Five Simple, Yet Powerful Lessons From Allama Iqbal’s Poetry

Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a poet, philosopher, scholar, knight, politician and an authority on Islam all rolled into one single mortal being. His work inspired not only the birth of Pakistan, but also brought Muslims of his days out of ignorance, providing them with the confidence and guidance they needed to realise their true potential. To this day, Iqbal’s poetry and his extensive work remains popular among Muslims around the world. But unfortunately, his message of Muslim brotherhood, self-confidence, knowledge and continuous progress has been forgotten by people of the land Iqbal first dreamt to establish. On Iqbal’s 141’s birth anniversary, we look at a few of the simplest verses from Iqbal’s poetry to decode some lessons that our nation needs to learn more than ever before.

On Value Of Freedom

Taken from his poem Parinday Ki Faryad, the verse describes the agony and heartbreak of losing freedom with unmatched brevity. The poem relates how a bird in captivity yearns for its days of freedom. At the time this work was penned down, Iqbal was clearly trying to make Muslims of the sub-continent realise the importance of freedom and that no amount of luxuries in captivity could replace life in a free country. The message is as important today as it was back then, as most Pakistanis have forgotten the luxury that is a free country. We Pakistanis take our freedom for granted, as is reflected in the way we lay waste to both our natural landscape and manmade infrastructure. So it’s time we give this beautiful poem a read and be thankful for the beautiful country that we are blessed with.

On Service To The Country

Almost every human being on earth feels proud of his or her country, but how many people in this world make their countries proud? That’s exactly what this verse from Iqbal’s famous verse from Bachay Ki Dua aspires young minds to be. A child prays to become to his country what a flower is to a garden. Almost every Pakistani school-going child has recited the verses countless times, yet the true message in the prayer has been failed to find its way in our ways. John F Kennedy once famously said, “ask what you can do for your country”. Iqbal’s verses urged his people to do exactly the same decades ago. It’s time to listen.

On Respecting Everyone

This is one of the most important lesson Pakistani’s of present day and age need to learn. In today’s Pakistan, lawlessness, flashiness and materialism have become commonplace and many of those having sufficient means to live life luxuriously have started considering the less fortunate children of a lesser God. Every individual in this world has a special place in the scheme of things and each is unique due to his or her individual characteristics. This verse from Pahar Aur Gulehri explains exactly that; urging readers to respect others for whoever they are: big or small, strong or weak and poor or rich.

On Being Good To Others

Iqbal’s heart-warming poem about a lost nightingale helped through the dark by a tiny firefly has been known to Pakistanis for decades. Yet, we as nation have gradually unlearned the message of extending and sharing whatever good fortune that we have with others. ‘Every man for himself’ appears to have become the mantra of the people and nobody is willing to go little out of his or her way to really help someone out in times of trouble. Unless of course, when dispensing alms helps us satiate our own occasional guilt.

Iqbal tried to convey a message of goodness in the most simplest of ways. A firefly had nothing more than the light on its back, yet it found a way to help the nightingale out. That’s the spirit of communal good that each Pakistani needs to cultivate in order that we become a truly great nation.

On Dreaming Big

Iqbal always called on the youth to aspire for greatness, always comparing them to a fearless, soaring eagle that knows no bounds. This famous verse from his Iqbal’s ghazal Sitaron Se Agay has inspired generations of young people and continues to do so still. Iqbal urges the youth to aspire for bigger and unseen possibilities. By telling them that they have more skies ahead of them, he demands the youth to break new ground, become trailblazers and see beyond the obvious to tread where no one has ever done before. And that is exactly what our youth need to do in order to break this mould of monotony Pakistan has trapped itself in.

For a true reformation of this country, we need our youth to reform themselves. And there is no easier way of doing it than by rediscovering the self through Iqbal’s awe-inspiring work.

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