Rubaiyat Poem Explanation by Allama Iqbal

Rubaiyat Poem Explanation


Allama Iqbal was a great thinker, philosopher and eminent poet of Sub-continent. His poetry is the magnificent and melodious blend of mysticism and self-reliance. Allama Iqbal used poetry as a platform to preach gospel that most people already believed in, yet none had the courage to stand up for. Like a weapon, saved for the time of need, yet never actually taken out, for the fear of hurting one‟s own self. He used his poetry mainly to stir the slumbering oblivious masses of Muslim world through thought provoking and deep rooted philosophy of life and religion. In other words, he used poetry as a weapon of words to evoke the spirit of self-reliance and firm faith in the Muslims of Sub-continent. He also wanted them to keep up their own trends and tradition. After loss of freedom, it was his earnest desire that the Muslims must regain their glory and gravity as a nation.

Iqbal’s poetry did, in fact, arouse a whole nation.



Stanza 1.


Faith is like Abraham at the stake to be

Self-honouring and God-drunk is faith. Hear me,

You whom this age‟s way so captivate!

To have no faith is worse than slavery.




These verses are taken from the poem Rubaiyat, which is written by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.




In this short and thought provoking poem, Allama Iqbal has criticized and condemned the moral hollowness and materialistic attitude of the modern society. He laments over the loss of faith, which in fact maps out the direction of human soul. He is of the opinion that in this modern age of materialism and fascination, faith strong like that of Hazrat Abraham (A.S) is needed. He also emphasizes that Muslim harmony depends upon true faith in Islam. The Europeans lack faith and spirituality that is why there is no harmony and fraternity among them. Muslims have become mad in pursuit of foreign (Western) music and materialism, and have lost their identity and dignity as a nation.

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In this stanza, Iqbal has illustrated the power or force of faith by narrating the example of Hazrat Abraham (A.S), Who was thrown into fire by His enemies, however, by dint of his firm and unflinching faith, the fire was miraculously turned into a garden. It is only because of His love for religion and steadfastness. He (A.S) was God fearing and God loving, that‟s why Allah blessed him and saved him from sufferings. It is owing to the hallmark of his unflinching faith in religion that he was unmoved by the treats of His enemies. Later Iqbal addresses the whole Muslim Nation and says that they have become a victim of the materialistic European or Western civilization and captivated by the its glamour. He also holds the view that faithless person is the prisoner of foreign trends and tradition, and faithlessness is worse than slavery. Faith is very basic to the foundations of Islam. Iqbal wanted the Muslims to regain their lost prestige and vigour. He said on another occasion:-


O‟ Slumbering Muslim, arouse, you be dynamic too

Lo! The Horizon is aglow, you spur into action.


Faith and freedom are part and parcel with each other. Freedom is not descended upon a nation; a nation must raise itself to it.

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In this stanza, Iqbal regrets that the Muslims of his time, have become a slave to modern materialistic world and have lost their faith in the healing power of Islam.


Stanza 2.


Music of strange lands with Islam’s fire blends, On which the nation’s harmony depends; Empty concord is the soul of Europe, Whose civilization to no Mecca bends.




In theses verses, Iqbal presents his analysis that the European /Western Culture and civilization lack harmony, fraternity and good-will. They are materialistic and are fighting with one another for baseless things. Religious guide-less have no appeal for them. Here Iqbal also criticizes the Muslims for bring captivated and allured by the modern cult of music and glamour of European civilization. He holds the view that Islam is torch-bearer in the blind alleys of European world of ignorance and materialism. Islam is the only religion which brings harmony, uncountable blessings and fraternity in the human society. The soul of Europeans lacks humanity, harmony and vigour; it has no light to guide or bless Western people. They have no model like Islam to follow and their civilization stands alienated and divided. Their civilization has no dignity and direction to lead its followers. However, the Muslims have a great center i.e Mecca which keeps all the Muslims united throughout the world . They gather there with one aim, raise praise to Allah in one language (Arabic) and in one uniform (Ah‟ram). About faith and believers Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other”. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that). This greatness is not found in European Civilization.

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Stanza 3.


Love‟s madness has departed: in The Muslim’s veins the blood runs thin; Ranks broken, hearts perplexed, prayers cold, No feeling deeper than the skin.




Here is this stanza the poet narrates in a pensive mood that the Muslims have lost fraternity and love for Religion (Islam). Their blood has become thin .i.e. they have become weak and their faith is frail. They lack unity, discipline and dignity. They are leading astray by following the modern materialistic European civilization, that’s why they do not tolerate one another, their ranks are broken i.e. their fortification is frail. They lost the glory, which was achieved by their ancestors. They are away from religion; consequently their hearts are depressed and dejected. Moreover, their supplications are not effective and are unsanctioned.

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