Review: Shehr-e-Zaat: Episode 14

“Zindagi main boht sari galltiyan ki hain LEKIN sabse bari gallti Allah ko Bhoolne ki kee hai… ”


” Insanon ko pooja nahin jata, meney Salman ka buth bna liya tha , usski parastish ki…… ”


” Barra ghuroor tha na mujhe apne husn pe, Allah ne mujhe meri owkaat dikhaa di ”


” Ussne (Salman) mere sath burra nahin kiya, MENE khud apne sath burra kiya hai ”


Last week’s episode was thunder and lightning, this episode was the calm after the storm and a painful period of soul searching for Falak. This was deliberately a slow moving episode and throughout this week’s episode, SIX phrases caught my attention more than anything else – FOUR of them are above, TWO I shall discuss towards the end as I conclude my commentary on episode 14.


The metamorphosis is complete. Takabbur ka penkar, ek aajiz, faqeeri mujassama ban chuka hai. Fakkhar-e-husn aur anaa-parassti abb ishq-e-khuda main baddalti nazr aati hai… It is is simple : Guidance from Almighty Allah is sudden, it is not saught but is granted and even that is subject to one’s ‘neeyat’ and motives. Falak hidayat paa geyi hai lekin at huge cost because she is the ‘chosen’ one.


We see the huge gulf in thought between Falak and her mother who still cannot come to terms with Falak’s ‘mental breakdown’, as she refers to it. Falak’s ‘antic disposition’ reminds me very much of Shakespeare’s Hamlet who ‘seemed’ to behave insane in the face of great adversity. Falak ke sath ek boht barra saneha hua hai but she is not mad or insane or even in need of a psychiatrist as both her friend and mother suggest – she is need of love, understanding and of course, time which is the greatest healer. Nani is still there, offering her wisdom, hikmat and love to Falak. It is as though everything else is dark but Nani is the only beacon of light or ‘waseelah’ in her life that will guide her towards Allah. Falak blames herself for what has happened but little does she realise that this is a trial, an ‘azmaeyish’ that is designed to bring her closer to her Creator.


Meanwhile, Tabinda is shown as an unrefined, socially unpolished and pretentious woman of dubious character, jisse na baat karna ki tameez hai aur na uthney bhetney ka dhang. Many low to middle class men and ladies are very well mannered and cultured but this ‘namoona’ is an exception ! That reminds me, ‘..aaye tey sabhee tarha ke jalwey mere aagey..’ LOL 😀 Infact, I will go one step further and say she is ‘mun-phatt’ and doesn’t really know what to say and when to say it. She openly tells Ansar, Salman’s father, that she is a divorcee yet she doesn’t behave like one. She does not speak with respect and humility towards Salman’s father, even though he is a lot older than her as well as being her employer. In our society, a mature and divorced woman does not discuss a failed marriage so openly as Tabinda does and at this point, my suspicions are confirmed that there is more to come from her. Yeh awrat boht hee mashkook aur fasid (corrupt) lagti hai. The plot will develop further once her motives for marriage to Salman are uncovered. Congratulations to Nadia Afgan for admirably portraying the character of Tabinda. This talented actress is doing a great job, bravo :-) We, the audience, realise the gravity of what has happened when we see the stark difference between Falak and Tabinda. They are the antithesis of each other. It seems Salman has been ‘sponged’ by Tabinda for quite some time as she tells Ansar of all that his son has gifted her. Ansar is shocked, so are we but are we ? Really ? Qasam Abida Parveen ki ghazal ki ???!! Love is blind – Isn’t Salman behaving exactly as Falak was ? Chasing shadows and craving for something that does not feel the same way about him ? Another lesson is being taught to the audience : Falak loved Salman to the point of madness, but Salman did not reciprocate this love. Now, Salman loves Tabinda to the point of madness and has forsaken his marriage to Falak for her, yet Tabinda does not seem to love Salman. Salman is shown as a foolish and stupid man who is running around in circles and arguing with his mother, but sooner or later will regret his decision. Let’s see what happens next 😉


” Salman tou wohi dekh raha hai jo Allah ussey dikhana chahta hai, wohi kar raha hai jo Allah us sey karwana chahta hai ”


” Ussne mujhe ghar se bahir nahin nikala, mein khud woh ghar chor ke ayi hun ”


Does the above line mean WE, as humans, are not responsible for our actions ? NO, we are directly responsible for our actions. Allow me to explain. There are ALWAYS two paths before an individual, the morally correct path and the incorrect path. Our destiny is shaped by the decisions we make. Those who seek Allah’s proximity (qurb) and indeed are blessed by him, ask Allah for guidance every passing moment and will always be amongst the ‘faayezoon’, the successful ones. Their pain, miseries and sadness will be tribulations from Allah in order to make them better human beings so they pass the ultimate ‘examination’ that this life is and henceforth, prepare for the hereafter. Their sorrows are designed to purify their ‘nafs’ (the part of a human that controls desires), a process knows as ‘tazkiya-e-nafs’ or spiritual purification which can only be achieved by the individual going through some sort of tragedy in his/her life. However, those who chose the wrong path, don’t consult Allah or ask for his guidance and continue with their lives. To them, jeena marrna ek hee baat hai because their souls are dead, there is no awakening of Allah in their souls. Almighty Allah expounds upon this reality in the Qur’an. The ‘chosen’ ones will always make the right decisions, even though some decisions may give them pain – this is for their own benefit, Allah’s ‘maslehat’ is behind this for he knows best, e.g Falak has a miscarriage because Allah knew what would happen further down the line so he saved her from a greater calamity – ultimately, the Creator will grant them patience and fortitude and their loss will always be compensated whereas those who ignore Allah and his bounties will not be compensated, they will continue life as normal, neither for the better nor for the worse – they will simply go through the motions of life. The patient ones who are blessed with pukhtagi, sabr, istiklal and estikamat will see the signs of Allah’s grandeur in all their work and successes. They are the ones who are steadfast and at the first sign of sorrow will not give in but rely on Almighty Allah. The process of sorrow and hardships for the ‘chosen ones’ is a state that keeps him/her in remembrance of Allah, they always smile no matter what turbulence and pain of circumstance is taking place inside of them. Therefore, Salman is continuing with his life doing what he has to do ignorant towards Allah and so Allah lets them be. Therefore, Salman wohi kar raha hai jo Allah us se karwaa raha hai and Falak BHI wohi kar rahi hai jo Allah us sey karwaa raha hai – the difference is in the neeyat towards Allah. Remember, it is not Allah’s will that Salman is the person he is, Allah has given him a choice but Salman doesn’t want to conform to Allah – I hope the depth of this can be understood. Agar ap Allah ko chor do, nazr-andaz kardo gey, framosh karo gey tou Allah bi apko framosh karey ga – why ? To make you realise, that he is our ONLY salvation aur hamarey saare raaste ussi tak wapis jaate hain, faqqat ussi tak, because he is our Creator and has right over us. Salman ko Allah ne chora hua hai, to do as he wills. Those that realise this, will ultimately turn to Allah for their needs and comfort as Falak did. One makes their own destiny and Allah knows who’s destiny will bow down before him and who’s won’t because he knows our ‘fitratt’. He knows what we will end up doing, yet still he has given us ultimate control, opportunites to mend our ways and choices because we are Ashraf-ul-Makhlukaat’ (greatest of creations). This is the MERCY, rahmat and greatness of Allah. How many people turned to Allah after tragedies and pursued his intimacy, and how many did so for a while and then gave up and turned back to their normal lives, AND how many didn’t remember Allah at all and continued with their lives on a normal basis ? THEREIN lies the difference.


Falak’s words are very powerful and one must read between the lines to understand the ‘bareekiyan’, intricacies and ramifications of this statement. The line about leaving home has an obvious meaning which is easily understood but yet there is a more deeper, hidden, underlying message and it is this which impresses me. Falak has not been thrown out of this materialistic world that was devoid of God and religion and ignorant towards Allah’s blessings and bounties, BUT she chose to leave herself. It’s as though Falak ne apni ‘maadyati’ (materialistic) zindagi ka libadah utaar kar penk diya ho because it began to suffocate her. She was looking for extrication of her soul and Allah granted her a divine opportunity albeit she had to suffer immense psychological pain and strain in the process. It is interesting to notice that whenever Falak speaks to someone, she is simultaneously engaged in deep thought as though she is in a trance. What is this ? This is not madness, it is a transformation occurring within the confines of her soul and Allah’s love and mercy is finding it’s way in there.


In the final analysis, the words of Abida Parveen are so apt : ‘ Kya kya huwa hangam-e-junoon yeh nahin malum, kuch hosh jo aya tou gariban nahin dekha’ – Falak’s transformation is complete. Her journey towards Allah has begun and she realises that in relation to Allah, she was living a life of obliviousness and ignorance which is why she hates herself towards the end of this episode and is seen throwing around her clothes. Now that she has finally woken, she is astonished by what has transpired in all this time. She was blind to the love of Allah and his majesty. This is a sufi poem that talks about ‘marefah’ or recognition of Allah, but can also apply to two star crossed lovers. The real meaning can be explained in just one line : ‘Zahid (the muttaqee, pious, arif) ne mera hasil-e-imaan nahin dekha’, Falak is calling out, ‘Hey Zahid the pious, look at the level of my imaan too, it’s not just you.’


Nani says, ” Allah kehta hai jab insan Allah ko yaad karta hai tou Allah bhi insan ko yaad karta hai ” In the glorious Qur’an, in Surah Baqarah, Allah says just that, ” Remember me, I shall remember you. Thank me, don’t ignore me ” – Falak’s character is the direct translation and example of this great ayah, she is learning to obey Allah and remember him, after years of ignoring him :-)


The dialogues are so deep that any number of reviews cannot do justice to this serial. I love this play and wish I could write more commentary on this. This play is titled, ‘Shehr-e-Zaat‘ which really means, ‘Shehr-e-Allah’ but how can Allah have a city and what does it mean ? When one pays further attention, one realises that ‘zaat’ is Allah and that ‘zaat’ is contained within every human being but it requires us to find it. When Allah’s love enters our heart, it becomes a dwelling for Allah. This dwelling within us is likened to a ‘city’ which is large and expansive just like the breast of a human in which the heart resides. Hasn’t anyone heard the Qur’ani verse from Surah Qaf, ‘Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein’ ? Has anyone heard the phrase , ‘Dillon main rabb bassta hai’ ? This is EXACTLY what Shehr-e-Zaat means to me. This is my definition of this great masterpiece of a play. I pray that the public will take great inspiration from this serial and realise the true ambition of life, that is, proximity to the ‘force’ that created them in the first place. We forget this ‘force’ way too often :-(


Once again, it’s been a great privilege to write a commentary for Dramas online and I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. A special thanks to Captain and the team, jeetey raho. Geez, that makes me sound 50 years old !! 😉 Thank you to all the team @ HUM TV for an eye-opening drama serial that educates us. Please forgive me. I apologise for the length of my synopsis, which I KNOW is supposed to be brief, but I felt compelled to write an extensive review as I believe the circumstances in this instance are exceptional 😉


God Bless You All


Author: Mikaeel Alamzeb