A night that made the sky assembly-adorning (resplen­dent with stars),
The night, through the splendour (of the stars) laid claim to (being) the day:

The canopy (the seventh heaven) of seven kings (the seven planets)—the throne;
The jewel (of the stars) arrayed in (its own) silk of Chín (the azure sky):


As the couplet stands, rá is understood after asmán. Otherwise the first line will be:—

A night,—which the sky made assembly-adorning (with stars).

For a curious account of the “night-journey” see:—Prideaux, “Life of Mahomet,” pp. 41-51; Muir's “Life of Mahomet,” ii., pp. 219-222; D'Herbelot, Art. “Borák”; Lane, “Modern Egyptians,” ii., pp. 225; The Ḳurán, Sura XVII.

Of those green wearing (angels and Húrís) of the garden of Paradise, the chief (Rizván, the porter)
Adorned with verdure the sowing and the sown-field:

(On such a night) Muhammad—who was the Sultan of this cradle (the earth),
(Who) was heir-apparent of so many Khulafā (prophets)—


Opened the mouth of the musk-bladder (of his body) in the temple of Jerusalem;
Placed his head at (went to) the marge (of the sky), from the navel of the earth (Makka):

Gave himself freedom from the bond (affections) of the world;
Became intimate in friendship with the bearers of God's throne:

Bound up his chattels (departed) from this street (the world) of seventy paths (many sects),
Tent pitched at the seventh Heaven:

Heart disengaged from the work of the nine closets (amorous affairs);
To the nine closets of the sky (the nine Heavens) hastened:

He leaped from this dome (lust of the world) of four shackles (elements);
Urged to the lofty seventh sphere his steed!


A Burak—the hastener, lightning-like, beneath him,
His housings, like the sun, bathed in light:


“Sar-i-náfa kushadan” signifies—mu'aar kardan, to beperfume.

“Sar-i-máfa” may signify—

Muhammad's mouth, which, at Jerusalem, opened in discourses and words of the prophets.

“Náf-i-zamín” signifies properly—Makka or the Ka'ba; but it may here mean Jerusalem.

From Makka, Muhammad went to Jerusalem; he perfumed it with his corporeal odour; and thence went to the skies.

The perfume departed not for three days.

A star, Canopus, in the zenith of Arabia (Makka) shined!
From him (Burak), the perfumed leather of Yaman obtained colour:

A body of silk (soft)! nay, a hoof of pearl (rounded);
A mover (smooth and swift) like pearls on a silken thread:


The star, Suhayl, begins to rise from the south of Yaman, when the sun is in Leo; (the beast) Buráḳ is likened to it. Adhím is a perfumed leather (bulghár) of Yaman which by the rays of Suhayl acquires a red colour and an agreeable perfume. The phrase, perhaps, refers to— The bringing of the faith of Islám to Yaman.


Buráḳ was silken as to body, silvern as to hoof; and to such a degree swift moving that nothing could equal him.

Jalalu-d-dín in his commentaries on the Kurán thus reports from Muhammad's own declarations—

I came riding on Al Buráḳ, an animal of a white colour, greater than an ass and smaller than a mule, with cloven hoofs: and he bore me until I came to the Temple of Jerusalem, where I fastened him to the ring to which the prophets of old fastened him.

The author of the Mu,áriju-l-Nubuwat says:—

Then I beheld an animal standing larger than an ass, but less than a mule; the face resembling that of a man, and the ears those of the elephant; his feet like the horse's and his neck like the camel's; his breast as a mule's, and his tail like a camel's; his legs those of the ox with cloven hoofs. On his thighs he had two wings; when these were expanded they included between them all from east to west, and when he drew them in they fitted close to his side.

When Jibráil (on him be peace) on the night of Muhammad's ascent wished to bring a beautiful and graceful steed from paradise, the Angels refused. Hence for Muhammad's riding he chose Buráḳ, the meanest of all the steeds in Paradise.

Buráḳ said:—Where takest thou me? On hearing Muhammad's name, he became greatly pleased and came forth; but at the time of mounting he delayed and besought a covenant with the prophet, saying:—

In the plain of resurrection be pleased to ride me for the sake of interceding for the people.

The prophet consented.

Some say that Buráḳ refused to let Muhammad mount till he had interceded with God on his behalf.

They say that “lu,lu sham” (a flower beautiful and soft) should be substituted for “lu,lu sum.” The first line will then read:—

A body of silk! nay the (delicate flower) lu,lu sham.

Not a (musk-) deer,—yet a navel, full of musk;
Teeth, deer-like, pearl-studded.

Of more pleasant rein (action) than that which comes into the imagination;
And of more swift motion than that which the arrow has from the bow.


The imagination (of the Sage) loftily moving, the swiftest hastener,
Remained seventy paces behind him (Burak).

For world-subduing, angel-like (in power);
Not a World-Subduer; but, a World-Bearer (Muhammad-Bearer).

That night, why became he intoxicated with his (mean) night-colour (blackness)?
(Because) such a great night-lamp (Muhammad) came, like the moon (swiftly), to his grasp.


“Náfa” here signifies—Náf, há being redundant, as Khána for Khán.

Even as the deer's mouth is full of teeth, Buráḳ's mouth was set with pearls and jewels.

In the Pahlavi language, dandán-i-áhú signifies—Asmán, the sky.

The second line would then read:—

The beast Buráḳ was adorned with pearls, as the sky with stars.


The first line puts a question; the second gives an answer.

“Shab rang” signifies—A black jewel of little value called shaba; a black horse called Kumayt; a flower black and yellow; a thing of little value.

Shab chirágh signifies—A beautiful jewel of great value from the island Bahrayn, which at night kindles like a lamp.

Of all the heavenly bodies, the moon, “the courier of the sky,” is the swiftest mover.

Notwithstanding his night hue, or blackness (which is a mean colour), that Buráḳ became pleased with himself, saying:—“O happy Fortune of mine that on a mean steed like me that Prophet (Muhammad), come (swiftly) like the moon, will sit!”

Again—That Buráḳ of night hue, in the darkness of night be­came intoxicated (joyous), and had no thought of the darkness and went straight; because the jewel of the lamp (Muhammad) moon-like all luminous came to his hand.

That Buráḳ, notwithstanding being of little value, became, by Muham-mad's riding, joyous and leaped, saying:—Yes; a priceless night jewel, like the shining moon, has come. For when the mean beggar finds a priceless jewel he becomes joyous; and from much joy, his foot comes not to the earth

The first line may be rendered—That night-grazer (Burák) became intoxicated with his night colour.

The couplet may be—

That night,—with his (mean) night-colour, why became intoxicated

That great night-lamp (Buráḳ), come (from Paradise) like the moon (swiftly), to the hand (of Muhammad)?

He so proceeded that, from the impetuosity of his pace,
His being at rest surpassed his being in motion (so that none knew of his going):

He extended his pace to vision's limit (such was his stride)!
Verily he placed his own foot on vision.


The Prophet, on that Khatlan steed, the road-traveller,
Brought forth dust from (trampled) the cystalline sphere (the sky).

Both he (Muhammad), the road-recogniser, and also the steed (Burák), the road-traveller;
O excellent steed! O excellent Rider!

When, from this monastery (of the world) he attempted the door (of the sky),
The sky, by his hand, made fresh its patched garment (of Faith).

For him, the blackness of the sky became a rose-garden,—
For him, the luminous ones (the stars) luminous of eye become.


The fowl so long as its flight reaches not the limit of swiftness, beats its wings; but when it reaches the height of flight, it beats not its wings and shows no motion.


Khatlán is a district in Badakhshán, famous for its breed of horses.

“Gird bar áwardan” here signifies—lakad kob sákhtan, to kick; pá,e mál kardan, to tread under foot.


Khirḳa rá táza kardan” signifies—

Libás-i-tázagí yáftan; khirka,e khiláfat va naumurídí yáftan. In every sky is a door.

Within that screen, (God) that was free from stain,
It is not proper to go, skirt dust-stained (with sin).


He first came to the Ocean of seven stars (the seven Heavens);
Washed his foot in the seven earthly waters:

Let go his chattels (human qualities) on the stars (the seven planets);
Gave the cradle of sleep (of carelessness) to the moon.

Broke after that the pen on (entrusted writing to) Mercury (the Secretary of the Sky);
—For the one, who can neither read nor write, takes not up the pen—

Gave the smiling (open) countenance of disposition to Venus;
Gave, thankfully, a round cake (orb) to the Sun:


It appears that Muhammad's ascent to the throne of God was in the spirit, not in the body. See couplet 31.

Couplet 25 appears to contradict couplet 24. Niámí's custom is first to mention the abstract (khuláșa) of the tales (ḳișaș), by way of sum­mary (ijmál), and afterwards to work out the details.

See Canto xxiii., couplet 18; xxiv. 74.


“Haft-áb-i-khákí” signifies—bahár-i-sab'a-i-iḳálím-i-sab'a, the seven seas of the seven chimes.

Each of the seven Heavens (like to a sea) is the place of one of the seven planets; every star in it is like unto a pearl.

The second line may be—

(a) He washed his dusty foot in seven waters.

(b) He washed the dust of his foot in seven waters.


The first line gives the summary of the details mentioned in couplets 26 to 32.

The moon, in waning and waxing, has in tropical climates the form and the position of a cradle. Hence, Muhammad is said to have given it a cradle.

The effects of the moon in producing sleep are well-known; since it is the “courier of the Sky,” it often sleeps not.


Muslims call Muhammad, who could neither read nor write—Nabíy Ummíy, the Illiterate Prophet.

“Kalam shikastan” signifies—pesh kash kardan; guzashtan-i-șifat-i-kitábat.


“Náhed”=Zuhra=lu,lu,e falak, Venus; or the pearl or the minstrel of the sky.

“alák abi'at” signifies—

Kushádagí,e ab'; imbisá ki muḳtaí,e abí'at-i-basharí ast.

Gave the fire of his own wrath to Mars;
—Because, anger went not farther in that path (to God's throne).—


Let loose self-adornment on Jupiter;
Fixed another signet-stone on his ring (of command):

Gave the blackness of the book (of human letters) to Saturn;
Took only the pure jewel (of his own purified Soul) with himself:

Prepared for every stage (constellation) a present (of his corporeal qualities),
To such an extent that, with a heart alone (purged from dross), he remained.

The souls of the Prophets his dust become (followed in his rear);
Each one hand-fixed (in attendance) in his saddle-strap.

He urged—height on height, mountain on mountain;
Caused his steed to leap (from) hill to hill.


Mars is called—turk yá jallád-i-falak, the soldier or the executioner of the sky.


Jupiter, the judge of the sky, is self-adorning and self-fashioning. For a judge it is proper to bind the turban and to display pomp.

The second line may be—

Jupiter fixed another signet-stone on his ring (of command).


To Saturn he gave the arts of reading and writing (external arts).


“Nuzul” may signify—tuhfa, a present. If it be so, couplets 26 to 31 will stand as they are. If it mean—food, etc., provided for a guest, Muhammad must be regarded as the guest, not the host, of the seven planets. The first line of this couplet will then read—

Gave up (abandoned) the gifts (presented to him by the seven planets) at every stage.

In this second rendering there is a difficulty—

“Ba chíze pardákhtan” signifies—to be engaged in a matter.

“Az chíze pardákhtan” signifies—to be disengaged from a matter; to abandon it.

Hence, “ba nuzule pardákhtan” will signify—to be engaged in ar­ranging a present.


“Kamar,” “k??h,” “girewa,” each here signifies—the sky.

Muhammad's ascent was made in such a way, as a lofty hill on another hill climbs. He passed from sky to sky, till he reached the throne of God.


In message-service for him, Khizr and Músa running;
What shall I say? Masíha (the Messiah) running in his suite!

In the limit (of time), in which they express a breath;
Nay; in which they express a single eye-torment (eye-twinkling),—

He passed beyond the roof of the sky;
(And) folded the leaf (page) of earth and Time.

From the speed of his motion,—saw not
Any of those around him, his dust (of flight).

In that excursion, from his arrow (Burák) full of power,
The sky remained behind many bow-shots.


In far observatories (the lofty heavens), his (luminous) body wove
Upon the spirits, bodies (garments) of light.


It is said that—Jesus proceeded on his own ass. Hárún was the eldest brother of Moses.


Three renderings are given—

Na bal chasm-zakhme

Na yak chasm-zakhme

Na dam balki chashme.

“Zakhm-i-chashme” signifies—ásíb-i-chashm, eye-calamity, fatal misfortune.


“Zamán” signifies—the space between earth and heaven, the field of day and night.


When a man runs swiftly on the tips of his toes he raises no dust.


See Canto iii., couplet 24.

“Partab” may signify—a featherless arrow that falls farther than a feathered one; powerful.

The first line may be—

In that excursion from his arrow (body) full of power.


“Rașad” may signify—information-takers, who sit at the head of the road; the place of their sitting; a lofty platform which the sages of past times built with a height of seven hundred yards (gaz) on mountain-tops, whence they viewed the rising and the setting of the stars, and other heavenly actions.

In that road (of excursion) void of the path of wandering,
Both his load (of self) and his steed (Burák) left.

The angel Jibrá,il, by his path, wing-shed (impotent);
The angel Isráfil from that contest (of swift flight) fled.

The abode “Rafraf” (of Israfil), by farsangs passed;
He made rhythmical sounds (in praise and prayer) in that (higher) screen.

From the door of Jibrá,il's abode to the pillar of God's throne,
Step by step, the carpet—his purity cast,


He passed beyond the council place of the bearers of God's throne;
Came to Daraj, and travelled (completed) the stage.

The region of sides (dimensions) reached the limit (ended);
The cutting (ending) reached the compass of Time (God's throne).

The earth-born-one (Muhammad), to the sky hastened,
Earth and sky hurled back;


“Be ráh az áwáragí” may mean—

A road far from confusion or wandering;

A road in which is no path of wandering;

A road which is roadless, or in which travelling is difficult.


“Rafraf” may signify—a valuable couch or a decorated litter, which appeared after Burák was left at the Sudratu-l-Muntahạ (Jibrá,il's abode), and on which Muhammad ascended to God's throne.

One farsang=3 karsh=6 miles.


“'Ușmat” signifies—tanhá,í va tajríd.

The second line may be—

Step by step, the Carpet of Purity, (God) cast.


“Daraj” may mean—a place in Paradise; the splendour of God.

Having travelled all the stages, Muhammad reached the precincts of God's throne.


When Muhammad, beloved of God in eternity without beginning, approached the throne of God, dimensions of space ceased, and the compass of Time terminated; because the sides ended in Heaven's convex surface.

Caused his solitary journeying (free from corporeal affec­tions) to reach to such a place,
That of his existence naught remained with him.

When he became a dancer (traveller), in the path of non­existence,
He came out from his own existence.


In that circle of revolution of its path,
From (by) his head (-place), appeared his foot-place.

Boldly, he travelled that path (by God's throne) without nadir, or zenith;
—For, in a circle, is neither highth nor depth.—

They (the ministers of Fate and Destiny) uplifted the veil of (God's) majesty;
They made the closet (God's throne) void of strangers (angels and spirits).

In that place, in which thought has seen no place,
Prayer (came) from Muhammad; and acceptance (of prayer) from God.

A voice that proceeded without the agency (of the tongue) he heard,
The countenance of God, fit to be beheld,—he beheld.


The second line means—In observing the majesty of God, he became senseless.


“Nístí” signifies—lá makán; faná fi lláh.

This couplet explains couplet 48.

Couplet 48 describes the passing away of lusts and human qualities; couplet 49, the passing away of possible existence (hastí-i-imkání).


In the first line o refers to dá,ira; in the second it refers in both cases to Muhammad.

When limit remained not, sublimity and profundity [zenith (fauḳ) and nádír (taht)] became one, and difference between the motion of hand and of foot ceased.

When he passed beyond the skies, depth (zer) and height (bálá) became one; and so beginning and end. See couplet 41.

For the use of the word “highth,” see Mason's “English Grammar,” 21st edition, page 125.


Of the Presence possessed of majesty (God)—he beheld so much that
Neither was side on that side, nor (external) form on this side.

His body, all eager like the narcissus become,—
A single thorn (prohibitor) around him wandered not.

In that narcissus-form, which that garden (Muhammad) had,
Perhaps his eyes possessed the collyrium of Mázágh!

He passed by the tray of intimate friendship (with God);
He both enjoyed; and, also, made the gift (of Islam) to us special ones (true Muslims).

His heart took the splendour of God's grace;
Behold the great orphan (Muhammad)—what sovereignty he seized!


Towards the earth, he came face-illumined;
Every science of divine philosophy learned:

Went (to God's throne) and returned, in such a way,
As comes into the imagination of none.

From the impetuosity with which, lightning-like, he measured the road (travelled),
The heat of (arising from) his sleeping departed not from the sleeping-place.


With the eye of the head, not of the heart, Muhammad beheld God's Court, sideless, formless. In the Makhzanu-l-asrár, Niámí says—

With the other eye Muhammad gazed;

Nay, he saw by that (eye) which he had in his head.

That side refers to God; this side to Muhammad, whose body was all light.


The narcissus, whose body is all eye, has no thorn.


Haraf” signifies—araf.

The blessed Kurán says:—“The Prophet's eye looked not at any other thing and committed not disobedience. All things glanced at the Prophet; but he regarded none save God.

The spirits gazed so much at Muhammad that he became of narcissus-form (all eye).

Of the night—I know not what the state was.
Was it a night; or, indeed, was it a year?

Since it is possible that, in a moment, our (human) souls
Circulate (asleep or awake) around the World,


His body, which is more pure than our souls,
If it went and came (around the World) in a moment,—it is allowable (possible).

Best,—if I offer the jewel of my soul for him,
(And) exercise praise-uttering, in regard to his four friends (“companions”).

The jewel (of praise)-purchasers are four; and the jewels (of praise) four;
To the seller (me, the Praiser), what business with exag­geration?

Although, I am firm of foot, in love for 'Ali,
I am not also void of love for 'Umar.

In this way, in this (my) eye of luminous brain,
Abu Bakr ('Umar) is the (flaming) candle; and 'Usman ('Ali), the (shining) lamp.


In the world are four jewels, Muhammad's four companions—

șidḳ, truthAbú Bakrhaiyá, modesty'Usmán
'adl, justice 'Umarshujá'at, braveryAlí Murtaạ

“Faúl” is plural of faal, augmentation, excellences; it here means a chatterer.


Couplets 67 and 68 were, apparently, written after the body of the text had been composed.

If one asks:—Why Niámí gave not precedence to 'Umar? it may be said that precedence of mention is not a proof of excellence. Otherwise, it would be necessary to prefer 'Umar to Abú Bakr, of whom no mention is made till the 69th couplet.

The contention of the Sunní and the Shí'ah sects of Muslims is in regard to 'Umar and 'Alí.

Couplets 66 and 70 are in praise of the four companions.

“I'shk” and “mihr” signify—religious love, and nothing more.


With these four Sultans of Darvesh name,
Four takbirs (the end) of the empire (of the khiláfat of Islám) became completed.

O excellent Leader of those sent (prophets)!
The Accepter of excuse (for sin) of those fallen (in adoration of God):

The first great standard, in the beginning of Creation;
The last great sign, in the end of Time.

Thou art the Chosen-One of both Worlds;
If anyone be like thee, thou art indeed that one.

Thou art the key of the lock of treasures,
The door of good and of bad made apparent to us.


Night and day, without our covenanting,
The decree struck—“O my Follower! O my Follower!”

Of the meanest of the followers of thy dust (path),—I
Notwithstanding this (my) weakness (in the faith of Islam) —the great prey of thy saddle-strap.


“Takbír,” magnifying God by saying, “Allah akbar” (God is greatest) here signifies—Khátima, kar, the end; namáz-i-janáza, funeral prayer.

“Daulat” signifies—khiláfat-i-dín-i-Muhammad; asbáb-i-dunyaví.

The four sultans of darvesh-form recited the takbír (the funeral prayer) over the empire, thinking it dead. Whatever are the conditions of world-abandonment, performing pilgrimage, fighting against infidels, and making the five benedictions—these four successors of Muhammad performed.


Muhammad was created before all; and will be the first to rise.


“Ganjínahá” here signifies—

sharí'at, the laws of Muhammadhaḳíḳat, truth
aríḳat, the way of Godma'rifat, the knowledge of God.

Or it may mean—amr-i-haḳḳ-a'álạ; ahkám-i-halál va harám; awáb va 'azáb-i-bandagán.


“Be zimmatí” signifies—be'ahd va paimán búdan, the being without covenant.

“Zimmati” signifies—șáhib-i-zimmat.


They fasten not feeble game with game-cords to the saddle.

Nizami, who became city-bound (captive) in Ganja-city,
Let him not be portionless of thy blessing!


“Shahr-band” signifies—one who, by the magistrate's order, is for­bidden to leave the town.

Niámí was born at Ganja, a town (on the river Ganja flowing into the Kur or Cyrus), four days distant east of Erivan (near which the Armenians say Noah planted his vineyard), which abounds with vineyards, gardens, and fruit-trees; and has a pleasant climate. Hamd Allah, who died in A.D. 1349 (A.H. 750), in his work “Mizhatu-l-ḳulúb,” relates that this town, founded by Alexander the Great, was rebuilt by Kay Kubád (Dijoces); that it was formerly very great and well-populated; and that remains of some of the buildings are still to be seen.

M. Klaproth in his description of the Russian Provinces between the Caspian and the Black Sea, says:—

“Ganja, a very beautiful city, was long governed by a khan who was vassal to Heracleus, King of Georgia. When the Russians took possession of this kingdom, Javát, the khan, refused to submit, Prince Tzitzianof marched against him at the head of three thousand men.

“On the 15th of January, 1804, he took the town by assault; the khan was shot. The officers obtained much booty, and called the town after the Empress Elizabeth, Elizabetopol.

“This town was once as great as it was beautiful. One may yet behold the ruins of a great number of houses and káraván sárá,es; and, at a distance, a sepulchral edifice in stone, of which the vault is beautifully and artistically constructed.

“The population consists of Turkomans, with a few Armenians.”

Sir John Chardin (circa A.D. 1672) says:—

“The complexion of the Georgians is most beautiful; you can scarce see an ill-favoured person among them; and the women are so exquisitely handsome that it is hardly possible to look upon them and not be in love with them.”

Sikandar appears to have been of the same opinion. See Cantos xxxvii., xxxviii. and xxxix., describing Noshába, the Queen of Burdá, in the vicinity of Ganja.

“Ganja” (compounded of ganj, treasure, and the obscure há) signi­fies—treasure-place.

Sikandar, on his way to the East, buried the treasure of his army at Ganja and returned by a different route. It must, therefore, be con­cluded that the treasure still lies buried there.

See Canto xl., couplet 66, 71 and 82.