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


(Most of these verses were written in Palestine)
I could not go to my friends empty-handed
From an orchard!
Life to passion and ecstasy—sunrise in the desert:
Luminous brooks are flowing from the fountain of the rising sun.
The veil of being is torn, Eternal Beauty reveals itself:
The eye is dazzled but the soul is richly endowed.
The heavy night-cloud has left behind it red and blue cloudlets:
It has given a head-dress of various hues to the Mount Idam to wear.
Air is clean of dust particles; leaves of date- palms have been washed;
The sand around Kazimah is soft like velvet.
The remains of burnt-out fire are observable here and a piece of tent-rope there:
Who knows how many caravans have passed through this tract.
I heard the angel Gabriel saying to me: This indeed is your station—
For those acquainted with the pleasure of separation, this is the everlasting comfort.
To whom should I say that the wine of life is poison to me:
I have new experiences while the universe is decadent entire.
Is there not another Ghaznavi in the factory of Life?—
The Somnaths of the People of the Harem have been awaiting a blow for long.
The Arabian fervour and the Persian comfort
Have both lost the Arabian acuteness and the Persian imagination.
The Caravan of Hijaz has not another Husain amongst it—
Although the tresses of the Tigris and the Euphrates are still as bright as ever.
Intellect, heart and vision, all must take their first lessons from Love—
Religion and the religious law breed idols of illusion if there is no Love.
The truthfulness of Abraham is but a form of Love, and so is the patience of Husain—
And so are Badr and Hunayn in the battle of existence.
The universe is a verse of God and you are the meaning to be grasped at last;
Colour and scent are the caravans that set forth to seek you.
The disciples in the schools are insipid and purblind;
The esoteric of the monastery have low aims with empty bowls;
I—whose ghazal reflects the flame that has been lost,
All my life I pined after the type of men that exists no more.
The zephyr nurtures thorn and straw,
While my breath nurtures passion in hearts;
My song thrives upon my lifeblood:
The strings of the instrument become alive with the blood of the musician.
Give not occasion for conturbation to this restless heart;
Bright are your tresses, brighten them even more.
You are the Sacred Tablet, You are the Pen and the Book;
This blue-colored dome is a bubble in the sea that you are.
You are the lifeblood of the universe:
You bestowed the illumination of a sun upon the particles of desert dust.
The splendour of Sanjar and Selim: a mere hint of your majesty;
The faqr of Junaid and Bayazid: your beauty unveiled.
If my prayers are not led by my passion for you,
My ovation as well as my prostrations would be nothing but veils upon my soul.
A meaningful glance from you redeemed both of them:
Reason—the seeker in separation; and Love—the restless one in Presence.
The world has become dark since the sun has set down;
Unveil your beauty to dawn upon this age.
You are a witness on my life so far:
I did not know that Knowledge is a tree that bears no fruit.
The old battle was then revived in my conscience:
Love, all Mustafa; Reason, all Abu Lahab.
It persuaded me with art, it pulled me by force:
Strange is Love at the beginning, strange in its perfection!
Separation is greater than union in the state of ecstasy;
For union is death to desire while separation brings the pleasure of longing.
In the midst of the union I dared not cast a glance;
Though my audacious eye was looking for a pretence.
Separation is the warmth of hot-pursuit; it is at the heart of fond lamentation—
It is why the wave is in search; it is why the pearl is precious.

Translated by: K. A. Shafique

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