This is the main theme of the book and, therefore,. deserves very serious consideration. The first point is that the world is in distress and everybody is feeling the evil effects of European civilisation. According to Iqbal, the reason for this is the materialistic outlook and the secular attitude of the West.
[Since the West viewed
body and soul separate,
it also regarded State and Church as two.
See deceit and artifice in Statecraft
body without soul, and soul without body.] 1
The result is:
[The art of the West is nothing but man-killing.] 2
True peace is possible here if the spiritual and the temporal are looked upon as twin aspects of the same unity. Iqbal says: “The essence of ‘Tauhid’ as a working idea is equality, solidarity, and freedom. The state, from the Islamic standpoint’ is an endeavour to transform these ideal principles into space-time forces. . . . ”3
[Mankind will be
when religion and State are one.] 4
A State based on religious principles and guided by moral considerations is called by Iqbal as khilafat in the real sense:
[Imperialism is all deceit and magic,
Caliphate is the protector -of God’s laws.] 5
[Caliphate is Faqr with political authority.] 6
The secular attitude is also responsible, according to Iqbal, for the misuse of reason and denial of revelation. Reason is in-capable of guiding us in the sphere of morals for which we have to fall back upon revelation. The message of Iqbal, therefore, is, first, to destroy the secular culture root and branch, and, secondly, to supplement reason with revelation. Love and reason, dhikr and fikr, Jamal and jalal, nur (light) and nar (fire) must supplement one another. It is this spiritual approach that should replace the materialistic attitude of the West.
Political thinkers of the West tried to establish a League of Nations after the First World War, but it could not solve the problems of mankind because, according to Iqbal, it accepted division of mankind on the basis of land, colour and race as valid. It thus tended to divide mankind into warring factions instead of bringing them together. In 1913, only four years after the establishment of the League, Iqbal could say:
[So that the seed of
strife be sown in the world,
world’s well-wishers have set up an organisation
to me it seems some plunderers of the dead
have gathered to divide graves among themselves.] 7
But writing in 1935, he gives a clearer picture of this organisation in contrast to what Islam would envisage its programme of action:
[The object of Western
diplomacy: dividing nations,
object of Islam: human brotherhood.] 8
It would be very instructive if Iqbal’s New Year -message, which he gave in 1938, is quoted here. It is as relevant today as it was when it was given. He says “So long as this so-called democracy, this accursed nationalism and this degraded imperial-ism are not shattered, so long as men do not demonstrate by their actions that they believe that the whole world is the family of God, so long as distinctions of race, colour and geographical nationalities are not wiped out completely, they will never be able to lead a happy and contented life and the beautiful ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity will never materialise.”9
The people of Asia must acquire power themselves, turn their back on the materialism of the West and set up a new social order based on the ancient traditions of honesty, sincerity and spirituality, which Iqbal calls here White Hand of Moses.
The last advice of Iqbal is that we must develop our economic system free from the influence of the West. Our trade, commerce and industry must in no case be dependent upon those of the West. It is better, he emphasises, to remain poor and ill-clad rather than pine for wealth which may enslave us to the West.
1. Zabur-i ‘Ajam, p. 217.
2. Ibid., p. 233.
3. Reconstruction, p. 154.
4. Bal-i Jibril, p. 160. Junaid, the mystic of Baghdad, represents religion, while Ardsher, Iranian monarch of Sassanid dynasty, represents State.
5. Armaghan-i Hijaz, p. 126.
6. Ibid., p. 110. “Crown and throne” are symbols of political authority.
7. Payam-i M’ashriq, p. 233.
8. Darb-i Kalim, p. 54.
9. “Shamloo,” Ed., Speeches and Statements of Iqbal, p. 222.