In doing this new translation of Ngamia na Paa I have relied on two previous translations. One by J.W.T. Allen (1971) into English; the other by Ernst Dammann (1940:285-327) in German. Unfortunately neither identify the author of the poem. Given the theme of the poem, I presume it is based on an original Islamic tale or story; the author of the poem does identify the source (see Synopsis below). The Swahili version here is that of Allen’s. In some very few cases I have substituted a vocabulary item from Dammann’s text; these are properly footnoted.
This page is under construction. It is incomplete.
Only the first 20 verses of the poem are listed here.
|Utendi wa Ngamia na P’aa||The Epic of the Camel and the Gazelle|
|1. Bismillahi nadhikuri, Ina la Mola Jabari, Aliyo pweke Ghafari, Mwenye kutughufiriya||In the name of God, I say, The name of the Lord Almighty, Who alone is the Forgiver, The one who forgives us.|
|2. U pweke Mola Rabana, Hana mke hana mwana, Haonekani huona, Hakuzawa hakuzaa||He is the only Lord God, He has neither wife nor son, He is not seen (but) He sees, He was not born (nor) does he beget.|
|3. Arrahmani azizi, Mtukufu mwenye ezi, Mwingi mno wa mbawazi, Wa sut’e kutumbawaa||The most glorious Compassionate God, The Glorious all powerful, Exceedingly Great in pity, Who pities us all.|
|4. Ya Rabi ndio Rahimu, Wa janati na jahimu, Mteuzi wa qaumu, Kesho Mola tateuwa||Oh God you are indeed Merciful, Of Paradise and Hell, (He is) the one who chooses among the people, In the end (lit. tomorrow) Almighty God will choose.|
|5. Tateuwa wema wema, Watenda amali njema, Akiwatiya neema, Na huri wakiwaowa||He will choose the very best, The doers of good deeds, Bestowing grace on them, And marrying them to houris.|
|6. Na aswi zake Manani, Fisadi za duniyani, Wenda kukaa motoni, Kwa pingu na silisiya||And the rebels against the Beneficent One, The corrupt in the world, They go to dwell in hellfire, In shackles and chains.|
|7. Hayo mtenda ni yeye, Haku mwingine ilaye, Na mngu kuliko yeye, Na sut’e twafahamiya||He is the doer of (all) those things, There isn’t anyone else except him, Nor a god over him, And all of us understand (that).|
|8. Mtenda zema nkwambiye, Utendee nafusiye, Na ambao uaswiye, Enda kuona muhaa||The one who acts morally let me tell you, He has acted of his own accord, And the one who is disobedient, He will only (lit. goes to) see trouble.|
|9. Ulinenee Manani, Kwa aya ya qur’ani, Ili kwamba tubaini, Insi na mursaa||The Beneficent One had spoken long ago, through a verse in the Koran, So that we may know for certain, (We) the people and prophets.|
|Ha mim 46||Verse from the Koran: Whoso does right it is for his soul, and who does evil it is against it for thy Lord is not unjust towards His servants (< JWT)|
|10. Swifa za Mola latifu, Basi na tuziwaqifu, Tumtaye ashirafu, Muhamadi mfadhaa||So the praises of the Good God, Let us dedicate them (to him), Let us speak of the “nobles”, Of the favorite Mohammed|
|11. Kwanda kuumba Moletu, Kwanda hakuumba kitu, Ilaye mwema wa watu, Akamuweka kakaa||In the beginning of creation our Lord, To begin with, he did not create a thing, Except for him the best (lit. good one) of every one, He blessed him and then rested|
|12. Alimuumba qadimu, Mbee za wanaadamu, Akapowa na maqamu, Kuliko watu sikiya||He created him long ago, In times before any other human beings, And he was given standing, Over all other people, oh hear (what I’m saying)|
|13. Uumbilwe mdathiru, Mzagaa nuru, Qabulati ‘lqamaru, Wa qabula shamusiya||He was created “covered”, One who gives off light, Even before the moon, Or before the sun|
|14. Uumbilwe muombezi, Yuwa kusi mwezi, Kusi kiza kivumbizi, Na ambapo paangaa (pa angaa)||He was created as an intercessor, When there was no sun, nor moon, When there was no gloomy darkness, And when (there was no) bright place|
|15. Uli umbilwe Bashiri, Kusi mbingu kusi bari, Kusi na mwana tuyuri, Kusi mtu wa kumeya||He had been formed as a Herald of good news, When there was neither sky nor land, When there was no young of any bird, Nor living person|
|16. Kusi nyama hayawani, Kusi mai baharini, Kusi malaka mbinguni, Kusi nyota za kuwaa||There were no wild beasts, Nor water in the sea, There were no angels in heaven, Nor blazing stars|
|17. Kusi arshi qadimu, Kusi kursi adhimu, Kusi janati naimu, Kusi na kitu asiya||There was no ancient Holy Throne, No glorious seat, Nor blissful paradise, There was nothing at all|
|18. Kusi moto kusi p’epo, Kusi jaradu na p’opo, Kusi kitu kiliyopo, Kusi simba kusi p’ea||There was no fire, No winds, No grasshoppers nor bats, There was nothing in existence, No lions nor rhinoceros|
|19. Kusi asadi na fili, Kusi na mwenda na vuli, Kusi na mwenda tutuli, Kusi mwenye kutambaa||There were neither lions nor elephants, Nothing that goes with shadows, Nothing that travels on two legs, Nothing that crawls|
|20. Kusi kitu chenendao, Kusi p’epo ivumao, Kusi mtu anenao, Ghairu ‘llahi taa||There was nothing that moved, No rustling wind, There was no one who speaks, only God alone on High|
 Dammann (1940) has kusi mti wa kumea “there was no growing tree”. Either version works; but I’m keeping to the JWT text.
 Compare with verse 27.