The Message of Dawn
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THE MESSAGE OF DAWN
(Adapted from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
See Appendix I, No. 53 for Longfellow. While the original poem by Longfellow is only a poetic description of the coming to life of the world in the morning this adaptation goes much deeper. This poem is the explanation of the role of the light of knowledge in removing the darkness of ignorance by acquiring the knowledge of the unseen spiritual world as is alluded to in explanatory note 1. The poem also explains the role of time in controlling the activities of daily life. This subject is dealt with in detail in the first seven verses of another poem of `Allamah Iqbal titled, "Masjid-i-Qurtubah" in Bal-i-Jibril (The Wings of Jibril). The first verse is given below:
(166) The alternation of day and night, producer of all events
The alternation of day and night, Essence of life and death
When the sparkling of the night's forehead's decoration disappeared1
The zephyr of life with the news of the happy morning appeared
It awakened the nightingale of flowery song in its nest
It shook the shoulder of the farmer on the field's edge
It broke the spell of darkness of night’s talisman with Surah al-Nur 2
It robbed the golden crown of bed-chamber's candle in the dark
It chanted the magic of awakening on those sleeping in the temple
It gave the Brahman the tidings of the bright sun
Arriving at the mosque's roof it said to the Mu’adhdhin3
"Do you not fear appearance of the resplendent sun ?"
Climbing the garden's wall it cried this to the rose-bud
"Burst! You are the Mu'adhdhin of the morning O rose-bud"
It gave the command in the wilderness "Move O Caravan"!
"Every dust speck will shine like fire-fly in the wilderness"
When it reached the cemetery from the living's habitation
Witnessing the spectacle of the cemetery it spoke thus
"Remain lying in comfort still, come again shall I
Make the whole world sleep, wake you up shall I4
1. Allusion to the departing of the stars at the night's end.
2. Allusion to the Holy Qur'an 24:35. It means that the real darkness of the night, which is a metaphor for the lack of knowledge of the unseen spiritual universe, is broken only with the Divine Light referred to in the above verse of the Holy Qur'an. This brings to mind the following verses about the marvels of Mu'min's power:
(167) This morning which is yesterday and today
We do not know from where it is created
(168) But the morning which shakes the Existence' bed-chamber
Surely is created by the Adhan of the Man of Faith
(Appendix III, No. 32)
3. Mu’adhdhin- The person who calls Muslims to prayers. Adhan is his call.
4. Allusion to the morning of the Day of Resurrection when all those sleeping in their graves will be awakened (the Holy Qur’an 7:187; 18:99-101).