Excerpt on Imam Ali from Iqbal's ASRAR-I-KHUDI

Discussion in 'Poetry' started by naqshbandijamaati, Dec 9, 2004.

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  1. http://www.allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/asrar/text/11.htm

    Excerpt on Imam Ali from Iqbal's ASRAR-I-KHUDI

    (from the translation by AJ Arberry)


    ALI is the first Muslim and the King of men, 995

    In Love's eyes Ali is the treasure of the Faith.

    Devotion to his family inspires me with life

    So that I am as a shining pearl.

    Like the narcissus, I am entraptured with gazing:

    Like perfume, I am straying though his pleasure garden. 970

    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 sun hath made me as a mirror:

    Song can be seen in my breast.

    From Ali's face the Prophet drew many a fair omen, 975

    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 Bu Turab;

    God in the Koran called him "the Hand of Allah." 980

    Every one that is acquainted with Life's mysteries

    Knows what is the inner meaning of the names of Ali.

    The dark clay, whose name is the body—

    Our reason is ever be moaning its iniquity.

    On avvount of it our sky-reaching thought plods over the earth; 985

    It makes our eyes blind and our cars deaf.

    It hath in its hand a two-edge sword of lust:

    Travelers' hearts are broken by this brigand.

    Ali, the Lion of God, subdued the body's clay

    And transmuted this dark earth to gold. 990

    Murtaza, by whose sword the splendour of Truth was revealed,

    Is named Bu Turab from his conquest of the body.79

    Man wins territory by prowess in battle,

    But his brightest jewel is masters of himself.

    Whosoever in the world become a Bu Turab 995

    Turns back the sun from the west;80

    Whosoever saddles tightly the seed of the body

    Sits like the bezel on the seal of sovereignty:

    Here the might of Khaibar is under his feet,81

    And hereafter his hand will distribute the water of Kauthar.82 1000

    Through self-knowledge, he acts as God's Hand,

    And in virtue of being God's Hand he reigns over all.

    His person is the gate of the city of the sciences.83

    Arabia, China, and Greece are subject to him.

    If thou wouldst drink clear wine from thine own grapes. 1005

    Thou must needs wield authority over thine own earth.

    To become earth is the creed of a moth:

    Be a conqueror of earth; that alone is worthy of a man.

    Thou art soft as a rose. Become hard as a stone,

    That thou mayst be the foundation of the wall of the garden! 1010

    Build thy clay into a Man,

    Build thy Man into a World

    Unless from thine own earth thou build - thine own wall or door.

    Someone else will make bricks of thine earth.

    O thou who complaints of the cruelty of Heaven, 1015

    Thou whose glass cries out against the injustice of the stone,

    How long this wailing and crying and lamentation ?

    How long this perpetual beating of thy breast ?

    The pith of Life is contained in action,

    The delight in creation is the law of Life. 1020

    Arise and create a new world!

    Wrap thyself in flames, be an Abraham!84

    To comply with this world which does not favour thy purposes

    Is to fling away thy buckler on the field of battle.

    The man of strong character who is master of himself 1025

    Will find Fortune complaisant.

    If the world does not comply with his humour,

    He will try the hazard of war with Heaven:

    He will dig up the foundations of the universe

    And cast its atoms into a new mould. 1030

    He will subvert the course of Time

    And wreck the azure firmament.

    By his own strength he will produce

    A new world which will do his pleasure.

    If one cannot live in the world as be seems a man, 1035

    Then it is better to die like the brave.

    He that hath a sound heart

    Will prove his strength by great enterprises.

    ' Tis sweet to use love in hard tasks

    And, like Abraham, to gather roses from flames 85 1040

    The potentialities of men of action

    Are displayed in willing acceptance of what is difficult.

    Mean spirits have no weapon but resentment,

    Life has only one law.

    Life is power made manifest, 1045

    And its mainspring is the desire for victory.

    Mercy out of season is a chilling of Life's blood,

    A break in the rhythm of Life's music.

    Whoever is sunk in the depths of ignomity

    Calls his weakness contentment. 1050

    Weakness is the plunderer of Life,

    Its womb is teeming with fears and lies.

    Its soul is empty of virtues,

    Vices fatten on its milk.

    O man of sound judgment, beware! 1055

    This spoiler is lurking in ambush

    Be not its dupe, if thou art wise:

    Chameleon-like, it changes colour every moment.

    Even by keen observers its form is not discerned

    Veils are thrown over its face. 1060

    Now it is muffled in pity and gentleness,

    Now it wears the cloak of humanity.

    Some times it is disguised as compulsion,

    Sometimes as excusability.

    It appears in the shape of self-indulgence 1065

    And robs the strong man's heart of courage.

    Strength is the twin of Truth;

    If thou knowest thyself, strength is the Truth-revealing glass.

    Life is the seed, and power the crop:

    Power explains the mystery of truth and falsehood. 1070

    A claimant, if he be possessed of power,

    Needs no argument for his claim.

    Falsehood derives from power the authority of truth,

    And by falsifying truth deems itself true.

    Its creative word transforms poison into nectar. 1075

    It says to good, "Thou art bad," and Good becomes Evil.

    O thou that art heedless of the trust committed to thee,

    Esteem thyself superior to both worlds86!

    Gain knowledge of Life's mysteries!

    Be a tyrant! Ignore all except God ! 1080

    O man of understanding, open thine eyes, ears, and lips !87

    If then thou seest not the Way of Truth, laugh at me![/url]

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