Out of the Frying pan ….


Out of the Frying pan ….

To talk about the ‘doomsday’, ‘hell’ and ‘paradise’ present themselves as great myths yet it was fascinating to go through the experience of the protagonist of ‘Maabain’ (in between or in the middle) – Zia Hussain Zia’s intriguing novel. The task of painting a picture of the day of judgment, followed by the protagonist’s days in heaven posted an immense challenge which has been fulfilled remarkably by the author.

 

It sounds unbelievable to travel like the author of ‘Odyssey’ and to dig out the metaphysical realities from a rather existentialist position, but a study of the novel in question reveals that Allama Zia Hussain Zia, a seasoned writer, scholar, poet, journalist and researcher has examined things while taking into account almost all religious and spiritual conceptions about the life, death and hereafter.

 

The story starts from the day of judgement when Najam Afandi feels himself like a deserted creature as it is the day of judgement and he is being tried for his good and bad deeds and even intentions. Later he suddenly confronts with his spiritual leader Kareem Agha Jan who is also at the trial but seems as calm and contended as he had been on the earth in his life period. Yet, Agha appears to be much concerned in the case of Afandi. He keeps up taking care of his beloved pupil Afandi and at times he also tries to guide Afandi in positive terms as being a true well-wisher to Afandi.

 

And here is Afandi who attaches high respect to his ‘Murshid’ (Agha) but he is fated to be free in a way. Afandi is enjoying great hospitality in here. He is a dissatisfied soul and despite of the fact that he is tempted and rather provided each and every comfort, he talks about the ‘sin of creativity’. He is more demanding and tries to talk on relative strange subjects. He is given free hand and he holds meetings with all greats including Rumi, Mohyuddin Ibne Arabi, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Allam Muhammad Iqbal, Mulla Sadra.

 

All great souls replied to his questions and also enjoyed the questions mooted by him. He himself had been a great admirer to all these greats and it was a great honour to him to see and talk with such greats. The novel has presented a perfect atmosphere where people are holding meetings, social gatherings, attending guests, paying visits to each others and also holding serious discussions on space, time, literature, art, culture, and taste towards knowledge and creativity, questions of infinity and eternity. Besides, the central character (Afandi) is holding friendly meetings keeps up questioning the values and trends prevalent in the paradise.

 

The characters who are involved in such discussions include Kareem Agha Jan, Karim Agha Saheli, Munsha Aziz, Sufi Jan Muhammad, Aini (Hoorul Ain), and Zarghaba, Prof Raza Hameedi, ‘Faqeer Baba’ (Shaikul Akbar Mohyuddin Ibnre Arabi) and many others. The main purpose is to convince Afandi to give up the idea of thinking over art, taste, creativity and rationality in relative terms. He is even convinced by sacred angels, who appeared to be more friendly and sympathetic to him, but the grief of Afandi has not been overcome.

 

Agha still feels uncomfortable during his stay in the heavens owing to a routine living as it lacks the charm of ‘creativity’ and finally he has to leave the paradise. He is pushed away from the heavens to an unknown place. This time, the man is not pushed away as a mark of punishment. Yet it is his own choice to demonstrate free will and achieve the cause of creativity.

 

Interesting is the treatment and depiction of life in the paradise as it fulfilled all due requirements on creativity and literature.

 

Besides the people in the hell are also over there and all situations and incidents took place on the earth (like earthquakes occurred in Islamabad, Mansehra, Muzafarabad and Abatabad are discussed by the characters living in the paradise. Afandi is hurt by some pious characters as his questions provoked him seriously and this attack shows that Afandi had to pay the price of his questions on routine existence.

 

Another interesting part is the love story of Afandi. He is provided a mad namely Aini and he uses to start love with him on a human level. In a way Aini chose to revolt too. Many characters living in the heaven could only entered after their trial and it was very clear that the had spent an honest life on the earth and in spite of all hurdles they had not deviated from the right path. The novel discusses the matters above the question of honesty and piousness. It declares in a way that honesty was imperative but it needs more than that for a man.

 

The novel also portrays the basic approaches of the characters and their frame of mind towards happiness, loss, grief, contentment, satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The novelist has made his mark by giving an amazingly wonderful fiction that enriched Urdu literature greatly in terms of language, diction, subject and expression.

 

Allama Zia Hussain Zia, who is author of more than three dozens books, has given many collections of poetry, stories and articles on philosophy, literature, religion and culture. Another novel titled ‘Darwaz-e-Gul’ by Zia has also gained ground among literary circles and lovers of Urdu literature.

 

To talk about the ‘doomsday’, ‘hell’ and ‘paradise living’ is a kind of myth but its facing and then witnessing and seriously depicting in terms of intuition and creativity seems a great challenge that has been fulfilled by Zia Hussain Zia in his novel titled ‘Maabain’ (in between or in the middle).

 

It sounds unbelievable to travel like the author of ‘Odyssey’ and to dig out the metaphysical realities from a rather existentialist position, but a study of the novel in question reveals that Allama Zia Hussain Zia, a seasoned writer, scholar, poet, journalist and researcher has examined things while taking into account almost all religious and spiritual conceptions about the life, death and hereafter.
The story starts from the day of judgement when Najam Afandi feels himself like a deserted creature as it is the day of judgement and he is being tried for his good and bad deeds and even intentions. Later he suddenly confronts with his spiritual leader Kareem Agha Jan who is also at the trial but seems as calm and contended as he had been on the earth in his life period. Yet, Agha appears to be much concerned in the case of Afandi. He keeps up taking care of his beloved pupil Afandi and at times he also tries to guide Afandi in positive terms as being a true well-wisher to Afandi.  And here is Afandi who attaches high respect to his ‘Murshid’ (Agha) but he is fated to be free in a way. Afandi is enjoying great hospitality in here. He is a dissatisfied soul and despite of the fact that he is tempted and rather provided each and every comfort, he talks about the ‘sin of creativity’. He is more demanding and tries to talk on relative strange subjects. He is given free hand and he holds meetings with all greats including Rumi, Mohyuddin Ibne Arabi, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Allam Muhammad Iqbal, Mulla Sadra.

 

All great souls replies to his questions and also enjoyed the questions mooted by him. He himself had been a great admirer to all these greats and it was a great honour to him to see and talk with such greats. The novel has presented a perfect atmosphere where people are holding meetings, social gatherings, attending guests, paying visits to each others and also holding serious discussions on space, time, literature, art, culture, and taste towards knowledge and creativity, questions of infinity and eternity. Besides, the central character (Afandi) is holding friendly meetings keeps up questioning the values and trends prevalent in the paradise.

 

The characters who are involved in such discussions include Kareem Agha Jan, Karim Agha Saheli, Munsha Aziz, Sufi Jan Muhammad, Aini (Hoorul Ain), and Zarghaba, Prof Raza Hameedi, ‘Faqeer Baba’ (Shaikul Akbar Mohyuddin Ibnre Arabi) and many others. The main purpose is to convince Afandi to give up the idea of thinking over art, taste, creativity and rationality in relative terms. He is even convinced by sacred angels, who appeared to be more friendly and sympathetic to him, but the grief of Afandi has not been overcome.

 

Agha still feels uncomfortable during his stay in the heavens owing to a routine living as it lacks the charm of ‘creativity’ and finally he has to leave the paradise. He is pushed away from the heavens to an unknown place. This time, the man is not pushed away as a mark of punishment. Yet it is his own choice to demonstrate free will and achieve the cause of creativity.

 

Interesting is the treatment and depiction of life in the paradise as it fulfilled all due requirements on creativity and literature.

 

Besides the people in the hell are also over there and all situations and incidents took place on the earth (like earthquakes occurred in Islamabad, Mansehra, Muzafarabad and Abatabad are discussed by the characters living in the paradise. Afandi is hurt by some pious characters as his questions provoked him seriously and this attack shows that Afandi had to pay the price of his questions on routine existence. Another interesting part is the love story of Afandi. He is provided a mad namely Aini and he uses to start love with him on a human level. In a way Aini chose to revolt too. Many characters living in the heaven could only entered after their trial and it was very clear that the had spent an honest life on the earth and in spite of all hurdles they had not deviated from the right path.

 

The novel discusses the matters above the question of honesty and piousness. It declares in a way that honesty was imperative but it needs more than that for a man. The novel also portrays the basic approaches of the characters and their frame of mind towards happiness, loss, grief, contentment, satisfaction and dissatisfaction. The novelist has made his mark by giving an amazingly wonderful fiction that enriched Urdu literature greatly in terms of language, diction, subject and expression.

 

Allama Zia Hussain Zia, who is author of more than three dozens books, has given many collections of poetry, stories and articles on philosophy, literature, religion and culture. Another novel titled ‘Darwaz-e-Gul’ by Zia has also gained ground among literary circles and lovers of Urdu literature.



Zaib Azkaar Hussain

is a senior correspondent at The News International Karachi

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  • Tanveer Rauf

    The novel also portrays the basic approaches of the characters and their frame of mind towards happiness, loss, grief, contentment, satisfaction and dissatisfaction.