[Draft: The translation needs further modification. Please remember, I have simply tried to convey the plain meaning of his speech, decorated with words that I could not translate. Therefore, some unintended inaccuracy is quite possible. There have been some repetitive expressions in such superlatives that, being unable to translate, I had skipped some of those. Reading the original would be an worthy venture, if you have access.]
Submission in the Path of Allah
[This speech was delivered by Kazi Nazrul Islam on December 23, 1940 at the Calcutta Muslim Students’ conference held at Calcutta Muslim Institute Hall. Not too long thereafter, illness silenced the Rebel. Toward the later part of his active literary life, Nazrul turned toward mysticism. His writings and messages during this period reflects that as in the case of this one. Nazrul, however, did not see this a reversal of his earlier orientation, but merely an evolution into this new stage. Seeking freedom and emancipation were in the heart and soul of Nazrul like this bird soaring high.]
My dear sibling-like youth and students. For quite some time you have been interacting with this humble Faqir (mendicant); those who are not coming are apparently awaiting their share of the Shirni (share of the blessing). However, when you seek from someone, a Faqir whose sack is still empty and who himself has been keeping his hands raised up aspiring the mercy of Allah, the Most Gracious, then my eyes become tearful. Just when the auspicious moment to receive the true blessing of the Ultimate (porom) Merciful, if I turn back from the doorstep of the secret treasure from which His unending power and abounding mercy are emanating, then it won’t be only me who would be among the deprived , but you too, for whom are all my endeavor and this Hajj-like journey. When I am hearing the Takbir from the field of Arafat – when the shadow of the sacred house of Ka’ba is appearing on the background of the azure sky – if at this time my dear ones are the ones to make to turn back, then my life here and hereafter – both – will be ruined. In such case, my pilgrimage through the desert of hardship and adversity would be useless. On “Saluk” (journey) and “Tariqat” (path) would be my death.
Friends! Allah knows, my quest for ambrosia (amrito) – my struggle for freedom and emancipation – is not merely for myself. If I find ambrosia - achieve freedom and be liberated - then every one of you has share in that sweet-emancipation (amrito-mukti). My pursuit is not merely to know what is the most secret, but after knowing it, also to make it manifest before all of us. That is why when I receive baskets full of fame, glory, and congratulation from my friends and brothers, my hands tend to freeze at the thought of receiving those. I know, I have no right to accept such homage.
Why have I been avoiding your invitations and homages for so many years in a country, where people are hired to make propaganda for enhancing others’ fame and recognition? The only reason is that once during an auspicious morning it dawned on me that those who lay their hands on the garlands of outer world would be deprived of the ultimate blessing of our inner, higher realities. Someone who filled up his container with petty praises won’t be a worthy container to receive the blessing of the auspicious moment.
Who will liberate the nation, who will bring freedom? Where is that free, liberated soul? Those who are constantly defeated by their own whim, desire, greed, vanity and jealousy, are these chained souls going to bring the shining garland of victory? He, whose outer and inner side have been overwhelmed by the appetite of self-gratification, that person has now put on the display of the garment of sacrifice - "gerua" and "khelqa" - to lead the people of the nation toward death and ruin – toward Jahannam. "Demon" and "Dark forces" have enormous power, but that power does not lead to well-being (kollayn). Their path is not the Straight Path (Siratul Mustaqim); their path is of the "wrath" (gadhab) and curse. There is no trace of Allah’s mercy in this path; those treading this path have no fear of Allah in their hearts. Those who fear Allah even the least and those who have even the least reverence for Allah and His messenger – those who understand even a single letter in the Qur’an – cannot lead fellows of his own nation to such ruin. Those who have insight will realize that the face they hide behind their "khelqa" and "robe" is more monstrous than the Kabuli who might let you go with payment of interest, but these people want it all. If anyone has even an iota of mercy of God in his heart can't harbor such image of ugly greed. Such person, in pursuit of fame, recognition and wealth does not suck people's blood off in this fashion like a leech. Only he who did not have a share of the divine beneficence (al-fadhlil azim) can carry on such robbery and plundering.
There are many independent countries in which such outrage and violence of the power-hungry ones have happened - in India too, the discriminatory injustice of these power-hungry ones continues. Those whose vision does not go beyond the wall, at the signal of these blind ones are marching so many people. These leaders have no strength, but have enormous crookedness; they don't have youth, but they have a cunning way of bringing out victory processions riding on the shoulders of the youth. I have seen such processions, like funeral processions. I have no disrespect for the decrepits. Those who are familiar with my personal life know that I am second to none in respecting them. Allah knows, I have no hesitation to recognize them as elders (bujurg) and touch their feet. However, when they wish to be generals to lead the army, then I can't help but laugh. This is where I have not been able to offer them my homage (salam or nomoshkar). The primary attribute of the decrepit is: to tiptoe every step with extreme calculation and measurement. The over-cautious (let me not use the word "scared") ones are busier in keeping the path of retreat clear than making their way forward. "Let's go forward, march forward" is on their lips as they move forward; but as soon as the least of the skirmish begins, immediately we hear the wailing scream "retreat, retreat"! The general easily notices the demise of a few hapless people under the big feet of an elephant despite the soft-cushion decorating its feet. Let's ignore India, in this Bangladesh, Black-Fever and malaria, like "cold blooded murder", claim more than a million people every year, but the general's radar misses it altogether.
Like the blind deer, the death arrow came through the same path of fear. If someone is not afraid of death, but seeing the death of others engenders his death pang, his aspiration of leading others to the ocean of ambrosia is a farce. If someone did not notice or realize the Eternal (porom nittomo), the ever-Perfect (nitto purnomo) in the cycle of creation/stability/destruction - someone who denied the destructive wrath of Him or did not see the absence of fear beyond the fears, whatever he achieved, he did not find the Perfect. Yet, seeing the burning of wood, he who saw the destruction of the wood, but not the creation of fire, his sight is obviously deficient. Some with eyes are with vision, the rest are simply blind. They have big torch in their hands; however, torch in the hand of the blind burns more house than being a source of light.
The carriage of these senile generals are the youth of this country. These generals are plucking and relishing the fruits of fame and wealth riding on the shoulder of these young souls. If the youth wants their share, they are told that once seed of the eaten fruit is sowed and the plant grows thereof, then they would have their share of the fruit. Awaiting the fruit from the unsowed seed, the shouting of the songs of senility on the voice of these youth has rendered their voice like scraping of bamboos. Holding the job applications in hands, like the beggars hold leaves to received food, young people are waiting in line like the ravens in shrines. Their lips are chafed begging votes for their leaders; carrying loads, their coats are torn; roaming through streets, their trousers have been reduced to shorts. Yet pilaf did not descend on their leaf of application. Those few who were blessed - looking at their faces - one feels pity for both the applicants and those who distribute the applications. These youth know that those who promise a lot from their deep pocket of power, actually their pocket is not that deep in terms of their ability to provide jobs or to bring anything good for these people. Their inability seriously outstrips their desire, if any. Yet, the educated youth is carrying these people along with their luggage with that remote hope that it might be one of them who will be among the lucky ones. Those who satisfy their own hunger in order to satisfy others', they definitely haven't gained any lesson from the Prophet of Islam or his companions. If they weep for the homeless people from their seven-story buildings, such tears have no effect on their hearts.
He who has fallen into a deep, dark well, he can't get out of the well, just because some people are screaming from the seventh floor "get up, o wretched!" or "get up, o feeble". Attempts of such person to get out of the well by listening to those people's command from the ivory tower may only cause more bones to be broken or chest to be ruptured. He who really wants to rescue such entrapped people has to get out of his mask of suits and boots of high fashion and culture, get down to the well, and get behind such person to push him up.
The general-leader-imam of Bangla, India, greater India, or the world of future will be such utterly selfless persons who have difficulty swallowing their meal thinking about the crores of people without food or shelter; they will beg, if necessary, with the beggars; they would prefer to seek shelter under the tree where those homeless people live screened by a few fragmented bricks and stones; their cover will be no more than the torn quilt. Those who have not received in their heart the share of Allah's mercy-delight, or have not found the address of the palace of peace of the ever-Peaceful, they cannot survive outside their secured shell even one day to help remove the poverty-hunger-oppression these hapless people experience. Those who are Bhikhkhu (mendicant) even with all the treasure in their hearts, those who can be shining examples of freedom from greed, arrogance, and immodesty even while surrounded by wealth and possessions, I am awaiting such enlightened (abhedgani) people as reflections of equity and beauty. My dear young ones, sometimes I see the beam of such beauty-delight radiating through your faces. The flash of the thunderous power of His dynamic and everlasting arms I see in your strength. The hint of the fearless-beauty of his right hand I see in your arms. Call Him, call on Him within you - not in your decrepit body, not in your body defiled with greed, pride or jealousy; rather, seek within you that fearless, the one consummate in the struggle against all inequality or schism.
I am offering that message of hope in the name of Noble Allah - He will shine through you - not in your senile body. He, who is your desire and your prayer, made me - a real illiterate one - write poetry and sing songs. He showered His power in the hand of this nonentity with the flute of hope, the trumpet of call, .... Seek more - more- and you will see that He, the ever-desired, power-beauty will descend within you.
Allah has reconstructed anew the life of this servant of His. I am still afraid of the greed for fame - "whoever goes to Lanka becomes Ravana".
When Allah will embrace the inner and outer side - the whole self - of this servant of His, when there won't be anything of me, when I receive the call from the court of my ultimate Love, ultimate Master, at that time I will begin my work at His signal. Not before that. May Allah protect me from all temptations. In light of the confluence of pure knowledge and pure love, my work then will be His work. . . . I have no hesitation to say today that I have received the mercy of Allah - my ultimate beloved "al-Gafur al-Wadud" (the ultimate forgiving and loving) has freed me. However, He has not given me the strength of freeing others.
But I have no rush for that. Calmly and patiently I am waiting for that auspicious moment. When His power would descend in some of us - just like the snow-melted, body of water that gushes forth, it does not matter in whom that power shines, you will find this servant gratified by responding to the call of that General. To receive that power from Allah, one has to keep his head high above the world. One has to be firm, composed meditator. The moving clouds in the sky can't be embraced by the plain; those are to be embraced by the peaks of the mountains. Around those peaks clouds gather like snow. Those snow melt and then flow as water to enliven the unfertile valleys from which the residents receive blessings. They settle on both sides of those flows, their dry lands become fertile with flowers and fruits. Those who want to lead the nation's people, they have to reach out to touch the Jalal-power of Allah. The country can't become green with the water of closed ponds. Each of the youth among you is leader of the future - that's why I tell you about above, even though I am no more than an ignorant.
You must know - I have no other desire than Allah Himself. Allah has protected me from the greed and evils of seeking leadership. These days it is difficult to live before the arrogance of the Muslimhood of our Mullah-Moulovis. But if I ask them today - Islam means submission - who has accomplished true submission? He who has truly submitted to Allah can turn this earth into Paradise! So quickly we dub the followers of other faith and the knowledgeables of our own religion as Kafir. The meaning of this "Kafir" is screen or something that covers. Linguists can say whether Kafir and cover (in English) are from the same origin or not. As long as there is screen between me and Allah, I am Kafir, that is, my true realization, power and truth are screened till then. If you find one such Muslim in Bengal or anywhere in the world, I am ready to be his disciple. So long I have that cover - the discriminating attitude, superstition, prejudice - I have some "kufr". Until I am free from all bonds, from all superstitions, all divisive discriminations, I won't find that ever-free Allah in my power. Mighty (shoktiman) individuals are the Imam/leader of the Qaum, nation, country, world. Those who did not get this realization, how can these senseless greedy ones can attain the mercy of that Ultimate Reality? This is a nation whose Qur'an's first teaching is "Alhamdulillahi rabbil alamin" - All praises are due to Allah, not mine. The nation that recites this hundreds of times a day and yet mired into the pond of worldliness like mud-loving buffalos, whatever they accomplished, they did not receive the pleasure of Allah and His messenger. One Muslim who has received Allah's mercy is enough. He does not count 60% ones.
He does not lead the ever-free Muslims to the den of servitude. Those who could have been the valiant martyrs of future "Badr"s, he does not lead those good, powerful sons of the nation to the slaughter house. Those short-sighted ones who turn their sword into peelers of squash (jhinge) or the tools of digging soils - they don't have farsightedness or vision. Like a snake coiled before striking, greed of expropriating others' wealth is alive in their hearts. Even gem shines on their heads, actually those are poisonous snakes?. We have to avoid them. Those youth whose arms used to be decorated with the Tabij of Ism Azam, their arms now carry the sack of beggars. Those voices whose Takbir calls could shake the Heavens of Allah, their voices are now stained by victory-chants of their petty leaders.
O the youth! Are you headed toward the slaughter house of servitude by treading on this path? Just look that the misfortune of the job-loving Bengali Hindus! If they did not become "servants", they would have been able to accomplish the impossibles. Those who died eating a little and suffering humiliation, they would have died sooner or later. If they would have achieved freedom even through death, their parents and children would have been more well-off, more honored and famed. India would have been able to provide for their sustenance better. A few death-defying souls - yes, a few Bengali youth who wrestled with death to bring some autonomy - we are chewing their cuds. Can the Muslim youth of today can stand erect in honor by the side of these martyrs? Can they go forward on the death-ridden path of Jihad, the path of the martyrs? I have sung the songs of homage for such martyrs! I still cry in hiding for these souls. Even with the mercy of Allah, whenever I remember these martyrs, I cry like a baby! The calmness and tranquility I have begun to enjoy, those become shaken!
I know, there are many youngs among you whose soul are awake, alive! Those who are ready to give up the honor, greed, fame to sacrifice themselves in the path of Allah - I ask them - would they trade this ephemeral life instead? Won't they embrace the great precept: "Inni salati wa nusuki wa mahyaya wa mamti lillahi rabbil alamin" - My prayers, my fasting, my life and death all are dedicated to the Rabb of all the worlds?
Those who are preoccupied with the happiness of your families, can you guarantee that your preoccupation may not prematurely come to an abrupt end even before your reach your house after this gathering? Can your preoccupation alone can deliver your parents, children, siblings from poverty and hardship? Don't you know that you didn't have any control over you birth - you also don't have any control over the death of your relatives? At any moment, death can wipe out the desires and ambitions your parents harbor in you. Don't you know that the true responsibility of you or your parents is not in your hands. Hand over this responsibility of your dear ones to the power of Allah in whose hand lies all these responsibility and submit yourself wholeheartedly to Allah. I speak in the holy name of Allah - it is through this complete submission you will be able to free your dear ones from poverty and want. Believe you - Allah is al-Ghani, without any need - He is ever-fulfilled. Anyone who calls Him, Allah fulfills all his wants and leads him - holding his hand - to genuine well-being. Believe you - if you submit to Him, you will receive ultimate mercy from the King of all kings.
The power, of which we are sort of pawns, the source from which infinite stream of power is flowing, seek the ultimate treasure from that source. There isn't an iota of that treasure in the slaughter house of servitude.
Don't seek strength from your leaders - Allah will be displeased - seek strength from Allah alone. Hail and sing praises of Allah alone.
Friends, I know, many of you are waiting for me to pick up that flag of forerunner. Allah knows, I have not cheated myself. I have received His indication to play His trumpet, but did not receive the call for picking up the flag. However, He whose power can make a crippled person cross mountains, whose power can open the gates of seven heavens before the congenital blind, if I do receive His blessing, if I do receive His call - I will step forward without your asking.
[Source: Nazrul Rochonaboli, Vol. 4, 1996, pp. 117-122]