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.