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Muhammad Iqbal

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In both worlds,
everywhere are the marks of love;
man himself is a
mystery of love.
Love’s secret
belongs not to the world of wombs,
not to Shem or Ham,
Greece or Syria:
a star without East and
West, a star unsetting
in whose orbit is
neither North nor South.
The words I am
setting tell his destiny,
their exegesis reaches
from earth to heaven.
Death, grave, uprising,
judgment are his estates,
the light and fire of
the other world are his works;
himself is Imam, prayer
and sanctuary,
himself the Ink,
himself the Book and the Pen.
Little by little what
is hidden in him becomes visible;
it has no boundaries,
its kingdom no frontiers.
His being gives value
to contingent things,
his equilibrium is the
touchstone of contingent things.
What shall I declare of
his sea without a shore?
All ages and all times
are drowned in his heart.
That which is contained
within man is the world,
that which is not
contained within the world is man.
Sun and moon are
manifest through his self-display;
even Gabriel cannot
penetrate his privacy.
Loftier than the
heavens is the station of man,
and the beginning of
education is respect for man.
Man alive in heart, do
you know what thing life is?
One-seeing love that is
contemplating duality:
man and woman are bound
one to the other,
they are the fashioners
of the creatures of desire.
Woman is the guardian
of the fire of life,
her nature is the
tablet of life’s mysteries;
she strikes our fire
against her own soul
and it is her substance
that makes of the dust a man.
In her heart lurk
life’s potentialities,
from her glow and flame
life derives stability;
she is a fire from
which the sparks break forth,
body and soul, lacking
her glow, cannot take shape.
What worth we possess
derives from her values
for we are all images
of her fashioning;
if God has bestowed on
you a glance aflame
cleanse yourself, and
behold her sanctity.
You from whose faith
the present age has taken all fire,
now I will tell you
openly the secrets of the veil.
The joy of creation is
a fire in the body
and society is
lightened by that light,
and whosoever takes any
portion of that fire
watches jealously over
his private passion;
all the time he fixes
his gaze on his own image
lest his tablet should
receive any other image.
Mohammed chose solitude
upon Mount Hira
and for a space saw no
other beside himself;
our image was then
poured into his heart
and out of his solitude
a nation arose.
Though you may be an
unbeliever in God,
yet you cannot gainsay
the Prophet’s glory.
Though you possess a
soul illumined as Moses,
yet without solitude
your thoughts remain barren;
by isolation the
imagination becomes more vivid,
more vivid, more
questing, more finding.
Science and passion are
both stations of life
both take a share of
the impact of events.
Science derives
pleasure from verification,
love derives pleasure
from creativeness.
Display is very
precious to the verifier,
to the creator solitude
is very precious.
The eye of Moses
desired to behold Being—
that was all part of
the pleasure of verification;
thou shalt not see
Me contains many subtleties—
lose yourself a little
while in this sea profound.
On all sides
life’s traces appear unveiled,
its fountain wells up
in the heart of creation.
Consider the tumult
that rages through all horizons;
inflict not on the
Creator the trouble of display—
solitude is the
protection of every artist,
solitude is the bezel
in the artist’s ring.

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