I propose to look at Islam from the standpoint of the critical student. But I may state at the outset that I shall avoid the use of expressions current in popular Revelation Theology; since my method is essentially scientific and consequently necessitates the use of terms which can be interpreted in the light of every-day human experience. For instance, when I say that the religion of a people is the sum-total of their life-experience finding a definite expression through the medium of a great personality, I am only translating the fact of Revelation into the language of science. Similarly, inter-action between individual and universal energy is only another expression for the feeling of prayer, which ought to be so described for purposes of scientific accuracy. It is because I want to approach my subject from a thoroughly human standpoint, and not because I doubt the fact of Divine Revelation as the final basis of all religion, that I prefer to employ expressions of a more scientific content. Islam is, moreover, the youngest of all religions, the last creation of humanity. Its founder stands out clear before us; he is truly a personage of history and lends himself freely even to the most searching criticism. Ingenious legend has weaved no screens round his figure; he is born in the broad day-light of history; we can thoroughly understand the inner spring of his actions; we can subject his mind to a keen psychological analysis. Let us then, for the time being, eliminate the supernatural element and try to understand the structure of Islam as we find it.
Excerpt from 'Islam as a Moral and Political Ideal', a paper delivered by Iqbal in April 1909 at the anniversary of Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam, Lahore.