I would like to start off with Allama Iqbal’s philosophy of “khudi” or “self”. To understand self is not as simple as it may seem. Self is constructed in three ways. Firstly, a person looks at himself through his own eyes; the way he considers himself, his shortcomings and strengths. Secondly, he looks at himself through society’s lens. Here, society also serves as a mirror. A person who looks at himself through this lens, starts making himself compatible enough to fit in the society.

On the one hand, it is beneficial for him as well as for society because he is kept in check and does not violate the norms and values of society. But in an effort to be appreciated by society, he forgets his own identity and becomes someone else.

The last aspect to l ook at self is the way you think your Creator looks at you and the way He created you. When a person gets to know about his Creator, he eventually gets to know his own self, as God’s spirit has been breathed into him. Allah says, “Allah knows the secret and what is hidden.” There is a thin-line difference between “secret” and “hidden”. “Secret” is something that a person knows but conceals it deep inside him. “Hidden” is something that is linked to that person but even he is not aware of it.

This is where the concept of Absolute-consciousness begins. A person can only get to know what is “hidden” inside him by knowing his Creator through His remembrance. Iqbal extracted his philosophy from an ayah of Qur’an: “And be ye not like those who forgot Allah, and he made them forget their own souls.” (chapter 59, Surah Al-Hashr). Here it is evident that when a person strays from the remembrance of Allah, he forgets his own self.