Rubaiyat -Notes by Muhammad Azam, Shaheen Academy, G-6/1-3, Islamabad
RUBA’IYATAllama Iqbal was a great thinker, philosopher and eminent poet of Sub-continent. His poetry isthe magnificent and melodious blend of mysticism and self-reliance. Allama Iqbal used poetry asa platform to preach gospel that most people already believed in, yet none had the courage tostand up for. Like a weapon, saved for the time of need, yet never actually taken out, for the fearof hurting one’s own self. He used his poetry mainly to stir the slumbering oblivious masses ofMuslim world through thought provoking and deep rooted philosophy of life and religion. Inother words, he used poetry as a weapon of words to evoke the spirit of self-reliance and firmfaith in the Muslims of Sub-continent. He also wanted them to keep up their own trends andtradition. After loss of freedom, it was his earnest desire that the Muslims must regain their gloryand gravity as a nation. Iqbal’s poetry did, in fact, arouse a whole nation.Stanza 1. Faith is like Abraham at the stake to be Self-honouring and God-drunk is faith. Hear me, You whom this age’s way so captivate! To have no faith is worse than slavery.Reference: These verses are taken from the poem Rubaiyat, which has been written by AllamaMuhammad Iqbal.Context: In this short and thought provoking poem, Allama Iqbal has criticized and condemnedthe moral hollowness and materialistic attitude of the modern society. He laments over the lossof faith, which in fact maps out the direction of human soul. He is of the opinion that in thismodern age of materialism and fascination, faith strong like that of Hazrat Abraham (A.S) isneeded. He also emphasizes that Muslim harmony depends upon true faith in Islam. TheEuropeans lack faith and spirituality that is why there is no harmony and fraternity among them.Muslims have become mad in pursuit of foreign (Western) music and materialism, and have losttheir identity and dignity as a nation.Explanation: In this stanza, Iqbal has illustrated the power or force of faith by narrating theexample of Hazrat Abraham (A.S), Who was thrown into fire by His enemies, however, by dintof his firm and unflinching faith, the fire was miraculously turned into a garden. It is onlybecause of His love for religion and steadfastness. He (A.S) was God fearing and God loving,that’s why Allah blessed him and saved him from sufferings. It is owing to the hallmark of hisunflinching faith in religion that he was unmoved by the treats of His enemies. Later Iqbaladdresses the whole Muslim Nation and says that they have become a victim of the materialisticEuropean or Western civilization and captivated by the its glamour. He also holds the view thatfaithless person is the prisoner of foreign trends and tradition, and faithlessness is worse thanslavery. Faith is very basic to the foundations of Islam. Iqbal wanted the Muslims to regain theirlost prestige and vigour. He said on another occasion:- O’ Slumbering Muslim, arouse, you be dynamic too Lo! The Horizon is aglow, you spur into action. Faith and freedom are part and parcel with each other. Freedom is not descended upon anation; a nation must raise itself to it. In this stanza, Iqbal regrets that the Muslims of his time, have become a slave to modernmaterialistic world and have lost their faith in the healing power of Islam. Muhammad Azam, Lecturer, F. G. Science Degree College, Wah Cantt. Cell # 03335418018
Stanza 2. Music of strange lands with Islam’s fire blends, On which the nation’s harmony depends; Empty concord is the soul of Europe, Whose civilization to no Mecca bends.Explanation: In theses verses, Iqbal presents his analysis that the European /Western Cultureand civilization lack harmony, fraternity and good-will. They are materialistic and are fightingwith one another for baseless things. Religious guideless have no appeal for them. Here Iqbalalso criticizes the Muslims for bring captivated and allured by the modern cult of music andglamour of European civilization. He holds the view that Islam is torch-bearer in the blind alleysof European world of ignorance and materialism. Islam is the only religion which bringsharmony, uncountable blessings and fraternity in the human society. The soul of Europeans lackshumanity, harmony and vigour; it has no light to guide or bless Western people. They have nomodel like Islam to follow and their civilization stands alienated and divided. Their civilizationhas no dignity and direction to lead its followers. However, the Muslims have a great center i.eMecca which keeps all the Muslims united through out the world. They gather there with oneaim, raise praise to Allah in one language (Arabic) and in one uniform (Ah’ram). About faith andbelievers Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “A believer to another believer is like a building whosedifferent parts enforce each other”. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) then clasped his handswith the fingers interlaced (while saying that). This greatness is not found in EuropeanCivilization.Stanza 3. Love’s madness has departed: in The Muslim’s veins the blood runs thin; Ranks broken, hearts perplexed, prayers cold, No feeling deeper than the skin. Explanation: Here is this stanza, the poet narrates in a pensive mood that the Muslims have lostfraternity and love for Religion (Islam). Their blood has become thin .i.e. they have becomeweak and their faith is frail. They lack unity, discipline and dignity. They are leading astray byfollowing the modern materialistic European civilization, that’s why they do not tolerate oneanother, their ranks are broken i.e. their fortification is frail. They lost the glory, which wasachieved by their ancestors. They are away from religion; consequently their hearts are depressedand dejected. Moreover, their supplications are not effective and are unsanctioned.