Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Iqbal's Answer to the Plaint|
|08/20/00 at 23:19:31|
InshaAllah, I will post the entire poem of Iqbal Jawab-i-Shikwa (Answer to the Plaint) in this thread. The translation is by Khushwant Singh.
Answer to the Plaint
Words spoken from the heart never fail to have effect;
Sacred and pure their origin, on lofty heights their sights are set.
They have no wings and yet they have power to fly;
They rise from the dust and pierce through the sky.
So headstrong and insolent was my love, so much on mischief bent,
So outspoken my plaint, it tore through the firmament.
The aged vault of heaven heard. ‘There is someone somewhere,’ said he.
The planets spoke, ‘Here on these ancient heights someone must be.’
‘Not here,’ said the moon, ‘it must be someone from the earth below.’
Spoke the Milky Way, ‘It must be someone hidden here we do not know.’
Only the gatekeeper of Eden did some of my plaint recognize
And understood that I was the man thrown out of paradise.
Even to the angels the voice came as a complete surprise;
Nor was the mystery unveiled to other dwellers of the skies.
(They wondered): Could celestial heights have become the aim of man’s striving?
Could this handful of dust have learnt the art of flying?
These earth-dwellers, how little of manners do they know!
How cheeky and insolent are these habitants of regions down below!
He even rails against Allah, he has become so proud;
Is he the same Adam before whom the angels bowed?
He knows about things, their quantity and quality;
Yes, these he knows, but nothing of the secret of humility.
Their power of speech men always proudly flaunt,
But of the way of the speaking they are quite ignorant.
|Re: Iqbal's Answer to the Plaint|
|08/21/00 at 22:47:04|
|Spoke the Voice: Your tale is indeed full of sorrow;|
Your tears tremble at the brim and are ready to flow.
Your cry of lament the sky has rung;
What cunning your impassioned heart has lent your tongue!
So eloquently did you word your plaint, you made it sound like praise.
To talk on equal terms with Us, man to celestial heights did rise.
Limitless is Our bounty, but none for it will pray.
There’s no one on the seeker’s path; to whom do We point the way?
Not one proved worthy of the care with which they were raised;
You are not the clay of which another Adam could be made.
If there were one deserving, We’d raise him to regal splendor,
To those who seek, We would unveil a new world of wonder.
You have no strength in your hands; in your hearts God has no place;
On the name of My messenger, you people have brought disgrace.
Destroyers of false gods are gone; only the idol-maker thrives;
The sons of Abraham have departed, Azar’s idolatrous breed survives.
Strange the company you keep; from new vats a new vintage wine you brew;
You have built yourselves a new Kaaba with new idols because you yourselves are new.
There were days when this very Allah you regarded as sublime;
The tulip of Islam was the pride of the desert in blossom time.
There were days when every Muslim loved the only Allah he knew;
Once upon a time He was your Beloved; the same Beloved you now call untrue.
Now go and pledge your faith to serve some local deity
And confine Muhammad’s following to some one locality.
Heavy weighs the light of dawn, how loathe you are to rise?
Why protest you love Us? It is your slumber that you prize.
On your carefree spirit Ramadan’s fast does heavily press;
Ask yourselves and answer: ‘Is this the way of faithfulness?
A people are bound by faith; without faith they cease to be;
If nothing binds you, you are like meteors, not stars in a galaxy.
The only people in the world of every skill bereft are you.
The only race which cares not how it fouls its nest are you.
Haystacks that within them conceal the lightning’s fires are you.
Who love by selling tombs of their sires are you.
If as traders of tombstones you have earned such renown.
What is there to stop you in trading in gods made of stone?
Who blotted out the smear of falsehood from the pages of history?
Who freed mankind from the chains of slavery?
The floors of My Kaaba with whose foreheads swept?
Who were they who clasped My Koran to their breasts?
Your forefathers indeed they were: tell Us who are you, We pray?
With idle hands you sit awaiting the dawn of a better day.
Did you say to Muslims We promise houris only in paradise?
One’s speech should be polite even if there be reason to criticize.
From time eternal We the Creator made justice our sovereign rule;
To infidels who behaved as Muslims We gave heaven’s gifts as prize.
There is not one amongst you who does to heaven’s gift aspire;
There is no Moses to see Sinai’s celestial fire.
You are one people, you share in common your weal and woe,
You have one faith, one creed and to one Prophet allegiance owe.
You have one sacred Kaaba, one God and one holy book, the Koran,
Was it so difficult to unite in one community every single Mussalman?
It is factions at one place; divisions into castes at another,
In these times are these the ways to progress and to prosper?
Who abandoned Our Chosen Messenger’s code and its sanctions?
Who made time-serving the measure of your actions?
Whose eyes have been blinded by alien ways and civilizations?
Who have turned their gaze away from their forefathers’ traditions?
Your hearts have no passion, your souls are of spirit bereft,
Of Muhammad’s message nothing with you is left.
|Re: Iqbal's Answer to the Plaint|
|08/21/00 at 23:44:57|
|If any there be to crowd the mosques at prayer, it is the poor.|
If any observe Ramadan’s fast and pangs of hunger suffer, it is the poor.
If any at all there be who still take Our name, it is the poor.
If any there are today who cover up your shame, it is the poor.
The rich know Us not; they’re drunk with the wine of wealth;
The enlightened community survives because of the poor man’s breath.
Your mentors are immature: there’s no substance in what they preach;
No lightning flashes enlighten their minds. There’s no fire in their speech.
Only a ritual the call to prayer; the spirit of Bilal has fled.
There’s no end to philosophizing; Ghazzali’s discourse remains unread.
Now mourn the empty mosques. No worshippers fill them with prayer.
The likes of noble Hejazi gentlemen are no longer there.
There is loud talk that Muslims have disappeared from the earth’s face.
We ask you; did true Muslims exist anywhere in any place?
Your style of living is Christian, your culture that of the Hindu;
A Jew would be ashamed if he saw Muslims such as you.
You are Saiyyads as well as Mirzas, and you are Afghans—
Your are all these, but tell Us are you also Mussalmans?
When a Muslim spoke, he spoke the truth; his speech was forthright;
Strong was his sense of justice, no bias did hid judgement blight.
As sap is in a tree, so was modesty in the Muslim nature,
Rare was his courage, his valor was beyond compare.
His self-effacement was the essence as liquid contents are of liquor,
As a goblet empties out, emptying himself for others was his pleasure.
To every vein of falsehood, every Muslim was a knife;
In his life’s mirror, the jewel was ceaseless strife.
On the strength of his own arms a Muslim used to rely;
All he feared was his God; all you fear is to die.
If from his father’s learning, a son takes no light,
Over his sire’s legacy, how can he stake his right!
All of you drink the wine of bodily indulgence, lead lives of ease without strife.
You dare to call yourselves Muslims? Is this the Mussalman’s way of life?
You take neither Ali’s pledge of poverty, nor Osman’s path of wealth pursue;
What kinship of the soul can there be between your ancestors and you?
As Muslims your forefathers were respected;
You gave up the Koran and are by the world rejected.
You always quarrel among yourselves; they were kind and understanding.
You do evil deeds, find faults in others; they covered others’ sins and were forgiving.
To live atop the Pleiades is the heart’s wish of everyone of you;
First produce a discerning soul who can make the dream come true.
Theirs was the throne of Persia, theirs the kingdom of Cathay
Are you made of that honest stuff or of empty words? You say.
[i]Will post more tomorrow, InshaAllah[/i]
|Re: Iqbal's Answer to the Plaint|
|08/22/00 at 22:20:46|
|[i]This is the last part of the poem[/i]|
You are bent on self-destruction; for honor and self-respect they were known.
Brotherly feelings are alien to you; for brothers’ lives they gave their own.
All you do is talk and talk; they were men of action, deeds and power;
You hanker after little buds; theirs was the garden and every flower.
To this day the peoples of the world remember tales of their glory;
Their righteous deeds are written on the scrolls of history.
What if you rose above the horizon and shone like stars in the heavens!
You fell in love with India’s idols and were converted into Brahmins.
Your spirit of adventure made you leave your nest and take to the open sky;
Your youth which had no scruples went further and their faith did deny.
The new civilization removed all restraints and set them wildly free;
It brought them out of the Kaaba to settle in the house of idolatry.
Today’s lovers and not like Qais; they cannot bear the loneliness of desert wastes;
They have breathed the city’s airs; for desert wines they have no taste.
Qais is crazed with love; he may or may not choose the city as his dwelling place;
But there is no reason why Leila should not raise her veil and show her lovely face.
Enough of protesting against the cruelty; enough of complaining against tyranny;
If love can wander freely, why should beauty be not set free?
The new age is like lightning; inflammable is every haystack,
Neither wilderness nor garden is immune from its attack.
To this new flame old nations are like faggots on a pyre;
Followers of the last Messenger are consumed in its fire.
Even today if Abraham’s faith could be made to glow;
Out of Nimrod’s fire a garden of flowers would grow.
Let not the sorry plight of the garden upset the gardener;
Soon buds will sprout on the branches and like stars glitter.
Weeds and brambles will be swept out of the garden with a broom;
And where martyrs’ blood was shed red roses shall bloom.
Look, how russet hues have tinged the eastern skies!
The horizon heralds the birth of a new sun about to rise.
In life’s garden are nations which gathered fruits for which they toiled;
Others which reaped nothing or whose harvest an early autumn spoiled.
Countless plants wither; countless such as remain forever green;
Countless more that are hid in the earth’s womb and are yet to be seen.
Islam is an example of a tree cultivated with great care,
Centuries of careful gardening have yielded the fruit it bears.
Your garments are not soiled by the dust of any single native land,
You are the Joseph who sees his Canaan in every Egyptian sand.
Never will your caravan be plundered or laid waste,
You have no baggage save the starting bell. Make haste!
A tree of candles are you, your wick-like roots pierce the light;
Your thoughts are flames that dispel tomorrow’s shades and make them bright.
You will not be destroyed even if Iran went into decline;
The shape of a goblet bears not on the headiness of the wine.
From the tales of the Tartar hordes’ we can clearly see
That Kaaba got its caretakers from the temples of idolatry.
The bark of truth is launched on the sea of time; its helmsman are you;
In the darkness of the new age, the faint glimmer of your star comes through.
The tumult caused by the Bulgar onslaught and aggression
Is to rouse you out of complacency and gird your loins for action.
Presume not that to hurt your feelings, it is a sinister device;
It is a challenge to your self-respect, it is a call to sacrifice.
Why tremble at the snorting of the chargers of your foes?
The flame of truth is not snuffed out by the breath the enemy blows.
Your real worth is hid, other people are yet to see what’s true;
The Lord of the world’s assembly has yet much need of you.
By your breath lives the world and is kept animate;
You are its destined leader, you the star of fate.
There is no time to relax, much still remains to be done;
You have yet to fully spread the light of God, the only one.
You are the bud’s captive fragrance; burst forth and gain release;
Hoist your pack on your shoulder; scatter incense like the garden breeze.
You are but a tiny speck; to infinite vastness let it increase;
You are only the wave’s murmur; turn it to the roar of the raging sea.
With the power of love raise the lowest to triumphant heights
With the name of Muhammad turn the world’s darkness to light.
If He were not the flower, no bird song would you hear;
The gardens of the world, no smiling buds would bear.
If He were not he saqi, neither wine nor pitcher would there be,
Neither gatherings of true believers of the world nor will you have identity.
His name is the tent-pole that the canopy of heaven sustains,
His name makes the pulse of life beat warmly in our veins.
He is on arid wastes and on mountain sides and on endless steppes;
He dwells by the ocean’s swell that’s tossed by the stormy seas.
He is in the cities of Cathay and in wildernesses Moroccan
And He lies hidden in the faith of every Muslim man.
May every eye see this spectacle to the very end of time
And testify to our saying, ‘We have made Your name sublime.’
In the land of the Blacks—pupil in the eye of the earth—
The land which nurtured martyrs, the land of their birth.
Land of the fertile crescent made fruitful by the heat of the sun,
The land known to lovers of the faith as the land of Bilal, the Abyssinian.
It shimmers like quicksilver at the sound of His name.
As the sparkle in a dark eye; in pitch back it is a flame.
With reason as Your shield and the sword of love in your hand,
Servant of God! The leadership of the world is at your command.
The cry, “Allah-o-Akhbar”, destroys all except God; it is a fire.
If you are true Muslims, your destiny is to grasp what you aspire.
If you break not faith with Muhammad, We shall always be with you;
What is this miserable world? To write the world’s history, pen and tablet We offer you.
|Re: Iqbal's Answer to the Plaint|
|08/22/00 at 23:50:48|
|JazakAllahu khairan Asim!|
What a truly remarkable piece! I was wondering how Singh would translate the last two lines of the poem, two of my favorite lines! He has done an excellent job, overall, in my opinion.
Kee Muhammad (pbuh) say wafaa too nay to Hum tayray haiN
Yeh jahaaN cheez hai kya, Lawh-o-Qalam tayray haiN
Individual posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Jannah.org, Islam, or all Muslims. All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners. Comments are owned by the poster and may not be used without consent of the author.The rest © Jannah.Org