Sir Muhammad Allama Iqbal, an esteemed philosopher around the world, is one of my favorite writers and poets. My aunt would read his work to me and provide exegesis, explaining in great deal his brilliant use of Urdu and Farsi. She explained that his writings embody the teachings of the Qur’an.
My favorite work of his to date is The Testament of Tipu Sultan but one of the later lines always left me puzzled:
I couldn’t figure it out. I thought I got closer during an afterthought in an earlier post, but it was negligible progress. Today in tafsir, Nouman Ali Khan discussed the beginning of the last ten verses of Surah ‘Ali ‘Imran, explaining that dhikr is described in the Qur’an as an activity of the heart—a spiritual exercise of reminding yourself who Allah is. And the more you remember Allah the more reinforced your heart becomes. And then he quoted something I’ve often come across and also wondered about—ayah 28 from the 18th chapter of the Qur’an:
Wa laa tuti’AA man aghfalna qalbahu: do not follow the one whose heart We have made unaware of Our mention—that the first activity of these people of sound minds is a spiritual activity—an activity of not the mind, but of the heart.
Subah-e-Azal Ye Mujh Se Kaha Jibreel Ne
Jo Aqal Ka Ghulam Ho,
Woh Dil Na Kar Qabool.
Gabriel on Creationʹs Early Morn,
a piece of useful counsel gave:
He bade me not accept a heart enchained
by mind of man like slave.