Dr Allama Iqbaal (1877-1938) was a great thinker, who viewed the phenomena of the world around him through multi-dimensional lens and had the knowledge, skill and ability to express his perceived notion with great precision.
His father was a devoutly religious man and Iqbal attained the basic education of the deen from a local madrassa. He studied Philosophy and Law in England before completing his doctorate in Germany. Prior to this educational sojourn to Europe, Iqbal had been a talented yet typical poet, writing about abstract notions such as love, freedom and nationalism. In fact his poem, Sarae Jahan se Acha, Hindustan Hamara (Our India is the best in the world) continues to retain its popularity in modern day India.
With this mindset, he traveled to Europe in 1905 enrolling at Trinity College, Cambridge University. It was in England, and his subsequent stay in Munich until 1908, that Iqbaal began to appreciate the true beauty and comprehensive nature of the deen of Allah SWT. He famously wrote in his poem Tulu-e-Islam (The Rise of Islam), “Muslman ko Muslman kar diya Toofan-e-Maghrib ne” (the Muslim was solidified in Islam by the storm of the West), having been afforded a first-hand look at the thought and behavior of the Europeans.
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It is tempting to detail all of his musings upon Islam but the limitations of discourse do not allow such expansive rhetoric. This piece will look at a select few poems and writings, trying to deduce Iqbal’s vision of Islam as a comprehensive system of governance and life. In this arena, the subjects of secularism, democracy, capitalism, Muslim fraternity and nationalism will be highlighted in the vision of Iqbal. It must be acknowledged that he did not possess a flawless ideology upon the deen’s governance and he did attempt to formulate an aligning exercise within the deen and the modern systems of governance. In his essay on Islamic Political Thought, he detailed the dangers of both secularism and theocracy. He was acutely aware of allowing the monastic mullahs total control over the political process and warned against this practice in a vociferous manner.
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