Iqbal's Pas Chih Bayad Kard was first published in September 1936. A few months earlier had appeared a collection of his Urdu poems entitled: Darb-i Kalim. The latter deals with different subjects like education, role of women in life, art and literature, politics in East and West. In his dedication to late Nawab Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal, Iqbal says:
[There was none who
could truly understand
the travail of the people of Asia;
what have they suffered so far
and what future holds in its womb for them.]
These verses show that during these years Iqbal was very anxious about the future of the Asian people, most of whom were in political bondage of the West and those who were free were under her political, economic and social pressure. This posed a great and serious problem for all Asian people. The East has its own rich tradition of culture, but under the dominating influence of the West, her people had succumbed to the charms of the prevalent material culture.
Iqbal feels that Western culture, though dynamic in certain fields, has, unfortunately, due to her historical background, become wedded to the ideal of secularism. Some Western scholars claim that the concept of secularism in the West is rot antireligious; it is not a denial of religion; historically, it is an extension of religion.1
It may be true, but when Iqbal accuses West of secularism, he refers to their basic creed that religion is a private affair of the individual, and therefore it has nothing to do with the social, political or economic life of the people. This divorce of the secular life from its spiritual basis is what Iqbal condemns most strongly. It has led to the breeding among the new generation of the East materialistic approach towards life and rendering them incapable of facing the new challenge. To meet this challenge successfully, we must face facts boldly. The stark reality is that East and West both are sick at heart.
[Love is almost dead
in West through secularism.
reason, through confusion, is slavish in East.]2
[Neither Asia nor
Europe has life's vitality,
one leads to khudi’s death, the other to heart's death
and yet we feel in our hearts throbs of revolution
maybe the old world is about to die]3
But Iqbal is not hopeful of any change for the better in the West. Why was Iqbal so hopeless about Europe's future? The situation in the West was really very serious during the days these books were written. Democracies of Western Europe England and France, had lost their former political supremacy; though they wielded power through the League of Nations, yet this institution had lost all prestige. Iqbal had very early raised his voice against this international association of vultures. Japan's attack on Manchuria, Mussolini's siezure of Abyssinia and Hitler's rise to power in Germany presaged very dark days for the world. Bloody battles among contending forces of fascism and socialism were fought on the soil of Spain, people of the same land killing one another. Clouds of world war were thickening. It seemed a world conflagration was on the corner. Nobody could safely predict what was in store for man. A mood of gloom was all but natural and it was due to these reasons that Iqbal decides to appeal to the people of the East to rise to the occasion and try to arrest the fast approaching danger of destruction. He tries to awaken them so that they may take up the task of civilising mankind in a better way.
[The wine-shop of the
East has still the wine
that can illumine one's vision:
the sages are hopeless of Europe
for her people lack purity of heart.]4
The present Mathnavi is, therefore, addressed to the people of the East. In the Introduction, he warns the readers of the danger of Reason's revolt which may endanger the future of the human race. By associating revolt with reason, Iqbal does not mean to denounce reason as such or depreciate the valuable contribution of reason to the development of human culture.
By reason's revolt, Iqbal seems to emphasise the secular trends of thought that characterise the life of the Western people, severing the individual's social, economic and political life from the operation of moral and spiritual principles. Reason's revolt means, in Iqbal, revolt of the Western man against the spiritual basis of life. The remedy for this, therefore, lies, according to Iqbal, in raising recruits from the Kingdom of Love, those who are dedicated to the objective of world peace, human brotherhood and social justice. When it is the question of bringing about revolution among people, changing their whole outlook on life, it is not to reason that one has to appeal; it is the transmuting power of faith that is to be awakened which transforms heartless people into noble and gentle spirits.
[That which changes
all of a sudden people's destiny
is a power to which wise reason is no match]5
It is this "madness" which, when combined with reason, brings about revolution in men's way of thinking and living.
In the first two introductory chapters, Iqbal describes the situation as it has developed in Asian lands under the influence of Western thought and mode of living. He regards it his paramount duty to clarify the relation between State and Church which, according to him, is the main pivot on which revolves the future of the people of the world. In order to build a new world order which is more in consonance with the traditions of the East, it is necessary, first of all, to destroy, root and branch, that aspect of Western culture that does not suit our genius and is harmful for our future development. The fourth and fifth chapters depict the contrasting effects of two different paths-the path of truth and the path of falsehood. The fourth chapter explains in brief the type of man deriving inspiration from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The fifth deals with the type of people whose outlook is limited to this world here and now and have no faith in any life after death chapters elaborate the theme
The sixth. seventh and eighth chapters touched upon in chapter four. The basis of this spiritual state is there is no god save Allah. It is a synthesis of both negation and affirmation -negation of whatever is undesirable and affirmation of what is good and valuable. Iqbal refers to the life of the Arabs of the seventh century of the Christian era who succeeded in building a new society on both negation and affirmation. Then he refers to modern Russia which. is involved in denial and has yet not taken the next important step to affirmation. The next two chapters, dealing with Faqr and Free Man, describe the type, positively, of man who can successfully guide the people, and, negatively, the type - of people who are no more than hypocrites.
The fourth part of the book begins with chapter 9, dealing with the manifold values embodied in the Islamic Shari’ah. Here Iqbal describes certain basic principles of the new social order that is to be based on the Shari’ah
First, the value of money is undeniable; it is the misuse of money that leads to injustice and tyranny
Second, acquisition of money should be through legal sources, those that are approved by the Shari’ah
Neglect of these principles, Iqbal states, has led to the exploitation of man by man which has brought about serious crises in the affairs of the people.
In the end he defines in clear terms the significance of Shari’ah and Tariqah, the latter a mere inner extension of the former.
The fifth part deals first with the sad spectacle of disharmony among the different peoples inhabiting the South Asian subcontinent. As we know, the present book was written during 1935 and 1936, the period when elections were to be held in India under the newly enforced Government of India Act, 1935. The Quaid-i Azam had decided in 1934 to revive the Muslim League and efforts began to be made towards this purpose. Iqbal was in full accord with the Quaid-i Azam in this objective. In spite of intensive efforts made during the last twenty years to bring about some understanding between the two communities, Hindus and Muslims, nothing had been achieved. Iqbal laments over this situation which unfortunately perpetuated the bonds of slavery.
In the next chapter, the ninth, Iqbal discusses the baneful effects of slavery on man, who loses thereby his creative impulse and dynamic urge for new life.
In the third chapter of part five, Iqbal addresses the Arab people who, through the intrigues of Western nations, were divided into several Nation-States, thus reducing their overall strength in political and economic fields. He advises them to throw off the yoke of the West and, in building the new edifice of their society, they should draw inspiration from their ancient rich cultural traditions.
The thirteenth chapter deals with the main problem: what should the people of the East do to meet this challenge of the modern secular age? In the first place, Iqbal deals with the miserable condition of the people of the world as a result of divorce of material life from its spiritual source under the influence of the West. In the second part, he advises them to give up following the West and turn to their own cultural heritage for inspiration.
The book concludes with a prayer to Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). Though it seems to start with a personal note, it is in reality a critique of the modern Muslim and a prayer to the Prophet (may peace be upon him), in his behalf, so that be may gain confidence in himself, in his traditions, and in his cultural heritage.
I am glad to acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Hadi Hussain who not only went through the typescript and suggested certain improvements, but also helped me in clearing some doubts about certain verses of the text. I am grateful to Mr. Ashraf Dar who took great pains and meticulous care in editing and preparing the typescript for the press.
B. A. DAR
1. Dr. Hafiz Malik, Ed., Iqbal, Poet-Philosopher of Pakistan, p. 182.
2. Darb-i Kalim, p. 81.
3. Ibid., p. 139.
4. Ibid., pp. 111-12.
5. Ibid., p. 146.