Owning Mohammad Iqbal

Posted on March 22, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Poetry, Urdu
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Adil Najam

To me, the 23rd of March is a day to reflect on the message of Mohammad Iqbal, just like the 14th of August is to ponder on the legacy of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

We, as Pakistanis, have not really been kind to the legacy of either man. We turned both into idols. And once we convinced ourselves that these were ‘supermen’ we conveniently absolved ourselves of the responsibility to learn from – let alone emulate – either. We are fond of celebrating but incapable of incorporating either the actions of Mr. Jinnah nor the thoughts of Mohammad Iqbal.

After all, once we turned Mr. Jinnah into the ‘Quaid-i-Azam’ and conferred near-divine status on him it became all too easy to say that we, mere mortals, could not be expected to act in the way – or even on the principles – that he did. His blemishes were to be denied, not just because we hold him in reverence but also because to acknowledge them is to accept that maybe ordinary – even flawed – human beings can stil have principles worth following. We have done the same to Iqbal. Because his the ‘the’ Allama, he is to be put on a pedestal. His work read with respect and honor; to be savored, but not really to be understood. Certainly not to be questioned, and absolutely not to be allowed to influence that we do. After all, he is an Allama; and we are not.

The Allama-ization of Iqbal, just like the Quaid-i-Azam-ization of Jinnah has been a disservice to both. For ultimately it has turned these two giants into mere statues; the iconography of the ‘Allama’ and the ‘Quaid’ have enabled us to turn them into dieties of reverence while at the same time distancing ourselves – if not outright disowning – the thought of the first and the actions of the later.

We at ATP have been rather remiss in not paying enough tribute to Mohammad Iqbal. This is a mistake I have been wanting to rectify. Today, the eve of Pakistan Day is a good time to begin doing so. The events and the idea behind the 23rd of March owes more to Iqbal than anyone else. And as a first offering of tribute to Iqbal I offer you this wonderful video. I found it on YouTube:

I do not really know who produced it although for some reason the voice sounds familiar. The selection of poetry as well as the pictures are excellent. Indeed, I wou urge you to focus on both. The pictures are not the ones you usually see of him and many of them evoke a humanness that is lost in many of our ‘official’ portraits on the man. But also focus on the ideas. This is a work less known that, say, Shikwa and Jawab i Shikwa, but it has ideas that are so contemporary that he may as well have been talking about the events of last week. For example:

anpay watan meiN houN kay ghareeb-ud-diyar houN
Darta houN daikh daikh kay iss dasht-o-dar ko meiN

60 Comments on “Owning Mohammad Iqbal”

  1. Jabir Khan says:
    March 22nd, 2007 11:33 am

    Very insightful column. You are right, we are a ahsaan framosh qom, but it seems this satus quo is not followable anymore. Their vision stands valid. They watched the interantional scenarion very closely and decide what was best for us. These were not easy decisions but they understood very well what fate awaiting Indian muslims without their proper homeland.
    Current events are proving them right again and again. I would say it’s neve too late…..never. Embrace their vision and you will prosper.

  2. BitterTruth says:
    March 22nd, 2007 11:43 am

    An unprecedented event in the history of Pakistan is taking place. Judges and government attornies are resigning from their posts. Sacrificing their income source for the principles, indeed a great sacrifice.
    These people are the true followers of Iqbal; following with their actions and not words.
    Surprisingly, this is not covered after first posts about judiciary crisis. What has stopped you guyz? Any pressure?

  3. A. says:
    March 22nd, 2007 12:52 pm

    Lovely video, thanks so much for sharing. The photos of Iqbal are so warm and human, some of them. He looks like a jolly uncle in some and a deep thinker in others… very much *a man*. And that is your point of course. Thank you.

  4. Babar says:
    March 22nd, 2007 1:34 pm

    “We are fond of celebrating but incapable of incorporating either the actions of Mr. Jinnah nor the thoughts of Mohammad Iqbal.” Applies to many but thre is hope: I’ve come across some very interesting cases in which Iqbal has guided people’s lives. In general, it is easier to admire someone than to follow.

    There are many reasons for this gap. Not many people understand Iqbal’s poetry (or even try). This is particularly true for those who are born/raised outside Pakistan and do not learn to read/write Urdu. I’m sure that the same problem exists inside Pakistan.

  5. Daktar says:
    March 22nd, 2007 2:13 pm

    I like the picture you have used…. impressive mousctasche!

    One is more used to the one where he is holding his head. I have always wondered if that is because he is thinking or, like Inzimam, is holding his head because he is really worried about the state of teh country he helped create!

  6. March 22nd, 2007 2:28 pm

    March 23 also reminds of the same date in 1931, when Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged at the Lahore jail, for their role in the freedom struggle. They were later secretly cremated at Hussainiwala on the banks of Sutlej river, by the British government.

    I have read Jinnah’s biography i.e. http://www.oup.co.in/search_detail.php?id=126356

    Also, I love Dr. Iqbal’s poetry, especially, some of his inspirational couplets, like:

    NahiN tera nash-e-mann qasr-e-sultani ke gumbad par
    Tu shaaheeN hai, basera kar pahaaRoN ki chattaanoN par

    I used to sing, like many other students, here in India, his ‘Saare jahaaN se achha…’, during the assembly at school each morning. :)

  7. Akif Nizam says:
    March 22nd, 2007 2:51 pm

    He was a brilliant poet but I never really understood his contribution towards the creation of Pakistan. I don’t pretend to know much about this topic but it always seemed to me that “Iqbal the Leader” was a creation of someone’s imagination long after Pakistan was created.

  8. Adnan Ahmad says:
    March 22nd, 2007 3:12 pm

    My knowledge too is limited but I am afraid that is true, Akif. His son in a way alluded to this fact in his remarkable autobiography. That said, he had given his blind support to Jinnah and that meant something given his towering stature as a thinker (not an accurate translation of muffakir) and a poet of then India.

  9. WASIM ARIF says:
    March 22nd, 2007 3:32 pm

    The father of the nation is the Quaid but the grandfather is certainly the Allama whose vision of a Muslim homeland created the second Madina.

    I urge all my Pakistani brothers and sisters to fulfil the vision of this man. They can start by holding demonstrations against the sacking of the Chief Justice with a view to ridding us of a military regime.

    Remember all great revolutions begin with students, yet I know of hardly any demonstations that our students have taken part in. It is now or never, Pakistan please wake up NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. baber says:
    March 22nd, 2007 3:49 pm

    I read this some where and Iqbal picture(the one in which he is thinking) reminds me of it. I think its from Ibn Insha’s book.

    Person: Englistan may koon ray tay hain?

    Ibn Insha: Angraiz qaum rayti hay.

    Person: France may qaum ray tay hain?

    Ibn Insha: Franceese qaum ray te hay?

    Person: Pakistan may koon se qaum ray te hain?

    Ibn Insha: Punjabi ray te hain
    Sindhi ray te hain
    Phaktoon ray te hain
    Baloch ray te hain

    Person: pir Pakistan kiyoon banayeh?

    Ibn Insha: ghalti(mistake) hogai pir nahi
    banahain gay

  11. baber says:
    March 22nd, 2007 3:55 pm

    This I found online I think better version then mine. I am cut & pasting it from a forum online.

    wrote ibne insha..deep foresight indeed.

    yeh konsa mulk hai?
    yeh englistaan hai!
    is main konsi qaum rehti hai?
    is main englistani qaum rehti hai!

    yeh konsa mulk hai?
    yeh france hai!
    is main konsi qaum rehti hai?
    is main fransisi qaum rehti hai!

    yeh konsa mulk hai?
    yeh pakistan hai!
    is main pakistani qaum rehti ho gi?
    is main bangali qaum rehti hai,
    is main punjabi qaum rehti hai,
    is main sindhi qaum rehti hai,
    is main yeh qaum rehti hai,
    is main woh qaum rehti hai.

    Yeh sub qaumain to Hindustan main bhee rehti hain!
    phir yeh alag mulk kyoon banaya?

    ghalti ho gayee!
    ainda nahee banaain gay!

  12. TEE BEE says:
    March 22nd, 2007 4:12 pm

    I have been trying to read and understand Iqbal for sometime as it is as hard and twisting as his works…but one thing I have understood is his concept of ‘Self’ or ‘Self-realization’….I think Muslims of today’s world and on other note this concept of ‘Self’ is for entire humanity….discovering your true self and reaching to the heights of self awakening…..his teachings are a blessing in disguise for all of us. I am pasting few lines which he said to his son, Javaid Iqbal and indirectly to the Muslim youth:

    Create a place for thyself in the world of love;
    Create a new age, new days, and new nights.

    If God grant thee an eye for nature’s beauty,
    Converse with the silence of flowers; respond to their love.

    Do not be beholden to the West’s artisans,
    Seek thy sustenance in what thy land affords.

    My ghazal is the essence of my life-blood,
    Create thy elixir of life out ‘of this essence.

    My way of life is poverty, not the pursuit of wealth;
    Barter not thy Selfhood; win a name in adversity

  13. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 22nd, 2007 5:02 pm

    Mar 22nd, 2007 at 2:51 pm
    “He was a brilliant poet but I never really understood his contribution towards the creation of Pakistan…….. I don’t pretend to know much about this topic but it always seemed to me that “Iqbal the Leaderâ€

  14. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 22nd, 2007 5:23 pm

    Mar 22nd, 2007 at 3:12 pm
    “My knowledge too is limited but I am afraid that is true, Akif. His son in a way alluded to this fact in his remarkable autobiography. That said, he had given his blind support to Jinnah and that meant something given his towering stature as a thinker (not an accurate translation of muffakir) and a poet of then India.”

    Adnan Ahmad: Could you back up your statement with any quote from the autobiography of Justice Javed Iqbal.

  15. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 22nd, 2007 5:56 pm

    In fact Iqbal has written two poems in that format. His poem selectively adopted in India, the one you are referring to, is titled “Tarana-e-Hindi” (Indian Anthem). It is from his pre 1905 period. His second poem titled “Tarana-e-Milli” (National Anthem), not taught to the Indian children, is from his post 1908 period and goes like this:

    Chine-0-Arab hamra, Hindustan hamara.

    Muslims hain, hum watan hain, sara jahan hamara.

    The second poem reflects his thoughts on pan-Islamism. Now you know.

  16. Adnan Ahmad says:
    March 22nd, 2007 6:04 pm

    Pervaiz Sahib, I can’t partly because a friend borrowed it from me about a year ago and it still hasn’t been returned. :) I also remember hearing something to this effect on tv recently from Javed Iqbal. Again no back. In no way I want to pick an argument (discourse i.e.) here given my very limited knowledge of Iqbal. You can correct me and I will take it.

    On a seperate note I used to wonder why I never read Iqbal like I read other poets of urdu. The only reason I can come up with is that while growing up starting from age 6 we used to watch Qauid-e-Azam ne farmaya and a verse from Iqbal after khabarnama during Zia’s time.. and it had such a revulsion in me that I almost never opened any of his books in our collection. And this was despite my elders asking me to read him. While writing these lines I still feel a degree of suffocation remembering those times.

  17. A. says:
    March 22nd, 2007 8:09 pm

    Suffocation & childhood misunderstandings aside (solid psychological foundations there, I can sympathise) I am so glad for a more clued in voice in the form of Mr P M Alvi. Perhaps this is an indication that someone should write an *interesting* article on Iqbal’s contribution, without getting all muddled up in the details of iqbaliat. As we can see, there is a need.

  18. Moeen Bhatti says:
    March 22nd, 2007 8:49 pm

    A nice post by adil and I agree with each word of it. Iqbal was a great poet but a human being too. I do find his poetry sometimes very emotional, which could not be useful for a streetman; but this is ofcourse my persoanl point of view. I have heard his son multiple times talking about his father, though I have not read his books and many of the things he says are contradiactory to what we have been tought in our high schools.

  19. bhitai says:
    March 23rd, 2007 2:03 am

    “jata hoon thori door hur ek rah-ro kay saath
    pehchaanta nahi hoon abhi raah-bur ko mein”

    wah wah Chacha Ghalib, kia baat hay aapki. No matter Iqbal was inspired so much by you. He even claimed you were a peer to Goethe.

  20. Ahmed2 says:
    March 23rd, 2007 2:34 am

    “Kabhi ay naujwan Muslim tadabar bhi kiya tounain
    Woh kya gardoon tha tu jiska hai ik tutta hua tara?
    Tujhay us qaum nay paala hai aaghosh e muhabat mein
    Kuchal daala tha jis nay paun talay
    taj e saray Dara
    Tujhay aaba say apnay koi nisbat ho nahin sakti
    Kay tu guftar woh kirdar, tu sabat woh sayyar…

    Hakumat ka tau kya rauna ki woh ik aarzi shai hai
    Maggar woh ilm kay moti kittabain apnay aaba ki
    Jo daikhoon unkon Europe mein do dil hota hai si-para.”

    I have quoted the above from a fading memory. These verses were written almost a hundred years ago. They shook, aroused and galvanized the young generation of that period as nothing ever had.I too belonged to that generation.
    THAT, is his contribution to our living Pakistan.

    He could also write-prophetically-

    Nahin hai na-umeed Iqbal apni kisht e veraan say
    Zara nam ho to yeh mitti bari zarkhez ha saqi.

    The seeds that he planted have germinated and now bear fruit. The present generation of Pakistanis–and the diaspora– is that fruit.
    We owe it to his memory to ensure that the fruit does not wither on the vine. Today 23rd March provides a good occasion to make that resolve.

    THAT is his contribution to our Pakistan.

  21. Ramla A. says:
    March 23rd, 2007 3:23 am

    I am “feeling” rather than “thinking” about this post – and I am feeling: “About time we bring the heroes home!”

    This whole making-superhumans-out-of-humans has made a great deal of knowledge and wisdom inaccessible to humanity. On the other hand, the bewildering notion that a “hero/ine” could do no wrong is making pygmies out of potential contemporary giants.

    You know what I mean? Jumping down people’s and our own throats – without forgiveness – without realizing that some mistakes our true EXPERIMENTS. All things evolve. So do people.

  22. Jabir Khan says:
    March 23rd, 2007 3:47 am

    Ramla, the problem is the self proclaimed intellectuals, who have no contribution towards any thing constructive, take out their frustrations on real life achievers. As the saying goes asmaan pay thooka mohn pay hi wapis attaa hai. When its hard to distinguish between rumours and realities, keep an eye on the solid contributions of these giants. No nation can exist without ideals. Many nations are so desperate that they creat legends out of thin air (look east for example), in order to survive.
    We are very fortunate that we have solid, hisortically proveable facts spanning last 1400 centuries.

  23. jayjay says:
    March 23rd, 2007 5:45 am

    Link 1
    Link 2
    Above might or might not be true but it was certainly helpful in knowing Dr Iqbal better.

    The text of the Allahabad address is here

  24. Lahori says:
    March 24th, 2007 8:53 pm

    Lets not turn the ‘Allama’ into a ‘Maulana’ please. He was interested in religion, but never in religosity!

    His goal was never to turn people into ‘good’ muslims who were paband-i-soat-o-salat. He wanted people to be ‘thinking’ muslims. Able to talk to the Almighty in the tone of a Shikwah. When he is talking of ahkaam-i-illahi, he is certainly not referring to the hudood ordinance!

  25. Ali says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:13 am

    Can anyone recommend a good book on Iqbal’s life?

  26. Critic says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:33 am

    Iqbal with his farsighted vision and Quaid with his high moral principles and strength were giants among men.

    Unfortunately after their death we haven’t produced any one (except may be Mr Edhi) who even came close to their greatness.

    And please don’t compare Ghalib with Iqbal. Ghalib was a drunk who used to make money by writing for nawabs and and the sort where as Iqbal’s poetry has inspired three generations towards philosophy and religion. Iqbal’s poetry really lights up the soul. Specially his following verse.

    Taqdeer ke paband hain nabataat-o-jamadaat.
    Momin faqat Ihkam-e-Ilahi ka he paband.

    As for creation of Pakistan, It was the best thing that could have happened to us. Although we haven’t valued our country and protected our freedom (i.e. of speech, religion, financial independence etc) the way we should have yet the fact remains that have we been still part of India we would have been living a life of animals. A case in point is the plight of muslims in Gujrat.

  27. Critic says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:33 am

    …And by Gujrat I mean Indian Gujrat.

  28. Akif Nizam says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:47 am

    “We are very fortunate that we have solid, hisortically proveable facts spanning last 1400 centuries”.

    hmmmmm…1400 centuries ! But to be fair, all “provable” history is replete with inaccuracies such as these. So, I’ll give it a pass.

  29. Allah Vasaya says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:59 am

    Dear Critic
    Please do not disrespect Ghalib by calling him a drunk. Maybe he was, but he was a great philosopher in his own right and I certainly do not need to go into details about his contributions to Urdu poetry. Even Iqbal took a great deal of inspiration from Ghalib and admired him in the utmost esteem. Sad to see the only thing you mentioned about Ghalib was his drinking and getting paid for writing poetry. Feel free to read him.

  30. Tariq Malik says:
    March 23rd, 2007 11:01 am

    Thank you Adil for such a nice column on Iqbal. I agree with the argument that instead of understanding the personality, struggle, philosophy and peotry of Iqbal, we (Pakistanis, his people) made him larger than life figure and ended up in idol worshiping. Iqbal(1877-1938), was a poet-philosopher with a universal message to “lay the foundation of a new world by wedding intellect with love.” But inspite of his abiding universal outlook and his compelling international concern, he was intensly preoccupied with the future of his own people and with the spirit of his own times. We worship his poetry but international world celebrate him (more) as philosopher. He was educated at the Universities of Punjab, Cambridge and Munich and became a symbol of what was best in the East and West. Do we know that his Ph.D degree was in PHILOSOPHY and his doctoral dissertation was titled “Development of Metaphysics in Persia”, which opened new doors in philosophical sciences. These doors took western philosophers to eastern/muslim phiosophies? His philosophical research articles were published in his famous book titled “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. To me, these philosophical writings are more powerful than his peotry!!! This is the reason that he is still being taught as a subject in University of Heidelberg, Munich, Homboldt Berlin, Tehran, Cambridge, Oxford, Penn State, Michigan, Utrech, Istambul and many more- all these universities teach IQBALIAT.

  31. Jabir Khan says:
    March 23rd, 2007 11:20 am

    Obviously you know its a typo. And not letting it go as a mistake just proves my point. Ok keep on holding it, just like thin air. If you need help as to what to make of this typing mistake, I will help you here, I meant 1400 years. I sincerely hope you are content now?

    The saying goes who controls the past controls the future. For that matter,’THEY’ have been very active in manipulating and revisioning the history to pave the way for a future where humanity will be reduced a state of existing (provided the survival ensuing from the slaughter). If someone fails to notice it delibrately or otherwise is doing a disservice to himself and the people around him.

    By the way I never saw the mentioned edit button in the comment policy. Can someone help?

  32. Akif Nizam says:
    March 23rd, 2007 11:53 am

    Jabir, there used to be an Edit button; it’s been missing for a couple of weeks now. Listen, obviously it was a typo on your part and I have repeatedly said that I have the utmost respect for Iqbal; his ideas, his philosphy, his poetry, everything. I am not a nihilist and I was only looking for facts regarding Iqbal’s leadership and why he is named in the same breath as Jinnah. I have since read up on the topic myself and I am now convinced that he does deserve the place he is afforded in our history.

  33. Critic says:
    March 23rd, 2007 1:04 pm

    A reason why his poetry is as if not more important than his prose is because his poetry is based on philosophy. I have read his poetry quite extensively and two facts regarding his poetry have always amazed me.

    1. Most of his verses can be understood at more than one level. His poetry always seem to have 1-2 to hidden meanings which one understands when one go into depth and analyzes the context of the verse.

    2. Most of his verses can be traced to definite concepts and ideas in islam and sufism.

    For example his verse

    Taqdeer ke paband hain nabataat-o-jamadaat.
    Momin faqat Ihkam-e-Ilahi ka he paband.

    conveys the very important message that as Muslims we cannot modify our actions and morality to suit the prevalent currents of the time. Our actions have to be guided only by a strong sense of right and wrong and morality based on God’s orders, irrespective of the worldly opposition to these concepts.

    Incidently, Ashfaq Ahmed has also discussed the same thing in some of his writings. More specifically he discusses the incident where a Wali was removed from his spiritual status because he questioned God’s wisdom in showering rain over a sea when it was full of water. I guess the point he was making was that we have to obey the will of God, its not upto us to questions his actions or orders, so irrespective of what happens or how the world shapes up around us we follow his orders.

    Regarding Ghalib, yes he was a great poet and a great intellectual probably one of the best minds of his time, I dont think there can be any doubt about that. But my beef with him is as follows.

    In those times the major problem with muslims was that while the best brains in the west were going for sci and tech, most of the muslim intellectuals were writing romantic poetry and associating them selves with the darbars of decrepit muslim monarchs and writing qaseedas in the favour of those monarchs. May be that was the system of those times and they didn’t have much options but some how I just cannot stomach the idea of an intellectual like Ghalib writing Qaseedas for the likes of those monarchs as well as romantic poetry.

    I mean most of Ghalib’s poetry seems to be romantic which in my opinion is just a waste of time.

  34. Jabir Khan says:
    March 23rd, 2007 10:30 pm

    Thank you critic for explaining very well the multidimenstional aspects of Iqbal’s poetry. I love the way he explains the differnce between reasoning and ishq. Where reasoning becomes the hijaab, ishq sees through.

  35. bhupinder says:
    March 24th, 2007 2:35 pm

    Thanks, Adil, for a long awaited post on Iqbal, which has led to some very interesting discussions here. Look forward to more on the subject.

    On a side note, I liked the imagery that you used in the post- of Iqbal being treated as an icon in Pakistan- the irony of butparasti in a largely Islamic country is not lost.

    On Ghalib, I think some of the comments are rather unfair to him.

    Of course, we are all entitled to our opinions.
    I for one, see Ghalib-Iqbal-Faiz as forming a Trinity in “high” poetry in Urdu- complementing each other and building successively on the previous one’s.

  36. YLH says:
    March 26th, 2007 8:04 am

    As far as I have understood Allama Iqbal… he wanted this state not on an exclusive principle but rather a modern democratic state that would make laws derving inspiration from Islamic ethics and civics… just like modern European nation states derive their secular laws from judaeo-christian morality … which is the bedrock of western civilisation.

    It is an irony that instead of creating an inclusive pluralistic state based on Iqbalian principles of dynamism and progress … we’ve chosen to create an exclusivist theocracy which takes religion to be something rigid and frozen.

  37. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 26th, 2007 11:48 am

    “modern European nation-states derive their secular laws from Judeo-Christian morality … which is the bedrock of Western Civilisation.”

    Hamadani, this is for the lawyer and the scholar in you:
    Is it true that ‘Judeo-Christian morality’ is the bedrock of the Western Civilization? Wasn’t Western Civilization built on Greco-Roman philosophy and Christianity developed in Eastern Europe as an off shoot of that. After all the concepts of democracy and nation state predate Christianity and the Christian concept of ‘father-god’ is derived from greco-roman mythology. Also the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ is only a resent construct of American politics. In biblical terms, Christians thought of historical Jewry as immoral and corrupt. Hence the terms sodomy, lesbianism and so forth and so on. In Christian concept the morality is that of Christ and not of Jews. There is no such thing as ‘Judeo-christian’ unless you are running for a political office in America.

  38. YLH says:
    March 27th, 2007 2:34 am

    Dear Alavi sb.

    Judaeo-Christian morality simply refers to the fact that Bible itself consists of Old Testament (of the Jews) and the New Testament (of the Christians). All Christian morality is in fact Judaeo-Christian.

    Lets not forget that the Judaeo-Christian morality and Greco-Roman heritage had a meeting point in Constantine… kind of like Turkic-Mongol heritage had a definitive meeting point with Islamic civilisation after the fall of Baghdad in 1253…

    Untill atleast the late 18th century, English courts ruled that Christianity and Biblical precepts were part of the Common law… thus Common law has borrowed largely from Biblical morality (Old Testament + New Testament) for almost 8 centuries.

    Iqbal, being a barrister like Jinnah, was an astute observe of history and wanted this model replicated- except with Islamic morality as the basis of secular law. While this may be a superfluous exercise… one can certainly see that this idea is very different from the idea of having rigid interpretation of codified Islamic law exclusively for Muslims and a different law for Non-muslims… that is the case in some matters today in Pakistan.

  39. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    March 27th, 2007 9:13 am

    Dear Hamdani: So we could say that the Western Civilization was built on the tenets of Greek & Roman mythology and governance, plus moral codes of Old & New Testaments. This is the point of view of many scholars in the West. On the point of Iqbal wanting to replicate that model. I concur with you. I hate to use the term mulla, but Shaikh Ji got us where He wanted us to be i.e. Backward and Regressive. Now we are waiting for the second Renaissance except it is long coming. Thanks for sharing you thoughts.

  40. YLH says:
    March 28th, 2007 9:22 am

    Dear Alavi sb.

    I think the revivalist rigidity is merely a pendulum swing. I like to believe that Pakistan shall one day achieve its manifest destiny as a beacon of light ushering in an intellectual and cultural renaissance – the first of its kind in the Muslim world.

  41. MansoorC says:
    April 11th, 2007 12:48 am

    Ali asked for a book recommendation on Iqbal. My personal favorite is “The Ardent Pilgrim” by Iqbal Singh. Also translated in Urdu as “Reh Navarde Shauq”. IMO Singh did a great job in critiquing Iqbal’s life (high points and low points). To me, Iqbal’s achievements come out even bigger when he is not idolized and when seen in the context of his all-too-human struggles/desires.


  42. Ahmad says:
    June 19th, 2007 10:52 pm

    Asslam u alikum,

    It is my humble opinion that we return to the Quran and Sunnah. Let’s follow and “feel” Mohammad (saw). It will pay off far better both here and the hereafter.

    Shukran. Wasslam

  43. Riaz hussain shah says:
    July 20th, 2007 5:05 am

    hi dear, last year i completed my study of m.phil.my research work was on Iqbal:s life.so now i want to research on Iqbal,s life at germany.i want to go germany for this purpose.so its possible.is there a department of iqbaliat in munich uni.plz tell me in detail

  44. Abdul Karim says:
    September 30th, 2007 5:29 am

    I love Hazrat Iqbal.

    His message is mysterious & sacrad.

    Our youth should pay attention to this dynamic personality.

    Coming time is of Hazrat Iqbal.

  45. October 25th, 2007 4:16 am

    Thanks really much for making such a n amazing website bcz these great leaders are our heros specially Allama Muhammad Iqbal but one mistake is here that there may be alot of picture of Allama Iqbal in this website which easily can be downloadede with thanks

  46. atta ur rahman says:
    November 18th, 2007 3:19 am

    i am pricipal of iqbal academy .our academy is based on iqbal thoughts .thanks to give info about iqbal. atta

  47. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 18th, 2007 5:05 am

    @ yun to syed bhi ho mirza bhi ho afgan bhi ho

    tum sabhi kuch ho batao to musalman bhi ho ??

  48. wasif says:
    March 22nd, 2008 12:03 pm

    Hum Ehle Mohbat Pa Lenge Khud Ape He Apne Mazile Ko
    Yarne Siyasat ne harso Pehlaye Hi Range Jal to Kiya

  49. wasif says:
    March 22nd, 2008 12:08 pm

    Gazle to Kahye Hum Ne Un se na Kaha Ahwal to Kiya
    Kal Misle Sitara Ubrehnge Hi Age Agar Pamal to kiya

    Jine Ki dua dine Wale Ye Baat tujhe Malloom Kaha
    Takhleeq Ka Ek Lamha hi Bohat Becar Jiye So Sall to kiya

    Har Phole Ki Lab par nam Mera charcha hi Chaman me Ame Mera
    Sohrat ki ye Dolat kiya kam hi gar pas Nahi Hi Mall to kiya

    (great :Habib Jalib )

  50. wasif says:
    March 22nd, 2008 12:10 pm

    Kalm Bhi Kiya Khob cheze Hi ke Jiss Ki Siyahe Se Dunya me Ujala Hota hi !

    Wasif Ajmeri

  51. May 2nd, 2008 5:29 am

    Growing up in Pakistani educational system, I was made aware of Allama Iqbal from the first day when I heard “lab pe aati hay dua” being recited in the school. During my middle years, I was told that Iqbal was the person who dreamt of Pakistan and Quaid e Azam fulfilled his dream. In these days, I became fond of Iqbal and borrowed his poetry books from the library and tried to memorize many of his poems. His shaheen momin was my hero, my ideal. His rhetoric of superiority of a praciticing muslim and his message of revolution was very appeasing to me. At that time, I was also a keen reader of Naseem Hijazi and felt that Iqbal was right. How bravely did he stand up to the British and Hindus to tell muslims to find their pride and recover their prestige. And muslims of India did just that by creating Pakistan. I read about Captain Sarwar, Major Aziz Bhatti etc. and thought of them as personifications of Iqbal’s Shaheen. Gen. Zia’s american Jihad was taught in school books. India was always evil, Israel a mortal enemy and Russian was the official language in Hell. Iqbal’s selective poetry in school books, and many Jamaat e Islami type teachers, no wonder Pakistanis have such a one-sided view of Iqbal.

    Then I found Ghalib and Meer. Iqbal’s poetry did not seem as brilliant when I compared them. I found out in college, that to consider Ghalib better than Iqbal was to confess that you preferred wine and women over your faith. But Ghalib’s poetry agreed with my thoughts more than Iqbal. Ghalib’s honesty and humour had much more to offer than Iqbal’s dry slogans. But when it came to politics, I was still in agreement with Iqbal. But then I found Faiz. Ghalib had a match. Iqbal was No. 3 in the list.

    What was my reason to demote Iqbal from my list of literary heroes? I read a comment here saying that Ghalib resorted to writing Qaseedahs for the British Monarch. I also found a lament Iqbal wrote at the death of Queen Victoria, where he equated the day of her death to Muharram. I have no problems with people writing praises for the Kings and Queens. Both did what they though was right. But Iqbal’s deep study of Greek and modern European philosophy had an impact on his own thinking. He was a student of history, but was not such a great revolutionary as portrayed in the books. He himself denied in a letter that he never wanted a separate homeland for muslims, but was only throwing options to ensure peace in India. I think muslims in India made Iqbal into a celebrity too soon. As soon as he returned after his overseas education, he was treated like a leader. His poetry was lauded as the best in the whole country. But was his phiolsophy as sound as his linguisitic abilities? I find that today, everyone claims Iqbal to be one of them. Secularists love him because he condemned the mullah. Mullah quotes him as he was a Jihadist. Scholars like Ghulam Ahmad Pervez (of Tolu-e-Islam) claim that Iqbal was a rationalist like Sir Syed. Indians revere him, Pakistanis claim the ownership over Iqbal. What was Iqbal? I think, he was a poet, who could never make up his mind.

    A freethinker like he was, Iqbal dismissed orthodoxy for most of his life, until he required guidance (or was pushed to seek) by the Ahrar. In 1935, just three years before his death, Dr. Iqbal felt the urge to oppose the Ahmadiyya Sect, despite his four decades long active relationship with them. His close relatives were Ahmadis. His eldest son, Aftab Iqbal was sent to Qadian to study in the Ahmadiyya boarding school. These last three years of his life, gave Iqbal the popularity among the orthodox Ahrar, and later Jamaat e Islami and other deobad and even salafi-wahabi movements.

    I would like to believe that Iqbal’s vision was a federation of fucntioning muslim provinces who followed rationalist islamic ideology like his. But who can tell. Our Jihadis find the ailing, angry and vindictive Iqbal more agreeable.

  52. Fraz Tajammul says:
    September 26th, 2008 4:39 pm

    @ Lutf ul Islam …. if Iqbal is made an idol by Jihadis or someone whom u dont like … it doesnt mean that its Iqbal’s fault and you discredit him. Suggesting that Iqbal was influenced by any pressure or anything else during last 3 years of his life, shows your own “sincerity” in analyzing the poet, making you no different than these jihadis.

  53. Dr. Javed Iqbal Saggu says:
    November 15th, 2008 4:56 am

    First of all , my best wishes for Dr. Iqbal. He was as well as is a great and respectable personlaity in the muslim community. His peotry reflects his visions and thinking. At the current stuiation of pakistan, pakistani nation is looking forward for a person like Allam Iqbal. My God bless you Sir Iqbal.

  54. YLH says:
    March 23rd, 2009 3:47 pm

    Dear Dr. Najam,

    Can we discuss this? How is 23rd March a day to reflect on the legacy of Allama Muhammad Iqbal? This is not cant or a loaded question. I am seriously trying to learn here.

    Consider: Iqbal died in April 1938… a good two years before 1940 resolution. The Lahore Resolution was drafted and vetted by either Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan or Ch. Zafrullah Khan… Ch. Zafrullah Khan admitted to vetting it…. but Wali Khan claimed that he drafted it. Sir Sikandar atleast had no love lost for Iqbal and the feeling was mutual.

    Nor did the Lahore Resolution have anything to do with Iqbal’s advice 10 years earlier… for one thing the Lahore Resolution spoke of North Western and North Easter units… as a political compromise … whereas Iqbal had spoken about North west alone. Secondly Lahore Resolution had envisaged negotiation on the issue of a center and was aimed at giving Jinnah an ambiguous enough document for him to play ball with the Congress and the British on his own terms.

    Finally … the Lahore Resolution spoke of autonomous and sovereign constituent units… and therefore the provincial autonomy was a main feature… and the second feature were “adequate, effective and mandatory” safeguards for minorities arrived at by “consultation” with them… their advice being mandatory here for good measure. Iqbal spoke of no such thing in 1930. The Lahore Resolution scheme itself was adopted from Mian Kifayet Ali’s “A Confederacy of India” (originally written under the pseudonym “a Punjabi” and titled “PAKISTAN” which was changed at Jinnah’s insistence)

    The star of the show in Lahore in March 1940 was Jinnah… right from the time he arrived in Lahore and managed to control the Khaksar rioting he proved himself as a statesman of the highest order. By this resolution and adept leadership, Jinnah managed to carry with him two main leaders of the Muslim majority provinces … Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan (the author) and AK Fazlul Haq (the mover) … neither of whom were “Muslim Nationalists” by any stretch of imagination. As the Hindustan Times said the next day “Triumph for Mr. Jinnah’s leadership”. The Lahore Resolution was Jinnah’s crowning glory and epitome of his vision. From a leader whose party had been trounced in the Muslim Majority areas, Jinnah became from this point onwards the sole spokesman of the Muslims of India.

    Meanwhile…. 14th August 1947 marked a reversal of that fortune for Mr. Jinnah.. or accurately June 3rd did… when Jinnah was all but forced to accept the plan which for all practical purposes was a negation of his own idea of Pakistan.

    Now this is not to down play the significance of Allama Iqbal and his ideas about a separate Muslim state in the North West… but I would like to learn humbly how Iqbal had anything to do with Lahore Resolution….

  55. readinglord says:
    March 23rd, 2009 8:12 pm

    Iqbal and Jinnah were instrumental in dividing India but we have divided their person even.

    Iqbal had sung:

    “Hindi hein ham watan he Hindostan hamara”

    and had accepted the knighthood bestowed on him by the British imperialism about which Moulana Zafar Ali had said:

    “Turkon ne shujaat se Samarna ko kia sar
    Aur Angrez ki dehliiz pih ‘Sir’ ho gaey Iqbal”.

    The Tarana-i-Hindi of Iqbbal is still sung in Bharat which country the Pakies treat an ‘Azli dushman’.

    We divided even the Indian Muslim League which had passed the Pakisan Resolution of 1940 into Pakistan Muslim League and Indian (Bharti) Muslim League. Why? In accordance with the ideology of TNT, perhaps!

    Is it not the time to look back and think though Sufi Mohammad’s sharia says, “Discussing the past events is ‘Harram’ “.

  56. April 25th, 2009 3:34 am

    Most of us, poetry lovers or otherwise, have read Allama Muhammed Iqbal at least some of him somewhere. To many he remained hard-to-understand philosopher poet. Iqbal has written pure poetry too which is equally remarkable. I like Dr Iqbal, one my favourite poets. I find his poetry the most interesting, most intriguing and most touching. It leaves an indelible mark on reader’s mind. I vitalize his style also his gift for conciseness and frugality.

    Aflaak se aata hay naloon ka jawab akher
    kartay hain khatab akher, uthtay hain hijab akher
    ahwal-e-mohabbat main kuch farq nahe aisa
    soz-e-tab-o-tab awal, soz-e-tab-o-tab akher

    I’m opening this topic to share and discuss soft and less philosophical poetry of Dr Iqbal.

    Let’s talk!

  57. May 29th, 2009 7:19 am

    Most of us, poetry lovers or others, have read Allama Muhammed Iqbal at least some of him somewhere. To many he remained hard-to-understand philosopher poet. Iqbal has written pure poetry too which is equally remarkable. I like Dr Iqbal, one my favourite poets. I find his poetry the most interesting, most intriguing and most touching. It leaves an indelible mark on reader’s mind. I vitalize his style also his gift for conciseness and frugality.

    Aflaak se aata hay naloon ka jawab akher
    kartay hain khatab akher, uthtay hain hijab akher
    ahwal-e-mohabbat main kuch farq nahe aisa
    soz-e-tab-o-tab awal, soz-e-tab-o-tab akhir

    huwaida aaj apnay zakhm penhan karkey choron ga
    lahoo ro ro ke mehfal ku gulistan karkay choron ga
    jalana hay mujhay her shama dil ko soz-e-penhan se
    teri tareek raaton main charaghan kar ke choron ga

    This is the poetry of Iqbal very much in the usual sense. Looks like the great influence of traditional style of poetry exercised over Iqbal’s mind. This appeals to the lighter mood. Simplicity combined with reasonable depth..Isn’t it beautiful?

    Gharz nishat hay shughel-e-sharab se jin ke
    halal cheez ko goya haram kartay hain
    bhala nibhay ge teri hum se kyonkar ay waez
    ke hum tu rasm-e-mohabbet aam kartay hain
    ju be-namaz kabhi parthay hain namaz Iqbal
    bula ke deer se mujh ku imam kartay hain

    More of Iqbal.. simple and slightly coloured in mysticism. The thought is quie simiar to Ghalib’s where he talks ‘ada kia hay?’ ‘wafa kia hay?’

    wohi asal makan-o-lamakan hay
    makan kia shay hay? andaz-e-bayan hay
    Khizer kyonkar batayay kia batayay
    agr mahi kahey derya kahan hay?

    Iqbal was a philosopher poet, not a pure poet and he freely borrowed ideas from different schools and systems in accordance with the demand of his poetry. One of them is the transformation of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch into ‘shaheen bacha’ and ‘mard-e-mouman’ but they carry Iqbal’s very own colour. Borrowing ideas does not mean that his thoughts are incoherent or entirely visionary, in point of fact his poetry is a historic product rooted in the intellectual climate of an age which witnessed the Indian war of independence and new era for Muslims of India. To write about the regeneration of the Muslim ummah in such an age was by no means a quixotic venture.

    Preeshaan hoon ke meri khaak akhir dil na ban jayay
    ju muskhil ab hay ya rab phir wohi mushkil na ban jayay

    Why did we come into being.. See how Iqbal stabs on it..

    tu shakh se kyon phoota, main shakh se kyon toota
    ek jazba-e-paidai, ek lazat-e-yaktai

    I read somewhere that AbdurRehman Bajnoori said that there are two divine books of India: The holy Vedas and Dewan-e-Ghalib. But no doubt Iqbal as a poet is the greatest after the mighty Ghalib, and as a thinker and philosopher among the very greatest. His poetry is pure inspiration, a thing of lightness, melody and grace. His ideas are incomparable. He remains a philosopher poet, the greatest that sub-continent or perhaps the modern East has produced. There is no doubt that Iqbal’s poems represent the highest achievement of philosophical poetry.

    Iss kashmakash main guzri meri zindgi ke raatain
    kabhi soz-o-saaz Romi kabhi paich-o-taab Razi

    wi sher jis se larzta hay shabistaan ka wajood
    hoti hay banda-a-mouman ke azan se paida

    Below one is truly musical:

    Na aatay humain iss main takrar kia the
    magr waad’a kartay huay a’ar kia the
    tumharay payami nain sab raz khola
    khata iss main banday ke sarkar kia the

    A beautiful ghazal..

    Husn-e-kamel he na ho iss behejabi ka sabab
    wo ju tha pardoon main penhaan khudnuma kyonkar hua
    dhaiknay walay yahan bhe dhaik leetay hain tujhay
    phir yeh wa’ada hashar ka sabr azma kyonkar hua
    Parsash-e-a’amal se maqsad tha ruswai meri
    warna zahir tha sabhi kuch, kia hua, kyonkar hua

    mairy mitnay ka tamasha dhaiknay ke cheez the
    kia batyaoon unn ka mera samna kyonkar hua

    A unique way.. Iqbal’s way..


    (Dunya main)
    Ho halqa-e-yaraan tu barashem ke tarah narm
    rizm-e-haq-o-batil ho tu foulaad hay mouman

    (Janat main)
    Kehtay hain farishtay ke dilawaiz hay mouman
    hooron ku shekayat hay ke kam-amaiz hay mouma

    I am sorry for not writing more succinctly. It is difficult to show economy of words when writing about one like Iqbal.

    Kind Regards,
    Faisal Hanif
    Guzergah-e-Khayal Urdu Forum

  58. usman says:
    June 19th, 2009 9:17 am

    Clebs like Iqbal are not available these days.He was a very passionate man,his work was outclass and luxurious as well.

  59. Obaid says:
    October 21st, 2009 7:31 am

    Iqbal’s letter to Daily Times London;

    Sir,— Writing in your issue of October 3 last, Dr. E. Thompson has torn the following passage from its context in my presidential address to the All-India Moslem League of last December, in order to serve as evidence of “Pan-Islamic plotting”:

    I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Moslem State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Moslems, at least of North-West India.

    May I tell Dr. Thompson that in this passage I do not put forward a “demand” for a Moslem state outside the British Empire, but only a guess at the possible outcome in the dim future of the mighty forces now shaping the destiny of the Indian sub-continent. No Indian Moslem with any pretence to sanity contemplates a Moslem state or series of States in North-West India outside the British commonwealth of Nations as a plan of practical politics..

    Although I would oppose the creation of another cockpit of communal strife in the Central Punjab, as suggested by some enthusiasts, I am all for a redistribution of India into provinces with effective majorities of one community or another on lines advocated both by the Nehru and the Simon Reports. Indeed, my suggestion regarding Moslem provinces merely carries forward this idea. A series of contented and well-organized Moslem provinces on the North-West Frontier of India would be the bulwark of India and of the British Empire against the hungry generations of the Asiatic highlands.

    Yours faithfully,
    Muhammed Iqbal
    St. James’s court, S.W.1, Oct. 10.

    Image of the letter; http://i38.tinypic.com/29z7mn9.jpg

  60. April 21st, 2010 7:34 am

    His love to Persian language is evident in his works and poetry. He says in one of his poems:

    گرچہ اردو در عذوبت شکر است

    garche Urdu dar uzūbat shakar ast

    لیک پارسی ام ز ہندی شیرینتر است

    lék Pārsī-am ze Hindi um zabandi shairbintar ast


    Even though in sweetness Urdu* is sugar – (but) My Persian is sweeter than Hindi*

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