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Title: Ginans  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Satpanth, Arwa al-Sulayhi, History of Nizari Ismailism, Jalal Shamshuddin, Abu-Sa'id Jannabi
Collection: Ismaili Literature
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Ginans (Urdu: گنان, Gujarati: ગિનાન) (Derived from Sanskrit: Gnana/(ज्ञान)) are devotional hymns or poems recited by Shia Ismaili Muslims.

It was originally an oral rendition mostly by Pirs, first among whom to come to South Asia was Pir Satgurnoor in the 12th century. Ginans are composed in many languages of South Asia, especially Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and many more. They are based on Verses from the Quran. Like Ginans, Qaseedas are recited in Arabic, Persian or Tajik by Ismailis in Central Asia, Iran and Syria. Ismailis from the subcontinent recite these as well as Arabic and Persian qusidas which are recited before or after the prayer in the mosques. Ginan Central is a web portal developed at the University of Saskatchewan Library to safeguard ginans and promote research and education.

Example Translation of a Ginan (Other examples available here): Sahebaji tun more man bhave: Verses I-VIII

My lord,

My heart is fond of you.

I think of no-one else.

None else pleases my heart.

My lord,

My heart is fond of you.

So readily, my lord,

You give me

Whatever I ask of you.

You indulge me

In so many ways,

My lord.

In all four ages,

I went about,

Looking hard.

I found none

To match you, my lord.

My lord, my heart

Is fond of you.

Come, come,

My maiden friends,

Let us go

To view the groom.

He's the one, the beloved

I've attained.

He comes to my home,

The beloved,

He but for whom

A minute is hard to pass.

How should we call him

Unhappy -

He whose lord

Is one such as this?

How should we find fault

With the merciful?

What's written

In our karma

Is what we shall have.

Ram and Raheman

Are but one Deity.

Of this mystery,

The fool is quite unaware.

Says Saiyad Mohamadshah:

I am bonded to you,

My lord.

Leaving you,

At what other door

Am I to knock?

My lord,

My heart is fond of you.

I think of no-one else.

None else pleases my heart.

My lord,

My heart is fond of you.

Retrieved from the Institute of Ismaili Studies Website;

Originally Published in: Esmail, Aziz. A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics. (London: Curzon in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2002), 128-9.

Some famous Ginan singers include


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