A Study of Quranic Quotations in Iqbal’s Poetry: an Intertextual Approach

Document Type: Research Paper


University of Sistan and Baluchestan


The present article studies Quranic quotations in the poetry of Mohammad Iqbal Lahori based on the approach of intertextuality. Iqbal is one of the greatest poets and intellectuals of the Eastern Muslim world. Quran is a source of inspiration both in his life and poetic career. His poetry is interwoven with Quran through intertextual Quotations. These Quranic quotations are central to the production of meaning in Iqbal’s poems. The present research limits itself to Julia Kristeva’s concept of intertextuality. Kristeva (1980) states that meaning is not inherent in the text rather it is produced through the intertextual relations between texts. This research aims to apply Plett’s (1990) set of structural codes of quotations to Iqbal’s poetic text to expose the role of scriptural quotations in his poetry. The findings of this paper show that Quranic quotations mostly follow the rules of general quotations; except that as authoritative words they are open to some transformations at surface structure but not at deep structure. The semantic fixity of Quranic quotations does not prevent their application as means of power for purposes not endorsed by Quranic instructions. Finally, the authoritative nature of Quranic quotations allows Iqbal not to employ quotation markers in his text wherever he makes use of them. 


Abrams, M. H., & Galt Harpham, G. (2005). A Glossary of Literary Terms. 8th ed. Londo n: Wardsworth.

 Allen, G. (2006). Intertextuality. London/ New York: Routledge.

Anand, M. R. (1931). The poetry of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Indian Art and Letters. 5(10), 9-39. Bakhtin, M. M. (2004). Discourse in the novel. Literary theory: An anthology. (Julia Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Eds.) 2nd ed. Cornwall: Blaxkwell.

 Bakhtin, M. M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics. London: University of Minnesota Press.

Barthes, R. (1968). The Death of The Author. Image- Music- Texts. (Richard Howard. Trans.). New York: Hill and Wang.

Finnegan, R. (2011). Why do we quote? The culture and history of quotations. Cambridge: Open Book. Firestone, R. (2003). The Quran and the Bible: Some modern studies of their relationship. Bible and Quran: Essays in scriptural intertextuality. (John C. Reeves. Ed.). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.

Kristeva, J. (1980). The bounded text. Desire in language: A semiotic approach to literature and art. (Leo S. Roudiez. Ed) Oxford: Blackwell. 124-147. A StudyofQuranicQuotationsinIqbal’s… 201 Loeb, M. (2002). Literary marriages: A study of intertextuality in a series of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates. Berlin: Peter Lang.

 Morgan, T. (1989). The Space of intertextuality. Intertectuality and contemporary American fiction. (O’Donnell and Davis.ed). Baltimore: John Hopkins.

 Plett, H. F. (1991). Intertextualities. Intertextuality. (Plett. Ed). Berlin: de Gruyter.

 Riffaterre, M. (1980). The semiotics of poetry. London: Methuen.

 Sternberg, M. (1982). Proteus in quotation-Land: Mimesis and forms of reported discourse. Poetics Today. 3(2), 107-156.


 Eqbal lahuri, M. (1390). Koliyat Iqbal Lahuri. 5th ed. Tehran: Elham.

Mehravaran, M. (2010). Quran in Iqbal’s poetry. Collection of Articles on Iqbal. V2. Zahedan: USB UP: 1703-1724

 Mirzaee, F., Rahmati Torkashvand, M. (2010). Quranic Intertextuality and Iqbal’s Poetry. Collection of Articles on Iqbal. V2. Zahedan: USB UP: 1750-1774

Radfar, A. (2010). The influence of Persian poets to the time of Hafez on Iqbal Lahori. Nashriye Adabiat Tatbighi. 2 (3), 117-134.