Shikwah and Jawab-e-Shikwah

ISRA Books are proud to publish their first book, “Shikwah” and “Jawab-e-Shikwah” by Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, in a hand-bound paperback volume on high-quality paper containing both the original Urdu transliterated into the Roman alphabet and a modern English version suitable for reading aloud.  The scholarly translation is by Professor Muhammad Sharif Baqa, adapted and made rhythmic by Maggie Blenkinsop.

We at ISRA Books felt there was a strong need for a more accessible version of these important poems, both for those who have a knowledge of spoken Urdu without the ability to read Urdu script and for those who understand modern English without having studied the literary language.  Maggie Blenkinsop has helped produce a translation that is sufficiently rhythmical to be read aloud, as practised by the poet himself when the works were first written.  We are grateful to Professor Baqa for allowing us to make use of his text in this way and hope that the result will be a still wider audience for the works of the great poet.

Professor Mohammad Sharif Baqa was born in Lahore, Pakistan on the 14th March 1934.  He showed a keen interest in writing both poetry and prose from an early age and gained his master’s in English from Punjab University in 1961.  Shortly after that he came to England where he founded the Iqbal Literary Society and later Majlis-e-Iqbal, London to promote the poetry and philosophy of Allama Iqbal.  Since then he has started up magazines, published more than 50 books, regularly broadcast on television and been recognised as the foremost living authority on the works of Iqbal.

“Shikwah and Jawab-e-Shikwah, I would say, are just as relevant today as when they were written. These will be contemporary as long as we don’t aspire to change.”

Dr. Javed Iqbal

Former judge of Pakistan Supreme Court and son of the poet.