Modern Spain in Muslim Consciousness
|1933: Iqbal in the grand mosque|
The following statement was issued by Allama Iqbal on 26th February 1933, after visiting Spain during his trip to Europe. It is included in Speeches, Writings and Statements of Iqbal by Latif Ahmad Sherwani (ed), published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan. "The conference in Geneva" mentioned here was apparently the European Muslim Congress, eventually held in 1935 after being postponed twice.
This is the time when Iqbal was writing his landmark Urdu poem, 'The Mosque of Cordoba'. It can be a rewarding experience to read the first and last paragraphs of the statement in the light of the following verses from that poem:دیکھ چُکا المنی شورشِ اصلاحِ دیںجس نے نہ چھوڑے کہیں عہدِ کہن کے نشاںحرفِ غلط بن گئی عصمتِ پیرِ کنشتاور ہوئی فکر کی کشتیِ نازک رواںروحِ مسلماں میں ہے آج وہی اضطرابرازِ خدائی ہے یہ کہہ نہیں سکتی زباں
After visiting different European countries and seeing the general moral chaos of the modern world, I am convinced that the great opportunity for Islam as a faith has come. Millions upon millions of men and women in Europe are anxious to know what Islam and its cultural ideals are. The sooner the younger generation of Muslims realises this fact, the better. European Muslims have already realised it. They are holding a conference in Geneva in August next, the object of the proposed conference being purely social and cultural. I hope the Muslims of Asia and Africa will generously respond to the promoters of the conference.
I visited Cordova, Granada, Seville, Toledo and Madrid and besides seeing the historic mosque at Cordova, and the Alhambra in Granada, I visited the ruins of Madinatuz Zehra, the famous palace built on a mountain by Abdur Rehman for his wife Zehra, where excavations are still going on. It was there that the first demonstration of a flying machine was given in the twelfth century by a Muslim inventor. I had the privilege of meeting, among others, the Education Minister of the Spanish Government, an exceedingly courteous gentleman with a breadth of vision hardly to be expected in a country like Spain, and Professor Asin, the well-known author of Divine Comedy and Islam. Under the directions of the Education Minister the department of Arabic in the University of Granada is being greatly expanded. The head of this department is a disciple of Professor Asin.
The Spaniards living in the south of the country are proud of their Moorish origin and of the great monuments of Islamic culture which are to be found there. A new consciousness is steadily growing in the country and will further expand with the development of education. The movement of reform started by Luther has not yet exhausted itself. It is still working quietly in different European countries and the hold of priesthood, especially in Spain, is gradually loosening.