SOME OF ALLAMA IQBAL POETRY
Here following a selection of verses of His Holiness Hadzrat Sir Allama Iqbal, RA. From the Urdu collection Bang-e-Dara (The Caravan’s Call) translated by D.J. Matthews, Senior Lecturer in Urdu and Nepali, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and published by HERITAGE PUBLISHERS, New Delhi (India) in 1993.
1. Piety and profligacy
- I shall tell you the story of a Maulvi not that I mean to display the brilliance of my wit!
- He was very famous for his mystical disposition; people, high and low, used to pay him their respect.
- He would say that the law of Islam is hidden in mysticism, as meaning might be concealed in words!*
- The jar of his heart was overflowing with the wine of piety, but somewhere at the bottom were the dregs of omniscient thought.
- He would give accounts of his miracles; this was his way of increasing the number of his followers.
- For a long time he lived in my neighbourhood. There was a long standing acquaintance between this profligate and that pious man.
- The good man asked an acquaintance of mine: “This Iqbal, who is the turtle-dove of the box-tree of meaning.
- How committed is he to the ordinances of Islam? Although in his verse, he is the envy of Kalim Hamdānĭ,*
- I hear that he goes not regard the Hindus as infidels. Is such a belief the effect of his philosophizing?
- There is also a little Shi’ism in his character. I have heard him giving precedence to ‘Ali from his own mouth.*
- He believes that music can be included in worship. Perhaps he is trying to make fun of the religion.
- He is not ashamed to be associated with ladies of easy virtue. That’s the old habit of our poets!
- He’ll sing in the evening and in the morning recite the Quran. I haven’t yet been able to fathom the meaning of this secret.
- But I have heard from my followers that his youth is as spotless as the dawn.
- Isn’t Iqbal really a collection of contradictions? His heart is a scroll of wisdom; his spirit is in constant palpitation.
- He knows the ways of profligacy; he is also acquainted with the law of Islam. Ask him about mysticism and you will find him to be a second Mansūr.*
- But I can’t quite get to the bottom of this person. Do you think he might be the founder of some other kind of Islam?”
- In short, he went on at a great length with his preaching. His enchanting account continued for a long time.
- In this city,* word gets around everywhere. I also heard it from the mouths of my friends.
- One day, when this good pious man met me on the highway, among other things, this old matter was raised.
- He said: ‘My complaint was made out of love. It was my duty to show the path of Islam’.
- I said: ‘I have no complaint. It was your right, since we live in proximity!
- Before you my humble head is bowed. Because of my humility, my youth has become old!
- If you cannot get to the bottom of me, it is certainly not the fault of your omniscience.
- I myself am also unacquainted with my own nature. The waters of the sea of my thought run deep.
- I also desire to see Iqbal, and in this alienation I have shed many a tear.
- Iqbal is also not acquainted with Iqbal. And that is no joke. By God it is not!
2. Young Baby
- I took a knife away from you, and you shriek. I am kind, but you thought I was being unkind.
- Then you will lie there and cry,* you have just arrived in this world of sorrow. Make sure it does not prick you! The tip of the pen is so slender.
- Ah! Why are you so fond of a thing which will give you pain? Play with this piece of paper____that is harmless.
- Where is your ball? Where is your china cat? That little animal with the broken head?
- Your mirror was free from the dust of desire. As soon as your eyes opened, the spark of desire shone out.*
- It is hidden in the movement of your hands, in the way you see. Like you, your desire is also new-born.
- Your life is free of the prison of discretion. Perhaps the secret of nature is manifest to your eyes.
- When you are angry with me about something, you shriek. What a sight! You are made happy with a piece of waste-paper!
- In this habit, I am in harmony with you. You are capricious; I am also capricious.
- I am given to the joys of momentary pleasure; I shriek as well. I am quickly moved to anger; I am quickly consoled.
- My eyes are enchanted with all the beauty they see before them. My foolishness is no less than yours.
- Like you, I sometimes weep; and sometimes I laugh. I appear to be a foolish adolescent, but I am also a baby!
3. The Indian Anthem
- The best land in the world is our India; we are its nightingales; this is our garden.
- If we are in exile, our heart resides in our homeland. Understand that we are also where our heart is.
- That is the highest mountain, the neighbour of the sky; it is our sentry; it is our watchman,*
- In its lap play thousands of streams and the gardens which flourish because of them are the envy of Paradise.
- Oh, waters of the river Ganges! Do you remember those days? Those days when our caravan halted on your bank?
- Religion does not teach us to be enemies with each other, we are Indians; our homeland is our India.
- Greece, Egypt and Byzantium have all been erased from the world. But our fame and banner still remain.*
- It is something to be proud of that our existence is never erased, though the passing of time for centuries has always been our enemy.
- Iqbal! No-one in this world has ever known your secret. Does anyone know
- the pain I feel inside me?
4. On the Bank of the Ravi*
- In the silence of the evening, the Rāvī is deep in music. Do not ask me the feelings of my heart.
- The candences of low and high tell me fall down in prostration. The whole world for me has become the precincts of the Ka’ba.*
- I am standing on the edge of banks of this following river, but I have no idea where I am standing.
- The hem of the evening is coloured with the redness of wine.* The old man of the sky [the sun], holds the goblet in his trembling hands.*
- The caravan of the swifitly running day goes towards oblivion. This is not the dusk. It is like flowers [ready to lay on the grave] of the dying sun.*
- Far off, giving greater glory to the solitude, stand the minarets of the chamber of the Chaghatai king.*
- This palace is the story of the cruelty of changes brought by time. This palace is a book which tells of times past.
- This is not a place. It is like silent music. Trees? ___ This is like a company which has fallen silent and still.*
4. On the Bank of the Ravi*
- The silver light of the moon is silent. The branches of every tree are silent.
- The birds of the valley, who sell their songs, are silent. The flanks of the mountain clothed in green are silent.
- Nature has lost its consciousness and has fallen asleep in the embrace of the night.
- Such is the spell of tranquility that the stately flow of the Neckar is also stillness.*
- The caravan of the stars moves silently; the procession departs without the sound of the bell.
- Mountains, deserts and rivers are silent, as if nature were in contemplation.
- My heart, you be silent also. Take sadness in your embrace and sleep.*
- Oh eye that sheds tears of blood, open your heart now and weep! The tomb of the civilization of Hijaz comes into view.*
- Once the clamour of those desert-dewellers was here, for whose ships the sea was a playground.*
- Those, by whom the courts of kings were rocked; those, in whose swords were the nests of the lightning.
- Those, whose appearance was a message of a whole new world; those, whose impatient scimitar consumed the ancient age.*
- Those, by whose shout of ‘Arise the dead world was brought to life; mankind was freed from the chains of superstition.*
- Can it be that the cry of ‘God is great’, whose sounds still bring pleasure to the ear, is now silent for ever?*
- Ah, Sicily! The sea receives its honour from you. You are like a guide in this watery desert.
- May the cheek of the ocean be adorned by your mole, and may the traveler, who measures the sea, find consolation from your candles.*
- May his eye be ever gladdened by your sight. May the waves ever dance over the rocks of your shore.
- You were once the cradle of the civilization of that nation, whose world-burning beauty set the eyes ablaze.
- The nightingale of Shiraz lamented the destruction of Baghdad; Dagh shed tears of blood for Jahanabad.*
- When the heavens wasted the dominion of Granada, the unhappy heart of Ibn-e-Badrūn mourned.*
- To Iqbal, who is destined to grieve, has been given the task of weeping for you. Fate chose that heart which knew your secret.
- Whose story is hidden in yhour ruins? The silence of your shores is a way of telling it.
- Tell me your pain, for I am in pain from head to foot. The caravan, for which you were the goal ____ I am its dust.*
- Fill the ancient picture with colour and show me. Tell me the story of the days of the past and enthrall me.
- I shall take your gift to India. I weep here myself; there I shall make others cry.
6. The Anthem of the Islamic Community
- China and Arabia are ours; India is ours. We are Muslims, the whole world is ours.
- God’s unity is held in trust in our breasts. It is not easy to erase our name and sign.*
- Among the idol temples of the world the first is that house of God. We are its keepers; it is our keeper.
- Brought up in the shadow of the sword, we have reached maturity; the scimitar of the crescent moon is the emblem of our community.*
- In the valleys of the west our call to prayer resounded; our onward flow was never stemmed by anyone.
- We, oh heaven, are not to be suppressed by falsehood! A hundred times you have tested us.*
- Oh garden of Andalusial* Do you remember those days, when our nest was in your branches?
- Oh waves of the Tigris! You also recognize us. Your river still relates our story.*
- Oh land of purity! We fell and died for your honour. Our blood still courses through your veins.*
- The Lord of Haijăis the leader of our community.* From this name comes the peace of our soul.
- Iqbăl’s song is like the bell of a caravan. Once more our caravan measures the road.
- Why should I plot my own loss? Why should I forget my own profit? Why should I not think of tomorrow? Why should I remain engrossed in yesterday’s grief. Should I listen to the lament of the nightingale and do nothing but lend my ear? My friend, am I also some rose to remain silent?* The heat of my poetry teaches me courage. With dust in my mouthy, I have a complaint against God.*
- It is true. We are famous for our custom of obedience. We recount the tale of our pain, because we are under constraint. We are a silent instrument; we are full of lamentation. If complaint comes upon our lips, we cannot help it. Oh God! Hear the complaint of those who are faithful to you. From us who are accustomed to praise you hear a small word of dissatisfaction.
- Your ancient being has been in existence from the beginning. The flower was the adornment of the garden,* but its perfume was not scattered abroad. Fairness must be upheld, oh Lord of universal kindness!* How would the scent of the rose have been spread if there had been no breeze? Spreading the perfume was the consolation of our hearts. Or was it madness on the part of the community of Your beloved Prophet?
- Before we came along, the sight of Your world was strange. Here stones were bowed down to, there trees were worshipped. Men’s eyes were accustomed to tangible forms. So could anyone have believed in an invisible god? Do you now of anyone who took your name? The power of the arm of the Muslims did your work.
- Here were the Saljuqs* and the Turanians.* The people of China were in China; the Sasanians* were in Iran. In this world the Greeks also resided; in this world were Jews and Christians* as well. But who raised the sword for your name? When all was lost, who restored everything?
- We were the only ones who arrayed ourselves on the field of battle. Sometimes we fought on land, sometimes on sea. Sometimes we gave the call to prayer in the churches of Europe,* and sometimes in the scorching deserts of Africa. The glory of worldly rulers counted for nothing in our eyes. We pronounced the profession of faith* in the shadow of the sword.
- If we lived, then it was for the tribulation of wars; and if we died, then it was for the glory of Your name. We did not draw the sword for our own ambition to rule. Do you think we wandered head on hand* for riches in this world? If our people had been dying for worldly gold and possessions _____why would it have broken idols rather than sell them?*
- We could never withdraw if we planted our feet firmly in war. The feet even of lions would be uprooted from the battlefield. If anyone rebelled against you, we would become angry. What is a sword? We fought with canons. We are the ones who planted the idea of unity* in every heart. Even under the knife, we gave out this message.
- You tell us! Who uprooted the gate of Khaibar?* Who brought down the old city of the Caears?* Who broke the idols of man-made gods? Who cut down and destroyed the hordes of infidels? Who made the fire-temples of Iran cold?* Who revived the name of the true God?
- What nation sought You alone, and just for You suffered the pains of war? Whose world-encompassing sword actually took the world? Who sang Your glory and awakened the world? At whose awesome might did idols tremble in fear, and as they fell down prostrate uttered ‘He is the one God?*
- If the time for prayer came right in the midst of battle, the nation of Hijaz* turned towards Mecca and kissed the ground. In one and the same rank stood Mahmūd and Ayăz,* No-one was servant and no-one was master. Slave and lord, poor and rich became one. When they arrived at your court, all were one.
- In the assembly of existence, morning and evening, we went around. Taking the wine of Unity, like its cup we went around. On mountains, in deserts, taking your message, we went around. And do You know of any time when we went around unsuccessfully? Let alone deserts, we did not even shun the ocean. We plunged our horses into the dark Atlantic.*
- we erased the false mark from the page of the world. We released mankind from bondage. We populated Your Ka’ba* with foreheads. We held your Quran close to mens’ hearts. Even then we hear the complaint that we are not faithful. We are not faithful! You also are not kind!
- There are other communities; amongst them there are sinners; there are people who are humble; there are those drunk with the wine of pride. They also have their lazy ones, negligent and alert ones; there are hundreds of them who are even disgusted by Your name. Your mercies come upon the dwellings of strangers, it is upon the poor Muslims that lightning falls.
- The idols of the temples say that the Muslims have gone. They are happy that the guardians of the Ka’ba have gone. The camel-drivers* have gone from the staging-post of the world; they have gone with the Quran tucked under their arm. The infidels are laughing. Do You really feel this? Do You really have any regard for Your own Unity?
- We do not complain that it is their treasuries that are full ____ those who hardly know how to speak in an assembly. But it is outrageous that the infidels get houris and palaces, and the poor Muslims are passed by with only the promise of a houri.* Now we are deprived of Your pleasure; Your favours are no longer for us. What can it mean if, as formerly, You cannot be kind to us?
- Why do the Muslims find the riches of the world unobtainable? Your power is, after all, without limit and beyond reckoning. If you wish, You can make water bubble up from the desert, and the traveler of the sands is buffeted by the waves of the mirage.* We suffer the insults of strangers, infamy, impotence. Is this wretchedness the return we get for dying for Your name?
- Now the world loves the race of strangers; for us there remains only the world of imagination. We left, and others took over the world. So do not say that the world has become empty of God’s Unity. We live so that Your name should abide in the world. Do You think it is possible that, in the absence of the wine-pourer,* the cup might remain?
- Your assembly has gone; Your lovers have gone. The sighs of the night have gone; the laments of the morning have gone. We gave our hearts to You; we also took our reward. We hardly had time to take our place and we were sent away. They came as Your lovers; they went with a promise of tomorrow. Now go and look for them with the lamp of your radiant face!
- The pain of Lailā is the same; the flank of Qais* is still the same. In the deserts and mountains of Najd the flight of the gazelle is the same. The people of Ahmad, the chosen Prophet,* is the same; You are still the same. Then what means this anger without reason? What means this eye of wrath upon those who love you?
- Did we abandon You or did we leave the Prophet of the Arabs? Did we take up the profession of making idols? Did we turn away from smashing them? Did we abandon love and the madness of love? Did we give up the ways of Salman and Uwais Qarani,* We keep the fire of the glorification of God locked in our breasts. We maintain our life like Bilal the Ethiopian.*
- So much for love* ____ agreed it does not have the same charm! We no longer tread the path of obedience to submission to Your will, we agree! Our restless heart is no longer the pointed to Mecca. We agree! And our allegiance to the law of loyalty is not the same. We agree! Sometimes you favour us and sometimes you turn to others. We ought not to say this, but you are also fickle.
- On the peak of Farān,* You perfected Your religion. With one sign You took the hearts of thousands. You filled the product of love with burning fire. You inflamed the assembly with the heat of Your cheek. Why are our breasts not filled with sparks today? We are the same burnt-out material! Do you not remember?
- In the valleys of Najd* the sound of chains is no longer. Qais, mad for the sight of the camel litter, is no longer. The enthusiasm is no longer the same, we are no longer, the heart is no longer. The house is so desolate that the luster of the assembly is no longer. Ah, happy will be that day when You come with a hundred charms, when You return unveiled to our assembly!*
- Strangers are bibbing wine sitting on the banks of the garden stream. With goblet in hand* they sit listening to the song of the dove. But far from the clamour of the rose-garden in one place are also sitting those who are mad for You, waiting for the call. ‘He is God’.* Gove your moths once more the zeal to burn themselves. Give the age-old lightning the command to burn our hearts.
- The straying community once more directs its reins towards Hijāz.* The desire for flight has once more taken the wingless nightingale and made it soar. In every bud of the garden the scent of submission is restless. Just strike i t Yourself ____ the instrument thirsts for the plectrum. Melodies are anxious to emerge from the strings. Mount Sinai* cannot wait to be burnt in that same fire.
- Make the difficulties of the dead community easy. Make the rare merchandise of love cheap again. Make those who sit in the idol-temples of India Muslims.* A stream of blood will trickle from our age-old longing. The song of lament will burn our breasts in which daggers have been plunged.*
- The scent of the rose has taken the secret of the garden out of the garden. How disastrous that the flowers themselves tell tales on the garden. The season of the rose has gone; the instrument of the garden lies broken. The melodious songsters of the garden have flown away from the branches. But one nightingale* still remains rapt in song. The storm of melodies is still alive in its breast.
- The turtle-doves have even flown away from the branch of the pine-tree. The petals of the flowers have also fallen and are scattered. Those old paths in the garden have also been desolated. The branches have also become stripped of their leafy clothes. But the nightingale’s spirit has remained free from the prison of the seasons. If only there were someone in the garden to understand its lament!
- There is neither pleasure in dying nor joy in living. If there is such a thing as joy, then it is only in drinking the blood of the heart. How restless are the bright reflections in my mirror! How the flashes of light dance agitated in my breast! But in this garden there is no one who can see. Those tulips which might bear scars in there breasts are not here.*
- May hearts be rent by the song of this lonely nightingale. May hearts be awakened by the sound of this caravan-bell. I mean, may hearts come alive again with this new pact of faith. May hearts once more be thirsty for this same ancient wine. What matters if my wine-jar is Persian?* My wine at least is Arabian.* What matters if the song is Indian? My tune is after all Arabian.*
- In memory of my late mother
- Every atom of creation is a prisoner of fate. Contrivance is the veil of constraint and helplessness.
The sky is compelled,* the sun and the moon are compelled. The fleet-footed* stars are compelled in their course.
The cup of the bud in the garden is destined to be smashed. Verdure and flowers are also compelled to grow in the garden.*
Be it the song of the nightingale or the silent voice of the innermost spirit,* everything is a captive of this world-encompassing chain.
- When this secret of constraint is clear to the eye, the flowing stream of tears grows dry in the heart.
The dance of pleasure and grief no longer remains in the human breast; the song remains in the human breast; the song remain, but the joy of high and low does not.*
Knowledge and wisdom are the highway-robbers of the goods of tears and sighs; the aware heart is a fragment of a diamond.*
Although in my garden, there is not the freshness of the dew and my eye is not the possessor of the dark red tear.*
I know, alas! The secret of human tribulations; the instrument of my nature is empty of the melody of complaint.
The tale of the changing colours of time is not on my lips; my heart is not amazed, not laughing, not weeping. But your picture is the messenger of eternal grieving. Alas! It cancels out my powerful wisdom.
- By drunken lamentation, the foundation of life is made firm; by the knowledge of pain, stony hearted intelligence is put to shame.
By the wave of the smoke of the sigh,* my mirror is bright; my breast is filled from the watery treasury.*
I am amazed at the spell your portrait casts, which has changed the direction of the flight of time.
It seems that it has stood past and present side by side; it has once more made me aware of the time of my childhood,
When that helpless life was nurtured in your lap, whose tongue was not properly familiar with words.
And now he is famous for the charm of his speech;* his eyes, which shed jewels are priceless pearls.
- The serious discourse of wisdom,* the awareness of old-age, the grandeur of worldly honours, the pride of youth____
We come down from the pinnacles of life’s towers and in the company of our mother remain a simple child.
We observe no formality, we laugh, we are free from care. Once more we abide in this paradise which we had lost.
- Now who will wait for me, alas!, in my homeland?* Who will be anxious when my letter does not arrive?
I shall come to the dust of your grave, bringing this lament. Now who will remember me in midnight prayers?*
Because you brought me up, I shared the fate of the stars; the house of my forefathers was accorded honour.
In the scroll of existence your life was a golden page.* Your life was from beginning to end a lesson in faith and the world.*
Throughout my life, your love was my servant, and when I was able to serve you, you departed this world.
That young man* who in stature is like the lofty cypress and who was more blessed by your service than I;
he stood shoulder to shoulder with me in the business of life; he, a portrait of your love; he, my right arm.
Now he mourns you like a helpless baby, and weeps for you morning and evening, knowing no self-control.
The seed, which you sowed in the field of our life, as we share our grief _____ that love has become even stronger.
- Ah, this world, this house of morning for young and old. To what spell of yesterday and tomorrow is mankind captive!*
How hard life is! How easy is death! In the garden of existence, death is as cheap as the morning breeze.*
There are earthquakes, lightning, famines, tribulations ____ all daughters of the mother of the days!
Death comes to the poor man’s hovel; death comes to the rich man’s palace.
Death is present in deserts and towns, in cities, in the garden, in the wilderness.
Death even creates its tumults in the silent sea,* and boats sink in the embrace of the wave.
There is no room for complaint,* nor power speech. What is life? A noose that squeezes the throat.
In the caravan,* there is nothing but the lament of the bell; nothing but the capital of a tearful eye.
- But the age of testing will also end. Behind the nine veils* of the firmament even now there are other ages.
If in this garden the breasts of the tulip and the rose are torn, so what? If nightingales are forced to cry and lament, so what?
The bushes, which keep the sigh of the autumn* imprisoned in their cage ___ the wind of the eternal spring will make them green.
If our vital spark sleeps in the trampled earth, so what? If our pinch of dust travels in this transitory litter,* so what?
The finality of the fire of life is not a bed of ashes. It is not the pearl whose destiny is to be broken.
- In the eye of existence, life is so beloved. In the nature of everything there is the desire to preserve life.*
If the trace of life could have been erased by the hands of death, the order of the universe would not have made it so common.
If it is so cheap, then think that death is worthless,* in the same way as sleeping does not stop one living.
Alas, my ignorant one! The hidden secret of death is quite different. From the instability of its impression, something else is visible.
The impression of the wind on the water is a vision of paradise; breaking the agitated wave, it creates bubbles.
And then it hides them in the bosom of the wave. How cruelly it rubs out its own trace.
But if the wind could not create a new the bubbles it had made, the wind would not be so careless as to smash them.
But what effect does this behavior have upon the actual form of creation? It is proof that the wind has the power to create.
Could it be that the nature of existence* will not ever be a martyr to desire? Could it be that it will not seek to make a better form?
- Ah! Restless quicksilver, stars* that light the heavens! These lively sparks, whose shining is indebted to the darkness of the night.
Knowledge bows in humility* to the length of their life. One hour of theirs is the life-story of mankind.
But then a man it is who casts his sight to the heavens, and in his purpose he is purer than even the angels.*
Like a shining candle, he stands in the assembly of nature, and in the vastness of his nature the sky is just a point,*
His lack of knowledge is anxious for truth. His finger-nail is the plectrum of the instrument of existence.
In this flame then less bright than the sparks of the firmament? Is this sun cheaper than the stars?
- The eye of the seed of the flower is awake even under the soil. How anxious it is to grow to maturity!
The flame of life which is hidden in this seed is compelled to show itself, to increase itself in growth.
It cannot be dispirited even by the coldness of the grave. Even pressed into the soil, it cannot lose its passion.
It becomes a flower and rises from its coffin, as if it acquires the clothes of life from death.
It is the grave that binds together this distracted power,* and casts its noose around the neck of the firmament.
Death is the name of the renewal of the taste for life. In the veil of sleep, it is a message of awakening.
Those who are accustomed to flying have no fear of flying. In this garden, death means nothing more than the poising of wings.*
- People of the world say that the pain of death is incurable; the wound of separation is healed by the balm of time.
But the heart which is filled by grief for the dead is free from the links of the chain of morning and evening.*
The lamentation of mourning is not stopped by the spell of time; is no balm for the wound of the sword of separation.
When a disaster suddenly befalls a man, tears continually flow from his eyes.
There comes about a connection between the heart and lament and complaint; the blood of the heart* flows in the tears which fill the eyes.
Although man is bereft of the strength of patience, in his nature* there is an undefinable sense.
Man’s spirit does not know annihilation; it may disappear from sight, but is not obliterated.
The apparel of existence is turned to ashes by the flames of grief; this fire is put out by the water of that pleasant feeling.
Ah! The suppression of lamentation is not the silence of indifference. It is awareness that brings consolation, not forgetfulness.
- As soon as* the morning appears in its brightness from the veil of the east, the morning washes the stain of the night from the garment of the skies.
It clothes the fading tulip in a firy cloak, and it stirs the silent birds to ecstatic song.
The melody is freed from the prison of the nightingale’s breast. The early morning breeze is full of a hundred tunes.
The sleepers of the garden of tulips, the flank of the mountain and the rivers are at least by the side of life’s bride.
If this is the law of existence that every evening turns into morning,* why should not the end of the night of man’s tomb not be morning?
- The net of my swift imagination* captures the heavens; by it I have captured your memory.
My heart which knows pain is full of your memory, as in the Ka’ba, the air is filled with prayers,*
That chain of duties, whose name is life ____ its places of manifestation are thousands of unstable worlds.
Every stage of existence has different ways and customs. The world to come is also a coursing field,*
There the tilled field of death produces no crop;* the climate is appropriate for the seed of action.
The light of nature is not the prisoner of the darkness of the body; the scope of human thought is not so narrow.
Life was made brighter by your moonlight. Your journey was also made better by the morning star.
Like the halls of the dawn, may your grave be radiant! May your dusty sleeping chamber be filled with light! May the sky shed its dew upon your grave! May the freshly grown verdure watch over your home!
- Khizr on the Road*
One night on the bank of the river I was lost in my vision. In the recesses of my heart I concealed a world of anxiety.
The night grew ever more silent; the wind was gentle; the river flowed softly. My eyes wondered* if this was a river or a picture of water. As a little baby sleeps in its cradle, somewhere, in the depths, the wave was restless, drunk in dreams.
The birds in their nests were captives to the magic of the night. The dim stars* were prisoners of the spell of the moonlight.
Then suddenly I see Khizr, the messenger who measures the world, in whose old age* the colour of youth is as bright as the dawn.
He is saying to me: ‘Oh seeker of the secrets of eternity, if the eye of your heart is opened, the destiny of creation will be unveiled’.
I heard this and the tumult of the Day of Judgment arose in my heart, I was a martyr to searching and thus I began to speak;
To you whose eyes see the world, those storms are evident, whose upheavals still sleep silently in the river.
The poor man’s boat,* the pure life,* the wall of the orphan!* Even the wisdom of Moses was lost before you in wonder.
You have abandoned the settled places and wander the deserts. Your existence knows nothing of day and night, tomorrow and yesterday.
What is the secret of life? What is kingship? How is this wrangling over capital and labour?
Asia’s age-old cloak is falling into rags; the young men of nations, which have newly acquired wealth, now wear the mantle.
Although Alexander failed in his quest for the water of life, even now Alexander’s spirit feeds and drinks well!*
The Hashimites sell the honour of the faith of Mustafa.* The Turkamans of great endeavour are crushed in blood and sand.*
There is the fire! There are the children of Abraham! There is Namrūd.* tell me, is another test intended for someone by someone?
- Khizr’s Answer*
Why should you be surprised about my wandering the deserts? This constant toing and froing is evidence of life.
But you, who are so attached your house, have never looked upon the scene when the bell for the caravan’s departure rings through the desert sky.
The careless, stately walk of the gazelle over the sand dunes.* the night-stop without shelter, the journey without mile-stones!
The sight of the quicksilver-footed star at the break of dawn, the appearance of Gabriel’s forehead* on the roof of the firmament!
The peace of the desert evening at the setting of the sun, from which the world-seeing eye of Abraham, the friend of God,* became brighter!
And the stopping of the caravan at the springs of water, like the crowding of the faithful in paradise around the spring of Salsabil.*
The frenzy of love searches for fresh deserts ____and you in your settlements are chained to your fields and palms.
The cup of life grows more mature by being constantly passed around.* This, my friend of little understanding, is the secret of life’s eternal course.
Life is higher than the calcvlation of profit and loss.* Life is sometimes living and sometimes forfeiting living.*
Do not measure it by the scale of today and tomorrow. Life is eternal, constantly moving, at every moment youthful.
If you are among the living, fashion your own world. Life is the secret of Adam, the essence of the words ‘Be and it was’!*
Ask the reality of life from the heart of the mountain-digger.* Life is the milky stream, the adxe and the hard stone.
In servitude the stream diminishes and almost runs dry, and in freedom life is an ocean which knows no bounds.
It knows well its power of domination, although life is hidden in a frame of clay. From the sea of existence you arose like a bubble.* in this dwelling of loss, life is your test.
While you are still immature, you are a heap of dust. When you ripen, you will become an irresistible sword.
The heart which is impatient to die for the truth ____first of all let it create life in its form of clay.
Let it set fire to this earth and this sky, which are borrowed, and from the embers, let it give birth itself to its own world.
Make the hidden strength of life manifest, until its spark engenders the eternal light.
Let it shine over the soil of the East like the sun, until Badakhshan* once more throws up the same priceless ruby.
Let it send the ambassador of its night-encompassing lament to the heavens; let it share its secrets with the stars of the night.
This moment is the Day of Judgment; you are now in the field of Judgments’ Day! My forgetful one, put forward something you have accomplished, if you have anything written on your scroll.*
Come, let me tell you the secret of the verse ‘Indeed the Kings:- Kingship is the magic-making of the powerful nations.
If the subject even stirs from his slumber once more the magic of the ruler puts him to sleep.
Impressed by the magic of Mahmūd,* the eye of Ayāz sees the chain around his neck as a token of his charm.
The blood of Israil* finally comes to boiling point; some other Moses breaks the spell of Sāmri.*
Lordship becomes only that Ineffable Being. He is the only master; the others are the idols of Āzar.*
Do not disgrace your free nature with slavery. As long as you carve a lord in stone, you are more infidel than the Brahman.*
The democratic system of the West is the same old instrument, in whose frets lies nought but the songs of the imperial Caesars.*
The god of despotism dances, democratic garb. You believe it to be the sapphire fairy of freedom!*
Assembles of constitution, reform, concessions and rights* ___ the taste of Western medicine is sweet; the effect sends you to sleep. Heaven preserve us from the heat of the speech of the members of assembles! This is also one of the moneymaking wars of the capitalists.
You thought that this mirage of color and perfume was your garden. Alas, my foolish one you saw the cage a nest!*
- Capital and Labour*
Go and give this message of mine to the labouring man. It is not just the message of Khizr!, it is the message of creation.
Look! The wily capitalist has bought you over! Your due portion has for centuries been on the born of the gazelle.*
The hand that creates wealth has always received its wages in the same way as the rich give alms to the poor.
The magician of Almūt* has given you a leaf of hashish, and you, foolish one, think it is a stick of candy.
Race, Nationhood, the Church, Kingship, Civilisation, Colour ____ ‘Imperialism’* has chosen its narcotics well.
The ignorant have perished for imaginary gods; you have squandered the cash or life for the pleasure of soporific drugs.
With crafty moves the capitalist has won the game. In his extreme naively, the labour has been checkmated.*
Arise! For new ways have come to the world’s assembly. In East and West, there is the beginning of your age.
The highest spirit will not even accept the sea. Like a bud, my forgetful one, how long will you accept the dew in your lap?*
The song of the awakening of democracy is the stuff of pleasure. How long these sleep-including tales of Alexander and Jamshed?*
A fresh sun has been born from the womb of the earth. Heaven! How long will you grieve for the stars which have set?
Human nature has broken all the chains. How long will the eyes of Adam weep for his exile from Paradise?
The spring asks the gardener who toils to cure! ‘How long will you think of balm for the wound of the rose?’
My heedless firefly!* Make yourself free from the circling round the candle come, live in the brightness of your own nature!
- The World of Islam*
Why do you tell me the story of the Arab and the Turk? Nothing of the burning and making of the Muslims is hidden from me.
The sons of the Trinity* have taken away the heritage of Khail.* The sand of Hijaz* has been made into the foundation stone of the Church!
The red-capped* one has been dishonoured in the world. Those who were pride from head to foot, today are compelled to submission.
Persia* is buying from the vintners of the West that heady wine whose heat is enough to melt the jar.
By the wisdom of the West the state of the community has become thus; as scissors cut gold into tiny pieces.
The blood of the Muslim has become as cheap as water. And you are fretting because your heart does not know the secret.
Said Rūmī:* Before they can repopulate any ancient ruin, do you not know that first of all they must destroy its foundation?’
‘The country slipped from its hands, and the eyes of the community were opened.’ God has blessed you with sight. Look forward, my negligent one!*
Defeat is better than begging for balm.* Wingless ant! Do not bring your request before Solomon.*
The cohesion of the //radiant Community* is the salvation of the East, but the people of Asia are so far ignorant of this principle.
Again abandon politics and enter the ramparts of the faith. Polity and dominion are only a fruit of the protection of the Shrine.*
May the Muslims unite in watching over the Shrine, from the banks of the Nile to the deserts of Kāshghar.*
Whoever practices discrimination of colour and blood will be erased, whether he be a tent-dwelling Turk or an Arab of noble family!
If race takes precedence over the religion of the Muslims, you have flown from the world like the dust of the highway.
So that the foundation of the Caliphate may be once again firm in the world, search for and bring from somewhere the heart and spirit of your ancestors.
Ah you who cannot distinguish the hidden from the revealed, become aware! You, caught up in Abu Bakr and Ali,* become aware!
Lamentation was necessary for love, but now that is over. Now control your heart a little and see the effect of the lament.
You have seen the heights of the power of the river’s current. Now see how the agitated wave forms a chain.
The dream which Islam saw of general freedom _____ oh Muslim, see the interpretation of that dream.
Its own bed of ashes is the means of existence for the salamander.* See this old world dies and is born again.
Open your eyes and look at the mirror of my words. See a hazy picture of the age to come.
The sky [i.e. fate] has another well-tired plague to bring. See the disgrace of scheming before fate.
You are a Muslim,* fill your breast with desire. At every time keep before your eyes the words ‘My promise is never broken’.*
- The Rise of Islam*
- The dimness of the stars is evidence of the bright morning. The sun has risen over the horizon; the time of deep sleep has passed.
The blood of life runs in the veins of the dead East. Avicenna and Farabi cannot understand this secret.*
The storm in the West made Muslims Muslims. Pearls are produced in abundance from the very buffetings of the sea.
The true believers are once more to receive from the court of God the glory of the Turkamans, the intellect of the Indian and the eloquence of the Arabs.
If there is still some trace of sleep left in the buds, my nightingale, then make your song more plaintive, for you found their desire to hear your melody too little.’*
Whether your agitation be in the courtyard of the garden, in the nest, in the leafy branches ___ this quick-silver destiny cannot be separated from mercury.*
Why should that pure-seeing eye look at the glitter of armour on the horse when it sees the valour of the holy warrior?
Make the lamp of desire bright in the heart of the tulip!* make every particle of the garden a martyr to search!
- The effect of the spring-rain is born in the tears of the Muslim. Pearls will be born again in the sea of the Friend of God.*
This book of the Radiant Community* is receiving a new binding; the Hashimite* branch is once more ready to bring forth new leaves and fruit.
The Turk of Shiraz has ravished the heart of Tabriz and Kabul.* the morning breeze makes the scent of the rose its companion on the road.
If a mountain of grief collapsed upon the Ottomans, then why lament?* For the dawn arises from the blood of a hundred thousand stars.
More difficult than the conquest of the world is the task of seeing the world. When the heart is reduced to blood, only then does the eye of the heart receive its sight.
For a thousand years the narcissus* has been lamenting its blindness. With great difficulty the one with true vision is born in the garden.
Burst into song, oh nightingale! So that from your melody the spirit of the royal falcon may arise in the delicate body of the dove.
The secret of life is hidden in your breast ____ then tell it. Tell the Muslims the account of the burning and re-making of life.
- You are the ever-powerful hand and the tongue of the eternal God. Give birth to certainty, oh negligent one, for you are laid low by doubt.
The goal of the Muslim lies beyond the blue sky; you are the caravan, which the stars follow as dust on the road.
Space* is transient; its inhabitants are transitory, but the beginning of time is yours; its end is yours. You are the final message of God; you are eternal.
The blood of your heart is the henna* which decorates the tulip-bride. You belong to Abraham; you are the builder of the world.
Your nature is the trustee of all the possibilities of life. You are like the touchstone* of the hidden essence of the world.
The One who left this world of water and clay for eternal life* ____ the One, whom the Prophethood took with it ____ you are that gift.
This principle rises from the story of the Radiant Community* ____ you are the guardian of the nations of the land of Asia.
Read again the lesson of truth, of justice and valour! You will be asked to do the work of taking on responsibility for the world.
- this is the destiny of nature; this is the secret of Islam ____ world-wide brotherhood, an abundance of love!
Break the idols of colour and blood and become lost in the community. Let neither Turanians, Iranians nor Afghan remain.*
How long will you keep company in the branches with the birds of the garden. In your arms is the flight of the royal hawk of Quhistān.*
In the abode of doubts of existence is the certainty of the Muslim hero; in the darkness of the desert night is the candle of the monks.*
What was it that erased the tyranny of Cesar and Cyrus?* The power of Haidar, the asceticism of Bu Dharr, the truth of Salmān!*
How magnificently the heroes of the community have blazed the trail, and those who have been prisoners for centuries peer at them through a crack in the door.
The stability of life in the world comes from the strength of faith, for the Turanians have emerged firmer than even the Germans.*
When certainty is born is these embers of ashes, then it gives birth to the wings of Gabriel.*
- In slavery, neither swords or plans are effective, but when the taste for certainty is created, then the chains are cut.
Can anyone even guess at the strength of his arm? By the glance of the man who is a true believer even destiny is changed.
Empire, sainthood, the knowledge of things which hoods the world in its sway ____ what are they all? Only commentaries on one small point of faith.
But it is difficult to create the insight of Abraham. Desire insidiously paints pictures in our breasts.
The distinction of servant and lord has put making into turmoil. Beware, oh powerful ones. The penalties of nature are harsh.
There is one reality for everything, be it of earth or fire. The blood of the sun will drip, if we split the heart of an atom.
Firm certainty, eternal action, the love that conquers the world ____ these are the swords of men in the holy war of life.
What else does man need but a lofty spirit and pure character, a warm heart, a pure-sighted eye and a restless soul?*
- Those who rushed forward with the splendor of the eagle emerged plucked of their wings and plumage.* The stars of evening sank in the blood of the sunset but rose again.
Those who swam under the sea* were buried by the ocean, but those who suffered the buffering of the wave arose, and become pearls.
Those who prided themselves on their alchemy are the dust of the wayside.
Those who kept their foreheaeds upon the dust emerged as the makers of elixir.
Our slow-running messenger brought the tidings of life. Those to whom the lightning gave news emerged unknowing.
The Shrine* was disgraced by the lack of foresight of the old keeper of the shrine. But how our Tatar heroes emerged as young men of vision!
Those who soar aloft and light the sky* say this to the earth, ‘These earth-bound creatures emerged more lively, more stable and more shining’.
In the world, the people of faith live like the sun. here they sink, there they arise, there they sink, here they arise!
The certainty of individuals is the capital for building the community. This is the power which draws the portrait of the fate of the community.
- You are the secret of creation,* see yourself in your own eyes. Share the secret of your own Self, become the spokesman of God.
Greed has split mankind into little pieces. Become the statement of brotherhood, become the language of love.
Here are Indians, there people of Khurasān, here Afghāns, there Turanians* ___ you, who despise the shore, rise up and make yourself boundless.
Your wings and your plumage are soiled with the dust of colour and race. You, my bird of the holy shrine, shake your wings before you start to fly.
Immerse yourself in your Self, my forgetful one, this is the secret of life. Come out from the fetters of evening and morning, become immortal.
On the battle-field of life adopt the nature of steel. In the bed-chamber of love become as soft as silk and painted brocade.*
Pass like a river in full spate through the mountains and the deserts. If the garden should come your way, then become a melodiously singing stream.
There is no limit to your knowledge and your love. In the instrument of nature there is no sweeter song than you.
- Even now, mankind is the miserable prey to imperialism.* How distressing that man is hunted by man!
The glitter of modern civilization dazzles the sight. But this clever craftsmanship is a mosaic of false jewels.
That since, in which the scholars of the West took pride, is the sword of warfare held in the bloody grip of greed.
That civilization of the world, which is founded on capitalism, can never be become strong by spell-binding schemes,
By action life may become both paradise and hell. This creature of dust in its nature is neither of light nor of fire.
Teach the nightingale to send forth its clamour; open the knot of the bud, for you are the spring breeze for this garden.
Once more the spark of love has arisen from the heart of Asia. The earth is the cousing-ground for the satin-cloaked Tatars.*
Arise!* A buyer has come for our helpless life. After an age, the time has come for our caravan’s departure.
- Come, Saqi!* The song of the bird of the garden has come from the branches. The spring has come; the beloved has come; the beloved has come; peace has come!
The spring cloud has pitched its tent in the valley and the desert. The sound of the waterfalls has come from the summit of the mountains.
I implore you; renew the law of the past! For the army of singers has come drove upon dove.
Turn away from the ascetics and fearlessly drink wine from the jar. After an age the song of the nightingale has rung out from this old branch.
Bring the account of the Master of Badr and Hunain to those who yearn; its hidden mystic powers have been revealed to the eye.
Again the branch of Khalil has been watered by the sap of our blood; in the market-place of love our cash has proved to be perfect.
I scatter the petals of tulips upon the dust of the matyrs, for their blood has proved to be effective for the sapling of the community.
Come, so that we may strew roses and pour a measure of wine in the cup! Let us split open the roof of the heavens and think upon new ways.
Arise in order that we may make the order of the sun’s journey fresh
That we may make the burnt out spirit of evening and morning fresh.
The heart of a diamond can be cut by the leaf of a flower.
A sfot and gentle word has no effect on a stupid man.*
- Ghazal 16 (Section 1)*
- Oh Lord, this passing world is fine, but why are pure-hearted and skilful people so ruined?
- Although the hand of the money lender is also in this divinity, the world regards the European* as its god!
- You* [God] will not give people of wisdom a blade of grass; but he bestows the crop of roses and tulips on a few donkeys!
- In the church, we find kebabs and rosy wine;* but what is there in the mosque except admonition and advice?
- Your injunctions are right, but your commentators with their interpretation can make the Quran into Parsee scriptures,*
- No-one has ever seen the paradise which is Yours; every village of Europe is like paradise.
- For ages my thought has been wandering the heavens; now imprison it in the caves of the moon.*
- Nature has bestowed upon me the qualities of the angels. I am of dust,* but have no connexion with dust.
- The dervish, drunk with the power of God, belongs neither to east nor west. My home is neither Delhi nor Isfahan nor Samarqand.*
- I say only the thing which I believe to be true. I am neither a fool of the mosque, nor a son of civilization.
- My own people are vexed with me, and strangers are also displeased. I could never call deadly poison candy!
- It is difficult for a person who sees and appreciates the truth to call a heap of rubbish the mountain of Damāvand.*
- I am also silent in the flames of the fire of Namrūd.* I am a true believer, not a seed of the wild rue.*
- I am burning, I am looking around me, seeing the good and I am untroubled; I am free, constrained, with little in my purse, but I am contented.
- In every respect, my unfettered heart is overjoyed. Can anyone snatch away from the bud its pleasure in smiling sweetly?*
- Iqbal could not remain silent even in the presence of the Almighty.* Could anyone have stopped the mouth of His insolent servant?
- Ghazal 2 (Section 2)
- Who is this composer of gazals, who is burningly passionate and cheerful? He makes the thoughts of the wise full of madness.*
- Although poverty* also has royal characteristics, kingship is only half complete without a kingdom.
- Now in the cell* of the sufi, the same poverty has not remained __ the poverty whose charter is written the blood of the hearts of lions.
- Ah circle of dervishes, see how the man of God is, in whose collar* is the tumult of Judgment’s Day _____
- _ who is as bright as a flame by the heat of repetition of God’s name;* who is quicker than the lightning by the swiftness of his thought.*
- Kingship* gives rise to signs of madness ___ they are the scalpels of Allah, be they Taimur of Chingiz.
- thus Iraq and Persia give me praise for my verse. These Indian infidels shed blood without swords or spears.*
- Ghazal 4 (Section 2)
- World of water and earth and wind! Is the visible secret you or I? That which is hidden from sight, is its world you or I?*
- That night of pain and burning and grief, which they call life ___ is its morning you or i. Is its prayer-call you or I?*
- For whose manifestation are the evening and the morning so intent upon travel? On the shoulder of time is the heavy load you or I?*
- You are pinch of dust and blind! I am a pinch of dust, but see myself. For the cultivation of existence, is the following water you or I?*
- Ghazal 7 (Section 2)
- Once more the mountain sides and valleys are lit by the lamp of the tulip.* Once more the bird of the garden has incited me to song.
- Are they flowers in the desert or fairies* row upon row? Purple, blue, yellow robes?
- The morning breeze has put a pearl of dew* upon the leaf of the rosae, and the sunbeam makes that pearl glisten.
- If, for its unveiling careless beauty* finds forests dearer than cities, then is it cities or forests that are good?
- Sink into your heart and find the clue to life. If you do not become mine, no matter; at least become your own.
- The world of spirit? The world of spirit is burning, drunkenness, attraction and enthusiasm. The world of body? The world of body is profit and bargaining, deception and wiles.
- When the wealth of spirit is acquired, then it never goes. The wealth of the body is a shadow! Money comes and money goes.
- In the world of spirit, I have not found the rule of the European.* In the world of spirit, I have not seen either Shaikh or Brahmin.*
- These words of the Qalandar* put me to shame: ‘When you bow down before another, you have neither spirit or body’.
16 Ghazal No.15 (Section 2)
- In the coquetry and fierceness* of Self there is no pride, there are no airs. Even if there are airs, then they are not without the pleasure of submission.
- The eye of love* is in search of the living heart; hunting for carrion does not befit upto the royal hawk.
- In my song there is no charming and romantic grace, for the blast of the trumpet of Isrāfil* is not meant to please the heart.
- I will not ask for wine from the Frank, saqi,* for this is not the way of the pure-hearted profligates.*
- The rule of love* has never been widespread in the world. The reason is this- that love is no time-server.
- One continual anxiety* ____ whether absent or present! If I tell it myself, my story is not long.
- If you so desire then read the Psalms of Persia* in seclusion; the midnight lament is not bereft of secrets.
- The Mosque of Cordoba
(Written in Spain, mainly in the Mosque of Cordoba)
1* Chain of days and nights, fashioner of events! Chain of days and nights, the basais of life and death!
Chain of days and nights, the two-coloured* silken thread, from which the Being* makes the cloak of its qualities.
Chain of days and nights, the lament of the instrument of eternity, from which the Being shows the low and high pitches of possibilities.
It tests you; it tests me. Chain of days and nights, assayer of all creation.
If you are found wanting, if I am found wanting, death is decreed* for you, death is decreed for me.
What else is the reality of your nights and days? The flow of one age, in which there is neither day nor night.
All marvels of skill are transitory and perishable. The business of the world is unstable; the business of the world is unstable.
First and last vanish; hidden and manifest vanish. Whether it be the trace of old or new, the last stage is annihilation.
2* But in this form, there is the colour of eternal stability which some man of God completed.
The action of a man of God acquires brightness* from love. Love is the basis of life; death is forbidden to it.
Although the flow of time* travels swift and light, love itself is a torrent and stops the torrent.
In the almanac of love, apart from the current age, there are even more ages, which have no name.*
Love is the breath of Gabriel; love is the heart of Mustafa;* love is the Prophet of God; love is the word of God.
From the intoxication of love is the commander of the army;* love is the son of the road;* it traverses thousands of stages.
From the plectrum of love comes the melody of the strings of life; from love comes the light of life; from love comes the fire of life.
3* Oh Mosque of Cordoba, your existence is from love ____ love completely unending in which there is not past.*
Whether it be colour, brick or stone, the harp or speech and sound, the miracle of art is manifest from the blood of the heart.
A drop of the blood of the heart makes a stone into a heart; the voice of the blood of the heart is burning, joyfulness and melody.
Your sky illumines the heart, my song burns the breast. From you comes the presence of hearts;* from me comes the opening of hearts.
The breast of Adam is not smaller than the empyrean on high,* even though the blue sky is the limit for the pinch of dust.
If the form of light* acquires the privilege of prostration, what of it? It does not acquire the burning and melting of prostrations.*
I am an Indian infidel, but see my enthusiasm and love. In my heart are prayers and blessings; on my lips are prayers and blessings.
Love is in my melody; is in my flute. The song of ‘He God’ is in every fibre of my body.
4* Your glory and beauty is evidence of the man of God. He is glorious and beautiful; you are also glorious and beautiful.
Your foundations are firm, your columns are without number, just like the crowds of palm-trees in the desert of Syria.*
On your door and roof falls the light of the Valley of Aiman;* your lofty minaret is the place of Gabriel’s manifestation.
The Muslim hero can never be crased, for by his prayer-calls the secrets of Moses and Abraham are revealed.*
His land is without borders, his horizon is without bounds; the waves of his sea are the Tigris, the Danube, the Nile.*
His times are amazing, his stories are wonderful. He gave the call of departure* to the ancient world.
The saqi of people of taste; the rider on the field of love ___ his wine is the very purest, his sword is the most perfectly fashioned.
He is the soldier hero; his armour is lā ilāh. In the shadow of the scimitar, his refuge is lā ilāh.*
5* From you is revealed the secret of the true believer ____ the heat of his days, the melting of his nights;
his lofty station, his noble thoughts; his delight and love, his submission, his graces.
The hand of Allah is the hand of the true believer. He is victorious and effective; he reveals his deeds; he makes work to prosper.
His nature is of dust and fire; he is a creature with the qualities of the Lord. He is independent of both worlds; his heart is independent.
His hopes are small; his purposes are glorious; his charm enchants the heart; his eye soothes the heart.
His speech is soft; his search is hot, whether it be the battle-field or the assembly, he is pure-hearted and pure in action.
The certainty of the man of God is the central point of the compasses of righteousness,* and this whole world is superstition, magic and illusion.
He is the goal of intelligence; he is the harvest of love. He is the heat of the assembly in the ring of the heavens.
6* The Ka’ba of the people of art; the majesty of the revealed faith ____ because of you the land of the Andalusians* has received the status of the Shrine.*
If under the firmament anything is comparable to you in beauty, it is the heart of the Muslims and nowhere else.
Ah those men of righteousness! Those Arab horsemen! Transmitters of the ‘noble nature’,* people of truth and certainty.
From whose rule this strange secret is revealed that the Sultanate of the people of heart is poverty* and not kingship;
Whose watching eyes educated the east and the west; whose wisdom pointed out the road in the darkness of Europe;
Because of whose blood to this very day the Spanish are happy-hearted, warm in their welcome, simple and radiant.
Even today in this land, the eye of the gazelle* is common, and the arrows* of their eyes even today find a place in the heart.
The perfume of Yemen* is still present in its breezes; even today the colour of Hijaz* is in its songs.
7* Your land and heaven are in the eyes of the stars. Alas! For centuries the call to prayer has not sounded in your skies.
In which valley, at which stage is the hard-living caravan of love* that induces madness?
The Germans* have seen the upheaval of the Reformation of religion, which left no trace of the old order behind it.
The purity of the elder of the church* was seen to be a mistake, and then the frail boat of thought sailed off.
The eyes of the French also have seen a Revolution,* by which the world of the westerners took on a different complexion.
The community of the sons of Rome, the oldest in the worship of the past, also became young again by the Renewal.*
Today that same turmoil is found in the spirit of the Muslims. It is a divine secret, which no tongue can utter. Let us see what arises from the depths of his sea! Let us see how the colour of the azure vault changes.
8* In the valley of the mountain range, the cloud is drenched in the red twilight. The sun has left behind a heap of the pearls of Badakhshān.*
The song of the daughter of the peasant is simple and ardent; her youthfulness carries in its current the boat of the heart.
Flowing waters of the Guadalquivir!* On your shores someone* is seeing the dream of some other age.
The new order is still hidden behind the veil of fate; in my eyes its dawn is without a veil.
If I should lift the veil from the face of thoughts, the European* could not bear the heat of my songs.
The life that has no revolution is nothing but death; the existence of the sould of nations is the turmoil of revolution.
That nation* is like a sword in the hand of eternal fate ____ the nation, which at all times assesses its accomplishments.
All forms* are incomplete, without the blood of the heart.* The song is imperfect commerce without the blood of the heart.
(In the presence of God)
- You, whose signs are present in souls and the heavens* ____ it is true that Your being is living and enduring.
- How could I have understood whether You exist or not? The theories of science changed from moment to moment.*
- No-one is privy to the eternal melody of nature, whether he be an observer of the stars or a scholar of botany.*
- Today my eyes have seen that world is real, which I thought was the babblings of the church.*
- We, Your servants, are chained in the fetters of night and day. You are the creator of ages and the painter of times.
- If I am granted permission, let me ask one thing, which the dissertations of philosophers could not solve:-
- As long as I lived under the tent of the sky, this thing pricked in my heart like a thorn.
- There is no control over the way in which we speak, while such ideas buffet inside the soul.
- What sort of man is he by whom You are worshiped* ___ that man of dust who is beneath the skies?
- The gods of the east are the whites of Europe; the gods of the west are shining metal ores.*
- In Europe there is much enlightenment of knowledge and skill, but the truth is that this darkness* is without the water of life.
- In the splendour of their architecture; in their glitter, in their brightness, the buildings of the banks are much finer than their churches.
- Outwardly it is trade; in reality it is gambling. The profit of one is sudden death for thousands.*
- This science, this wisdom, this planning, this government! They drink your blood and preach equality!*
- Unemployment, obscenity,* drunkenness and poverty! The conquests of European civilization are substantial!
- The nation which is bereft of the blessings of heaven ___ the limit of its miracles is electricity and fumes.
- The rule of machines is death for the heart. Tools trample upon the sense of human sympathy.
- But we see a few indications that finally the chess-player of destiny has checkmated their scheming.*
- The foundations of the wine-tavern have begun to rock. The masters of the wine-shop sit worrying about this.*
- The red blush we see on their faces as evening approaches is the miracle of either rouge or the glass and the goblet.*
- You are all-powerful and just, but in your world, the days of the poor labourer are very bitter.
- When will the boat of capitalism sink? Your world awaits the day of retribution.
1* The caravan of spring has pitched its tent.* The skirt of the mountain range has turned into Iram.*
The rose, the narcissus, the lily, the eglantine; the tulip, the eglantine; the tulip, the age-old martyr* with its bloody shroud!
The world is hidden in a veil of colour. There is pulsing of blood in the vein of the stone.
The sky is so blue; there is joy in the wind. Birds do not remain in their nests. That mountain stream, jumping, stopping, moving from side to side, giving ground.
Bounding, slipping, steadying itself, moving round great bends, emerging ___ If it is stopped, it cleaves the rock; it cleaves the heart of the mountains.
Just see, my rosy-faced Saqi!* It is this that tells the message of life.
Give me that wine to drink that burns the veil. For the season of the rose does not come every day.
That wine which reveals the essence of life; that wine by which all creation is drunk!
That wine, in which is the burning and remaking of eternity, that wine, from which the secret of etemity is revealed.
Life, my Saqi,* the veil from the secret. Make the wagtail* fight with the hawk!
2* The ways of the world have changed. The tune is new; the instruments have changed.
The secret of the Frank* has been so exposed, that the Frankish glass-juggler* is amazed!
The old system of politics is abased. The world is tired of Sultans and Emirs! Gone the age of capitalism, gone! The conjurer has shewn his tricks and gone! The Chinese, heavy in sleep, have begun to awake;* the fountains of the Himalayas have begun to seethe.
The heart of Tūr in Sinai and Farān* are split in half. Kalim* once more waits for the effulgence.
The Muslim is wild in his enthusiasm for the doctrine of unity, but his heart still wears the Brahmin’s thread.*
Civilisation, mysticism, the religious code, theology___all of them worshippers of the idols of Persia!*
The truth has been lost in riddles; this community has been lost in its traditions.* The words of the preacher charms the heart, but is not blessed with the pleasure of love!*
His account is unraveled by logic; it is tangled in the complexities of vocabulary. That sufi who was a hero in the service of the Lord; unrivalled in love; peerless in his sense of honour ___ He has lost himself in the thoughts of Persia; that traveler has lost himself in his stages,*
The fire of love has gone out _ there is darkness. He is not a Muslim __ just a heap of ashes.
3* Give me the old wine to drink again, my Saqi;* bring the same cup into the round, my Saqi.
Put the wings of love on me and let me fly. Make my dust into the firefly and let me fly.*
Make intellect free of slavery. Make the youth the teachers of the old.
The branch of the community is green from your sap; breath in this body is from your inspiration.
Give me the gift of agitation, of fluttering; give me the heart of Murtazā and the burning of Siddiq.*
Make the same arrow pierce the heart! Awaken the desire in our breasts. May the stars in your heavens prosper!
May those who remain awake at night in your worlds prosper!
Bestow upon the young the burning of the heart. Bestow upon them my love and my sight.
Bring my ship through the whirlpool. It is stationary! Then set it in motion! Tell me the secrets of death and life, for the whole universe in your eyes!
The sleeplessness of my wet eyes! The hidden restlessness of my heart!
The submission of my midnight lament!* The melting passion I feel in solitude and in company.*
My longings, my desires, my hopes, my searching!
My nature_the mirror of the age! The pasture of the gazelles of my thoughts.*
My heart ___ my battlefield of life! The armies of doubts, the steadfastness of certainty!
Just this, oh Saqi, is the stock-in-trade of the faqir.* Because of this I am rich in my poverty!
Squander this upon my caravan! Squander it and give it its proper place!
4* The ocean of life is continually in motion; the running of life is born from every single thing.
From this came about the appearance of the body, for the wave of smoke is hidden in the flame.*
Although the company of water and clay is hard to bear, the toil of water and clay was welcomed by it.*
It is stable as well as it is in motion. It is also tired of the shackles of the elements.
It is unity; at every moment it is a captive in multiplicity!* but everywhere it has no parallel and is incomparable.
This world, this six-dimensional idol-temple!* This very world fashioned this shrine of Somnāt.*
This habit of clash and repetition does not please it __ that “I” am not “you” and “you” are not “I”.*
From the concept of “I” and “You” societies are formed, but in the midst of the company it sits in solitude.
Its gleam is in the lightning, it is in the star; it is in silver, it is in gold, it is inb mercury.
It possesses the deserts, it has the acacia; it possesses the thorns, it possesses the flowers.
Here mountains are crushed by its strength; there in its clutches are Gabriel and the Houris!
There it is the royal falcon of quick-silver hue and its talons are caked with the blood of partridges.*
Here it is a dove far away from its nest, fluttering impatiently in a snare.
5* Rest and immobility are illusions; every atom of the universe is restless.
The caravan of existence does not stop, for at every moment the glory of existence is fresh.
You think that life is a secret. Life is merely the pleasure of flight.
It has seen many lows and highs. The journey pleases it more than the goal. Journey is the real provision of life.* journey is reality; resting is illusion.
It has pleasure in unraveling itself from complexities; it has joy in palpitating and fluttering.
When it was confronted by death, it was very difficult for it to ward off death.
When it came down into the world of retaliation,* life lay in ambush for death.
Out of its taste for duality couples were created. Armies upon armies arose from the desert and the mountain.
Flowers were continually plucked from that branch, and from the same branch they continually blossomed again.
Fools believe it to be unstable; the form of life, erased again and again rises up.
It is very swift-coursing;* it is very quick to arrive. From eternity to eternity, its flight lasts only a single breath.
Time which is a chain of days,* is the name of the coming and going of breaths.
6* What is this wave of breath?* it is the sword. What is Self? It is the blade of the sword.
What is Self? It is the innermost secret of life. What is Self? It is the wakefulness of creation.
Self is intoxicated with company and likes solitude!* it is an ocean encompassed in one drop of water.
It is resplendent in darkness and light! It is an ocean encompassed in one drop of water.
It is resplendent in darkness and light! It is born of “I” and “you”; it is free of “I” and “you”.
The beginning of eternity is behind it; the end of eternity is in front of it. There is no limit behind it; neither is there any limit in front of it.
It flows in the sea of time, bearing the cruelty of its waves;
Changing its paths of investigation; continually changing its glances.
A heavy stone is light in its hands; from its blows, a mountain becomes flowing sand.
Journeying is its end and its beginning. This is the secret of its firmness.
It is the ray in the moon, the spark in the stone.* it is without colour, immersed in colour.
What has it to do with less or more, with up and down, with forwards or backwards?
From the beginning of time, it is a captive in conflict; it took its form in the dust of Adam.
The dwelling-place of the Self is in your heart, just as the sky is in the pupil of the eye.
7* For the guardian of the Self, that bread is deadly poison, because of which his honour is lost.
That bread alone is worthy of him, because of which his neck will remain uplifted in the world.
Refrain from the pomp and splendour of Mahmūd. Keep your eyes on the Self.
Do not practice the servitude of Ayāz.*
Only that prostration is worthy of your attention, in comparison with which every other prostration is unlawful for you.
This world, this tumult of colour and sound; this world which is under sentence of death;
This world, this idol-temple of eyes and ears, where life is merely eating and drinking!
This is only the first stage for the Self. Oh traveler! This is not your dwelling-place.
Your fire does not come from this bed of ashes. The world is from you; you are not from the world.
Go forward, having broken this heavy mountain; having broken the spell of time and space.
The Self is the lion of the Lord; the world is its prey; the sky is its prey.
There are other worlds, still invisible. For the essence of existence is not empty.
Each one awaits your attack, the quickness of your mind and character.
This is the purpose of the revolution of time __ that your Self should be manifest to you.
You are the conqueror of the world of good and bad. How can I tell you your destiny?
There is a tight cloak of inadequate words over reality.* Reality is a mirror; speech is rust.
The candle of the spirit is burning bright in my heart, but the endurance of my words says ‘Enough’.
“If I fly one hair’s breadth higher, the brightness of the effulgence will burn my wings”.*
- To Jāved*
(on receiving the first letter in London, written in his hand)
- Create your station in the land of love;* create a new time, new mornings and evenings.
- If God gives you the heart to be aware of nature, from the silence of the tulip and the rose create speech.*
- Do not make yourself indebted to the glassmakers of the west. Create the goblet and the cup from the clay of India.*
- I am a branch of the vine, my ghazals are my fruit. Create ruby-coloured wine from my fruit.*
- My path is not that of the rich; it is the one of the beggar. Do not sell your self; create a name in poverty.*
- To a Punjab Peasant*
(on receiving the first letter in London, written in his hand)
- Tell me what is the secret of your life? For thousands of years you have been a tiller of the soil.
- In this soil your fire has been suppressed. The morning call to prayer has come. Now wake up.
- Although workers of the soil find their reward in the land, in this darkness the water of life is not present.*
- In time his jewel is false,* who does not test his own Self.
- Break the idols of classes* and tribes; break the chains of ancient customs.
- This is the firmest faith; this is the opening of the gate,* by which the unity of God will be unveiled in the world.
- Cast the seed of the heart upon the dust of the body, for this seed is revealed by its harvest.*
- To the Pirzādas of the Panjab
- I was present at the tomb of the Reformer Shaikh* ___ that earth which is the dawn of heavenly light under the sky.*
- Before the particles of this earth, the stars are ashmed. In this earth is hidden the master of secrets,
- Whose neck did not bow in front of Jahāngir; from the ardour of whose spirit came the ardour of the free.*
- In India, he is the guardian of the wealth of the community,* whom Allah at a fitting time made watchful.
- I said this: “May poverty be bestowed upon me.* My eyes can see, but they have not been opened!”
- That came this voice: “The chain of poverty has stopped. People of vision are tired of the realm of the Punjab!
- That plot of land is no longer the abode of the wise, in which from the cap of poverty has arisen a crested turban.*
- By the cap of poverty, the tumult of righteousness remained. Turbans have induced intoxication with government service!’
- Lā ilāh ill’ allāh
- The hidden secret of the Self is lā ilāh ill’ allāh,* Self is the sword; the whetstone is lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- This age is in search for its own Ibrahim,* The world is an idol-temple. lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- You have bargained for the goods of deception!* The fallacy of profit and loss! lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- These riches and wealth of the world; these relationships and connections ___ idols of superstition and doubt! lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- Knowledge is the idolatry of time and place. Neither time nor place exist! lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- this song is not limited* to the season of the rose and the poppy, whether it be spring or autumn, lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
- Although there are idols [hidden] in the sleeves of the community*, I have the order of the azān, lā ilāh ill’ allāh.
Learning and Love
- Learning said to me that love is madness. Love said to me that learning is suspicion and doubt! Oh creature of suspicion and doubt, do not become a bookworm.* Love is totally visible,* learning is from head to foot a veil.
- From the heat of love comes the battle of existence; learning is the stage of attributes,* love the spectacle of the Being. Love is rest and stability; love is life and death. Learning raises the question; love is the hidden answer.
- Love possesses miracles, kingship and poverty* and faith. The crown and the signet are the lowest slaves of love! Love is dweller and dwelling;* love is time and world. Love is total certainty and certainty is the opening of the gate!*
- In the law of love pleasure in arrival is forbidden. Learning is the son of the book; love is the mother of the book!*
- Once this very doctrine of unity* was a powerful force in the world, What is it today? Only a problem for exegesis!*
- If the darkness of the character is not enlightened by this brightness, the place of the Muslim is hidden from the Muslim himself!
- I, oh leader of the army, have seen your army. Their scabbards are empty of the sword of the cry ‘He is God!*
- Alas! Neither the Mulla nor the Jurist know this secret. Unity of ideas is raw without unity of character!*
- What is ‘nation’? What is ‘leadership of nations’? Can they ever understand it __ these poor Imams who make a couple of bows?*
- The Indian Muslim
- The Brahmins call him a traitor to his native land.* The English think of the Muslim as a groveling beggar!
- The religious code of the possessors of prophethood in the Panjab states that this age-old believer is an infidel!*
- When and from where does the cry of truth rise? My poor little heart is exhausted amidst this tumult’.*
- The pronouncement* of the Shaikh is: ‘this is the age of the pen’. The sword is no longer effective in the world!
- But does not our respected Shaikh know this, that in the mosque this preaching is profitless and ineffective?
- Where does the Muslim have the sword and musket in his hand? Even if he does, in his heart he is ignorant of the joy of death!
- The one whose heart flutters at the death of an infidel __ who could tell him to die the death of a Muslim?
- Only he needs to be taught to abandon Holy War, whose blood-stained fist threatens danger to the world.
- For the preservation of the pomp and glory of false doctrine, Europe has clad itself in armour from shoulder to waist.
- We ask the Shaikh, who is so enamoured of the Church __ ‘If war is wrong for the East, then is it also evil for the West?’
- If we are really talking of righteousness, then is it fitting to say that Islam must account for itself and turn a blind eye to Europe?*
- Struck on the West
- your existence is totally the dazzle of the West,* for you are an edifice constructed by the builders there.
- But this form of dust is bereft of the Self; you are nothing but a gold-ornamented scabbard without a sword.
- In your eyes, God’s existence is not proven. In my view, your existence is not proven!
- What is existence? Only the revelation of the jewel of the Self. Worry about yourself! For your jewel* is unrevealed.
(Satan and God)
Oh God of all creation,* I had nothing against Adam.* Alas for that prisoner of near and far, of slow and swift. It was not possible for me to utter a word of pride before you, but certainly my prostration was not part of your will.
When did this secret dawn upon you? Before or after your refusal?
After! You, from whose radiance come all the perfections of creation!
(turning to the angels)
The baseness of his nature has taught him this argument. He says: ‘My prostration was not part of your will.’ He is giving his freedom the name of compulsion. The tyrant himself calls his burning flame smoke.
(Derived from Muhiuddin Ibn ‘Arabi)*
- Eastern Nations
They cannot see realities unveiled __ those whose eyes are blinded by slavery and imitation. How can Iran and Arabia be revived by this Western civilization, which itself has one foot in the grave?*
- A Student
May God make you acquainted with some storm, for in the waves of your sea there is no agitation! It is impossible for you to be free of books. You read books, but you do not master them!*
- The modern world is your angel of death,* which has taken possession of your soul by giving you concern for earning a living.
- Your heart shudders from the struggle of rivalry! Life becomes death when it loses the joy of suffering.
- Education has estranged you from that ecstasy which said: ‘Do not carve out excuses from your learning’.
- The bounty of nature bestowed upon you the vision of the royal falcon,* and slavery has given it the sight of a bat!
- Colleges have hidden from your eyes those secrets which are laid open by the solitude of the mountains and the deserts.
- Western Man
A thousand times philosophers have unraveled it, but the problem of women has remained exactly as it was. In this sad state of affairs woman is not to blame; the witnesses of her nobility are the moon and the Pleiades.* The trouble that has become evident in Western society is that the simple man, poor fellow, knows nothing of women!
- Heaven on high has brought about changes of all kinds, but, oh God! This world is still in the same place as it was.
- I see no difference between man and woman. He sits in seclusion; she sits in seclusion.
- The children of Adam* are still in purda. No one’s self in evidence.
- Women’s Liberation
- I am not able to decide on this question, although I well understand that this is poison and that is sugar.
- What is the point of my saying anything and becoming more reviled? The sons of civilization are already angry with me.
- Let the insight of women itself release this secret. Wise men are constrained and handicapped.
- What thing is greater in embellishment and price? Women’s liberation or a necklace of emeralds?
- Paris Mosque
- How can my eyes see excellence of skill? For this western mosque is alien to God.*
- It is not a mosque! The western miracle-workers have hidden in the body of a mosque the sould of an idol-temple.
- This idol house is the construction of the same destroyers, by whose hands Damascus was turned into a desert.*
- The Voice of Karl Marx
- This moving the pawns of learning and wisdom,* this exhibition of discussion and altercation! Now, the world will not tolerate the display of old ideas.
- What else, oh professor of economics, is there in your books at the end?* a display of curved lines!* an exhibition of cheating!*
- In the temples of the western world, in the churches, in the colleges, a display of deceitful intelligence hides the bloodshed of greed.
- High Office
- The true believer has been enchanted by the West. For this reason the eye of the Qalandar* is tearful.
- May, oh Lord, your high offices prosper!* For you have killed your Self for their sake.
- But this matter cannot be hidden, no matter how you try. Every clever mind has grasped it.
- They cannot make slaves partners in their rule; they just buy the best of their brains.*
- Europe and the Jews
- This abundant luxury. This government, this trade ___ the heart in the lampless breast is bereft of consolation!
- Europe is dark from the smoke of machines. This Valley of Aiman* is not worthy of effulgence!
- This civilization, dead before its time,* is in its final throes. Perhaps the Jews will become the keepers of the Church?*
- Bolshevik Russia
- The ways of the will of God are curious and strange. We cannot know what is contained in the depths of the mind of the world.
- They have become appointed for the destruction of the cross ___ those very ones who considered the protection of the cross as their salvation.
- This divine revelation came down upon the atheism of Russia: ‘Smash the false gods of the adherents of the churches’.*
- An Eastern League of Nations
- The water is conquered; they sky also is conquered. How would it be if the gaze of the old sky should change direction?
- The dream which Western Imperialism has seen ___ it is possible that the interpretation* of this dream be changed!
- If Tehran becomes the Geneva of the Eastern world, perhaps the fate of the terrestrial globe might change.*
(To his western and eastern rivals ___ 22 August 1935
Written in the Shish Mahal at Bhopāl)
- In the crime of Mussolini* so unique in this age? It is inappropriate that the mood of the innocents of Europe has become angry!
- If I winnow, does the sieve resent it? We are all the tools of civilization. You the sieve; I the winnowing-fan!
- You spurn my madness for dominion, but have you not broken the flasks of weak nations?
- To whose dominion belong these strange tricks? ___ the king’s city remains, but not the king or his empire.*
- The children of Caesar* remained watering the reed,* while you do not even leave the barren fields of the world untaxed!
- You looted the tents of poverty-stricken desert nomads. You plundered the fields of the peasant; you looted throne and crown.
- In the guise of civilization there is destruction and murder. Yesterday you held this permissible; today I hold it permissible.