'Our [Muslims’] duty is carefully to watch the progress of human thought, and to maintain an independent critical attitude towards it.'  

(Dr. Muhammad Iqbal: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, 1930)

Who am I? Who created me and why? Who created this universe? How was this universe created? Is there any reasonable purpose behind my creation and the creation of universe? Who will determine that very ‘purpose’? Is there any God? What is religion? How it evolved in human societies? What is morality? Is there any absolute truth? And can human mind answer all the questions we have just raised?

Philosophers from all civilizations, throughout the history of mankind, have been trying to somehow answer the fundamental questions of man. Different minds came up, to answer the above outlined questions, with different systems of inquiry, understanding and explanation of universe, man and God.

Ali Abbas Jalalpuri in his very famous book Riwayat-e-Falsafa presents a concise but comprehensive account of western intellectual struggle with regard to the fundamental questions of man (All questions have not been categorically answered, yet some serious attempts have been made to answer them). He briefly describes the history of human intellectual struggle and some points he also makes remarkable comments on the philosophies of great philosophers.

This book, however, does not by any means offer any system of analysis or any new system of thought that often philosophers do. The writer, however, simply presents the works almost all renowned philosophers from Pre-Socrates era to Kantian and Descatrian days. He has written this book with a noble intention that is to acquaint the reader who cannot read or write English language, yet has a wish to be conversed, with the intellectual history of western civilization.

This book has become much more relevant and a must read for a student who is a part of 21st century Pakistan; a Pakistani where people have been greatly fooled in the name of religion and God, where people have been intellectually imprisoned, socially radicalized and politically polarized and fooled. This book gives both some ways to think, what we must say, out of the box, and also an opportunity to learn the long intellectual struggle of human mind.

We need freethinking, liberated minds, and sense of tolerance and above all we immediately need to learn the sense of respect for others’ views, ideas and religions for our peaceful survival and also for contributing something productive in the global intellectual order.

This should, however, be kept in mind while reading this book that this is an intellectual story of a different civilization so there may be so many explanations or presumptions we may never like or agree with. But this is their understanding of man, universe and God and we have a right to disagree---but without being violent.

God bless you all!