Allama Iqbal's Poetry
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Gabriel’s Wing


Arise in order that we may make the order of the sun’s...
The heart of a diamond can be cut by the leaf of a flower;
My epiphany of passion causes commotion in the precinct of...
All potent wine is emptied of Thy cask;
If the stars have strayed—To whom do the heavens belong,...
Bright are Your tresses: brighten them even more:
Make our hearts the seats of mercy and love,
Whether or not it moves you, at least listen to my...
Give to the youth my sighs of dawn;
What avails love when life is so ephemeral?
My scattered dust charged with Love The shape of heart may...
Thy world the fish’s and the winged thing’s bower;
Contrary runs our planet, the stars whirl fast, oh Saki!
Due to Thy benevolence, I am not without merit,
Set out once more that cup, that wine, oh Saki—
He is the essence of the Space as well as the Placeless...
My Saki made me drink the wine of There is no god but He:
At times, Love is a wanderer who has no home,
Slow fire of longing—wealth beyond compare;
Love, sometimes, is the solitude of Nature;
Have You forgotten then my heart of old,
Grant me the absorption of the souls of the past,
By dint of Spring the poppy-cup, with vintage red is...
I learnt from Abul Hasan:
Mine ill luck the same and same, O Lord, the coldness on...
This reason of mine knows not good from evil;
Methought my racing field lay under the skies,
To be God is to have charge of land and sea;
Reason is either luminous, or it seeks proofs;
This Adam—is he the sovereign of land and sea?
Lovely, oh Lord, this fleeting world; but why
All Nature’s vastness cannot contain you, oh
Who is this composer of ghazals, who is burningly...
The breath of Gabriel if God on me bestow,
Fabric of earth and wind and wave! Who is the secret, you...
Thou art yet region-bound, transcend the limits of space;
The free by dint of faqr Life’s secrets can disclose:
Hill and vale once more under the poppy’s lamps are...
Muslims are born with a gift to charm, to persuade;
Through Love the song of Life Begets its rhythmic flow:
Of passion’s glow your heart is blank, Your glances are...
A host of peril though you face, Yet your tongue with...
Rely on the witness of the phenomenal world
These Western nymphs A challenge to the eye and the heart,
A heart awake to man imparts Umar’s brains and Hyder’s...
In the coquetry and fierceness of the self there is no...
A recreant captain, a battle-line thrown back,
At London, winter wind, like sword, was biting though,
The ancient fane in which we live Has heaps of thorns at...
The way to renounce is To conquer the earth and heaven;
Though reason to the portal guide,
The self of man is ocean vast, And knows no depth or bound:
The morning breeze has whispered to me a secret,
Thy vision and thy hands are chained, earth-bound,
The mind can give you naught, But what with doubt is...
The splendour of a monarch great Is worthless for the free...
You are neither for the earth nor for the heaven:
O Prisoner of Space! You are not far from the Placeless...
My mind on me bestowed a thinker’s gaze,
From the heavens comes an answer to our long cries at last:
All life is voyaging, all life in motion,
Every atom pants for glory: greed
This wonder by some glance is wrought, or Fortune’s...
What should I ask the sages about my origin:
When through the Love man conscious grows of respect...
Once more I feel the urge to wail and weep at dead of night:
Devoid of passion’s roar I can exist no more:
Nature before your mind present,
Alas! The mullah and the priest, conduct their sermons so
The magic old to life is brought by means of present...
Other worlds exist beyond the stars—
The West seeks to make life a perpetual feast;
If self with knowledge strong becomes, Gabriel it can...
The schools bestow no grace of fancy fine,
Events as yet folded in the scroll of Time
To Lover’s glowing fire and flame the mystic order has...
Intuition in the West was clever in its power,
O manly heart, the goal you seek is hard to gain like gem...
A monarch’s pomp and mighty arms can never give such glee,
On me no subtle brain though Nature spent,
By men whose eyes see far and wide new cities shall be...
To God the angels did complain 'Gainst Iqbal and did say
Over the tussle of heart and head
Arise! The bugle calls! It is time to leave!
The Gnostic and the common throng new life have gained...
Through many a stage the crescent goes and then at last...
In the maze of eve and morn, o man awake, do not be lost:
The cloisters, once the rearing place of daring men and...
From Salman, singer sweet, this subtle point I know:
The crown, the throne, and mighty arms by faqr are wrought...
In my craze that knows no bound, of the Mosque I made the...
Knowledge and reason work in manner strange,
The rituals of the Sanctuary unsanctified!
O wave! Plunge headlong into the dark seas,
Am I bound by space, or beyond space?
Confused is the nature of my love for Thee,
I was in the solitude of selfhood lost,
Faith, like Abraham, sits down in the fire;
Arabian fervour has within it the Persian melodies,
A restless heart throbs in every atom;
I wish someone saw how I play the flute—
Thy vision is not lofty, ethereal,
Neither the Muslim nor his power survives;
Distracted are thy eyes in myriad ways;
Selfhood in the world of men is prophethood;
The beauty of mystic love is shaped in song;
Where is the moving spirit of my life?
Thy bosom has breath; it does not have a heart;
I am not a pursuer, nor a traveller,
Pure in nature thou art, thy nature is light;
They no longer have that passionate love—
Not translated yet
Dew-drops glisten on flowers that bloom in the spring;
Conquer the world with the power of selfhood,
A Prayer
The mystic's soul is like the morning breeze:
The Mosque of Cordoba
Mu‘tamid’s Lament In Prison
First Date Tree Seeded By Abdul Rahman the First
That blood of pristine vigour is no more;
The veiled secrets are becoming manifest—
Tariq’s Prayer
This revolution of time is eternal;
Song of the Angles
God’s Command
Theorizing is the infidelity of the self:
The Moth and the Firefly
To Javid
Heaven and the Priest
Church and State
The Earth is God's
To a Young Man
Poppy of the Wilderness
Iqbal recited once in a garden in Spring
The Angels Bid Farewell to Adam
Adam Is Received By the Spirit of the Earth
My nature is like the fresh breeze of morn:
The Mentor and The Disciple
Thy body knows not the secrets of thy heart,
Gabriel And Iblis
The mentor exhorted his disciples once:
The Prayer-call
Though I have little of rhetorician’s art,
The Star’s Message
To Javid
Philosophy and Religion
A Letter from Europe
At Napoleon’s Tomb
A Question
To the Punjab Peasant
Nadir Shah of Afghanistan
The Last Testament of Khush-hal Khan Khattak
The Tartar's Dream
Worlds Apart
Abu al ‘Ala al-Ma‘arri
To the Punjab Pirs
The Self
Satan’s Petition
To the Headmaster
The Philosopher
The Eagle
Disciples in Revolt
The Last Will of Harun Rashid
To the Psychologist
Freedom of Thought
The Lion and the Mule
The Ant and the Eagle

The Mosque of Cordoba

(Written in Spain, especially Cordoba)
The succession of day and night is the architect of events.
The succession of day and night is the fountain-head of life and death.
The succession of day and night is a two-tone silken twine,
With which the Divine Essence prepares Its apparel of Attributes.
The succession of day and night is the reverberation of the symphony of Creation.
Through its modulations, the Infinite demonstrates the parameters of possibilities.
The succession of day and night is the touchstone of the universe;
Now sitting in judgement on you, now setting a value on me.
But what if you are found wanting. What if I am found wanting.
Death is your ultimate destiny. Death is my ultimate destiny.
What else is the reality of your days and nights,
Besides a surge in the river of time, Sans day, sans night.
Frail and evanescent, all miracles of ingenuity,
Transient, all temporal attainments; Ephemeral, all worldly accomplishments.
Annihilation is the end of all beginnings. Annihilation is the end of all ends.
Extinction, the fate of everything; Hidden or manifest, old or new.
Yet in this very scenario Indelible is the stamp of permanence
On the deeds of the good and godly.
Deeds of the godly radiate with Love,
The essence of life, which death is forbidden to touch.
Fast and free flows the tide of time,
But Love itself is a tide that stems all tides.
In the chronicle of Love there are times
Other than the past, the present and the future; times for which no names have yet been coined.
Love is the breath of Gabriel. Love is the heart of Mustafa.
Love is the messenger of God. Love is the Word of God.
Love is ecstasy lends luster to earthly forms.
Love is the heady wine, Love is the grand goblet.
Love is the commander of marching troops.
Love is a wayfarer with many a way-side abode.
Love is the plectrum that brings Music to the string of life.
Love is the light of life. Love is the fire of life.
To Love, you owe your being, O, Harem of Cordoba,
To Love, that is eternal; Never waning, never fading.
Just the media these pigments, bricks and stones; This harp, these words and sounds, just the media.
The miracle of art springs from the lifeblood of the artist!
A droplet of the lifeblood Transforms a piece of dead rock into a living heart;
An impressive sound, into a song of solicitude, A refrain of rapture or a melody of mirth.
No less exalted than the Exalted Throne, is the throne of the heart, the human breast!
Despite the limit of azure skies, ordained for this handful of dust.
The aura you exude, illumines the heart. My plaint kindles the soul.
You draw the hearts to the Presence Divine, I inspire them to bloom and blossom.
Celestial beings, born of light, do have the privilege of supplication,
But unknown to them are the verve and warmth of prostration.
An Indian infidel, perchance, am I; but look at my fervour, my ardour.
‘Blessings and peace upon the Prophet,’ sings my heart. ‘Blessings and peace upon the Prophet,’ echo my lips.
My song is the song of aspiration. My lute is the serenade of longing.
Every fibre of my being resonates with the refrains of Allah hoo!
Your beauty, your majesty, personify the graces of the man of faith.
You are beautiful and majestic. He too is beautiful and majestic.
Your foundations are lasting, your columns countless,
Like the profusion of palms in the plains of Syria.
Your arches, your terraces, shimmer with the light That once flashed in the valley of Aiman
Your soaring minaret, all aglow In the resplendence of Gabriel’s glory.
The Muslim is destined to last As his Azan holds the key to the mysteries
Of the perennial message of Abraham and Moses.
His world knows no boundaries, his horizon, no frontiers.
Tigris, Danube and Nile: Billows of his oceanic expanse.
Fabulous, have been his times! Fascinating, the accounts of his achievements!
He it was, who bade the final adieu To the outworn order.
A cup-bearer is he, with the purest wine for the connoisseur;
A cavalier in the path of Love with a sword of the finest steel.
A combatant, with la ilah as his coat of mail.
Under the shadow of flashing scimitars, La ilah is his protection.
Your edifice unravels The mystery of the faithful;
The fire of his fervent days, The bliss of his tender nights.
Your grandeur calls to mind The loftiness of his station,
The sweep of his vision, His rapture, his ardour, his pride, his humility.
The might of the man of faith Is the might of the Almighty:
Dominant, creative, resourceful, consummate.
He is terrestrial with celestial aspect; A being with the qualities of the Creator.
His contented self has no demands on this world or the other.
His desires are modest; his aims exalted;
His manner charming; his ways winsome.
Soft in social exposure, tough in the line of pursuit.
But whether in fray or in social gathering, ever chaste at heart, ever clean in conduct.
In the celestial order of the macrocosm, His immutable faith is the centre of the Divine Compass.
All else: illusion, sorcery, fallacy.
He is the journey’s end for reason, He is the raison d ’etre of Love.
An inspiration in the cosmic communion.
O, Mecca of art lovers, you are the majesty of the true tenet.
You have elevated Andalusia to the eminence of the holy Harem.
Your equal in beauty, if any under the skies,
Is the heart of the Muslim and no one else.
Ah, those men of truth, those proud cavaliers of Arabia;
Endowed with a sublime character, imbued with candour and conviction.
Their reign gave the world an unfamiliar concept; That the authority of the brave and spirited
Lay in modesty and simplicity, rather than pomp and regality.
Their sagacity guided the East and the West.
In the dark ages of Europe, it was the light of their vision that lit up the tracks.
A tribute to their blood it is, that the Andalusians, even today,
Are effable and warm-hearted, ingenuous and bright of countenance.
Even today in this land, eyes like those of gazelles are a common sight.
And darts shooting out of those eyes, even today, are on target.
Its breeze, even today, is laden with the fragrance of Yemen.
Its music, even today, carries strains of melodies from Hijaz.
Stars look upon your precincts as a piece of heaven. But for centuries, alas!
Your porticoes have not resonated With the call of the muezzin.
What distant valley, what way-side abode Is holding back
That valiant caravan of rampant Love.
Germany witnessed the upheaval of religious reforms
That left no trace of the old perspective.
Infallibility of the church sage began to ring false.
Reason, once more, unfurled its sails.
France too went through its revolution
That changed the entire orientation of Western life.
Followers of Rome, feeling antiquated worshipping the ancientry,
Also rejuvenated themselves with the relish of novelty.
The same storm is raging today in the soul of the Muslim.
A Divine secret it is, not for the lips to utter.
Let us see what surfaces from the depths of the deep.
Let us see what colour the blue sky changes into.
Clouds in the yonder valley are drenched in roseate twilight.
The parting sun has left behind mounds and mounds of rubies, the best from Badakhshan.
Simple and doleful is the song of the peasant’s daughter:
Tender feelings adrift in the tide of youth.
O, the ever-flowing waters of Guadalquivir, someone on your banks
Is seeing a vision of some other period of time.
Tomorrow is still in the womb of intention,
But its dawn is flashing before my mind’s eye.
Were I to lift the veil from the profile of my reflections,
The West would be dazzled by its brilliance.
Life without change is death.
The tumult and turmoil of revolution Keep the soul of a nation alive.
Keen, as a sword in the hands of Destiny is the nation
That evaluates its actions at each step.
Incomplete are all creations without the lifeblood of the creator.
Soulless is the melody without the lifeblood of the maestro.

Translated by: Saleem A. Gilani
The Mosque of Cordoba

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