Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Allama Iqbal and Ahlul-Bayt…Iqbal’s poems on Hazrat Ali, Hazrat Fatima Zahra and Imam Hussain

Please click on the following images to enlarge their size.

Iqbal on Hazrat Imam Hussain


Read a brief commentary on the above poem by Annemarie Schimmel


Iqbal on Hazrat Fatima and Hazrat Imam Hussain



Allama Iqbal on Imam Hussain

Dr Iqbal had an abiding faith in Ahlul Bayt (the Chosen Descendants of the Holy Prophet). He was intensely moved by the tragic events of Karbala so much so that in many of his couplets he carried a universal message to the mankind for emulating Imam Husayn who sacrificed his life at the altar of Truth. His elegies on the martyrdom of Imam Husayn stand unmatched and are an eye-opener to all those who are giving a mere lip-service to Islam.

In the following couplets Dr Iqbal gives vent to his sentiments and feelings on Imam Husayn:

Jis tarah mujhko shahid-e-Karbala say piyâr hay
Haq ta’âla ko yatimon ki duâ say piyâr hay

Dr Iqbal expresses his extreme love for Imam Husayn. Just as Almighty Allah loves to listen to the invocation of the orphans, he also has the same kind of love for the martyr of Karbala.

Roney wâlâ hoon shahid-e-Karbala kay gham may mayn
Kyâ durrey maqsûd na daingay Sâqi-e-Kauthar mujhey

Dr Iqbal has a sincere and genuine faith in Imam Husayn. The hero of this episode Imam Husayn, the brave son of the bravest of the brave Ali and grandson of the Holy Prophet, took up a firm stand not to acknowledge Yazid as the Caliph of Islam. It is a fight for the preservation of the principles and tenets of Islam. Imam Husayn arrived in Karbala on the 2nd of Muharram 61 A.H. along with his small children, women, and some comrades numbering 72 only. On the l0th of Muharram he was brutally killed. This was the tragedy over which Iqbal sheds tears. He believes that mourning and wailing over him would lead to his (Iqbal’s) salvation. He also believes that Suqi-e-Kauthar Lord of Kauthar (Cistern in Paradise) Le. Imam Ali loves those, who weep for Imam Husayn. He hopes and prays that since he sheds tears out of grief for Husyan, Imam Ali would give him all the help he needs.

Gharib-o-sâda- o-rangi’n hay dâstân-e-Haram
Nihâyat iski Husayn ibtida hay Ismâil

Dr Iqbal says that the event of the construction of Kaba is very simple and interesting. Prophet Ismail suffered great pains in its construction. The Holy Prophet purged it from the idols that were in it, and so raised its glory. The first stone was laid by Ismail indeed. He offered for sacrifice his own life but the sacrifice was not completed as he was replaced by a ram and according to the Holy Qur’an the great sacrifice or Zibh-e ‘Azim was to come later and completed by one of his descendants, Husayn. So in fact culmination of the spirit of love for Allah was manifest when Imam Husayn sacrificed his life and preserved the dignity of the Holy Kaba.

Haqiqat-e-abadi hay maqâm-e-Shabbiri
Badaltay rahay hain andâze Kufio-Shâmi

Dr Iqbal here compares two things Shabbiri or Husayniyat, i-e. principles enunciated and adhered to by Imam Husayn, and Yazidiyat, i.e. worldly power and authority. Husayn was the symbol of devotion to and love for Allah, i.e. submission to none except Allah.

The spirit as shown by the rulers of Kufa and Syria, is always changing since it tries to gain strength through fraud, dishonesty, and political expediency and maneuvering as against this truth never changes. So .the place Imam Husayn has achieved, is a reality which shall be hailed and acknowledged for all times to come.

Qâfilâ e Hijaz may ek Husayn bhi nahin
Garche hai tâbdâr abhi wâdi ey Dajlao Furât

Dr Iqbal was distressed to note that Iraq was under the yoke of the British. He was disappointed that the Muslims had lost courage and were suffering humiliation. The land of Tigres and Eupharates called some staunch devotee of Islam who could relieve them of their serfdom. Iqbal only wished a man, a follower of Imam Husayn might come up to help the Muslims of Iraq!

Sidq-e-Khalil Bhi hay ishqe sabr-e-Husayn bhi hay ishq
Mârika-e-wujud maiyn Badr-o-Hunayn bhi hay ishq

Dr Iqbal says that love of Allah manifests itself in many ways. Prophet Ibrahim had to suffer many difficulties in the cause of Allah. He accepted being thrown into the fire, and the fire was turned into a blooming garden.

It showed his intense love for Allah. Our Holy Prophet conquered the Battles of Badr and Hunayn through his ardent love for Allah. Similarly Imam Husayn showed his patience in the battlefield of Karbala where he, with his family and comrades, not only suffered the pangs of three days’ thirst, but willingly sacrificed his life for the cause of Truth and love for Allah. Love for Allah is a quality, a force, an impetus, which creates in us extraordinary patience and forbearance.

Ek faqr hay Shabbiri es faqr mayn hay meri
Mirâs- e-Musalmâni, samâya-i-Shabbiri

Dr Iqbal says that the life of a dervish is a very noble way of living but it is different from the life of a mendicant or friar who lives on begging or in seclusion. We should learn from Imam Husayn who while passing the life of a dervish had no other consideration except love of Allah and submission to His will. Our treading the path practised by Imam Husayn will bestow on us the title of Chief among the people. A Muslim has inherited this wealth from Imam Husayn, and we should make the best use of it. Imam Husayn has given us the lesson of self-sacrifice, patience, and forebearance and submission to none except Allah.

Ân Imam-e-âshiqân pooray Batool
Sarvay âzâdi ze bustân-e-Rasul

Now Dr Iqbal opens his praises for the son of lady Fatima. He was the chief of the lovers of Allah, and an evergreen tree from the garden of the Prophet. Imam Husayn who stood against the forces of evil, refused to acknowledge Yazid as theCaliph of Islam, and upholding the dignity of Islamic principles sacrificed his life along with a small band of 72 of his followers, at the battlefield of Karbala.

Allah Allah Bâey Bismillah pidar
Ma’niye zibh-e-azim âmad pisar

In a state of supreme bliss Dr Iqbal says, "O’ Allah, what an exalted position Imam Husayn possessed, as his illustrious father (Imam Ali) was the first letter of the Qur’an! A tradition says that Imam Ali said, "What is in the Holy Qur’an is in the first chapter (Surah Fatiha); what is in this surah (chapter) is in the first verse (Bismillah); what is in Bismillah is in its first letter (Ba) and I am the dot below ba. Doubtless Imam Ali was acknowledged to be the best expounder of the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Prophet had himself declared: "Ali is with Qur’an, and Qur’an is with Ali". Imam Husayn was the son of such an eminent personality. It is Imam Husayn’s Martyrdom which is referred to as Zibhe Azim the greatest sacrifice in the Holy Qur’an. Imam Husayn was the direct descendant of Prophet Ismail and had offered himself for sacrifice at Karbala to save Islamic principles from annihilation. The Holy Qur’an says that Zibhe Azim, the great sacrifice of Prophet Ismail was left over for the coming generation. Dr Iqbal alludes to this and says that Zibhe Azim in the Holy Qur’an means the sacrifice of Imam Husayn.

Bahray ân shahzâdaey Khayrul milal
Dosh-e-Khatmul mursalin ne’mul Jamal

Dr Iqbal here alludes to an event stated by Tirmizi and others. Once Imam Husayn mounted the shoulders of his grandfather, the Holy Prophet. Somebody said, "What a good carriage it is!" The Prophet said, "And what a good rider it is!" Dr Iqbal mentions this event to show what affectionate feelings the Holy Prophet had towards his grandson.

Surkh roo ishq-e-ghayoor az Khoon-e-oo
Surkhiye in misra az mazmoon-e-oo

Dr Iqbal says that it is because of Imam Husayn’s blood that the modest love has gained honor and dignity. This couplet can well serve a title for the episode of the Tragedy of Karbala which shows how piously and valiantly Imam Husayn defended the tenets of Islam, sacrificed his own life along with his kith and kin, sincere followers, and comrades, and raised the honor of love to its acme.

Darmiyân-e-Ummat ân Keywân janâb,
Hamchu harf-e-Qul Huwallah dar Kitâb

Dr Iqbal shows here the position of Imam Husayn. He says that among the followers of the Holy Prophet Imam Husayn is like the Divine phrase QuI huwallah (Say He is Allah) meaning that Allah is One, in the Holy Qur’an. Since the entire Holy Qur’an turns to this verse -QuI Huwallaho Ahad (Say that He is One) similarly the whole Islamic world turns towards Imam Husayn who is the source of our guidance. Dr Iqbal knows the tradition of our Prophet: "Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn" i.e. Husayn is his grandson and that he (the Prophet) would be made known by him, and his mission would be fulfilled by Imam Husayn who sacrificed his life to immortalize Islam and its tenets.

Musa o Firaun-o-Shabbir or Yazid
Een do quwwât az Hayât âmad padid.

Ever since the creation of life two opposing forces have been at war with each other- virtue and vice, Right and wrong. Musa (Moses) rose against Firaun (Pharoah) and Shabbir (Imam Husayn) rose against Yazid. These struggles were between the Right and the wrong. Consequently the Right prevailed upon the wrong and it was proved that Right is might.

Zindah haq az quwwat-e-Shabbiri ast
Bâtil âkhir dâgh-e-hasrat miri ast

Dr Iqbal says that Truth or Islam exists today because of the strength shown and the spiritual power exercised by Imam Husayn. In other words Imam Husayn made Islam immortal. The wrong was crushed to annihilation in spite of its apparent success. Yazidism or the principle enunciated by Yazid is looked down upon by all, but Husayn’s blood spilled at Karbala still enlivens our hearts and makes us feel that his sacrifice to support the Right against the wrong was unparalleled in the history of mankind.

Choon Khitlâfat rishtah az Qur’an gusikht
Hurriyat ra Zahr under Kâm rikht

Khâst ân sar Jatwaey Khairut Umam
Choon Sahabe Qibtah Bârân dar qadam

Bar zamin-e-Karbala Bârid o raft
Lalah dar wirânaha Kârid o raft

Tâ qayâmat qat’ay istibdâd kard
Mauje Khoone oo chaman ijâd kard

Dr Iqbal says that when the Islamic Government severed its relation with the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an the Muslims suffered moral degradation. It marred their freedom. When the rulers indulged in all sorts of vicious habits and satisfied their carnal desires against the clear-cut injunctions of the Holy Qur’an the whole social structure was impaired. Nobody could utter a word against the tyrant ruler and his associates. Then arose that chief of the Muslims (Husayn) like blessed cloud with rain of mercy under his foot. It rained blessings on the sands of Karbala and turned that desert into a garden. It is the place where Imam Husayn with his kith and kin, children and comrades, numbering 72 only, faced a huge army and courted martyrdom after three days starvation and thirst on the l0th of Muharram 61 A.H. Husayn was undoubtedly the savior of freedom and Karbala has become the symbol of struggle against tyranny.

Husayn’s role at Karbala was So magnificent that it eradicated for ever the savage idea of cruelty and cold-bloodedness. The wave of his blood has created a garden which is symbolic of his sacrifice for the preservation of freedom and Truth.

Bahre haq dar Khâk-o-khoon ghaltida ast
Pas binâ ey lâ illah gardida ast

Dr Iqbal says that Imam Husayn voluntarily gave his life at Karbala for the sake of Allah or Truth. So it goes without saying that Husayn laid the foundation of the cardinal Principle of Islam -the belief that there is no god except Allah. Since Islamic principles were being twisted, distorted and exterminated it was Husayn’s blood which gave it a new life.

Mudda â yash saltanat boody agar
Khud na hardy bâ chunin sâmmâne safar

That Imam Husayn’s only aim in refusing to accept Yazid as Caliph of Islam was to preserve Islam, can be borne out from the fact that while he left Madina for his journey towards Kufa he had a small band of his relations and followers, including women, and children. Had he the intention of fighting a political battle he would not have gone there with such people as he took with him. Those Who accompanied Imam Husayn included his sisters, wives, children ( even a six month old child was with him) and some followers, some of whom were more than eighty years of age.

Dushmanân chun rig-e-sahra la tu’ad
Dostân-e-oo bâ yazdân ham ‘adad

In the Battle of Karbala the number of the enemy was as countless as the particles of sand, but the number of Imam Husayn’s friends was only 72.
Tigh-e-lâ choon az miyan buroon kashid

Az rag-e-arbâbe bâtil khoon kashid
Naqsh-e-Illallâ h bar Sahra nawisht

Satre-unwân-e- najat-e mâ nawisht
Ramz-e-Qur’an az Husayn âmokhteem
Za Âtishe-oo Shoalahâ andokhteem

Imam Husayn took up his sword of ‘La’ or ‘No’ that is, there is no deity (except Allah) and crushed infidelity. He imprinted the mark of Illallah (Tawhid), or monotheism in the wilderness of Karbala. It was a title for our salvation. In fact we have learnt the lesson of Tawhid or monotheism from Imam Husayn, who taught us in a practical way the secret of Qur’an by sacrificing his life for the sake of Allah and for completing the mission of his grandfather, the Prophet. We have gathered warmth from the fire of love for Allah that Imam Husayn possessed. Dr Iqbal means that the love for Allah shown and the sacrifice made by Imam Husayn at Karbala should serve as the best lesson for all the people of the world.

Shawkat-e-Shâ m-o farray Baghdad raft,
Satwat-e-Ghamata ham az yâd raft

Târ-e-mâ az zakhma ash larzân hanooz,
Tazâh az takbir-e-oo Imân hanooz

Dr Iqbal says that kingly grandeur gained through political battles never survives. The pomp and vanity of the thrones of Syria and Baghdad which were once seats of great kings is no more present. Nobody remembers the splendor of Gharnata i which was the seat of Spanish Kings. But the reverential call of Husayn at Karbala -his call of La Illâhâ Illâllâh is still echoing in our ears and thrilling our hearts.

Ay sabâ ay payk-e-dûr uftâdagân,
Ashk-e-mâ bar khâk-e-pâk-e-oo rasân

Iqbal’s intense love for and faith in Imam Husayn is apparent from this couplet. Fondly addressing himself to the breeze, which proverbially carries the message of the lover to the beloved, who is at a remote place. Iqbal asks her to carry his tears to the sacred tomb of Imam Husayn. Dr Iqbal weeps in sad and blessed memory of Imam Husayn and wishes to place his tears over his Imam’s grave.



Allama Iqbal’s Beautiful Tribute to Hazrat Fatima Zahra(A.S.)

Original poem in Farsi by Allama Sir Mohammad Iqbal, as published in his Asraar-o-Rumooz

Maryam az yek nisbat-e-Eesa azeez,
As seh nisbat hazrat-e-Zahra azeez

Maryam is honourable only because she is the mother of Jesus,
Look at Zahra, Her honour comes from three relationships

Noor-e-chashm-e Rahmat-il-lil ‘aalemin
Un imam-e-awwalin-o-aahirin

She is the daughter of the person known as Rahmat al-lil aalameen
Who is Imam of all the (prophets) in the past and all the leaders in the future

Un ke jan dar payka-e-geeti dameed
Rozgaar-e-taaza aa’in aafreed

He, who revived a dead society back to life,
And brought a new system of law

Baanu-e un taajdaar-e-hal ata
Murtaza mushkil kusha sher-e-xuda

She is the wife of the one who was crowned with Hal Ata[1]
He is the chosen one, solver of all problems, the lion of God

Paadshhah-o-kulba’ee aywaan-e-oo
Yek hussam-o-yek zirh saamaan-e-oo

He was a king but lived in a hut,
All he owned was a sword and a coat of chain[2]

Maadar-e-un markaz-e-parkaar-e-ishq
Maadar-e-un kaarwan saalaar-e-ishq

Her son was the center of Love and devotion[3]
He was the chief of the army of Love

Un yeki sham’e shabistaan-e-haram
Hafiz-e-jamee’at-e khayrul-umam

He was a burning light in the gathering in the HARAM,
He was the protector of the best of the communities

Taa nasheenad aatash-e-paykaar-o-kin
Pusht-epa zad ba sar-e-taaj-o-nagin

He kicked the throne and the crown aside[4],
Only because he did not want to see the fire of killing and hatred

Wan digar mawlaa-e abraar-e-jahaan
Quwwat-e baazu-e-ahraar-e-jahaan

And the other son (of hers) is the leader of the pious
He gave strength to all the revolutionaries of the world

Dar nawaa-e-zindagi soz az Husayn[5]
Ahl-e-haq hurriyat amoz az Husayn[6]

Husayn gives passion to the ode of humanity
The truthful people learned the lesson of freedom from Husayn

Seerat-e-farzandaha az ummahaat[7]
Jawhar-e-sidq-o-safa az ummahaat

The character of sons are built by their mothers
The true mettle of truthfulness and honesty come from the mothers

Muzra-e-tasleem ra haasil Butool[8]
Maadaraan ra uswa-e-kaamil Butool

Butool was the epitome of the devotion to Allah
For mothers she is a guiding example

Bahr-e-muhtaaj-e dilash un guna sooht[9]
Ba yahoodai chaadar-e-khud ra farooht

Her heart was so overwhelmed by the plight of the poor,
That she sold her own chadar to a Jew

Noori-o wa ham atashi farmanbarash[10]
Gum razaayesh dar razaa-e shawharash

Both angels and Jinn are in her obedience,
(Because) she was obedient to her own husband

Un adab parawarda-e sabr-o-raza
Aasiya gardaan-o-lab Qur’an sara

She was raised with SABR and submission
Her lips would be reading Qur’an while her hands would be moving the hand mill

Girya haaye u ze baalin bai niyaaz
Gawhar afshandai badamaan-e-namaaz

She wept for fear of Allah
She shed tears during her prayers

Asahk-e-oo bar cheed Jibreel az zamin
Hamchu shabnam reext bar arsh-e-barin

Jibreel would pick up her tears from the earth
So that he may spread dew-drops in Jannah

Rishta-e aa’een-e haq zanjeer-e-pa ast
Paas-e-farmaan-e Janaab-e Mustafa ast

I am bound by the law of Islam,
I am beholden to the sayings of the Prophet

Warna gird-e-turbat-ash gardeed mi
Sajdaha bar khaak-e-oo pasheed mi

Otherwise, I would have gone round and round her gravesite,
And I would have done sajdah on her grave

[1] This is an allusion to the Qur’anic verses 1-12 from Sura Dahr, Chapter 76. Imam Ali gave away his meal while ready to break his fast to a beggar. Allah sent those verses in his praise.

[2] This is an allusion to the story when Imam Ali comes to the Prophet asking for Fatima Zahra’s hand in marriage. He asks Ali: What do you have? Imam Ali replies: A sword and a coat of chain. The Prophet then says that being valiant fighter in Allah’s way, he does not need a coat of chain, so he sells that to prepare for the wedding.

[3] These verse pertain to the eldest son of Fatima Zahra, Hasan bin Ali. Many of his virtues are recorded in books of hadeeth.

[4] Hasan abdicated in favour of Mu’awiyyah to avoid bloodshed and warfare

[5] An allusion to the passion of Karbala. Compare this with P.B. Shelly’s famous lines: “Our sweetest songs are those which are sung in the saddest tones.”

[6] Husayn stood up to a tyrant’s demand instead of compromising his principles

[7] It is amazing that Iqbal, a person raised in a typical male-chauvinistic society of Punjab, would write these lines

[8] These lines are highly metaphorical. The translation that I have done is not literal.

[9] Allusion to another story from the life of Fatima Zahra

[10] This is an allusion to the Qur’anic verse 51:56, “I have not created the Jinn and the men except that they would worship Me.” And it also connects to a hadeeth in which the Prophet had said: “If it was lawful to do sajdah to someone other than Allah, I would have commended women to worship their husbands.”



Hazrat Ali (AS) aur Kalaam’e Iqbal

Muslim’e awwal, shahey mardaaN Ali
ishq ra sarmaaya’e eimaaN Ali

khaira na kar saka mujhey, jalwaey daanish’e farAng
surma hai meiri aaNkh ka, khaakey Madina o Najaf

faiz Iqbal hai usi dAr ka
bandaey shaah’e la-fataa hooN maiN

yeh hai Iqbal, faiz e yaad e naam e Murtaza, jis se
nigaahey fikr mein khalwat saraaey la-makaaN tAk hai


In his poem "Asrar-i-Khudi," Allama Iqbal paid tribute to Hadrat Ali in the following terms:

"Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet was a man of many qualities.
He gave fresh vigour to Faith.
And brought honours to the community of the faithful.
He developed self-disciplines and killed avarice.
A person who knows and controls himself rules the world."


Iqbal in one of his poems titles, Dar Shar-he-Asrar-Asmae-Ali Murtaza included in Asrar-e-Khudi marvels at the mystery of the name and titles of Ali. As the listners known Ali is known by the titless of Bu-Turab,Yadullah,Murtaza and the Babul Ilm(gate of the house of knowledge).

Murtaza means He is whom God is pleased, Bu Turab signifies the conquest of body and Yadullah obviously means the dispenser and dessiminator of the Divine will. Iqbal’s peom as translated by Nicholson reads as under:

Ali is the Moslem and the king of men,
In love’s eyes Ali is the Treasurer of faith.

Devoution to his family inspires me with life,
So that I am as a shinig part!

Like the narcissus, I am entraputed with gazing,
Like perfume, I am straying through his pleasure garden.

If holy water gushes from my earth, he is the source,
If wine pours from my grapes, he is the cause

I am dust, but his sum hath made me as a mirror:
Song can be seen in my breast,

From Ali’s face the Prophet drew many fair omen,
By his majesty the true religion is glorified.

His commandments are the strength of Islam,
All things pay allegiance to his House.
The Apostle of God gave him the name Abu Turab.