Iqbal’s Philosophies

  • Meer Hamza

I sit today and as the many students of the present generation, at times I get annoyed reading his poetry. I get annoyed listening to his philosophies and I get fed up of the same portrait of him sitting and deliberating over the creation of Pakistan. Frustrated I exclaim, whatever! Did he even do anything else than dreaming?

Ironically, that’s how a massive majority of the present day students and youth like me assume Iqbal. Ignorant of the spirit behind his philosophies, impolite towards the reformation his poetry brought about among the dejected muslims of a toppled empire, we complain about our failures and seek answers in the philosophies and systems of the west unknowingly that our answers may be hidden somewhere amid Iqbal’s philosophies too. His beliefs and his poetry is the centre of global approbation and thus I decided to dig deep into his work and extract the vital idea of his writings; the theme of his deliberation and the reasons behind his revolutionary philosophy of “khudi”and “revolution”

Allama Iqbal’s philosophy of revolution has emerged from his dynamic concepts of God, universe, history, individual and society. Rejecting the metaphysics based on the static concepts of God, universe, history, individual and society, he made a re-statement of metaphysics which emphasized dynamism and activism.

He negated greek philosophies and contradicted them with arguments from the Qura’n. He emphasized that muslim philosophy focused on actions rather than ideas. By creating an organic relationship between religion and knowledge, and between thought and intuition and the latter’s highest stage of wahy, he leads on to accept the religious experience as a scientific way of acquiring knowledge, like other social sciences.

It was the graft of this very revolution in Iqbal’s thought which endowed his homeland with the concept of Pakistan and procured the excellent leadership of Quaid-i-Azam.

Iqbal’s metaphysics is based on “Absolute Existence” or the dynamic concept of God. Iqbal does not accept Aristotle’s concept of God being “The Unmoved Mover”. Aristotle thought that God can be adjudged as the source of all movement only by being considered “The Unmoved Mover”. According to him if God be considered as dynamic some other center for movement will have to be formulated, Hence, he hypothesized that God is the first cause of the long series of movements and changes, but is stationary Himself.

Iqbal’s greatest work was all times was “Asrar-e-Khudi” translated by Professor RA Nicholson as “Secrets of Self”. The book focused on a try to understand self.

According to Iqbal man is the care-taker of all possibilities of life; The selfin an individual is speculative and also possesses a sharp insight that sees the whole. It sees not merely the observable part of an object but the whole of itthere are signs of God’s existence everywhere in the universe even in man himself. God says to us: “on earth and in yourselves, there are signs for firm believers. Can you not see?” Your real existence is your own self. If you want to understand God you have to understand your self first. To understand and then awaken your self  you have to pass through strenuous stages; and the most difficult task for you is to fight against yourself. Although it looks odd to fight against one’s own self, this fight is actually self control, for which Iqbal says: ‘Self control in individuals builds families; in countries, it builds empires.’

The self is not a ghost in you but it is you in real, it is your very existence, of which you are unaware. Your awareness about yourself is the discovery of selfin you, and for that purpose you have to undergo a long fight against external forces. These external forces determine your actions as long as you are unaware of the power of your self.

Once you are free of the grip of external forces you are the master of your destiny. There are different methods of achieving this including meditations and prayers

The two philosophies of revolution and secret of self paved pathwat for a new school of thought. He was a philosopher and a reformer. He provided a new school of thought to the misguided and dejected Muslims of the subcontinent seeking independence. He managed to provoke thinking in a new dimension. He incited ego, inflated the value of self and enhanced the personal respect of individuals. He was Iqbal, the poet of the east.


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