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Iqbal, the Poet-Philosopher of Islamic Resurgence

The Muslim ‘ulama’ and religious leaders were isolated from the freedom movement (after their initial defeat) and were alienated from it (except those who were in the vanguard of the movement, leaders like Mawlana Muhammad ‘Ali). Political isolation and economic deprivation ruled supreme. The Muslims were reduced to the state of being a superfluous part of the Indian society, without any guiding star on the horizon. In such crucial moments Iqbal kindled the torch of egohood. Of course, India was no exception; the above-mentioned conditions prevailed throughout the Muslim world. It was for the very same reason that Iqbal speaks about the whole Islamic world. Iqbal’s day-to-day life in the city of Lahore in the colonised subcontinent of India led him to directly experience the pains and hardships of life. It was at this juncture that Iqbal raised the banner of his revolt. His was a cultural, political and revolutionary movement. The first thing that was necessary for Iqbal to do was to make the Indian society aware of its Islamic identity, Islamic ego and the Islamic personality, or rather the human dimension of its personality. He asks the people as to why they were complacent, why they were forgetful and why they had abandoned their real selves. He asks them to regain their Islamic and human identity. This was the first message delivered by Iqbal. But, could he succeed in awakening the nation of several hundreds of millions that had been subjected to severe exploitation and humiliation for a long time. A nation that was divested of the capacity to understand, to know and to hope against hope was now asked to assert existence and recover its identity as soon as possible. It was almost an impossible task, very difficult to be realised. In my humble opinion no one could convey this message in a better way than Iqbal did. With a view to attain this end Iqbal evolved his philosophy of the self (khudi). The philosophy of egohood in the sense of subjective philosophical views is not the subject of our discussion. The conception of ego which has human and social implications, was presented philosophically so that it could fit in a philosophical Tradition. As Iqbal wished to make it the central theme of his poems, ghazals, and mathnawis, this notion required to be based on a sound philosophical outlook. Iqbal conceived ego as the source of feeling and knowing one’s individuality through contemplation, introspection, self-cognition and self-realisation. He explained this conception in philosophical terms.

In my view, in the beginning the idea of ego might have occurred to Iqbal as a revolutionary idea, and afterwards he made an attempt to philosophise it. It may be argued that ego is the same thing that was the most needed in the Indian society, and in general was missing in the entire Muslim world as well. In spite of having an Islamic value-system the Muslim peoples had become unmindful of it, and eagerly surrendered themselves to an alien system with full faith. It was, therefore, necessary for them to return to their own selves, that is, to the Islamic value-system. In this very sense Iqbal was trying to pursuit as a goal. Such a sociological concept could not be impressed on the minds of people without being expressed in a philosophical manner. Iqbal had to present it philosophically.

As said above, the idea of selfhood or ego at first was conceived by Iqbal as a sociological and revolutionary notion. In due course, after having witnessed the signs of degeneration and loss of self-identity of the Eastern nations, especially the Muslims, and after examining its causes, this idea became permanent and deeply rooted in his being. Afterwards he sought to provide a philosophical and subjective ground to it, and based this notion on a general conception of the self, something similar to the conception of existence as evolved by our philosophers – an essence which is shared by all beings but needs to be interpreted philosophically. Of course, wujud (existence) is something different from khudi (ego), and to interpret it as existence, as is done by some of the persons who have written commentaries on Iqbal’s poems, is a great blunder in my view. The notion of unity in plurality and plurality in unity, which has been recurrently used in his Asrar-e khudi (The Secrets of the Self), is different from the metaphysical conception of unity in plurality and plurality in unity as interpreted by Mulla Sadra and others. It is altogether a different category. What Iqbal meant to refer to by this notion had cent per cent human and social connotation. When I say it is social, I do not mean that it is not applicable to individual. Why not? Ego needs to be strengthened in an individual. But this very egohood of the ego of an individual and the strengthening of the personality of the ego have social implications in Islamic framework. Unless the personality of the (individual) ego is strengthened, a strong and stable society in its real sense cannot come into existence. The meaning of the ego is different from that of the existence. At the first instance he speaks in the manner of mystics about the generality and the extent of the concept of self. The world of being is actualised through the manifestations of the ego. Each one of the phenomena of the universe is a manifestation of a particular aspect of the self. Of course, some of the themes that I have described in my own words have been differently presented by Iqbal in the headings of his poems. There are some other themes that are expressed far more beautifully in his poetry than their paraphrasing by Iqbal himself in the headings of certain poems.

The ideas, themselves produced by the self-consciousness, are the manifestations of the ego in every being. The Affirmation of one’s ego is also an Affirmation of others. When the presence of the ego in a human being is posited, it automatically posits the presence of egos other than one’s own. Therefore there is self as well as the non-self, that is, the existence of other is also posited. Hence it may be inferred that the whole universe is contained as a possibility in the self. The ego is the source of hostility also. There are various selves that are at war with one another. This struggle, this perpetual conflict brings the world into existence. It is the ego which is responsible for the selection of the fittest and its survival as well. So often thousands of selves are sacrificed for the sake of one higher self. The concept of ego is a graded one and its grades vary in intensity and weakness. The degree of intensity and weakness of the ego in each one of the beings is the factor which determines their strength and firmness. In this context he cites the examples of various entities such as the drop, the wine, the goblet, the cup-bearer, the mountain, the desert, the wave, the sea, the light, the eye, the verdure, the candle, the silence, the candle-bearer, the gem, the earth, the moon, the star, the sun, the tree, etc. Each one of them is measured by the intensity of its ego; for instance, a drop has a particular strength of ego, while a stream has a different strength of ego. Similarly a gem on which an image can be engraved possesses an ego-strength different from that of a stone on which no image can be engraved. Finite ego is never absolute. It always refers to a graded essence, which is present in things and human individuals, as well as in cosmic elements in diverse measures. He concludes this theme with the following verse:

When ego embraces Elan Vital,

The stream of life is transformed into an ocean.

Afterwards he expounds his views about the pursuit of ideals and aspirations, something which was most wanting in the Islamic world in those days. It means that the Muslims did not have any purpose in life. They did not have any high aspirations either. Their ambitions were confined to day-to-day life. He holds the view that the human life is nothing without purpose and aim. The ego attains selfhood through moving towards the desired ideals: ‘Verily the life is faith and jihad’ (striving). He has expressed the same idea in a very comprehensive, profound, subtle and elegant way in his poetry. To desire for something and to strive unceasingly for attaining it is called purposiveness, without which life becomes synonymous with death.

It is desire that makes the universe throb with life. Nature is the shell and desire is the pearl. The heart which is incapable of cherishing desires is a bird with broken wings, unable to fly. It is aspiration which strengthens the life of the self, and transforms it into a restless sea eversurging. It is the joy of viewing that gives vision to the viewing eye. It is the fun of walking that gives feet to the pheasant. It is the effort to sing that is instrumental in endowing the nightingale’s beak with melody. It is the piper’s hands and the lips that breathe musical notes into reed, which was nothing but a mere straw in the reed-bed.

Science, culture, poetry, literature, law, everything is the product of human aspirations actualised through continuous struggle. Hence he says:

Our lives are sustained by the ideals we create for ourselves,

Our being is illuminated by the rays of our aspirations.

He reiterates the same theme in another verse:

Man is hot-blooded due to his burning passions,

This clay glows with the light of aspirations.

He considers love and passion essential for human society, and individual man, for it strengthens the individual as well as the social ego. He holds that the ego of an individual and the society cannot be strengthened without love. It is essential that the Islamic millah and all other human beings who desire to strengthen their selves should kindle the fire of love in their breasts. It is remarkable that he himself determines an object of love, a point around which the Muslim Ummah has to rally. It is at this juncture that one feels how intelligently this man of awareness and insight comprehended the necessity of the unity of the Muslim world. His quest for the rallying point led him to believe that the love of the Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (S) was the only passion that could motivate and rally the Muslim Ummah around a new consciousness:

 The luminous point that is called the ego,

Keeps glowing the spark of life in our corporeal body.

Through love it becomes more lasting,

More alive, more fervent, and more luminous.

Through love its essence is blazed up,

And its, hidden treasures are evolved.

The ego acquires lire from love,

And learns how to illuminate the universe with this lire.

It is love that brings peace as well as conflict to the world.

Love is the Water of life as well as the well-tempered sword.

Learn the art of being a lover and aspire for loveliness,

Strive to attain the eyes of Noah and aspire for Job’s heart.

Discover alchemy in a handful of mud.

And kiss the threshold of sublimity.

Subsequently he tells us as to who that beloved whom the Muslims should love devotedly is:

The beloved is hidden in Thy heart.

If thou art gifted with eyes, come, I will show thee his face.,

His lovers are lovelier than all the beloved of the world,

More beautiful, more elegant and more loveable.

Through his love the heart gains strength,

And the earth attains the exalted status of the Pleiades.

The land of N«id was made vigilant ingenious through his grace,

In a state of ecstasy it flew higher than the heavens.

The heart of the Muslim in the seat of al-Mustafa.

Whatever respect we command is due to his name.

Mount Sinai is nothing but dust that arose from his House,

His parlour is sacred even for the Ka’bah.

The mat is grateful to him that he prefers to sleep on it,

The Taq-e Kisra is trampled under the feet of his Ummah.

He retired to the privacy of the Cave of Hira’,

And brought forth a nation, a constitution and a government,

Night after nigh t passed by his bedside finding him awake,

So that his people could rest on the throne of Khusrow.

He gives an account of the Prophet (S) and his high qualities. Not only here alone, but throughout his poetical works we can see an unceasing stream of his love for the Prophet (S) gushing out wave after wave.

A contemporary Pakistani scholar has written a book about Iqbal entitled Iqbal dar rah-e Mawlawi ( Iqbal on the Path of Mawlawi), in which he states that whenever a poem that contained the Prophet’s sacred name was recited in Iqbal’s presence spontaneously tears flowed from his eyes. Indeed he passionately loved the Prophet (S). Iqbal has made out a very important point. Where can the world of Islam find a personage more popular and dearer than the Prophet of Islam (S)? His personality is the focal point of the unity of the Islamic world. Iqbal, while narrating the story of the daughter of Hatim al-Ta’i, says that in one of the battles the daughter of Hatim al-Tai was taken captive and brought in the presence of the Prophet (S). Her feet were chained and her head and body were bare. The disrespect showed to the daughter of a great and generous person like Hatim was so shocking that the Prophet (S) took out his cloak and flung it towards her so that she might cover herself. Iqbal concludes this story with the following verses:

We are more naked than the Lady of al-Ta’i.

We are stripped of our robe of honour before the nations.

He is the source of our credibility on the Day of Judgement,

In this world, too, it is he whose love covers our faults.

We, who do not recognize any boundaries and nationalities,

Like vision from the two eyes, are one in reality.

We may belong to Hijaz, Egypt or Iran,

But we are the dew-drops of the same laughing dawn.

The eyes of the keeper of the tavern of Batha’ have intoxicated us,

We are like, the goblet full to the brim with this wine,

Like a hundred-leaf flower we smell alike,

For it is he who breathes life into this bouquet, and he is one.

On so many occasions Iqbal has composed verses expressing his deep love for the Prophet (S) that it is not possible to quote all of them here.

In Asrar-e khudi (The Secrets of the Self) he tries to awaken the sense of selfhood, that is, the sense of human identity in the individual as well as the society. A separate section in ‘The Secrets of the Self’ deals with the idea that the selfhood is weakened by entreating. When an individual or a nation stretches its hands in need before others, this act weakens the individuality of a person or the nation and consequently the process of deterioration sets in.

As a sequel to the problem of ego Iqbal elucidates the problem of selflessness. While discussing the problem of the self, the notion of the strengthening an individual’s identity should not be interpreted in the sense of imprisoning one’s being within the walls constructed around the self and living in isolation, cut off from other human beings as independent egos. Neither it means that one should lose his identity among other selves in the society. Rather an individual should live in close relationship with the society. This is the real meaning of the selflessness. The book Rumuz-e bikhudi (The Secrets of the Selflessness) is the second book of Iqbal that was composed and printed after Asrar-e khudi and is illustrative of Iqbal’s ideas about the Islamic System. Iqbal’s ideas about establishing an Islamic order are more elaborate and clearer in Rumuz-e bikhudi than any other of his works. On the whole, the problems elucidated in Rumuz-e bikhudi are among the issues relevant to the establishment of an Islamic society and ought to be taken into consideration.

While going through the themes of the secrets of the selflessness, we notice that Iqbal paid attention exactly to the same questions that are predominant in our Islamic society today. The foremost among the most exciting ideas of Iqbal is his emphasis on the mission of the followers of tawhid. He believed that the Muslims and the Islamic Ummah are bound to spread the message of Islam and they should not rest unless they perform this duty.

It would be interesting, at this juncture, to quote a few selected verses of Iqbal in this regard. In these verses he says that the formation of an Islamic society and the emergence of an Islamic Ummah in this world have not been a simple matter. The world had to wait for ages and history had to undergo countless experiments in order to reach the conception of tawhid and to arrive at a stage where an Ummah inspired with the ideal of tawhid and a people faithfully following Islamic thought could have evolved:

 This ancient body called the world

Is constituted by the intermixing of the mother elements.

A hundred reed-beds were cultivated to produce a single melody;

A hundred gardens bled for ages to make a tulip bloom;

Thousand and thousand images were conceived, carved, and erased

So that thine image could be engraved on the tablet of being.

Countless whimpers and tears were sown and nurtured in the soul

To let a prayer-call blossom out.

Since ages the world was at war with the noble souls,

And it favoured the worshippers of false gods.

At last the seed of faith was implanted in the earth,

And the word of tawhid found expression through thy lips.

The centre of the cycles of the universe is la ilah;

The ultimate end of alt action in the world is la ilah.

It is the force that keeps the heavens rotating,

It is what gives the sun its light and life,

It is the force that gives birth to pearls in the ocean’s womb,

And keeps the waves surging and moving all the time.

Its morning breeze transforms the soil into flower,

Its fire breathes a nightingale’s song into a handful of feathers;

Its flame runs through the veins of the vinegrape;

Its heat makes the goblet-clay to glow as a spark;

Its tunes are asleep within the strings of being

Waiting for thy plectrum to fill the air with music.

Thine existence shalt vibrate with a hundred songs –

Arise and strike thy plectrum at its strings.

As takbir is the secret of thine existence,

The purpose of thy creation is to preserve and spread the message of la ilah.

Unless the world echoes with the vibrations of the call of Truth,

If really a Muslim, thou shalt not rest.

Hast thou not read the verse in the Mother of books

That bestowed upon thee the title of the Just Ummah?

Thou art the lustre of the visage of time,

Thou art made witness to the deeds of all the nations;

Extend thine invitation to all who are punctilious.

Thou hast to disseminate the treasures of the knowledge of the Ummi (S),

Whose words were not polluted with lust of any kind,

Whose words interpreted the meaning of the verse:

“Whose comrade erreth not, nor is deceived”.

He washed the tunics of his garden’s tulips clean

And purified them from all impurities.

After elucidating the all-embracing nature of Islamic teachings (which has been done a hundred times in his work), Iqbal addresses the Ummah of tawhid declaring that they are the standard-bearers of Islam, and appeals to them to march forward with the purpose of delivering the message of Islam to the world. Subsequently he asks them to break into pieces the new idol carved by the swindlers of the West. What is this new idol?

Thou who hast the Book under thine arms

Should step forward in the arena of action.

The human mind is always after carving a new idol;

Man’s quest for a new image has not ceased in any age,

Again he has rebuilt the temple of Adhar (the idol-maker),

And has moulded a god, newer than others,

Whose joy lies in shedding the blood of his worshippers.

His are numerous names: colour, country and race.

It is implied in these verses that nationalism, racialism and narrow patriotism draw boundaries to isolate peoples and countries. These imprisoned loyalties cause wars between one nation and another in the name of nationality, community, race and colour:

Humanity is being sacrificed like a sheep

At the foot of the unholy idol.

Thou, who hast drunk from the goblet of Khalil (the idol-breaker),

Thy veins are throbbing with the wine of the passion of Khalil.

Thou hast to strike the sword of “nothing exists except Him

Into false-hood disguised as truth.

Let thy face shine on the dark horizons of time,

And spread the perfect message that has been revealed to thee.

Iqbal’s idea of propagating the message of Islam and breaking all the artificial boundaries drawn to divide nations leads him to expound certain other notions that are predominant in his philosophy of bikhudi (selflessness), that is, the unification of the individual with the society and his absorption therein. According to him nubuwwah (prophethood) is the principal source of the organisation of the Ummah. It does not mean that a millah is formed by the merely gathering together of many individuals. A particular mode of thinking and an ideology is essential in order to weave different threads together to form the fabric of a nation. For this purpose the most fundamental and the best of all the ideologies is the one that was propounded through nubuwwah, the prophetic mission, and it was propounded by the messengers of God. This is the best of all the foundation-stones upon which a nation is built. This mode of thinking imparts reasoning, faith, discipline and perfection to a nation.

Another concept upon which Iqbal’s system of thought rests is the negation of servitude – servitude to the demigods sitting on the throne and standing at the altar.

Man worshipped man in the world.

He lived as a non-entity, as a non-being and as a subordinate

Under the heavy yoke of the Khusrows and the Qaysars.

And his neck, his hands and his feet were chained;

The Popes and the priests and the kings and the lords

A hundred hunters after a single prey!

Both the king and the priest

levied taxes on his devastated harvest.

Whatever was left after paying taxes to the King’s officials was grabbed by the tax-collectors of the Pope. This had been a customary practice all over the world, as Iqbal says:

Bishop, in the name of allotting apartments in the Paradise,

Set a trap in the church to catch him;

The Brahmin plucked the best roses of his garden;

The Magi’s children made up their fire by adding his harvest to it

His human qualities were debased by slavery.

At last came the trustworthy, who restored the lost rights,

And entrusted the throne of the Khans to the slaves.

Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy – aimed at humanising the world – are very rich in the themes of human and social significance, such as the Divine mission of the Prophet (S) of Islam, the equality of man, the Qur’anic doctrine of judging a person according to his taqwa (piety): … „The noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the best in taqwa”, and many other similar issues that are indicative of his concern for higher values and the service of mankind. We cannot propagate these ideas in our country without making popular and public the works of Iqbal. This is a task to be carried out in Iran and Pakistan as well as in the countries where people understand Persian and where people are prepared to learn the language.

The poetry of Iqbal, the major part of which is in Persian, needs wider circulation. Out of the fifteen thousand couplets. composed by him nine thousand are in the Persian language. This shows that his works in Urdu are fewer than those in Persian. Rather it can be said that the best and the finest part of his poetry is in our language, and, therefore, we are obliged to devote best of our energies to understand it. For the first time when I read Iqbal’s poetry I felt that many of his verses could be understood only with the help of detailed explanatory notes and comments, and regretfully I could find such commentaries nowhere. It is essential to compile such annotated editions. Even the Persian spelling people are in need of such commentaries in order to fully grasp the ideas and themes dealt with by Iqbal. Today the major part of Iqbal’s teaching directly concerns us, and some part of it is also relevant to the world that has not gone our way so far and has to understand it in the same manner as we did.

Our people have translated into action his doctrine of the selfhood. They have invigorated it and have brought it into action in the world of actuality. Now our people do not have to be asked to recover their selfhood. Today we are perfectly aware of being on our feet. We are proud of our culture and our cultural heritage, and are confident that we can develop it further on the basis of our ideology and thought. Of course for a long time we were made to depend upon others regarding the material aspect of our life, but we are trying to get rid of these foreign fetters gradually and this process is going on. The Muslim peoples are anyhow in need of comprehending the meaning of selfhood; especially the eminent Muslims, whether they are politically active or culturally creative, need to embrace Iqbal’s message. They have to realise that Islam in itself, in its essence and in its nature, possesses the richest potentialities of conducting the affairs of the individual lives and human societies, and does not need to look towards others. We do not advocate for summarily dismissing other cultures and close our doors to them. We should assimilate them, but in the manner as a living body absorbs the elements that are essential for its life, and not like a dead and unconscious body which is injected by others whatever they desire to inject into it. We have the capacity of assimilating from other cultures whatever is relevant to us. As Iqbal has said repeatedly, we can learn the modern science and philosophy from the West, but the ardour and zest for life can never be borrowed from others:

Wisdom we have learnt from the teachings of the Western thinkers.

Ardour for life we have acquired in the company of men of insight.

It means that the Western society and culture is wanting in ardour and fervour, and Iqbal was quicker than any other person in perceiving this phenomenon. He could anticipate the dangers inherent in the Western civilisation and its materialistic culture, and warned the people in advance that it was devoid of the spiritual elements essential for human welfare. Fortunately, today the consciousness of selfhood and Islamic identity is abounding in our country among the people. Our policy based on the principle of “Neither the East nor the West” is in conformity with what Iqbal advised and wished to be pursued. Our policy of self-reliance is identical with Iqbal’s views. We, in our love for the Prophet (S), in our commitment to the Qur’an, in our emphasis on learning the Qur’an, and in our conviction that the Qur’an and Islam are to be made the basis of all the revolutions and movements, are exactly following the path that was shown to us by Iqbal. At that time, nobody was attentive enough to pay heed to Iqbal’s counsel. In those days there were not many people who could understand Iqbal’s message and his language. Iqbal’s books are replete with complaints and remonstrances – remonstrances as to why people do not understand his message and look towards the West for guidance. In his introduction to Rumuz-e bikhudi also he remonstrates with the Islamic Ummah.

 Thou wert appointed to be, the seal of all nations,

Thou wert destined to be the end of all the beginnings;

Thine ‘ulama’ were made equal to prophets;

Thy martyred comrades could breathe life into the hearts.

Why art thine eyes enchanted by the beauty of the church?

Why hast thou fallen away from the path of the Holy Ka’bah?

Believe me. The dust of thy street rises to form heavenly spheres;

O thy visage attracts the eyes of the entire world.

Why art thou rising and falling restlessly like a wave?

What is that spectacle thou art going to behold?

Learn the secret of living passionately on your own from the moth;

Build thy nest amidst the tongues of flames.

Kindle the tire of love from within thy soul;

Restore thy bond with the spirit of al-Mustafa.

I have left the company of the church-goers,

To see to it that the veil is raised from thy face.

O my comrade, thou art bewitched by the charm of others

And singing odes to praise golden locks and rosy cheeks.

Here, by the epithet hamnawa (comrade) Iqbal means to refer to his contemporaries and those who were of late introduced to the Western culture and were intoxicated with the Western value-system. He compares their attitude with that of his own:

He rubs his forehead at the foot of the Saqi,

He is lost in the story of the Magi’s children,

While I bleed, struck by the crescent of thine eyebrows,

Happy that my blood is soaked in the dust of thy street.

My art has been over and above eulogising worldly lords,

My head never bowed before imperial courts.

He reminds the Muslim Ummah that it has never been his custom to sing praises, but he eulogised her so passionately because of his deep love for Islam:

 Poetry bestowed upon me ability to make a mirror out of words,

And it has freed me from asking Alexander’s favour.

I hate to be burdened by the favours of others.

My lips are purses and hands shut like a bud in the garden.

After giving free vent to his feeling of disdain and indifference to the worldly attainments, Iqbal, who never humbled himself by prostrating before anybody, kneels down on his knees in front of the Muslim Ummah, and begs them to realise their own worth and pay heed to the words of the Qur’an:

At thy door my soul is bleeding to beg a small favour of thee,

In return it offers thee all her ardour and pathos.

A river comes down trickling from the blue sky,

Its water is distilled through my burning heart,

And I direct its course through channels thinner than rivulets,

To make it steadily flow and water thine orchard.

This was just a brief account and a short glimpse of our dear Iqbal’s personality, who was undoubtedly a bright star on the horizon of the East. We hope that we shall acknowledge our indebtedness to him and would be able to recompense for the delay made by our people in recognising Iqbal’s worth during the span of last forty, fifty years. I request the researchers, poets, orators, writers, publishers, the government organisations, the Ministry of Culture and Advanced Learning, the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Islamic Guidance, each of them, to do their best to reintroduce and revive the spirit of Iqbal in the manner befitting his memory. I propose that his poetry and his writings be reproduced and compiled in the form of books, and his poetical works like Asrar-e khudi (The Secrets of the. Self), Rumuz-e bikhudi (The Mysteries of Selflessness), Gulshan-e raz (Garden of Mystery), Jawid nameh (Pilgrimage to Eternity), etc. be reprinted and each of them published separately. This work has been done in Pakistan to some extent, but the people of Pakistan cannot be fully benefited from those ideas as today the Persian language is not in currency there as in the past. I wish this gap also to be filled. It is further hoped that our Pakistani brothers present in this meeting as well as the writers of the Indian subcontinent realise their responsibility and rise to the occasion to resist the vicious policies of the past governments regarding the Persian language, which possesses great treasures of Islamic culture and in which the major part of Islamic culture is preserved. They should give currency to this language in the Subcontinent where there are great numbers of Muslims; especially in Pakistan this work needs to be done with a sense of urgency.

In our own country also the publication of Iqbal’s books should be carried out on a large scale and the artists should illustrate Iqbal’s works with suitable paintings, the musicians should sing his poems set in popular tunes in order to render them effectively and bring to the tongues of the young and the old. I hope that God Almighty will enable us to repay the debt that the Muslim Ummah owes to him.

Wa as-salam ‘alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

 

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