Setting forth the inner meanings of the names of Ali – Allama Iqbal

Translation of در شرح اسرار اسمای علی مرتضی

from اسرار خودی

by Allama Iqbal

ALI is the first Muslim and the King of men,

In Love’s eyes Ali is the treasure of the Faith.

Devotion to his family inspires me with life

So that I am as a shining pearl.

Like the narcissus, I am entraptured with gazing:

Like perfume, I am straying though his pleasure garden.

If holy water gushes from my earth, he is the source;

If wine pours from my grapes, he is the cause.

I am dust, but his sun hath made me as a mirror:

Song can be seen in my breast.

From Ali’s face the Prophet drew many a fair omen,

By his majesty the true religion is glorified

His commandments are the strength of Islam:

All things pay allegiance to his House.

The Apostle of God gave him the name Bu Turab;

God in the Koran called him “the Hand of Allah.”

Every one that is acquainted with Life’s mysteries

Knows what is the inner meaning of the names of Ali.

The dark clay, whose name is the body—

Our reason is ever be moaning its iniquity.

On avvount of it our sky-reaching thought plods over the earth;

It makes our eyes blind and our cars deaf.

It hath in its hand a two-edge sword of lust:

Travelers’ hearts are broken by this brigand.

Ali, the Lion of God, subdued the body’s clay

And transmuted this dark earth to gold.

Murtaza, by whose sword the splendour of Truth was revealed,

Is named Bu Turab from his conquest of the body.79

Man wins territory by prowess in battle,

But his brightest jewel is masters of himself.

Whosoever in the world become a Bu Turab

Turns back the sun from the west;80

Whosoever saddles tightly the seed of the body

Sits like the bezel on the seal of sovereignty:

Here the might of Khaibar is under his feet,81

And hereafter his hand will distribute the water of Kauthar.82

Through self-knowledge, he acts as God’s Hand,

And in virtue of being God’s Hand he reigns over all.

His person is the gate of the city of the sciences.83

Arabia, China, and Greece are subject to him.

If thou wouldst drink clear wine from thine own grapes.

Thou must needs wield authority over thine own earth.

To become earth is the creed of a moth:

Be a conqueror of earth; that alone is worthy of a man.

Thou art soft as a rose. Become hard as a stone,

That thou mayst be the foundation of the wall of the garden!

Build thy clay into a Man,

Build thy Man into a World

Unless from thine own earth thou build – thine own wall or door.

Someone else will make bricks of thine earth.

O thou who complaints of the cruelty of Heaven,

Thou whose glass cries out against the injustice of the stone,

How long this wailing and crying and lamentation ?

How long this perpetual beating of thy breast ?

The pith of Life is contained in action,

The delight in creation is the law of Life.

Arise and create a new world!

Wrap thyself in flames, be an Abraham!84

To comply with this world which does not favour thy purposes

Is to fling away thy buckler on the field of battle.

The man of strong character who is master of himself

Will find Fortune complaisant.

If the world does not comply with his humour,

He will try the hazard of war with Heaven:

He will dig up the foundations of the universe

And cast its atoms into a new mould.

He will subvert the course of Time

And wreck the azure firmament.

By his own strength he will produce

A new world which will do his pleasure.

If one cannot live in the world as be seems a man,

Then it is better to die like the brave.

He that hath a sound heart

Will prove his strength by great enterprises.

‘ Tis sweet to use love in hard tasks

And, like Abraham, to gather roses from flames 85

The potentialities of men of action

Are displayed in willing acceptance of what is difficult.

Mean spirits have no weapon but resentment,

Life has only one law.

Life is power made manifest,

And its mainspring is the desire for victory.

Mercy out of season is a chilling of Life’s blood,

A break in the rhythm of Life’s music.

Whoever is sunk in the depths of ignomity

Calls his weakness contentment.

Weakness is the plunderer of Life,

Its womb is teeming with fears and lies.

Its soul is empty of virtues,

Vices fatten on its milk.

O man of sound judgment, beware!

This spoiler is lurking in ambush

Be not its dupe, if thou art wise:

Chameleon-like, it changes colour every moment.

Even by keen observers its form is not discerned

Veils are thrown over its face.

Now it is muffled in pity and gentleness,

Now it wears the cloak of humanity.

Some times it is disguised as compulsion,

Sometimes as excusability.

It appears in the shape of self-indulgence

And robs the strong man’s heart of courage.

Strength is the twin of Truth;

If thou knowest thyself, strength is the Truth-revealing glass.

Life is the seed, and power the crop:

Power explains the mystery of truth and falsehood.

A claimant, if he be possessed of power,

Needs no argument for his claim.

Falsehood derives from power the authority of truth,

And by falsifying truth deems itself true.

Its creative word transforms poison into nectar.

It says to good, “Thou art bad,” and Good becomes Evil.

O thou that art heedless of the trust committed to thee,

Esteem thyself superior to both worlds86!

Gain knowledge of Life’s mysteries!

Be a tyrant! Ignore all except God !

O man of understanding, open thine eyes, ears, and lips !87

If then thou seest not the Way of Truth, laugh at me!

In Persian: http://www.iqbal.com.pk/site/index.php/poems-and-works/poetical-works/2011-08-11-07-00-08/2011-11-14-03-54-44/1411-2011-11-14-04-27-47

In English: http://www.iqbal.com.pk/site/index.php/poems-and-works/poetical-works/2011-08-11-07-00-08/2011-11-14-03-54-44/1594-setting-forth-the-inner-meanings-of-the-names-of-ali

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