SHAHEEN AS CHARACTER : Why did Allama Iqbal Choose Shaheen to Address the Youth...

SHAHEEN AS CHARACTER :  Why did Allama Iqbal Choose Shaheen  to Address the Youth...

SHAHEEN AS CHARACTER :  Why did Allama Iqbal Choose Shaheen  to Address the Youth...


By - Zeeshan Ahmad Sheikh ...



Allama Muhammad Iqbal is one of the most outstanding 

poet-philosophers of the sub-continent belonging to the 

modern period. His intellectual genius has reigned supreme 

in the arena of Islamic philosophy during the twentieth 

century and is likely to direct and influence the Islamic 

Intellectual tradition in the twenty first century as well. His 

sublime poetry and philosophy inspired millions of Muslims 

to wake up to the reality of the times and forge a destiny for 


Iqbal dedicates much of his poetry in awakening and 

enlightening the Muslim youth. While his deeply inspiring 

poetry is filled with profoundly meaningful and Symbolic 

Terms like Mardi-e- Momin (man of unwavering faith) , 

Mujahid (Fighter For Right Causes), Saacha Musalman ( true 

Muslim), Man of khudi( Self discovery), optimistic Being etc 

but among all these attributes Iqbal places special emphasis 

on Shaheen (the correct meaning of Shaheen in English is 

Hawk, and in Urdu we write it شااا (when addressing the 

youth wanting for them to inculcate in themselves the 

attributes of a Shaheen (which according to Iqbal is the 

Mascot of khudi and Iqbal chose it in an exceptionally elegant 

way to promulgate his message to young generations.

But let us examine the wisdom and reasons behind using this

unique analogy of Shaheen by Iqbal while representing the

Youth, what are the attributes unique to Shaheen which

separates it from other birds and why these qualities attracted

the imagination of Iqbal.

1) Shaheen is far-sighted.

Shaheen is born with far sight, hence the verbatim eagle-

eyed is known. He has the vision to see beyond superficial

and read between events as they happen. As Iqbal says in


Kho Naa Jaa Iss Seher-o-Sham Main Ae Sahib-e-Hosh

Aik Jahan Aur Bhi Hai, Jis Main Na Farda Hai Naa Dosh

Oh! Self Aware Man! Don’t get lost in this series of morning

and evening

There is another world, where there is no future, nor past.

The bird can see things miles away and through the dust,

even when the weather is not clear. It has a fixed goal and a

dynamic vision. During the rain, when the other birds are in

their nests, it is out there, high in sky. When the other birds

are just planning to fly, the Shaheen has already covered

thousands of miles. Allama Iqbal wants us Muslims to have

long-term goals and have our eyes on the prize, which is

Jannah (hereafter) We should not give up on small things andwe should grow so strong that failure cannot scare us or make

us give up. The Shaheen is a bird that has many challenges 

during flying but it overcomes them easily. One main quality 

that I found so interesting was that whatever this amazing 

bird does, is not done randomly but with proper planning. 

The Shaheen remains focused. Hence, to rise and fly, we the 

youth, should stay determined and not be distracted easily.

2) Shaheen is fearless.

Shaheen in addition to being far-sighted, is also fearless.It is 

not afraid of taking risks or facing challenges. Iqbal wanted 

us to think, plan high, and also put in the required hardwork. 

Another point which I thought was inspiring was that Shaheen 

does not gather provisions like other birds, rather he is 

independent. It has a different standard than the rest and 

adopts its own course instead of following someone else’s 

path. Similarly, we must know where we are going and not let 

the wind blow us away in a random direction. The Shaheen is 

confident and Iqbal draws a comparison between the two of 

us. He advises us not to blindly follow the dunya but be self-

confident on our identity. Instead of taking advantage of other 

someone else’s work, we should learn to master our own 

because the Muslim is born to be “a leader not a follower.”

پرواز ے دونوں کي اسي ا ک فض م ں

کرگس ک جہ ں اور ے، ش ں ک جہ ں اور

The vulture and the eagle soar

In the same air, but in worlds apart.

3) Shaheen is always moving forward.

Shaheen never stayed or made its home in a permanent

place. Instead it is always flying and moving ahead towards

its real goal. Likewise, our ultimate goal is Jannah and we

should not waste our lives by being absorbed in the present

or forgetting the future. We, as believers, should be

working hard for the journey of akhirah. The Shaheen does

not cut himself completely from the world but uses the

necessary things to live and prioritize its goals. In the same

way, we should prioritize our goals in life and the ultimate

goal should be to achieve Jannah. Through this, Allama Iqbal

advises us to not focus on our negative thoughts but to look

towards the positive aspects of life. We must not dwell in

the past, rather we should stay in the present and focus on

the future.

Looking at all the qualities of the Shaheen and the reason that

Allama Iqbal chose this bird, it is important for a believer to

spend some time in solitude, go through the journey of self-

discovery and identify their potential. We should not be afraid

of hard work. We need to aim high and work towards greatness

to fulfill the dream of Iqbal.

نہ ں ت را نش م قصر سلط نی کے گنبد پر

تو ش ں ے ، بس را کر پہ ڑوں کی چٹ نوں م ں

Thy abode is not on the dome of a royal palace;

You are an eagle and should live on the rocks of mountains.




Zeeshan Ahmad Sheikh ist a student in Central University of Kashmir, for Feedback he can be reached at:


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