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The Secrets of the Self, by Muhammad Iqbal, tr. by Reynold A. Nicholson, [1920], at

p. 28


Showing that the Self is strengthened by Love1

The luminous point whose name is the Self
Is the life-spark beneath our dust.
325 By Love it is made more lasting,
More living, more burning, more glowing.
From Love proceeds the radiance of its being
And the development of its unknown possibilities.
Its nature gathers fire from Love,
330 Love instructs it to illumine the world.

p. 29

Love fears neither sword nor dagger,
Love is not born of water and air and earth.
Love makes peace and war in the world,
The Fountain of Life is Love's flashing sword.
The hardest rocks are shivered by Love's glance: 335
Love of God at last becomes wholly God.
Learn thou to love, and seek to be loved:
Seek an eye like Noah's, a heart like Job's!
Transmute thy handful of earth into gold,
Kiss the threshold of a Perfect Man! 1 340
Like Rúmí, light thy candle
And burn Rúm in the fire of Tabríz! 2

p. 30

There is a beloved hidden within thine heart:
I will show him to thee, if thou hast eyes to see.
345 His lovers are fairer than the fair,
Sweeter and comelier and more beloved.
By love of him the heart is made strong
And earth rubs shoulders with the Pleiades.
The soil of Najd was quickened by his grace
350 And fell into a rapture and rose to the skies. 1
In the Moslem's heart is the home of Mohammed,
All our glory is from the name of Mohammed.
Sinai is but an eddy of the dust of his house,
The sanctuary of the Ka‘ba is his dwelling-place.

p. 31

Eternity is less than a moment of his time, 355
Eternity receives increase from his essence.
He slept on a mat of rushes,
But the crown of Chosroes was under his people's feet.
He chose the nightly solitude of Mount Hirá,
And he founded a state and laws and government. 360
He passed many a night with sleepless eyes
In order that the Moslems might sleep on the throne of Persia.
In the hour of battle, iron was melted by his sword;
In the hour of prayer, tears fell like rain from his eye.
When he was called to aid, his sword answered "Amen" 365
And extirpated the race of kings.
He instituted new laws in the world,

p. 32

He brought the empires of antiquity to an end.
With the key of religion he opened the door of this world:
370 The womb of the world never bore his like.
In his sight high and low were one,
He sat with his slave at one table.
The daughter of the chieftain of Tai
was taken prisoner in battle 1
And brought into that exalted presence;
375 Her feet in chains, unveiled,
And her neck bowed with shame.
When the Prophet saw that the poor girl had no veil,
He covered her face with his own veil.
We are more naked than that lady of Tai,
380 We are unveiled before the nations of the world.

p. 33

In him is our trust on the Day of Judgement,
And in this world too he is our protector.
Both his favour and his wrath are entirely a mercy:
That is a mercy to his friends and this to his foes.
He opened the gates of mercy to his enemies, 385
He gave to Mecca the message, "No blame shall be laid upon you."
We who know not the bonds of country
Resemble sight, which is one though it be the light of two eyes.
We belong to the Hijáz and China and Persia,
Yet we are the dew of one smiling dawn. 390
We are all under the spell of the eye of the cupbearer from Mecca,
We are united as wine and cup.

p. 34

He burnt clean away distinctions of lineage,
His fire consumed this trash and rubble.
395 We are like a rose with many petals but with one perfume:
He is the soul of this society, and he is one.
We were the secret concealed in his heart:
He spake out fearlessly, and we were revealed.
The song of love for him fills my silent reed,
400 A hundred notes throb in my bosom.
How shall I tell what devotion he inspires?
A block of dry wood wept at parting from him. 1
The Moslem's being is where he manifests his glory:
Many a Sinai springs from the dust on his path.

p. 35

My image was created by his mirror, 405
My dawn rises from the sun of his breast.
My repose is a perpetual fever,
My evening hotter than the morning of Judgement Day: 1
He is the April cloud and I his garden,
My vine is bedewed with his rain. 410
I sowed mine eye in the field of Love
And reaped a harvest of delight.
"The soil of Medina is sweeter than both worlds:
Oh, happy the town where dwells the Beloved!" 2
I am lost in admiration of the style of Mullá Jámí: 415
His verse and prose are a remedy for my immaturity.
He has written poetry overflowing with beautiful ideas

p. 36

And has threaded pearls in praise of the Master—
"Mohammed is the preface to the book of the universe:
420 All the world are slaves and he is the Master."
From the wine of Love spring many qualities:
Amongst the attributes of Love is blind devotion.
The saint of Bistám, who in devotion was unique,
Abstained from eating a water-melon. 1
425 Be a lover constant in devotion to thy beloved,
That thou mayst cast thy noose and capture God.
Sojourn for a while on the Hirá of the heart, 2

p. 37

Abandon self and flee to God.
Strengthened by God, return to thy self
And break the heads of the Lát and Uzzá of sensuality. 1 430
By the might of Love evoke an army,
Reveal thyself on the Fárán of Love, 2
That the Lord of the Ka‘ba may show thee favour
And interpret to thee the text, "Lo, I will appoint a vicegerent on the earth." 3


28:1 For the sense which Iqbal attaches to the word "love," see the Introduction, p. xxv.

29:1 A prophet or saint.

29:2 See note on l. 95. Tabríz is an allusion to Shams-i Tabríz, the spiritual director of Jalálu’ddín Rúmí.

30:1 Najd, the Highlands of Arabia, is celebrated in love-romance. I need only mention Laud and Majnún.

32:1 Her father, Hátim of Tai, is proverbial in the East for his hospitality.

34:1 The story of the pulpit that wept when Mohammed descended from it occurs, I think, in the Masnaví.

35:1 When, according to Mohammedan belief, the sun will rise in the west.

35:2 A quotation from the Masnaví. The Prophet was buried at Medina.

36:1 Báyazíd of Bistám died in a.d. 875. He refused to eat a water-melon, saying he had no assurance that the Prophet had ever tasted that fruit.

36:2 Mohammed used to retire to a cave on Mount Hirá, near Mecca, for the purpose of solitary meditation and other ascetic observances.

37:1 Lát and Uzzá were goddesses worshipped by the heathen Arabs.

37:2 Fárán, name of a mountain in the neighbourhood of Mecca.

37:3 Koran, ch. 2, v. 28. In these words, which were addressed to the angels, God foretold the creation of Adam.

Next: IV. The Self is Weakened by Asking