Allama Iqbal - Gabriel and Iblis

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society Topics: Gabriel (Jibril), Satan (Iblis) Channel: Poetry Views: 8996

Translator's note: In the Qur'anic account of man's creation, God asks the angels to bow down to Adam; they bow down, except Iblīs. God banishes Iblīs but, granting his request, gives him the power to tempt and waylay humans except those who submit in sincerity to their Lord.


Old friend, how is your time spent in banishment?


In fire wrapped, pain-swept, surging, toiling, unbent.


At our heavenly summits, we often talk of you. 
Should you repent, seek grace, give us the cue.


Gabriel, you cannot ever grasp how, fatefully,
my shattered cup uplifts me, fires my fancy.

Your station does not tempt me now, nor ever
will. It lacks the vigor, the tension I prefer.

Cast out, I propel the engines of creation. 
Shall I beg for mercy? I thrive in opposition.


Great glory you lost with your insolence. In shame, 
we sank a few notches in God's presence.


My mutiny starts a fire in this clod of dirt.
It spurs man to ambition: he stands tall, alert.

Safely, you watch the cosmic clash of opposites.
Who joins this battle? Who takes the hits?

Neither sages nor prophets can now quell
the fire in men brought under my spell. 

Ask God, if you get time of day with him, 
'Why is man His masterwork, not seraphim?'

I trouble the Sublime with my thorny politics.
Your circles chanting Allah-hu make me sick.


M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2009) and Challenging the New Orientalism (IPI, 2006). Contact him at alqalam02760 [at]

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society
  Topics: Gabriel (Jibril), Satan (Iblis)  Channel: Poetry
Views: 8996

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Older Comments:
I trouble the Sublime with my thorny politics.
Your circles chanting Allah-hu make me sick.
Author M. Shahid Alam qotes devil as saying.
The devil rather churns with glee at the sound of people prostrating to the theological similitude created in the 7th century to confuse the believers. But such similitude exists only in the rebellious world of confusion seeking rest in unrest.
Light had come to the world but people loved darkness as their deeds were evil that convicted them, turning them to hate the very thing that would lead them to repentance to find grace. So, they turn to the god of the night for defense from exposure to the light... to the glee of their proud master they worship while on earth in preference to seeking grace through repentance.


Allah clearly mentions in Quran that Iblis was not from among the angels. He is a Jinn.

The "fallen angel" is a Christian concept.