'Jawab-e-Shikwa' : Response  to  Iqbal’s  ‘Complaint’ [Part 2]
  By Dr.  Zafar  M.   Iqbal
TCCI,  Chicago,  IL


 
 
More of Jawab-e-Shikwa :
 
Qais no longer preferred [10]
the solitude of a wilderness;
Exposed to the city,
he gave up the wilderness.
 
He is insane, doesn’t matter
if he lives in a town  or not,
but it’s essential that
Layla be unveiled.
 
Enough of being a complainant,
protesting injustice !
Love is free, why shouldn’t
the beauty be free too ?
 
----
 
This is a new age,
every farm is ablaze
No garden, no desert
blessed by this fire.
 
This new fire that fuels
the countries to express themselves --
the attire of the Prophet’s people
is lit with it.
 
If Abraham’s faith were
recreated today,
a garden can grow
out of this fire.
 
----
 
 
Don’t be upset, O Gardener, 
by the color of the garden.
Like stars, the buds will
make the branches glitter.
 
The garden is rid of
the dirt and weeds.
The flowers display
the blood of the  martyrs.
 
Look, how red is the sky:
this glimmer on the horizon
is a hint of a sun-rise
to come.
 
----
 
Life’s garden has nations,
young and hopeful,
some fruitless,  some autumnal,
and past their prime.
 
Hundreds of trees, some green
and  healthy, some withered,
hundreds of others  hidden
in the depths of the garden.
 
The tree of Islam is strong,
a symbol of good cultivation,
fruit of dedicated work
over the centuries.
 
----
 
From the country’s dust
your attire is not stained;
You are that Joseph whose 
every Egypt is your Canaan. [11]
 
Your caravan has
nothing  to lose:
you’ve nothing more
than a caravan-bell.
 
You are a candle-tree
and in its flames are pushed your roots. 
Shadows of tomorrow’s cares are
burnt to dust in your thoughts’ flames. [12]
 
----
 
You will not perish
if Iran perishes.
Goblet has little to do with
wine’s intoxicating strength.

It’s clear from Tatar stories,
Ka’aba got its guardians
from the temple
of idol worshippers.
 
The ship of Truth depends on
your support in such times;
This is early darkness,
and you are the faint star.
 
----
 
The concern over
the Bulgar aggression [13]
was a wake-up call
for the careless.
 
It wasn’t just
to hurt your feelings:
it was call to sacrifice,
test your self-respect, your resolve.
 
Why worry about
your enemy’s charges?
The Flame of Truth cannot be put out
by your  Enemy’s actions.
 
----
 
Your truth is
still hidden from the world.
The establishment of Life
still need you.
 
The world is kept alive
by your warmth.
You are the Fate’s star,
a leader, pre-ordained.
 
No time to rest,
lot of work still to be done,
the light of God
still to be spread.
 
----
 
Fragrance is imprisoned
in every bud -- let it free;
Gather and scatter it in the wind
toward the gardens.
 
A speck of dust you are,
let it grow into a jungle;
Song of a tiny wave you are,
let it grow into a raging storm.
 
With the power of love,
raise the lowest to the highest.
Light up the world with
the name of Mohammed.
 
----
 
If it is not a flower,
there would be no singing nightingale!
Gardens of the world would
have no smiling flowers.
 
If this Cupbearer weren’t there,
there would be no wine, no euphoria,
no Faith in One God,
and no you, either.
 
The dome of the sky stands
by the grace of his Name,
the pulse of the Life beats
by the grace of his name!
 
----
 
In the wilderness, the valleys,
mountainsides,  in the fields, it’s there;
In the seas, rolling waves
and in the storms, it’s there.
 
It is in Chinese cities,
in Marrakesh’s jungles
and it’s hidden in the Faith
of  Muslims.
 
May the eyes of the world see this,
till the end of Time, and
he glory of this:
“We made your name majestic!”
 ----
 
Dark,
like pupil of an eye,
this earth always
raised your martyrs --
 
This Crescent-bearing land
in the hot sun that
the believers call,
Bilaal’s Land. [4]
 
Turned into quicksilver,
at the very mention of  his name --
the light that glimmers
like a star in the eye.
 
----
 
You have Reason,
love of the Divine, your sword !
Believers in Me, you now have
the leadership of the world.
 
For ‘Nothing but God’
all you need is the fire. [14, 15]
If you are a true Muslim,
your fate is your way of life.
 
If you are true to Mohammed
We are with you;
This world is nothing …
We give you ‘the pencil and Tablet’!

 

 ---------------------------------------------
 Notes: 

[10]  A classic 7th century Arabic-Persian-Urdu love story.  Qais (ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim)  was a Bedouin poet who fell in love with Layla (bint Mahdi ibn Sa’d).  He began writing poems for her love.  Though Qais wanted to marry her, her father refused and instead,  married her off to someone else.  Qais became insane with grief, and sought refuge in a wilderness where he roamed about in love of Layla. His love remained undiminished. He killed himself after he heard of  Layla’s death.
 
[11]  Based on Islamic history (not much different from Christian and Judaic one),  Joseph, an Islamic  Prophet,  was one of the sons of Jacob and Rachel. They were originally from Canaan.  Out of jealousy, Joseph was sold in Egypt as a slave by his brothers.  Out of many trials and tribulations (imprisonment in addition to slavery) in Egypt, Joseph became a vizier to Pharoah, mostly because of his ability to interpret dreams. This is a reference to Joseph’s return to his homeland.
 
[12]  In Persian:  “Nakhl-e-shama' asti-o-dar-shola da-wad risha- tu /
Aa-qabath soz bood saa-ya-e-andesha tu”
 
[13]  Referring essentially to the First Balkan War in 1912 when Bulgaria and others joined forces against the last stages of Ottoman  Empire (and thus the Caliphate) to win back the territory they had lost. Istanbul was almost taken by the Bulgarians.
 
[14]  In Arabic:  “Raf’ath-e-shaan-e-rafan-na luk-e-zik-rek”
 
[15]  Ma siwa-Allah !


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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