Muhammad Iqbal.

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By means of us God taught the Koran,
From our hand He dispensed His bounty.
Although crown and signet have passed from us,
Do not look with contempt on our beggarliness!
In thine eyes we are good for nothing, 1605
Thinking old thoughts, despicable.
We have honour from “There is no god but Allah,”
We are the preservers of the universe.
Freed from the vexation of to-day and to-morrow,
We have pledged ourselves to love One. 1610
We are the conscience hidden in God’s heart,
We are the heirs of Moses and Aaron.
Sun and moon are still bright with our radiance,
Lightning-flashes still lurk in our cloud.
Our essence is the mirror of the Divine essence: 1615
The Moslem’s being is one of the signs of God.


[105] Founder of one of the four great Mohammedan schools of law.

[106] The Prophet said, “I have a time with God of such sort that
neither angel nor prophet is my peer,” meaning (if we interpret his
words according to the sense of this passage) that he felt himself to
be timeless.

[107] The glorious days when Islam first set out to convert and conquer
the world.

[108] The _takbír_ is the cry “_Allah akbar_,” “Allah is most great.”


_An invocation._

O Thou that art as the soul in the body of the universe,
Thou art our soul and thou art ever fleeing from us.
Thou breathest music into Life’s lute;
Life envies Death when death is for thy sake. 1620
Once more bring comfort to our sad hearts,
Once more dwell in our breasts!
Once more let us hear thy call to honour,
Strengthen our weak love.
We are oft complaining of destiny, 1625
Thou art of great price and we have naught.
Hide not thy fair face from the empty-handed!
Sell cheap the love of Salmán and Bilál![109]
Give us the sleepless eye and the passionate heart,
Give us again the nature of quicksilver! 1630
Show unto us one of thy manifest signs,
That the necks of our enemies may be bowed!
Make this chaff a mountain crested with fire,
Burn with our fire all that is not God!
When the people let the clue of Unity go from their hands, 1635
They fell into a hundred mazes.
We are dispersed like stars in the world;
Though of the same family, we are strange to one another.
Bind again these scattered leaves,
Revive the law of love! 1640
Take us back to serve thee as of old,
Commit thy cause to them that love thee!
We are travellers: give us devotion as our goal!
Give us the strong faith of Abraham!
Make us know the meaning of “There is no god,” 1645
Make us acquainted with the mystery of “except Allah”!
I who burn like a candle for the sake of others
Teach myself to weep like the candle.
O God! a tear that is heart-enkindling,
Passionful, wrung forth by pain, peace-consuming, 1650
May I sow in the garden, and may it grow into a fire
That washes away the fire-brand from the tulip’s robe!
My heart is with yestereve, my eye is on to-morrow:
Amidst the company I am alone.
“Every one fancies he is my friend, 1655
But my secret thoughts have not escaped from my heart.”
Oh, where in the wide world is my comrade?
I am the Bush of Sinai: where is my Moses?
I am tyrannous, I have done many a wrong to myself,
I have nourished a flame in my bosom, 1660
A flame that seized the furniture of judgement,
And cast fire on the skirt of discretion,
And lessoned with madness the reason,
And burned up the existence of knowledge:
Its blaze enthrones the sun in the sky, 1665
And lightnings encircle it with adoration for ever.
Mine eye fell to weeping, like dew,
Since I was entrusted with that hidden fire.
I taught the candle to burn openly,
While I myself burned unseen by the world’s eye. 1670
At last flames breathed from every hair of me,
Fire dropped from the veins of my thought:
My nightingale picked up the spark-grains
And created a fire-tempered song.
Is the breast of this age without a heart? 1675
Majnún trembles lest Lailá’s howdah be empty.
It is not easy for the candle to throb alone:
Ah, is there no moth worthy of me?
How long shall I wait for one to share my grief?
How long must I search for a confidant? 1680
O Thou whose face lends light to the moon and the stars,
Withdraw thy fire from my soul!
Take back what Thou hast put in my breast,
Remove the stabbing radiance from my mirror,
Or give me one old comrade 1685
To be the mirror of mine all-burning love!
In the sea wave tosses side by side with wave:
Each hath a partner in its emotion.
In heaven star consorts with star,
And the bright moon lays her head on the knees of Night. 1690
Morning touches Night’s dark side,
And To-day throws itself against To-morrow.
One river loses its being in another,
A waft of air dies in perfume.
There is dancing in every nook of the wine-house, 1695
Madman dances with madman.
Howbeit in thine essence Thou art single,
Thou hast decked out for Thyself a whole world.
I am as the tulip of the field,
In the midst of a company I am alone. 1700
I beg of Thy grace a sympathising friend,
An adept in the mysteries of my nature,
A friend endowed with madness and wisdom,
One that knoweth not the phantom of vain things,
That I may confide my lament to his soul 1705
And see again my face in his heart.
His image I will mould of mine own clay,
I will be to him both idol and worshipper.


[109] Salmán was a Persian, Bilál an Abyssinian. Both had been slaves
and were devoted henchmen of the Prophet.


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.


Obsolete, archaic, inconsistent and unusual spellings have been
maintained from the original text. The only changes to the text were:

- In footnote 38, “Jalálu’ddín Rúmí” was originally “Jalálu’ddin Rúmí.”

- The line number on line 995 was missing.

- On line 1300, “Pleiades” was originally “Pleiads.”

- On line 1428, “Jalálu’ddín Rúmí” was originally “Jaláluddín Rúmí.”

- In footnote 97, “Jalálu’ddín Rúmí” was originally “Jaláluddín Rúmí.”

- In footnote 98, “Jalálu’ddín Rúmí” was originally “Jaláluddín Rúmí.”

I also changed internal cross-references from notes and pages to line
number (or section of the Introduction) and footnote number.

Footnote 76 gives the meaning of the name Murtazá as “he whom with
God is pleased.” This translation is awkward, so awkward that it
appears to me likely that it is wrong, _i.e._ “with whom” rather
than “whom with.” However I checked other sources, and the meaning
as stated is correct, although “he who is pleased with God,” or “he
who is content with God,” or “he for whom God is sufficient” might be
easier to read.

Footnote 90 includes a word in Greek. When the original book has text
in another alphabet, I include both the text in the other alphabet
and a transliteration, because some reading platforms are not able to
display the other alphabet.

Footnote 98 refers to another book by the translator: _Selected Poems
from the Diváni Shamsi Tabríz_. This is the title as published,
although elsewhere in this work the author is referred to as Shams-i

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Online LibraryMuhammad IqbalThe Secrets of the Self → online text (page 6 of 6)