Iqbal’s vision and prosperous Pakistan | By Sheikh Farkhar-e-Alam


Iqbal’s vision and prosperous Pakistan

A few weeks ago, I had sent an article to a renowned newspaper related to Iqbal’s vision and contemporary world, the editor replied, “Your article is either so late as April passed or too early for November”.

This reply of a popular newspaper editor stunned me and made me feel that apart from these two months of Iqbal’s birth and death, the remembrance of Iqbal is unnecessary? The visionary leadership of his Excellency Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal who is known as “Poet of the East”, cannot be confined to a few specific days like 9 Nov or 21 Apr.

After studying only 25% of Iqbal’s literature, I am of the view that he was a universal poet and philosopher, while his work cannot be confined to any specific portion of the world nor be dedicated to any specific race or ethnicity.

Although I also admit that at the same time his complete focus remained on uplifting the living standards of Muslims of the subcontinent. That’s why Quaid-i-Azam once said about him that “He will live as long as Islam will live.

His noble poetry interprets the true aspirations of the Muslims of India. It will remain an inspiration for us and for generations after us.”
Living nations always remember the sacrifices of their great leaders.

Our society is facing multiple challenges, the most irreparable is forgetting the lessons given by our forefathers and national heroes.

This is a global fact that there is no specific time to pay tribute to your great national heroes, you can always do that.

Now coming back to Iqbal’s visionary role, a few aspects of his life were very unique. When Iqbal returned from Europe in 1908 after completing his higher education, until he died in 1938, he guided the nation through his poetry, sermons, articles and statements.

Especially from 1926 to 1934, Allama played a very important political role. If Iqbal had not led the Muslims politically during this period, the future of the Muslims of India could have been bleak. His thoughts and philosophy gained worldwide fame.

His biggest and most historic step was his presidential address at the annual meeting of the Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930. For the first time, Allama demanded an independent homeland on behalf of the Muslims of India.

He awakened Muslims of the Islamic world from negligence and encouraged them to live with dignity in the world.

He constantly encouraged Muslims to establish and adhere to their identity as a separate nation.

Iqbal’s poetry infused new life into Muslims, instilled a spirit of faith in them and made them aware of their legal and social rights in the light of political insight. He prepared Muslims to stand and fight for their rights.

The main trends in his poetry were Sufism, the revival of the Islamic nation and the promotion of human greatness.

In the same way, his thoughts and philosophy were the spokesman of the Muslim Ummah and the guardian of the Eastern civilization. He was an international thinker and a very far-sighted leader.

Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal spent his entire life meditating and contemplating on the Holy Quran, as his study of the Qur’an increased, so did his thinking and maturity in his faith.

If we look at Iqbal’s sayings in a contemporary context, we will see that the world scenario that Iqbal mapped out almost a century ago still fits in present circumstances. The need here is to make Iqbal’s lessons a beacon for our policies.

At a time when we, Pakistanis, are facing the challenge of identity in defining our present and future path as a nation, we need to deeply explore Islamic modernism according to the political wisdom of Iqbal.

A question that arises in our mind is how to place Pakistan on the path of prosperity, which can be addressed by re-evaluating prosperity in terms of providing opportunities to everyone instead of a few chosen ones.

This transformation needs some multi-dimensional efforts as suggested by Allama Muhammad Iqbal like the presence of an honest and dedicated leadership that can transform national goals into a reality with a clear aim and focus.

Then we have to reform our bureaucratic structure for efficient performance based on their systematic evaluation.

If we deeply study Iqbal’s vision we would come to know that as of today we have to bring some 180 degrees change in our institutional structures where the middle, lower-middle and poor classes should also enjoy the same perks and privileges as the elite have.

Furthermore, basic facilities like health, shelter and education should be the top agenda item irrespective of any government.

The sense of ownness to the public by its government creates positive vibes in society. Improvement in the judicial and criminal justice system is also an important aspect that may also not be overlooked.

Just start advising the youth to read and understand the philosophy of Iqbal, he deserves a lot more than a few chapters in textbooks, a few yearly seminars, typical rallies on his birth and death anniversaries.

If, as a nation, we would focus on his teachings then I can guarantee that Pakistan would shine like Iqbal had foreseen us.

— The writer is Islamabad-based veteran Journalist & PHD Media Studies fellow, an Academic Researcher & Media Analyst.