By Reema Shaukat
09 November 2017
A FEW weeks back I came across a video in which one of Turkish Prime Ministers in his speech was admiring Dr Muhammad Iqbal’s vision and effort to create spur among Muslims to help Turks during war. The depth of love, affection and respect among the Turkish people and leadership for Muhammad Iqbal is visible today because of his immense services for Islam and contribution to Turkish causes including during the Balkan wars and Turkey’s War of Independence. It was quite a moment of pride with nostalgia that we as a nation are so blessed that Allama Iqbal was our visionary leader, whose wisdom, poetry and foresightedness is still a vigil for us after many decades.
The world acknowledges our leaders so much that sill today they quote them in their discourse. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, born on Nov 9 1877 is recognised as the national poet of Pakistan. He was a firm supporter and believer of the politically aware, mystic and divine revival of Islamic civilisation across the world particularly in sub-continent. His poetry is still considered a beam to move forward and take guidance with belief in Khudi. Allama Muhammad Iqbal pulled the Muslims out of the spirals of ignorance and restlessness through his poetry and showed them the right path to their destiny of achieving independence and ‘Khudi.’ He was one of the most prominent leaders of the All India Muslim League who encouraged the creation of a “state in north-western India for Muslims” in his 1930 presidential address. As a leading philosophical and literary voice during the time of Indian independence and the eventual partition of the country, Iqbal was an important political and social leader in the establishment of Pakistan in 1947, though he died in 1938 but he gave vision to the people through his poetic collections. That’s why he is honoured as the “Poet of the East”.
Allama Iqbal wrote in Persian, Urdu and English and his poetry and prose explore deep existential questions and thoughts about the soul, human life and connexion with God. Iqbal first published a collection of poetry, Asrar-e-Khudi, (Secrets of the Self) in 1915. It is written in Urdu and refers to life as a spiritual journey to realise the inner spark of mysticism within, and be thus transformed. Iqbal in his poetry, especially in “Javid Nama”, had referred to Rumi as Peer-e-Rumi or his mentor as he was deeply influenced by 13th century Persian Sufi poet, Jalal ud din Rumi but Iqbal’s inspirations were not limited to the East. During his academic studies at Trinity College in Cambridge and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where he received his PhD, Iqbal was well-versed with the writings of Nietzsche, Bergson, Goethe, Dante and other philosophers.
If we look back into history, we can clearly grasp that Iqbal was definitely the chosen one who was assigned the duty to invigorate the nation and to prepare them for creation of Pakistan. He conveyed the message of hope, belief and unanimity and asked confused Muslims to bind their abilities together on a chosen platform. He equated youth with the qualities of falcon and called them Shaheen in his poetry, just to give youth an inspiration from the qualities of that bird that has vision, flies high and always fight for its existence through continuous efforts. He established that this character and attitude would actually enable them to grasp their fortune and redeem magnificence of Muslim Ummah. Iqbal always desired for Muslims unity to regain their renaissance and appear in world as super power which is much needed today when we come across the situation of Muslims around the globe. We can see them suffering and struggling for their existence and identity.
Unfortunately, we were blessed with his vision for Pakistan but we didn’t care about the prosperity and progress of country and preferred divisions on the basis of caste, creed, sectarianism, provincialism and other petty issues. Since its inception till today, we are unable to make it citadel of Islam because of our inner differences. We because of our inner weaknesses could not make it that successful and powerful which our visionaries and forefathers thought of.
But still if we don’t waste more time and try to follow system in every walk of life we can achieve reason for creation of Pakistan. We must believe in ourselves or Iqbal’s concept of self-realisation which he called Khudi. There is no doubt about the abilities and potentials of his dreamt falcons and they are doing their best within available resources but this progress should not remain limited to one class. We should move forward by defeating class difference, political ideologies and economic alterations and believe in progress of Pakistan with given equal rights to all and sundry.
It is time to think and implement his vision for us in our lives. Schools, colleges and other institutions must celebrate Iqbal day while creating awareness in our new generation about the Iqbal’s dream and wish for Pakistan and Muslims. On this day, we should revive our promise to Iqbal for the betterment of Pakistan and fulfilment of his vision. Together we can bring harmony, peace, justice and prosperity in our Pakistan which for sure is need of the hour and every true Pakistani is desirable too. Definitely Iqbal’s philosophy and thoughts preached to youth can play a constructive role in progress of country.
Reema Shaukat works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think-tank based in Islamabad.