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Educational Philosophy Of Allama Mohammad Iqbal Religion Essay

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Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal is one of the most prominent and acknowledged poet philosopher of Indo-Pak and will be reckoned with by the devotees and all the Muslims of the world.

Aware of the depressing plight of the Muslims he could not see them in their subdued and miserable condition, he took up his pen and made the Muslims awaken of the slumber which their inaction has brought onto them.

Iqbal's vigilant eye could not escape the minutest point of importance and he used his forceful verses in order to make the Muslims of the sub-continent aware of their depressed nature and inaction.

Iqbal stressed that individuality can't be developed in isolation, for its proper nourishment and for enrichment of its qualities it needs society and community. Equal importance is given in his philosophical verses, to research and creativity achieved by the Western nations and the Muslims are advised to fellow suit in order to develop in themselves a love for research and creativity.

Female Education is equally stressed by Iqbal, and last but not the least, moral education of man is given due consideration.

His philosophy is basically an Islamic philosophy, that's why he has urged the Muslims to follow the teachings of Quran and tread the true path of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W).

Introduction:

Allama Mohammad Iqbal (1876-1938)*: Most of Allama Iqbal's writings were devoted to a revival of Islam. In his presidential address to the Muslim League in 1930, he first suggested that the Muslims of northwestern India should demand a separate nation for themselves. Although many compilations of Iqbal's poetry also deliver his message very eloquently, his foremost book Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam was intended to secure a vision of the spirit of Islam as emancipated from its Magian overlaying.

He encouraged Muslims to embrace ideals of brotherhood, justice, and service. His masterpiece is 'The Song of Eternity' (1932). Similar in theme to Dante's 'Divine Comedy', it relates the poet's ascent through all realms of thought and experience, guided by the 13th-century poet Jalal-UD-Din-Rumi. He also wrote poetry in the Persian language. He tried to free the Muslim mind from the prevailing colonial mentality and from Muslims' own narrow self-interests, which is reflected in his classical work "Toloo-e-Islam" (Rise of Islam).

Prose Works by Dr. Muhammad Iqbal:

The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930)

One of the great thinkers of this century, in this ground-breaking work, attempts to show a path back to the scientific and intellectual striving that Muslims once excelled in. Refuting the current methods of teaching, as being from a generation of a cultural outlook different than that facing the modern mind, Iqbal calls for a reconstruction of thought pointing to the fact that from the first to fourth century no less than nineteen schools of law appeared in Islam to meet the necessities of a growing civilization.

The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908)

This was a thesis submitted to the University of Munich for his PhD. It was published in London in the same year. The book traces the development of metaphysics in Persia.

Poetry:

Bang-e-Dara (1924): First written in Persian, Bang-I-Dara (Caravan Bell) was translated into Urdu by popular demand. It is an anthology of poems written over a period of 20 years and is divided into 3 parts.

Baal-e-Jibraeel (1935): Baal-e-Jibraeel (Gabriel's Wing) continues from Bang-e-Dara. Some of the verses had been written when Iqbal visited Britain, Italy, Egypt, Palestine, France, Spain and Afghanistan. Contains 15 ghazals addressed to God and 61 ghazals and 22 quatrains dealing with the ego, faith, love, knowledge, the intellect and freedom.

Zerb-e-Kalim (1936): This, Iqbal's third collection of Urdu poems, has been described as his political manifesto. It was published with the subtitle "A Declaration of War against the Present Times." Zerb-e-Kalim (The Blow of Moses' Staff) was meant to rescue Muslims from the ills brought on by modern civilization, just as Moses had rescued the Israelites.

English Translation:

Armaghan-e-Hijaz (1938): This work, published a few months after the poet's death, is a fairly small volume containing verses in both Persian and Urdu. The title means "Gift from the Hijaz." He had long wished to undertake the journey to the Arabian Peninsula to perform the Hajj and to visit the tomb of the Prophet, but was prevented from doing so by continuous illness during the last years of his life.

English translation;

The Ideal Woman

The Materialistic Culture

The shrine of your street is my refuge!

The ultimate aim of Ego

The world of Body vs. World of Soul

Our thought is the product of your teachings

Profit for one, but Death for many

Communism and Imperialism

The Glory of a Woman

The Choice is yours

Terms used in the paper:

Man used by Iqbal in his writings for a "True and staunch Muslim (Mard-e-Momin)".

Available on: http://www.yespakistan.com/iqbal/works.asp

ACTIVITY, RESEARCH AND ORIGINALITY:

Iqbal not only reminded the Muslims their glorious past but also showed them the way that how their fore-fathers achieved that position and dignity. He advised the Muslims to get and aspire for an education which will enable them to compete with other nations of the world. He stressed the point that they should not remain passive but should actively participate in different constructive activities so as to make their individuality sound in order to make their nation strong.

Activity: Great emphasis is laid on activity, because everything in this world is active one way or the other. He went so far regarding his philosophy of action that this world, paradise and even the hell are all related to action and movement. The man by his nature is neither like light or angels nor like fire or devils, but the actions and deeds respective to their nature make them so. (Afridi A.K & Ghaffar S.A, 1999, P.213, 214)

In Zarb-I-Kalim, he presents him as,

Action makes the life either paradise or hell

The man itself is neither light nor fire. (P.83)

Iqbal advised the Muslim youth to work continuously and to put efforts endlessly, so that they may leave their glorious prints permanently on world history. The necessary condition for such a progress is constant efforts, struggle to improve, a desire for learning more, actions and movements. Iqbal was aware of the fact that the Muslims in general and the youth in particular have shunned away action and struggle and gave them advice that they should become practical and should leave their passivity.

Iqbal in his masterpiece Zarb-i-kalim beautifully depicts the Muslim's deplorable condition in the following words:

May God confront thee with a stormy situation?

For ye lack struggle and action in your life. (P.82)

He advised the Muslim youth that only studying and memorizing literature and philosophy is not to be the aim of education but equal and greater importance should be given to technical and practical knowledge as well.

Creative Education:- Education, according to Iqbal, should be primarily a dynamic and creative education directed to the releasing and nurturing of the creative spirit in man and equipping him with the desire and capacity to conquer new realms of art and science, knowledge and power and education inspired by an optimistic faith in the destiny of man. It means that if anyone of these branches of knowledge is acquired, it will serve man's purposes. There is no other way to be adopted for man's development.

In different branches of knowledge, science will naturally occupy a prominent place in it, so that man may not only gain sovereignty over nature but also control the scientific method through which he may explore and consciously reconstruct his world.

About creativity, Iqbal says that the world is not something to be seen or know through concepts and ideas only it should be a world which is to be made and remade through continuous action and struggle. He admonishes the young men of his country who have put themselves to resignation and indifference. (Stepyants, 1972, P.33)

Through continuous action and an unending struggle the Western nations have touched the zenith of glory and have made their name known in the world. The Muslim nations following suit can also attain the same high position and even surpass the Western countries. Education should not make the learners only passive listeners or receivers of knowledge but it should be such that it will make and inspire them for action. It should equip the students for a life of action, not one that would favour passive contemplation like the education that developed in many Eastern countries under the influence of some form of pseudo - mysticism and of political decadence. Contemplation is not desirable because it paralysis the power of action instead of whetting it which only makes one escape from the realities of life.

The development of individuality is the objective of education and it can realize itself only in the strenuous life of action. The acquisition of passive knowledge is wholly repugnant to the spirit of Islamic education. In Islam no passivity is welcome because it makes the individual dead. (Iqbal's" Lectures", P.178)

From the ethical and psychological point of view, the greater importance of action or the deed lies in the fact that while "a wrong concept misleads the understanding, a wrong deed degrades the man and may eventually demolish the structure of the human ego. Concepts which are part of human personality affect life partially; it is the deed or action which is dynamically related to reality.

In this active interplay of his powers including forces around him of his environment, in this process of ceaseless and never ending reconstruction, man is constantly molding and enriching his own individuality.

Creativity & Originality: Iqbal asserts that the Muslim youth should not follow Western culture and civilization but instead should make their own efforts to achieve success and greatness. He addresses the Muslims in his Payam-I-Mashreq in the following words:

Look into thy own clay for the fire that is lacking

The light of another is not worth striving for. (P.188)

He saw in the prevailing conditions of the East and in India in particular, that the slavish imitation of the West has warped the development of Eastern peoples and has also repressed their creativity. (Abdul Sattar J.Paracha, et.al, 1977)

Iqbal brings the attention of Muslims towards a serious problem and has drawn a vivid and hauntingly truthful picture of how our youth has become denationalized through an education which neither strengthens their individuality nor stimulates their originality. He then scathingly criticizes those who, without appreciating the true values of Western culture seek to approximate to it by copying its external trappings. It is obvious from his philosophy that he does not narrow - mindedly reject the valuable contributions of the West (in research).

Iqbal readily welcome the West's spirit of research, their sciences, their strenuous striving to gain control of their environment. No doubt he repudiates the merely superficial and sensational aspects of their civilization because they tend to weaken our self-respect and give us an entirely false sense of being modern and progressive. (Saiyidain K.G, 1999 P.20, 21)

He believes that a free environment can develop the latent powers of an individual. He further says that life cannot unfold all its possibilities, nor can the individual develop his latent powers, except in an atmosphere of freedom which would allow for experimentation with the environment, for the exercise of choice and discrimination in the use of methods and materials and for learning by direct, personal, first hand experience.

Iqbal significantly points that the development of creativity which is the highest attribute of man and links him with God, and originality, which is a condition precedent for all progressive change, also postulate freedom. Deprived of such freedom, man becomes a slave whom Iqbal characterizes in happy inspiration, as one incapable of original, creative activity.

The environment of man is constantly changing and growing as a result of his own creative activity, it is imperative, in the modern age, to lay special stress on the awakening and cultivation of intelligence. Without it, it would be impossible for him to live a full and adequate life in this complex and challenging environment. He shows a keen awareness of the role of experimentally acquired knowledge in modern life.

Trial and error are very necessary factors for the attainment of knowledge and through fearless exploration into realms of thought, we can make our original and valuable contribution to the enrichment of knowledge and consequently, of life.

When freedom of thought and originality of action is quickened in individuals and groups, it brings great triumphs in its wake, e.g. in Bal-I-jibril, he is of the view that;

What is originality of thought and action?

An urge to revolution!

What is originality of thought and action?

A renaissance of national life!

It is the source of life's miracles,

Transforming granite into the purest of pearls (P: 202)

"The movement of life, according to Iqbal, is determined by ends, and the presence of ends means that it is permeated by intelligence. Thus ends and purposes, whether they exist consciously or unconsciously, form the warp and woof of our conscious existence". (Iqbal, Lectures, P.183)

Experimentalist on this point say, that man living in this world is a mixture of the regular and the changing, of the fixed and the uncertain, of the stable and the precarious. In short man lives in a world, in which the character of experience is such that intelligent, purposeful activity is demanded if he is to achieve a satisfying experience, and it is done through a purposeful activity. (Saiyidain K.G, 1999 P: 28, 29)

He does not minimize the value and importance of action in the eyes of many Eastern thinkers. Like Bergson, he believes that the intellect has been evolved in, and for the service of action and its role is that of hand maiden in the achievement of life's purpose.

He explains this point in his famous work Asrar-E-Khudi thus;

Science is an instrument for the preservation of life.

Science is a mean of established the self.

Science and art are servants of life

Slaves born and bred in its house. (PP: 17, 18)

If knowledge is not related to and acquired through action, it cannot be transformed into power and man can not use it for the reconstruction of his environment.

Iqbal goes so far in his concept about the creative powers of man that he puts all his trust in man in whom it sees the holders of infinite possibilities, capable of changing the world and even of changing himself, because man is essentially a creator. Iqbal sees in him a kind of demiurge, a rather disquieting rival for God (Maitre L.C, n.d, P.26)

God created this world very beautiful but man is so impatient that he wanted it to be more beautiful and splendid and it proves him to be a creative being.

Creativity is bound up with man and his inner powers and zest for nourishing it. Man would not have become so glorious if he would have lacked his creativity and a desire for novelty.

Life consists in an incessant struggle between ego and its environment. The ego invades the environment and the environment invades the ego. If matter were only an illusion, how would struggle be possible? One does not fight with a phantom. The idea behind this assumption is that man lives in the real world but not in an ideal one. And it is an obligation on man that he has to strive in this world of matter. The old conception inherited from Aristotle considered the world as a fixed product incapable of development, situated in a void called space. Einstein has demonstrated the falsity of his theory and Iqbal proves to be in complete agreement with him without deviating in any manner from the way dictated by the Quran. (Hamid Mohammad, n.d, P.78).

The universe is not, for Iqbal, a finished product, immutable, created once for all, it is reality in progress.

When compare Iqbal and the great Sufi poet Rumi we can find a parallelism in their thought. The most remarkable characteristic of Rumi's thought is that he is the greatest upholder of activism and ceaseless endeavors. He condemns the quietism that one usually associates with Sufi doctrines in strong terms and preaches a life of dynamic activity.

What a refutation of the quietism that one usually associates with Sufism. Iqbal agrees with Rumi in this completely. According to both, God is the most active being who loves activity. Everyday He is busy with something new. According to both, life is action not contemplation. Both opine that love stands for the principle of dynamic activity, a prima urge to live, and not merely to live but so to live as to enrich, increase, improve and advance life (Ahmad M.Siddique, 1965, P.56).

The best in science, art and religion comes from love. Love or faith not only releases creative energy, it also illuminates the path of future action. Comparing Iqbal with Bergson, we find that for the later the creative force is a mere blind will. He is of the view that what man does or what progress does he make, is doing blindly and unknowingly. He says that man lacks creativity (Saiyidain K.G, 1999, P.121).

Iqbal regards creative will as essentially of the nature of thought and intelligence and not a blind and whimsical force as Bergson will have. Iqbal and Nietzsche differ on many points but both agree on one issue and that is their conception of hardness and will-to-power. It is the hardness that man overpowers and his ability of will-to power with which he seeks new world and conquers realms of knowledge and science. Vahid S.A (1967, P.120)

To sum up his conception of man with which we have started man as an active agent, a doer, a shaper of purpose who is not only engaged in the reconstruction of his world but also in the far more significant experiment of creatively unfolding and perfecting his own individuality. This provides the justification for reaffirmation of our faith in methods of education which stimulates self activity and stimulates the will to courageous effort on behalf of great causes.

Education can play a pivotal role in shaping and re-shaping the destiny of man and his future. Through education only, man can achieve his goals and can become a perfect being. He should be provided with such education as to impart to him those skills and habits with which he may succeed and may have a better and bright future.

Female Education: Iqbal does not criticize female education but in this respect he follows the famous proverb that "the hands that move the cradle, rule the world."

This shows that how much importance is the guidance and training of the child by the mother. About his own mother Iqbal, in Bang-e-Dara, says that only due to her guidance he had achieved the honoured and respected position and great fame and glory.

It's due to your care that I got fame in the world.

My fore father's abode became a place of honour. (P: 239)

Iqbal wished that the parents should spend their lives according to the teachings of Quran and sayings of prophet (P.B.U.H), so that they can set an example of ideal life before children and of good habits and high moral values. (Afridi A.K & Ghaffar S.A, 1999, P.210)

Woman, according to him, will be a knower of the realities of life and she is a symbol of nobility. She is also aware of the prevalent trends in the society. The main characteristic of her life is her nobility, softness and a lover of truthfulness. In another place Iqbal has given her the important place which can cause unity of the whole world that is why he delegates the responsibility of her protection to the whole nation. He asserts that if she is not given due status and if not protected from the ups and downs of life she can cause destruction to the whole universe.

Praising the mother and sisters of the nation Iqbal has pointed towards their ability of reasoning and power of comprehension. According to him the fate of the nation and country lies in their hands. When God has given them such a high position then why we should not give them due respect and deprive them of education. To educate them is a compulsion on the nation and is the responsibility of the government.

Iqbal's views upon female education are apparent in his poems. To him the creation of woman and their presence is a great blessing of God as a woman is an inspiration of life. He pays great tributes to woman, although she had not produced high intellectual and scientific works but she can, and has given birth to great personalities.

He says in Zarb-i-Kalim;

The whole universe is colourful due to her presence

The life's music is charming due to her tune. (P.94)

Iqbal is in favor of such an education for woman that will inculcate in them feminine characteristics, and will enable them to assume the duties and responsibilities in the future. Furthermore religious education should form an important part of their education, and it is not education, but the protection provided by men, that can really give her security and protection.

Iqbal considers the education of woman of much more importance than the establishment of an exemplary Dar-ul-Ulum. School, College and Universities are Institutes for formal education. A child less than five years of age cannot take admission in a school and the family has to fulfill the educational needs of the child. (Afridi A.K & Ghaffar S.A 1999, P.211)

The family is the place from where the child learns the norms and trends of the society. The child's parents mould their child's personality. That is why woman occupies a dominant place in its up-bringing. Woman is the true builder of the nation. Education is always given according to the needs, and aspiration of the nation. Women are naturally inclined towards religion with their minds and hearts in their control. Therefore it is necessary that we should provide them such opportunities in which they will receive a true Islamic education, because it is obligatory for the preservation of an Islamic society. After getting religious education they should be educated in history, Logic, house hold affairs and health. Then their mental capacities will be developed to such an extent that they will be able to argue with rationality and share various problems with their partners. When become capable they should educate their children properly which is their first duty. From a man's education only one man can be benefited and from a woman education the whole family gets advantage. (Bakhtyar H. Siddique. 1983, PP.14, 15)

Conclusion: Dr. Iqbal's educational philosophy had no other ulterior motive than to wish the Muslim youth develop his individuality on true Islamic lines. He never ignored, while interpreting the deplorable condition of the Muslim youth, his inner potentials and capacities as well. His Marde Momin (a complete Muslim) meant to be of high mental caliber, morally strong, and socially active and in an individual capacity a true Muslim.

He used his forceful verses to convey his message to the Muslims in general and the youth in particular. He left not a single aspect of the individual as well as his collective life which has the minutest bearing for the development of the individuality.

Western nations have been appreciated by Iqbal in his writings for their research, zeal and an untiring nature and he also beseeched the Muslim youth to follow suit in order to compete them. He was a great admirer of some of the Western philosophers and time and again he pointed to their views in his writings.

Man and woman are like two wheels of a cart, one always remains incomplete without the other as they push this life cart jointly. Dr. Iqbal has given equal emphasis and importance to female education. He was of the view that to educate a man is to educate only one individual but a woman's education equals the education of the whole family.

Men like Iqbal are born but once in life, no one equals him in his poetical endeavours, his political ideals and his religious thought. His teaching is for all times, he has his admirers in the East as well as the West. He was a poet, philosopher and a reformer; he will be remembered by the Muslims as a guide and his writings will be used as a beacon house by the coming generations.


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