Friday, November 11, 2011

"40 years of tyranny are better than an hour of anarchy"

This is an excerpt from 'Islam as a Moral and Political Ideal', lecture delivered by Iqbal at the anniversary of Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam, Lahore, in April 1909.

The truth is that Islam is essentially a religion of peace. All forms of political and social disturbance are condemned by the Quran in the most uncompromising terms. I quote a few verses from the Quran:
  • “Eat and drink from what God has given you and run not on the face of the earth in the matter of rebels.”
  • “And disturb not the peace of the earth after it has been reformed; this is good for you if you are believers.”
  • “And do good to others as God has done good to thee, and seek not the violation of peace in the earth, for God does not love those who break the peace. That is the home in the next world which we build for those who do not mean rebellion and disturbance in the earth, and the end is for those who fear God.”
  • “Those who rebelled in cities and enhanced disorder in them, God visited them with His whip of punishment.”
One sees from these verses how severely all forms of political and social disorder are denounced by the Quran. But the Quran is not satisfied with mere denunciation of the evil of  fesad. It goes to the very root of this evil. We know that both in ancient and modern times, secret meetings have been a constant source of political and social unrest. Here is what the Quran says about such conferences: “O believers, if you converse secretly that is to say, hold secret conference, converse not for purpose of sin and rebellion”. The ideal of Islam is to secure social peace at any cost. All methods of violent change in society are condemned in the most unmistakable language. Tartushi - a Muslim lawyer of Spain - is quite true to the spirit of Islam when he says: “Forty years of tyranny are better than one hour of anarchy”.

“Listen to him and obey him, even if a negro slave is appointed to rule over you." Muslim mentions another important tradition of the Prophet on the authority of Arfaja, who says: “I heard the Prophet of God say, when you have agreed to follow one man then if another man comes forward intending to break your stick (weaken your strength) or to make you disperse in disunion, kill him”.

Those among us who make it their business to differ from the general body of Musalmans in political views ought to read this tradition carefully, and if they have any respect for the words of the Prophet, it is their duty to dissuade themselves from this mean traffic in political opinion which, though perhaps it brings a little personal gain to them, is exceedingly harmful to the interests of the community. My object, in citing these verses and traditions is to educate political opinion on strictly Islamic lines.


  1. in order to accept 40 years of tyranny being better than an hour of anarchy, i need to know more about the meaning and the consequences of actions that entail each word.

    however, i am willing to put up with one hour of anarchy if it leads to end of oppression and rebuilding of society.

  2. I completely agreed, because Musalmans must take help from Sabar and Sala'at.

  3. thank you for drawing your attention towards more
    ideas of Iqbal.with each new aspect of Iqbal,we learn more and more.we need to study Iqbal for our re-awakening as a nation,and you are doing a wonderful effort in this regard.

  4. Tartushi the Spanish lawyer is right when he says"forty years of tyranny is better than an hour of anarchy".But are we really doing anything about it is what I am thinking.According to the Quran all forms of political and social disturbance is prohibited.Despite all this nothing has changed.There are secret meetings going on against the country and its inhabitants.Knowing well we are not going to be on this earth forever,we are not paying attention to the words of the Quran.The Quran says "not to disturb the peace of the earth once it has been formed.This is good for you if you are believers. I think the time has come to pay attention to the words of the Quran and the prophet(peace be upon him)if we want peace in our countries.