Iqbal The Visionary:
Iqbal joined the London branch of the All India muslim League while he was studying Law and Philosophy in England. It was in London when he had a mystical experience. The ghazal containing those divinations is the only one whose year and month of composition is expressly mentioned. It is March 1907. No other ghazal, before or after it has been given such importance. Some verses of that ghazal are:
At last the silent tongue of Hijaz has announced to the ardent ear the tiding
That the covenant which had been given to the desert-dwelles is going to be renewed vigorously:
The lion who had emerged from the desert and had toppled the Roman Empire is
As I am told by the angels, about to get up again (from his slumbers.)
You the dwelles of the West, should know that the world of God is not a shop (of yours).
Your imagined pure gold is about to lose it standard value (as fixed by you).
Your civilization will commit suicide with its own daggers.
A nest built on a frail bough cannot be durable.
The caravan of feeble ants will take the rose petal for a boat
And in spite of all blasts of waves, it shall cross the river.
I will take out may worn-out caravan in the pitch darkness of night.
My sighs will emit sparks and my breath will produce flames.
For Iqbal it was a divinely inspired insight. He disclosed this to his listeners in December 1931, when he was invited to Cambridge to address the students. Iqbal was in London, participating in the Second Round Table Conference in 1931. At Cambridge, he referred to what he had proclaimed in 1906:
I would like to offer a few pieces of advice to the youngmen who are at present studying at Cambridge ...... I advise you to guard against atheism and materialism. The biggest blunder made by Europe was the separation of Church and State. This deprived their culture of moral soul and diverted it to the atheistic materialism. I had twenty-five years ago seen through the drawbacks of this civilization and therefore had made some prophecies. They had been delivered by my tongue although I did not quite understand them. This happened in 1907..... After six or seven years, my prophecies came true, word by word. The European war of 1914 was an outcome of the aforesaid mistakes made by the European nations in the separation of the Church and the State.
It should be stressed that Iqbal felt he had received a spiritual message in 1907 which even to him was, at that juncture, not clear. Its full import dawned on him later. The verses quoted above show that Iqbal had taken a bold decision about himself as well. Keeping in view that contemporary circumstances, he had decided to give a lead to the Muslim ummah and bring it out of the dark dungeon of slavery to the shining vasts of Independence. This theme was repeated later in poems such as "Abdul Qadir Ke Nam," "Sham-o-Sha'ir," "Javab-i Shikwa," "Khizr-i Rah," "Tulu-e Islam" etc. He never lost heart. His first and foremost concern, naturally, were the Indian Muslims. He was certain that the day of Islamic resurgence was about to dawn and the Muslims of the South Asian subcontinent were destined to play a prominent role in it.
Iqbal, confident in Allah's grand scheme and His aid, created a new world and imparted a new life to our being. Building upon Sir Sayyid Ahmed's two-nation theory, absorbing the teaching of Shibli, Ameer Ali, Hasrat Mohani and other great Indian Muslim thinkers and politicians, listening to Hindu and British voices, and watching the fermenting Indian scene closely for approximately 60 years, he knew and ultimately convinced his people and their leaders, particularly Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that:
"We both are exiles in this land. Both longing for our dear home's sight!"
"That dear home is Pakistan, on which he harpened like a flute-player, but whose birth he did not witness."
Many verses in Iqbal's poetry are prompted by a similar impulse. A random example, a ghazal from Zabur-i Ajam published in 1927 illustrates his deep-seated belief:
The Guide of the Era is about to appear from a corner of the desert of Hijaz.
The carvan is about to move out from this far flung valley.
I have observed the kingly majesty on the faces of the slaves.
Mahmud's splendour is visible in the dust of Ayaz.
Life laments for ages both in the Ka'bah and the idol-house.
So that a person who knows the secret may appear.
The laments that burst forth from the breasts of the earnestly devoted people. Are going to initiate a new principle in the conscience of the world.
Take this harp from my hand. I am done for.
My laments have turned into blood and that blood is going to trickle from the strings of the harp.
The five couplets quoted above are prophetic. In the first couplet Allama Iqbal indicates that the appearance of the Guide of the Era was just round the corner and the Caravan is about to start and emerge from "this" valley. Iqbal does not say that the awaited Guide has to emerge from the center of Hijaz. He says he is going to appear from a far flung valley. For the poet the desert of Hijaz, at times, serves as a symbol for the Muslim ummah. This means that Muslims of the Indian sub-continent are about to have a man who is destined to guide them to the goal of victory and that victory is to initiate the resurgence of Islam.
In the second couplet, he breaks the news of the dawn which is at hand. the slaves are turning into magnificent masters. In the third couplet he stresses the point that the Seers come to the world of man after centuries. He himself was one of those Seers. In the fourth couplet he refers to some ideology or principle quite new to the world which would effect the conscience of all humanity. And what else could it be, if it were not the right of self-determination for which the Muslims of the sub-continent were about to struggle. After the emergence of Pakistan this right became a powerful reference. It served as the advent of a new principle and continues to provide impetus to Muslims in minority in other parts of the world such as in the Philippines, Thailand and North America.
In the fifth couplet Iqbal indicates that he would die before the advent of freedom. He was sure that his verses which epitomized his most earnest sentiments would stand in good stead in exhorting the Muslims of the sub-continent to the goal of freedom.
BIOGRAPHY - IQBAL WORKS - IQBAL'S ENGLISH WORKS - IQBAL LETTERS -
IQBAL THE VISIONARY - IQBAL AND POLITICS - IQBAL AND THE QUAID i AZAM
IQBAL IN YEARS - IJTIHAD AND ISLAMIC MOVEMENT BY IQBAL
IQBAL BY DR. ALI SHARIATI
QUOTES FROM IQBAL
ETHNIC, RACIAL ISLAMIC REVOLUTION
PHOTO GALLERY - CONTACT US