A tour through the Semitic religions through a song

This is a rather interesting song from the annals of Hindi film music, insofar the lyricist has managed to weave in a lot of prophets in it, managing to capture a veritable slew of information within a line….. Of course, you will understand better if you have a good knowledge of Semitic religions (I definitely have and therefore I enjoyed it a lot since the first time I heard it though it took a long time before I hear it again and that too not fully)…. The song also is very apt introduction to the fundamental unity of the Semitic religions.

It is, of all places, from a rather interesting 1960s film film called Hatim Tai. For all those whose knowledge of Arab mythology begins and ends with Abou ben Adhem, I may tell them that Hatim Tai was a legendary pre-Islamic king of Arabia very well known for his generosity (as you can read in the Arabian Nights… any good unabridged version that is, or even the famous quatrain of Omar Khayyam, as translated by Edward Fitzgerald). Those lucky to have read the Qissa-e-Hatim Tai know he travelled to dangerous, distant places to solve the seven questions that he faced, in the cause of justice and truth, and to help the poor and the weak.

However, as usual, I am digressing, so I’ll come back to to the song I was talking about. The lyricist is Akhtar Romani, and it was rendered in the film, superlatively as usual, by Mohd Rafi. It may seem superflous to add but as happens in all Hindi films, this song occurs at a crucial point in the story. 

Parvardigaar-e-aalam tera hi hai sahara
Tere siwa jahaan mein koi nahi hamaara

Nuh ka safina tune toofaan se bachaya
Duniya mein tu hamesha bando ke kaam aaya
Maangi Khaleel ne jab tujhse dua Khudaya
Aatish ko tune fauran ek gulasitaan banaya
Hae ilteja ne teri rahmat ko hai ubhara

Parvardigaar-e-aalam …

Yunus ko tune machhli ke pet se nikaala
Tune hi mushqilon mein Ayub ko sambhala
Ilyaas par karam kaa tune kiya ujaala
Hai do jahaan mein Yaarab tera hi bol bala
Tune sada ilaahi bigdi ko hai sanwara

Parvardigaar-e-aalam…..

Yusuf ko tune Maula di qaid se rihaai
Yaqub ko dubara shakl-e-pisar dikhaai
Bahti hui nadi mein Musa ki rah banayi
Tune saleeb par bhi Isa ki jaan bachayi
Daata tere karam ka koi nahi kinaara

Parvardigaar-e-aalam…..

Now I can (as usual) hear the clamour for explanations.  But I recommend research. I will just make some references simple.

Nuh is Noah, Khaleel refers to Abraham in his attribute as Khaleelullah (The Friend of God), Yunus is Jonah, Ayub is Job, Ilyaas is Elijah, Yusuf is Joseph, Yaqub is Jacob, Musa is Kaleemullah (The One Who Talks to God), I mean Moses, and Isa…. well find out yourself.

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