Usy py lanat q ki Allah NY or Jo log shetan k gumrah krny pr gunah krty hain un ko b koi saza nai milni chahye. Allah aap ko din doni rat chugni tarqi dey. Baal-e-Jibreel The mentor exhorted his. In he travelled to Europe to continue his philosophical studies, first at Cambridge, then at Munich, where he obtained his doctorate with a thesis entitled The Development of Metaphysics in Persia. Baal-e-Jibreel by Muhammad Iqbal. If my scattered dust turns into a heart again The world is tospy—turvy; the stars are wildly spinning O Cup—bearer!
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His interests include modern Islamic intellectual history, Islamic mysticism, and the transregional nexus and exchange of knowledge, culture, and ideas between the Middle East and South Asia.
Preface Two of the highest modes of expression developed by humankind are poetry and philosophy. The poet speaks to us through verse, and the philosopher through prose, each one inviting us into their realm of communication as we try to tackle those great existential questions that have gripped us since time immemorial. Countless are the poets and philosophers that have preceded us, but few are the timeless among them to whom we routinely return in search of answers.
It is they, these great shapers of the human legacy, whose words transcend their time and space to speak to us today. To explore this love, kindled both by anguish and by hope, is to explore what it is that kindles our own love.
So recognizable are these poet-philosophers in our contemporary discourse that one need not even mention their full names for the listener to know who is being discussed. What is there to unearth and draw from his writings as we attempt to understand our role as the shapers of our collective human legacy?
What can Iqbal teach us as we try to grapple with the deeper existential questions posed to us now? Muhammad Iqbal and his son Javid in Wikimedia Commons The following selected poem — for which I provide my own translation and commentary — is a deep meditation by a man who spent a lifetime in search of answers to the troubles of his time and who was not afraid to ask equally as troubling questions, even to God Himself.
Thoroughly critical of his Islamic tradition but also thoroughly rooted within it, Iqbal embodied a love that was as critical as it was embracing — the highest form of love. But before we taste the fruits, we must familiarize ourselves with the terrain. For the reader who is already familiar with Iqbal, we hope that this commentary will add further depth to your understanding of his thought, and for the reader who is completely new to Iqbal, it is our hope that this serves as your introduction to one of the most penetrating minds that the Muslim world has ever produced.
After completing his early education at the Government College in Lahore, Iqbal taught at the University of Punjab and shortly thereafter traveled to Europe in upon the advice of his mentor, Sir Thomas Arnold. At this stage of his life he was already recognized as a burgeoning Urdu poet.
He then returned to Lahore to begin teaching once more. Because of his eclectic educational upbringing and his thorough exposure to the finest of both traditional and secular schooling, Iqbal was primed to blossom into a well-rounded thinker from a very young age.
The voluminous output of his intellectual production during the decades spanning his writing career complicate any attempts to identify an easy mapping of his ideas and require that they be contextualized with reference to his own intellectual trajectory as it developed.
Iqbal can only be understood if the sociopolitical moment in which he toiled is understood. The particularities of his day, however, in no way preclude us from drawing lessons from his work in our day, as this commentary will aim to demonstrate. Iqbal is easily among the most favorably cited modern Muslim thinkers in the Muslim-majority world today and deserves our attention if only for this reason. From a very early stage in his career, Iqbal was keenly aware of the global ruptures taking place all around him and sought — through poetry — to make sense of this turbulence.
As an active member of the Muslim League in India during the s—30s, Iqbal was heavily involved in the political scene of his time, and his popularity grew as he lectured in various universities throughout his homeland of India and in Britain. In the early s, he also participated in the London Round Table Conferences organized by the British Government and the Indian national congress.
Upon concluding the Round Table Conferences, Iqbal had the opportunity to travel to Europe before returning to the Indian subcontinent. He traveled through France, where he was able to meet his philosophical inspiration, Henri Bergson, as well as the Islamicist Louis Massignon. Through his travels to Spain, he stopped by Cordoba, where he visited the former Mosque of Cordoba, which is now a cathedral. After asking for permission to offer prayer there and being granted it, he may have become the first Muslim to do so in seven centuries.
In , he was invited by the Arab leadership in Palestine to the General Islamic Congress conference in Jerusalem, where numerous prominent Muslim figures were invited in a pan-Islamic venture to address the dilemma facing the Arabs of Palestine with regards to the expanding Zionist project. In , Iqbal published what is regarded as his masterpiece in Persian, the Javid-nama , named after his son Javid.
It is here that it is said that the Prophet received the command for the five daily obligatory prayers in Islam. In the Javid-nama, Iqbal similarly chronicles a journey where he, the disciple, is guided into the heavens by the master, none other than Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi, who introduces Iqbal to various prominent poets and philosophers, with Nietzsche being the last.
Extensive travel throughout his homeland of the Indian subcontinent, Europe, and then the Middle East in the early twentieth century gave Iqbal profound insight into the problems gripping the world at large. Yet he uses the vocabulary of traditional poetry very skillfully: roses and nightingales, the cupbearer and the tavern, are found as much in his lyrics as in those of earlier mystical poets.
One can call him a political poet, because his aim was to awaken the self-consciousness of Muslims, primarily in the subcontinent but also in general, and his poetry was indeed instrumental in bringing forth decisive changes in the history of the subcontinent.
One can also style him a religious poet, because the firm belief in the unending possibilities of the Koran and the deep and sincere love of the prophet in both his quality as nation-builder and as eternal model for man are the bases of his poetry and philosophy.
Like all poems, especially those of great poets, this one is open to multiple interpretations. All translations are my own attempts. The translation of Jibreel is highlighted in blue while the translation of Iblees is highlighted in red to make it easier for the reader to follow. At the conclusion of my commentary, there is a list of further readings in English for those who are interested in studying Iqbal, his ideas, and his impact in greater depth.
After all, one essay on a short poem cannot do them justice. I would like to give thanks to my Urdu professor at Columbia University, Aftab Ahmad, who helped me in accessing the treasures of Urdu poetry on an academic level.
And a special thanks to my father, whose repeated insistence on holding on to our heritage has finally left its indelible mark on me, despite my stubborn resistance as a student and a son. Daddy continues to teach me in his own ways, and this is one fruit of his many painstaking endeavors. The translation and commentary would not be possible without these two individuals. The angels bow to Adam following the command of God, while Iblees top-right refuses.
Bal-e-Jibreel By Allama Muhammad Iqbal
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