When Muhammad Iqbal first recited Shikwa (Taking Issue) in 1909, his audience was enraged by his effrontery. Iqbal, in his lament, took issue with Allah directly, audaciously implicating Him for the sorry state of Muslims worldwide and ruing the ...
lost glory of Islam. In recompense, Iqbal composed Jawaab-e-Shikwa (Allah’s Answer) in 1913. Here, Allah responds to the poet, first berating his community, then offering hope for Islam in the world. Iqbal’s mellifluous words greatly assuaged those angered earlier. Over time, the poems have found their place in the canon of South Asian literature, and, through recitation, repetition and selective use, have forwarded a variety of agendas in the subcontinent.
In this elegant translation by Mustansir Dalvi, these classics by the most influential poet of his generation come alive once again in a language that is contemporary and immediate.