Appreciating Urdu Poetry

Ashar (Sher) : Couplet. It consists of two lines (misra). Each verse embodies a single thought or subject.

  1. Misra-e-oola : first line of a sher
  2. Misra-e-sani: second line.
  3. Bait: another term for SHE’R.
  4. Bait-Ul-Ghazal: The best SHE’R in a GHAZAL


  1. Sher: A ghazal is a collection of many couplets—sher—of the same length and following the same metre. These couplets are thematically autonomous of each other.
  2. Qita: Sometimes, though, a few of these shers can be read together, indicating a single theme, and when this is done, the cluster of couplets is called qita or qata.
  3. Misra: Each line of a sher is called a misra.
  4. Matla: the first sher of a ghazal is called the matla.
  5. Rhyming: In the matla the two lines rhyme with each other, whereas throughout the rest of the ghazal only the second lines of the sher rhyme with each other.
  6. Husn-E-Matla: Rhyming of the first two lines of a GHAZAL is called HUSN-E-MATLA.
  7. Maqta: The last couplet of the ghazal, in which the poet’s takhallus appears as a signature, is called the maqta.
  8. Should contain minimum of 5 and maximum of 25 verses.

Shehr-ashob: Genre lamenting misfortunes of the city, the loss of a city’s soul. Started when Delhi started losing its eminence. 1857, Bahadur Shah Zafar’s time

Fard: Composition of only a single SHE’R is called FARD.

Hamd: Poem written in praise of God.

Hazal: Poem with humorous subject.

Hijv: (Satire). A poem written to condemn or to abuse a person. This form of poetry is considered of low type and which is usually avoided by reputed poets. The exact opposite of HIJV is MADAH which is a poem written in praise of Kings and Patrons.

Madah: Poem written in praise of Kings and Patrons.

Manqabat: Poem written in praise of Ahle-E-Bait (the members of the family of Holy Prophet).

Marsiya: A poem written to commemorate the exploits of great men of Islam;

Masnawi: A long epic poem describing the battles fought long ago and past events.

Munajat: A lyrical poem as prayer to God.

Musaddas: Each unit consists of 6 lines (Misra).

Nat: Verses written in praise of the Holy Prophet.

Nazam: The literary meaning of NAZM is Poetry (opp of NASR) (Prose) A poem fully dealing with a single subject or thought.

Qafia: Rhyming of the last words of a poem.

Qasida: (Ballad). It is a long poem in Urdu, Persian or Arabic which usually describes battles or written in praise of kings; princes or the poet’s patron. There is no limit of verses; it may even go beyond hundred lines.

Qata: (Fragments). It has two SHE’RS (lines) and has a complete one subject.

Radeef: (End rhyme). Each SHE’R of GHAZAL in addition to QAFIA may also have RADEEF which is rhyming of more than the last two or three words.

Rubai’ee: Contains only 4 lines, the third one being different from the other three as it should not have QAFIA and RADEEF. RUBAI’EE deals with social, philosophical and romantic subjects. In Persian language Umar Khayyam is supposed to be a great poet of RUBAIYY A T whereas in Urdu Yagana, Firaq and Josh are leading poets of this time and Anis, an old time poet.

Salam: (Literal meaning Salutation) It is a kind of poem in which the incidents of Karbala i.e. hardships of Hazarat Imam Husain and his followers are described It is also written in Praise of Holy Prophet, and is recited by standing up.

Sehra: A song sung at the time of tying Sehra during wedding ceremony, praising the bride or the bridegroom and their relatives.

Tah-Tul-Lafz: The manner of reciting a poem; like rhythmic prose i.e. without singing; word for word.

Takhallus: A name adopted by a poet, by which he is known in the literary world.

Tarannum: The manner of reciting a poem in the form of a song.

Wasokht: Literal meaning ‘displeasure’ or ‘disgust’. A kind of poem in which the displeasure and carelessness of a lover is narrated; while relinquishing the beloved.

Geet: Song or hymn.

Mushaira: A symposium of poets; a poet’s gathering.

Qawwali: Devotional song expressing the love and oneness with God sung by a group _of people to the accompaniment of musical instruments. Now-a-days, it has taken popular form covering subjects of romance, liquor, etc.