July 27, 2011

Reality of Words Ishq-o-Masti, Junoon, Saqi, Mai, Maikhana, Rind in Allama Iqbal Poetry

An Important Concept Explained By Sufi Barkat Ali (R.A)

Sufi Muhammad Barkat Ali

Allama Iqbal was a foreseer of 'Islamic Renaissance' (اسلام کی نشاۃ ثانیہ کی خوشخبری دینے والے) so his poetry is a mission & policy statement for the revival of Islam in the light of Quran & Sunnah and it is absolutely vital for the 'Future of Pakistan' in current circumstances.

Here, an important concept of his poetry is discussed. First read these couplets by Allama Iqbal
From Book: Baal-e-Jibreel

Allama Iqbal frequently used words like Mai (مے), Maikhana (میخانہ), Rind (رند), Saqi (ساقی), Ishq-o-Masti (عشق و مستی), Badah-o-Jaam (بادہ و جام ), Jazb (جذب), Junoon (جنوں), Sharab-e-Kuhan (شراب کہن) and similar words in his poetry.

 These words are used Symbolically (بطور استعارہ) or Indirectly to convey some important message as explained by Sufi Barkat Ali.
Let’s discover what special meanings are hidden in these words/terms, then read more couplets after these extracts.

A question asked to Sufi barkat Ali (R.A.) about these words, and he explained the reality of these words in depth, helping us to understand Allama Iqbal’s poetry as well as other Sufism books using such terms.

(Extract from Books, Maqalat-e-Hikmat by Sufi Barkat Ali Sahib)
English Translation is below:

He further explains,

So it is now very much clear what exactly these terms mean. Now below couplets/ashaar can easily be understood. All books of Allama Iqbal contain these words.
From Book Baal-e-Jibreel

English Translation of above Extracts:

A MAN ASKED: "These writings quite often talk about Maiy (wine), and the Maikhanah (wine house), the Rinds (astute subscribers) are praised, the Saaqee's (server's) blissful sight and the charity and benign are mentioned. What is meant by this Maiy (wine), the Maikhanah (wine-house), the Rind (astute man) and the Saaqee (server)? Please explain!"

Sufi Barkat Ali Said: O my dear friend, the Maiy (wine) does not mean the liquor extracted from a few herbs which on drinking makes the man talk light, mouth smell and the mind nullified. That liquor is the mother of crimes. How could we, O my dear, be full ofpraise for this wine? By this Maiy (wine), I mean the wine that Iman Hussain, my master, my lord, my well-wisher, my friend, the exalted leader, the prime of both the worlds, may Allah the Almighty be pleased with him, drank and during the intoxication of which he, free from every fear and danger, gazed with his eyes into the eyes of death and smiled. Drunk in the intoxication of the same, he sacrificed his everything for the truth. And the observing world heard him say nothing but these words:

Innaa Lillahi Wa innaa Alayhi Raaji'uoon!
Verily we are Allah's and verily unto Him we will return.
- (AI-Quran 2:156)

O my dear, is this Maiy (wine) something, something ordinary? Allah, Allah, whoever became intoxicated by this wine, he became fed up and hateful of everything, completely carefree of everything. He, then, trampled rank and authority under his feet and knocked out, once and for all crown and throne, riches and fame. He regarded the will of the Saaqee (server) superior in every 'stage' and 'state'. He did not even stop short of stepping on to the scaffolds. He had his skin flayed. But his firm steps did not tremble. The body was sawn with the saw but not a sigh was heaved. He came to the chamber of death with such grace that the world was taken aback, Heaven and Earth contracted to breaking point. The dwellers of Heaven in Heaven and the dwellers of Earth in the World were wonder struck and compelled to lavish praises and appreciations. Reason warned: "Where do you go? Why are you following the way to death? Think, understand and stop it!" But intoxication did not let any effect from anyone take him over. Nor can intellect and understanding face absorption and intoxication.
The very first draught of the wine granted the Rind (astute) such a fondness and attraction that he collided with the storms and rocks, jumped into the fields full of danger. He did not falter at all. No hurdle in his way could stop him. No difficulty could overpower his determination. No fear could make him waiver. He was cut into pieces but he did not surrender, Subhaan-Allah! He kept advancing and could not be stopped by anyone. Faithfulness is the ancient custom of the Rinds (astute). They do not stop short of custom. This 'stage' is not that of 'bestowal' but 'abstraction'. 0 my dear, could the conscious ones commit these acts of intoxication? Never! Allah the Almighty has granted this status to his own Rinds (astute servants), not everyone. If everybody had a command over this stage, what value and esteem would it have enjoyed. If it was within the reach of everybody, what taste and freshness would it have held? Not everybody has the power to drink it. And having drunk it, there are only a few who can withstand it.

The tavern was lively, throbbing and crowded. The wine smell sent out message of life all round. The astute men gathered round in crowds, leaving not a space to sit. One drink after another was served. The intoxication of the server and the colorful hue of the astute was worth seeing and appreciation. Their ecstatic cries reverberated not only amongst the doors and walls of the tavern but the horizons of the World.
The World of the Astute Men!
What shall I tell, O my dear, how was that?
They remained intoxicated in their musings, absorbed in their occupation and drunk in the liquor neither attendant nor attracted to anyone. They did not care for anybody. Nothing of the World bore any value in their sight.
They were cut to pieces, yet never retreated.
They accomplished the task if once they made up their mind.
They performed the job, if they were determined for once, never caring for any opposition at all. One of them encountered hundreds of the foe. Nobody could bear the majesty of their sights.
The 'wine' referred to in these monologues does not mean the liquor that nullifies understanding. It refers to the character of the Caliphs of Rashidins, and this (the character) includes in it, O my dear, everything: intoxication, unconsciousness, independence, honour, highness, indignation, enthusiasm, majesty, regality and awe. Maa shaa Allah! They were the astute men and that was the tavern. Myself and you changed this wine and changed it completely. We have changed it to sherbet, nay to a very dilute lassi (yogurt mixed with water) that has no vigor, no heat, no intoxicant and no taste in it. It is a drink without life. It has the body but no spirit.


  1. SubhanALLAH... Sher kehne wlw b kamal aur tashreeh krne wala b kamal..ALLAH hme b es me se nawaz dye.. Aameen

    M Azhar

  2. SubhanAllah,admin thumbs up for your research.Can you also publish a research on the difference between ego and Khudi.?Many people take them to have the same meaning.And I confess I also really don't know the difference.Thank you!

  3. MashaALLAH this website is a treasure of knowledge, may this youth be blessed with Urdu language skills. Great work done.

  4. MashaALLAH this website is a treasure of knowledge, may this youth be blessed with Urdu language skills. Great work done.

  5. Sufi Barkat Ali Ra ne farmya tha Iqbal nay har Cheez ki had kr Di