Iqbal wrote the two poems, “Shikwa” and “Jawab-i Shikwa” (Complaint to God and its Response), in early twentieth century. It was the prime time of his poetic revelation, which is called his third period that began in 1908 and ended at his death in 1938. During that time Muslims in India had almost lost their entity as a nation. They had become the most oppressed community in British ruled India.
Iqbal’s poem “Shikwa” was one of his most thrilling poems, which he recited personally in the month of April 1911 at the annual session of Anjuman Himayat-i Islam held in the compound of Islamia College, Lahore. It was largely applauded and subsequently published in the magazines and journals of the country. This poem consists of 31 stanzas having six verses each. In the poem Iqbal has highlighted Islam’s living traditions in such a way that it strikes the very heart of a person. The carefully selected and well-knit words of the poem were immensely effective. They filled the hearts of a deprived nation with new life, courage and enthusiasm. The poem “Shikwa” is a unique example of a complaint to God.