by Ghulam Sabir
Iqbal Academy Scandinavia
Nature gives birth to great philosophers and poets when the need arises. Natural calamities, wars, epidemics, storms and earthquakes etc causing human sufferings have always given birth to creative minds. Plato was born in 420 B.C. when his country had almost been ruined as a result of Peloponnesian war. Iqbal was born in 1877 A.D. when the inhabitants of India were suffering from miseries and deaths while struggling for the independence of their country from British rule. The people of Muslim community of India were the worst hit. They were being crushed ruthlessly. At that time Iqbal’s poetry played miraculous role. It awakened the people from slumbering hopelessness, made them stood on their own feet. They were united and then fought courageously for independence with the result that they achieved a free homeland for them within a few years time. The forefathers of philosophy came from a war-torn country Greece. The pioneers of the art of philosophy died but their works still providing guidance to the mankind. The world cannot forget Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and other Greeks thinkers of that time and those who followed them. Iqbal also is one of them. He is among the group of philosophers of 19th. and 20th. centuries, who brought revival and revolution in the thought of mankind.
There is no doubt that all of them are as important for us today as they were at the time when they lived among us. As for Iqbal, his own teacher Professor Reynold A. Nicholson has written following words in the preface of his book, The Secrets of the Self, an English translation of Iqbal’s” Asrar-i Khudi”. About Iqbal’s poetical expression he writes: “….its (Iqbal’s poetry) logical brilliancy dissolves in the glow of feeling and imagination, and it wins the heart before taking possession of the mind”. Prof. Nicholson also expressed his views on Iqbal’s importance of ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ in these words, “He is a man of his age and a man in advance of his age; he is also a man in disagreement of his age.” Iqbal says for himself, “Mon Nawaa-i Shair-i Fardaastam” (I am the voice of the poet of tomorrow). Iqbal’s ‘tomorrow’ is our ‘today’ and also it will be our ‘tomorrow’. Indeed Iqbal is our need of the day. His teachings are the teachings of Qur’an of which most of us are ignorant. The teaching of Qur’an is never outdated. It is like a spring of fresh waters always flowing, always fresh, always transparent. The works of Iqbal cover Religion, politics, ethics, philosophy, morality and economics, all of which are the basics for the society of mankind. In particular Iqbal is the call for revival of Muslim nation, which was almost on the brink of death in his time. Thanks God that today we feel a little life spark in the body of Muslim society. As for Pakistan Iqbal wanted a separate Muslim land in order to make it a Research University for Islam which could provide the guidance and lead Muslim world. For this purpose a country named Pakistan was created and now exists on the world map; but unfortunately it has not yet achieved its status as a University of Islam, which could present the true face of Islam before the world as dreamt by Iqbal. In order to achieve the end that Iqbal wanted the only way is that the constitution of Pakistan should be rewritten to bring revolutionary change in the life of the people of Pakistan, so that the people of Pakistan could make their country a model Muslim State. After making Pakistan and naming it as an Islamic State the most important task for its people is still ahead and that requires “Ijtihad”, i.e. independent inquiry, as said by Iqbal. To Iqbal only this is the way to implement real democracy in a Muslim country. He has used the term of ‘spiritual democracy’ for such governance. By ‘spiritual democracy’ Iqbal means a state in which human freedom, human solidarity and human equality prevail. For this Iqbal provides a guideline in his “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”, which can help the people of Pakistan to make their country a genuinely Islamic state, in which people from all walks of life are equally free. In such a state’ according to Equable, every one irrespective of faith, sect, creed is tolerated, respected and accepted. As for Muslims residing in the West and having blood relations with the people of Pakistan, they have great responsibility to provide all possible assistance to our mother country in achieving their goal to make Pakistan a real and genuinely Islamic state. Equable says, “Waqt-i Fursat Hai Kahaan Kaam Abhi Baqi Hai”. (Do not relax, the task is not yet finished). To achieve the goal Iqbal tells us to acquire knowledge in all fields of life and complete the task, which was left unfinished by our ancestors. He warns us not to follow others blindly but instead learn the lesson from them as they had done earlier for themselves. They acquired knowledge from our forefathers and then marched onward with new ideas in all the fields of learning. The present glittering light of the West is the gift of Muslims of the past. Iqbal insists us to embrace modern knowledge and by entering into the main stream of advanced science and technology play our part towards welfare of the human society. Let us prove by our action that we are the custodian of the best code of life for mankind. Iqbal being a philosopher of the east is equally important for the west. He is a great preacher of humanity. Loving the ‘other’ is considered by him as an essential quality in a man. He comes from among the great philosophers of the world on humanism. His philosophy of existentialism and Understanding the ‘Self’ as well as his beautiful poetical expressions of love show exactly the place of man on earth. Speaking on the great qualities inculcated in man he says, ‘Teray Ilm-o Muhabbat Ki Naheen Hai Intaha Koi, Naheen Hai Tujh Sey Barh Kar Saaz-i Fitrat Men Nawa Koi.’ (The bounds of your knowledge and love are none, Melody sweeter than you in the Divine orchestra is none). Bang-i Dara, p.274 In one of Iqbal’s couplet in his famous Persian book ‘Javidnama’, he tells us the meaning of humanity in these words: ‘Admeeyat Ehtram-i Admi, Ba-Khabar Shau Az Maqaam-i Admi’. (Humanity is to respect the human being, you must be aware of the place of man).
The question, ‘do we need Iqbal today?’ The reply is a clear ‘YES’. It is a. need of the time, because the honour of humanity is at stake. The preachers of human rights are abusing humanity. Masses of men are being trampled ruthlessly under the heavy feet of the powerful. There is dearth of love in the world these days. Iqbal is a messenger of love. His message of love is universal…the humanity needs him…we do need him without any doubt.