By Rather Nasir
04 April 2019
In the quest for the Insaan e Kaamil,
or the Perfect Man, Maulana Rumi (RA) played a pivotal role for kindling the
heart of Allama Iqbal (RA). Rumi (RA), the spiritual mentor of the Allama,
which holds profound influence on his poetry is echoed in one of the famous
philosophical poems of Iqbal(RA) , the secrets of self (Asrar e Khudi) where
Rumi’s verses are quoted in the beginning:
a lamp in hand?
The shaykh did
all the city span.
Sick of mere
ghosts he sought a “Man” but
Could find none
in all the land
I, Rustum or a
I’m sick of
snails, am sick, he said
There is none,
said i. He shook his head,
There is none
like them, But Still I Seek.
The quest for the Perfect Man became a goal
for Iqbal (RA). But, a common misperception that is being conjured by the
western media and accepted by many scholars from the east, without proper
scrutiny is that Iqbal (RA) was influenced in certain respects by Nietzsche
towards the formulation of his concept of the perfect man. The Allama (RA) has
himself reacted to the very supposition in a letter written to Dr, Nicholson,
“I wrote on the Sufi doctrine of perfect man more than twenty years ago, long
back I had read or heard anything about Nietzsche”.
On the contrary, the concept of the
superman as propounded by German thinker, according to Iqbal (RA) , was
borrowed from the literature of Islam degraded by his materialism.
Although Iqbal (RA) had taken a lot of
interest in German philosophy and literature, not because he had to quench his
literary thirst from it but to actually trace the impact of Persian philosophy
on German literary thought, which was quite profound and enduring. In this
regard, some of the glaring examples cannot be ignored. For example, Herder, a
German Philosopher, poet and theologian, translated Sheikh Sadi Sherazi’s (RA)
famous Gulistan into the German language. Then came the Friedrich Schiller, the
famous playwright, who named his drama in the Persian language that is Toran
Dukht. Its plot was obtained from Nizam is , “Haft e Paiker”. The
most important one was Von Hammer, who translated the famous “Divan e Hafiz”
into the German language. Since, Go the, was profoundly influenced by Hammers
translations of hafiz, thus his heart kindled to read Divan e shams , Attar and
many other Persian classics.
These became the reasons why Allama Iqbal
(RA) got drawn toward German literature. The concept of perfect man in eastern
traditions is firmly based and can be traced in the writings, of Abu baker
Tufail, Hai-ibn Yakzaan and so on.
The Allama (RA) was never short of all such
resources. Besides, Islamic mysticism uses the phrase Insaan e Kamil as an
amalgamation of the divine and the human. Nietzsche on the other hand was
bereft of this concept as his approach was purely materialistic. He failed to
understand the term spirit except in the sense of life in the metaphysical
manifestation. Iqbal(RA) writes about Nietzsche that he failed to reach his
goal because of his materialistic tradition, although vision of divine came to
him which gave him kind of a Gnostic mentality. Yet he was a failure and his
failure was mainly due to the intellectual primogenitor, like Darwin and Albert
Lange whose influences completely blinded him from reality. al interpretation
of the historical processes.
The very materialistic background with the
rage of atheism seduced Nietzsche from the right path.
In this context Iqbal (RA) writes, in the Payam
“His heart is a
But his brain an
In the final analysis, Iqbal’s(RA) perfect
man) is a developed personality, who is not a callous friend drawing sadistic
pleasure through cruelty and emerging from serious crimes. He is a man who has earned
immortality and spiritual discipline.
Rather Nasir teaches English at Boys Higher Secondary School, Kangan