1. Muhammad being commonly called the seal of the Prophet because in him God concluded his series of revelations to mankind, Iqbal borrow the term and refers to the Islamic Community as the seal of the Peoples.
2. The reference is to the continuing fashion among Urdu pocts to imitate the conventional love-lyrics of Persia in which the images mentioned are very common. Persia is here taken, as elcwhere in the poem, to serve as a symbol for the departure from strict orthodoxy and the acceptance of alien influences which Iqbal considered to be the chief causes of Islam’s degeneration
3. Alexander the Great is said in Persian legend to have possessed a magic mirror in which he saw the whole world at a glance.
4. Friday is of course the Muslim Sabbath.
5. The “best of mortals” is Muhammad. Iqbal here paraphrases a saying attributed to him.
6. A verse, ion Persian poetic theory is supposed to be self-contained, and it is taken for a blemish when the meaning of a verse is completed by a word or phrase in a preceding or succeeding verse.
7. The original for “scared well” is Zemzem, the well of Mecca at which the Muslim pilgrims drink.
8. The musk of the musk-deer, much prized by the Persians, can only be gathered when the deer is captured alive.
9. This and the following verse form a quotation from the great mystical poet Rumi.
10. The reference is to the story in the Koran that when Moses stood on Sinai he prayed that he might See God. God replied that he should not see Him, but that he should look upon the mountain, and if it stood firm in its place then he would see God. God thereupon revealed himself to the mountain, and it crumbled into dust. See Koran, vii, 139
11. The quotation is from Koran, xix, 94
12. The ancient Persian king Jamshid is said to have owned a bowl possessing the same world-revealing attributes as Alexander’s mirror.
13. The quotation is the opening phrase of the Muslim affirmation of faith.
14. Omar as the second caliph of Islam, and Abu Dharr a Companion of Muhammad highly honoured for his piety.
15. Islam claimed to be the pure religion revealed to Abraham, Judaism being a corruption of the original faith. The quotation is from Koran,xxii,77
16. The quotation is from Koran, xxxix,54
17. Alond (Alvand-Koh) is a mountain-chain to the west and southwest of Hamadan.
18. Collyrium is usually considered to be a specific for improving the sight.
19. The quotation is from Koran,ix,40
20. Abu Bakr was the first caliph of Islam.
21. The quotation is from Koran, ii, 36
22. The quotation is from Koran, xx, 71
23. Ali, the Forth caliph of Islam, was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law. His famous sword was called Dhu ’1-Faqar.
24. Khalid was the greatest of the generals of early Islam, and was called “the Sword of God” by the Prophet.
25. Iqbal recounts one of the most famous anecdotes related of the Moghul emperior Aurangzebe (1618-1707). Timur (Tamerlane) was the ancestor of the Moghul emperors.
26. The reference is to the “Divine Religion”, a syncretism invented and promulgated by the Moghul Akbar (1542-1605).
27. Dara Skikoh (1615-59), great-grandson o Akbar, was interested by the idea of working out a harmony between Islam and Hinduism. His younger brother Aurangzebe wrested the throne from him, and had him put to death.
28. Abraham is said to have overthrown the idols standing in the Holy House at Mecca. See Koran, xxii, 27
29. The reference is to Koran, vi, 76, where Abraham is said to have rejected the worship of the heavenly bodies because he observed that they were liable to set.
30. The reference is to Koran, ii, 122.
31. The reference is to Koran, ii, 119.
32. The reference is to Koran, xiv, 40.
33. The reference is to Koran, ii, 122.
34. The reference is to Koran, xxii, 16.
35. Iqbal here paraphrases a verse occurring in the Qasidatal-Burda, a celebrated panegyric of the Prophet by the Egyptian poet Busiri (d. 1296).
36. The reference is to a saying recorded of Muhammad.
37. The Persian (Sassanian) emperors were called Chosroes.
38. Magian is another term for the fire-worshipping Zoroastrian.
39. Khaqan was a title borne by the kings of Tartary.
40. Farhad, a celebrated architect, fell in love with the beautiful Shirin, but his rival was Khusrau Parwiz, Emperor of Persia. Farhad hewed his way through a mountain to reach her, but fell to his death on being falsely told that she was dead. Several Persian epics were written on this theme.
41. The reference is to Koran, xlix, 13.
42. The reference is to Koran, xlix, 10.
43. The reference is to Koran, vii, 171.
44. Yazdajird was the last Sassanian king of Persia.
45. Kaveh, a smith of Ispahan, raised te standard of revolt against the usurpin tyrant Zahhak and established Feridun on the throne of Persia.
46. Sasan was the eponymous founder of the Sassanian dynasty, overthrown at the Arab conquest of Persia.
47. Qanber, formerly a slave, was manumitted by the caliph Ali. Bilal, formerly an Abysinian slve, was taken by the Prophet as his muezzin.
48. The reference is to Koran, ii, 175.
49. The reference is to Koran, ii, 175.
50. The reference is to Koran, xxvii, 18.
51. Ali’s son Husain was slain at Kerbela in 680; his head was sent to the caliph Yazid against whom he had revolted.
52. The reference is to Koran, xxxvii, 107.
53. The reference is to a saying recorded of the Prophet.
54. The reference is to Koran, cxii, I.
55. Shabbir was the pet name given by the Prophet to his grandson Husain.
56. Iqbal quotes from the mystic Mu’in al-Din Chishti (d. 1236) as the source of this and te following line.
57. AllahuAkbar (“God is Greater”) is a phrase from the Muslim Call to Prayer.
58. Kaab, a noted poet of Muhammad’s time, after first refusing to accept Islam latter became a convert, and composed his celebrated panegyric Banat Su’ad in honour of the Prophet.
59. This paraphrases a celebrated saying of the Prophet.
60. Another saying of the prophet is here paraphrased. Muhammad claimed that he was a prophet “while Adam was still between water and clay”.
61. There reference is to Koran, v, 17.
62. Iqal refers to the “flight” of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622.
63. The reference is to Koran, v, 17.
64. Iqbal has in mind Mahiavelli.
65. Azar, te father of Abraham, was an idolater.
66. See Koran, vi, 74.
67. The reference is to Koran, vii, 32.
68. The reference is to Koran, xv, 32.
69. The reference is to Koran, ix, 32.
70. This and the following verses recall the Koranic story tat Nimrod cast Abraham into a furnace, which miraculously converted into a rose-bower. See koran, xxi, 68-9
71. The reference is to Koran, ii, I, and Koran, x, 65.
72. The reference is to Koran, xxi,107.
73. The reference is to Koran, xxxiii,72.
74. The reference is to Koran, xxiii,55.
75. The reference is to Koran, liv,6.
76. The Persian mystical poet Iraqi died in 1289.
77. Khatib and Dailami are the names of “Traditionists”, transmitters of the reputed sayings of Muhammad.
78. In this and the following verse Iqbal refers to categories of Traditions rejected by strict Muslim critics.
79. Jaafar, called al-Sadiq (“the trustworthy”), was a celebrated Traditionist; he died in 765.
80. Razi, a famous polymath, is remembered in particular for a massive commentary of the Koran; he died n 1209.
81. The reference is to Koran, iii, 98.
82. Iqbal refers to the two miraculous signs of Moses mentioned in Koran, xx, 20-3.
83. Batha is the name of the river-bed of Mecca.
84. The reference is to Shaikh Ahmad Rifa’i, a famous mystic, saint and preacher, who died in 1182.
85. Laila was the beloved of the mad poet Majnun (Qais).
86. Iqbal quotes from Rumi.
87. See note 84.
88. Iqbal quotes from the Persian Poet Malik-i Qummi.
89. The reference is to Koran, ii,137.
90. Muhammad is said to have been unable to read or write. The reference is to Koran, liii,3.
91. The reference is to Koran, liii,2.
92. See not 65.
93. The reference is to Koran,v,5.
94. The reference is to God’s creative word “Be!” as in Koran, ii, iii.etc.
95. The reference is to Koran,vii, 139.
96. The reference is to Koran,ii, 29.
97. The reference is to Koran,ii, 183.
98. See note 93.
99. The reference is to a celebrated saying of the Prophet.
100. Fatima was the daughter of Muhammad, the wife of Ali, and the mother of Hasan and Husain.
101. The reference is to Koran, Ixxvi,I.
102. In this and the following sections Iqbal gives a commentary on Sura cxii. Siddiq was a title of Abu Bakr, the first caliph.
103. The reference is to a saying of the Prophet regarding Abu Bakr,.
104. Muhammad sheltered with Abu Bakr in a cave during the “flight” from Mecca to Medina.
105. Khaibar was a Jewish stronghold in Arabia, captured in 628 in a campaign in which Ali distinguished himself. Marhab was a doughty jewish warrior slain on this occasion.
106. The reference is to the selling of Joseph by his brothers “at a cheap price”, see Koran, xii, 20.
107. The quotation is a saying attributed to Omar, the second caliph.
108. Bu Ali Qalandar was Persian mystical poet, popular in India; he died in 324.
109. Nicephorus I of Byzantium (reigned 802-11) was defeated by Harun Rashid in a celebrated campaign.
110. Malik (d. 795) was the founder of the Maliki school of Muslim jurisprudence. The story of his refusal to accept Harun’s invitation to Baghdad is famous.
111. The rubies of Yemen were proverbially splendid.
112. The Fount of Khizer was the legendary fountain of Life which Alexander the Great (Dhu ‘1-Qarnain) is stated to have found under the guidance of his vizier Khizer.
113. Yathrib was the ancient name of Median, where Malik lived.
114. The reference is to Koran, liii, 17.
115. Salman al-Farisi (“the Persian) was a famous Companion of the prophet.
116. Ibn-I Mas’ud was a Companion of the Prophet and a celebrated Traditionist.
117. Iqbal quotes from Rmi.
118. The reference is to Koran, iii, 133.
119. These are the names of the idols worshipped by the pagan Arabs.
120. Somnath was the site of a famous Hindu shrine, destroyed by Muhmud of Ghazna during his invasion of India in 1026.
121. The Beloved of Ned is the Prophet Muhammad.
122. See note 35. The Cloak is a reference to the legend that Busiri was cured of paralysis by a vision of the Prophet throwing his mantle over him. This was the occasion of his composing the Qasidatal-Burda (“Ode of the Cloak”).
123. Salma was a famous singing-girl.
124. The quoted phrase occurs frequently in the Koran.