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Allama Iqbal On Precondition of Faith & Belief

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On a first view, the poetry of Allama Iqbal (RH) might appear similar to most of the Urdu or Persian poets, talking about love, wine, and beloved. But the deep meaning and the philosophy behind it is what elevates Sir Iqbal, the Poet of East to that level among Muslims. Allama himself clarifies this confusion between his words and meaning in Banng-e-Dara.

اوروں کا ہے پیام اور میرا پیام اور ہے

 عشق کے دردمند کا طرز کلام اور ہے

 طائر زیر دام کے نالے تو سن چکے ہو تم

یہ بھی سنو کہ نالہ طایر بام اور ہے

    The message of others is different, my message is different

    The style of address of this sympathizer of love is different

    You might have heard the lament of caged birds

    But listen that the laments of free birds are different

A thorough study of Allama’s poetry makes one realize the vast range of messages and teachings present there. But more than anything, Allama was a Muslim philosopher who through his poetry tried to wake this ummah from the deep slumber it still is in and tried to direct it into the right way.

Allama believed that not just in the hereafter but Muslims were supposed to transcend in this world as well. Unlike the notion most of the scholars of the time held. Allama visioned this success at an individual as well as collective level in Muslim ummah. Also the fact that only Muslims possess every answer to the problems of this world. For Allama Muslims were architects of this world. This  according to him was the ultimate purpose of Islam in this world. The purport of Allama’s message was for Muslims to comprehend the aforementioned nub and to look back and see as to how Muslims have offered to the world the best of individuals and societies. In the same Baang-e-Dara

پرے ھے چرخ نیلی فام سے منزل مسلماں کی

ستارے جس کے گرد راہ ہو وہ کارواں تو ھے

The goal of Muslim lies beyond the blue skies

You are that caravan which the stars follow like dust on the road

مکاں فانی مکیں آنی ازل تیرا ابد تیرا

خدا کا آخری پیگام ھے تو جاویداں تو ھے

حنا بند عروس لالہ ھے خون جگر تیرا

 تیری تصبت براهیمی ھے معمار جہاں تو ھے                                          

تیری فترت امیں ھے ممکنات زندگی کی

جہان کے جوہر مزمر کا جویا امتحان تو ھے

جہان آب و گل سے عالم جاوید کے خاطر

نبوت ساتھ جس کو لیگئی وہ ارمغاں تو ھے

Dwelling is transient dwellers are transitory, beginning is yours end is yours

You are God’s last message, you are eternal

Your blood is the henna that decorates the bride of tulip

You belong to Ibrahim (AS) , you are the builder of world

Your nature is trustee of all possibilities of life

You are like a touchstone for hidden essences of world

From this world of water and clay to the eternal world

You are the gift that prophethood took with it

The first step towards that direction is the firm belief and unshakable faith in the principles of this vision i.e. Islam and this according to Allama was the prerequisite to move forward. One cannot expect to reach a destination without taking the first step. Important aspect of Allama’s message here is the context of the state of affairs of Muslims at that time which has not changed much till now. Muslims almost everywhere at that time were living under an imperial rule. Far from the order of their own, under the chains of slavery. And Muslims are still living under the same milieu, even though the apparent settings have changed. Even though they are not under direct control of the west, the mindset and the system in place is the same. Allama considered this slavery and believed faith and belief to a prerequisites for Muslims to come out of this condition.

 غلامی میں نہ کام آتی ھے شمشیریں نہ تدبیریں

جو ہو ذوق یقین پیدا تو کٹ جاتی ھے زنجیریں

In slavery neither swords nor strategies are of any use

But with the taste of belief chains break

(Baang-e-Dara)

In this verse of Allama is rooted the philosophy of Prophet Muhammad [SAW]’s journey from Mecca to Medina. From the life under persecution in Mecca to start of a political setup in Medina that emerged into the greatest civilization of the time . Only thing Prophet focused on in the Meccan period was the faith and belief of the followers which later sprouted its fruits in the form of the ideal nation and finest individuals the world had seen. Even under such oppression in Mecca there was no counter-response from Prophet. Rather the emphasis was on strengthening the EMAAN of the companions. It was the faith and belief under suppression in Meccan that helped Muslims emerge as architects of the world.

يقيں ، مثل خليل آتش نشينی

يقيں ، اللہ مستی ، خود گزینی

سن ، اے تهذيب حاضر کے گرفتار

غلامی سے بتر ہے بے يقينی

Faith, like Abraham, sits down in the fire;

To have faith is to be drawn into God and to be oneself.

Listen, you captive of modern civilization,

To lack faith is worse than slavery!

Allama’s emphasis on Faith and belief has two aspects to it. At an individual level and at the collective level. Muslim according to Allama is supposed to present the best example of an individual and the nation.

An individual of best character is what Allama believes Muslim ought to be. And according to Allama it is the belief that can elevate an individual to the level of an angel and considers it a guiding light in these dark times.

گمان آباد ہستی میں یقین مرد مسلمان کا

بیاباں کی شب تاریک میں  قندیل رہبانی

In the life of doubtful existence, belief of Muslim;

           In darkness of desert night is the candle of guidance                                                                     

سبات زندگی ایمان محکم سے ھے دنیا میں

کہ المانی سے بھی پایندہ تر نکلا ھے طورانی

جب اس انگارہ خاکی میں ہوتا ھے یقین پیدا

تو کر لیتا ھے یہ بال و پر روہ العمین پیدا

In this world stability of life comes from a strong faith

For turks have emerged firmer than germans

When belief is born in this creature of dust and ash

Then it gives birth to the wings of Jibrael (AS)

یقین محکم عمل پیہم محبت فاتح آلم

جہاد زندگانی میں ھے یہ مردو کی شمشیریں

Firm belief, consistent actions, love that conquers the world

In holy war of life these are the swords of men

یقین  پیدا کر اے  نادان !  یقین  سے  ہاتھ  آتی  ہے

وہ درویشی کہ جس کے سامنے جھکتی ھے فغفوری

Oh stupid get firm belief! For faith can bestow upon you

The holiness of a kind where mighty monarchs bow

The above verses draw attention to the importance of faith and belief that in an individual. Allama clearly indicates what belief makes of an individual, specifying why an individual needs it.

The belief of an individual of which Allama mentions in the above verses is what is essential for the building of a nation. Hence at the collective or community level, Allama again stresses the importance of faith. The individuals together make the nation, hence their belief has part in  shaping the nation. Individuals being the building blocks of the nation, the system governing nation or a community is what people make of it.  A system however perfect is at the end in the hands of the people to set it in place.

One cannot expect democracy to excel in a community where people are least democratic. At most it might end up in a dictatorship having a democratic or a republic name.

So unless people have faith in the system and completely believe in it, it can be of no good to the community. The system enforced by the people and not the one present on the paper is what governs the nation. Hence Allama stressed on the faith of the individuals for construction of an ideal community or nation. And Allama stresses a lot on the fact that the system governing individuals and nations is the same for Muslims.

 یقین افراد کا سرمایۂ تعمیر ملت ھے

یہیں قوت ھے جو صورت گر تقدیر ملت ھے

Belief of individuals is the capital for building the nation

This is the strength that crafts the destiny of the nation.

The following verse of Alama sums up the significance of a Muslim, his shortcomings and requisite to move forward.

خدایے لمیزل کا دست قدرت تو زباں تو ھے

یقین پیدا کر اے گافل کہ ملغوب غماں تو ھے

You are the hand and tongue of eternal God

Discover the belief oh negligent one! For you are captured by imaginations

Looking at our condition one can conclude we are not anywhere there,  but Allama with some rays of optimism about this Ummah says in the same Baang-e-Dara.

جہاں میں اہل ایماں صودت خورشید جیتے ہیں

اِدھر ڈوبے اُدھر نکلے  اُدھر ڈوبے اِدھر نکلے

In this world believers live like sun

Here they sink there they rise, there they sink here they rise

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