It was customary in pre Islamic Arab poetry to write poems about the poet's beloved. However, the identity of the beloved was not disclosed in these poems. She was represented by one of the several legendary beauties of the Arab folk lore. These were Salmah, Lubnah, Sulaima, Lailah etc. This poetic tradition continued and was strengthened by Islamic poets also, particularly the sufi poets. However, the difference was that God and/or the Holy Prophet S.A.W became the focus of their Love instead of humans. The tradition of using legendary beauties was also adopted by Allamah Iqbal. He has usually adopted the name of Sulaima in his works.
This poem is the artistic presentation of the concept of "Wahdat al Shuhud ". The essence of the poem is that though the Jamal and Jalal of God is reflected in all His creation it is found par excellence in the human beauty, because Man is the master piece of His creation. Sulaima represents human beauty, which is a reflection of Divine Beauty as stated in the last verse of the poem.
The one whose manifestation witnessed the astronomer's eye
In the sun, in the moon, in the assembly of stars
Whom the sufi found in the dark recesses of his heart
Whom the poet saw in the midst of elegance of Nature
Whose brilliance exists, whose fragrance persists
In the pearls of dew, in the shirts of flowers
Who has inhabited the wilderness by becoming tranquillity
Whose Presence creates the uproar in the midst of the garden
Though His Beauty is manifest in everything
In your eye is Its climax, O Sulaima!