Selections from Dr Muhammad Iqbal, the philosopher of the east


Allama Iqbal’s Poems (English)
A Mother’s Dream

One night while sleeping
I dreamt
Seeing which I began
To get impatient

I saw that
To a place I am going
Where everywhere was dark
And paths are not reaching

As I proceeded
With the confidence I gathered
A queue I saw
Where boys had assembled

Emerald-like garment
They were wearing
In every hand
A little lamp was burning

Without making any noise
To and fro they were moving
Lord alone knows
Where exactly were they going?

While in this thought
My son did I find
Standing in this set
And left behind.

He was at the back
‘coz he was not quick.
The lamp in his hand
Was not getting burnt.

I said ‘Dear One!
Remember me.
Leaving me behind,
Where have you come?

Restless I am
In your separation
Enjoining I am
A necklace of tears

To us you have showed
No concern at all
The wound once healed
Loyal you are not at all

When saw the children
My fret and fume
Turning his face
The reply came

If you are sad
When from you I separate
Neither for your lad
Is there any profit (in separation)!

Saying this, the child
For sometime remained quiet.
Then lamp in his hand held
He spoke thus:

Are you wondering,
What to this is happening?
Your tears flowing
Has barred it from burning.



On the bough of a tree was seated
A nightingale that was saddened

Saying that-
Over me the night is past
And in pecking day is lost!

Towards their nest
How will they (birds) reach
When the shadow of dark
Has fastened its glitch

When heard this yell and wail
Of the nightingale
Said the glowworm
In a voice so calm

With my heart and soul
To you I am of avail
So what if I am
An insect so little?

The night is dark
Why worry then?
All through your route
I will enlighten!

A torch has Allah given me
A radiant lamp has He made me

Noble are those ones indeed
Whom others find while in need!


Communism and Imperialism

The soul of both of them is impatient and restless,

Both of them know not God, and deceive mankind.

One lives by production, the other by taxation,

And man is a glass caught between two stones.

The one puts to rout science, religion, art,

The other robs the body of soul, the hand of bread.

I have perceived both drowned in water and clay,

Both bodily burnished, but utterly dark of heart.

Life means a passionate burning, an urge to make,

To cast in the dead clay the seed of heart.

Note: Iqbal says that communism is the enemy of faith, while Capitalism is the enemy of Humanity. Materialism is the belief of both of them. Life in Communism is production and that of Capitalism is Taxation.



One day a Spider was telling a Fly
‘Everyday on this route you are passing by’

But not for once did my fortune trigger
That, towards my home you never got nearer

It matters not if from strangers you abstain
But away from friends you shouldn’t remain

My home if you come
That shall be my honor!
That ladder in the front
Will reach you to your friend

When heard the fly the talk of the Spider-friend
(It said) O Sire! Play this game on the ignorant

This fly is not among the foolish ones
Who goes up your ladder and never returns

Hearing this the Spider said,

“Ah! You think a traitor I am?
A fool like you will nowhere be found.

Lord knows from where you came flying?
If you remain at my home what is wrong?

Many are the things for you to see
Although a small hut it is when from outside you see

On the doors are hanging curtains very fine
On the walls are mirrors that is full of shine

Said the fly: Fine! What you say is true but,
Your home I will come not.

O Lord! Save me from such subtle discourse
Once laid on them, then I will never arise!

When listened the Spider the talk of the Fly
It thought of a plan to bring the little one nigh

A hundred things with flattery is got done
Everyone in this world is a slave when put this crown

These things did the Spider think
And said,
‘Lord has given u a high rank.’

In love I am with your face
That began when I saw you at once

Your eyes are shining like diamond
Your head with a crest has Allah adorned

This beauty, this attire, this splendor, this honor
And a resurrection it is your flight in the air

Pity arose in the fly when heard this flattery
It said ‘I wish not to cause you any agony’

The habit of refusing I believe is bad
To break one’s heart is in fact bad!

Saying this, it flew from its place
When it came near, the Spider jumped to lay the seize

Hungry was the Spider for many days
But now sitting at home,
The fly was flown to its place!


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