Regarded from a purely literary standpoint, the debilitation of the forces of life in Europe after the ordeal of the [First World] war is unfavorable to the development of a correct and mature literary ideal.
Indeed, the fear is that the minds of the nations may be gripped by that slow-pulsed Magianism which runs away from life’s difficulties, and which fails to distinguish between the sentiments of the heart and the thoughts of the brain. However, America seems to be a healthy element in Western civilization, the reason for which perhaps is that it is free from the trammels of old traditions and that its collective intuition is receptive to new ideas and influences.
The East, and especially the Muslim East, has opened its eyes after a centuries-long slumber. But the nations of the East should realize that life can bring about no revolution in its surroundings until a revolution takes place in its inner depths and that no new world can take shape externally until it is formed in the minds of men. This ineluctable law, which has been stated by the Quran in the simple but eloquent words, ‘Verily, God does not change a nation until it changes itself’ governs both the individual and the collective spheres of life; and it is the truth of this law that I have tried to keep in view in my Persian works.
Iqbal, 'Preface' to The Message of the East (1923)