Rana Rais Khan – Editor-in-Chief Hiba magazine
Anybody who speaks Urdu and understands Persian is well-acquainted with the harbinger of change – Dr.Muhammad Iqbal. This great mind’s work has been translated in Arabic and English too. His readers know him either by his poetry or more intimately by his achievements. He is undoubtedly a prominent personality in Islamic philosophical revival in the modern age.
Allama Iqbal belonged to a middle class, traditional and religious family of Sialkot. This was a simple house with no electricity. He studied using a lantern at night.
At the age of four and a half years, Allama Iqbal’s father arranged his study of the Quran in the nearby Masjid under the tutelage of Maulana Ghulam Hasan. When Allama recited Quran at home and his father would pass by he advised his son: “O my son! When you recite the Quran, feel as if it has been revealed upon you, as if Allah is conversing with you Himself.”
This conscious upbringing rather than cultural Islam, carved Iqbal into a man of vision and determination.
It was Syed Mir Hasan, a man of insight, who identified Allama as a distinguished and gifted child. He explained to Iqbal’s father how he needed a decent worldly education along his religious grooming. After much deliberate thinking, Shaikh Noor entrusted Iqbal for the next three years under Syed Mir’s mentorship.
Syed Mir taught Allama Arabic, Persian, Urdu literature and Sufism. His greatest contribution was to enable Iqbal to be a learner for life, seeking beneficial knowledge every where he ventured.
In 1893, Iqbal passed his matriculation and started writing poetry. His love for poetry was rooted in childhood when he bought small books of poetry and recited them to the ladies of the family in his sweet voice.
He attained his Masters in Philosophy and became a professor of English and Philosophy in Lahore. In 1905 Iqbal set out for Europe to attain his PHD as well as Bar at Law. In less than 3 years he was back in India.
In Europe, Iqbal was almost driven to the borders of Atheism. By Allah’s (swt) Will, he was guided by the philosophy of Wahdut-ul-Wujood (unity of existance) and the study of the English poet William Wordsworth.
“It was an age of varying ideologies, conflicting emotions and ways of thinking that Iqbal went through.” (Allama Iqbal’s thoughts – Muslim Heroes Series translated by Usama Zaid Malik)
When Allah (swt) granted Baseerat to him he studied the European society closely and realized some things about it. They were hollow on the inside but glittered from the outside that attracted everyone towards them. Is that not true even today?
The Europeans loved materialism and were far away from the worship and belief in God. In spite of their progress in science and technology, they did not respect humanity and the greatest evidence of that later came when they started invading countries in Africa and Asian and became their colonial rulers for years to come. They left no stone unturned in demolishing the 600 year old muslim caliphate by inciting the misguided and weak hearted muslims, offering them lollipops. Is that not the reality of today?
Another problem was the Christian belief of man being a born sinner and of Christ’s sacrifice for salvation of mankind. Though the Western world had parted ways with Church but their ideologies were still under it’s dark influence. This later gave life to the unjust system of capitalism. Now man was considered an instrument of production, an advanced animal with carnal desires. Spirituality and relationship to the metaphysical and unseen world was not recognized.
Devoid the West of inner light, her soul is struck with deadly blight
The loss of self has made the East a leper, for germs befitting feast
When Allama Iqbal visited the Masjid of Cordoba that was built in Muslim Spain during the Muslim glorious rule, it saddened him to see it converted to a church. Allama requested the priest to allow him to pray there. When the priest hesitated Iqbal taunted: ‘Look how we treated you when we were in power and look how you treat us.’
Feeling ashamed, the priest went to seek permission from his higher official. During this time Allama called out the Adhaan and offered prayer. After four hundred years the word of Allah (swt) echoed there.
After returning to India a revolutionary change in his thought was to start dreaming of a separate homeland for the muslims instead of a united India where Hindus will always be preferred to muslims and subjected to injustices.
He could compare the two cultures of East and West and clearly see what plagued the muslims and kept them behind. As an Islamic thinker his poetry became the means to revive the forgotten identity of the misguided and pessimistic masses. The Indian muslims were a mindless crowd with no direction or strong belief.
He presented the idea of Pakistan, revived the faith of dejected Indian Muslims with his poetry and most importantly convinced Quaid-e-Azam to return to Pakistan from England and lead the muslim politics.
Allama Iqbal didn’t even witness Pakistan. He passed away in 1938 whereas Pakistan was created in 1947. What a huge sacrifice for something that never benefited him in Dunya. May Allah (swt) raise this man’s status in Jannah. Ameen
The story goes on… Iqbal’s concepts that need revival today
Iqbal defines it as a state of consciousness of the self, a self that exudes confidence and conviction. Khudi is impacted due to lack of purpose and self-doubts. When muslims forget that they were to be the Vice gerants of Allah (swt) on Earth, they replaced Allah (swt) with other foreign political powers as their true Gods and fell into despicable slavery.
If revolution takes place in your self
Possibly this space and time may change
Allama referred force of action and Amal-e-Sualeh as Ishq. To him a believer was a man of power. Once he absorbed the Divine scripture of the Quran and the Sunnah, he practiced it in letter and spirit. For this reason Iqbal was critical of the religious clerics who debated over non-issues and the mystic Sufis who wasted time in their hermitages.
In inheritance they have received their seats of authority
Crows are in possession of eagle’s nests
The West evaluates everything in terms of monetary cost and benefit. That makes them greedy and manupalative. Islam preaches a non-Materialistic life which is popularly being termed as minimlism today. A believer is a traveller in this world and his destination is Jannah in the Aakhirah. But that doesn’t mean that he is poor and helpless. He is a king who conquers the world but loves simplicity of nature and serves others with purity of heart.
Faqr has a loathing for monkish peace and inactivity
A Faqeer’s boat is always in the eye of the storm
This believer only submits to Allah (swt) and is solely bound by his Lord’s commandments. He does not curse his fate for his failures or shortcomings. A Mard-e-Momin is inspired by the Quran and the Prophet (sa) and sets out to achieve the extra-ordinary. If his quest of change fails, he continues to revolt until truth is established or he returns to his Allah (swt).
His world knows no boundaries, his horizon has no frontiers
Tigris, Danube and Nile are waves of his oceanic expanse
“Allama Iqbal had marked influence on the pan-Islamic movement of the early twentieth century as well as the revival of political Islam after the fall of the ‘Caliphate’. This turned Iqbal from a remarkably gifted poet and thinker to one of the founding fathers of Islamic renaissance. His message resonated with the elite and the masses alike, enduring far beyond his death.” (Allama Iqbal’s thoughts – Muslim Heroes Series translated by Usama Zaid Malik)