"The weak lose themselves in God; the strong discover Him in themselves." ~ Allama Iqbal

Sunday, April 22, 2012


You are still tied to colour and to race,
So you call me Afghan or Turkoman.
But I am first of all a man, plain man,
And then an Indian or Turanian.
~ Allama Iqbal

The Unity of Us All.

I perceive a manifestation of Iqbal's message in this short clip from the movie, "The Great Dictator."

 (Many thanks to Yosy for pointing out this clip to me.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Iqbal's Definition of Art & The Builders (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Included in "Discourses of Iqbal" is an article in which Iqbal writes:

"The ultimate end of of all human activity is Life-glorious, powerful, exuberant.  All human art must be subordinated to this final purpose and the value of everything must be determined in reference to its life-yielding capacity.  The highest art is that which awakens our dormant will-force, and nerves us to face the trials of life manfully."

Different poets may speak, with varying degrees of intensity, in the direction of that which Iqbal so directly points.  To me, the poem below, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, points in this direction. 

The Builders

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Thou art a sleeping force: awake!"

Please allow me to share with you this bit of poetry (below) from Mawlana Rumi.  When I read it, it struck me as speaking to what I'm beginning to learn from Iqbal about humankind paying attention to itself (its self) and to the awakening of its gift. 

Iqbal writes a poem in "Secrets of the Self" (which I very much like) in which a young man goes to see the venerable saint, Data Ganj Bakhsh.  In it he writes: "Thou art a sleeping force: awake!"

The entire poem is here: http://disna.us/files/SECRETS_OF_THE_SELF.pdf

I was thinking of this poem by Iqbal while reading Rumi's poem below.

Sana'i ! If you don't find a friend, be your own
friend! In this world of every kind of man and every kind of
task, be a man for your own task!
Each member of this caravan is stealing his own
baggage - place your own self behind and sit before your
People sell ephemeral beauty and buy
ephemeral love - pass beyond those two dry riverbeds and be
your own river!
These friends of yours keep on pulling you by
the hand toward nonexistence - steal back your hand and be
your own helper!
These beauties painted on canvas veil the
beauties of the heart - lift up the veil and enter: Be with your
own Beloved!
Be with your own Beloved and be a well-thinking,
good man! Be more than two worlds - dwell in your own
Go, do not become drunk with the wine that increases
arrogance - behold the brightness of that Face and be
soberly aware of your own Self!

~ Ghazal (Ode) 1244

"Iqbal's Relevance Today"

I very much enjoy this very good article by Khurram Ali Shafique.  It speaks to Iqbal's thought, poetry, and politics. 

Please read.   


Monday, April 2, 2012

My Introduction to Allama Iqbal

It was in November, 2011 that someone very dear to me shared some poetry with me by Allama Iqbal.  I am not proud to say this, but I was utterly unfamiliar with Iqbal up to that point.  The poetry shared with me was:

Art thou in the stage of life, death or death in life?
Invoke the aid of three witnesses to verify thy station.
The first witness is thine own consciousness -
See thyself, then with thine own light.
The second witness is the consciousness of another ego -
See thyself, then, with the light of an ego other than thee.
The third witness is God's consciousness -
See thyself, then, with God's light.
If thou standest unshaken in front of this light,
Consider thyself as living and eternal as He!
That man alone is real who dares -
Dares to see God face to face!

That bit of poetry shared with me that November day so captured my attention that I immediately set off on a journey to learn more about this man named Iqbal and what exactly he brought to the world.  I discovered that the poetry shared with me came out of "Javid Nama," a copy of which now follows me around everywhere.

A quick search on the internet yielded results leading me to the websites listed on this blog.  Please go and look at them.  They're a treasure-trove of (free) resources.  I highly recommend them!

You will see on the Marghdeen Learning Centre (MLC) website that there are online courses available for those wishing to get to know Iqbal at both an introductory level and beyond.  I also highly recommend them!

The courses were created by Khurram Ali Shafique, a man who has (as I have come to discover since November) an immense depth of knowledge of Iqbal.  He has received national awards, including the Presidential Iqbal Award for his works in Iqbal Studies.  These online courses that he created are certified by the Iqbal Academy Pakistan, and are offered in coordination with the Dr. Iqbal Society of North America and Topline Publishers Pakistan.

I signed up and participated in the online courses.  They were absolutely wonderful!  For each lesson in the courses, there are writings, mini-lectures, videos, and very friendly and interactive discussions.  The work is not excessive, and is very manageable, even for someone like me who stays very busy with family and work.

I've come to discover that, while Allama Iqbal may be generally associated with a particular nation, his message is truly for all of humanity.  He speaks in a very practical way, but with such depth, height, and beauty, about humanity and unity.

I shall say no more at this point, other than to urge you (if you have not already) to participate in the MLC's courses.  It is not an exaggeration for me to say that the study is transforming the way I view humanity, our collective well-being, and the world which we can all collectively grow together.

DNA of History Recommended Reading List

After completing the "DNA of History" online course, offered by the Marghdeen Learning Centre, I put together this list of recommended reading materials for the course. This very affordable online course (and others too offered by the MLC) is highly recommended.

This course helps you to grasp the story of human beings on this planet, as well as to master the basics of history and easily relate it to your life. This course helps one to understand history according to the manner in which Iqbal understood it.

This course was created by Khurram Ali Shafique. He has received national awards, including the Presidential Iqbal Award for his works in Iqbal Studies. The course is certified by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, in coordination with the Dr. Iqbal Society of North America (DISNA) and Topline Publishers Pakistan.

I hope this list will help those who choose to participate. For more information, go to:

DNA of History Recommended Reading List

Iqbal: In Search of Man's Destiny
Iqbal's Relevance Today
Father of Hypocrisy?
Stendhal according to Iqbal
Matthew Arnold
Reaction against democracy in the West
An Outline of History
Napoleon Bonaparte
The Rightly-Guided Caliphate
Afghanistan, the heart of Asia
The Arab World
The mysteries of the ancient Iran

In addition to these resources, please go to the following link for further recommended readings:

Introduction to Iqbal Studies Recommended Reading List

I put together this list of recommended reading materials after completing the "Introduction to Iqbal Studies" course, offered by the Marghdeen Learning Centre.

This very affordable online course (and others too offered by the MLC) is highly recommended. It is a great introduction into the works of Allama Iqbal and their relevance to today's world.

The online courses were created by Khurram Ali Shafique. He has received national awards, including the Presidential Iqbal Award for his works in Iqbal Studies. The courses are certified by Iqbal Academy Pakistan. and are being offered in coordination with Dr. Iqbal Society of North America (DISNA) and Topline Publishers Pakistan.

I hope this list will help those who choose to participate. For more information, go to:


Introduction to Iqbal Studies Recommended Reading List

Iqbal's Relevance Today
The Works of Iqbal
Javid Nama (Abridged & Illustrated English Edition) – Highly Recommended

Javid Nama (Unabridged Persian Edition) http://allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/javidnama/text/index.htm
Javid Nama (Unabridged English Edition) http://allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/javidnama/translation/index.htm
Purpose of the Nine Lessons

Art and Literature
Depiction of Rumi in the Works of Iqbal
Destiny and Free Will
What is an Ideal?
The Social Organism
Goethe and Rumi
Hallaj: Weakness or Power?


An Outline of History