Notes on Iqbal

Warning: This is not a scholarly blog on Iqbal. Rather, this is blog is for those who like me, may have heard of Iqbal but never really understood what all the fuss was about.

Knowledge of Urdu while helpful is not necessary.

My aim is to introduce Iqbal to you much the same way my mom introduced him to me in our kitchen before I started going to school.

She would recite poems from Iqbal while I she made breakfast for the family. She would then translate all the difficult words in easy Urdu. Then recite the poem again, thereby decoding Iqbal for a five year old.

I plan to do much the same, except I will attempt to provide you with English words, which I feel, are close enough to the original Urdu or Persian words. Please note, I am not claiming to translate the words or the verse. That I feel is a task for a linguist scholar, which I am not.

My goal is to convey the broad meaning of what I think Iqbal is saying. Through this blog, I hope to share with you the passion, the thought, and the beauty of Iqbal's poems and verses.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Wish

I am fed-up with the social gatherings of the world,
There is no pleasure in company when sorrow fills the heart.
I long for solitude, and I wish that I had,
A little cottage in the valley of a mountain

Where, I am free from worry, and live in seclusion,
With the thorn of world pain removed from my heart;
Where the chirping of the birds gives pleasure of music,
And the fountain’s murmurings are like an instrument playing;

Where the rose-bud, cracking open, delivers a message from someone;
The little wine-cup displaying to me the whole world;
Where my arm is the pillow, and the grass is my bed,
And where solitude puts company to shame;

Where the nightingale would find my face so familiar
That his little heart would have no fear of me;
Where the lush plants lined up on both sides,
The stream’s limpid water takes pictures;

Where the view of the mountain is so charming
That the water itself jumps up in waves to take a look;
Where the green grass lies asleep in earth’s lap,
And water glistens as it moves through the shrubs;

Where the rose branch bends down to touch the water,
As if some beauty were looking in the mirror;
Where, when the sun adorns the bride of evening with henna,
The robe of every flower is tinged with rouge of a golden hue.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jawab-e-Shikwa: Selected Verses 2

Munfe-ut aik hai iss Qaum ke , Nuksan bhi aik
Aik hi sub ka nabhi(sm), den bhi, edema bhi aik

Harm-e-Pak bhi, Allah bhi, Quran bhi aik
Kuch baree baat thi hootay jo musalman bhi aik

Firqah bundee hai kahin aur kahin zaatein hein
Kiya zamaney mein panupney ki yehi baatein hain?

Meaning of selected words.

Munfe-ut: Benefit, gain

Punupney: To flourish or become successful.

The gain and loss of this nation is one
The Prophet(sm), the religion, the faith is one

The Kaaba, the Allah, the Quran is one
Is it too much to ask that all Muslims be one?

Divided into clans here and casts there
Is this any way to flourish in this world?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jawab-e-Shikwa. Selected Verses

Haath Bayzoor hein Illhaad se dil Khoogar hein
Ummati Baais-eh-Ruswai-eh Paighumber (sm) hein

Buut-shikan Ooth ga-yeh baaqi jo rahay Buut-gar hein
Tah Ibraheem (sm) Pidur aur Pisir Aazr hein

Who bhi din thay keh yehi Maya-e-Raanai tha
Nazish-eh-Moasum-eh-Gul-e-Lala-e-Sehraa-ee tha

Jo Musalman tha Allah Ka Soada-ee tha
Kubhi Mahboob tumhara yehi Harjaa-ee tha

Kisi Yukjaa-ee say Ub Ehday Ghulami kar lo
Milat-e-Ahmad(sm) ko maqami kar lo

Illhaad: Kufur, Denial of Allah
Khoogar: Habitual
Buut-Shikan: One who destroys Idol
Buut-Gar: One who makes Idols for worship
Pidur: Father
Pisir: Son
Maya-e-Raanai: Reason to be proud of
Lala-e-Sehra-ee: The Muslims at the beginning of Islam
Yakjaee: Unity
Ehday Ghulami Start believing in Allah

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Har Lehzaa hai Momin ke na-ee shan na-ee Aan
Guftar mein Kirdar mein Allah ke Burhaan

Yeh Char Anasir Houn to bunta hey Musalman

Humsa-ya-eh Gibreel-eh-Ameen Bunda-eh-Khaki
Hai is ka Nashemun nah Bukhara nah Budukhshan

Yeh Raaz Kisee ko Nahin Maaloom kay Moomin
Qari Nazur aata hai Haqeeqat mei hai Quran

Meaning of selected words

Burhaan: Image, reflection
Kah-hari: Tough on enemies
Ghafari: Forgiving
Quddusi: Pure, free of fault
Gibroot: Powerful, great
Unasir: Ingredients
Qari: One who recites

Approximate Meaning

Majestic is Momin (true muslim) in every instance
For he is the Allah’s reflection in his words and deeds

Tough on enemy, forgiving, free of faults and powerful
These are the four ingredients that make a Muslim

Neighbor of Gabriel, yet made of earth
Not confined to a particular city, he may live anywhere

Here is the secret that no one knows…
Though, he appears to be reciting the Quran
In reality… he is the Quran

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yeh Ghazi Yeh Teray Pur-asrar Bunday

Yeh Ghazi Yeh Teray Pur-asrar Bunday
Gingay Too nay Bakhsha hai Zooq-e Khudaee

Do Neem Unki Thokar sey Sahra-O-Durya
Simut Kay Pahar unke Haibut se Ra-ee

Doo Alam say Kurti hai Be-ganah Dil Ko
Ajab Cheez hai Yeh Lazat-e-Aashnaee

Allama Iqbal penned this poem commemorate the conquest of Spain by Tariq Bin Ziaad.

Pur-Asrar Bunday : At the time of the fight, the King of Spain was told by his informants that the people who were attacking have simply appeared from nowhere. They have no known nationality or ethnicity.

Do Neem: Broken into two pieces

Lazat-e-Aashnaee: The love of Allah.

A confession

I had heard this poem on the radio I understood the meaning of

Yeh Ghazi Yeh teray Pur-asrar bunday.
But wondered who were these Pur-asrar people.

Secondly I wanted to know who this guy
‘Donee-mun’ was.

Thirdly I had no clue that
Lazat-e-Aashnai had anything to do with Allah.

So go ahead and laugh.

However I do hope there is at least one person in this readership who is clueless like me.

What did you say?

No one.

Okay then, please try to find one among the people you know… Please.