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That the Muhammadan Community is also Unbounded

in Time, since the Survival of his noble Community

has been Divinely Promised


In Spring thou hast heard the clamorous nightingale,

And watched the resurrection of the flowers;

The buds arrayed like brides; from the dark earth

A veritable city of stars arise;

The meadow bathed in the soft tears of dawn

That slumbered to the river’s lullaby.

A bud bursts into blossom on the branch;

The breeze new-risen takes it to her breast;

A bloom lies bleeding in the gatherer’s hand

And like a perfume from the mead departs.

The ring-dove builds his nest; the nightingale

Takes wing; the dew drops softly, and the scent

Is sped. What though these mortal tulips die,

They lessen not the splendour of the Spring;

For all the loss, its treasure still abides

Abundant, still the thronging blossoms smile.

The season of the rose endures beyond

The fragile eglantine, yea, it outlives

The rose’s self, the cypress, and the fir;

The jewel-nourishing mine bears jewels yet,

Unminished by the shattering of one gem.

Dawn is departed from the East, and night

Gone from the West; their too-brief-historied cup

Visits no more the winevat of the days;

Yet, though the draught be drunk, the wine remains

Eternal as the morrow that awaits

When all our yesterdays are drowned in death.

So individuals, as they depart,

Are fallen pages from the calendar

Of peoples more enduring; though the friend

Is on a journey, the companionship

Still stays; the Individual is gone

Abroad, unstirring the Community.

Other each essence is, the qualities

Other; they differ both in how each lives

And how they die. The Individual

Arises from a handful of mere clay,

The Nation owes its birth to one brave heart;

The Individual has for his span

Sixty or seventy years, a century

Is for the Nation as a single breath.

The Individual is kept alive

By the concomitance of soul and flesh,

The Nation lives by guarding ancient laws;

Death comes upon the Individual

When dries life’s river, and the Nation dies

When it forsakes the purpose of its life.

Though the Community must pass away

Like any Individual when Fate [66]

-Issues the fiat- none may disobey,

Islam’s Community is a divine

Undying marvel, having origin

In that great compact, -Yea, Thou art our Lord-.

This people is indifferent to Fate,

Immovable in -Lo, We have sent down [67]

Remembrance-, which abides while there is yet

One to remember, whose continuance

Persists with it. When God revealed the words

-They seek God’s light to extinguish-, this bright lamp [68]

Was never troubled it might flicker out.

’Tis a Community that worships God

In perfect faith, a people well-beloved

By every man who has a conscient heart.

God drew his trusty blade out of the sheath

Of Abraham’s desires, that by its edge

Sincerity might live, and all untruth

Consume before the lightning of its stroke.

We, who are proof of God’s high Unity

And guardians of the Wisdom and the Book,

Encountered heaven’s malice long ago,

The unsuspected menace of the hordes

Of savage Tartary, loosed on our heads

To prove its terror. Not the Judgement Day

Shall match the staring horror of those swords,

The thunder of those legions armed with death.

Confusion sore confounded in the breast

Of that disaster slept; its yesterday

Gave birth to no glad morrow. Muslim might

Quivered in dust and blood; Baghdad beheld

Such scenes as Rome ne’er witnessed in her throes.

Purposing Fate, malignant as of old,

Proposed this holocaust; whose garden sprang

Out of the Tartar fire? Whose turban wears

The rose transmuted from those lambent flames? [69]

Because our nature is of Abraham

And our relationship to God the same

As that great patriarch’s, out of the fire’s depths

Anew we blossom, every Nimrod’s blaze

Convert to roses. When the burning brands

Of Time’s great revolution ring our mead,

The Spring returns. The mighty power of Rome,

Conqueror and ruler of the world entire,

Sank into small account; the golden glass

Of the Sassanians was drowned in blood;

Broken the brilliant genius of Greece;

Egypt too failed in the great test of Time,

Her bones lie buried neath the Pyramids.

Yet still the voice of the muezzin rings

Throughout the earth, still the Community

Of World-Islam maintains its ancient forms.

Love is the universal law of life,

Mingling the fragmentary elements

Of a disordered world. Through our hearts’ glow

Love lives, irradiated by the spark

-There is no god but God-. Though, like a bud,

Our hearts are prisoned by oppressive care,

If we should die, the garden too will die.


That the Organisation of the Community is only

Possible through Law, and that the Law of the

Muhammadan Community is the Koran


When a Community forsakes its Law

Its parts are severed, like the scattered dust.

The being of the Muslims rests alone

On Law, which is in truth the inner core

Of the Apostle’s faith. A rose is born

When its component petals are conjoined

By Law; and roses, being likewise bound

By Law together, fashion a bouquet.

As sound controlled creates a melody

So, when control is absent, dissonance

Results. The breath we draw within our throat

Is but a wave of air which, in the reed

Being constricted, blows a tuneful note.

Knowest thou what thy Law is, wherein lies

Beneath yon spheres the secret of thy power?

It is the living Book, that wise Koran

Whose wisdom is eternal, uncreate.

The secrets of the fashioning of life

Are therein written; instability

Is firmly stablished by its potency.

-Undoubted and unchanging- are its words, [70]

Its verses to interpretation not

Beholden; in its strength the raw desire

Acquires maturity, the bowl fears not

To dash against the rock. It casts away

The shackling chains, and leads the free man forth,

But brings the exultant captor unto woe.

The final message to all humankind

Was borne by him elect of God to be

-A mercy unto every living thing-; [71]

By this the worthless unto worth attains,

The prostrate slave lifts up his head on high.

Having by heart this message, highwaymen

Turned guides upon the road, and by this Book

Were qualified high masters of the rolls;

Rude desert-farers through one lantern’s glow

A hundred revelations to their brain

In every science won. So he, -whose load [72]

The mountains’ massive shoulders could not bear-,

Clove by his might the power of the spheres.

See how the capital of all our hopes

Is lodged securely in our children’s breasts!

The weary wanderer in the wilderness

Unwatered, eyes aflame in the hot sun,

His camel nimbler than the agile deer,

Its breath as fire, when he would look to sleep

Casting him down beneath some shady palm,

Then with the dawn awake, the caravan

Clanged to departure, ever journeying

Through the wide prairies, unfamiliar

With roof and door, stranger to fixed abodes –

When his wild heart responded vibrantly

To the Koran’s warm glow, its restless waves

Sank to the calm of a sequestered pearl.

Reading the lesson of its verses clear

He who had come a slave went forth from God

A master. Now upon his instrument

New melodies imperial were heard;

Jamshid’s high throne he trampled underfoot;

Cities sprang up out of the dust he trod,

A hundred bowers blossomed from his rose.

O thou, whose faith by custom is enslaved,

Imprisoned by the charms of heathendom,

Thou who hast -torn thy heritage to shreds- [73]

Treading the highway -to a hateful goal-, [74]

If thou wouldst live the Muslim life anew

This cannot be, except by the Koran

Thou livest. See the Sufi in his garb

Of coarse-cut wool, enraptured and entranced

By the intoxication of the song

Of mystic minstrelsy, his heart inflamed

By the fierce fervour of Iraqi’s verse! [75]

Little do his wild ecstasies accord

With the austere Koran; the dervish cap

And mat of reeds replace the crown and throne;

His boasted poverty rich tribute takes

Secured on many a hermitage endowed.

The preacher, with his wealth of anecdote

And wordy legend, little has to tell

Of Truth, for all his fine grandiloquence;

Khatib and Dailami are on his lips, [76]

In every weak Tradition he delights, [77]

The little met with, and the insecure.

It is the duty to recite the Book,

And therein find the purpose thou dost seek.



[66] Arāf, 32: Spune: Cine a oprit podoaba lui Allah făurită pentru robii Săi şi cele bune pentru trai? Spune: Acestea sunt ale credincioşilor în Viaţa de Acum şi, doar lor, în Ziua Învierii. Aşa lămurim Noi semnele unui popor care ştie.

[67] Hijr, 9: Noi am pogorât Invocarea şi asupra sa veghem.

[68] Tawba, 32: Ei voiesc, cu gurile, lor să stingă lumina lui Allah, însă Allah Își va desăvârși lumina, în pofida necredincioșilor.

[69] versul de față și următorul pomenesc pilda coranică a focului în care Nimrod îl aruncă pe Avraam dar care, miraculos, este transformat în grădină cu trandafiri; Anbiyā, 68-69: Ei au spus: Ardeți-l! Ajutaţi-vă zeii, dacă sunteţi făptuitori! Noi am spus: Focule! vei fi lui Avraam răcoare şi tihnă!

[70] Baqara, 2: Aceasta este cartea cea presus de orice îndoială, călăuzire celor conștienți-de-Allah;  Yūnus, 65: Vorbele lor să nu te mâhnească. A lui Allah este toată puterea, El este Cel care Aude, Cel care știe.

[71] Anbiyā, 107: Noi te-am trimis ca îndurare pentru lumi.

[72] Ahzāb, 72: Noi am înfăţişat cerurilor, pământului şi munţilor păstrarea credinţei, însă au refuzat să o ia asupra lor şi au fost cuprinşi de groaza sa. Numai omul a luat asupra sa această povară, însă el este nedrept şi neştiutor.

[73] Muminūn, 55: Ei cred că dacă le dăruim averi şi copii; […]

[74] Qamar, 6: vor ieși din morminte, cu privirile smerite grăbindu-se către Cel care Cheamă, asemenea lăcustelor răzleţite.

[75] misticul-poet persan Iraqi (1289).

[76] Khatib și Dailami numesc „purtătorii-tradițiilor”, naratorii relatărilor profetice.

[77] în acesta și versul următor, Iqbal se referă la categoriile de narațiuni respinse de critica strictă a jurisprudenței.


Stray thoughts Reflections



Ideas act and react on each other. The growing spirit of individualism in politics is not without its influence on contemporary scientific thought. Modern thought regards the universe a democracy of living actions



The progress of thought cannot be divorced from other phases of human activity. Our histories of philosophy tell us what various peoples have thought, but they give us no information as to the various causes – social and political – which have determined the character of human thought. To write a complete history of philosophy would certainly be a tremendous task. A mere theologian cannot fully reveal to his readers the rich content of Luther’s Reform. We are apt to isolate great ideas from the general stream of man’s intellectual activity.



The institution of polygamy was never meant to be a universal institution. It was permitted to exist in order to meet certain difficulties which are not peculiar to Muslim society alone. The worst of permitted things, according to Islam, is “divorce.” It was partly to avoid “divorce” becoming a common social phenomenon that polygamy was tolerated. Of the two social evils – divorce and polygamy – (evils if universalised), the latter is certainly the lesser. But the avoidance of divorce is perhaps not the only justification for this institution; it is partly a concession to the nature of the male who, according to this institution, is allowed to indulge in his inclination for variety – without escaping scot-free from the responsibility arising out of this indulgence. In England the individual does in some cases indulge in such inclinations, but the law leaves him absolutely free from the responsibility which may arise from his sexual freedom. He is not responsible for the education of the children he produces. Nor can such children inherit their father. The consequences, in some cases, are awful. France has been compelled to recognise prostitution as a social institution which it is the ugly duty of the State to keep healthy. But perhaps the greatest criticism on monogamy is the existence of the superfluous women in several European countries where various forces of a social and political nature are tending to enhance the number of women who cannot secure husbands. They cannot become mothers, and consequently they are driven to seek interests other than the bringing up of children. They are compelled to “conceive” ideas instead of children. Recently they have conceived the inspiring idea of “votes for women.” This is really an attempt on the part of the superfluous woman, or, if you like, an attempt on her behalf, to create “interests” for her in the sphere of politics. If a society cannot allow their women to produce and bring up children they must give them something else to be occupied with. The Suffragist movement in Europe is at bottom a cry for husbands rather than votes. To me it is nothing more than a riot of the unemployed.



It is Goethe’s Faust – not the books supposed to have been written by the Galilean Fishermen – which reveals the spiritual ideals of the German nation. And the Germans are fully conscious of it.



Love is more than elixir. The latter is supposed to turn baser metals into gold; the former turns all the baser passions into itself. Christ and Buddha were absolutely correct in their perception of the nature of love; but in their passion for ethical idealism they ignored the facts of life. It is too much to expect of man to love his enemies. Some extraordinary individuals may have realised this maxim in their life; but as a principle of national morality the maxim clearly falls down. The results of the Russo-Japanese war would have been different if the Japanese had acted on the principles of morality associated with their religion.

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