May 23, 2013 | 05:14 AM (BD Time)
23 May, 2013 Thursday
Mystic egoism in Iqbal’s works
M. Mizanur Rahman:
Dr. Allama Iqbal was one of the distinguished poets and philosophers of the world: The world of ours is not all esotorics of idle thoughts of phylosophy but full of words of actions.
According to M. Naim Iqbal, "Dr. Allama Iqbal started composing poetry from his young age. At that time his poems are mostly based on nationalistic and patriotic ideas and love of nature. But his stay in Europe completely changed his outlook. Now he was no more a poet of only nationalistic feelings but of broad humanistic outlook of Islam. His epoch making long poems "Asrar-e-khudi" (Secrets of the self) and Ramuz-e-bekhudi (Mystries of Selflessness) are of its worth. He became very famous when his poems are translated in English by Prof. Nicholson, a teacher and adsmirer of Iqbal at Cambridge.
Iqbal took the liberal aspects of humanitarian trends of Islam in his work.
He was versatile and well conversant with Urdu, Persian and English. His poems are of universal themes got favourable readers all over the world and tramslated in different major languages of the world that preferred to uphold universal peace and justice for mankind in the spirit of Islam. His voice for the downtrodden poor suffering people is still throbbing in the air of the suffering world :
Arise! Wake up all the hungry poor ones of the world!
Strike terror into the rich, knock and break their doors.
Warm up your slavish blood with the fire of your Faith.
Smash the fear of the sparrow before the striking falcon.
Look at the advancing regime of the suffering people
Brushing off the signs of sins
and adorning virtuous color of the world.
Set ablaze the crops of those fields
Where the farmers and labors are deprived
of their labor's fruits.
What makes the bar between the created and the creator?
Drive out the middlemen Mullah-priests forever.
(Tr. by the author)
Iqbal rose sternly against the cruel exploiters of the poor and stood firmly for the exploited class in the social ambience. His fiery pen gave innumerable lines against the unjust where he boldly fought for the oppressed souls. He never spared the oppressors in his political thought also.
In poetic affinity he had some sort of assimilation with poet Milton and Goethe. Iqbal perceived Khudi(Self) as an active philosophy where he never sought passive Sufism for practical life in favour of the suffering masses of people around the world. So his dynamic verses are acclaimed by the people of the world without hesitation. He said, "You are absorbed in the heap of books but you do not activate yourself with acquired knowledge that you obtain from your books..." So knowledge without action is meaningless. Asrar-e-khudi is given by Allah to all individuals. Herein lies Iqbal's strong belief between the Creator and the created.Iqbal did not coincide here with Friedrich Wilhem Nietzsche (1844-1900)'s Superhuman or the Universe where god is dead.
None can go beyond self. Hence one is existed as an individual with hopes and aspirations to look into the existing amenities of life for its own benefit. However this being is active within its self. According to Iqbal "Allegiance to ALLAH, as a matter of fact, is an ideal and natural allegiance to one's natural self."
"Love" is the thematic ideal that remains at poetic heart universally. None of the poets of the world can deny it. Hence Iqbal is no exception to affairs of love. In Goethe's Faust, the Satan Mephishtopheles wanted to mislead mankind where Faust never bowed down to evils.
Mephestopheles : And there your lust for fame begins.
One sees you have been with heroines.
Faust : So realm and rule to me will fall.
The glory's nought, the deed is all.
(Faust,Part-ii, page 220)
Iqbal's Ultimate aim of Ego:
Are you in the stage of life or death, Death-in- life?
Invoke the aid of three witnesses to verify your 'Station'
The first witness is your own conciousness.
See yourself, then, with your own light.
The second witness is the conciousness of another ego-
See yourself, then, with the light of an ego other than you.
The third witness is God's consicousness-
See yourself, then, with God's light.
If you stand unshaken in front of this light,
Consider yourself as living and eternal as He!
That man alone is real who dares-
Dares to see God face to face!
What is "ascension'? Only a search for a witness
Who may finally confirm the reality?
A witness whose confirmation alone makes you eternal.
No one can stand unshaken in His Presence:
And he who can, verily, He is pure Gold.
Are you a mere particle of dust?
Tighten the knot of your ego;
And hold fast to your tiny being!
How glorious to burnish one's ego
And to test its lustre in the presence of the Sun
Re-chisel, then, your anceient frame;
And build up a new being
Such being is real being
Or else your ego is a mere ring of smoke!
His first book Ulum ul Iqtisad/The knowledge of Economics was written in Urdu in 1903. His first poetic work Asrar-i Khudi (1915) was followed by Rumuz-i- Bekhudi (1917) Payam-e- Mashriq appeared in 1923, Zabur-i Ajam in 1927, Javid Nama in 1932. Pas cheh bayed kard ai Aqwam-1 Sharq in 1936, and Armughan-1 Hijaz in 1938.. All these books were in Persian. The last one published posthumously is mainly in Persian; only a small portion comprises Urdu poems and ghazals.
His first book of poetry in Urdu, Bang-i- Dara (1924) was followed by Bal-i Jibril in 1935 and Zarb-i Kalim in 1936.
Bang-i Dara consists of selected poems belonging to the three preliminary phases of Iqbal's poetic career. Bal-i Jibril is the peak of Iqbal's Urdu poetry. It consists of ghazals, poems, quatrains, epigrams and displays threw vision and intellect necessary to foster sincerity and firm belief in the heart of the Muslim ummah and turn its members into true believers. Zarb-i kalim was described by the poet himself as a declaration of war against the then era.
Iqbal wrote two books in English. The first is"The Development of Metaphysics in Persia." Sufism is discussed here. The next book is "The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam", is the collection of his six lectures which he delivered at Madras Hyderabad and tligarh. These were first published from Lahore in 1930 and then by Oxford University press in 1934. Some of the main subjects are "knowledge of Religious Experience," The conception of Good and the Meaning of Prayer", "The Human Ego," "Predestination and Free Will," "The spirit of Muslim culture," and "The principle of Movement is Islam (Ijtihad).
(The author of this article is a poet, translator, researcher and columnist )
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