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Ghazal

by MUHAMMAD IQBAL

Translation by M. Shahid Alam

The world changes utterly: the stars spin faster, O Saqi.
In every heart I hear the cry of surrender, O Saqi.

God’s journeymen have lost their arts, their certainty.
Whose artifice deceives them, who has this power, O Saqi.

Weak-willed, weak-hearted, dimly they mope about.
Deep is their need for that life-enhancing elixir, O Saqi.

The Muslim lacks the fire that can ignite his heart.
Why is the birth of spirit so hard to deliver, O Saqi.

There rises none like Rumi from the gardens of ‘Ajam.
Persia is the same, unchanged her sky and water, O Saqi.

Iqbal will not walk away from his fields laid waste.
A little dew and sweat will revive its power, O Saqi.

This dervish is privy to the rites, the rigors of power.
His words are rare, he ignites visions of splendor, O Saqi.
M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, and author of Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America’s ‘War Against Islam’ (IPI Publications: 2007). He may be reached at alqalam02760@yahoo.com.

© M. Shahid Alam

 

M. SHAHID ALAM is professor of economics at Northeastern University. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Macmillan, November 2009). Contact me at alqalam02760@yahoo.com.

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