icy July


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In Exegesis of the Sura of Pure Faith:

“Say: He is God, One”


I DREAMED one night I looked upon Siddiq [101]

And plucked a rose that blossomed at his feet –

He, that -most generous was of all mankind- [102]

Unto our Master, he that stood the first

Like Moses on the Sinai of our Faith,

Whose zeal was as a cloud that showered rain

Upon the tilth of our Community,

Second to own Islam, to share the Cave, [103]

Badr, and the Tomb. “O chose of Love’s choice,”

I cried to him, “whose love is the first line

In the collected poetry of Love,

Whose hand established on a firmer base

The fabric of our fortunes; now prescribe

A remedy for our immediate woes.”

“How long”, said he, “wilt thou be prisoner

To base desire? Get lustre, and new light

To light thee, from the Sura of Pure Faith.”

This one breath, winding in a hundred breasts,

Is but one secret of the Unity;

Get thee its colour, to be like to it,

Reflective to its beauty in the world.

He, who bestowed this Muslim name on thee,

Drew thee to Oneness from Duality;

’Tis thou myself hast called thee Afghan, Turk –

Ah, thou remainest as thou ever wert!

Deliver now the named from all the names;

Have done with cups; ally thee to the jar!

Thou hast become a scandal to thy name,

A leaf that fell untimely from thy tree;

Attune thee unto Oneness; be thou gone

From Twoness; nor dissect thy Unity.

Thou who art servant unto One, if thou

Art thou, how long wilt thou to school of Two?

Lo, thou hast shut thy door upon thyself;

Take to thy heart that which thy lips imbibed.

A hundred nations thou hast raised from one,

On thy own fort made treacherous assault.

Be one; make visible thy Unity;

Let action turn the unseen into seen;

Activity augments the joy of faith,

But faith is dead that issues not in deeds.


“God, the Self-Subsistent”


If thou hast bound thy faithful heart on -God

The Self-Subsistent-, thou hast overlept

The rim of things material. No slave

To things material God’s servant is;

Life is no turning of a water-wheel.

If thou be Muslim, be not suppliant

Of other’s succour; be the embodiment

Of good to all the world. Make not complaint

Of scurvy fortune to the fortunate,

Nor from thy sleeve reach out a beggar’s hand.

Like Ali, be content with barley-bread.

Break Marhab’s neck, and capture Khaibar’s fort. [104]

Why bear the favour of the bountiful,

Why feel the lancet of their nay and yea?

Take not thy sustenance from mean, base hands;

Thou art a Joseph; count thyself not cheap. [105]

And if thou be an ant, and lackest wings

And feathers, go not unto Solomon

To plead thy want. The road is arduous;

Go light-accoutred, if thou wouldst attain;

Unfettered live thy days, unfettered die.

Count o’er the rosary of -Take thou less [106]

Of this world’s goods-, and thou shalt riches win

In -living free-. So far as in thee lies

Become that Stone of the philosophers,

Not the base dross; a benefactor be,

Not a petitioner for others’ alms.

Thou knowest well Bu Ali’s eminence; [107]

Accept from me this draught, drawn from his cup –

“Trample Kai-Kaus’ throne beneath thy foot;

Yield up thy life, but not thy self-respect!”

The tavern door stands open of itself

To those whose bowls are empty, whose needs none.

Harun Rashid, that captain of the Faith [108]

Whose blade to Nicephor of Byzance proved

A deadly potion, unto Malik spoke

Upon this fashion: “Master of my folk, [109]

The dust before whose door illuminates

My people’s brow, melodious nightingale

Carolling mid the roses of good words,

I am desirous to be taught by thee

The secrets of those words. How long art thou

Content in Yemen to conceal the glow

Of thy bright rubies? Rise, and pitch thy tent [110]

Here, in the homestead of the Caliphate.

How fair the brightness of the shining day,

The captivating beauty of Iraq!

The Fount of Khizer gushes from its vines, [111]

Its earth is healing for the wounds of Christ.”

“I am the Prophet’s servant,” Malik said,

“And only him I love, with all my heart.

Bound to his saddle-bow, I will not quit

His holy sanctuary. By the kiss

Of Yathrib’s dust I live; my night to me [112]

Is fairer that Iraq’s pellucid day.

Love says, ‘Obey my ordinance; sign not

The articles of service even to kings.’

Thou wouldst become my master, overlord

Of this freed slave of God, that I should wait

Upon thy door to teach thee, and no more

Serve the Community, being bound to thee.

Be it thy wish some portion to attain

Of godly knowledge, in my circle sit

And study with the rest. Indifference

To worldy needs engenders fine disdain,

And holy pride takes many splendid shapes.”

Godly indifference is to put on

The hue of God, and from thy robe to wash

The dye of otherness. But thou hast learned

The rote of others, taking that for store,

An alien rouge to beautify thy face;

In those insignia thou takest pride,

Until I know not if thou by thyself

Or art another. Fanned by foreign blasts

Thy soil is fallen silent, and no more

Fertile in fragrant roses and sweet herbs.

Desolate not thy tilth with thy own hand;

Make it not beg for rain from alien clouds.

Thy mind is prisoner to others’ thoughts,

Another’s music throbs within thy throat,

The very speech is borrowed, and thy heart

Dilates with aspirations not thine own.

The song thy ring-doves sing, the leafy gowns

That deck thy cypresses, are meanly begged;

Thou takest wine from others in a bowl

Itself from others taken upon loan.

If he, whose glance contains thy mystery

-Erred not the sight- – if he should come again [113]

Unto his people, he whose candle-flame

Knows its own moth, who can distinguish well

His own from strangers standing at the gate,

Our Master would declare, -Thou art not mine-.

Woe, woe, alas for us upon that day!

How long wilt thou content thyself to live

The life of stars, that in the risen morn

Lose all their being? Thou hast been deceived

By the false dawn, packed up thy goods and gone

From the broad firmament. Thou art the sun;

Look on thyself a little; purchase not

Some shreds of radiance from others’ stars!

Thou hast engraved thy heart with alien shapes,

Gambled the alchemy and gained the dross;

How long this glittering with others’ shine?

Shake off the heavy fumes of foreign grapes!

How long this fluttering about the flame

Of party lanterns? If thou hast a heart

Within thy breast, with thine own ardour burn!

Be like the gaze, wrapped round in thy own veils;

Rise on the wing, but ever wheel back home;

Bubble-like bar thy little privacy

Against the intruder, if thou wouldst be wise.

No man to Individuality

Ever attained, save that he knew himself,

No nation came to nationhood, except

It spurned to suit the whim of other men.

Then of our Prophet’s message be apprised,

And have thou done with other lords but God.


“He Begat Not, Neither Was He Begotten”


Loftier than hue and blood thy people are,

And greater worth one negro of the Faith

Than are a hundred redskin infidels.

A single drop of water Qanbar took

For his ablutions is more precious far

Than all the blood of Caesar. Take no count

Of father, mother, uncle; call thyself

An offspring of Islam, as Salman did. [114]

See, my brave comrade, in the honeyed cells

That constitute the hive a subtle truth;

One drop from a red tulip is distilled,

One from a blue narcissus; none proclaims,

“I am of jessamine, of lily I”

So our Community the beehive is

Of Abraham, whose honey is our Faith.

If thou hast made of our Community

Lineage a part essential, thou hast rent

The fabric of true Brotherhood; thy roots

Have struck not in our soil, thy way of thought

Runs counter to our Muslim rectitude.

Ibn-i Mas’ud, that lantern bright of Love, [115]

Body and spirit blazing in Love’s flame,

Being distressed upon a brother’s death

Dissolved in tears, a mirror liquefied,

Nor any term to his lamentings saw

But in his grief; as of her child bereaved

A mother weeps, so uncontrollably

He sobbed: “Ah, scholar of humility,

Alas, my comrade in the school of prayer!

My tall young cypress, fellow-traveller

Upon the pathway of the Prophet’s love!

O grief, that he is now denied the courts

Of God’s Apostle, while mine eyes are bright

With gazing fondly on the Prophet’s face!”

The bond of Turk and Arab is not ours,

The link that binds us is no fetter’s chain

Of ancient lineage; our hearts are bound

To the beloved Prophet of Hejaz,

And to each other are we joined through him.

Our common thread is simple loyalty

To him alone; the rapture of his wine

Alone our eyes entrances; from what time

This glad intoxication with his love

Raced in our blood, the old is set ablaze

In new creation. As the blood that flows

Within a people’s veins, so is his love

Sole substance of our solidarity.

Love dwells within the spirit, lineage

The flesh inhabits; stronger far than race

And common ancestry is Love’s firm cord.

True loverhood must overleap the bounds

Of lineage, transcend Arabia

And Persia. Love’s Community is like

The light of God; whatever being we

Possess, from its existence is derived.

“None seeketh when or where God’s light was born; [116]

What need of warp and woof, God’s robe to spin?”

Who suffereth his foot to wear the chains

Of clime and ancestry, is unaware

How -He begat not, neither was begot-.


“And There Is Not Any Equal Unto Him”


What is the Muslim, that hath closed his eyes

Against the world? This heart attached to God,

What is its nature? On a mountain-top

A tulip blowing, that hath never seen

The trailing border of the gatherer’s skirt;

The flame is kindled in his ardent breast

From the first breaths of dawn; heaven suffers not

To loose him from her bosom, deeming him

A star suspended; the uprising sun

Touches his lips with dawn’s first ray, the dew

Bathes from his waking eyes the dust of sleep.

Firm must the bond be tied with -There is none-

If thou wouldst an unequalled people be.

He who is Essence One, unpartnered is;

His servant too no partner can endure;

And whoso in the Highest of the High

Believeth, cannot suffer any peer

In his high jealousy. Wrapt round his breast

The robe of -Do not grieve-, borne on his brow [117]

The crown -Ye are the highest-, he transports

On his broad back the burden of both worlds,

Protects both land and sea in his embrace;

His ear attentive to the thunder’s roar,

His shoulders bared to take the lightning’s scourge,

Against the false he is a sword, a shield

Before the truth; evil and good are proved

Upon the touchstone of his ordinance

And prohibition. Knotted in his coals

A hundred conflagrations lurk; Life’s self

Derives perfection from his essence pure.

Through the broad spaces of this clamorous world

No music sounds but his triumphant song,

His loud -Allahu Akbar-. Great is he

In justice, clemency, benevolence;

Noble his temper, even in chastisement.

At festival his lyre delights the mind;

Steel melts before his ardour in the fight.

Where roses blossom, with the nightingale’s

His sweet song mingles; in the wilderness

No falcon is more swift upon the prey.

His heart untranquil scorns to take repose

Beneath the heavens; in the spreading skies

He makes his dwelling, as on soaring wing

He rises far beyond yon ancient hoop

That spans our firmament, to whet his beak

Against the gleaming stars. Thou, with thy frail

Unspread of pinion, tentative to fly,

Art like some chrysalis, that in the dust

Still slumbers on; rejecting the Koran,

How meanly thou hast sunk, base caviller

Protesting of the turn of Fortune’s wheel!

Yet, lying abject as the scattered dew,

Thou hast within thy grip a living Book;

How long shall earth content thee for thy home?

Lift up thy baggage; hurl it to the skies!



[101] în acesta și următorul calup Iqbal scrie un comentariu al surei Ikhlās; Siddiq este un titlu conferit lui Abu Bakr, primul calif.

[102] citează o relatare profetică ce îl menționează pe Abu Bakr.

[103] Muhammad ﷺ s-a adăpostit alături de Abu Bakr într-o peșteră „fugind” din Mecca spre Medina.

[104] Khaibar era o fortăreață a evreilor în Arabia, capturată în 628 d.H. printr-un asediu în care meritele și vitejia lui Ali s-au distins; Marhab a fost un vrednic luptător al evreilor ucis în luptă.

[105] se narează „ieftina” vindere a lui Iosif de către frați, Yūsuf, 20: Ei îl vândură pe un preţ de nimic, pe câţiva dirhami, deoarece nu îl preţuiau deloc.

[106] citat atribuit lui Umar, al doilea calif.

[107] Bu Ali Qalandar (1324) este un mistic-poet cunoscut și popular în India.

[108] Nichifor I al Bizanțului (802-811), învins de Harun Rashid într-o bine-cunoscută campanie militară.

[109] Malik (795) este fondatorul școlii malikite de jurisprudență islamică. Povestea respingerii invitației lui Harun la Baghdad este faimoasă.

[110] rubinele Yemenului erau renumite pentru splendoare și strălucire.

[111] Fântâna Khizer denumește legendara Fântână a Vieții descoperită de Alexandru cel Mare (Dhu’l-Qarnain) la îndrumarea vizirului său Khizer.

[112] Yathrib este numele antic al Medinei, unde Malik a trăit.

[113] Najm, 17: Privirea lui nu s-a abătut, nici nu a fost stingherită.

[114] Salman al-Farisi („Persanul”) este un companion al Profetului ﷺ.

[115] Ibn-i Mas’ud este un companion și onorat purtător al-tradiției profetice.

[116] îl citează pe Rumi.


Stray thoughts Reflections



True political life begins not with the claiming of rights, but with the doing of duties.



The beauties of nature can be realised only through the eyes of a lover. Hence the importance of a true marriage.



Both God and the Devil give man opportunities only, leaving him to make use of them in the way he thinks fit.



“Think of the Devil and he is sure to appear.” This is equally true of God.



God! I thank Thee for my birth in this world of rosy dawns, flame-clad sunsets and thick forests wherein the gloom of nature’s bygone nights rests in eternal sleep!

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