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Dr. Humaira Shahbaz

مضمون نگار نیشنل یونیورسٹی آف ماڈرن لینگویجز کے شعبہ فارسی سے وابستہ ہیں۔ [email protected]

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Hilal Her

To Daughters of the Nation

April 2024

In his work, Allama Iqbal emphasizes the significance of empowered women in driving societal progress and highlights the potential of individuals to shape their own and their nation’s destiny. Iqbal has made numerous references to empowered women in his works, addressing women-related issues in his prose and poetry.



Dr Muhammad Iqbal has penned his thoughts in more than fifteen works. He enjoyed the publication of most of his works within his lifetime. Armaghan-e-Hijaz is the only work of his that was published after his death in 1938.  Armaghan-e-Hijaz is unique in its bilingual aspect, comprising Persian and Urdu poetry. The Persian section of Armaghan-e-Hijaz holds eight quadrants titled, “Dukhtaran-e-Millat” (Daughters of the Nation). Let’s reflect upon the philosophy of Iqbal in this section:

Seeking Wisdom in Modesty


Leave O’ daughterling this loveliness trend,
To Muslim suits, not the heathen’s blend.
You need not a beauty of rouge and scent,
With the chaste eyes teach thy charming bent.


This quadrant conveys a message urging a girl to embrace a trend of modesty and simplicity rather than adopting the beauty standards influenced by non-Muslim cultures. Iqbal addresses a young female, encouraging her to pay attention to and adopt a particular trend of loveliness. Iqbal suggests that the trend being discussed is more aligned with Muslim values and culture, contrasting it with practices or styles associated with non-Muslim or ‘heathen’ cultures. He emphasizes that true beauty doesn’t rely on superficial enhancements like makeup (rouge) or strong fragrances (scent). Iqbal advises the nation’s daughters to focus on purity and modesty, suggesting that genuine charm and attractiveness come from within and can be expressed through modesty and decency, mainly through one’s eyes, often considered the windows to the soul. He encourages them to embrace a trend of humility and simplicity that aligns with Muslim values rather than pursuing superficial or culturally inappropriate beauty standards, as external beauty is only skin deep and inner beauty reflects through eyes.  
The Power of Self-Consciousness


A God-given sword thy glance to thee,
Whose wounds thus gave my full right to me.
The heart of great sage that holy soul took,
As she tempered her sword with a bashful look.


Eyes are a window to one’s soul. Eyes serve as a gateway to the essence, reflecting the depths of wisdom and intention of the beholder. This quadrant of Iqbal seems to depict a poetic portrayal of the power and impact of a woman’s gaze, particularly in the context of a spiritual connection. Iqbal likens the woman’s gaze to a powerful weapon bestowed upon her by God, suggesting that her glance possesses significant strength or influence. As actions speak louder than the words, eyes speak louder than the actions. Iqbal says that a woman needs to work on the beauty, purity and glory of her soul and inner self, her character, to rule the world, not by her looks or words but by her look, her decisive glance and her powerful gaze. That power comes through modesty. Modesty is the real shine and glory of her personality. It’s a God-gifted power. Overall, the verse seems to celebrate the captivating power of the woman’s gaze, portraying it as a divine gift capable of affecting even the most spiritually attuned individuals.                                           
The Beauty of Veil


Finally, the modern age shows her conscience!
They feel pretty happy with false pomp and show
A tip for the world’s tight learn from His light,
With hundred visions Who hide from sight.


This verse appears to critique the modern age for its lack of conscience or moral awareness, particularly in its pursuit of false displays of wealth and status. Iqbal suggests to the girls that the modern era reveals its lack of conscience or moral integrity. He criticizes people in the modern age for finding happiness or satisfaction in superficial displays of grandeur and extravagance rather than genuine substance or values. He offers advice and guidance for those who are spiritually or morally blind, suggesting that they should learn from the wisdom or enlightenment of a divine power. 
Iqbal advises girls to follow the modest lifestyle taught by Islam and, instead of showing off themselves, should remain focused on their inner qualities. They should present themselves by virtue of their character and keep the physical confined in modest, nonrevealing attire. Iqbal brings in the example of the Almighty Allah, that no one has seen God, but his lights reflect from all his creations. 

Impactful Motherhood


The world is stable from the mother’s grace,
Her kind nature guards the whole human race.
To this point, if the nations didn’t get,
The whole world order would soon upset.


This quadrant highlights the importance of maternal qualities and the nurturing nature of mothers in maintaining stability and harmony in the world. Iqbal asserts that the world’s stability is sustained by the nurturing and compassionate qualities often associated with mothers. This could refer to both literal mothers and the concept of motherhood as a symbol of care and protection. He emphasizes mothers’ protective and nurturing role, suggesting that their kind and compassionate nature serves as a safeguard for humanity as a whole.
Iqbal suggests that there could be significant consequences if nations fail to understand or acknowledge the importance of maternal qualities and nurturing care. He warns that if nations neglect or disregard the importance of maternal influence and care, it could lead to upheaval or disorder.

Maternal Guardianship


That nation is lucky in whose hard race,
A change in the world is espied on each man’s face.
What happened to him in this world’s race,
This can be seen now from their mother’s face.


Once again, Iqbal is presenting the importance of the role of mothers to the daughters of the nation so that they may prepare themselves for this role. This quadrant reflects on the notion that a fortunate nation is one where the struggles and challenges faced by its people are visibly reflected in their demeanor, mainly as seen in the expressions on their faces. Iqbal suggests that a fortunate or blessed nation is one whose people have experienced challenges and difficulties. He implies that the impact of those challenges is evident in the expressions or countenances of individuals, suggesting that their faces bear the marks of their life experiences. He refers to the trials and tribulations individuals encounter as they navigate life’s journey, facing various challenges and experiences. Iqbal concludes the verse by emphasizing that the effects of these experiences can be observed in the faces of individuals, particularly suggesting that one can discern these effects by looking at their mothers’ faces. This could imply that the resilience and character developed through life’s trials are passed down or reflected in the expressions of mothers, who often bear the weight of their family’s struggles.
The poetic lines underscore the idea that a nation’s strength lies in the resilience and character of its people, as reflected in their faces and inherited or nurtured through maternal influence.

Mothers’ Influence Beyond Education


This craze she gave me for sharp wits sense,
My kind mother’s sacred inner glance.
In school, my heart and eyes didn’t get calm,
No schools are these, but magic and charm.


Iqbal is expressing his ideas through the examples from his personal life. Iqbal, in this quadrant, expresses gratitude towards his mother for instilling in him a passion for intelligence and keen perception. Iqbal attributes his desire for sharp intellect and keen understanding to the mother. The word ‘craze’ suggests a strong enthusiasm or passion. Iqbal describes the mother’s influence as having a profound and sacred quality, possibly implying that her guidance and teachings come from a place of deep wisdom and care. He implies that traditional schooling environments failed to provide the poet with the peace or fulfillment he sought, suggesting a disconnect between formal education and personal growth or satisfaction. Iqbal concludes by suggesting that the real education and inspiration he received came not from conventional schools but rather from their mother’s magical and enchanting guidance.
Iqbal celebrates the nurturing influence of a mother, crediting her with instilling a love for learning and wisdom that transcends traditional educational settings. It highlights the importance of maternal guidance and intuition in shaping a person’s intellectual and emotional development. This explains the importance of the role of mothers in the lives of daughters of the nations and also a message for girls that the institution of their mother is more important than the traditional schooling they receive.

Empowered Mothers for Empowered Generations


If you pay heed once, to this poor guy,
May die thousand nations, but ye won’t die.
Hid from this Age like Batool if you can,
In thy lap, too, there may be a Hussain


This quadrant seems to convey a plea for attention or consideration from the nation’s daughters, accompanied by a poignant reflection on mortality and the potential for lasting impact. In this verse, Iqbal implores the girls to listen or pay attention to them despite their humble or disadvantaged status. He suggests that even if great nations or civilizations perish, the girls as individuals will not die, indicating a sense of personal resilience or enduring significance. Iqbal references Batool, alluding to Hazrat Fatima, revered in Islam for her purity and righteousness. Iqbal challenges the nation’s daughters to strive for similar purity and righteousness in the face of adversity. He evokes the image of Hazrat Imam Hussain, a revered figure in Islam known for his sacrifice and martyrdom. It suggests that even in women’s embrace or sphere of influence, individuals may arise of great significance or sacrifice.
Iqbal combines themes of humility, mortality, and spiritual significance, urging the girls to heed his message and strive for righteousness and importance even in challenging times as they must bring up future generations.

Transformation in Quranic Wisdom


From my evening’s dusk, get a dawn new,
To see eyes read the Quran anew.
From thy reading’s flame, you know that fate,
Had totally changed Omar the Great.


In this quadrant, Iqbal highlights the transformative power of reading and understanding the Quran, particularly in the context of personal growth and change. Iqbal suggests to the nation’s daughters that there is the potential for a new beginning or enlightenment from their current state of darkness or difficulty. This line metaphorically indicates a transition from darkness to light. It implies a sense of renewal or transformation, moving from a state of uncertainty to one of hope and clarity. It suggests a renewed engagement with religious scripture, indicating a more profound or insightful reading. Iqbal wants from the daughters and sisters of the nation the same kind of transformative power of reading the Quran with which the destiny of the countries is sealed.
In these eight quadrants, Iqbal has highlighted the role of women as daughters, sisters, and mothers. He has explained how they can play a positive role in their nation's destiny by empowering themselves with righteous attributes, not mere superficial beauty.


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Dr. Humaira Shahbaz

مضمون نگار نیشنل یونیورسٹی آف ماڈرن لینگویجز کے شعبہ فارسی سے وابستہ ہیں۔ [email protected]

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