Past in Perspective

2018-06-12T23:27:18+05:00

Nations are born in the hearts of

poets; they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.

–Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad Iqbal in Simla (1922)

 

Muhammad Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877, in Sialkot. Widely known as AllamaIqbal, or Poet of the East, he was one of those luminaries of the Indian subcontinent who tried to reinvigorate the spirit of freedom in the hearts of people of the subcontinent.

Iqbal was not only a poet. He wears many feathers on his hat. Apart from one of the greatest poets of the Urdu language, he was a lawyer, member of legislative council, philosopher, reformer, and political thinker.

His knowledge of eastern and western intellectual traditions could be gauged by his addresses published under the title, ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’. Not only the book is a display of his grip on works of many scholars of the past but also at the same time he was arguing something really radical. He through his lectures attempted to emphasise the fact that the modern era demands from Islam to relive the concept of Ijtihad that was closed after Imam Ghazali.

Unfortunately, he didn’t see his vision of a sovereign Muslim state that became a reality nine years after his death. Today, different factions of society are divided on how to interpret the message of Islam. Moreover, some scholars discard his message completely that is a gross mistake for if his message is read without bias; he is one of the earliest critics of the modernity trap.

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