THE WITHERED ROSE
This poem is not just a picture of autumn in the garden when the rose and other flowers wither away and present a picture of sadness and desolation. It is a metaphorical elegy of the sad state of affairs of the Muslim Ummah. The description of the life of the rose in the spring, in the first three verses, represents the period of the glory of the Ummah, and the period of autumn, in the last three verses, represents its present state. The last two verses indicate ‘Allamah Iqbal's frustration which can be appreciated only by those similarly afflicted.
O withered rose! How can I still call you a rose?
How can I call you the longing of nightingale's heart?
Once the zephyr's movement was your rocking cradle
In the garden's expanse joyous rose was your name
The morning breeze acknowledged your benevolence
The garden was like perfumer's tray by your presence
My weeping eye sheds dew on you
My desolate heart is concealed in your sorrow
You are a tiny picture of my destruction
You are the interpretation of my life's dream
Like a flute1 to my reed-brake I narrate my story
Listen O rose! I complain about separations!
1. The melodious tune of the flute, which is made of reed, is full of feelings, representing the flute's pathos on its separation from the reed-brake, where its origin and homeland is. This verse is a slightly modified version of the opening verse of "Daftar-i-Awwal" (The First Book) of Rumi's Mathnavi-i-Ma‘navi (The Spiritual Mathnavi), which is as follows
(164) Listen to the flute as narrates it
As separation's complaint makes it
Mawlana Rumi's narration of complaint of the flute's reed is caused by its separation from the reed-brake and is contained in many successive verses, which form the Prelude of his Mathnavi. The Mathnavi itself is, in brief, an exposition of tasawwuf as related by the flute. The motivation for this comes from the pathos of the reed due to its separation from the reed-brake. Similarly, ‘Allamah Iqbal means that his philosophy, which is spread over his entire works, and some of which will unfold in "Bang-i-Dara" as we proceed, is motivated by his separation from the object of his Love, i.e. God and the present state of the Muslim Ummah. See Appendix I, No. 65 for Mawlana Rumi and his influence on ‘Allamah Iqbal.