Bahri Karam Khan
ARISTOTLE was a philosopher, great indeed, and so was the Plato. William Wordsworth was a poet, great indeed, and so were Chaucer, Spencer, Milton, Shakespeare and our vernacular poets even. They all were undeniably great personalities. But when we talk of a person who was a poet, a thinker, a philosopher and a politician all at the same time, then what perception can be had about his personality? All these characteristics are more than enough for his being a great intellectual.
What however gives him a unique status is unquestionably, whatever he was, was for his brethren-in-faith. And that’s exactly what makes him an inspiring personality for the Muslims, not only of South Asia but of the entire world. Yes, that stimulating character was Allama Muhammad Iqbal who had spared no effort to make the Muslims imbibe social, cultural and political maturity as a nation and elevate them to a status they actually deserved.
Allama’s period was extremely critical for the Muslims. They had given up the golden doctrines of Islam and were thus suffering from all sorts of miseries and agonies particularly at the hands of Western imperialism. Their harmony had badly shattered resulting in their political slavery and rampant poverty. The Arab countries were at loggerheads. Italy had invaded Tripoli and, here in the subcontinent too, the Muslims had fallen victims to British colonialism.
Some of the Muslim leaders like Syed Jamaluddin Afghani and Saeed Halim Paasha had realized gravity of the situation and thus undertaken the task of Muslims’ revival by preaching that all their problems could be resolved only through adherence to the golden tenets of Islam. They also underlined the need for the Muslims’ unity which could enable them to get rid of their miseries.
Mission of these leaders had effectively inspired the Muslims who began to think about their renaissance. Allama too got deeply inspired by these leaders and took their mission forward through his mature thinking and enchanting poetry. Allama figures as a poet of the highest caliber. However, his poetry enshrines something totally different from that of other poets. In fact, he was a sensitive and witty Muslim scholar who felt deeply sorrowful over the miserable condition of Muslims. He therefore undertook the mission of how to elevate the degraded Muslims to the glorious status they once had. And his poetic work reflects this great mission indeed.
Allama had studied western society from close quarters. He knew the west’s wicked designs against Muslims and thus warned the Muslims to be cautious not to fall prey to their tricks. He also had a thorough knowledge of Islam and was well abreast of the glorious past of the Muslims with a lot of feathers in their caps. Almost every verse of his poetry thus embodies a comprehensive sermon from a great scholar to the depressed Muslims. He tried to awake them of the deep slumber and also urged them to follow in the footprints of their ancestors to regain their glorious status.
Allama introduced “phalsafa-e-khudi” meaning the philosophy of self-knowing. He wanted man to know his origin. Man, as he views, is a great scholar and thus he ought to know the purpose he has been created for, and do what has been enjoined upon by Allah through his last Prophet (PBUH). And, by doing so, he can have all the things Allah has created. The man with such a character has been termed as “Mard-e-Momin”, who actually makes history for the Muslims.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Swat.