Monday, October 6, 2008

The unity of humankind

Iqbal's concept of ideal state seems to be based on three unities:
  1. The unity of life
  2. The unity of humankind
  3. The unity of nation
The second of these is mentioned in the Allahabad Address in the following words:

Indeed the first practical step that Islam took towards the realization of a final combination of humanity was to call upon peoples possessing practically the same ethical ideal to come forward and combine. The Quran declares, “O people of the Book! Come let us join together on the ‘word’ (Unity of God), that is common to us all.”
The verse which has been quoted here is 64 of the third chapter. Iqbal perceives it as an ideal and a goal: "a final combination of humanity” is going to be the destination where the humanity will arrive at last, and perhaps it's too early right now for us to fully comprehend this far-off goal lying in a distant future when all nations will acquire a unity of vision despite religious and cultural diversity. “The wars of Islam and Christianity, and, later, European aggression in its various forms, could not allow the infinite meaning of this verse to work itself out in the world of Islam,” Iqbal goes on to say. “Today it is being gradually realized in the countries of Islam in the shape of what is called Muslim Nationalism.”

Hence this “final combination” seems to be an inevitable destination which cannot be avoided. Humanity seems to be moving towards it through good and bad experiences – just as Joseph moved towards the fulfillment of his dream. By forgetting this ideal we increase misery. By recognizing it we bring “peace within and peace without” (to borrow a phrase from Jinnah).

Even if we can't completely comprehend this unity in the present state of chaos, can we at least have some direct experience of it now? The answer, according to Iqbal, is yes.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings,

    Thank you very much for this.

    If I understand this somewhat correctly, then we are moving, according to Iqbal, toward this "final combination of humanity," whether remembering the Ideal or forgetting it. Forgetting the Ideal, we increase misery. But we're moving there regardless. Yes?

    All good wishes,