985 and remained best seller for many many years. He used to write short essays on topics like love, life, fortune, fear, hope, expectation, promise, prayer, happiness, sorrow and so on with clear objective of highlighting the true spirit of Islam. He was regular columnist of Pakistani Urdu daily newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt. His column was named "GUFTAGOO" and it started publishing in newspaper in 1984. His first column was on "Muhabbat". In his life, most of his columns were combined to form two books (Dil Darya Samandar , Qatra Qatra Qulzam" with his own selected title.
 
Later on a third book "Harf Harf Haqeeqat" containing these essays was published after he died in 1993. He did poetry in Urdu and Punjabi languages. Probably no contemporary Urdu writer is more cited in quotations than he is. Later years he used to answer questions in regular gatherings arranged every Thursday at his residence and every Friday at someone else's place in Lahore attended by the notable community. Many of these Q & A sessions were recorded in audio and were later transcribed and published as Guftgoo (talk) series. His mehfils never had a set subject nor did he delivered lecture on chosen topics. His way was to ask people if they had questions and then he used to respond to those questions in his highly original style. His thought was more on mysticism, spirituality and humanity. There are about 40 books to his credit including “Shab Chiragh”, “Kiran Kiran Sooraj”, and “Dil Darya Samundar”.

Early life

Wasif Ali Wasif was born on 15 January 1929 at District Khushab. At that time Khushab used to be a tehsil and the district was Shahpur. He belonged to a very prestigious cast Awan. His father Malik Muhammed Arif was a teacher. He received his religious education under the supervision of his father. He got primary education in a local school in Khushab. He passed Matriculation examination from Govt. High School Khushab in 1944. His maternal grandfather, a skilled educationist, was appointed as Headmaster at a Govt. school in Jhang. Therefore, he was sent to his maternal. He did F.Sc from Govt. Inter college Jhang and graduation from Govt. Degree College Jhang. He was a hardworking student who passed every examination by obtaining first division. Then he moved to Lahore; here he did M.Sc in Mathematics from Government Islamia College Civil Lines, Lahore and M.A. in English from Government College, Lahore. He was an excellent player of hockey for which he was awarded a colour. He started writing for college magazine "Ravian" when he was a student. He used to write in Urdu as well as in English.

Shrine

Wasif died on January 18, 1993. Being famous for Sufism and respected by many people, he is usually referred to as Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif. His shrine is located in Lahore at 25 Bahawalpur Road, near Chowk Chauburji. His Urs (Religious Festival) is celebrated every year from 22nd to 24th of the month of Rajab.

As a Teacher

Wasif passed PCS[disambiguation needed] exam in 1954 but did not join it and started his career as a teacher. At first he taught in some private institutions for sometime, but then he founded Lahore College for English later 'Lahore English college' in 1958. It was due to ever increasing number of students he started teaching students in two shifts.

As a Writer

Wasif Ali Wasif spent most part of the day in quiet, but when he spoke there was nothing that was not quotable. He was known as a conversationalist. Ashfaq Ahmed said, “The sentences we concoct are our piece of craft, Wasif’s lines came from somewhere else.” His prose is simpler, using figures of speech less frequently and thus sounds more natural but it has distinctive qualities of fine poetry. Renowned politician and connoisseur of art and literature, Hanif Ramay is of the view “Wasif’s prose influences like the poetry of Iqbal. Another aspect of his work is that these originally appeared as columns in an Urdu daily defying the strongly held belief that journalism cannot produce pure literature which can have a long life. Siraj Muneer, a well-read scholar and critic, has written, “We took them as columns but they were another aalam (world).” He believed that a thought can never be expressed fully in words, a reader should be alive to this fact and should try comprehending the portion that was impossible to be carried in words.
 
The critic and scholar Professor Gilani Kamran comments on his book 'Dil Darya Samundar' that Wasif Ali Wasif’s collection of essays has a pleasant rhythm of an emotionally sustained prose. The sentence moves with grace and the words have the ring of sensation. These features are only rarely found in modern Urdu prose. But whether or not one succeeds in discovering himself, or in entering the field of a higher experience, the rhythm of Wasif‘s prose certainly compensates for any loss of achievement. With this one book, it can be said with some assurance, our culture is seen to be moving out of a closed world and entering an age of self discovery where single individual becomes the object of new orientation and also the locus of a new destiny." Wasif Ali Wasif has a diverse following ranging from high judiciary to vendors. One of his followers, Government College University Chief Librarian Abdul Waheed, titled him Saadi[disambiguation needed] of present times. He said, "Wasif’s writings were eye-opening but his conversations were even more deeply thought out."
The following is a rough translation of Wasif Ali Wasif’s essay called Firaq o Wisal (Separation and Union), ” As long as man was in the moolight he desired to reach the moon…there was bliss in the moonlight but the moon itself was distant.
 
Moonlight was near but man longed for the moon…man reached the moon but there he was without the moonlight. If one reaches the moon one does not find moonlight any longer and if one is in moonlight one does not find the moon. It is a strange fact that one is only because of the other…one is a sign of the other yet both are forever separate. If the Beloved is the Moon, moonlight is His remembrance. When the Beloved is present His remembrance is not and when His remembrance is present the Beloved is not. Proximity to one is distance from the other, Union with one is separation from the other. Thus union is hidden in every separation and separation in every union."

As a Sufi

Wasif was indeed a dervish and sufi and in the final part of his life acted as a murshid to many. Qudratullah Shahab, Ashfaq Ahmed and Hanif Ramay attended lectures of Wasif. It was in the last writing of Qudratullah Shahab which appeared in the Urdu newspaper Daily Jang describing that if a person reaches a crossroads of his life, he can find a right path through Wasif.

Quotes

His quotes include:[citation needed]
  • Belief in God, without belief in the Prophet, would still be unbelief.
  • When the eye becomes the heart, the heart becomes the eye.
  • The world is ancient, but it has not lost its newness.
  • A man is happy who is happy with his Naseeb.
  • Do not destroy anybody's peace. You will find peace.
  • Democracy is the name of the period between two martial laws.
  • Remove the conflict between your desires and your duties, peace will come.
  • When the child is ill, the mother will know how to pray.
  • Investigation after declaration of submission leads astray.
  • Death is the protector of life and life is the process of death.
  • Life is not only Newton, it is also Milton.
  • He who has no light in his heart, what will he gain from the festival of lamps.
  • A more fearful thing than death is the fear of death.
  • Students are the real inheritors of country.
  • The period before the dawn of knowledge is called the age of darkness.
  • Man neither loses nor gains in this world. He just comes here and departs.
  • When Allah accepts repentance for sin, He wipes out the very memory of sin.
  • One who has no beloved in the country can never love the country.
  • He who is drowned in sin, is devoid of faith in prayer.

Works

  • Shab Chiragh (Urdu Poetry) 1978
  • Kiran Kiran Sooraj (Aphorism) 1983
  • The Beaming Soul (English Version of Kiran Kiran Sooraj) 198?
  • Dil Darya Samundar (Essays) 1987
  • Qatra Qatra Qulzum (Essays) 1989
  • Ocean in Drop (English version Of Qatra Qatra Qulzam) 19??
  • Harf Harf Haqeeqat (Essays) 1994
  • Bharay Bharolay (Punjabi Poetry) 1994
  • Shab Raaz (Urdu Poetry) 1994
  • Baat Say Baat (Aphorism) 1995
  • Gumnam Adeeb (Letters) 19??
  • Mukalama (Dialogue,Speeches & Interview) 19??
  • Ziker-e-Habeeb (Na'tia Poetry) 2004
  • Dareechay (Aphorism) 2004
  • Guftgoo (Questions & Answers Series - 28 volumes)
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