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Sharaab (wine) has been an integral theme in Urdu poetry through generations of poets, especially given its taboo nature, with respect to Khuda (God). This idea has been wonderfully encapsulated in a post that has been doing the rounds of the internet lately (we don’t know the original source). We archive this here on our blog, for our readers, as it demonstrates the beauty of Urdu poets and poetry in a delightful way. Read on and let us know your thoughts…

These three poets are legendary in Urdu literature as also their following couplets.  The poets Mirza Ghalib (1797 -1869), Allama Iqbal (1877-1938) and Ahmed Faraz (1931-2008) present their views on the universality of God in the couplets. It was not a feud. At best you can call it a poetic difference of opinion by intellectual and witty minds, spread across centuries.



Ghalib started it. In the 19th century, it was a bold statement. But then Ghalib was never known for meekness or following the crowd.

“Zahid, sharaab peene de masjid mein baith kar,
Ya woh jagah bataa, jahaan Khuda nahin.”

[Let me drink in a mosque; or tell me the place where there is no God.’]


Allama Iqbal was not convinced and decided to reply about half a century later. So in the late 19th-early 20th century, his poetic reply to Ghalib was:

Allama-Iqbal“Masjid Khuda ka ghar hai,  peene ki jagah nahin,
Kaafir ke dil mein jaa, wahaan khuda nahin”

(Mosque is the abode of God, not a place to drink. Go to the heart of a non-believer because there God is not)



Ahmed Faraz had the last word, in the later half of 19th century:

Ahmed Faraz

Ahmed Faraz

“Kaafir ke dil se aaya hun,  main ye dekh kar Faraz,
Khuda maujood hai wahaan, par usey pata nahin”

[I have returned from the heart of the disbeliever and I have observed : God is present in his heart too, but he just doesn’t know it. He is ignorant/sleeping]