The Pir of Rum,1 the clairvoyant murshid,


the leader of the caravan of love and ecstasy,


whose station is far above the Moon and the Sun,


for whose tent the Milky Way serves as pegs,


whose heart is effulgent with the light of the Qur'an,2


whose mirror is more revealing than Jamshid's3 cup.


That musician4 Of Pure breed has


thrown my being into tumult once again with his music.


Said he: The people have become aware of the secrets,


the East has awoken from its deep slumber;


destiny has given it new aspirations,


and loosened its age-old chains.


No one, O knower of the secrets of the West,


has experienced the fire of the West5 better than thee.


Be God-intoxicated like the Friend of God,6


and help bring down every idol-temple.7


It is ecstasy that imparts life to peoples,


though the undiscerning call it madness.


No people under the azure dome of the sky


has ever achieved anything without this ingenious madness.


The believer is strong through his will and his Paragoul;8


if he lacks these two, he is an unbeliever.


He can distinguish between good and evil


a mere look from him can shake the whole world;


his blow can crush a mountain to pieces ;


and he has thousands of resurrections at his command.


Having drunk wine from my tavern,


you have removed all outmodedness from your vision.


Live in the garden like smell, both hidden and manifest,


live among colours, but be free from colour.


Your age is not aware of the secrets of the spirit:


its creed is nothing but love for the other-than-God.


Little has the philosopher understood this point:


his thought revolves only round matter.


He has not illumined his eyes with the lantern of the heart;


hence he sees nothing but blue, red and yellow.


Fortunate is he who never bowed before any man,


and who freed his feet from the chains of


servitude to the other-than-God.


What it means to be a lion is beyond the ken of cows and buffaloes;


never reveal your secret except to lions.


One should not drink wine in the company of a churl,


though he may be king of Rum9 or Rayy.


It is better that our Joseph be taken away by a wolf


than be bought by an unworthy person.10


People of the world lack reason and imagination


they are weavers of mat and know nothing about satin.


What a beautiful verse a Persian poet has sung,


which sets the soul afire:


"To the ears of the people of the world, the wailing of the lover


is like the cry of the adhan in the land of the Franks."


Reveal once again the significance of religion and politics,


tell the devotees of the Truth what you understand by them.


"Suffer grief (patiently) and do not eat the bread


of those who augment grief;


a wise man suffers grief while a child eats sweets."11


To the mendicant,12 even his patched-up garment is a burden.


Like breeze you should carry nothing except the smell of roses.


Are you an ocean? Then be constantly at war with your environment.


Are you a dew-drop? Then drop yourself gently on a rose-petal.


The Divine mystery is not hidden from the man of God;


do you know what is the true nature of a believer's soul?


It is a drop of dew which, out of desire for self-manifestation,


unravelled its own knot with its own hands,


which sat in the depth of its being by dint of self hood,


which started on its journey from the stillness of the heavens;


which did not turn towards the limitless expanse of the ocean,


nor hid itself in an oyster13;


It palpitated in the lap of the morning for a moment


and then dropped into the mouth of the new-born bud.



1.         Jalaluddin Rumi, one of the greatest mystic poets of the world. Iqbal has expressed his indebtedness to him in all his books, starting with Asrar-i Khudi and ending with Javid Namah where Rumi serves as his guide in his heavenly sojourn and Armaghan-i Hijaz, the last book of his poems published posthumously. In the last book (p. 106), Iqbal says about Rumi

[He helped this worthless person understand many a mystery,
transmuting "this earth of pathway" into gold
the song of that pure-hearted singer,
acquainted me with Love and Ecstasy.]

2.         Cf. the famous verse about Rumi's Mathnavi

[The Mathnavi of the Maulana, who knows reality,
Is the Qur'an in Persian language.]

3.         Jamshid, a legendary king of ancient Persia. According to legend, Jam or Jamshid had a wine cup through which

he could see events happening in the world. Iqbal thinks that Rumi's Mathnavi is more revealing than the cup of Jamshid.

4.         Reference is to Rumi whose very first verse in the Mathnavi is :
[Listen to the reed when it relates its story,
and complains of separation.]

Cf. the following verse of Iqbal (Armaghan-i Hijaz, p. 198):

[This very wood of flute is my property:
neither pulpit's wood nor that of the gallows.]

5.         Fire of the West. Reference is to the fire into which Abraham was cast by his enemies. It is said that Abraham came out of this fire unscathed and better equipped to face the challenge of his enemies "O fire ! be ,coolness and peace for Abraham" (The Qur'an, xxi. 69. For Abraham's experience, see the Qur'an, xxi. 68 ; xxix. 24 ; xxxviii. 97). Iqbal (Bal-i Jibril, p. 92) claims to perform the same role in the present context :

[I am aware of the pains of modern knowledge,
For I was thrown into its fire like Abraham.]

In another place (Armaghan-i Hijaz, p. 70) be says

[God knows that like Abraham
I jumped into the fire (of the West) so carefree.]

6.         Friend of God is the title of Abraham.

7.         Breaking of idols is associated with the name of Abraham. "So he broke them (the idols) into pieces" (The Qur'an, xxi. 28).

8.         Complete reliance on God (tawakkul). Here Iqbal follows Rumi and interprets tawakkul in the positive sense of relying upon God while starting any programme of work. It is related that a Bedouin left his camel grazing unprotected. He lost it and came to the Prophet complaining that he had left The camel grazing quite unprotected, relying completely on God. The Prophet said, "Tie the camel's knot and trust in God." This is Islamic tawakkul. Says Rumi (Mathnavi, i, 913, 947) :

[The Prophet said in a loud voice:
Trusting in God, bind the camel's knee.]
[If you practise tawakkul, do it in your work
Sow the seed, then rely upon the Almighty.]

Cf. the Qur'an: "When thou hast decided (to take some step, take it and) put thy trust in God" (iii. 58). This verse of the Qur'an contains both the words used by Iqbal, ‘azm and tawakkul.

9.         Rum means West Asian mainland.

10.        Cf. the Qur'an (xii. 17-20). The brothers of Yusuf falsely claimed that he had been devoured by a wolf. The folklore has it that when Yusuf was being offered for sale in the Egyptian market by the Midianites, a woman came forward to buy him in exchange for a piece of yarn. Cf. the following verse in Payam-i M’ashriq (p. 3):

[God revealed on me the secrets of State and Religion,
and removed from my eyes the impress of other- than-God.]

11.        These lines (61 62) are from Rumi.

12.        Faqir, lit. beggar, mendicant. In Iqbal's terminology, Faqr is not begging for lack of means, but a positive attitude of detachment towards the material world. One who serves God's purposes and obeys His laws and subjects himself to His will is what Iqbal would call a Faqir. See below, explanatory note to Chapter on Faqr.

13.        Oyster. It is generally said that if a drop of water enters the oyster, it becomes a pearl.

Self-development in the eyes of Iqbal, does not consist in acquiring material wealth or in showing off one's talents it rather lies in gaining in depth and radiating one's dynamism and vitality towards all without any -distinction.