God's Command to Angels

Category: Featured, Life & Society Topics: Allah, Angels Channel: Poetry

Translated by: M. Shahid Alam

Iqbal was a poet-philosopher born in what is now Pakistan. His poetical works in Urdu and Persian easily earn him the title to the greatest poet in each of these languages in the twentieth century. His lectures, Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, contain the profoundest attempt in modern times to reinterpret Islam and the Islamic experience in the light of modern science and philosophy. 

Marshall the meek of my world. Arise, set them free.
Seize the towers of the rich. Rock the tyrannies.

Lift the slaves: ignite them. Instill a faith that rocks.
Teach the feeble sparrow to fight the taloned hawk.

Power belongs to the people; their kingdom has come.
Destroy the totems of tyranny; their history is done.

Why do the toiling peasants reap death and misery?
Capture the granite castles. Seize the granaries.

Why do they disconnect the worshippers from me?
I do not need priests to parse my words for me.

I have no use for gilded walls and ornamented frieze.
Build me a tabernacle with mud, thatch and leaves.

This age of smokes and mirrors: is this modernity?
Move the poet: make him rage. Hitch him to Eternity.


M. Shahid Alam

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  14 Comments   Comment

  1. alkhaulan from philippines

    I wish there were more people like Allama Iqbal. His poetry will always inspire many people who are in search of the Truth.

  2. saniya faisal from saudia arabia

    Peace be unto you.I was deeply amazed that how he had written the most adorbal poems.

  3. Mike from USA

    "Many among us, including myself, believe that England at this time possesses the capability of leading the whole of mankind towards this objective. The thinking of the people of that land, their political understanding based on a deep study of human nature, their unshakeable, serious, resolve, their moral superiority over others in many aspects, their astonishing control over material resources, the existence of many movements among them for the welfare and betterment of human beings, and their discipline in every walk of life -- all these are things which no outsider can refrain from admiring."

    (Harf-i Iqbal, p. 167, from the year 1930)

  4. hamza khan from US

    i only wish more muslims, and non-muslims, around the world knew of dr. iqbal. his thought, his vision for the future of muslims and islam is an ideal, something which must be grasped at its very root. iqbal truly believed in the ascendency of islam, and in the dynamic spirit of the muslim. it is a sad state when very few muslims reflect on the works of arguably the greatest muslim philosopher of the modern era. alas, it is never too late.

  5. Salman from USA

    Peace be unto you. I was deeply saddenned to read the poems of this "poet." In particular, his odes to the King and Queen of England are absolutely contrary to beliefs of Islam (they were posted by "Mike" in the comments section). Loyalty and allegiance belong only to God. And so God commands us to owe our obedience to a Muslim ruler who abides by Sharia and to the religious scholars; not to unbelievers, albeit their supposed "charity" towards muslims. Isnt there a lesson for every muslim in the story of Abu Talib, the Prophet (pbuh)'s uncle? Need I say more?

    I am in utter shock and appallment that an Islamic site of this caliber would allow a poet who had written such nonsense (i.e. odes) in his lifetime to be posted. It is egregiously against the pure, unadulterated teachings of Islam. I am speechless to say the least. The crux of my argument is that Mr. Iqbal might not have truly comprehended Islam as it was taught by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and our pious predecessors.

    All I have left to say is: May Allah (swt) guide me and the rest of the Ummah to stand firm on the principles within the Deen and to truly disseminate the message of Islam in the light of the Prophet (pbuh)'s Sunnah.

    May Allah (swt) save us from ever wavering from the principles of the Quran and the Sunnah and grant us the ability to implement Sharia' in every aspect of our lives at every moment in our lives. Ameen thumma Ameen.

  6. Mike from USA

    1. Upon the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, Dr. Iqbal penned an epicedium of ten pages, entitled 'Tears of Blood', from which we give a few verses below. The Queen died on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, and Iqbal wrote:

    "Happiness came, but grief came along with it,Yesterday was Eid, but today muharram (Month of the year associated with the deepest mourning for Muslims) came.

    "Easier than the grief and mourning of this day, Would be the coming of the morn of the day of judgment.

    "Ah! the Queen of the realm of the heart has passed away, My scarred heart has become a house of mourning.

    "O India, thy lover has passed away, She who sighed at thy troubles has passed away.

    "O India, the protective shadow of God has been lifted from above you, She who sympathised with your inhabitants has gone.

    "Victoria is not dead as her good name remains, this is the life to whomever God gives it.

    "May the deceased receive abundant heavenly reward, and may we show goodly patience."

    (Baqiyyat-i Iqbal, Poem runs over pages 71- 90.)

    2. In December 1911, on the occasion of the coronation of King George V, Iqbal wrote and read out a poem entitled 'Our King':

    "It is the height of our good fortune, That our King is crowned today.

    "By his life our peoples have honour, By his name our respect is established.

    "With him have the Indians made a bond of loyalty, On the dust of his footsteps are our hearts sacrifced."

    (ibid., p. 206.)

  7. m.qureshi from usa

    like a breeze,wonderful translation,people would appreciate more of his translation because he denounces ills and praises knowledge of the west and does the same with thw east

  8. Peter from USA

    Thanks for the info on a poet that is new to me. Islam has truly produced some of the greatest poets the world has ever known.

  9. Asadullah from Canada

    Though you are bound by cause and effect

    Keep your heart a little independent

    Intellect is not free from criticism

    Establish the foundation of your deeds on Love

    O Muslim always in your mind

    Keep the verse "La Yukhlif ul m 'ad"

    This is the message of the Voice of Time

    Always deep in heart "Inna wa`d-Allah i Haqqun"

  10. Asadullah from Canada

    O Lord! To the Muslim's heart grant that live Longing

    Which may warm the heart, which may restlessness to the soul grant

    Again brighten up every speck of dust of the Valley of Faran

    Again Longing for the Spectacle, taste for the asking grant

    Again to the one deprived of the Spectacle the discerning eye grant

    Whatever I have seen, to others also its sight grant

    Again guide the strayed away deer towards the haram

    To the one addicted to city, vastness of wilderness grant

    Again in the forlorn heart create the Last Day's tumult

    Again to this empty camel-litter the lover of Lailah grant

    In the darkness of this age to every perturbed heart

    That mark of Love which may embarrass the moon grant

    In elegance raise the Muslims' goals to the level of Thurayyah

    Self-respect of the ocean, freedom of the sea shore grant

    Love should be pure, candor fearless should be

    Grant Light to hearts, hearts like crystal grant

    Grant the feeling for signs of the calamity

    In today's tumult concern for tomorrow grant

    I am the wailing nightingale of a ruined rose garden

    I am the supplicant for acceptance, O Benevolent one alms to the beggar grant

    (Bang e Dara , http://www.allamaiqbal.com)

  11. Asadullah from Canada

    The Good News of the Dawn(1912)

    When the dawn full of action arrives from the east

    The silence marches off from the stage of life

    The quietude of nature's congregation ends at last

    Everything presents evidence of its life at last

    The birds warble on getting the message of life

    In the garden flowers also put on the robe of life

    O sleeping Muslim get up! You also engaged in action be

    Look, the horizon has brightened up, you also busy in urgent tasks be

    In the universe's expanse a traveler like the sun be

    So that the sky not producing these spots of clouds be

    Pulling the dagger of sun's ray get busy again in the fight

    Again teacher of escape's rules to falsehood's darkness be

    You are head to foot Light, manifestation makes you happy

    And after being manifest spreading out is incumbent on you

    Yes ! On being manifest become lightning to the bat's eye

    O hidden mystery of the heart of universe manifest be!

    (Bang-e- Dara, http://www.AllamaIqbal.com)

  12. Nuraini from Malaysia

    It pains me to hear or read of Westerners who equate tyranny with Islam, when this - this poem - is what it's really about. This was the dream that fired all the syariat of God through the ages, and God dislikes oppressors and tyrants and destroyers. and yet, we are maligned, because our state today is weak and crippled and far from this ideal.

  13. Jefferson from Australia

    Allam Iqbal has been my mentor since many years now. I listen to his poem "Shikwa" while driving to work everyday.

    It not only sums up a lot that is happening today, but also provides practical suggestions to be a better person in the eyes of God and men.

    Salaam !!!