A+ A A-

Addressed to Abd Al-Qadir

This and the next poem are complementary to each other and contain a flood of his longings and ambitions for service to Islam and Muslims. He got the motivation for this poem from the good organization of the society and government of European countries and focusing of their attention to the work of national reconstruction and advancement. At that time he could not do better than express his feelings to his long term friend and confidante, Sir Abd al Qadir, Barrister at Law, Lahore who was also the editor of the famous Urdu magazine, Makhzan . At that time he only expressed his thoughts as they occurred to him. However, reference to Chapter 4 will show that later he adopted poetry as the vehicle for communication of all his philosophy of Islam as a panacea for the ills of the Muslim Ummah and, in fact , for the maladies of the whole human race. He made this task the ambition and purpose of his life and produced a vast amount of literature in Urdu, Persian and English on this subject, mostly in verse. Some of this work has already appeared in this commentary and much more will appear as we proceed with the study of "Bang-i-Dara ".

Rise, as darkness has appeared on the eastern horizon
We should light up the assemblage with blazing songs

Our capacity is only a cry of lament like the wild rue
We should overturn the assemblage with this same uproar

We should show the assemblage the effect of Love's polish
We should convert the stone of today into the mirror of tomorrow

By showing them the effulgence  of the lost Yusuf
We should make them more agitation-prone than Zalaykha's blood 4

By giving the lesson of the law of growth to this garden
We should turn the insignificant drop of dew into the ocean

We should lift our dearest chattel from the China' s temple
We should fascinate all with the face of Sa'di
6 and Sulaima 7

Look! The Lailah' s she camel became useless in Yathrib
We should make Qais acquainted with the new Longing

The wine should be mature and so hot that with it
We should soften the heart of the glass, the goblet, and the decanter

The grief which kept us warm in the cold of the West
Opening up the breast we should make it public

In the world's congregation we should live like the candle
We should burn ourselves and open up the rivals' eyes

"The candle reveals whatever passes through the heart
Burning is not the thought which the candle conceals"

Explanatory Notes
1. Sipand or Wild Rue See Appendix II. The property of the rue seed of cracking and jumping when put in fire is referred to here as an expression of distress and lament as well as the restlessness produced by them.

2. This refers to the technology of glass making, ultimately making mirrors, whose starting material is a base material like silicates in stones and soil. This hemistich means that we should convert the youth of today, who are inert and useless like stones, into the mirrors of tomorrow.

3. See Appendix I, No. 80. This verse alludes to the early part of the story of  S. Yusuf A.S. for which see the Holy Qur'an Surah 12, especially the first 20 verses.

4. Zalikhah or Zulaykhah- See Appendix I, No. 81.

5. This is a part of the often repeated message of Allamah Iqbal that Muslims should return to Islam for guidance in knowledge and for inspiration for noble deeds. The mention of China is a delicate reference to the Hadith that one should acquire knowledge even if it is in China.

6. Sa`di- See Appendix I, No. 66.

7. Sulaima- It was a tradition in pre Islamic Arabic poetry to write poems about their beloveds. However, the identity of the beloved was not revealed and she was represented by one of the several legendary beauties of the Arab folk lore, such as Salmah, Sulaima, Lubnah, Lailah etc. This poetic tradition was continued and strengthened by the Muslim poets, particularly the sufi ones. However, the difference was that God and/or the Holy Prophet S.A.W. was the focus of their Love instead of the human beauties. The tradition of using the names of  the legendary beauties came into Persian and Urdu poetry also. `Allamah Iqbal has adopted the name of Salaima in his poetry, as here, in the sense of converging full attention on Islam and Islamic values.

8. With the advent of Islam old values in literature, including poetry, changed as has been stated earlier [See Introduction to Poem 15. "`Aql-o-Dil" (The Intellect and Heart)]. Instead of Lailah and her she camel, God and Holy Prophet S.A.W. became the objects of Love and they were referred to metaphorically as Lailah. `Allamah Iqbal has used this metaphor often. Cf.

(184) B� `Al� in Lailah's camel's dust cloud is lost
R�m�'s hand the curtain of her litter has got

(Appendix III, No. 24)

Dervish Designs Online