Poems by Sajjad Shamsi
We are starting a series of English poems written by Sajjad Shamsi (now
residing in England). The reader will get to know the poet through the following
introduction, written by the late Dr. Haider Hussain Shamsi, for his anthology
poems, titled, " Gathering Shadows ".
by Dr. Haider Hussain Shamsi
Sajjad Shamsi was born in Nairobi, Kenya into a devout Muslim family whose
illustrious ancestor, Shah Shams (buried in Multan City, Pakistan) was none
other than the great mystic known as Shams Tabriz, the master of Jalal-uddin Rumi
, the famous 13th Century poet and Sufi ( the most-read poet in the United
States, according to a recent study).
Sajjad Shamsi learnt the principles and philosophy of his faith as well as
the Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages from his father at young age. It is for
this reason that the basic Muslim philosophic theme is reflected in his poetry.
He started writing poetry and short stories while he was quite young. He was
very active in promoting the culture of the Urdu speaking people in the virgin
territory of British East Africa.
Sajjad Shamsi held various important positions in the British Civil Service
in Kenya. Before he left for England in 1964, he was the Director of Kenya
Asian Broadcasting Service in Nairobi. He had a great opportunity to enjoy and to
promote his talents, and gain further insight into the classic literature,
poetry and music of Indo-Pak sub- continent. He traveled to India and Pakistan on
cultural exchange programs and broadcast much of his work from the national
broadcasting facilities of those countries .
Having settled in England, he continued to write, participate in, and host
poetical recitals in his new environment and soon built up a good circle of like
minds and admirers. Over the years, he has made numerous radio and television
appearances in England.
A fateful motor vehicle accident in 1977 put a new twist in his writing. He
wrote several poems in Urdu language addressing his beloved (Allah) complaining
about the painful affliction of the loss of his eye sight. But soon he gave
up the complaints about his loss, and emerged as a new Sajjad, a man of vision.
He often said that he had gained more than what he had lost!
He wrote prolific poetry after the accident, and volumes of his Urdu works
have already been printed and published. This English language rendition is the
first to be published and my wife Adiba and I feel honored to host this
It is hoped that the English language reader will enjoy and appreciate the
poet's mysticism as well as the pathos and melancholy that run through the
Dr. Haider H. Shamsi
by Sajjad Shamsi
a saying of ALI IBN ABI
and think how did you spend the day
well did you conduct and acquit yourself.
you avaricious, were you greedy
were you charitable and compassionate?
and think, by word or deed.
you hurt your neighbor
did you by a kindly act
joy and happiness to a sorrowing soul?
the end of the day a small tradesman
up his books and tots up his takings.
he made a loss or did he make a gain
he do an honest day’s trade?
the morrow he will try to better himself
endeavor to improve his lot.
and think if you can do the same
make the world a happier place.
by your thought, work and deed
the world at large judge you.