Introduction

A child’s heartfelt prayer to God to grant him the will and strength to serve the nation and help the needy. 

About the Poet

Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), the famous Muslim philosopher and poet, was born in Sialkot, pre-partition India. Iqbal was considered the foremost Muslim thinker of his day. His poetry and philosophy, written in Urdu and Persian has been widely read and admired. His seminal works include Bang-e-Dara, Bal-e-Jibreel and Javed Nama.

Theme

The poem is about the pious and virtuous wishes of the child. He wants to serve the nation and help the needy. Often people pray to God for the fulfilment of their desires and aspirations, however contrasting all prayers, the child in the poem prays for strength, not for personal gains but so that he can serve his people, his nation. His devotion is admirable and inspiring. With a pure heart and noble ideals, he asks God to grant him the will to make his country a better place for all.

Lines I- VI

My tender hopes arise to the lips I pray:
Kindly candle light may my life be!
May through me world’s darkness vanish away
And every corner fill with light of day!
May I adorn my land, to me so dear
Even as the blossoms make the garden fair!

The child wishes to be candlelight in this dark world. He prays for his life to be meaningful and have a purpose that serves others and brings some joy and hope in this mercenary world. He hopes to decorate his land as the flowers decorate a garden and beautify it. In essence, he aspires to adorn his land turning it into a beautiful place worth living in.

Lines VII-XII

As the moth goes round the shining light in zest
So let me love the candle of knowledge best!
To love and serve the poor my mission be;
For the weak and those in pain my sympathy!
Save me, my God, from all snares of evil:
To walk the virtuous ways, grant me the will!

He prays to God to divert his heart and soul towards knowledge and progress just as a moth is attracted to light. He wants to make it his objective in life to help and serve the needy. The child has the heart of gold and he understands the pain of the weak and sympathises with them. He prays to God to protect him from all evil and asks God to guide him towards virtuousness and grant him the strength for the same.