Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sing Kalam of Allama Iqbal
Dear Brother W,
Allama Muhammad Iqabal’s Urdu poetry was often high-brow Urdu, with Persian words that not all speakers of Urdu know. As you know my understanding of Urdu is very rudimentary and you obviously speak and understand it infinitely better than me, but I do know a thing or two about Arabic and Persian that may be helpful.
It’s not easy to translate “Tu Rahnaward-e-Shauq Hai, Manzil Na Kar Qabool” literally. I would translate it like this: “Desire has made you a wanderer (or traveller on the mystical Path), don’t accept [any] halting place”.
In Arabic, the word manzil literally means “place of descending [from a camel]”. It may also mean “dwelling” or “house”, but in this kalam “halting place” seems an appropriate translation.
Allama Iqabal is really saying: “You have become a wanderer/wayfarerer on the mystical Path, don’t stop until you have reached the Ultimate Goal of the Path!” – and what a sublime message that is!
The kalam continues with these words:
Laila bhi ham nasheen ho to, mahmil na kar qabool
“Even if Laila [symbol of the Divine Beloved in the famous story of Laila and Majnoon] is sitting in the mahmil, don’t accept [it] as halting place”
A mahmil used to be a covered litter on the back of a camel for ladies of high standing. The rahnaward must not accept it as his manzil because it is not the Ultimate Goal of the Path. Laila is merely a symbol of the Divine Beloved, an Ideal, that is not Haqq or Ultimate Truth. In order to reach Haqq, your Beloved Ideal – no matter how beautiful it is and no matter how dearly you love it – must be broken.
Nusrat Sahib sings Urdu poetry by Allama Muhammad Iqbal. The main kalam is “Tu Rehnaward-e-Shauq Hai, Manzil Na Kar Qabool”, but Nusrat Sahib adds a lot of fragments of poetry by Allama Iqbal.
I hope you will enjoy the video, the music and the poetry, Dear Brother.
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