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Si Harfi Custom Audio Player

With Synchronized Lyrics & Translations Display

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Lyrics & Translations Display Screen

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What is Si Harfi?

  • Si Harfi (30 letters) is an acrostic, a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet.
  • It is not of Persian or Arabic origin, but a Punjabi form. The oldest verse of this kind is found in the Guru Granth Sahibji - a central religious scripture of the Shikhism.
  • Later, it appears to have become a popular verse-form of the Sufis of the Punjab. Some of them wrote more than two or three Si Harfi. It is actually not a short poem, but a collection of short poems. The letters of the alphabet are taken consecutively, and words whose initials they form are employed to give metrical expression to the poet’s ideas.
  • Si Harfi is mostly composed for divine praise, but also to convey a legend, story or history.
  • Sayed Ahmed Shah who lived in the 16th century also composed a few ginans, but none survived except his Si Harfi. From his Si Harfi, it appears that he knew Arabic and used the words, Allah, Ghani, Kha’laq, Noor and Fana. The name Si Harfi means thirty letters, which he has derived from Arabic. He also inserted the Persian words, such as Kudrat, Lashkar, Inayat, Farman, Karar and Banda.
  • Sayed Ahmed Shah composed Si Harfi on the pattern of the Shia Ismaili Muslims then prevailing thinking on meditation, with the tools of the yoga system, wherever it was applicable. It is an epistle (granth), with mystical and spiritual flavor. It utilizes vernacular and foreign languages in visualizing the esoteric message of Islam through an Ismaili lense.
  • Structurally, Sayed Ahmed Shah's Si Harfi granth is composed of 8 poems governed by a total of 120 lines for the whole granth. Each of the 8 poems contains 5 couplets (dohra) of 10 lines, a refrain (re tunhi) of one line and ends with a quatrain (chopai) of 4 lines (total 15 lines for each poem).

Above information is extracted from "Si Harfi - (30 Alphabets) by Sayed Ahmed Shah" written by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin S. Ali. We highly recommend reading his 30-page write-up if you wish to learn more about this granth. Link: Si Harfi Document Link

Acknowledgements & Appreciation

  • The entire granth was recited by Taufiq Karmali.
  • Transliterations and translations are taken from Heritage Society Collection at Ismaili.net website
  • Arzina Merali did the audio recording and production.

Check Out The Alphabet Progression

Check out the alphabet progression aleef - first letter, be - second letter, te - third letter up to 30 as the granth progresses on the JollyGul Custom Si Harfi Audio Player that displays lyrics and translations of the whole granth.