Iqbal’s initial exposure to western civilization and culture

Allama Iqbal has used the term ‘Farang’ for Europeans and ‘Afrang’ for European nations, culture and civilization. Allama Iqbal was directly exposed to the western culture in 1905 when he went to London for higher studies. He lived there for three years. During his stay there, not only did he benefit from their education and literature, but he also observed their customs, traditions, their way of life, values and morals from different angles and aspects. While he was in London he tried to understand the western culture and civilization and compared it with Islamic culture and civilization.

Iqbal was not dazzled by the outwards glitters of the west. However he was impressed by the educational standard and technological advancement of the west. In spite of living in the west he did not loose sight of his spiritual thought and activity. This is evident from one of his verses in which he says;

The intellectual thought of the west could not dazzle me

As the light of Mecca and Medina is a source of enlightenment for me  

Iqbal felt that the western civilization was dominated by evil. It did have its positive points but they were negated by the demerits. They indulge in racism and suffer form superiority complex. Keeping these facts in mind Iqbal states that;


If I reveal my true thoughts,

The Europeans will not be able to bear the truth


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