Muhammad Riaz

'Allamah Iqbal is a versatile, thoughtful and world-recognis­ed Persian poet, but many aspects of the exotic splendour of his art and thought have yet to be arranged and studied. One such aspect is a comparative study of over sixty Persian poets, re­nowned as well as less known, mentioned in his poetry and prose-works. The writer knows of no other Persian or Urdu poet-cum ­writer whose works may reflect such an amazing galaxy of poets of the fifth-thirteenth/eleventh-nineteenth centuries. As compared to Persian poets, the number of Arabic, English, German and Urdu poets traceable in Iqbal’s books is rather insignificant, though he knew these languages, too. The reason is obvious: Iqbal had learnt Persian with great enthusiasm[1] and consequent­ly emerged to be essentially a Persian poet. No doubt, in addition to about nine thousand couplets in Persian, Iqbal has versified nearly six thousand verses in Urdu, but his diction has remained explicitly Persian, as he had drunk deep at Persian’s fountain.

Iqbal’s Persian poetry started about the year 1906; till then he was quite known for his Urdu poetry in the subcontinent, but his earlier Persian poetry too is well attractive, though it doesn’t make a part of Iqbal’s regular works, now.[2]

The galaxy of Persian poets reflective in Iqbal’s works has different phases: the couplets of some poets are referred to in support of the use of certain correct rhetoric figures in poetry or for depicting lexicographical meanings.[3] The meanings of certain verses are appreciated and told by Iqbal in a different sense.[4] There are allusions to the couplets of a number of poets; the metres, rhymes or rhythms of some poets have been borrow­ed and used by Iqbal in his Persian and even Urdu poetry, and finally there is a good number of poets certain hemstiches or couplets of whom have been inserted by Iqbal among his verses for appreciating or even for contradicting certain meanings humorously.[5]

Iqbal’s Style. Persian poetry has been classified under four popular sabuk or styles, namely, Khurāsanī, ‘Irāqī, Hindī and Revisory. Khurāsanī was the simple style of the poets till the middle of the seventh/thirteenth century ; ‘Iraqi is the most developed style ascribed to the poets like Rūmī, Sa-dī, Ḥāfiẓ and Jāmī, whereas for Hindi style the names of Waḥshī, ‘Urfiī, Naẓīrī, Sā’ib, Bedil and Ghalib suffice to refer. This style remained in practice out of Iran till recently, but the Iranian poets returned to the former styles by middle of twelfth/eighteenth century and adopted the Revisory style, and this reformative step is still being followed. Iqbal whom the late poet-laureate Muhammad Taqī Bahār Mashhadī (d. 1651) calls the fruit of eight centuries of the development of Persian poetry,[6] has been attentive to all the traditions and styles of Persian poetry and, though his poetry apparently seems to be in ‘ Irāqī style, on the whole he has paved a new way. The critics, mostly Iranians, describe his style as unique because of his certain originalities in technique, and also due to use of words as different termino­logy. Hence he is also the exponent of a new school of poetic art.[7] In his Preface to English rendering of Iqbal’s Zabūr-i ‘Ajam the late Orientalist, Arthur John Arberry (d. 1969) writes:

"Iqbal accepted the ghazal as he found it, with all its age-long rigidity of form and matter; and, with the true touch of genius, he took it one stage forward. While remaining absolutely true to both pattern and image, he gave the form the new mean­ing by making it express his individual message. The ghazal had been put to a variety of derive uses by the old masters; the panegyrists had taken the love-motive and directed it to patron-flattery; the mystics had used the language of human passion to express their devotion to God. Now for the first time the ancient form is made to clothe the body of a new philosophy. What that philosophy is, the reader . . . will find himself in a new world of thought and feeling, a world vibrant with hope and high en­deavour, a world revealing the vision of a great thinker who saw in these sorely troubled times the dawn of a new age."[8]

What Arberry wrote about Iqbal’s ghazal applies to all his poetry in Persian. In his originalities in style, however, his love for the Persian language is also evincible—the language which, according to his hint in the Jāvīd Nāmah, even the Martians speak.[9] As Iqbal’s remarks and appreciations of Persian poets are scattered in different writings, particularly in Urdu, below we put forth a gist of our glimpses of comparative studies in this regard. The poets enjoying some importance in Iqbal’s art or thought are briefly mentioned earlier and the less significant have been enlisted later. The less known poets may need introduction, but, except in a few cases, this is not possible in this short article; necessary sources have, however, been added and this may lead to a comparative appraisal of Iqbal’s Persian poetry, i.e. what he thought of other poets, and how he developed and elevated his own style.

Firdausī. Abu’l-Qāsim Firdausī Ṭūsī (d. about 411/1020), creator of the Shah Nāmah, has been referred to by Iqbal in the use of a rhythm, and Iqbal quotes from Firdausī also.[10] In mathnavī Musāfir, while passing through the ruins of Ghazni, Iqbal refers to the grandeur of the reign of Sultan Maḥmūd as explicit from some verses of Firdausī in praise of the Sulṭan. In his Bāl-i Jibrīl,[11] Iqbal inserts a couplet of Firdausī in sup-port of the meanings of self-respect and self-affirmation, and narrates the importance of this mathnavī-master from Iran:

نہیں شعلہ دیتے شرر کے عوض



خودی کو نہ دے سیم و زر کے عوض


عجم جس کے سرمے سے روشن بصر



یہ کہتا ہے فردوسی دیدہ ور


تو باید کہ باشی، درم گو مباش’’



‘‘ز بہرِ درم تند و بدخو مباش



[Exchange not Self-dignity for silver and gold—

A flame is not exchangeable with a sparkle.

Broad-eyed Firdausī says like this—

The one with whose collyrium, Iran is clear-sighted:

"Become not harsh and bad-tempered for drachma (wealth);

Thy Self art to remain : drachma may void."]

Manūchihrī. Abu’l-Najm Manūchihrī Damghānī (d. 432/1040) has mostly followed the Arab poets in his poetry; he is also famous for his musammits (stanzas knit together, all the last lines of which rhyme). Iqbal inserts his couplet in his visionary journey to the Ḥijāz.[12] His musammit "Nawā’-i Waqt" in Payām-i Mashriq shows a particular impact of Mauūchihrī. Iqbal’s odes in the style of Arabic poets definitely resemble those of Manūchihrī.

Nāṣir Khusrau. Abu’l-Mu’īn Ḥujjat Nāṣirir Khusrau Qabadiyānī (d. 481/1088), the philosopher-writer and ethical poet, had no nom de plume. In the section "Beyond the Heaven" of his Jāvīd Nāmah, Iqbal has inserted five couplets of an ethical qaṣīdah (his whole poetry is as such) of Nāṣir Khusrau under the following caption: "The spirit of Nāṣir Khusrau ‘Alavī appears, sings an exciteful lyric and vanishes."

It is noteworthy that in the said section of Jāvīd Nāmah, certain monarchs are being mentioned but as Nāṣir Khusrau has not praised any monarch or noble, Iqbal has shown him separately as cited above and this shows his special regard for the Ismā’īlī poet. Iqbal’s fragment "A Falcon and A Fish" in Payām-i Mashriq seems to be influenced by the famous fragment of Nāṣir Khusrau entitled "Flying of a Proud Hawk".

Mas’ūd. Masūd Sa’d Salmān Lāhorī (d. 515/1121) has been the most celebrated poet of his time in the Ghaznavī era. Iqbal has freely translated and elaborated his following quatrain in Urdu verse of his Bāl-i Jibrīl:[13]

Live with a hawk’s valour and a leopard’s pride;

Good at hunting and triumphant in combat.

Attend not to a nightingale and a peacock—

The former is mere melody and the latter colour.

Sanā’ī. Abu’l-Majd Ḥasan Majdud Sanā’ī Ghzanavī (d. 535/ 1140), the renowned poet, has been praised deeply by later eminent poets like Khāqānī, ‘Aṭṭār, Rūmī ; Iqbal too joins his predecessors. Iqbal had visited Sanā’ī’s last resting place at Ghazni in November 1933, and the event is reflective in his mathnavī Musāfir and Bāl-i Jibrīl; in the mathnavī Iqbal appre­ciates and annotates certain mystic ideas of Sanā’ī and in the book, he, by following Sanā’ī’s qaṣīdah and inserting certain hemstiches thereof, writes a detailed poem and terms it as "container of stray thoughts". Iqbal’s certain lyrics too reflect Sanā’ī’s influence; for example :


ای یار مقام دل، پیش آی و دمی کم زن
زخمی کہ زنی برما، مردانہ و محکم زن



[Gambling loving friend! come forward and try luck a little;

Your match against us ought to be manly and firm.]


با نشۂ درویشی ساز و دمادم زن
چوں پختہ شوی خود را بر سلطنتِ جم زن[14]


 [Like the dervish drunken be; quaff the wine cup instantly,

And, when thou art bolder grown, hurl thyself on Jamshid’s throne!]

Anwarī. Auḥaduddīn Muhammad Anwarī Abiwardī (d.’587/ 1191) is one of the pillars of Persian poetry’s castle. Iqbal has quoted from him and inserted many of his hemstiches and couplets in support of certain meanings for appreciation.

Anwarī’s fragment decrying the usurption of the people’s rights by the aristocrats has been freely translated and versified by Iqbal in Urdu and included in Bāl-i Jibrīl. It is captioned "Beggary".

Khāqanī. Afḍaluddīn Fāḍil Khāqanī Shirwānī (d. 595/1199) is famous for his philosophical meanings and Iqbal was very much appreciative of the quality of Khāqānī. In two different poems of Ḍarb-i Kalīm, Iqbal has inserted three couplets of Khāqānī with considerable praise of the poet’s genius. The couplets have been taken from mathnavī Tuḥfat al-’Irāqain. In a poem entitled "Khāqānī," Iqbal has said:

اربابِ نظر کا قرۃ العین



وہ صاحبِ تحفۃ العراقین


پردے ہیں ت مام چاک در چاک!



ہے پردہ شگاف اس کا ادراک


کہتا نہیں حرفِ لن ترانی![15]



خاموش ہے عالمِ معانی



 [The master of mathnavī Tuḥfat-ul-’Irāqain—apple of the eyes of the enlightened.

His intellect unveils—all the curtains keeps aloof.

This scholar of facts is quiet, but never talks un-open.]

Iqbal has also inserted some couplets and hemistiches of Khāqānī in support of discussing meanings.[16]

Niẓāmī. Shaikh Jamāluddīn Abū Ilyās Muḥammad Niẓāmī Ganjavī (d. circa 610/1213) has been referred to and appreciated by Iqbal in the Preface to his Payām-i Mashriq and in Ḍarb-i Kalīm where he inserts his couplets from mathnavī Laylā Wa Majnūn, as Iqbal was here laying down some pieces of advice for his son, Jāvid, similarly as Niẓāmī had done for his own son. Besides referring to Niẓāmī’s Laylā Wa Majnūn and Haft Paikar, Iqbal has responded to his famous "Wine Quatrain" through his "Kharābāt-i Farang" in Payām-i Mashriq, though some re­searchers[17] refute the ascription of the quatrain to Niẓāmī and think that it belongs to another Niẓāmī of the Ṣafavid era (tenth­-eleventh/sixteenth-seventeenth century). The opening lines of both the quatrains are as under:


دوش رفتم بہ خرابات مرا را نبود
می زدم نالہ و فریاد کس از من نشنود



 [Last night I went to the winehouse, I did not get in for want of

permission ;

I exclaimed to enter but none attended to my woe and cry.]


دوش رفتم بتماشای خراباتِ فرنگ
شوخ گفتارئ رندی دلم از است ربود



 [Last night I went to go through the wine-house of the West,

The satire of an intoxicated fellow (refers to Nietzsche) impressed me immensely.]

Aṭṭār. Shaikh Farīduddin Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ‘Aṭṭār Nishāpūrī (d. 618/1221) is the second important mystic poet after Sanā’ī, and Rūmī has particularly praised them both. Iqbal is appreciative of them all. Indications are there to show that Iqbal had gone at least through the following works of ‘Aṭṭār: Dīwān-i Ghazliyāt, Tadhkara-tul-Auliyā’, Maṭaq al-Ṭair and Īlāhī Nāmah. ‘Aṭṭār’s one lyric seems to influence Iqbal’s poem captioned "Kashmīr" in Payām-i Mashriq. The opening lines are as under:


باد شمال میوزد، جلوۂ نسترن نگر
وقت سحر ز عشق گل، بلبل نعرہ زن نگر



[It blows from the North, behold the splendour of eglantine;

For love with the Hower, witness the nightingale’s melody early in the morning.]


رخت بہ کاشمر کشا، کوہ و تل و دمن نگر
سبزہ جہاں جہاں بیں، لالہ چمن چمن نگر


[Encamp in Kashmir, and look at the hill and the vale—

Enjoy the world of greenery and the gardens of tulips.]

The phraseology of Tadhkara-tul-Auliyā’ is envisageable in Iqbal’s works. Iqbal has followed mathnavī Manṭaq al-Ṭair in a few cases, but his appreciation of this work was so intense that like his Gulshan-i Rāz Jadīd, written after the mathnavī Gulshan-i Rāz: of Maḥmūd Shabistarī, he wished to write a new Manṭaq al-Ṭair[20] with a new technique but, due to his preoccupation and long indisposition in old age, he couldn’t fulfil his desire.

‘Aṭṭār has a particular sympathetic view of Satan. The details may be seen in his Manṭaq al-Ṭair, Muṣībat Nāmah and, particu­larly, Ilāhī Nāmah (maqālah 8th). It is interesting to note that some phases of Iqbal’s sympathetic and varied attitude towards Satan concide with those of Aṭṭār.[21]

Rūmī. Maulānā Jalāluddīn Muḥammad Rūmī (d. 672/1273) who, like Nāṣir Khusrau, had no pseudonym is undoubtedly the greatest mystic Persian poet. Rūmī occupies the most important place in Iqbal’s thought and art. Regarding Rumi’s maūy-sided impact on Iqbal and the common factors in both, a number of articles and even books can be written, yet I venture herein the main points. Iqbal has praised Rūmī’s genius and quoted from him (both from Mathnavī and the Dīwān-i Kabīr) in almost all his prose and poetry works ; in his older age Iqbal used to read, after the Qur’ān and Ḥadīth, Rūmī’s mathnavī alone and this shows his special regard for the book. Excepting mathnavi Gulshan-i Rāz Jadīd, all mathnavīs of Iqbal coincide Rūmī’s Mathnavī in rhyme and rhythm, and in the qāfiyah of his earlier mathnavīs, Iqbal has deliberately[22] followed Rūmī to the utmost.

In his quotations and insertions from Rūmī, Iqbal’s poem "Pīr Wa Murīd" (the Guide Rūmī and the Disciple Iqbal) in Bāl-ī Jibrīl is quite important and interesting. Here Iqbal has selected couplets from all the six parts of Rūmī’s Mathnavī and depicted new meanings from them. Iqbal ascribes his lofty ideas every-where as directives or inspirations from Rūmī. His celestial journey, contained in Jāvīd Nāmah, has been described as Rūmī’s inspirations. The mystic master is seen everywhere in Iqbal’s writings.

Iqbal has developed a number of Rūmī’s ideas and made them more popular for the modern man: love, intellect, evolu­tion, free-will, self-affirmation and idea of perfect man come in the first row of their important topics. Rūmī had successfully opposed the irreligious and misleading philosophic and mystic views prevalent in his age; in the case of Iqbal who has been fighting against the alien ideas for the Muslims, particularly against limited nationhood, slavery, dependence, anti-religious ways and following the Westerners blindly. Hence it is quite proper that Iqbal calls himself "the Rūmī of this age," and just critics accept his claim:

از و آموختم اسرارِ جاں من



چوں رومی در حرم دادم اذاں من


بدورِ فتنۂ عصرِ رواں من،[23]



بدورِ فتنۂ عصرِ کہن، او


 [Like Rūmī I called the people for prayers in Ḥaram;

From him have I learnt the secrets of soul.

Seditions of the older age he resisted

Horrors of the present age I withstand.]

The late Dr Khalīfah ‘Abdul Ḥakīm, a veteran writer on Rūmī and Iqbal, has written:

"As Rūmī’s religious consciousness was paralleled with intellectual consciousness so was the case with Iqbal; both preached the gospel of a rich integrated life embracing matter, life, mind, and spirit, a life in which not only the individual and social selves are harmonized but in which the developing ego also makes an attempt to attune its finitude with the Cosmic Infinite Spirit."[24]

A few of Rūmī’s and Iqbal’s lyrics (opening lines) are given below for comparison:


نشاط و عیش بباغ بقا توانی کرد



اگر دل از غمِ دنیا جدا توانی کرد


[If you succeed in freeing heart from the world-worries,

You will dwell with mirth and delight in the garden of Eternity.)


درونِ لالہ گزر چوں صبا توانی کرد
بیک نفس گرہِ غنچہ وا توانی کرد



[Thou canst pass, like morning’s breeze,

Deep into the anemones,

With a single breath disclose

The locked secrets of the rose.]


من بے خود و تو بے خود ما را کہ برد خانہ؟
من چند ترا گفتم، کم خود، دوسہ پیمانہ



[1 am senseless, you are ecstasised ; who would take us home?

Many a time I asked you to take less, two three goblets.] Iqbal



فرقی نہ نہد عاشق ور کعبہ و بت خانہ
ایں جلوتِ جانانہ، آں خلوتِ جانانہ



[A lover doesn’t differentiate a Ka’bah and an idol-house ;

This is the presence of the Beloved and that Vacancy.]

Irāqī. Shaikh Ibrāhīm ‘Irāqī Hamadānī (d. 688/1289), the mystic poet and writer, has a very short echo in Iqbal’s works; an epistle about "Time and Space" attributed to ‘Irāqī in Iqbal’s Lectures[27] actually belongs[28] to Shaikh ‘Alī ‘Ain al-Quḍāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131), and besides insertions of a few couplets Iqbal has followed ‘Irāqī’s most famous ghazal in his Zabūr-i ‘Ajam.[29]

Sa’dī. Shaikh Muṣliḥuddīn Sa’dī Shirāzī (d. 691/1292) is an ethical Persian poet par excellence and, like many later poets, Iqbal has appreciated and quoted couplets from him in some of his writings. In a few verses of Iqbal, Sa’dī’s views are reflective and, in a few others, Iqbal has criticised some of Sa’dī’s lenient views, and he has rather developed some of the Shaikh’s ideas.[30] Insome of his writings Iqbal has referred to some events ascribed to Sa’dī which actually do not exist.[31] Out of many lyrics in which Iqbal has responded to Sa’dī, the opening lines of one are:


پایاں آمد ایں دفتر، حکایت ہمچناں باقی
صد دفتر نشابد گفت حسب الحال مشتاقی


 [The book has become full but the story still remains,

The love enterprise can’t be contained in hundreds of such books.]


دریں محفل کہ کارِ او گزشت از بادہ و ساقی
ندیمی کو کہ در جامش فروریزم باقی


[The night grows late, the rout is up,

No need for saki now or cup;

Pass me thy goblet, friend of mine,

1’ll pour thee the remaining wine.]

Qalandar. Bū ‘Alī Sharafuddīn Qalandar Pānīpatī (d. 724/1324), whose surnames have been Bū ‘Alī, Sharaf and Qalandar, is the mystic poet with an exciting mathnavī and a short dīwān. Iqbal has followed Qalandar’s mathnavī in some parts of his Asrār-i Khudī, according to the wishes of his father who was a great admirer of Qalandar. The poet-philosopher was impressed by certain events of Qalandar’s life,[33] and has thus modelled his view of "Qalandar Dervishes," i.e. all the free mystics; Iqbal is full of praise for them.

Khusrau. Amīr Khusrau Dihlavī (d. 72511325) is one of the greatest Persian poets and writers of the subcontinent. Iqbal has appreciated and quoted from his mathnavīs and lyrics in a few cases[34] but on the whole Khusrau’s impact on Iqbal is not much. The first couplets of a few coincidences are quotable:


ناز کئی کہ دیدہ ام آں رخ ہمچو لالہ را
سوزم و برنیا ورم پیش وی آہ و نالہ را


[What a delicacy have I witnessed in tulip-like face;

I keep on burning, but dare not to raise hue and cry in front of that.]


آی کہ زمن فزودۂ ای گرمئ آہ و نالہ را
زندہ کن از صدای من خاکِ ہزار سالہ را


[Thou who didst make more ardent,

My sighing and my tears, o let my anthem quicken Dust of a thousand years]


فرشتگان ہمہ بر رویت آفرین کردند



خطاب طلعت تو نامۂ زمیں کردند


[Addressing to your face is the topic of the land,

 All the angels have praised your face.]


دمِ مرا صفتِ باد فروردیں کردند
گیاہ را ز سرشکم چو یاسمین کردند


[Soft my breath doth pass

soft as April airs;

Jasmine-sweet the grass

Springeth from my tears.]

Ḥāfiẓ. Khwājah Muhammad Shamsuddīn Ḥāfiẓ Shīrāzī (d. 791/ 1389), whose sweet lyrics with many-sidedness in meaning have no peer in Persian poetry, has influenced many later poets including Iqbal. Iqbal admits that sometimes Ḥāfiẓ’s soul joins his body.[37] Besides numerous quotations from Ḥāfiẓ and adapta­tion of a few of his meanings, Iqbal has modelled some of his lyrics in Pāym-i Mashriq and a number of them in Zabūr-i ‘Ajam in Ḥāfiẓ’s popular style, and the critics opine that Iqbal has so successfully followed Ḥāfiẓ that in many cases only the meanings differentiate their styles. Iqbal, after Naẓīrī Nīshāpūrī, is the second most successful poet in Ḥāfiẓ’s style—a style which he follows even in his Urdu poetry.[38] The following are opening lines of a few lyrics in which Iqbal treads on Ḥāfīẓ’s path’


گرت مدام میسر شود، زہی توفیق



مقام امن و می بیغش و رفیق شفیق


[The state of peace, pure wine and a tender-hearted friend—

What a success if you find these for ever]


ز رسم و راہِ شریعت نکردہ ام تحقیق
جز اینکہ منکرِ عشق است کافر و زندیق!


[I have never discovered well

Law’s way, and the wont thereof,

But know him an infidel

Who denieth the power of Love.]


خیز و در کاسۂ زر، آب طربناک انداز
پیشتر زانکہ شود کاسۂ سرخاک، انداز


[Rise up and pour merriful water (wine) is a golden cup;

Before the head’s cup (skull) becomes clay, do give a cup.]


ساقیا بر جگرم شعلۂ نمناک انداز
دگر آشوبِ قیامت بکفِ خاک انداز


[Saki, on my heart bestow

Liquid flame with flying glow;

Let the resurrection day

Dawn tremendous on my clay.]



شراب بیغش و ساقئ خوش، در دام رہ اند
کہ زیرکانِ جہاں از کمندِ شان نرہند


[The pure wine and the beautiful Saki are such two traps

That the world’s wise people don’t long to be free of those snares]


غلامِ زندہ دلانم کہ عاشق سرہ اند
نہ خانقاہ نشیناں کہ دل بکس ندہند


[I am the slave of each living heart

Whose love is pure, refined,

Not cloistered monks who dwell apart,

Their hearts to none resigned.]


ای فروغِ ماہ حسیں، از روی رخشانِ شما
آب روی خوبی از چاہ رنخدانِ شما


[Friend, the radiance of the Beauteous Moon is due to your glow.

The grandeur of Beauty is owing to the dimple in your chin (face).]


چون چراغِ لالہ سوزم در خیابانِ شما
ای جوانانِ عجم، جانِ من و جانِ شما



[Like a tulip’s flame I burn

In your pleasance as I turn;

By my life, and yours, I swear

Youth of Persia ever fair!]

Jāmī. ‘Abdul Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 898/1492) is the last eminent poet of the ‘Irāqī style and has been so dear to the poets of the later period, and hence Iqbal’s regard for him. Iqbal has quoted from as well as appreciated and also followed him in some Persian and Urdu couplets. The example of Iqbal’s quotations from Jāmī is as follows:

نظم و نثر او علاجِ خامیم



کشتۂ اندازِ ملاّ جامیم


در ثنای خواجہ گوہر سفتہ است



شعر لب ریزِ معانی گفتہ است


’’نسخۂ کونین را دیباچہ است
جملہ عالم بندگان و خواجہ اوست‘‘




[I am lost in admiration of the style of Mullā Jāmī,

His verse and prose are a remedy for my immaturity.

He has written poetry overflowing with beautiful ideas,

And has threaded pearls in praise of the Master.

"Muḥammad is the preface to the book of the universe:

All in world are slaves and he is the Master".]

Faghānī. Bābā Faghānī Shīrāz] (d. 925/1519) occupies great importance in Iqbalian studies. Iqbal has been attentive and appreciative of Faghānī’s artistic poetry throughout his literary career, and has responded to a good number of his lyrics. As late ‘Aṭiyyah Begum Faiḍī (d. 1967) tells, Iqbal had duly recommended her the deep study of Faghānī.[44] Faghānī has been a popular Persian poet for the scholars of the subcontinent and Shibli Nu’mānī (d. 1914) has given his full account in his Shi’r al-’Ajam, Vol III, but Iqbal’s narrative is more attractive.[45] Tulip (Gul-i Lālah) is the most favourite flower used in the poetry of both and they long that the flower remains grown on their graves.



ہنوز سوز دم از داغ آرزوی تو دل
گہی کہ لالہ دمد از سر مزار مرا


[Still the heart burns longing for you

Would that sometimes tulip grows on my grave.]


چون بمیرم از غبارِ من چراغِ لالہ ساز
تازہ کن داغِ مرا، سوزاں بصحرای مرا


(Almighty ! when I die, develop tulip’s lamp from my clay,

Make my "heart-moxa" alive—burn me in that desert.]

Faiḍī. Shaikh Abu’l-Faiḍ Faiḍī Fayyāḍī Akbarābādī (d. 1004/ 1595), the poet-laureate of Akbar the Great’s court, is famous for his philosophic ideas and nice pharaseology.[47] Iqbal has used certain phraseology in his couplets; he has quoted, as well as appreciated, him, and also inserted a few of his couplets. There are also a few examples of iqbal’s following Faiḍī’s lyrics.

Urfī. Sayyid Jamāluddīn ‘Urfī Shīrāzī (d. 999/1590), the renowned poet of Iṣfahānī or Hindī style, has a vast echo in Iqbal’s writings. Iqbal praises ‘Urfī’s bold style; he inserts his verses and follows some of his lyrics. An example is as under:


خیز و بجلوہ آب دہ سرو چمن طراز را
آب و ہوا زیاد کن باغچۂ نیاز را


[Rise up, and with your radiance, water up the fair cedar tree;

Make the climate of supplication-orchard favourable,]



خیز و نقاب بر کشا، پرد گیانِ ساز را
نغمۂ تازہ یاد دہ، مرغِ نواطراز را


[Rise up and unveil the hidden melody,

Teach the melodious bird newer song.]

General Discussion, Iqbal cites from and treads on the poetic path of Muhammad Husain Naẓīrī Nīshāpūrī (d. 1021/1612), Nūruddīn Ẓahūrī Tarshīzī (d. 1025/1616), Kalīm Kāshāni (d. 1061/1651), Sā’ib Tabrīzī (d. 1086/1675), ‘Abdul Qādir Bedil (d. 1133/1721), Ghanī Kashmīrī (d. 1077/1666), Maḥmūd Shabistarī (d. 720/1320) and Mīrzā Ghālib Dihlavī (d. 1285/1869). There are instances where he refers to Waḥshī Bafaqī (d. 991/1583), Muḥsin Tāthīr Tabrizī[49] (d. 1131/1719) and Ṭāhirah Babia[50] (d. 1264/1848), but the following Persian poets mentioned or cited in different writings of Iqbal don’t reflect any significant influence on him: Farrukhī Sīstānī (d. 429/1037), Qaṭrān Tabrīzī (d. 465/ 1072), Bābā āhir Hamadānī (d. about 450/1058), Khwājah ‘Abdullah Anṣārī (d. 481/1088), Auṣaduddīn Kirmānī (d. 635/ 1237), Auḥadī Marāghī (d. 738/1337), Shaikh Chirāgh Dihlavī (d. 757/1356), Yaḥyā Shirāzī (d. 782/1380), Kamāl Khujandī (d. 803/1400), Ghazālī Mashhadī (d. 980/1572), Mullā ‘Arshī (d. 989/ 1581), Ṣaḥabī Astarābādī (d. 1010/1601), Anīsī Shāmlu (d. 1014/ 1605), Malik Qummī (d. 1024/1615), Zulālī Khunsarī (d. 1024/ 1615), Mu’min Akbarābādī (d. 1034/1624), Ṭālib Āmalī (d. 1036/ 1626), Razī Dānish Mashhadī (d. 1076/1665), ‘Izzat Bukhārī (d. 1089/1678), Faraj Ṭarshīzī (d. after 1085/1674), Fauqī Yazdī, Husain Gīlānī, Rāqim Mashhadī (all the three of eleventh/ seventeenth century), ughra Mashhadī (d. 1100/1688), Mukhliṣ Kāshānī (of twelfth/eighteenth century), Rāsikh Sirhandī (d. 1107/1695), Nāṣir ‘Alī Sirhandi (d. 1108/1696), Mukhlis Siālkoti (d. 1165/1751), Ḥazīn Lāhijanī (d. 1181/1767), Jalāl Asīr (d. 1040/ 1630), Mahar Jān-i Jānān (d. 1195/1781), Yaḥyā Kashmīrī (d./ 1181/1706), Azar Beg Iṣfahānī (d. 1195/1781), Nishāṭ Iṣfahāni (d. 1244/1828) and Qa’ānī Shīrāzī (d. 1270/1853). Similar is the case of contemporaries like ‘Azīz Lucknavī (d. 1334/1915) and Garāmī Jullundarī (d. 1346/1927). However, Iqbal’s image of Bedil and Ghālib is worth mentioning.

Iqbal has appreciated Bedil’s symbolic couplets; he has quoted from him and inserted several of his verses. Iqbal’s response to Bedil’s lyrics is also not negligible.[51] Ghālib’s impact on Iqbal’s Persian as well as Urdu poetry is even more intense; poem entitled "Ghālib" in Bāng-i Darā, the firmament of Jupiter in Jāvīd Nāmah, some couplets in Payām-i Mashriq and statements in Stray Reflections indicate Iqbal’s estimation of Ghālib. Ghālib is, no doubt, one of the greatest thoughtful Persian and Urdu poets of the subcontinent, and Iqbal rightly accepts him as his forerunner and literary model. A few examples of their different coincidences follow:


آشکارا دم ز عصیان می زنم



خودی آدم دارم، آدم زادہ ام


[Son of Adam, I am habitual as my father was;

I confess my sinfulness evidently.]


لذتِ عصیاں چشیدن کار اوست
غیرِ خود چیزی ندیدن کارِ اوست!
زانکہ بی عصیاں خودی ناید بدست
تا خودی ناید بدست، آید شکست!


[Man’s concern is to taste the delight of rebellion,

not to behold anything but himself ;

For without rebellion the self is unattainable,

and while the self is not attained, defeat is inevitable.]


سوخت جگر تا کجا رنج چکیدن دہم
رنگ شوای خون گرم تابہ پریدن دہم


[The heart has burnt, how long to endure,

hot blood becomes colour to be poured.]


مثل شرر ذرہ را تن بہ  تپیدن دہم
تن بہ تپیدن دہم، بال پریدن دہم


[Each atom’s body like a spark,

I set a-quivering,

Each atom quivers through the dark,

 And soars as on a wing.]

And the following comments by Iqbal on Ghalib make an end to our quotations:

"As far as I can see Mirza Ghalib, the Persian poet, is probably the only permanent contribution that we Indian Muslims have made to the general literature. Indeed he is one of those poets whose imagination and intellect place them above the narrow limitations of creed and nationality. . . . Mirza Ghalib (and) Mirza Abdul Qadir Bedil . . . taught me how to remain oriental in spirit and expression after having assimilated foreign ideals of poetry…”[54]

Conclusion: Iqbal’s quotations from and appreciation of other Persian poets may not be misunderstood; like his thought his poetic art is almost unprecedented and deserves to be called Iqbal’s own style (Sabuk-i Iqbāl).


[1] Shaikh ‘Aā’ ‘ullah, Ed., Iqbāl Nāmah (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1951.), II, 343.

[2] See, e.g., M. ‘Abdullah Qureshi and S. A. Vahid, Eds., Bāqiyāt-i Iqbāl, Lahore: A’īnah-i Adab, 1965 (2nd ed.). 13

[3] See Sh. ‘Aā ‘ullah, Ed., op. cit. ; M. Abdullah Qureshi, Ed., Maktūbāt-i Iqbāl Banām-i Garāmi, Karachi : Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1969 ; S. ‘Abdul Vāid Mu’īnī, Ed , Maqālāt-i Iqbāl, Lahore : Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1963 ; and M. Rafiq Afal, Ed , Guftār-i Iqbāl, Lahore : Idārah-i Taqīqāt-i Pakistan (Research Society of Pakistan), 1970, etc.

[4] E.g. "Qarah-i Āb," in Payām-i Mashriq (Kulliyāt-i Iqbāl Fārsi), (Lahore: Sh. Ghulam Ali & Sons, 1975), pp. 282-83.

[5] See Bāl-i Jibrīil (Kulliyāt-i lqbāl Urdū) (Lahore: Sh. Ghulam All & Sons, 1977), Lyric 12, last line; Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsī), Part I, Lyric 7, last line (refers to Sa’dī).

[6] M. M. Sharif, Ed., A History of Muslim Philosophy (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1956), see article "Iqbal" by Khalīfah Abdul akīm, II, 1614-1633.

[7] Majallah-i Dānishkadah-i Adabiyāt, Tehran University, Vol. 1, No. 1.

[8] A.J. Arberry, Tr. (Iqbal’s Zabūr-i Ajam), Persian, Psalms (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1948), pp. vii-viii.

[9] Jāvīd Nāmah, (Kulliyāt Fārsī), pp. 689-92: Firmament of Mars: The Martain Astronomer.

[10] Sayyid ‘Abdul Vāḥid Mu’īnī, Ed., op.cit., p.29.

[11] Kulliyāt Urdū, p. 452.

[12] Armughān-i Ḥijāz (Kulliyāt Fārsī): “Ḥuḍūr-ī Risālat”, 1ist quatrain.
[13] Cf.:

جی سکتے ہیں بے روشنی دانشِ فرنگ


چیتے کا جگر چاہیے، شاہیں کا تجسس

بلبل فقط آواز ہے، طاؤس فقط رنگ!


کر بلبل و طاؤس کی تقلید سے توبہ

(Kulliyāt Urdū, p. 328).

[14] Jāvīd Nāmah (Kulliyāt Fārī), p. 775. Tr. by Arberry

[15] arb-I Kalīm (Kulliyāt Urdū), p. 120.

[16] Sayyid ‘Abdul Vāid Muīnī, Ed., op. cit., p. 32.

[17] Zain al-’Ā- bidīn Mu’amin, Shī’r wa Adab-i Fārsī, Tehran, Ibn-i-Sīnā, 1332 H. Sh.

[18] Payām-i Mashriq (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 383.

[19] Ibid., p. 302.

[20] Dr S. M. lkram. lqbāl Dar Rāh-i Mawlawī, Lahore : Iran-Pakistan Cultural Association, 1969.

[21] Dr Muhammad Riaz, "The Image of Satan in Iqbal,"Iqbal (quarterly), (Lahore: Bazm-i Iqbal), October 1969.

[22] Shaikh ‘Aā’ullah, Ed., op. cit., I, 96.

[23] Armughān-i ijāz (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 938.

[24] Khalīfah ‘Abdul Hakīm, "Iqbal," in Sharif, Ed., op. cit., II, 1629.

[25] Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p, 456.

[26] Payām-i Mashriq (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 335.

[27]The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1962), pp. 124-145; Lecture V: "The Spirit of Muslim Culture".

[28] His English translation by A.H. Kamali was published by 1qbal Academy Pakistan,Karachi (now in Lahore), in 1971.

[29] Cf.


ز چشمِ مست ساقی وام کردند



نخستیں بادہ کاندر جام کردند


[The first wine poured into glass

Has been borrowed from the Sāqī’s intoxicant eyes.]

Iqbal (Gulshan-i Rāz Jadīd [Kulliyāt Fārsī], p. 565)

چہ بیداردانہ او را عام کردند



فنا را بادۂ ہر جام کردند


[Death has been provided like wine into each glass,

How wantonly it has been served enmasse.]

Tr. by M. Hadi Hussain, The New Rose-Garden of Mystery (Lahore : Sh, Muhammad Ashraf, 1969).

[30] See, e.g., footnote 4 above.

[31] Sa’dī’s lampoon of the Kashmiris and "advice of a husband to his wife to purchase necessary commodities of life from the neighbouring shop-keeper alone". See M. Rafīq Afal, Ed., op. cit.

[32] Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsi), p. 420. Tr. Arberry, Persian Psalms, p. 20.

[33] See Asrār-i Khudī (Tr. R A. Nicholson: The Secrets of the Self): V. "Showing that when the Self is strengthened by Love it gains dominion over the outward and inward forces of the Uuiverse".

[34] Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsī), Part I,_ Lyric 16, and Armughān-i ijāz (Kulliyāt Fārsī), sub-section : "uūr-.i’ Ālam-i Insānī".

[35] Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsi), p. 399. Tr. Arberry, p. 2.

[36] Ibid, p. 518. Tr. Arberry, p. 114.

[37] Atiya Begurn Faizi, Iqbal (Karachi : Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1960), Preface.

[38] For example:


سحر با باد می گفتم حدیث آرزومندی
خطاب آمد کہ واثق شو بالطاف خداوندی


[Early morning I enquired of the wind about the world of eagerness;

 It said : "Affirm yourself with God’s blessings".]

Iqbal (Bāl-iJibrīl [Kulliyāt Urdū], p. 306)

[The endured eagerness is a priceless asset;

I won’t leave up servitude status to accept masterly manners.]

[39] Zabūr-i ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 505. Tr, Arberry, p. 103,

[40] Ibid., p. 421. Tr. Arberry, p. 103.

[41] Ibid., p. 461. Tr. Arberry, p. 60.

[42] Ibid., p. 517. Tr. Arberry, p. 113.

[43] Asrār-i Khudī (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 21. Tr. R. A. Nicholson: The Secrets of the Self, pp. 35-36.

[44] Iqbal’s mention of 1 April 1907.

[45] Dr Muhammad Riaz, "Faghani’s Influence or Iqbal," In Journal of the Pakīstan Historical Society, Karachi, October 1968.

[46] Payām-i Mashriq (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 254.

[47] Dr S. M. Abdullah, "lqbal’s Favourite Persian Poet," in Bath wa Naẓar.

[48] Payām-i Mashriq (Kullīyāt Fārsi), p. 319.

[49]  Preface to the First edition of Asrār-I Khudī. Iqbal derives the meanings of Khudī (his favourite term) from Muḥsin Tathīr couplet:

بود محال کشیدن میانِ آب نفس



غریق قلزمِ وحدت دم از خودی نزند


 [50] Jāvīd Nāmah (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 706-7: “The Sphere of Mercury”.

[51] Dr Muhammed Riaz, "Bedil in Iqbal’s Works," Iqbal Review, July 1971.

[52] Jāvīd Nāmah (Kulliyāt Fārsī), p. 769.

[53] Zabūr-ī ‘Ajam (Kulliyāt Fārsī), 515. Tr. Arberry, p. 111.

[54] Javid Iqbal, Ed., (Iqbal) Stray Reflections (Lahore: Sb. Ghulam Ali & Son’, 1961), pp. 51-54