Jibreel o Iblees – a simplified commentary


In this section of his highly-acclaimed “Baal-e-Jibreel” (Wing of Gabriel), Iqbal presents a fictional dialogue between the angel Gabriel (Jibraeel) and Satan (Iblees)

An angel depicted in Persian literature (via Wikipedia)


हम-दम-ए-देरीना कैसा है जहान-ए-रंग-ओ-बू ?
(Hamdam-e-derina, kaisa hai jahaan-e-rang-o-bu ?)

  • हम-दम-ए-देरीना/hamdam-e-derina: “hamdam” means close companion/friend. “Derina” (derived from the word देर) means ancient. So, “hamdam-e-derina” means “ancient friend”
  • जहान-ए-रंग-ओ-बू/jahaan-e-rang-o-bu: the material world, which can be perceived by humans through the properties of its constituent objects (colour/rang and smell/bu), unlike the divine realm which Satan and Gabriel have access to.

Interpretation: (Gabriel says:) “O old friend, how’s the physical world nowadays?”


  • ओ/o: and
  • सोज़/soz – burning intensity (like in love or pain)
  • साज़/saaz – musical instrument
  • जुस्तुजू/justuju – striving hard to achieve something

Interpretation: (Satan replies: ) (The world continues to consist of) intense burning and melody, pain and blemish, of people striving incessantly and of uncontrollable desire”

हर घड़ी अफ़्लाक पर रहती है तेरी गुफ़्तुगू 
क्या नहीं मुमकिन कि तेरा चाक दामन हो रफ़ू

(har ghadi aflaak pe rehti hai teri guftugoo
kya nahi mumkin ki tera chaak daaman ho rafu?)

  • अफ़्लाक/aflaak: heavens/skies, plural of falak (sky)
  • गुफ़्तुगू/guftugoo: discussion
  • रफ़ू/rafu – to mend a torn cloth

Interpretation: (Gabriel says:) “O Satan, you’re an evergreen topic of discussion in the Heavens (because of your evil tricks and efforts to mislead humans). Is it not possible that you redeem yourself in the eyes of God, and return to His good graces?”

आह, ऐ जिबरील तू वाक़िफ़ नहीं इस राज़ से 
कर गया सरमस्त मुझ को टूट कर मेरा सुबू
(aah, ae jibreel, tu waaqif nahi is raaz se
kar gaya sarmast mujhko toot kar mera suboo)

  • सरमस्त/sar-mast: the state of head-spinning, intoxicated
  • सुबू/subu: wine-cup

Interpretation: (Satan says:) “O Gabriel, you have no idea of the real reason I’m not coming back. You think that there’s still time for me to stop drinking the wine of this world’s sins and pleasures. But mate, I’ve already drained my pitcher; even the glass is long since empty and broken. I am now fully intoxicated with the passions of this material world. There is no coming back for me”

अब यहाँ मेरी गुज़र मुमकिन नहीं मुमकिन नहीं 
किस क़दर ख़ामोश है ये आलम-ए-बे-काख़-ओ-कू
(ab yahaan meri guzar mumkin nahi mumkin nahi
kis qadar khamosh hai ye aalam-e-be-kaakh-o-ku)

  • गुज़र/guzar: walk (through life)
  • आलम-ए-बे-काख़-ओ-कू/aalam-e-be-kaakh-o-ku : aalam (world), kaakh (palace), ku (street). So, the phrase means, “a world deprived of luxury and pleasure”

Interpretation: (Satan says:) “Returning to the divine realm isn’t possible for me now, as it appears uttely boring compared to the richness of the material realm, with all its sights and sounds, and luxury and sensuousness”

जिस की नौमीदी से हो सोज़-ए-दरून-ए-काएनात 
उस के हक़ में तक़्नतू अच्छा है या ला-तक़्नतू
(jis ki naumeedi se ho soz-e-daroon-e-kaaynat
us ke haq mein “taqnatu” accha hai ya “la taqnatu”)

  • नौमीदी/naumeedi: another form of “na-ummeedi”/ना-उम्मीदी (a condition without hope)
  • सोज़-ए-दरून-ए-काएनात /soz-e-daroon-e-kaaynat: soz (fire, intensity), daroon (interior, related to the word अंदर), kaaynat (universe) . As such, the entire phrase means, “the fire/passion burning inside the universe”
  • ला-तक़्नतू/la taqnatu: a Quranic phrase meaning “don’t lose hope!” (“la” means no, or in this context, “don’t”). “taqnatu” without “la” means, “lose hope!”

Interpretation: (Satan says:) “All the fire and passion in this universe is because of me, O Gabriel. Its my tricks that lead people to break the rules, and make the world an interesting place. The alternative would be a plain and boring existence, where everyone lives in accordance with rigid rules. Now tell me, wouldn’t it be better that I lose all hope of returning to God’s good graces (and continue inciting passion in human hearts), rather than (as you want), stop doing my work in the hope that God forgives me?”

खो दिए इंकार से तू ने मक़ामात-ए-बुलंद 
चश्म-ए-यज़्दाँ में फ़रिश्तों की रही क्या आबरू
(kho diye inkaar se tune maqaamaat-e-buland
chashm-e-yazdaaN mein farishton ki rahi kya aabru)

  • मक़ामात-ए-बुलंद/maqaamaat-e-buland: high places/positions (“maqaamaat” is the plural of “maqaam”)
  • चश्म-ए-यज़्दाँ /chashm-e-yazdaaN: “chashm” means eye. So, the phrase means, “sight of God”

Interpretation: (Gabriel says:) “By refusing to obey God (and prostrating in front of Adam), you gave up your elevated position. Your despicable act has disreputed all angels in God’s eyes” (Iqbal, like many others, regarded Satan to be a fallen angel)

है मिरी जुरअत से मुश्त-ए-ख़ाक में ज़ौक़-ए-नुमू 
मेरे फ़ित्ने जामा-ए-अक़्ल-ओ-ख़िरद का तार-ओ-पू
(hai meri jur’at se musht-e-khaak mein zauq-e-namu
mere fitne jaama-e-aql-o-khirad ka taar-o-pu)

  • जुरअत/jur’at: audacity (colloquially, the word is pronounced as “jurrat”)
  • मुश्त-ए-ख़ाक /musht-e-khaak: handful of dust (the phrase denotes humans, as they are said to be created from dust)
  • ज़ौक़-ए-नुमू/zauq-e-namu: “zauq” means taste or talent for something. “namu” means to grow. So, the term means, “impetus/ability for development”
  • फ़ित्ने/fitne: discords, unrests, but here, “devious tricks that corrupt people” (singular: fitnah)
  • जामा-ए-अक़्ल-ओ-ख़िरद/jaama-e-aql-o-khirad: “jaama” means garment, and “khirad”, intelligence. So, the phrase means “garb/cover of rationality and intelligence”
  • तार-ओ-पू/tar-o-pu: technical terms related to weaving patterns

Interpretation: (Satan speaks:) “I dared (jur’at ki) to question God’s command (to bow unto Adam), and promised Him that in return for my banishment, I’ll forever try to lead astray His beloved humans. I made Adam eat the forbidden fruit, so that they may be cast out from Heaven, thus paving the way for mankind to realise it’s true potential, and evolve in a way that would’ve been impossible in the static environment of Paradise.

What you pejoratively term as my “fitne” (devious tricks to mislead humans) are the very impetus that drive human cultural and philosophical evolution. The fabric of human rationality is woven from the strands of these “fitne“, and is inseparable from it”

देखता है तू फ़क़त साहिल से रज़्म-ए-ख़ैर-ओ-शर 
कौन तूफ़ाँ के तमांचे खा रहा है मैं कि तू ?
(dekhta hai tu faqat saahil se razm-e-khair-o-shar
kaun toofaaN ke tamaanche kha raha hai, main ki tu ?)

  • फ़क़त/faqat: only
  • साहिल/saahil: sea-shore
  • रज़्म-ए-ख़ैर-ओ-शर/razm-e-khair-o-shar: “razm” means battle, “khair” means good, and “shar” means bad. So, the phrase means, “battle of good and evil”

Interpretation: (Satan speaks:) “In driving man towards his destiny, I’m the one on whom God’s curse is invoked. You just sit on the sidelines, watching and decrying the battle of “good vs evil”, but it’s me who has to suffer in this grand cosmic battle”

ख़िज़्र भी बे-दस्त-ओ-पा इल्यास भी बे-दस्त-ओ-पा 
मेरे तूफ़ाँ यम-ब-यम दरिया-ब-दरिया जू-ब-जू
(Khizr bhi be-dast-o-pa, Ilyaas bhi be-dast-o-pa
mere toofaaN yam-ba-yam, dariya-ba-dariya, ju-ba-ju)

  • ख़िज़्र/Khizr: a legendary person known for his wisdom and immortality
  • इल्यास/Ilyaas: another wise person (and Prophet; Biblical Elijah), associated with semi-immortality.
  • बे-दस्त-ओ-पा/be-dast-o-pa: “dast” means hand, “pa” means leg. So, the phrase literally means “without hand or leg”. Metaphorically, it denotes helplessness
  • यम/yam: ocean
  • जू/ju: short stream

Interpretation: “(Satan says:) Even the wise Khizr and Ilyas are helpless in front of my guile and tricks. My attacks are multi-prong and irresistible like a torrent that advances ocean by ocean, river by river, stream by stream”

गर कभी ख़ल्वत मयस्सर हो तो पूछ अल्लाह से 
क़िस्सा-ए-आदम को रंगीं कर गया किस का लहू
(gar kabhi khalwat mayassar ho to pooch Allah se
qissa-e-Aadam ko rangeeN kar gaya kiska lahu)

  • गर/gar: short form of “agar” (if)
  • ख़ल्वत/khalwat: isolation/the state of being alone
  • मयस्सर/mayassar: obtaining something after difficulty

Interpretation: (Satan says:) “If you ever find yourself alone with God, ask him: who was the one that injected colour into the human story? Who sacrificed his eternity to transform God’s favorite creation from something bland and insipid, to a dynamic and unpredictable entity?”

मैं खटकता हूँ दिल-ए-यज़्दाँ में काँटे की तरह 
तू फ़क़त अल्लाह-हू अल्लाह-हू अल्लाह-हू
(main khatakta hoon dil-e-yazdaaN mein kaante ki tarah
tu faqat “Allahu Allahu Allahu”)

  • यज़्दाँ/yazdaaN: God
  • फ़क़त/faqat: only
  • अल्लाह-हू/”Allah-hu”: “hu” is the Arabic pronoun for “he”. The phrase is a common chant.

Interpretation: “(Satan says:) Its me who has the guts to challenge God and trouble His Divine Presence, whereas you spend your existence in lowly obesiance to Him, forever chanting Allahu Allahu”

(Article by: Daud Khan: https://www.facebook.com/whysocrious/)

Hits: 306