By Senator Rehman Malik
I feel lucky to have done my B.Sc. from the same college where our great poet and Mohsin-e-Pakistan Allama Muhammad Iqbal had studied. I also had the chance to hear about his quick and witty responses from the teachers and professors of the college while studying.
My English Professor Dr. Khair Ullah once narrated that; one day Allama Iqbal arrived late in the class and the teacher asked him “ Iqbal why are you late”? To which he responded: “Sir Iqbal hamesha late hi ata hai”.
I once went to Spain and there I visited the famous Mosque of Cordoba (Masjid E Qurtuba), which was converted to a Cathedral after the fall of Muslims in Spain in around 1246. The beauty of the place is splendid and is mentioned by Iqbal in his poetry as I was told by the priest of the Cathedral upon my visit. This eight-stanza Urdu poem by Iqbal was written in 1932 and published in his Bāl-e Jibrīl collection. It is regarded as “one of his most famous pieces” and a “masterpiece”. In the poem, he has resembled the beauty of pillars of the mosque with the line of trees in Syrian Desert. “Your foundations are lasting, your columns countless. Like a cluster of palms in the desert of Syria”
I had similar experience at Tashkent where I found many fans of Iqbal and a singer sung his verses making us feel proud.
Since I was born in Sialkot and was brought up there, one of my class fellows used to live where Iqbal’s ancestral house was located near Mohalla Imam Sahib. I used to get a chance to see the house every now and then. The last time I had visited the place, I ordered the repair of the house through the local PWD.
My father used to narrate very interesting things about Iqbal like; he used to love travelling in a Tanga and was friendly with locals. He preferred to wear white shirt and Tehmad at home. He had very simple living as the house was small connected with other houses of the locality.
Although he led a very simple life yet he used to dream big for Muslims of the Sub–Continent. His intellect was as great and big as the meaning of his name was. He was the first to have suggested the idea of creation of separate country for the Muslims of India.
The Muslims world has not produced any thinker of Iqbal’s stature. He was a lawyer, philosopher, poet, politician and in short, the dreamer of Pakistan. He gave the idea of a separate homeland for Muslims in North-West of India in his presidential address of All India Muslim League annual meeting held at Allahabad in 1930, where they can practice their religion and live freely.
If we say that he was the conceptual founder of Pakistan it wouldn’t be wrong. He not only proposed a homeland for the Muslims of Sub-continent but also tried to wake up the whole Muslim Ummah through his visionary and philosophical ideas depicted in his poetry. He represented his own interpretation of Islam, which is not only representation of true spirit of Islam but also at the same time synchronized with the modern age.
One of the basic ideas of Iqbal is “self-actualisation”, which means to know about the purpose of your existence in this world. He also complements this idea with the answer of this question. He says: “Truly purpose of the every Muslim’s life is to please the Allah Almighty”. Now, the way he pleases may differ for everyone.
His poetry was full of motivation that one of the Indonesian politicians says: “We lead our freedom movement through the poetry of Iqbal”.
Allama Muhammad Iqbal devoted his life to make Muslims rise above sectarian divides as he writes about it in the Jawab-e-Shikwa poem in which there is “answer to the complaint”, God addresses him with a reply to some of his own lamentations in a previous and related poem, “Shikwa”. So as such, he was ideologically above sectarian divides and sought to bring all Muslims under the banner of the Prophet (PBUH) and the earliest Companions.
He kept stressing on the spiritual and moral emptiness of Western culture and introduced a term of “Momin” – a true Muslim follower of Islam in both faith as well as practice. He compared a non-Muslim with a Muslim as under: “A non-Muslims identity is that he always runs for universe while a Muslim identification is that the whole universes run towards him”
Unfortunately we as Sub-continent Muslims have failed to pursue his vision for Muslims and despite having a separate State for our religious livelihood, no Islam is implemented in it and we have destroyed Allama Iqbal’s dream. We run after lust, wealth and worldly matters. We never try to implement his idea of unity. We assume about ourselves as a nation who leads the Muslim world but we have failed to create unity among us. We have not been able to lead Muslim Ummah.
While Allama Iqbal was processing thought of a separate country he had thought of a separate country for Muslim, which would become a great Islamic State to lead the Muslim Ummah.
(The writer is member of Pakistan Senate, Chairman of think tank “global eye” & former Interior Minister of Pakistan.)