This poem does not portray ‘Allamah Iqbal's escape from sophisticated society into the corner of retirement as would appear from its cursory perusal. In fact, as has been explained in Chapters 2 and 3, he did not want to escape life and its problems but fight against them. This was his most important message and advice to all his readers, and particularly to Muslims. The poem is an allegorical presentation of the struggle between Intellect and Intuition. The city life, represented by worldly assemblages in the poem, stands for materialism whose benefits are obtained through Intellect. They provide material comforts but do not satisfy the heart and conscience. The life represented by the abode in the wilderness stands for life of Intuition, which harmonizes Man's existence with the orchestra of the creation of God in nature and helps him to rise in moral stature. The following verse, which is only one of numerous verses and poems on this subject sums up his feelings:
(161) Heart's freedom is sovereignty, belly is prelude to death Heart or belly, the decision of yours is in your hands (Appendix III, No. 29)
For a discussion of the controversy between Intellect and Intuition see Chapter 3, paragraph titled "The Controversy of `Aql-o-Dil".
O Lord ! I have become weary of human assemblages!
When the heart is sad no pleasure in assemblages can be
I seek escape from tumult, my heart desires
The silence which speech may ardently love!
I vehemently desire silence, I strongly long that
A small hut in the mountain's side may there be
Freed from worry I may live in retirement
Freed from the cares of the world I may be
Birds' chirping may give the pleasure of the lyre
In the spring's noise may the orchestra's melody be
The flower bud bursting may give God's message to me
Showing the whole world 1 to me this small wine-cup may be
My arm may be my pillow, and the green grass my bed be
Putting the congregation to shame my solitude's quality be
The nightingale be so familiar with my face that
Her little heart harboring no fear from me may be
Avenues of green trees standing on both sides be
The spring's clear water providing a beautiful picture be
The view of the mountain range may be so beautiful
To see it the waves of water again and again rising be
The verdure may be asleep in the lap of the earth
Water running through the bushes may glistening be
Again and again the flowered boughs touching the water be
As if some beauty looking at itself in mirror be
When the sun apply myrtle to the evening's bride
The tunic of every flower may pinkish golden be
When night's travellers falter behind with fatigue
Their only hope my broken earthenware lamp may be
May the lightning lead them to my hut
When clouds hovering over the whole sky be .
The early dawn's cuckoo, that morning's mu’adhdhin2
May my confidante he be, and may his confidante I be
May I not be obligated to the temple or to the mosque
May the hut’s hole alone herald of morning’s arrival be
When the dew may come to perform the flowers’ ablution
May wailing my supplication, weeping my ablution be
In this silence may my heart’s wailing rise so high
That for stars’ caravan the clarion’s call my wailing be
May every compassionate heart weeping with me be
Perhaps it may awaken those who may unconscious be
1. This metaphor refers to the wine-cup of Jamshed, a Persian king, who could see the whole world in it. This is one of the innumerable messages in `Allamah Iqbal's works through which he requires his readers to comprehend and enjoy the creative artistry of God.
2. Mu’adhdhin : The person calling Muslims to congregational prayers. This is a beautiful metaphor calling the cuckoo as the herald of the morning prayer time.