Iqbal – The Universal Reformer

It takes thousands of year for a genious of the highest class to be born. Iqbal believed in habitual vision of greatness. He had a kind of head and heart that stood out in millions. Iqbal alone stands in the post classical period of Islamic philosophy as a reviver of the discipline within the Muslim world. He is the only Islamic philosopher who made a serious attempt in resolving the problems of modern western philosophy aesthetically within Islamic context. His thoughts have been extremely influential throughout the Islamic world today.

Iqbal being a great visionary choose grand themes for his subject matter and had aesthetically drawn great lessons of lasting value from them. His similies, metaphors, heroes and historical figures, all are superlative. He introduced them with a new insight to arouse the Muslims particularly their leaders from their deep slumber to contribute positively towards the continuity of life. Iqbal verses gave a message of hope and great expectations to achieve the higher objectives of life. He wanted to restore the same self-confidence among Muslims, which led them to the heights of glory in the past. How to stand united?

In reality, Iqbal was a ‘Philosophical Poet’ through his philosophy; poetry emerged that carried a pattern of life. Iqbal termed his poetic mentor in the name of Maulana Rumi, whose poetry and philosophy had a deep influence on Iqbal’s mind. Deeply grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal began to intensely concentrate on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, and embraced Rumi as his guide. Rumi brought peace to the disorganized and afflicted world of his age. Iqbal was also considerably aware of his noble mission. He wanted to give the same spirit of the modern world which Rumi gave to his age and the coming generations. In Asrar – e – Khudi, Iqbal combines the concept of superman of Nietzsche and Mard -e- Haq of Hazrat Mowlana Rumi to build up the soul of man more powerful and creative for transcendental values. Iqbal thoroughly studied old and new philosophy of the west and the east and examined it in the light of Holy Quran. He discovered true literary and religious self out of his knowledge and gave a new spirit to face the challenge of the world. He believed that a new world can be created with new thoughts and dynamic leadership which we lack. Pakistan is facing acute crisis of leadership; Iqbal poignant thoughts has made every soul spellbound:



(Supreme vision, Sublime language, sensitive soul

These virtues are pre-requisite for leading the caravan)

Muslims all over the world are passing through a terrible phase. They are in the state of despair and despondency. His poetry stirs up the creative and imaginative feelings to move ahead courageously and spontaneously. The symbol of ‘Falcon’ indicates something deep and significant to build up personality for more creative work. Iqbal combined and harmonized the thoughts of the east and the west in a very profound manner to highlight the true value of Islamic theology, ethics and philosophy in the spirit of comparative fields. Like all great writers, Iqbal’s writings are as fresh and relevant as ever. His poetry transcends time and space; it is difficult to draw a line between the earthly and the heavenly. The ‘unquenched quest’ is an eye full of yearning, with a heart full of longing:

Furqat e shab mein khatee hai peach o taab suub

Chash mein shafq hai khou fasha akhtar e sham k liyae

(Pining for the sun, morning is yearning to be united

For the evening star, eye of twilight is exited)

Raaz e hayat pouch lay khizr e khajasta gaam say

Zinda har aik cheez hai koshish e natamaam say

(You ask the wizened to know the elixir of life

That every thing is kept alive by perseverance in strife)

Allama Muhammad Iqbal presented Islam as a revolutionary concept. In this respect, if even you overlook his poetry, which is the scale and medium of his thought, and go through the ‘New Year Message’, which he gave on January 1, 1938 – the year of his death, you find him saying, “the coercive and despotic monarchic system sustains under the veil of democracy, nationalism, socialism, fascism and the rest. Under these veils, the freedom values and human dignity are disgraced and ridiculed the world over, that one will not find a parallel to that even in the darkest phase of the history. There is only one creditable unity and that is of the human being, which is above (the prejudices of) colour, race and language. As long as the curse of this so-called democracy, the dirty nationalism and the disgraceful monarchy, is not sweeped and till the time a person gets convinced through his (or her) acts and deeds, of the principle that ‘all creatures are the family of Allah’, and the credibility of colour, creed and the geographic nationalism is obliterated, human being will stay deprived of the welfare and felicity in this worldly life”.

In the last address of his book, ‘The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’, Allama Muhammed Iqbal presented his view on the issue of modern legislation and the legislative assemblies. Towards the end of it he openly said and without any rancour, that, “the West is a big obstacle in the way of human progress, and unless the humanity gets rid of the concept of life given by the West, its problems will not be solved. The moral reconstruction of the universe according to the principles ordained by Islam, the discovery of the faithful person and building the society around social justice, are the foundations on which the world (system) needs to be established”. This was Iqbal’s mission.

It is the judgment of all the great intellectuals, philosophers and ardent lovers of literature that Iqbal possessed mighty intellect. The greatness of his mind is reflected through his work. The very fact that his poetry has been translated into different languages of the world is proven as greatness of Iqbal. On the whole, our only hope lies in the emergence of able, strong and dynamic leadership in the Muslim world who takes the Muslims to heights of success through scientific and religious education and above all suitable system of government in the light of the philosophy of Iqbal, the universal reformer.

Syed Naveed Abbas


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