Dr Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal (the Poet Philogive out the idea of creation of Pakistan and then persuaded Muhammad Ali Jinnah to leave the All India Congress, join All India Muslim League and lead the Muslim struggle towards the final destination - PAKISTAN. For this alone, he is commonly known as "Mufakkar-e-Pakistan", the Thinker of Pakistan and "Hakeem-ul-Ummat" ("The Sage of Ummah"). However, Iqbal did not live to see the creation of an independent Pakistan as he passed away in 1938, but perhaps much contended to have stirred up the movement for independence. For his vision and support to the creation of Pakistan, he is considered to be the "spiritual father" of Pakistan.
He was born at Sialkot (present Pakistan) on Friday, November 9, 1877 of a pious family of small merchants and was educated at Scotch Mission College, Sialkot and later he did his graduation in Arabic and Philosophy from the famous Government College, Lahore and was awarded Jamaluddin Gold Medal for securing highest marks in Arabic, and another Gold Medal in English. Later he did is masters in philosophy from the Government College, Lahore, securing first rank in Punjab state and awarded Gold Medal. As Assistant Professor, Government College, Lahore he published his first book, "Ilm-ul-Iqtasad" (study of economics) in 1903. He then went to Europe from 1905 to 1908 to earn a degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, qualified as a barrister in London, and received a doctorate from the University of Munich. His thesis, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia, revealed some aspects of Islamic mysticism formerly unknown in Europe. From 1907 to 1908 he was Professor of Arabic at the University of London. In 1908 he returned to India as a Ph D and Bar at Law and started his practice as a barrister and a part-time professor of Philosophy and English Literature.
Iqbal as a Poet Philosopher: Allama Muhammad Iqbal is generally known as a poet and philosopher, besides being a jurist, a politician, a social reformer, and a great Islamic scholar. His poetry that imbued within the Muslims of India a deep sense of unity and and an urge to break away the yoke of slavery from their British masters and Hindu collaborators. To honour him for his vision and his unique poetry, he is also referred to as "Shaere-Mashriq" (Poet of the East!). People normally mistake by comparing Iqbal with Ghalib and other western poets. But poets like Shakespeare and Ghalib never wrote poetry with a purpose. They had no theory of life and their poetry reflects humanistic intimations, but like Dante and Milton, Iqbal set before an ideal of combining poetry with doctrine. He took it upon himself to inspire the Muslims to consolidate themselves in order to imbibe the true spirit of Islam. This is not to deny the greatness of his poetry, which, at times, transcends national frontiers and embraces universal human values. However, Iqbal never considered himself as a poet, "I have never considered myself a poet. Therefore, I am not a rival of anyone, and I do not consider anybody my rival. I have no interest in poetic artistry. But, yes, I have a special goal in mind for whose expression I use the medium of poetry considering the condition and the customs of this country." Iqbal's contribution to the Muslim world as one of the greatest thinkers of Islam remains unparalleled. In his writings, he addressed and exhorted people, particularly the youth, to stand up and boldly face life's challenges. The central theme and main source of his message was the Qur'an. His poetry and philosophy, written in Urdu and Persian, stress the rebirth of Islamic and spiritual redemption through self-development, moral integrity, and individual freedom. His many works include "The Secrets of the Self"; a long poem; "A Message from the East" and "The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam".
A number of compilation of Allama Iqbal's soul inspiring poetry were published during his lifetime, which are still hot favourites among his devout. In 1900, Iqbal for the first time read his poem "Nala-e-Yateem," (Wails of an Orphan) at the annual function of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam at Lahore. In 1911 came the classic and most controversial poem "Shikwa" (Complaint) at Lahore, written in Persian since he addressed his appeal to the entire Muslim world. In this work Iqbal puts forth his theory of the self, a strong condemnation of the self-negating quietism (i.e., the belief that perfection and spiritual peace are attained by passive absorption in contemplation of God and divine things) of classical Islamic mysticism; his criticism shocked many and excited controversy. Iqbal and his admirers steadily maintained that creative self-affirmation is a fundamental Muslim virtue; his critics said he imposed themes from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche on Islam. This was followed by the epoch-making "Jawab-e-Shikwa" (Reply to Complaint) in 1912. In 1915, his long Persian poem "Asrar-e-Khudi" (Secrets of Self) was published, followed by counterpart to "Asrar-e-Khudi", published "Rumuz-e-Bekhudi" (Mysteries of Selflessness) in Persian in 1918. In response to Goethe's West-Ostlicher Divan, Iqbal wrote "Pay am-e-Mashriq" (The Message of the East) in Persian. His famous "Bang-e-Dra" ("The Call of the Bell") was published in 1924. In 1927 Zabur-e 'Ajam ("Persian Psalms") appeared, in which Iqbal displayed an altogether extraordinary talent for the most delicate and delightful of all Persian styles, the ghazal," or love poem. Came 1931, when a collection of his six lectures in the form of "Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam," was published. In 1932, "Javed Namah" was printed in Persian, which is considered to be in reply to Dante's 'Divine Comedy'. His famous collection "Bal-e-Jibril" in Urdu was published in 1934 and "Zarab-e-Kalim" in 1936, followed by "Pas Che Bayad Kard" in Persian, and "Payam-e-Mashriq" in September 1936. In most of his work, Iqbal gave intense expression to the anguish of Muslim powerlessness.
Iqbal's Concept of Self ("Khdi"): The central theme of Iqbal's poetry revolves around the elevation of the "self" and addresses the Muslims to improve their spiritual being rather than the bodily and worldly needs. This concept is based on the basic tenants of Islam wherein to know Allah is to know oneself.
The two verses quoted above very finely and plainly explain the dividends of elevation of "self". Those who chose to offer prayers with no consequent effects on their lives and dealings with others, says Iqbal, have in fact not prayed at all. One needs to elevate himself to a level that Allah Himself ask the person as to what he needs. If we look around we would find that the human being's material needs and wants are of more immediate and pressing concern to him which overshadow and overwhelm his spiritual needs. The concern for his material existence results in his forsaking his "self", synonymous with forsaking Allah. This leads the human being to mistakenly regard his material existence as his true self and become oblivious to his real self - his "self". Iqbal received a knighthood from the British Government in honour of the "Asrar-i-Khudi" (The Secrets of the Self) at Lahore on January 1, 1923.
Iqbal's poetry initially revolved around Indian nationalism. But his visit to Europe and sufferings of the Muslims made him to change his perspective and he started to criticize nationalism and opined that nationalism in Europe had led to destructive racism and imperialism, and in India it was not founded on an adequate degree of common purpose. Now his poetry and speeches were full of the concept of pan-Islamism, a speech at Aligarh in 1910, under the title "Islam as a Social and Political Ideal," clearly indicated to his new concepts and perspective. Iqbal called for the unity and reform, which could only be achieved by strengthening the individual through obedience to the law of Islam, self-control, and acceptance of the idea that everyone is potentially a vicegerent of Allah.
Iqbal contended that the Muslim community must encourage the ideals of brotherhood and justice. The mystery of selflessness was the hidden strength of Islam. Ultimately, the only satisfactory mode of active self-realization was the sacrifice of the self in the service of causes greater than the self. The paradigm was the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the devoted service of the first believers. What an irony, that the lamentations of Iqbal still stand true today as the Muslim community remains as undivided and oblivious to the sufferings of the brother Muslims as it was in years of Iqbal.
Iqbal as a Politician and Supporter of Muslim Resurgence: The sufferings of the Muslims, specially in the Balkans, after the World War I, the end of the Ottoman Empire and slipping of ground under the Muslims' feet, specially the sufferings of the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent and the unjust attitude towards them from the British and Hindus compelled Iqbal to enter the politics and was elected to the Punjab provincial legislature in 1927. He became the president of the all India Muslim League in 1930 and right away started its reconstruction and orientation towards the plight of the Muslims. Initially a supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity in a single Indian state, Iqbal later became an advocate of Pakistani independence. In addition to his political activism, Iqbal was considered the foremost Muslim thinker of his day. In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. He said, "I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Balochistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India."
In 1932, Iqbal headed a Muslim delegate to England to attend the Third Round Table Conference. While in London, Iqbal was invited by the London National League where he addressed prominent scholars and politicians, foreign diplomats, members of the House of Commons, Members of the House of Lords and Muslim members of the R.T.C. delegation. He very forcefully put across the Muslim view point and their plight back home. He explained why he wanted the communal settlement first and then the constitutional reforms. He stressed the need for provincial autonomy because autonomy gave the Muslim majority provinces some power to safeguard their rights, cultural traditions and religion. Under the central Government the Muslims were bound to lose their cultural and religious entity at the hands of the overwhelming Hindu majority. He referred to what he had said at Allahabad in 1930 and reiterated his belief that before long people were bound to come round to his viewpoint based on cogent reason.
During these days, Jinnah was residing in London. Sensing the leadership qualities of Jinnah, Iqbal thought of none other than Jinnah to come forth and lead the Muslims' struggle. In fact, Iqbal preferred Jinnah to other more experienced Muslim leaders such as Sir Aga Khan, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Nawab Hamid Ullah Khan of Bhopal, Sir Ali Imam, Abul Kalam, and others. Iqbal wrote to Jinnah conveying to him his personal views on political problems and state of affairs of the Indian Muslims, and also persuading him to come back. He wrote, "I know you are a busy man but I do hope you would not mind my writing to you often, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has right to look up for safe guidance through the storm which is coming to North-West India, and perhaps to the whole of India." Iqbal was of the view, "There is only one way out. Muslim should strengthen Jinnah's hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defence of our national existence. ... The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah. Now none but Jinnah is capable of leading the Muslims."
The following events were to prove how right Iqbal was in his vision to have selected Jinnah to lead the Muslims as Jinnah articulated the case of a separate homeland for Pakistan so brilliantly, that even the Hindus and the British could not stand in his way and had to succumb to his demands and gave way for the creation of Pakistan. A land thought of by none other than Iqbal, whom his life never allowed him to breathe the fragrance of independence. Just nine years before the independence, Iqbal breathed his last on April 21, 1938. In order to commend his services for the Muslims, he was buried in Lahore next to the Badshahi Mosque, so that all those coming for prayers could also pray for this great soul.
sopher) UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE ISLAMIC POLITY
IQBAL’S IMPACT ON CONTEMPORARY UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE ISLAMIC POLITYSeyyed Vali Reza Nasr
The revival and reform of Islam in the twentieth century, and its emergence as a social movement across the Muslim world in the present world is closely tied to life histories and intellectual contributions of particular individuals. It is they who advanced the formative ideas, spoke to the concerns of various social groups, shaped public debates by selecting the ideas that would be included in them and those that would not, and related individual and social experiences to lasting questions and concerns about freedom, justice, good, evil, and salvation. In short, they interpreted Islam, emphasized dimensions of it, and articulated an ideology on the basis of their faith, one which uses social impulses to make a new discourse possible. It is usually the biographies and ideas of men like Mawlānā Mawdūdī (d. 1979), Ayatollah Khomeini (d. 1989), or Sayyid Quṭb (d. 1966) that are viewed as essential to historical investigation into contemporary Islamic thought and action, and critical to understanding it. However, it is not possible to fully understand the scope and philosophical underpinnings of the doctrines that undergird Islamic revival and reform without looking at the works of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938). Although not as politically active Iqbal’s ideas have been of great influence on the gamut of Islamic thinkers in the twentieth century, and especially in Asia, where his perspectives on colonialism, Islamic revival, and relations between Muslims and non-Muslims have been most germane. Iqbal’s corpus allows us to locate the roots of Islamic revivalism. In specific processes and events, sharpening the focus of the more general explanations that have revolved around the larger forces of industrialization, urbanization, imperialism, or uneven development. To understand the roots, and trajectory of development of such foundational concepts of the current Islamic discourse on power, the state, and perfect polity, it is necessary to contend with Iqbal, and his contribution to the articulation of these ideas.
The Beginning: Education and Early CareerSir Muhammad Iqbal was born in 1877 in Sialkot in the Indian province of Punjab. He was born shortly after the Great Mutiny of 1857 and grew up at a time when Muslim power was on the decline before the rise of British colonialism. This reality would have a major impact on Iqbal’s intellectual formation. In many ways Iqbal would become a link between the Muslim historical past in India, and its future. In the same vein he would become the interpreter of the history, making sense of the turbulent changes through which Muslims were passing, relating their historical experience to the tenets of their faith, and drawing on the faith for solace, hope, and a path to recapturing lost glories. In this, Iqbal’s carrier both paralleled and resembled that of Sir Sayyid Aḥmad Khān the founder of the Aligarh educational institution on the one hand, and Mawlānā Abu ’l-Kalām Āzād (d. 1958), on the other. In looking to reform and adaptation of western ideas to restore power to the Muslim community of India, Iqbal’s carrier was close that of Sir Sayyid. In seeking to revive the faith, and seek power in its proper practice, Iqbal and Āzād had much in common. It is for this reason that both Islamic modernists and revivalists trace their ideas to Iqbal.Throughout his life Iqbal grappled with the religious, social, and political implications of the occlusion of Islam in his homeland. His rich literary and philosophical corpus was one of the first and most serious efforts directed at both understanding this development and charting a way for restoring Islam to its due place in the temporal order.Iqbal received his early education in Sialkot and Lahore in the religious sciences, Arabic, Persian, and English. It was at Lahore’s Oriental College (1809-97), where he studied with Sir Arnold Arnold, that he first came in contact with modern thought. In 1899 he received a Master in Philosophy from that college, and began to teach Arabic, compose poetry, and write on social and economic issues. His poetry was in the classical Perseo-Urdu style, but also showed the influence of European literature, especially Words worth and Coleridge. His eclectic education would in later facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas between East and the West in Iqbal’s works.In 1905 he left India to study law at the University of Cambridge, but it was philosophy that soon consumed his intellectual passion. At Trinity College he studied Hegel and Kant and became familiar with the main trends in European philosophy. His interest in Philosophy took him to Heidelberg and Munich in 1907, where he was strongly influenced by the works of Nietzsche. It was there that he received his doctorate in philosophy, writing a dissertation entitled, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia. In 1908 he was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in England. A lawyer and a philosopher, he returned to India in that year.Soon after his return he began teaching philosophy at Lahore’s Government College, and also took a keen interest in the unfolding plight of Indian Muslims under British rule. Iqbal’s interpretive reading of Islam took form during India’s struggle for independence between the two world wars. This was a period of great uncertainty for Indian Muslims. They had already lost their position of dominance during British rule, and were now anxious about their fate in independent India. The Muslims had never been reconciled to British rule over India, and were, therefore, the natural constituency for the Congress party and its struggle for independence. For many Muslims, however, the prospect of living under Hindu rule was also quite daunting. Their dislike of the British was tempered by their apprehensions about what they were to expect of a “Hindu Raj.” In broad brush, there were two Muslim positions during this period.First, there were those Muslim intellectual and political leaders who supported the Congress party, actively participated in its politics, and encouraged their fellow Muslims to do the same. They were fiercely anti-imperialist, and viewed opposition to the British to be the foremost concern of their community. The political views of many was informed by the legacy of the Great Mutiny of 1857, the sack and razing of Delhi by the British and the abrogation of the Mughal empire in 1858, and the ensuing social dislocation of Muslims. Moreover, these Muslims believed that support for the Congress party was the best option before Muslims; for the struggle for independence would forge a united Indian nation in which Muslims, owing to their contribution, would enjoy prominence. These Muslims accepted the Congress party’s claim to be thoroughly secular in outlook, to be above communal divisions, and to be capable and willing to promote and safeguard the interests of India’s Muslims both before independence and in the future Indian republic. Many of Muslim India’s best and brightest minds— intellectual and religious leaders — followed this path, men like Abu ’l-Kalām Āzād (later India’s Minister of Education) or Ẓākir Ḥusain (d. 1969, later India’ President), and the bulk of the Indian ulama, who remained in India even after Pakistan was created.Second, there were those Muslim leaders, exemplified and later led by Muḥammad ‘Ali Jinnah, (d. 1948) in the Muslim League, who did not view the struggle against the British to be the paramount concern of the Muslims, and remained apprehensive about living as a minority in a predominantly Hindu India. These Muslim leaders believed that Muslims were best advised to reassess their commitment to the Congress party, and to focus on safe-guarding and furthering their communal interests at a time of flux and before an uncertain future.More to the point, Jinnah did not view the Congress party and the independence movement as impartial and above communal affiliations. Rather, he argued that the Congress party was Hindu at its core, and as such would not truly represent or safe-guard Muslim interests. Jinnah, therefore, demanded special constitutional rights and privileges to protect Muslim interests in independent India.To understand Iqbal’s views on politics, and the role of Islam in it is imperative to understand the context in which those ideas took shape, and why and in what capacity did Indian Muslims react positively to those ideas. Before leaving for Europe Iqbal had been a liberal nationalist, sympathetic to the Indian National congress party. He was now communalist in his outlook, supporting Muslim separatism and its chief advocate, the All-India Muslim League. Iqbal was not, however, an active politician, and for this reason, the British saw no danger in his politics which was always subsumed in his more potent philosophical message; he was knighted in 1922, and he never renounced that title.Not directly acting in the communalist debate did not, however, mean that Iqbal was completely removed from politics. In 1926, Iqbal was elected to the Punjab Legislative Council, and grew closer to the All-India Muslim League. He showed more and more support for a separate Muslim homeland in lieu of submitting to Hindu rule which was to follow independence. In fact they very idea of a separate Muslim homeland; consisting of the Muslim majority provinces in Northwest India, was first proposed by Iqbal in 1930. Still, he never ceased to be first and foremost an intellectual force, and it is his impact on Muslim thought more than his political leanings that have secured his place in Muslim Cultural life.Religious Reform and Reconstruction of Islamic PhilosophyIqbal is unique among contemporary Muslim thinkers and philosophers in utilizing theology, mysticism, philosophy —of the East along with that of the Sets— and the potent emotional appeal and nuanced style of Perseo-Urdu Poetry to understand and explain the destiny of Man, and then to relate that vision to his social life and polity. It is Iqbal’s ability to traverse the expanse which separates philosophy from socio-cultural concerns that has made him a philosopher and a cultural hero, as well as the fountainhead of contemporary Islamic political thought.Iqbal argued that it is in the realization of their destiny that the spiritual salvation and political emancipation of Muslims can be realized. Islam holds the key to the realization of that destiny, for faith is central to a Muslim’s life. It is religion that defines human existence, and its is through religion that man may rise to greater heights. That rise is predicated on the rediscovery of the true faith, and that rediscovery is in turn tied to the reconstruction of the Islamic community.Much like other Islamic modernists, Iqbal found the ideal polity in the early history of Islam. It was in the Muhammadan community that Muslims had reached the pinnacle of their spiritual and worldly power-the full realization of human destiny. It was that vision of the past that guided his prescriptions for the future. He became convinced that man was able to realize the full potential of his destiny only in the context of the revival of Islam, in an order wherein the perfection of the soul would be reflected in the excellence of social relations. Yet, Iqbal’s formulation was not a jejune call to atavism. For, while he idealized early Islamic history, Iqbal also incorporated modern values and precepts into that ideal, such that the Muhammadan community and the fundamental tenets of the Muslim faith embodied all that he believed to be food in the modern West. The impact of the West on Iqbal was deep-seated and is clearly evident in the fabric of his world view. His criticisms of many aspects of the Western civilization, especially its secularism in some of his works such as Payām i Mashriq, only thinly guise his extensive borrowing form Western thought.Idealization of Islam went hand-i-hand with advocating religious reform. Iqbal argued that, Islam can serve man only if it was reformed and reinterpreted in the eh image of its Muhammadan ideal-and Iqbal’s understanding of the West-while using the tools of philosophical analysis and mystical wisdom. Iqbal did not view this exercise as innovation or reformations, but rediscovery and reconstruction of Islam. He believed that the inner truth of Islam had over the centuries been hidden by obscurantist practices and cultural accretions promoted by Sufi masters (mashāyikh), religious divines (‘ulama), and wayward sultans and monarchs. It was they who had produced a view of Islam that had led the faithful astray, sapped that religion of its power, ending its glorious reign. To reverse their fall from power and to realize their destiny, Muslims must find access to the truth of their religion. They must become aware of the fact that Islam, as it stood before them, was impure; only then would they look beyond popular impressions of Islam-passionate and devotional attachments to the religion to find its hidden truth. Echoes of these arguments can be found in the works of the gamut of Muslim thinkers in later years, from Sayyid Abu ’l-A‘lā Mawdūdī to Fazlur Raḥmān, both of Pakistan, or ‘Ali Sharī‘atī of Iran. Through them in turn Iqbal’s ideas traveled farther afield, to the Arab World and Southeast Asia, becoming the calling cards of revivalist thinking. Today, new areas are being touched by Iqbal. He is one the central intellectual poles around which debates about religion and identity in central Asia are taking shape.Iqbal’s early works, Asrār i Khudī and Rumūz i Bekhudī, encouraged Muslims to follow his prescriptions by harping on the themes of love and freedom; not romantic love or political freedom per s‚, but love of the truth and freedom from that view of Islam which had been vouchsafed through cultural transmission. Still his most complex philosophical and political views were argued emotionally in his poetry. He caught the attention of Muslims using the very language and sensibility which he believed they had to abandon if they were to aspire to greater heights. Iqbal is just as towering a figure in Persian and Urdu poetry as he is in contemporary Islamic philosophy.Iqbal rejected fatalism (taqdīr). He did not view history as the arena for the Divine will to unfold in, as Muslims generally do, but for humans to realize their potential. He encouraged Muslims to take charge of their own lives and destinies, to shape history rather than serve as pawns in it. To him history was not sacred and hence was easily changeable. This was a conception which showed the influence of the Kantian notion of “Divine aloofness.” It was at odds with the time-honored Ash‘arite tradition in Islamic theology and philosophy, which teaches that history is the manifestation of the Divine will and is therefore sacred; man can not hope to understand the Divine wisdom and hence should not reject the writ of history, nor seek to interfere with it. In encouraging Muslims to redirect history and to assume responsibility for its unfolding through a rational interpretation of their faith, Iqbal also echoed the beliefs of Mu‘tazalite philosophers who had centuries earlier taken the Ash‘arite to task but had failed to shape the subsequent development of Islamic thought.Iqbal understood that there could be no systematic rationalization of Islam unless there was a single definition of a Muslim. As a result he sought to produce such a definition in the hope of underlining the fundamental unity which has bound the various sects, denominations, and schools of thought which comprise the Islamic faith. As the eloquent poetry of Zubūr i ‘Ajam shows he was less concerned with the various expressions of Islam and more with the basic tenets of the faith, the lowest common denominator among Muslims. It was also to this end that he idealized early Islamic history, the period when there were no divisions in the he body of the faith. His vision of Islam was per force a simple and pristine one. This notion was of great importance and consequence to Muslim politics of India at the time, and as such made Iqbal a central intellectual figure in the drama of Muslim-Hindu stand-off of the period. For, it was the argument of the British and the Indian National Congress that Muslims of India were not one community, and were so diverse that no one party or leader could claim to speak for them, or to characterize as one people with one aim. The All-India Muslim League and its leader Muḥammad ‘Alī Jinnah rejected this notion arguing that Muslims were one people with one political agenda, and that the League and Jinnah were its “Sole Spokesman”. Iqbal’s discourse was central to this debate. Clearly his poetry and philosophical expositions supported the League’s position. Even if at the philosophical, cultural, and theological level such a unity was not easily attainable, at the political level through Iqbal and later Jinnah it became a palpable reality. As every shop-keeper in Punjab recited Iqbal’s poetry, he unwittingly grew closer to this singular definition of the Muslim community, especially as a political entity. Hence, the Islamic polity came to approximate Iqbal’s ideal far more than an all-encompassing ummah.The Perfect Man and the Perfect SocietyIqbal’s principal aim in reformation and rationalization of the Islamic faith was to recreate the ideal Muhammadan society-the perfect order in which man would attain his highest ideals. This was a task which began with the perfection of man-best exemplified in the example of Prophet Muhammad himself and culminated in the creation of the ideal social order, hence for Iqbal revival of faith at the individual level was ineluctably tied to the creation of the perfect Islamic would once again rise in India only pursuant to a revival of Islam. This idea was later manifested in the ideology of such Islamic groups as the Jamā‘at i Islāmī, who sought to achieve exactly that revival, and then through the creation of perfect Islamic societies in the form of Jamā‘ats (parties/societies).Iqbal’s perspective, however, was not so much political, although it had great impact on Muslim politics, but was philosophical. He combined the Nietzschean concept of “Superman” with the Sufi doctrine of Perfect Man (al-insān al-kāmil), devising an all-encompassing view of human development and social change. He saw God as the perfect ego-but an ego nevertheless, more near and tangible than God of old. As outlined in the Javīd Nāmah, God is the supreme ideal in which Iqbal’s scheme of human development would culminate. This conception of the Divine closely resembles the Sufi notion of al-insān al-kāmil, and no doubt parallels Nietzsche’s Superman.In describing his views Iqbal used the Sufi saint, Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī’s (1207-73) doctrine of ascent of man. Rūmī had explained the Sufi experience in terms of an alchemical process which would transform the base metal of the human soul into the gold of Divine perfection. Iqbal echoed Rūmī in the Bāl-i Jibrīl, where he argued that life continues despite death, for the soul is immortal and life continues as death and later as resurrection. Through this death and becoming human life would perfect. Since the rise of man was closely tied to the reconstruction of the temporal order, Iqbal relied on Rūmī to sanction the passing of the old Muslim order to pave the was for the rise of a new and triumphant one. Human and social development as such will continue until they attain the state of perfection as understood by Sufis and pondered upon by Nietzsche. Iqbal defined that perfection as a state where love and science—a symbolizing essence of East and the West—happily occupy the same intellectual space.With every birth man can attain a higher spiritual state in a more perfect society, for man has the essence (jawhar) which can be transformed into perfection. That process can only occur through the intermediary of true of Islam, for Islam has the blue-print. Just as meditation and asceticism would prepare the soul of the Sufi for spiritual ascent, activism—abandoning fatalism in favor of an engaged approach to individual and social life—would perform the same function in Iqbal’s scheme. That activism would culminate in the “Islamic state,” which Iqbal equated with the Sufi conception of spiritual bliss.The imprint of Sufism on Iqbal here is unmistakable and quite interesting. For he generally rejected Sufism, arguing that it had always been concerned only with the spiritual salvation of the individual, whereas he believed individual salvation could not be divorced from the reconstruction of the temporal order. Yet, criticism of Sufism was not tantamount to rejecting those of its teachings and beliefs that he had found quite persuasive. The titles of Iqbal’s various divans attest to the influence of Sufi imagery and symbolisms on his thought.In many ways Iqbal’s vision was a modernization of Sufism using the tools of Western philosophy. His innovation lay in introducing social development, and hence the emergence of the ideal Islamic political order, as a necessary condition for attainment of perfection and spiritual salvation. It is this aspect of his thought that was of relevance to Muslim political activism in India at the twilight of the Raj, and later influenced many revivalist thinkers who have since looked to politics as the medium for effecting individual spiritual salvation.The Role of EducationThe reform of Islam, and the revival of the faith at the individual and political level—what Iqbal called ‘umrāniyat-i Islām—was predicated on devising a satisfactory system of education that would both inculcate true Islam in the minds of Muslims, and equip them with the intellectual tools that they would need in developing and managing their societies and polities. Iqbal thought about education extensively. What he had in mind was a combination of excellence in theological and sharī‘ah studies and modern scientific and philosophical thinking. others, such as the Nadwatu ’l-‘Ulama in Lucknow or the Aligarh University too had experimented with such approaches, but Iqbal was not satisfied with their results. They either failed to satisfactorily incorporate modern subjects, or were too had experimented with such approaches, but Iqbal was not satisfied with their results. They either failed to satisfactorily incorporate modern subjects, or were too removed from Islamic studies to train genuine Muslims.What Iqbal had in mind is perhaps best reflected in his involvement in the Dār al-Islām project. This project was based on a waqf in Punjab. Iqbal hoped to turn it into a model educational institution. In the end it became the nucleus for the Jamā‘at i Islāmī, but before Mawlānā Mawdūdī left his mark upon it, Iqbal tried hard to shape it in the mold that he saw necessary for the future of Muslims. How he went about this tells much about his vision.Since he began to advocate a Muslim homeland in northern India Iqbal had favored that the Muslims would found a political organization. Still, he saw education as a more important instrument for their empowerment. He had discussed it with a number of his friends, including Ẓafar al-Ḥasan (d. 1951) of Aligarh University, a Kantian philosopher of renown who had been a proponent of the two-nation theory, and had proposed a Muslim political organization to be named Shabbānu ’l-Muslimīn (Muslims Youth).Iqbal was not organizationally minded and regarded education as the most effective means of bringing about a Muslim reawakening. He favored establishing a model dār al-‘ulūm (seminary) in Punjab to lay the foundation for a new Islamic world view, which would in turn facilitate the creation of a Muslim national homeland. Iqbal’s aim was evident in a letter that he wrote to the rector of al-Azhar in Cairo, Shaikh Muṣṭafā al-Marāghī, requesting him to send a director for the intended dār al-‘ulūm. In that letter Iqbal asked the Egyptian scholar for a man who was not only well versed in the religious sciences, but also in English, the natural sciences, economics and politics. Al-Marāghī answered that he could think of no suitable candidate. Iqbal was disappointed, and later gave up on that project.However several issues here are of importance. First, that Iqbal viewed education as the fulcrum of both reform and revival of Islam, and the creation of its worldly order. This emphasis on the foundational role of education in Islamic revival, later on found reflection in the works of a number of the advocates of the Islamic state, notably, among them, Mawlānā Mawdūdī who viewed education as inevitably ties to Islamic revolution and the Islamic state.Second, the definition that Iqbal had in mind for a rector of his project is also telling. Iqbal saw the proper educational system to be a balance between traditional Islamic sciences and western subjects and languages. he did not stipulate an modernist vision, but facility to study, interpret, and apply Western thought in tandem with traditional religious sciences. Marāghī’s response to Iqbal suggested that perhaps Iqbal’s definition was ahead of its time, there had to have been occasion to train such multi-faceted individuals somewhere before they could be called on to lead a new institution. In effect, Iqbal was looking for the very product that his institution was to produce; if that product was already extant, then why build a new institution to satisfy that lacunae. It was this realization that led Iqbal to give up. It is also likely that the pace of events at the time was forcing Muslims to look for political solutions and to postpone more cumbersome educational undertakings to some future date.Finally, that Iqbal wrote to Marāghī and the al-Azhar rather than the Deoband, Farangi Mahal, or Nadwatu ’l-‘Ulama in India is telling in several regards. It is possible that since many Indian ulama supported the Congress and did not look favorably upon Muslim separatism that Iqbal saw no point in contacting them. It is also possible that Iqbal viewed the ulama with disdain. Still, he did write to an ‘ālim in Egypt.In writing to Marāghī Iqbal reinforced a tendency which will blossom later in South Asia that Islamic authenticity must per force be associated with the Arab center of Islam. Although, at that time, and in many ways since, Islam in Asia has had for more intellectual and cultural vitality, still it has become a necessity to associate revival and reform with the Arab heartlands. This attests to revivalism’s desire to recapture the authenticity of early Islamic life of the prophetic era and that which followed it immediately. Emphasis on origins thus necessitates hearkening to Arabism.The appeal to Al-Azhar also had a pan-Islamist dimension, in that Iqbal saw affinity with Arab Muslims, and viewed Cairo as an intellectual and cultural pole for Indian Muslims to relate to, and receive support from.Although Iqbal’s ideas on education never found an institutional embodiment, still, his emphasis on education has become a central feature of the Muslim discourse on the revival and reform of the faith.Iqbal and the Shaping of Pakistan’s PoliticsIqbal was one of the first advocates of Muslim separatism in India. He was not a politician, and was not interested in participating in the organizational and activist struggle for Muslim autonomy and independence. Still, in many ways he laid the foundation of Pakistan, at the intellectual and cultural level. It for this reason that he occupies such a central place in Pakistan today.Liah Greenfeld writes that, the architects of nationalism have generally been intellectuals. The future nations rewards the intellectuals for their contribution by according to them a central role in the new sociopolitical order-turning them into an “aristocracy” that will enjoy “high social status for generations to come.”Iqbal is without doubt the most popular poet of Pakistan, and is viewed by Pakistanis of all hues as an infallible and omniscient philosopher and sage. His name bestows legitimacy on all ideas and programs which are associated with him. He has gained and almost prophetic reputation in Pakistan, far exceeding the claims of the modest poet and thinker of Lahore, His ideas and sayings are invoked to legitimate various policies, sanctify sundry views and decisions, and silence opposition and criticism. In short, for Pakistanis Iqbal became a figure larger than life, a repository of great wisdom and charisma, for people all across the political spectrum from Left to religious right.This status owes to the central role which Iqbal, as an intellectual, has played in articulating Muslim aspirations, and relating them to the creation of a homeland. After Iqbal’s corpus was always concerned with relating revival of Islam at the personal level to the emergence of an Islamic order. Pakistan made sense to many of its advocates in the context of Iqbal’s ideas, and also through his masterful poetry, which weaved Islamic symbols with political ideals.As mentioned above many claim Iqbal as the fountainhead of their social, religious, intellectual, and political programs. This is perhaps expected when one figure so dominates the national life. Still, there are those who can with some legitimacy claim Iqbal, and they are not necessarily on the same sides in religious and/or political debates.Islamic parties with some justification claim to be heirs to Iqbal’s intellectual tradition. After all, the notion of revival and reform of Islam, its relation to creation of a just Islamic order, reform of Sufism, and the cultural accretions that have come to shape the cultural dimensions of Islam are all part of the Islamic parties’ program. Those who follow these parties relate to Iqbal, and then through him to these parties in the context of these dimensions of Iqbal’s corpus.There are also those in Pakistan who have been inspired by Iqbal’s attention to the importance of modern ideas, and the need to create a linkage between them and Islam. Thinkers from Khalīfa ‘Abdul Ḥakīm to Fazlur Raḥmān found legitimacy for their enterprise in Iqbal’s modernism.Still, others, those interested in the revival of the Islamic tradition of philosophical inquiry, find support in Iqbal, who after all, wrote about metaphysics in Persia, and understood ‘irfān and analyzed Mawlānā Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī.The impact of Iqbal has been multi-directional, too diffuse in this sense to be discrete or tied to any one ideology or group. More important, is perhaps the fact that Iqbal has continued to legitimate religio-political inquiry. His mark on Pakistan is not so much in the specifics of his ideas, but in the foundational principle that stipulates: all revival of Islam at the personal level is predicated upon the creation of an Islamic worldly order. Regardless of what else they disagree on, the sundry of intellectual, religious, and political debaters in Pakistan are concerned with this issue, and most agree on its centrality to their respective enterprises.ConclusionIqbal was without doubt a most creative and original thinker, one who sought to bring together many strains of Islamic life and thought together, to reform the Muslim faith, imbue it with modern precepts, and to reconstruct it anew. He related Islamic thought to Western philosophy, and linked spiritual salvation to intellectual change and social development. As a poet of exceptional abilities he conveyed these ideas to his audience most forcefully. Although there is no distinct school of thought associated with Iqbal, there is no doubt that many across the spectrum of Islamic thought have been swayed by the wisdom of his agenda and the logic of his method, and have sought to emulate him in reviving their faith and reforming their societies.Bibliography and Further ReadingAhmad, Aziz. Iqbal and the Recent Exposition of Islamic Political Thought. Lahore: Muhammad Ashraf, 1950.Bausani, Alessandro. “Classical Muslim Philosophy in the Work of a Muslim Modernist: Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)”, Arch. Gesch d. Philosophie (Berlin), Vol. XLII (1960): 3.Bausani, Alessandro. “The Concept of Time in the Religious Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal”, Die Welt des Islam (Leiden), New Series III (1954).Fernandez, A. “Man’s Divine Quest, Appreciation of Philosophy of the Ego According to Sir Muhammad Iqbal,” Annali Lateranensis (Rome), Vol. XX (1956).Greenfeld, Liah, “Transcending the Nation’s Worth,” Didalus 122:3 (Summer 1993).Hakim, Khalifah ‘Abdul. “The Concept of Love in Rumi and Iqbal”, Islamic Culture (Hyderabad) (1959).Iqbal, Muhammad. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Lahore, 1930.Iqbal, Muhammad. Pas Che Bayad Kard Ay Aqwam-i Sharq (What Should be Done, O People of the East). Lahore, 1936.Iqbal, Muhammad. Asrar-i Khudi (Secrets of the Self). Lahore, 1915.Iqbal, Muhammad. Rumuz-i Bikhudi (Mysteries of Selflessness). Lahore, 1918.Iqbal, Muhammad. Payam-i Mashriq (Message of the East). Lahore, 1923.Iqbal, Muhammad. Zubur-i ‘Ajam (Persian Hymns). Lahore, 1927.Iqbal, Muhammad. Javid Namah (Book of Eternity). Lahore, 1932.Iqbal, Muhammad. Bal-i Jibril (Gabriel’s Wing). Lahore, 1936.Iqbal, Muhammad. Armaghan-i Hijaz (Gift of Hijaz). Lahore, 1938.Malik, Hafeez (ed.). Iqbal: Poet Philosopher of Pakistan. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.May, Lini S. Iqbal: His Life and Times. Lahore, Pakistan: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1974.Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza, Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza, “Muhammad Iqbal”. In Ian P. McGreal (ed.) Great thinkers of the Eastern World. New York: Harper Collins, 1995, pp. 493-502.Schimmel, Annemarie. Gabriel’s Wing: A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1963.Schimmel, Annemarie. “Muhammad Iqbal and German Thought”, Muhammad Iqbal, PGF. Karachi, 1960.