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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tagheyyur.: Why Do We Need Iqbal

Tagheyyur.: Why Do We Need Iqbal: “Nations are born in the heart of a poet, they prosper and die in the hands of a politician.” Stray Reflections .   Today we, the P...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Skillful Leader

"The skillful leader . . . does not rely on personal force; he controls his group not by dominating but by expressing it. He stimulates what is best in us."
~ Mary Parker Follett

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ana al-Haque & Seeing the world through Iqbal's Eyes

The question may be asked: If Mansur al-Hallaj was put to death for uttering "Ana-al-Haque," why was Iqbal not misunderstood by his contemporaries for backing Mansur's stance?

I think Iqbal *was* (*is*) misunderstood, certainly not by all, but by many.  And the misunderstanding can be so subtle.

During our Iqbal studies, made possible by the many high quality learning opportunities provided by the Marghdeen Learning Centre for Iqbal Studies, we have examined how a great deal of so-called "Iqbal Studies" are programs of study wherein Iqbal and his philosophy are approached with a specific academic model already firmly in mind. Academics, then, approach him from a historical model, or a political model, or a psychological model, or a literature model, etc. He then is appropriated by those disciplines, and given a place in those studies.

How, though, may we come to better understand Iqbal and his philosophy if our academics simply absorb him into their studies, interpreting his works according to their firmly defined boundaries and prescribed lens of perception?  How, then, may we (individually) come to understand Iqbal and his philosophy if we simply invite him into our minds which are already full of so many other worldly ideas many of which stand in stark contrast to the transformative shifts that Iqbal (I would argue) is seeking to introduce to us?

The alternative path toward getting closer to Iqbal, and particularly to how we may make practical use of his philosophy (rather than simply relegating him to college lectures and bookshelves), is to approach the study of history, the study of politics, the study of psychology, the study of literature, etc. from an Iqbalian perspective. Here, compared to the former method, the Iqbalian understanding absorbs these disciplines. Here, Iqbal (and we who strive to live the Iqbal philosophy) decides where and how those disciplines fit.  Here, these disciplines stand to be transformed.  Here, we stand to be transformed.

Sticking with the former (and very common) method contributes to a societal spinning of wheels. Things churn, but nothing changes.  The former and very common method of so-called Iqbal Studies is little more than the continuing millstone of society which turns and grinds all that is introduced to it.  We all realize, however, that what is produced from this millstone is little more than world-approved food.  We need food now, however, which will nourish the essence of humanity.  We need sustenance which will not lull the soul to sleep, but awakens and enlivens it!

Many thanks to Khurram Ali Shafique for all his efforts toward introducing Iqbal to the world so that we can see the world anew, and thus transform her.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times

Iqbal never took it upon himself to tell the community what it should do.  Instead, he placed his intellectual energies at the disposal of his people.

Born to serve rather than dictate, he became the conduit through which the collective dreams of the masses were articulated into the language of the elite, rather than the other way around.  This was a journey in which he and his people underwent three distinct stages of evolution, and the chapters of the present volume have been arranged accordingly.

The above is a quote from the brand new book, Iqbal: His Life and Our Times.  In the Introduction, it is written that this book fulfills the need for a simple and reliable introduction to the life and work of this unmatched genius, highlighting the practical relevance of his ideas for those who wish to consider them for implementation.

This book definitely does fulfill this.  Indeed, turning to Iqbal's philosophy for practical implementation in one's world is precisely why I like this book so much.  It has ignited for me new understandings of, and passion for, Iqbal's philosophy.

There is so much to this new book.  It is indeed, as it states at the beginning of the book, a fine introduction to Iqbal.  It is, however, so much more.  The connections, for instance, between Iqbal's political philosophy and that of the American thinker, Mary Parker Follett, and the Bengali visionary C.R. Das are explored. The author also describes in detail how Iqbal's poetry and prose are actually a coherent system of thought.

The author, Khurram Ali Shafique, is an historian and educationist, and the author of biographies, screenplays, and numerous articles in English and Urdu.  Well known in the field of Iqbal studies, he is the founding director of the Marghdeen Learning Centre which provides unique online courses in Iqbal's philosophy.  He is also a research consultant at the Iqbal Academy, Pakistan.

It can be ordered now directly from Createspace Website.

This book is presents fresh insights about Iqbal.  For scholars, and particularly for those who desire to be change-agents in this world, helping themselves, their societies, and all of humanity, we highly recommend this book!  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Do not force your children

Do not force your children to behave like you, for surely they have been created for a time which is different to your time.

~ Hazrat Ali

Friday, March 14, 2014

Allama Iqbal - Shikwa (Complaint to Allah) - Munshi Raziuddin, Ustad Baha Uddin, Manzoor Niazi

Why must I forever lose, forever forgo profit that is my due,
Sunk in the gloom of evenings past, no plans for the morrow pursue.
Why must I all attentive be to the nightingales lament,
Friend, am I as dumb as a flower? Must I remain silent?
My theme makes me bold, makes my tongue more eloquent,
Dust fills my mouth, against Allah I make complaint.

We won renown for submitting to Your willand it is so;
We speak out now, we are compelled to repeat our tale of woe.
We are like the silent lute whose chords are full of voice;
When grief wells up to our lips, we speak; we have no choice.
Lord God! We are Your faithful servants, for a while with us bear,
It is in our nature to always praise You, a small plaint also hear.

That Your Presence was primal from the beginning of time is true;
The rose also adorned the garden but of its fragrance no one knew.
Justice is all we ask for. You are perfect, You are benevolent.
If there were no breeze, how could the rose have spread its scent?
We Your people were dispersed, no solace could we find,
Or, would Your Beloveds following have gone out of its mind?

Before our time, a strange sight was the world You had made:
Some worshipped stone idols, others bowed to trees and prayed.
Accustomed to believing what they saw, the peoples vision wasnt free,
How then could anyone believe in a God he couldnt see?
Do you know of anyone, Lord, who then took Your Name? I ask.
It was the muscle in the Muslims arms that did Your task. 

~ Translation by Khushwant Singh

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Question

For centuries Eastern heart and intellect have been 
absorbed in the question – Does God exist? I propose to 
raise a new question – new, that is to say, for the East – 
Does man exist? 

~ Allama Iqbal (Stray Reflections, 1925 Section)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Live Now

Failures are often the results of timidity and fears; disappointments are the results of bashfulness; hours of leisure pass away like summer-clouds.  Therefore, do not waste the opportunity of doing good.
~ Hazrat Ali

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Weak and the Strong

The weak lose themselves in God; the strong discover 
Him in themselves. 

~ Allama Iqbal (from Stray Reflections, 1925 Section)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

There are only ego-sustaining and ego-dissolving acts

"Life offers a scope for ego-activity, and death is the first test of the synthetic activity of the ego.  There are no pleasure-giving and pain-giving acts; there are only ego-sustaining and ego-dissolving acts.  It is the deed that prepares the ego for dissolution, or disciplines him for a future career.  The principle of the ego-sustaining deed is respect for the ego in myself as well as in others.  Personal immortality, then, is not ours as of right; it is to be achieved by personal effort.  Man is only a candidate for it.  The most depressing error of Materialism is the supposition that finite consciousness exhausts its object.  Philosophy and science are only one way of approaching that object.  There are other ways of approach open to us; and death, if present action has sufficiently fortified the ego against the shock that physical dissolution brings, is only a kind of passage to what the Quran describes as 'Barzakh.'"

~ Allama Iqbal (from The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

If thou wouldst live, become full of Self!

The saint of Hajwir was venerated by the peoples,         
And Pir-i-Sanjar visited his tomb as a pilgrim,      
With ease he broke down the mountain barriers             
And sowed the seed of Islam in India.   
The age of Omar was restored by his godliness.
The fame of the Truth was exalted by his words.             
He was a guardian of the honour of the Koran. 
The house of Falsehood fell in ruins at his gaze.
The dust of the Punjab was brought to life by his breath,             
Our dawn was made splendid by his sun              
He was a lover, and withal, a courier of Love:     
The secrets of Love shone forth from his brow.
I will tell a story of his perfection              
And enclose a whole rose-bed in a single bud.  

A young man, cypress-tall,
Came from the town of Merv to Lahore.              
He went to see the venerable saint,      
That the sun might dispel his darkness. 
"I am hammed in," he said, "by foes;     
I am as a glass in the midst of stones.     
Do thou teach me, O sire of heavenly rank,        
How to lead my life amongst enemies!"               

The wise Director, in whose nature 
Love had allied beauty with majesty,     
Answered: "Thou art unread in Life's lore,           
Careless of its end and its beginning.     
Be without fear of others!          
Thou art a sleeping force: awake!            
When the stone thought itself to be glass,          
It became glass and got into the way of breaking.            
If the traveller thinks himself weak,       
He delivers his soul unto the brigand.    
How long wilt thou regard thyself as water and clay?      
Create from thy clay a flaming Sinai!       
Why be angry with mighty men?             
Why complain of enemies?        
I will declare the truth: thine enemy is thy friend:            
His existence crowns thee with glory.    
Whosoever knows the states of the Self              
Considers a powerful enemy to be a blessing from God.              
To the seed of Man the enemy is -as a rain-cloud:           
He awakens its potentialities.    
If thy spirit be strong, the stones in thy way are as water:            
What wrecks the torrent of the ups and downs of the road?      
The sword of resolution is whetted by the stones in the way,    
And put to proof by traversing stage after stage.             
What is the use of eating and sleeping like a beast?        
What is the use of being, unless thou have strength in thyself? 
When thou mak'st thyself strong with Self,         
Thou wilt destroy the world at thy pleasure.      
If thou wouldst pass away, become free of Self
If thou wouldst live, become full of Self !             
Who is death? To become oblivious to Self.        
Why imagine that it is the parting of soul and body?       
Abide in Self, like Joseph?           
Advance from captivity to empire!          
Think of Self and be a man of action       
Be a man of God, bear mysteries within!"           

I will explain the matter by means of stories,
I will open the bud by the power of my breath.
Tis better that a lover's secret   
Should be told by the lips of others.

~ Allama Iqbal (from Asrar-I-Khudi)