Born: 15 January 1929
Date of Wisaal: 18 January 1993
Urs: 22-24 of Rajab
Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) was a teacher, writer, poet and sufi from Pakistan. He was famous for his unique literary style. He used to write short pieces of prose on topics like love, life, fortune, fear, hope, expectation, promise, prayer, happiness, sorrow and so on. He was the regular columnist of Pakistan Urdu Newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt. In his life most of his columns were combined to form books with his own selected title. He did poetry in Urdu and Punjabi languages. Probably no contemporary Urdu writer is more cited in quotations than he is. Some of hi sessions were recorded in audio and were later published as Guftgoo (talk) series He has left behind over 35 books to his credit and his thought was more on mysticism, spirituality and humanity.
Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) was born in 15 January, 1929 at District Khushab. 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 Jang. 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 obtained MSC in Mathematics from Government Islamia College, Civil Lines, Lahore and Masters in English from Government College, Lahore.
Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) died on January 18, 1993. Being famous for Sufism and respected by many people, he is usually referred to as Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A). His shrine is located in Lahore at 25 Bahawalpur Road, near Chawk Chuburjee. His Urs (Religious Festival) is celebrated every year from 22nd to 24th of the month of Rajab.
As a Teacher:
Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) did his master in mathematics. At first he taught in some private institutions for sometime, but then he founded Lahore College for English later ‘Lahore English college’ in 1958. In a short span of time his fame as a very able, benign, competent and dutiful teacher spread around. It was due to ever increasing number of students he started teaching students in two shifts.
As a Writer:
Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) was so much given to silence. He spent most part of the day in this tranquillity, but when he spoke there was nothing that was not quotable. His written and spoken words are quotable for their content as well as their construction. Master of aphorism, he has almost a miraculous ability to capture a rainbow of meaning in a few dewdrops of well chosen words. Of this it were writings in newspaper that secured him a permanent place in the gallery of stylist prose writers. Though his main claim to fame is his writings, a select circle knows that he was an equally great conversationalist. Ashfaq Ahmed, the conversationalist par excellence of our time has 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.
Hanif Ramay is of the view that “Wasif’s prose influences like the poetry of Iqbal. Another interesting aspect of his literary masterpieces 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 has written, “We took them as columns but they were another aalam (world).”
A discussion of his peculiar style would be incomplete without mentioning that all his writings have a lot between the lines too. 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.
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.”
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 moonlight 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.”
Few original thinkers have expressed so lofty thoughts in so simple a style. He is as such a common man’s philosopher.
As a Sufi:
Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) was indeed a dervesh and sufi and in the final part of his life acted as a murshid to many.He was a person in possession of great knowledge and wisdom. He considered himself as a continuation of the great Sufi tradition, imparting useful knowledge, strong faith, hope and love to the ailing hearts. Qudratullah Shahab, Ashfaq Ahmed and Hanif Ramay attended lectures of Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A). 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 Ali Wasif.
His messages are easy to understand and simple to act upon. A brief selection of his famous quotes is presented below:
- Belief in God, without belief in the Prophet (SAWW), 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.
Though translation from the original Urdu text certainly reduces the literary beauty and flow of the words quoted above but still they show in their terseness the quality of his thought and diction.
Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) on the cover of his published book “Dil Darya Samundar”.
- Shab Chiragh (Urdu Poetry) 1979
- 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) 1993
- Bharay Bharolay (Punjabi Poetry) 1993
- Baat Say Baat (Aphorism) 1993
- Shab Raaz (Urdu Poetry) 1994
- Gumnam Adeeb (Letters) 19??
- Mukalama (Dialogue,Speeches & Interview) 19??
- Ziker-e-Habeeb (SAWW) (Na’tia Poetry) 2004
- Darichay (Aphorism) 2004
- Guftgoo (Questions & Answers Series – 26 volumes)
View Google Map of Hazrat Wasif Ali Wasif (R.A) Grave
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Wasif (Reh) kay wasf wasf main hain bay shumar wasf
Aahl e nazar ki payas hai Wasif (Reh) hai jis ka nam