The strange tale of thirsty bird who found a diamond: Dr Muhammad Iqbal

The strange tale of thirsty bird who discovered a diamond: From Israr-o-Ramooz by Dr Muhammad Iqbal

Before Dr Allama Iqbal, most philosophers of Indian Sub-continent propagated for Self-negation that we should denounce our Khudi and annihilate our self in the greater Divine. Many Sufi poets such as Baba Farid and Bulleh Shah has conveyed the same themes in their poems.

Dr Allama Iqbal presented the new philosophy of Self-affirmation which focused on building a nation that was deprived of a sense of identity and glory under colonial rule.

This poem poem from Israr-o-Ramooz presents his viewpoint is a simple story. A thirty bird is seeking water founds a dew drop as well as a diamond. A dew drop who has no identity and is weak is consumed by the thirsty bird. However, the diamond affirms its self [khudi] via strength.

According to school of self-negation, they will praise the drop who annihilate itself for thirst of bird. However, Allama praised the diamond, which is strong and retains its Khudi [self], and ready to break the beak of bird who is trying to consume it. It is a subliminal message to the people of his era to realize their being and identity, instead of following their colonial lords.


Haath Hai Allah Ka Banda e Momin Ka Hath-Allama Iqbal Wallpaper

Haath Hai Allah Ka Banda e Momin Ka Hath – Allama Iqbal Wallpaper


A bird was faint with thirst and his breath was heaving like waves of smoke.

He saw a diamond in the garden and thirst created a vision of water.

Deceived by the sun bright stone, the foolish bird fancied that it was water.

He got no moisture from the gem, although he pecked it with his beak.

“O slave of useless desire,” said the diamond, You have sharpened your greedy beak on me

But I am not a dew drop, I give no drink, I do not live for of other’s sake.

If you think you can you consume me? You are insane.

A life that reveals the self [khudi] is strange to you. My ‘water’ will shiver the beaks of birds and break the jewel of man’s life”


The bird did not get anything from the diamond and turned away from the sparkling stone.

Disappointment swelled in his breast, the song in his throat became a wail.

Upon a rose-twig a Dew drop shined like tear in a nightingale’s eye.

All its glitter was owing to the sun, it was shivering in fear of the sun

A restless sky born star that had stopped for a moment, from desire to be seen

Often deceived by bud and flower, it had gained nothing from Life.

There it hung, ready to drop, like a tear on the eyelashes of a lover who hath lost his heart.

The sorely distressed bird hopped under the rose-bush, The dewdrop trickled into his mouth.


O’ you who deliver your soul from enemies. I ask you “Are you a drop of water or a gem?”

When the bird melted in the fire of thirst, it consumed the life of another [dew].

The drop was not strong and gem-like; The diamond had a being [self, khudi] , the drop had none!

Never for an instant neglect self-preservation. Believe in yourself like a diamond, not a dewdrop!

Be strong in nature, like mountains.  And you can take the burden of clouds laden with floods of rain!

Save yourself by affirmation of self [Khudi], compress your quick silver into silver ore, and produce a melody from the string.


طایری از تشنگی بیتاب بود
در تن او دم مثال موج دود
ریزہ ے الماس در گلزار دید
تشنگی نظارہ ی آب آفرید
از فریب ریزہ ی خورشید تاب
مرغ نادان سنگ را پنداشت آب
مایہ اندوز نم از گوھر نشد
زد برو منقار و کامش تر نشد
گفت الماس ای گرفتار ہوس
تیز بر من کردہ منقار ہوس
قطرہ ی آبی نیم ساقی نیم
من براے دیگران باقی نیم
قصد آزارم کنی دیوانہ ئے
از حیات خود نما بیگانہ ئی
آب من منقار مرغان بشکند
آدمی را گوھر جان بشکند
طایر از الماس کام دل نیافت
روی خویش از ریزہ ی تابندہ تافت
حسرت اندر سینہ اش آباد گشت
در گلوی او نوا فریاد گشت
قطرہ ی شبنم سر شاخ گلی
تافت مثل اشک چشم بلبلی
تاب او محو سپاس آفتاب
لرزہ بر تن از ہراس آفتاب
کوکب رم خوی گردون زادہ ئی
یکدم از ذوق نمود استادہ ئی
صد فریب از غنچہ و گل خوردہ ئی
بہرہ ئی از زندگے نا بردہ ئی
مثل اشک عاشق دلدادہ ئی
زیب مژگانی چکید آمادہ ئی
مرغ مضطر زیر شاخ گل رسید
در دہانش قطرہ ی شبنم چکید
ای کہ می خواہی ز دشمن جان بری
از تو پرسم قطرہ ئی یا گوہری؟
چون ز سوز تشنگی طایر گداخت
از حیات دیگری سرمایہ ساخت
قطرہ سخت اندام و گوہر خو نبود
ریزہ ی الماس بود و او نبود
غافل از حفظ خودی یک دم مشو
ریزہ ے الماس شو شبنم مشو
پختہ فطرت صورت کہسار باش
حامل صد ابر دریا بار باش
خویش را دریاب از ایجاب خویش
سیم شو از بستن سیماب خویش
نغمہ ئی پیدا کن از تار خودی
آشکارا ساز اسرار خودی



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