1. In the name of God (Allah), Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
2. Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds;
3. Most Gracious, most Merciful;
4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
5. You do we worship, and Your aid do we seek.
6. Show us the straight path.
7. The path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who do not go astray.
This chapter is prescribed in the religion of Islam as an essential part of every prayer. And this chapter is what I was reminded of instantly when I first listened to the song 'Meherbaan' from the film Ada, with music by A. R. Rahman. A few notes before getting to the lyrics and translation:
1. The song Meherbaan -- unless I have the inference hopelessly wrong, which I seriously doubt -- is a 'hamd' (pronounced 'hummed', but with the 'd' as in the Hindi/Urdu word 'dus' (ten), and not as in the English word 'dud'). A hamd, in Urdu, is a poem specifically on the greatness of or in praise of God. (Contrast this with a 'naat', which is a poem on in praise of the Prophets, most often Prophet Mohammad, e.g. the song Bekas pe karam kijiye sarkar-e-Madina in Mughal-e-Azam was a plea in the form of a naat. Naats also tend to be the subject of several qawwalis we find in films).
2. You might know this already, or might have read about it in my review of the film Khuda Ke Liye, but the story of most followers of Islam of South Asian origin is that we can often read Arabic (we are taught to, specifically to be able to recite verses from the Quran) but hardly understand it. So when we learn the meanings of the scriptures, the translations that accompany the verses are often in Hindi or Urdu. And when I first was taught the translation to the Arabic equivalent of (from above):
"In the name of God (Allah), Most Gracious, Most Merciful."
I learned it was translated in Urdu as:
"Shuru Allah ke naam se, jo bada Meherbaan aur nihaayat Rehem waala hai"
See a connection to the title of the song?
3. Khuda Ke Liye was very relevant because its two primary characters (who are brothers in the film) are on two sides of this argument: does music take one closer to or away from God? In the film, this question serves as the catalyst to explaining the two major points of view on this within the Muslim population at large.
You know which side I am on. How could an awe-inspiring song like Meherbaan not provoke constructive thought and only make one appreciate the bigger perspective a little more? And I think this applies to any person who believes in any deity. As Mahatma Gandhi said, religions are different pathways to a common destination.
4. After I translated the song, I went to the translation of the first chapter of the Quran (above). The words that matched exactly are highlighted. Per this link, the lyrics to Meherbaan are written by Raqeeb Alam. A salute to the lyricist for each word used in the song. The result is a fantastic hamd. Well done!
So here is my best attempt at transcribing and translating the lyrics to Meherbaan. What do you think? Have a blessed start to the week, everyone!