Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton - ReadScholars

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton:

The way that Satan appears as a fascinating character within literature has captured the attention of poets and authors. Let’s explore the Satanic concept of two prominent figures Allama Iqbal and John Milton, with their respective works which will help shed light on the complexities of this intriguing figure. Through intricate symbolism, vivid descriptions, and thought-provoking dialogues, both Iqbal and Milton delved into the depths of Satan's character, providing unique perspectives on his motivations, struggles, and ultimate fate. This article aims to explore the fascinating parallels and divergences in the depiction of Satan in the literary works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton.

Allama Iqbal's Concept of Satan:

Allama Iqbal's Concept of Satan: In his important work, "The Synthesis of Religious Philosophy in Islam," Allama Iqbal—often regarded as Pakistan's spiritual founder—presents a multifaceted portrait of Satan. Iqbal's Satan appears as a sophisticated being that embodies the fundamental components of human cognition and life. He perceives Satan not as an external adversary, but rather an inner inclination within human beings, symbolizing the inherent potential for evil and the constant struggle between good and evil. In Iqbal's works, Satan is portrayed as an image of disobedience to cultural standards, epitomizing the human battle for individual opportunity and self-acknowledgment. Satan, in Iqbal's view, represents the quest for transcendence and the rejection of conventional limitations.

As Iqbal eloquently states in his Persian poem Payam-i-Mashriq (Message from the East): "Like Satan, I am an outcast from Paradise, For I seek to build a new heaven and earth."

In this verse, Iqbal equates himself with Satan, suggesting his desire to challenge established paradigms and construct a new world order based on his visionary ideals.

In his fundamental work, Iqbal makes sense of, "Satan is basically a force of negation and its capability is to make a resistance among opportunity and accommodation, reason and confidence, the human and the heavenly." Here, Iqbal features the oppositional idea of Satan, underlining its part in rocking the boat and empowering people to practice their unrestrained choice. This interpretation aligns with Iqbal's broader philosophical framework, emphasizing the significance of self-realization and the dynamic interplay between human agency and divine guidance.

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton

Satan's Rebellion and Fall:

In Iqbal's magnum opus, "Bang-e-Dra" (The Call of the Marching Bell), he personifies Satan as a symbol of rebellion against established norms and systems. Iqbal portrays Satan as a dissenting force, questioning divine authority and advocating for human freedom of choice. He writes, "The spirit that aspires to scale the heights of the divine / With the fire of rebellion in its eyes and vigor sublime." Here, Iqbal emphasizes Satan's relentless pursuit of independence and self-realization, albeit through defiance.

Milton's Satan, endowed with eloquence and persuasive rhetoric, declares, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." This line highlights Satan's desire for autonomy and his refusal to submit to divine rule. Both Iqbal and Milton present Satan as a symbol of defiance against established power structures, urging readers to question the status quo and strive for individual liberation.

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton

Satan's Tragic Journey:

Both Iqbal and Milton intricately trace Satan's tragic journey from his initial rebellion to his descent into darkness. Iqbal's Satan undergoes a transformation throughout his spiritual voyage. Initially fueled by defiance, Satan gradually becomes aware of the consequences of his actions. Iqbal writes, "At last, I realized the extent of my own error / And the price I paid for my rebellion's illusory glamour." Here, Iqbal highlights the introspective nature of Satan's character, his recognition of his own fallibility, and the eventual realization of the futility of his rebellion.

In "Javid Nama," Iqbal contemplates the duality of Satan's character, combining elements of rebellion and aspiration. Iqbal portrays Satan as a symbol of self-assertion and individuality, challenging conventional norms and advocating for the liberation of the human spirit. In this epic poem, Iqbal eloquently describes Satan's ambition to transcend the boundaries of the mundane and aspire towards divine knowledge. He states, "The soul that has no aim to strive / Sleeps like a corpse while yet alive" (Javid Nama).

Furthermore, Iqbal's Satan embodies the concept of Iblees, a fallen angel who resists God's authority out of a desire for autonomy. Iqbal's portrayal emphasizes the internal conflict within Satan, depicting him as a tragic figure torn between his rebellious inclinations and an underlying sense of remorse. Through Satan's character, Iqbal questions the nature of evil and the complexities of human desire, as he laments, "In thought and deed the best appears / A swan, in the heart a crocodile" (Javid Nama).

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton

John Milton's Perspective:

In "Paradise Lost," Milton portrays Satan's journey with vivid descriptions and elaborate imagery. Satan's transgress are portrayed as a turbulent drop from Paradise to Heck, joined by vast disturbances. Milton writes, "He, above the rest / In shape and gesture proudly eminent / Stood like a tower." This imagery conveys Satan's former magnificence and the subsequent devastation he experiences. Both Iqbal and Milton evoke a sense of tragedy in Satan's character, emphasizing the consequences of his rebellion and the erosion of his noble attributes.

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton

Satan's Role as a Tempter:

In Iqbal's poetry, Satan is depicted as a cunning tempter, luring humanity towards materialistic pursuits and distractions. Iqbal writes, "He whispers in your ear the allure of wealth and pleasure / That blinds your soul to the higher call of divine treasure." Here, Iqbal portrays Satan as an agent of distraction, diverting individuals from their spiritual path by enticing them with earthly desires.

Milton's depiction of Satan as an expert seducer is exemplified in his connections with Eve in "Heaven Lost." Satan slyly tricks Eve by expecting the type of a snake, enticing her to eat the illegal organic product. Milton's Satan manipulates Eve's innocence and curiosity, ultimately leading to humanity's expulsion from Paradise. Both Iqbal and Milton present Satan as a figure who preys upon human weaknesses, exploiting their vulnerabilities to lead them astray.

Concept of Satan in the Works of Allama Iqbal and John Milton


The concept of Satan, as explored by Allama Iqbal and John Milton, offers profound insights into human nature, rebellion, and the consequences of individual choices. Iqbal's portrayal focuses on Satan as a symbol of rebellion against authority and the pursuit of self-realization. In contrast, Milton's depiction highlights Satan's journey from rebellion to his role as a master tempter, emphasizing the tragic consequences of his actions. Through their powerful and thought-provoking works, Iqbal and Milton enrich the literary landscape by providing nuanced perspectives on one of the most compelling and complex characters in literature Satan.

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