AI 54: For the Love of God and His Prophet

Give and Take

Filed under: Uncategorized May 7, 2014 @ 2:53 am


“God give ear to the complaint of us, thy servants tried and true”- Iqbal’s Complaint and Answer


My last blog post is a modern re-creation of Iqbal’s “Complaint and Answer” Poem through a song mix.

These poems stood out to me because of their controversial theme. Through these poems, Iqbal wrote about the decay of former Islam. At the time it was written, Muslims in India were experiencing the decay of the Mughal Empire, and in this poem, Iqbal chooses to address Allah from the point of view of Muslims who are questioning their hardships, and through the answer Iqbal chooses to address the Muslims from the point of view of Allah. This answer is not a direct one. Allah compares modern Muslims to former Muslims, and instead of providing an explanation, Allah encourages modern Muslims to uphold the standards of greatness of their ancestors.

The songs were selected on their themes, and to convey a modern version of Iqbal’s poem. My interpretation is that if the complaint were written today, similar songs would bring inspiration to the religious practitioners.

The first: “I have a Dream” ft. Will.I.Am is applicable for the complaint portion of the letter. I heard this song in the Freedom Writers movie, and it stood out to me as a very emotional song. Its theme is rooted in that of black discrimination, and while the “Complaint and Answer” is related to Muslims, I believe there is common ground in the message the song conveys, about people who are going through hardship and have a dream that it will soon go away. In “Complaint and Answer”, Muslims address Allah in this fashion, in the hope that they will not “forever suffer loss, oblivious to gain”. In this song, Will.I.Am. speaks of hardship, of “struggle” that black people are going through, and he says “I have a dream, that one day, We gonna work it out”. That is analogous to the Muslims addressing God in hopes that their hardship will end, that Allah will do something to make their sorrows go away.

The second song, “I am the Man” by Aloe Blacc has always stood out to me as one that has a God-like tone. This resonates with the Answer portion of the letter from Allah’s perspective. This song encourages people to change their current situation if they are unhappy, like Allah tells the Muslims to do more to change their sorrows: “Who redeemed the human species from the chains of slavery?… Who were they? They were your fathers; as for now, what are you?”. Aloe Blacc’s lyrics say “stand up now and face the sun, it’s time to do what must be done, be a king when kingdom comes”. In other words, this song is saying stand up, motivate yourself; just as Allah would say to the Muslims to engage in the change they want to see.



1. “A Dream” by Will.I.Am


[Chorus: and Martin Luther King]

(I am happy…I Have a Dream) I got a Dream

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out out out

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out out out

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out

(I Have a Dream) I got a Dream

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out out out

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out out out

(That One Day ) We gonna work it out

(I Have a Dream) I got a Dream

(That One Day) That one day

(That One Day) I’ma look deep within myself

(I Have a Dream) I gotta find a way…

My Dream Is To Be Free

My Dream Is To Be

My Dream Is To Be

My Dream Is To Be Free



2. “The Man” by Aloe Blacc


“(this is my world)

Somewhere I heard that life is a test

I been through the worst but I still give my best

God made my mold different from the rest

Then he broke that mold so I know I’m blessed (this is my world)



Stand up now and face the sun

Won’t hide my tail or turn and run

It’s time to do what must be done

Be a king when kingdom comes


Well you can tell everybody

Yeah you can tell everybody

Go ahead and tell everybody

I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man”


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