As suggested in a previous post, it appears that in every domain of knowledge the current perceptions are just the opposite of Iqbal's. In 2017: The Battle of Marghdeen, I have tried to make a list of five key differences, for those who may be interested.
My contention is that our perception of our world changes drastically if we adopt these changes. In my understanding, much of what has been written about the ideas of Iqbal has suffered from the fact that writers, especially after 1953, passively accepted the academically accepted premise in every domain of knowledge and attempted to interpret Iqbal accordingly. Whereas, I believe, Iqbal questioned those very positions.
Further details can be found in 2017, and the supporting evidence for these statements is abundantly available in my third biography of Iqbal recently published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in Urdu. Each statement forms the main objective of an online course at Marghdeen Learning Centre.
- We are usually told that the present times are an age of spiritual decline (a view which was originally articulated by Oswald Spengler and H.G. Wells during and after the First World War).
- We need to know that Iqbal believed the world to be already on the verge of “a great spiritual and cultural revolution” in 1923. He believed that Nature was “building up in the depths of life a new human being and a new world for him to live in” and therefore the spirit of modern times is fully consonant with spiritual advancement.
2. Art and Literature:
- We are usually told that pessimistic art and literature are more worthy of respect and attention than those products which present a desirable fantasy (an idea popularized by the French poet Charles Baudelaire in 1857, who called his poems The Flowers of Evil and described hypocrisy to be his ideal).
- We need to know that art and literature are collective dreams that come true, according to Iqbal. Therefore, they should present the world as it should be, and not as it appears to be.
- We are usually told that democracy is against the spirit of Islam (a point of view popularized by scholars like A. J. Arberry, who pioneered an intellectual movement against Islam, Pakistan and Iqbal in 1953).
- We need to know that “Democracy, then, is the most important aspect of Islam regarded as a political ideal,” according to Iqbal, as he stated in a seminal paper in 1909 (all his political views, which he offered subsequently, were elaborations on this basic idea).
4. Religion and Science:
- We are usually told that religion and science are locked in a perpetual conflict.
- We need to know that Iqbal observed in 1930, “The day is not far off when Religion and Science may discover hitherto unsuspected mutual harmonies.” By that estimate, we should be able to discover those mutual harmonies now.
- We are usually told that education is either an end in itself or preparation for a career.
- We need to know that “Education, like other things, is determined by the needs of a community,” according to Iqbal. Chief among these needs is to achieve “a real collective ego” by passing on the common ideals of the society from generation to generation.