Why must I forever lose,
forever forgo profit that is my due,
Sunk in the gloom of evenings past,
no plans for the morrow pursue.
Why must I all attentive be to the nightingales lament,
am I as dumb as a flower?
Must I remain silent?
My theme makes me bold,
makes my tongue more eloquent,
Dust fills my mouth,
against Allah I make complaint.
We won renown for submitting to Your willand it is so;
We speak out now,
we are compelled to repeat our tale of woe.
We are like the silent lute whose chords are full of voice;
When grief wells up to our lips,
we have no choice.
We are Your faithful servants,
for a while with us bear,
It is in our nature to always praise You,
a small plaint also hear.
That Your Presence was primal from the beginning of time is true;
The rose also adorned the garden but of its fragrance no one knew.
Justice is all we ask for.
You are perfect,
You are benevolent.
If there were no breeze,
how could the rose have spread its scent?
We Your people were dispersed,
no solace could we find,
would Your Beloveds following have gone out of its mind?
Before our time,
a strange sight was the world You had made:
Some worshipped stone idols,
others bowed to trees and prayed.
Accustomed to believing what they saw,
the peoples vision wasnt free,
How then could anyone believe in a God he couldnt see?
Do you know of anyone,
who then took Your Name?
It was the muscle in the Muslims arms that did Your task.
Here on this earth were settled the Seljuqs and the Turanians,
The Chinese lived in China,
in Iran lived the Sassanians.
The Greeks flourished in their allotted regions,
In this very world lived the Jews and Christians.
But who did draw their swords in Your Name and fight?
When things had gone wrong, who put them right?
Of all the brave warriors,
there were none but only we.
Who fought Your battles on land and often on the sea.
Our calls to prayer rang out from the churches of European lands
And floated across Africas scorching desert sands.
We ruled the world,
but regal glories our eyes disdained.
Under the shades of glittering sabres
Your creed we proclaimed.
All we lived for was no battle;
we bore the troubles that came,
And laid down our lives for the glory of Your Name.
We never used our strength to conquer or extend domain,
Would we have played with our lives for nothing but worldly gain?
If our people had run after earths goods and gold,
Need they have smashed idols, and not idols sold?
Once in the fray,
firm we stood our ground,
never did we yield,
The most lion-hearted of our foes reeled back and fled the field.
Those who rose against You,
against them we turned our ire,
What cared we for their sabres?
We fought against canon fire.
On every human heart the image of Your oneness we drew,
Beneath the draggers point,
we proclaimed Your message true.
You tell us who were they who pulled down the gates of Khyber?
Who were they that reduced the city that was the pride of Caesar?
Fake gods that men had made,
who did break and shatter?
Who routed infidel armies and destroyed them with bloody slaughter?
Who put out and made cold the sacred flame in Iran?
Who retold the story of the one God,
Who were the people who asked only for You and no other?
And for You did fight battles and travails suffer?
Whose world-conquering swords spread the might over one and all?
Who stirred mankind with Allah-o-Akbars clarion call?
Whose dread bent stone idols into fearful submission?
They fell on their faces confessing,
God is One,
the Only One!
In the midst of raging battle if the time came to pray,
Hejazis turned to Mecca,
kissed the earth and ceased from fray.
Sultan and slave in single file stood side by side,
Then no servant was nor master,
nothing did them divide.
Between serf and lord,
needy and rich,
difference there was none.
When they appeared in Your court,
they came as equals and one.
In this banquet hall of time and space,
from dawn to dusk we spent,
Filled with the wine of faith,
like goblets round we went.
Over hills and plains we took Your message;
this was our task.
Do you know of an occasion we failed You?
is all we ask.
Over wastes and wildernesses of land and sea,
Into the Atlantic Ocean we galloped on our steed.
Allamah Sir Dr. Muhammad Iqbal