It is the birth anniversary of Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal. Before paying glowing tributes to this exalted personality, it would be befitting if he is introduced briefly in his own words. “After me they will read my poetry, grasp it and say: A man who knew himself revolutionised the world”. (English Translation of Z.A. 143).
On this day we make undertaking seriously and solemnly to think and act in accordance with the spirit appropriate to this auspicious occasion. He was born on 9th November, 1877 in a Kashmiri family at Sialkot and died on 21st April, 1938 just two years before the adoption of the Lahore Resolution (popularly known as Pakistan Resolution).
He was a man of genius, philosophical mind, possessing exquisite abilities of an intellectual, reformist and poet endowed with an ideological, pragmatic and rational approach. Primarily, Iqbal is known as a poet par excellence but he was also a great thinker, philosopher and sage. As he himself mentioned he did not write poetry for poetry’s sake. In the words of Plato, we can call him: “A spectator of all-time and all-existence”. He is potpourri of so many sterling qualities of head and heart. No doubt, people bow in reverence to the sanctified memory of Iqbal, whose radiance would never go faint. He left for us moral and spiritual foundations based on which Pakistan was conceived by him. Responding to his call and under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah immense sacrifices were offered by the Muslims of the Sub-continent, resulting in the emergence of Pakistan as a realisation of his dream.
Allama Iqbal presiding over Allahabad Session of the League in December, 1930 boldly declared that the Muslims of the subcontinent could have a separate homeland consisting of the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan; self government with the British Empire or without it. In Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah he had seen a great leader, who could lead the Muslims to their destination in the struggle for Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam valued very much his suggestions and on the death of Allama Iqbal, he paid rich tributes to him in the words:
“His death is an irreparable loss to the Muslim community. He was a personal friend of mine and composer of the finest poetry in the world. He will live as long as Islam will live. His noble poetry interprets the true aspirations of Muslims. It will remain an inspiration for us and for generations after us.” Although Iqbal’s philosophical upbringing was initially based on the western philosophy and modern science, he loathed the materialistic outlook of the West as he was deeply drunk from the springs of Islamic culture, Quran and the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
His following verses from the “Voice from the East” (English translation) reflects his mind: “O Dwellers of Western Lands God’s world is not a shop;
That which you considered good coin
Shall prove to be of low value;
Your civilization will commit
Suicide with its own dagger
A nest built on a slender bough cannot last”.
Iqbal’ s infinite love of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has entitled him to be called a true lover of the Holy Prophet (Ashiq-e-Rasool).
His doctrinisation of the self finds its roots from Islam i.e. the Holy Quran and the Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). His conveyance of this sublime message is unique, appealing and universal. Dr Muhammad Hussain Haikal, the well-known journalist and writer of Egypt aptly comments: Iqbal did not confine his message to his co-reIigionists in India. He addressed himself to the Muslims of the whole world. His message was universal for all peoples of the globe”.
The salient features of his philosophy of Self as defined in “The Secrets of the Self” are given below:-
The Self is a reality. It is the cardinal of our activity arid action.
Desires and aspirations strengthen the Self to form a strong purpose and personality.
Desires entail and necessitate struggle for fulfillment. The Self cannot grow in isolation.
The development of the self depends upon the way it observes with his fellow beings, with the environment around in which he lives and with his Creator.
Evil and virtue are at work simultaneously in this world and they are at war within man himself.
Life in this world is a trial to acquire success here and in the Hereafter. Man is to struggle against evil forces that obstruct his way. The struggle also helps man to dominate the forces of nature.
To fulfill this momentous task man has been made vicegerent of God on earth.
Fate does not obstruct his way because man has been given free choice, which he can exercise as he wishes.
It’s because of this free choice that he is held responsible for his acts and deeds. His freedom is manifold in his actions. Man’s superiority over other creatures is because of this power of free choice between good and evil.
Dangers and difficulties during his struggle serve only to sharpen the insight and enhance the power of Self.
This world of cause and effect is governed by a just and rational system.
It is up to man to struggle in a befitting way with the sublime objective of winning God’s pleasure.
He will not be left unaided and unguided by Allah, if he follows this course rather Allah will help him at every stage.
Regarding faith in God, Allama Iqbal reassures that a person having firm faith in Allah and His Mercy never despairs. He faces the difficulties of life courageously and bravely. He exerts ‘So long as you hold the staff of ‘There is God but He (La ilaaha illall la) “You will break the spell of fear. One of whom God is the soul in his body, his neck is not bowed before vanity. Fear finds no way into his bosom as he is afraid of none but Allah.” The Holy Quran lays stress on entertaining no feeling of disappointment: “Despair not of the Mercy of Allah”.
Garami rightly describes him: “In the eyes of those who know the secret of things, Iqbal fulfilled a Prophet’s mission but he cannot be called a Prophet.”
Edward K. Kolbener says: “Long ago Muhammad Iqbal’s poetry crossed the boundaries of his motherland and now one can say that it belongs to mankind as a whole....”
Dr Iqbal wants to break inertia amongst the Ummah and awaken them to stand and start striving. He ardently stirred up emotions among the Muslims to spur them to life. He wanted to end their lethargy. In this perspective in one of his poems he says, “An infidel before his idol with wakening heart is better than a religious man sleeping in his mosque”. His poetry is full of reminders to the Muslims that life is a continuous onward struggle for existence and for success in this world and the Hereafter. According to Iqbal, if one ceases to move, one ceases to exist, motion is life, motionlessness is lifelessness. Putting himself in the situation he says: “If I move on, I live on; if I move not, I cease to live”. Life is nothing but a constant endeavour for liberty and emancipation.
In his “Secrets of the Self” he attaches great importance to love in the pursuit of secrets of the Self and nearness to God. He says that Love is the foundation of life and love is the flashing sword of death. “Love of God becomes wholly God” (Here he seems to agree in belief and spiritual achievement with Shah Mansoor, who claimed ‘Anal Haq” (I am God). This is also in accordance with the hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): “Takhallqu-bi-akhlaq Allah” Create in yourselves the tributes of God. He acquired proficiency in Persian and Arabic from Shams-Al-Ulema Maulvi Mir Hasan. He had learnt much from Islamic mysticism from various Sufis and saints in general and from Jalal-ud-Din Rumi in particular. He calls Rumi his master and guide (Murshid). He was of the belief that Muslims who are under the influence of false and corrupt mysticism have become lazy. lethargic and escapees from the realities of the world. According to Iqbal, the perfect man is one, who has personality and individuality and comes close to God.
He has given his message in consonance with the present day economic and political conditions and has taught us his doctrine of Ijtehad as the movement in the genuine structure of Islam, suggesting solutions to our present day problems.
We must give a serious thought to the solutions he has offered to our present day problems. Islam provides a comprehensive code of life and it includes economic, political and social aspects of life. Islam being a universal religion, the main purpose of the Quran is to awaken in man a higher consciousness of his manifold relations with God and the universe. Iqbal has stressed that the Mujtahid must, therefore, be prepared to accept the challenge of the time by perceiving the nature of the change as guided by the tenets of Islam.
The ‘Ultimate Reality’ according to the Quran is spiritual. Iqbal’s ideas are contained in a number of poems in Persia and Urdu. There is a sufficient guidance for the Muslims in this valuable contribution regarding the pitfalls that found way in our beliefs, social and religious practices as propagated by other religious movements.
In Javaid Nama he gives a message to the new generation. We in the east have become blind imitators of the West in all walks of life. We have lost our identity. We should maintain and develop our identity and contribute something fruitful towards the betterment of the people of the world. We must turn to our own heritage on the basis of which we can lay the foundation of a healthier culture. In the words of Rumi, “We must come back to our mother, who alone can help us to recover from our ailments, which have been aggravated through treatment by alien hands.” Iqbal also helped the new generation to lay the foundation of a new culture that maintains its contact with the ancient cultural heritage and he tried to provide an intellectual basis for the same. In his “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”, he particularly emphasises upon the young people to be law abiding as per the teachings of Islam, avoid those means of livelihood that are unfair and unlawful. He stresses that total submission to Islam is most essential.
Iqbal was of the belief that there is no future for humanity unless peace in the world is established through reconciliation between “the mind of the West” and “the heart of the East”. He says that a new world can be established on the basis of love, justice, brotherhood and humanity.
Thus, he gave the message of amity, brotherhood and peace, which he not only gave to the Muslims but also to the mankind of all times. n