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IQBAL – THE EMINENT POET OF URDU LITERATURE By Inayet Ullah

IQBAL – THE EMINENT POET OF URDU LITERATURE

by

Inayet Ullah

 

 

Something blissful happened in the year 1877 that witnessed the birth of a great poet-philosopher named Muhammed Iqbal who is thriving as a shining star on the horizon of Urdu Literature.

It is impossible, in this article, to make an assessment which encompasses fully all aspects and qualities of Iqbal’s poetry and his greatness. It is just a meager attempt to broadly highlight the salient features of his Urdu poetical works.

Iqbal’s poetry makes a distinctive deviation in the subject matter of Urdu poetry. Before Iqbal, the subject matter of Urdu poetry of most of his predecessors was “woman” and her physical beauty. Although, poetry is actually the expression of observations and experiences of a poet in life, and the subject matter can be anything in the world. In Iqbal’s own words “Shaair-e-hind ke asaab pe aurat hai savar.

In order to understand and appreciate Iqbal’s poetry, and for that matter the poetry of any major poet, it is necessary to have a knowledge of religious, social and cultural background as well as his thoughts, philosophies and the ideals he believed in.

The most recurring theme in Iqbal’s poetry is “Ishq” and the comparison of Ishq and Aql. Iqbal uses “Ishq” in a special sense of his own. In his poetry “Ishq” is a unique and exclusive feeling, devoid of reason or Aql which drives one to great achievements. A task performed with the feeling of “Ishq”, when completed, is a unique achievement and its beauty and form transcends time and becomes immortal. Masjid-e-Qartaba, which perhaps is his masterpiece, amply depicts his idea of “Ishq”. When he visited the mosque in Spain he was overwhelmed by its beauty, form and craftsmanship that prompted him to create a great work of art.

“Ishq” also enables you to face a gigantic and seemingly impossible task and drives you to make an impulsive and fearless decision:

Be khatar kood para aatishenamrood mein ishq                                                                     Aql hai mahve tamasha-e-labe baam abhi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A part of Iqbal’s poetry is a remarkably explicit poetical interpretation of the verses of Holy Quran, the eloquence, and the impact of poetical interpretation on the reader is deep. The Quran’s language itself, which without a doubt is the word of God, is highly literary wherein literary techniques like simile, metaphor, allegory, parable, and symbolism have been used that effectively impresses the mind of the reader. The spirit of Islamic teachings, contained in the Quranic verses, are beautifully revealed in some of his following lines:

Na bacha bacha ke tu rakh ise tera aaina hai wo aaina                                                             ke shikasta ho to Aziz ter hai nigah-e-aaina saz mein

(Do not try to protect your “aaina” (heart), because when broken, its dearer in the eyes of God).

Kafir ki ye pehchan ke aafaq mein hai gum                                                                

Momin ki ye pehchan ke gum is mein hai aafaq

Shauq agar na ho meri namaz ka imam                                                                                    mere qayam bhi hijab, mere sujood bhi hijab

Another aspect of Iqbal’s poetry is optimism which is depicted in some of his following lines:

Tu hi naadaan chand kalyun per qanaat kar gaya                                                                verna gulshan mein elaj-e-tangiye damaan bhi hai

Zara nam ho to ye mitti bahut zarkhez hai saqi                                                                        (If it follows the right path the Muslim umma has a great potential).

Man is great – a significant feature of Iqbal’s poetry. The potential integrity of character and the inherent self-pride is manifested in his various verses, like:

Tu shab aafridi, chiragh aafridum                                                                                               (You (God) created night, I created lamp

Jachte nahin bakhshe hue firdaus nazar mein                                                                   Jannat meri pinhaan hai mere khoon-e-jigar mein.

Baaghe Bahisht se mujhe hukme safar diya tha kyun                                                           Kar-e-Jahan daraz hai ab mera intezar kar

A typical example of man’s self-pride is his poem: “Rooh-e-Arzi Adam ka isteqbal karti hai”. The following grand and dramatic opening lines are relative to the theme:

Khole aankh zamin dekh falak dekh fiza dekh                                                                 Mashriq se ubherta hue sooraj ko zara dekh

When man was expelled from paradise to the earth for disobedience, he (with Eve) had to toil for his living. The desolate earth lay before him, yet he was ready to face all the hardships and challenges to create a new world of his own:

Theen pesh-e-nazar kal to farishton ki adain

Aaina-e-ayyam mein aj aapni ada dekh

Iqbal is no more with us but his poetry continues to be a source of sunshine in our life.

Raftaid vale na az dil-e-maa

(You departed but not from our heart)

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