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  Iqbal: A Bridge between East   And

                                                                 West*

A

 

 

llama Muhammad Iqbal is one of the most original, imaginative and creative thinkers in the contemporary world of Islam. He takes his essential inspiration from the Qur’an, the Prophet and Rumi. He genuinely learns both from East and West. He does not resort to imitating, copying or borrowing of any Western idea. His works are replete with fresh insights. The works of Dr. Nazir Qaiser on the originality of Iqbal’s thought are highly illuminating.

Iqbal gives a message to the intellectuals and scholars of all times, in the spirit of humility, in the Preface of his magnum opus The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, comprising his seven Lectures: He says: “It must, however, be remembered that there is no such thing as finality in philosophical thinking. As knowledge advances and fresh avenues of thought are opened, other views, and probably sounder views than those set forth in these lectures, are possible. Our duty is carefully to watch the progress of human thought, and to maintain an independent critical attitude towards it.”[1]

Iqbal talks of human thought. He makes a deeper study of Eastern and Western cultures, philosophies and sciences. He has no reservations in appreciating the constructive elements of both Eastern and Western thought. He critically examines the findings of modern physics, biology and psychology. He agrees with their positive findings but raises questions about their varied and faltering observations. He parts company from any Eastern or Western idea or attitude, which he finds deficient. One of his uniqueness consists in giving proper due to many a thinkers and personalities in the realms of sciences, arts and humanities, in spite of having basic differences with them. He remains intellectually honest in valuing every pearl of wisdom.

Iqbal belongs to a galaxy of thinkers who do not create unbridgeable gulf between East and West. He does not agree with the thinkers, within both camps, who propagate that Islam and West are completely at variance with each other and are thus, windowless. He says: “During the last five hundred years religious thought in Islam has been practically stationary. There was a time when European thought received inspiration from the world of Islam. The most remarkable phenomenon of modern history, however, is the enormous rapidity with which the world of Islam is spiritually moving towards the West. There is nothing wrong in this movement, for European culture, on its intellectual side, is only a further development of some of the most important phases of the culture of Islam. Our only fear is that the dazzling exterior of European culture may arrest our movement and we may fail to reach the true inwardness of that culture.”[2]

He is a philosopher of humanity. His prose and poetry reflect the humanitarian spirit. He philosophically discusses some essential ideas of Islam to bring home the idea that Islam gives a positive message to humanity. He says: “Surely, it is high time to look to the essentials of Islam. In these lectures I propose to undertake a philosophical discussion of some of the basic of ideas of Islam, in the hope that this may, at least, be helpful towards a proper understanding of the meaning of Islam as a message to humanity.”.[3]

His views are deeply grounded in love of humanity. He is genuinely concerned with the plight of the modern man. He also wants East to wake from its long period of slumber. He cautions both East and West against the philosophies of despair. He gives hope of spirituality to the contemporary man, which is harbinger of universal peace, love and harmony.

Iqbal visualises a healthy integration of permanence and change in the life of the individual and society. He considers the failure of Europe in political and social sciences due to its clinging to mere change and the immobility of Islam during the last several centuries due to its excluding change from the principle of permanence. He says: “the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to God virtually amounts to man’s loyalty to his own ideal nature. The ultimate spiritual basis of all life, as conceived by Islam, is eternal and reveals itself in variety and change. A society based on such a conception of Reality must reconcile, in its life, the categories of permanence and change. It must possess eternal principles to regulate its collective life, for the eternal gives us a foothold in the world of perpetual change. But eternal principles when they are understood to exclude all possibilities of change which, according to the Qur’an, is one of the greatest “signs” of God, tend to immobilize what is essentially mobile in its nature. The failure of Europe in political and social sciences illustrates the former principle, the immobility of Islam during the last five hundred years illustrates the latter. What then is the principle of movement in the structure of Islam? This is known as Ijtihād.” [4]

He deeply understands the role of permanence and change in political life. He spells out the political vision of permanence and integrates it with the real demands of change. The political structures and functions including the legislature, executive and judiciary are interpreted within the essential guidelines provided by the Qur’an. However, he remains open to the universal elements of world political wisdom and imbibes these political insights in developing his own political thought. The principle of political freedom, for example, is universal and permanent but the structures and functions of its expression vary according to the changing factors of a given society. Democracy is one of its expressions but it is a delimited concept, which does not express the idea of political freedom in its fullness. Iqbal is critical of this purely Western notion. He says that democracy is such a form of government in which people are counted but not weighed. His criticism of democracy and other political notions brings out the deficiencies of these political concepts from the metaphysical, religious and spiritual perspectives.

He knows the predicament of the modern man. He does credit him for his great scientific advancements but at the same time makes him remember his loss of faith in future. He says: “The modern man with his philosophies of criticism and scientific specialism finds himself in a strange predicament. His Naturalism has given him an unprecedented control over the forces of Nature, but has robbed him of faith in his own future. It is strange how the same idea affects different cultures differently. The formulation of the theory of evolution in the world of Islam brought into being Rūmī’s tremendous enthusiasm for the biological future of man.” [5] He further says: “On the other hand, the formulation of the same view of evolution with far greater precision in Europe has led to the belief that ‘there now appears to be no



*      Paper presented in Seminar on Muslim Poet and Philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Organized by Faculty of Islamic Studies in Sarajevo, Iqbal Chair, The University of Sarajevo, BiH in Collaboration with the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Sarajevo on 18th May 2012. A few additions have been made in the original paper.

[1]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, “Preface”, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. xvi.

[2]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 6.

[3]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, pp. 6-7.

[4]       Ibid., p. 117.

[5]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 147.

scientific basis for the idea that the present rich complexity of human endowment will ever be materially exceeded.’ That is how the modern man’s secret despair hides itself behind the screen of scientific terminology.” [1] He further says: “Thus, wholly overshadowed by the results of his intellectual activity, the modern man has ceased to live soulfully, i.e. from within. In the domain of thought he is living in open conflict with himself; and in the domain of economic and political life he is living in open conflict with others. He finds himself unable to control his ruthless egoism and his infinite gold-hunger which is gradually killing all higher striving in him and bringing him nothing but life-weariness. Absorbed in the “fact”, that is to say, the optically present source of sensation, he is entirely cut off from the unplumbed depths of his own being. In the wake of his systematic materialism has at last come that paralysis of energy which Huxley apprehended and deplored.”[2]

Iqbal is not happy with the state of affairs in the East. He thinks that the spiritual techniques have failed to integrate the inner life of an average man. He says: “The condition of things in the East is no better. The technique of medieval mysticism by which religious life, in its higher manifestations, developed itself both in the East and in the West has now practically failed. And in the Muslim East it has, perhaps, done far greater havoc than anywhere else. Far from reintegrating the forces of the average man’s inner life, and thus preparing him for participation in the march of history, it has taught him a false renunciation and made him perfectly contented with his ignorance and spiritual thraldom. No wonder then that the modern Muslim in Turkey, Egypt, and Persia is led to seek fresh sources of energy in the creation of new loyalties, such as patriotism and nationalism which Nietzsche described as “sickness and unreason”, and “the strongest force against culture”. Disappointed of a purely religious method of spiritual renewal which alone brings us into touch with the everlasting fountain of life and power by expanding our thought and emotion, the modern Muslim fondly hopes to unlock fresh sources of energy by narrowing down his thought and emotion.” [3]

He finds no hope in the technique of medieval mysticism, nationalism or atheistic socialism in solving the problems of humanity in despair. He says: “Modern atheistic socialism, which possesses all the fervour of a new religion, has a broader outlook; but having received its philosophical basis from the Hegelians of the left wing, it rises in revolt against the very source which could have given it strength and purpose. Both nationalism and atheistic socialism, at least in the present state of human adjustments, must draw upon the psychological forces of hate, suspicion, and resentment which tend to impoverish the soul of man and close up his hidden sources of spiritual energy. Neither the technique of medieval mysticism, nor nationalism, nor atheistic socialism can cure the ills of a despairing humanity. Surely the present moment is one of great crisis in the history of modern culture. The modern world stands in need of biological renewal. And religion, which in its higher manifestations is neither dogma, nor priesthood, nor ritual, can alone ethically prepare the modern man for the burden of the great responsibility which the advancement of modern science necessarily involves, and restore to him that attitude of faith which makes him capable of winning a personality here and retaining it hereafter. It is only by rising to a fresh vision of his origin and future, his whence and whither, that man will eventually triumph over a society motivated by an inhuman competition, and a civilization which has lost its spiritual unity by its inner conflict of religious and political values.” [4]

He considers spirituality as the essential foundation of Humanity. He says: “Humanity needs three things today– a spiritual interpretation of the universe, spiritual emancipation of the individual, and basic principles of a universal import directing the evolution of human society on a spiritual basis. Modern Europe has, no doubt, built idealistic systems on these lines, but experience shows that truth revealed through pure reason is incapable of bringing that fire of living conviction which personal revelation alone can bring. This is the reason why pure thought has so little influenced men, while religion has always elevated individuals, and transformed whole societies. The idealism of Europe never became a living factor in her life, and the result is a perverted ego seeking itself through mutually intolerant democracies whose sole function is to exploit the poor in the interest of the rich. Believe me, Europe today is the greatest hindrance in the way of man’s ethical advancement. The Muslim, on the other hand, is in possession of these ultimate ideas on the basis of a revelation, which, speaking from the inmost depths of life, internalizes its own apparent externality. With him the spiritual basis of life is a matter of conviction for which even the least enlightened man among us can easily lay down his life; and in view of the basic idea of Islam that there can be no further revelation binding on man, we ought to be spiritually one of the most emancipated peoples on earth. Early Muslims emerging out of the spiritual slavery of pre-Islamic Asia were not in a position to realize the true significance of this basic idea. Let the Muslim of today appreciate his position, reconstruct his social life in the light of ultimate principles, and evolve, out of the hitherto partially revealed purpose of Islam, that spiritual democracy which is the ultimate aim of Islam. [5]

He delves on the spiritual nature of the Ultimate Reality, which is the principle of integration. He says: “The Ultimate Reality, according to the Qur’an, is spiritual, and its life consists in its temporal activity. The spirit finds its opportunities in the natural, the material, the secular. All that is secular is, therefore, sacred in the roots of its being. The greatest service that modern thought has rendered to Islam, and as a matter of fact to all religion, consists in its criticism of what we call material or natural– a criticism which discloses that the merely material has no substance until we discover it rooted in the spiritual. There is no such thing as a profane world. All this immensity of matter constitutes a scope for the self-realization of spirit. All is holy ground. As the Prophet so beautifully puts it: “The whole of this earth is a mosque.” The State, according to Islam, is only an effort to realize the spiritual in a human organization. But in this sense all state, not based on mere domination and aiming at the realization of ideal principles, is theocratic.”[6] He further says: “The new culture finds the foundation of world-unity in the principle of Tawhid. Islam, as a polity, is only a practical means of making this principle a living factor in the intellectual and emotional life of mankind. It demands loyalty to God, not to thrones. And since God is the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to God virtually amounts to man’s loyalty to his own ideal nature.” [7]

Iqbal states that: “The essence of Tawhid, as a working idea, is equality, solidarity, and freedom. The state, from the Islamic standpoint, is an endeavour to transform these ideal principles into space-time forces, an aspiration to realize them in a definite human organization. It is in this sense alone that the state in Islam is a theocracy, not in the sense that it is headed by a representative of God on earth who can always screen his despotic will behind his supposed infallibility.”[8]

Iqbal demonstrates the integration of vision and power as the meeting ground of East and West. He says: “Vision without power does bring moral elevation but cannot give a lasting culture. Power without vision tends to become destructive and inhuman. Both must combine for the spiritual expansion of humanity.” [9]

He had a keen perception of the modernist political forces, which were shaping themselves in his times. He saw the modern West drunk with power and unleashing on different feeble nations and communities under bewitching political slogans. He reiterated the spiritual foundations of political activity. He cautioned mankind in these emphatic words: “Remember, man can be maintained on this earth only by honouring mankind, and this world will remain a battle ground of ferocious beasts of prey unless and until the educational forces of the whole world are directed to inculcating in man respect for mankind. Do you not see that the people of Spain, though they have the same common bond by one race, one nationality, one language and one religion, are cutting one another’s throats and destroying their culture and civilisation by their own hands owing to difference in their economic creed? This one event shows clearly that national unity too is not a very durable force. Only one unity is dependable, and that unity is the brotherhood of man, which is above race, nationality, colour or language. So long as this so-called democracy, this accursed nationalism and this degraded imperialism are not shattered, so long as men do not demonstrate by their actions that they believe that the whole world is the family


[1]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 148.

[2]       Ibid.

[3]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, pp. 148-149.

[4]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 149.

[5]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 142.

[6]       Ibid., p. 123.

[7]       Ibid., p. 142.

[8]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, pp. 122-123.

[9]       Ibid., p. 73.

of God, so long as distinctions of race, colour and geographical nationalities are not wiped out completely, they will never be able to lead a happy and contended life and the beautiful ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity will never materialise”. [1]

He is of the considered view that in the contemporary times, East stands for eternal, permanence and vision whereas the West stands for temporal, change and power, respectively. His analysis tends to show that both East and West have fallen from their original Ideals. He presents a vision of Islam, which can make both East and West realise the forgotten lesson of humanity or universal brotherhood. He says: “As a cultural movement Islam rejects the old static view of the universe, and reaches a dynamic view. As an emotional system of unification it recognizes the worth of the individual as such, and rejects blood-relationship as a basis of human unity. Blood-relationship is earth-rootedness. The search for a purely psycho-logical foundation of human unity becomes possible only with the perception that all human life is spiritual in its origin. Such a perception is creative of fresh loyalties without any ceremonials to keep them alive, and makes it possible for man to emancipate himself from the earth.” [2]

Iqbal lays bare the principle underlying unity of human origin: “ ‘And we have created you all from one breath of life,’ says the Qur’an. But the perception of life as an organic unity is a slow achievement, and depends for its growth on a people’s entry into the main current of world-events.” [3] He further says: “From the unity of the all-inclusive Ego who creates and sustains all egos follows the essential unity of all mankind. The division of mankind into races, nations, and tribes, according to the Qur’an, is for purposes of identification only. The Islamic form of association in prayer, therefore, besides its cognitive value, is further indicative of the aspiration to realize this essential unity of mankind as a fact in life by demolishing all barriers which stand between man and man.”[4]

Islam provides a framework, which does not consider the apparent distinctions as final but has the capacity and strength to embrace all races and nationalities within its spiritual bosom. Iqbal says: “The law of Islam does not recognise the apparently natural differences of race, nor the historical differences of nationality. The political ideal of Islam consists in the creation of a people born of a free fusion of all races and nationalities. Nationality with Islam is not the highest limit of political development; for the general principles of the law of Islam rest on human nature, not on the peculiarities of a particular people. The inner cohesion of such a nation would consist not in ethnic or geographic unity, not in the unity of language or social tradition, but in the unity of the religious and the political ideal...”[5]

He brings out the essential nature of Muslim Community. He says: “The essential difference between the Muslim Community and other Communities of the world consists in our peculiar conception of nationality. It is not the unity of language or country or the identity of economic interest that constitutes the basic principle of our nationality. It is because we all believe in a certain view of the universe, and participate in the same historical tradition that we are members of the society founded by the Prophet of Islam) Islam abhors all material limitations, and bases its nationality on a purely abstract idea, objectified in a potentially expansive group of concrete personalities. It is not dependent for its life-principle on the character and genius of a particular people, in its essence it is non-temporal, non-spatial.”[6]

He thinks that Europe has blown the concept of nationality out of proportion, which is becoming counter-productive. He says: “The essence of Islam, then, being purely ideal, it could not accept any objective principle—such as country—as a principle of nationality. The territorial conception of nationality, which has been so much exaggerated in modern times bears within itself the germs of its own destruction. The idea of modern nationalism has certainly functioned usefully in forming smaller political units, and creating a healthy rivalry among them which has contributed so much to the variety of modern civilisation. But the idea is apt to be exaggerated, it has created a great deal of misunderstanding of international motives; it has opened up a vast field for diplomatic intrigue, and tends to ignore the broad human element in art and literature by emphasising the peculiar traits and characteristics of particular peoples”. [7]

He advocates a common spiritual aspiration, which is essentially a unifying bond. He says: “A true and living unity, according to the nationalist thinkers, is not so easy as to be achieved by a merely symbolical overlordship. It is truly manifested in a multiplicity of free independent units whose racial rivalries are adjusted and harmonized by the unifying bond of a common spiritual aspiration.” [8] He further says: “It seems to me that God is slowly bringing home to us the truth that Islam is neither Nationalism nor Imperialism but a League of Nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizon of its members.”[9]

Iqbal knew the contradictions, which were developing between East and West. The might of Western powers was threatening the feeble nations. The abolition of Caliphate in Turkey was sending varied signals to the Muslim world. The era of liberal ideas had begun in the world of Islam. The Muslims wanted to know the limits of accepting these ideas within the bounds of their religion. It was one of the most crucial moments in the life of the Muslim community. It could lead to an era of intellectual anarchy, which is one of the most testing times in the life of a nation. It could also lead to a direct confrontation with the West. Iqbal educated the Muslim community on the future course of action. He guided them in the acceptance of liberal ideas within the religious limits. He wanted them not to repeat the mistakes, which West had committed during the Protestant revolution in Europe. He gave his sane advice as follows: “We heartily welcome the liberal movement in modern Islam, but it must also be admitted that the appearance of liberal ideas in Islam constitutes also the most critical moment in the history of Islam. Liberalism has a tendency to act as a force of disintegration, and the race-idea which appears to be working in modern Islam with greater force than ever may ultimately wipe off the broad human outlook which Muslim people have imbibed from their religion. Further, our religious and political reformers in their zeal for liberalism may overstep the proper limits of reform in the absence of check on their youthful fervour. We are today passing through a period similar to that of the Protestant revolution in Europe, and the lesson which the rise and outcome of Luther’s movement teaches should not be lost on us. A careful reading of history shows that the Reformation was essentially a political movement, and the net result of it in Europe was a gradual displacement of the universal ethics of Christianity by systems of national ethics. The result of this tendency we have seen with our own eyes in the Great European War which, far from bringing any workable synthesis of the two opposing systems of ethics, has made the European situation still more intolerable. It is the duty of the leaders of the world of Islam today to understand the real meaning of what has happened in Europe, and then to move forward with self-control and a clear insight into the ultimate aims of Islam as a social polity.”[10]

Iqbal in the later years of his life was confronted with the problem of Palestine, which threatened to widen the gulf between East and West. He understood the problem and provided guidelines both for the Westerners and the Muslims on this score. The Westerners did not heed to his advice of not partitioning Palestine. The Arab world and the non-Arab Muslims did not understand him fully. It led to greater human sufferings. Time has proved his prophecies to be true. The future of mankind is more at stake since his departure from the terrestrial world. It is the need of the hour to study different dimensions of his thought, which have the potential of bridging East and West, in order to establish a lasting peace on God’s earth.



[1]       Sherwani, Latif Ahmad, Speeches, Writings & Statements of Iqbal, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, pp. 299-300.

[2]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 116.

[3]       Ibid., p. 112.

[4]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 75.

[5]       Sherwani, Latif Ahmad, Speeches, Writings & Statements of Iqbal, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 141.

[6]       Sherwani, Latif Ahmad, Speeches, Writings & Statements of Iqbal, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 121.

[7]       Ibid., p. 122.

[8]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p. 126.

[9]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, p 126.

[10]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1965, pp. 129-130.

 

  The Metaphysical Grounds Of   Hope*

                                             (Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid)

T

 

he concept of hope has been dealt variedly by metaphysics, religion, philosophy, psychology, literature, humanities and arts. One finds great insights of numerous thinkers on various dimensions of this idea. Hope has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. But modern thought is divesting this metaphysical concept of its transcendence in different ways, which is taking us afar from its essential meaning. The phenomenology of hope as presented by Gabriel Marcel in his book: A Metaphysics of Hope, for example, does not touch the central issue. It remains enmeshed in human finitude in the vein of existential metaphysics. The existential psychologists and therapists do not succeed in finding metaphysical transcendence in the course of their delimited methodology. Their handling of the concept of hope as an existential category debars them from seeing the transcendent concept of hope in its fullness. In order to clear the way, we need to critically examine some of the facets of modern psychology, so that we are able to understand the infinite depths of the metaphysical concept we are dealing with.

The modern concept of Man, among other concepts, exhibits the weaklings of language and thought. Man is being studied by sciences, arts and humanities. Modern psychology, either in segregation or in conjunction with related and unrelated disciplines, has come to assume a special status in its study of Man. A plethora of schools of thought have sprung thoughtless of the essential reality of man. There are hundreds and hundreds of individual, existential, social and cultural theories of personality weaving fabrics of being in obliviousness of the metaphysical status of man. They have no method to reach the unmanifest dimensions of man. The discovery of the unconscious is again principally in the realm of the manifest and it has nothing to do with the metaphysical unmanifest. Even the study of the manifest remains superficial in being insulated from the unmanifest and in being subject to faltering methodologies. The psychologist remains enmeshed in the entrails of the human psyche. He may displace the concept of the psyche with the concept of the self or with the concept of behaviour, but his fundamental approach remains tied to the world of psyche. He has no method to differentiate the spiritual from the psychical. He debases the spiritual level to the level of human psyche. He has a delimited concept of normalcy and thereby a faltering concept of abnormality. Rene Guenon points out to “confusion very widespread in the modern world, namely, the confusion of the psychic and the spiritual domains.”[1]  He says: “The state of affairs is quite different in cases where there is a confusion of the psychic properly so-called with the spiritual. This confusion moreover appears in two contrary forms: in the first, the spiritual is brought down to the level of the psychic, and this is what happens more particularly in the kind of psychological explanations already referred to; in the second, the psychic is on the other hand mistaken for the spiritual; of this the most popular example is spiritualism, but the other more complex forms of “neo-spiritualism” all proceed from the very same error. In either case it is clearly the spiritual that is misconceived; but the first case concerns those who simply deny it, at least in practice, if not always explicitly, whereas the second concerns those who are subject to the delusion of a false spirituality.”[2]

The psychic is the subjective and remains subjective in spite of the contrary claims of psychologists as to its objectivity. Psyche comes to assume autonomy, which is contrary to the metaphysical realms of Being. “ ‘The Object of psychology is the psychic; unfortunately it is also its subject.’ Thus wrote a famous psychologist of our time. According to this opinion, every psychological judgement inevitably participates in the essentially subjective, not to say passionate and tendentious, nature of its object; for, according to this logic, no one understands the soul except by means of his own soul, and the latter, for the psychologist, is, precisely, purely psychic, and nothing else. Thus no psychologist, whatever be his claim to objectivity, escapes this dilemma, and the more categorical and general his affirmations in this realm are, the more they are suspect; such is the verdict that modern psychology pronounces in its own cause, when it is being sincere towards itself. But whether it be sincere or not, the relativism expressed in the words just quoted is always inherent in it. This relativism is also a kind of Prometheanism that would make of the psychic element the ultimate reality of man. It is the root of the numerous divergences within this discipline, and it dominates it to the point of contaminating everything that is touches: history, philosophy, art, and religion; all of them become psychological at its touch, and thereby also subjective, and thus devoid of objective and immutable certainties.”[3]

The psychic domain has a justified position but the problem arises when it transgresses its due place in the scheme of things. “It is important at this point to be very precise if misunderstanding is to be avoided: it cannot be said that a particular development of the possibilities of a being, even in the comparatively low order represented by the psychic domain, is essentially “maleficent” in itself; but it is necessary not to forget that this domain is above all that of illusions, and it is also necessary to know how to situate each thing in the place to which it normally belongs.”[4]    

The psychic can only be treated by the spiritual. Sufi psychotherapy lays down the cardinal principle of treating the psychic by virtue of the spiritual. “If the medicine of the traditional civilizations knows nothing analogous to modern psychotherapy, this is because the psychic cannot be treated by the psychic. The psyché is the realm of indefinite actions and reactions. By its own specific nature, it is essentially unstable and deceptive, so that it can be cured only by resorting to something situated ‘outside’ or ‘above’ it.”[5]

The Intellect is the transcendent principle, which is common to all traditional doctrines. It is the light of the Intellect, which can deal with the psychic aspects of the individual. “There is something is us which is not subject to these limits and tendencies, but which transcends them and in principle dominates them. This something is the intellect, and it is the intellect that normally provides us with the criteria which alone can shed light on the fluctuating and uncertain world of the psyché, this is obvious, but it nevertheless remains totally outside modern scientific and philosophical thinking.”[6]

The Intellect or Spirit is the only truth, which leads to ‘deliverance and union’. “Jung breached certain strictly materialistic frameworks of modern science, but this fact is of no use to anyone, to say the least—one wishes one would have rejoiced over it—because the influences that filter through this breach come from lower psychism and not from the Spirit, which alone is true and alone can save us.”[7]

The confusion between the psychic and the spiritual is due to the forgetfulness of the Westerners in distinguishing between the ‘soul’ and the ‘spirit’. “In a sense it happens as a natural result of the fact that Westerners have for a very long time past no longer known how to distinguish the “soul” from the “spirit”.”[8] It is pertinent to point out that even some of the Eastern thinkers are not very mindful in translating the Qur’anic term ruh (Spirit). Iqbal, for example, translates the Qur’anic verse about ruh (Spirit) in terms of soul.

وَيَسْــــَٔـلُوْنَكَ عَنِ الرُّوْحِ ۭ قُلِ الرُّوْحُ مِنْ اَمْرِ رَبِّيْ وَمَآ اُوْتِيْتُمْ مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ اِلَّا قَلِيْلًا 85؀

 ‘And they ask thee of the soul. Say: the soul proceedeth from my Lord’s Amr [Command]: but of knowledge, only a little to you is given’. (17: 85)[9]

But the translation of ruh (Spirit) as soul (nafs) is obstructive in drawing the metaphysical implications of God breathing His Spirit in Adam. The Quran says:

ذٰلِكَ عٰلِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ الْعَزِيْزُ الرَّحِيْمُ  Č۝ۙالَّذِيْٓ اَحْسَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهٗ وَبَدَاَ خَلْقَ الْاِنْسَانِ مِنْ طِيْنٍ  Ċ۝ۚثُمَّ جَعَلَ نَسْلَهٗ مِنْ سُلٰلَةٍ مِّنْ مَّاۗءٍ مَّهِيْنٍ  Ď۝ۚثُمَّ سَوّٰىهُ وَنَفَخَ فِيْهِ مِنْ رُّوْحِهٖ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْاَبْصَارَ وَالْاَفْـــِٕدَةَ  ۭ قَلِيْلًا مَّا تَشْكُرُوْنَ   ؀

He is the knower of the Unseen and the Visible, the All-mighty, the All-compassionate, who has created all things well. And He originated the creation of man out of clay, then He fashioned his progeny of an extraction of mean water, then He shaped him, and breathed His spirit in him. And He appointed for you hearing, and sight, and hearts; little thanks you show. (32: 7-9)[10]

Metaphysically speaking, the Essence denotes ‘Supra-Personal Divinity’ whereas Allah (God) and Rabb (Lord) denote forms of ‘Personal Divinity’. The Spirit is identical with the Reality and in spite of being individualised in human mediums, remains universal in essence.

Psychology does give a shade of instrumental knowledge of man but does not understand the essential dynamics of the individual and society. It is precluded in principle in revealing the essential understanding of Man. It errs in being oblivious, by dint of its methodology, of the wholeness of man. It does talk of wholeness, at times, but it is a wholeness that is within the bounds of finiteness bereft of the Infinite. Metaphysics teaches us that even the widest spread of the finite cannot reach the Infinite. The finite is the manifestation of the Infinite. One cannot fully understand the finite at the exclusion of the Infinite. Even the frontiers of parapsychology fall within the bounds of the finite and they have nothing to do with the realm of metaphysics. The philosophies, psychologies, anthropologies and sociologies of religion, for example, face the same delimitations in their study of man and his religion. Their persistence in following their respective methodologies removes them further from the metaphysical reality of man. They raise ‘the dust of multiplicity’ and fail to see the evident reality. How could veiled knowledge unveil the infinite depths of man’s being or consciousness?

The Psychology of Religion can never come to terms with the real foundations of metaphysics and religion unless it evolves a method to reach spirituality, which lies beyond the psychical realm. Religious experience has its source in the spiritual and not in the psychical. It is the obliviousness of this subtle distinction, which made Sigmund Freud propound pseudo-theories of the origin of religion, which have been carried through with certain variations in their subsequent developments. His works including ‘Totem and Taboo’, ‘Moses and Monotheism’ and ‘The Future of an Illusion’ betrayed his understanding of the roots and fruits of religion. He initiated a major psychological trend in psychology against religion in the modern West, which taking different forms continues in the present times.

Modern psychology not only errs in knowing the origin of religion but it also errs in understanding religious behaviour, nay the whole behaviour of man. The concepts of psychology being fundamentally psychical are inherently incapable of portraying metaphysical and religious truths. The metaphysics of love, for example, is beyond the ken of psychology. It has no means to understand the lover’s fear, anxiety, despair, pain, sorrow, distress, affliction, misery, torment, anguish, guilt and suffering etc, which he experiences in separation and disunion from his divine beloved. It cannot comprehend the state of peace, calmness and happiness of the lover while experiencing visions and unions of his friend and the ultimate state of ‘deliverance and union.’ Its failure mainly consists in attempting to interpret the spiritual as psychical. How the lover’s attaining consciousness of his ontological nothingness could be understood by modern psychology? Won’t modern psychology cease to exist as a specialised disciple in recognising pure objectivity of things and events outside the human psyche?

The modern psychology insulates the psychic from the spiritual and thus loses the opportunity of understanding it in the cosmic perspective. “What modern psychology lacks entirely is criteria enabling it to situate the aspects or tendencies of the soul in their cosmic context.”[11]

Metaphysics teaches the concept of the Absolute. The relative has no independent meaning except in reference to the Absolute. “Man lives by truth; to accept any truth, however relative it may be, is to accept that intellectus adequatio rei. Merely to say ‘this is that’ is automatically to affirm the very principle of adequation, and therefore the presence of the absolute in the relative.”[12]

Modern psychology is oblivious of the super conscious and is condemned to drag this higher consciousness to the lower realm of the subconscious. “The strange illusion which leads psychologists to regard states as being more “profound” when they are quite simply more inferior; is not this already an indication of the tendency to run counter to spirituality, which alone can be truly profound since it alone touches the principle and the very centre of the being? Correspondingly, since the domain of psychology is not extended upwards, the “super-conscious” naturally remains as strange to it and as cut off from it as ever; and when psychology happens to meet anything related to the “super-conscious”, it tries to annex it merely by assimilating it to the “sub-conscious”. This particular procedure is almost invariably characteristic of its so-called explanations of such aspects of Eastern doctrine such as Yoga, there are therefore features in this confusion for the superior with the inferior that can properly be regarded as constituting a real subversion.”[13]

“There is certainly something more than a mere question of vocabulary in the fact, very significant in itself, that present-day psychology considers nothing but the “sub-conscious”, and never the “super-conscious”, which ought logically to be its correlative; there is no doubt that this usage expresses the idea of an extension operating only in a downward direction, that is, towards the aspect of things that corresponds, both there in the human being and elsewhere in the cosmic environment, to the “fissures” through which the most “maleficent” influences of the subtle world penetrate, influences having a character than can truthfully and literally be described as “infernal”. There are also some who adopt the term “unconscious” as a synonym or equivalent of “sub-conscious”, and this term, taken literally, would seem to refer to an even lower level, but as a matter of fact it only corresponds less closely to reality; if the object of study were really unconscious it is difficult to see how it could be spoken of at all, especially in psychological terms; and besides, what good reason is there, other than mere materialistic and mechanistic prejudice, for assuming that anything unconscious really exists?”[14]

Traditional psychology has truly assigned the role of the psychical and the spiritual in its study of man and his behaviour. It has not confused the psychical with the spiritual. How could one even fully understand the psychical unless he understands the spiritual? The Sufi psychologists, for example, have always excelled in studying man in his wholeness. They have been conscious of separating the illusory from the genuine in the fold of religious experience. They have devised different methodologies to differentiate the divine from the satanic in order to bring to naught the showings and whisperings of the Satan. The modern psychologist needs to acquaint himself with the masterpieces of Sufi psychology in order to correct his errors and gain a deeper understanding of the realities of man.

Iqbal’s critique of modern psychology is spread throughout his writings. He has mainly taken up the issues of modern psychology in his Lectures: ‘The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’. He has critically examined the Freudian and Jungian systems in particular and has shown the limitations and erroneous interpretations of modern psychology. He has successfully answered the psychologists of the modern West who deny the genuineness of religious experience because of their own delimited approaches to the subject. He says: “A purely psychological method, therefore, cannot explain religious passion as a form of knowledge. It is bound to fail in the case of our newer psychologists as it did fail in the case of Locke and Hume”. He is hopeful that modern psychology has realised the significance of mystic states but still it is far from studying them effectively. He says: “Modern psychology has only recently begun to realize the importance of a careful study of the contents of mystic consciousness, and we are not yet in possession of a really effective scientific method to analyze the contents of non-rational modes of consciousness”.[15]

He challenges the psychologists of the modern West who question the genuineness of religious experience. They failed to differentiate the psychic from the spiritual. He says:

ماہرِ نفسیات سے

جرأت ہے تو افکار کی دُنیا سے گزر جا

ہیں بحرِ خودی میں ابھی پوشیدہ جزیرے

کھلتے نہیں اس قُلزمِ خاموش کے اسرار

جب تک تُو اسے ضربِ کلیمی سے نہ چیرے[16]

 

Be courageous to go beyond the realms of thought. There are many invisible inslands in the ocean of the self. The mysteries of the Infinite ocean will not unveil unless you strike it with the rod of Moses.[17]

Iqbal’s thought is replete with message of hope both for the individual and society. He takes hope in both its vertical and horizontal dimensions. He analyses the conditions of his times and wants the restoration of faith to have a universal outlook of life. He says: “Disappointed of a purely religious method of spiritual renewal which alone brings us into touch with the everlasting fountain of life and power by expanding our thought and emotion, the modern Muslim fondly hopes to unlock fresh sources of energy by narrowing down his thought and emotion. The modern world stands in need of biological renewal. And religion, which in its higher manifestations is neither dogma, nor priesthood, nor ritual, can alone ethically prepare the modern man for the burden of


*        Paper presented in Iqbal Forum International, Lahore on 30th May 2012.

[1]      René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, p. 283.

[2]      Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, p. 286.

[3]      Burckhardt, Titus, Mirror of the Intellect, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 2001, pp. 45-46.

[4]      Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, p. 284.

[5]      Burckhardt, Titus, Mirror of the Intellect, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 2001, pp. 49-50.

[6]      Ibid., p. 45.

[7]      Burckhardt, Titus, Mirror of the Intellect, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 2001, p. 45.

[8]      Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, p. 283.

[9]       Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2011, p. 82.

[10]     Arberry, Arthur J., The Koran Interpreted, Oxford University Press, London, 1964.

[11]     Burckhardt, Titus, Mirror of the Intellect, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 2001, p. 48.

[12]     Burckhardt, Titus, Mirror of the Intellect, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 2001, p. 67.

[13]     Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, pp. 274-275.

[14]    Guénon, René, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1999, p. 274.

[15]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2011, pp. 13-14.

[16]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal, (Urdu), “Bal-i-Jibril”, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 497.

[17]     Translation is my own.

 

the great responsibility which the advancement of modern science necessarily involves, and restore to him that attitude of faith which makes him capable of winning a personality here and retaining it in hereafter. It is only by rising to a fresh vision of his origin and future, his whence and whither, that man will eventually triumph over a society motivated by an inhuman competition, and a civilization which has lost its spiritual unity by its inner conflict of religious and political values”.

Iqbal is highly critical of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence and considers it a hopeless idea of immortality. He says: “On the other hand, the formulation of the same view of evolution with far greater precision in Europe has led to the belief that “there now appears to be no scientific basis for the idea that the present rich complexity of human endowment will ever be materially exceeded.” That is how the modern man’s secret despair hides itself behind the screen of scientific terminology. Nietzsche, although he thought that the idea of evolution did not justify the belief that man was unsurpassable, cannot be regarded as an exception in this respect. His enthusiasm for the future of man ended in the doctrine of eternal recurrence– perhaps the most hopeless idea of immortality ever formed by man. This eternal repetition is not eternal “becoming”; it is the same old idea of “being” masquerading as “becoming.””[1]

Iqbal took his basic inspiration from the Qur’an and the thought of Rumi. Iqbal examines the emergence of man. He states that the modern idea of evolution has brought ‘despair and anxiety’. He considers the question of immortality essential for creating an attitude of hope and enthusiasm in life.  He says: “How did man first emerge?..... It was Jāhiz (d. 255 A.H.) who first hinted at the changes in animal life caused by migrations and environment generally. The association known as the “Brethren of Purity” further amplified the views of Jāhiz. Ibn Maskawaih (d. 421 A.H.), however, was the first Muslim thinker to give a clear and in many respects thoroughly modern theory of the origin of man. It was only natural and perfectly consistent with the spirit of the Qur’an, that Rūmī regarded the question of immortality as one of biological evolution, and not a problem to be decided by arguments of purely metaphysical nature, as some philosophers of Islam had thought. The theory of evolution, however, has brought despair and anxiety, instead of hope and enthusiasm for life, to the modern world. The reason is to be found in the unwarranted modern assumption that man’s present structure, mental as well as physiological, is the last word in biological evolution, and that death, regarded as a biological event, has no constructive meaning. The world of today needs a Rūmī to create an attitude of hope, and to kindle the fire of enthusiasm for life.”[2]

He raises the question of optimism and pessimism but settles at meliorism, which recognizes the existence of evil but enkindles hope in man of eventually conquering evil. He says: “The issue thus raised between optimism and pessimism cannot be finally decided at the present stage of our knowledge of the universe. Our intellectual constitution is such that we can take only a piecemeal view of things. We cannot understand the full import of the great cosmic forces which work havoc, and at the same time sustain and amplify life. The teaching of the Qur’an, which believes in the possibility of improvement in the behaviour of man and his control over natural forces, is neither optimism nor pessimism. It is meliorism, which recognizes a growing universe and is animated by the hope of man’s eventual victory over evil.”[3]

Iqbal critically examines Spengler’s book The Decline of the West from different angles and divests Islam from the ‘Magian overlaying’ which have risen due to obliviousness of the Islamic concept of time. He says: “By the expression ‘Magian culture’ Spengler means the common culture associated with what he calls ‘Magian group of religions’, i.e. Judaism, ancient Chaldean religion, early Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Islam. That a Magian crust has grown over Islam, I do not deny. Indeed my main purpose in these lectures has been to secure a vision of the spirit of Islam as emancipated from its Magian overlayings which, in my opinion, have misled Spengler. ....No doubt, one important feature of Magian culture is a perpetual attitude of expectation, a constant looking forward to the coming of Zoroaster’s unborn sons, the Messiah, or the Paraclete of the fourth gospel. I have already indicated the direction in which the student of Islam should seek the cultural meaning of the doctrine of finality in Islam. It may further be regarded as a psychological cure for the Magian attitude of constant expectation which tends to give a false view of history. Ibn Khaldūn, seeing the spirit of his own view of history, has fully criticized and, I believe, finally demolished the alleged revelational basis in Islam of an idea similar, at least in its psychological effects, to the original Magian idea which had reappeared in Islam under the pressure of Magian thought”. Iqbal states that: “Even the phrase “promised Messiah” is not a product of Muslim religious consciousness. It is a bastard expression and has its origin in the pre-Islamic Magian outlook. We don’t find it in early religious and historical literature. One can very well understand the reason why early Muslims never used this expression. The expression did not appeal to them probably because they thought that it implied a false conception of the historical process. The Magian mind regarded Time as a circular movement; the glory of elucidating the true nature of the historical process as a perpetually creative movement was reserved for the great Muslim thinker and historian, Ibn Khaldun.”[4]He further says: “The function of this “promised Messiah” is not to extricate the individual from an enervating present but to make him slavishly surrender his ego to its dictates. This reaction carries within itself a very subtle contradiction. It retains the discipline of Islam but destroys the will which that discipline was intended to fortify.”[5]

Iqbal is a philosopher of hope but he is equally against the idea of ‘constant expectation’, which kills the spirit of striving in man and makes him resign to his wretched state. He says: “The live-history of nations shows that when the tide of life in a people being to ebb, decadence itself becomes a source of inspiration, inspiring their poets, philosophers, saints, statesmen, and turning them into a class of apostles whose sole ministry is to glorify, by the force of seductive logic, all that is ignoble and ugly in the life of their people. Those apostles unconsciously clothe despair in the glittering garment of hope, undermine the traditional values of conduct and thus destroy the spiritual virility of those who happen to be their victims.”[6]

Iqbal’s poetry inspires man to develop his personality by virtue of contemplation and action in the spirit of traditional righteousness and integrate himself with society. It is poetry of hope, which does not let man fall in the pit of despair. He says:

نہ ہو نومید، نو میدی زوال علم و عرفان ہے

امید مرد مومن ہے خدا کے راز داروں میں[7]

Do not fall in despair. Despair is the waning of knowledge and gnosis. It is by virtue of hope that the faithful one shares the mysteries of God.[8]

بتوں سے تجھ کو امیدیں، خدا سے نومیدی

مجھے بتا تو سہی اور کافری کیا ہے! [9]

You are having hope of otherness in despair of God. Do tell me! What else is veiling the truth.[10]

نہیں ہے ناامید اقبال اپنی کشتِ ویراں سے

ذرا نم ہو تو یہ مٹی بہت زرخیز ہے ساقی[11]

Iqbal does not despair about his barren land (a nation with dormant possibilities) A little watering (water of life or awakening) will make the earth sprout profoundly (will lead to realization of higher possibilities), O’ cup bearer.[12]

مرگ را ساماں ز قطع آرزوست

زندگانی محکم از لاتقنطوست[13]

“The amputation of desire condemns to death; Life rests secure on the behest ‘Do not despair’.”[14]

تاامید از آرزوئے پیہم است

ناامیدی زندگانی را سم است

ناامیدی ھمچو گور افشاردت

گرچہ الوندی زپا می آردت[15]

“Desire continuing the substance is of hope, while hopelessness poisons the very blood of life. ‘Despair presses thee down, a tomb stone on thy heart, And, though thou be as high as Alond’s mount.”[16]

شستۂ از لوحِ جان نقشِ امید؟

نورِ جاں از خاکِ تو آید پدید![17]

“Thou hast washed from the soul’s tablet the image of hope,

yet the soul’s light manifests out of thy dust!”[18]

جان ز امید است چون جوئی روان

ترکِ امید است مرگِ جاوداں[19]

“Hope moves the soul to flow like a running river,

the abandonment of hope is eternal death.” [20]

نخلِ فکرم ناامید از برگ و بر

یا تبر بفرست یا بادِسحر[21]

“The date‑tree of my thought despairs of leaf and fruit;

either despatch the axe, or the breeze of dawn.” [22]

علم بر بیم و رجا دارد اساس

عاشقاں را نے امید و نے ہراس![23]

“Science is founded upon fear and hope,

lovers are troubled by neither hope nor fear.” [24]

کارِ ما غیر از امید و بیم نیست

ہر کسے را ہمت تسلیم نیست![25]

“Our concern is only with hope and fear;



[1]      Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2011, p. 148.

[2]      Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2011, pp. 96-97.

[3]      Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2011, p. 65.

[4]      Sherwani, Latif Ahmed, Speeches, Writings & Statements of Iqbal, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 199.

[5]      Ibid., p. 230.

[6]      Ibid., pp. 228-229.

[7]      Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Urdu), “Bal-i-Jibril”, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 447.

[8]       Translation is my own.

[9]      Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Urdu), “Bal-i-Jibril”, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 379.

[10]     Translation is my own.

[11]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Urdu), “Bal-i-Jibril”, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, 2009, p. 351.

[12]     Translation is my own

[13]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Asrar-o-Ramuz”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 94.

[14]     Vahid, Syed Abdul, Studies in Iqbal, p. 108, in translation quoted in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thougt, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, p. 121.

[15]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Asrar-o-Ramuz”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 94.

[16]     Quoted in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore, p. 122.

[17]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 603.

[18]     Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 16.

[19]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 670.

[20]     Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 70.

[21]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 597.

[22]     Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 23.

[23]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 708.

[24]     Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 93.

[25]     Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 710.

not every man has the zeal to surrender.” [1]

ناقبول و ناامید و نامُراد

ملّتے از کارشاں اندر فساد![2]

 

“unaccepted, despairing, undesired,

a nation ruined by their handiwork.” [3]

اے کہ از طبعِ تو کشتِ گل دمید

اے ز امید تو جانہا پُر امید![4]

“out of your genius the field of roses blossomed,

out of your hope many souls are filled with hope.” [5]

سینہ ھا از گرمی قرآن تہی

از چنیں مردان چہ امیدِ بہی![6]

“When the hearts lack warmth of the Quran,

There can be no hope of good from such people.” [7]

کم نگاہ و بے یقین و نا اُمید

چشمِ شاں اندر جہاں چیزے ندید![8]

“Lacking in insight and conviction and hopeless of future,

Their eye didn't see any thing in the world.” [9]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid is a Saraiki poet-metaphysician. He has made enormous contributions to Saraiki language, art and culture. He is a traditional psychologist, among other things, who has strengthened the Muslim tradition of psychotherapy. He is a Sufi psychotherapist who does not embark upon curing the psychic with the psychic but cures the psychic through the spiritual. He truly understands the respective structures and functions of nafs (soul), qalb (heart) and ruh (spirit). He brings out the role of the spiritual master, who as a special therapist, is far and above any modern psychotherapist engaging merely with the psychic. He is the cup-bearer who serves the seeker with the wine of love. It cures him of his psychic maladies, which tend to rust his heart. His metaphysical therapy of hope saves the seeker from despair. He takes him to the infinite depths of his inwardness by virtue of the Spirit. He gives hope of ‘deliverance and union’ to the seeker overpowered by sensuality. The following verses of Khawaja Ghulam Farid contain infinite depths of meaning in developing Sufi therapy of love and hope:

نفسی خلط ہے تونیں غَالب

پر مایوس نہ تھیویں طالب

 

پیر مغاں ہے خاص طبیب[10]

O’ seeker! Do not fall in despair even when sensuality has overpowered you. The cup bearer is a special therapist.

“The total integration of the personality achieved in Sufi training is the goal sought by much of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, which, however, can never achieve this goal, for their methods as practised today are cut off from the grace of the Spirit which alone can integrate the psyche. As a result, they usually lead to its disintegration rather than to its integration.” Spiritual psychology has perfect knowledge of the structure of human personality, the factors that integrate and disintegrate it, the aetiology of psychic and ‘heart’ diseases and the methods of cure. One of the main works of the murshid as a special spiritual therapist is to free the person of the overpowering sensuality. The carnal desires essentially arise due to powerlessness in which there are self-defeating attempts to turn the other into an object by forfeit-ting his or her freedom. The subject metamorphoses himself as an object in the attempts of treating a free being as an object. The fleshly desires become abnormal and lead to sexual perversions. These acts become dark screens between the sensualist and the Divine. The role of murshid is manifold and one of his roles is to free his disciple from the bondage of desire. He inspires in him the love of God, which when deeply rooted ultimately uproots all forms of bestiality. Light makes the darkness vanish as if it was not there. The spiritual psychology of sex at the hands of the spiritual therapist works wonders in understanding the reality of sex in the metaphysical perspectives. The legitimate sexual union of husband and wife bereft of spiritual union falls too short of realising the cosmic purpose of sex. The institution of marriage is essentially spiritual in nature. However, the seeker need not fall in despair since the spiritual therapist uproots all negativities and opens the door to seek union with the beloved.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s starts his hazardous journey of love under the guidance of his spiritual master. He says:

کر صبر تے شکر شکایت تے

پئے فخر دی فقر ولایت تے

رکھ آس امید عنایت تے

ڈینہہ راتیں دِلڑی ڈیوم مت[11]

 

My heart counsels me day and night to offer thanksgiving and remain steadfast in adversity and to keep hope and expectation in the efficacy of spiritual blessings of Fakhr.

The wisely attitude of gratefulness and steadfastness in adversity helps him in facing the testing times of love. An inward commitment with his murshid Fakhr Jehan builds hope and expectation in his spiritual blessings. Faith in his murshid helps him to weather all storms of despair.

His poetry of love and gnosis is saturated with hope against all forms of despair. He does, at times, raise hue and cry but it is mainly due to the unresponsiveness of his beloved. One finds a shining streak of hope even beneath his whimperings. He says:

یار فرید کڈایں سنبھلیسی

سہجوں سڈ کر کول بلہیسی

 

جے وت بخت بھڑایو وے یار[12]

Farid! When shall my friend take care of me and fondly call me and make me sit beside him? It will happen only when fortune starts smiling on me, my friend.

He remains stranded between hope and despair. But his despair is different from the despair of the modern man, which arises out of alienation and leads to depersonalization and dehumanization of existence. Just as there is hidden light even in darkness otherwise darkness would have been imperceptible; likewise there is animated hope beneath his despair, which keeps him traversing the road of love in spite of all odds.

سوہنا یار فرید ڈوں آِوے

آ اجڑی جھوک وساوے

گل لاوے سیجھ سہاوے

ہے! ٹھڈڑی آہ اثر کر[13]

 

Farid! I wish my beloved friend comes to embrace me and embellish the nuptial bed. His homecoming may enliven the deserted house. O’ my cold sigh! Do fructify.

Love moves on the spectrum of hope and despair. In spite of deadliest sufferings, the light of hope remains shining beneath his despair. It is the element of creative hope that confers meaning to his sufferings. Doesn’t ‘a light moth break the spell of pitch-black night’?

روہی محض بشارت درسوں

بیدرداں دی دلڑی ترسوں

مرسوں بُھرسوں مول نہ ڈرسوں

ڈینہہ راتیں گھوں موں ہے یار[14]

 


[1]       Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 95.

[2]       Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 730.

[3]       Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 106.

[4]       Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 754.

[5]       Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 122.

[6]       Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 788.

[7]       Dar, Bashir Ahmad, Iqbal Review, vol. XII, p. 17.

[8]       Iqbal, Muhammad, Kuliyat-i-Iqbal (Persian), “Javid Nama”, Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, Lahore, 1981, p. 790.

[9]       Arberry, Arthur J., Javid Nama, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1966, p. 118.

[10]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 24.

[11]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 25.

[12]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 33.

[13]     Ibid., Kafi 35.

[14]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 42.

I will be blessed with vision in the desert. I will not be afraid at all but die and be reduced to bits and pieces. Only the hearts devoid of love are afraid. It makes them oscillate day and night, my friend.

It is in the desert of one’s inner being that one is blessed with the vision of one’s beloved. She is not afraid of the difficulties, which she has to encounter in the path of love. The secret of her steadfastness in love is that her heart becomes free from fear and instils courage in her to face the vicissitudes of love in a state of creative hope.

سوکھا، تیز، لغام دا کولا

نہ   اوکھا   سر  زور[1]

 

I will take a simple, swift and easily reined horse, which is not difficult and uncontrollable.

She is hopeful that her disciplined self will swiftly make her realise union with her beloved.

سانون آیا روہی وٹھڑی

بار     تھئی     گلزار[2]

 

The desert (rohi) has become lively with the advent of rainy season (savan). The dried ones are becoming ever green.

The coming event of union brings inward and outward changes. Despair turns into hope.

ڈکھڑے تار و تار نیں[3]

دار مدار فرید ہے دلنوں

Farid! My heart has full faith in him. My sufferings will wither away.

He has vital faith in realising the possibility of union with his beloved, which takes the sting out of his sufferings. It is the miracle of faith that keeps him on the path of love in spite of terrible severities encountered in the way.

تھل مَارو دا پینڈا سارا

تھیسم ہک بلہانگ[4]

 

My single step will make me leap across the whole deadly desert.

He remains in a state of hope and courage and constantly fights against the psychic states of despair and cowardice. Love deepens knowledge and sharpens the will. It is his single step that would make him leap across the deadly desert of pains, adversities and sufferings in order to unite with the beloved. It turns serial time into pure duration. It is a moment, which makes time plunge in eternity.

کیوں توں فرد تے جز سڈاویں

توں کلی توں کل[5]

 

Why you consider yourself as an individual and a part? You are the unified and the whole.

Does the consciousness of Man’s ontological nothingness have negative consequences for the development of his personality? From the metaphysical point of view, the realisation of ontological nothingness in the “Face of the Absolute” does not have any negative bearings but, instead leads to the fullest realisation of possibilities inhering in Man. The metaphysical concept of Man is there in the great traditions of the world including the Islamic tradition, which spells out the characteristics of ‘the Universal Man’ (Insan-i-Kamil). However, Man is not ‘ilah’ (self-subsistent reality or autonomous reality) as considered by humanism in the modern West. But, he is theophany of the Absolute. He is manifestation of the Reality. The Reality sees itself through his eye as if, in ‘a polished mirror’. The Reality contemplates itself through his medium. He is not individual or part since “those discrete things and properties that have been diffused and scattered all over the immense universe become united and unified into a sharp focus in Man. The structure of the whole universe with all its complicated details is reflected in him in a clear and distinctly articulated miniature. This is the meaning of his being a Microcosm.” Man is the best formation for he is universal, embracing all the realities. Man synthesizes the forms of the Divine self-manifestation and has consciousness of this whole. He integrates in himself all cosmic realities and their individual manifestations. Man’s ‘humanity’ lies in his ‘comprehensiveness’. How could a person cognizant of his metaphysical and cosmic purpose of existence fall victim to pseudo-mysticism by adopting a life-denying attitude? Rather, it is in following his inherent purpose that he transforms his inflated ego into real personality. The doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al wujud) affirms life and restores hope in the despairing humanity.

یار فرید نہ رولا ڈیسم

اُوڑک سڈ کر کول بِلہیسم

 

ہے   سوہنا   لج  پال[6]

Farid! My friend will not create difficulties for me. At last, he will call me and make me sit beside him. My beloved is the custodian of my honour.

A streak of hope does remain lit in his heart even in times of darkest despair. And it is hope, which ferries him across the troubled waters. Love is not possible without hope. Hope gives birth to love and also sustains it. Despair makes it die. He hopes for union with his beloved. He has absolute faith in responsiveness of his beloved; although at times he calls him names. The modern man has lost hope for he has lost his beloved; nay, he never had one. He is imprisoned in the psychic world and experiences hope and despair on the psychological spectrum. He has no way to transcend to the spiritual realm, in order to experience the spiritual dimensions of hope, needed so much by the humanity in despair. How could humanity hope without love?

انگن فریدؔ دے وے

کرم کریسم آپے

سانول او سی وے

تانگھیں آس ودھایم[7]

 

Farid! My beloved will visit my courtyard. He will himself shower his blessings on me. Longings have increased my hope.

He is hopeful that one day his beloved will visit him and shower his blessings on him. Longing increases his hope. Longing is the secret of hope. Hope is not an empty posture of mind. It is filled with content. Longing is the content of hope. A person who has no longing has no hope. The ‘dialects’ of longing and hope teach that longing increases hope and hope increases longing.

مِلسم یار فرید کڈاہیں

جان جِگر تَن بھڑکن بھاہیں

دود دکھاواں کڈھ کڈھ آہیں

سُوز پنل دے صاف جلایم[8]

 

Farid! My friend will meet me one day. I am emitting smoke by continuously heaving sighs. My embodied self is flaming, fire. I have been completely burnt by the passion of Punnal.

He hopes for union with his beloved. It is not a false hope but a true one arising from the ashes of his embodied self. He has knowledge of the path of love and is fully conscious of the fact that his effacement opens the door of subsistence with his beloved.

میں بد نہ کہیں بِھیم بھرم دا

زور فرید کوں تیڈڑے دم دا

تو ہیں صاحب لَاج شرم دا

لگڑی سانول توڑ نبھائیں[9]

 

I am imperfect without any respect and reputation. You are the custodian of my honour and grace. Farid’s strength is solely due to you. My beloved! Remain with me till last.

All said and done, he sustains hope in his beloved. He admits his imperfection in face of his perfect beloved. He does not impute any honour or good reputation to himself. He totally considers his beloved as the custodian of his honour and grace. He is bereft of any might. It is his beloved, which grants him strength on the path of love. He beseeches his beloved for the ultimate union.

آرد فرید ایں التجا

وارد گدا امید ہا

رحمے بحال بے نوا

صد گونہ ز الطافِ شہاں[10]

 

Farid! I am the helpless one who has presented himself beseeching for mercy. The poor is hoping countless blessings of the king.

His light of hope remains shining beneath the darkness of despair. It makes him helplessly present himself seeking mercy at the hands of his beloved. He being devoid of being and having hopefully counts on the infinite blessings of the king.

مَن مَن مَنتاں پیر مناواں

سڈ سڈ جوسی پھالاں پاواں

ملا گول تعویذ لکھاواں

کر دی سون ہزاراں

 

I go on making vows for the sake of making my master agreeable to me. I search the talisman for the writing of an amulet. I go on calling the astrologer for giving me omens. I do countless charming.

He desperately resorts to vows, amulets and astrology in the hope of finding his friend. He goes beyond his ordinary consciousness in tracking his beloved.

بندڑے نال نہ کرسیں مندڑا

لٹک سہائیں صحن سوہنداڑا

تونیں کوجھا کملا گندڑا

پوں پوں توں جند واراں[11]

 

You will not despise your bondsman in spite of his being ugly, naive and defiled. You will step in his courtyard in a majestic way and beautify it. I will sacrifice myself at your each and every step.

He still has hope that in spite of his imperfections, he will be accepted by his perfect beloved who will unveil himself with majestic beauty. He is ready to sacrifice his whole being and having for the sake of the moment of union.

ہے ناز، نہیں اعراض مُنڈھوں

رکھ آس، نہ تھی غم واس میاں[12]

 

Do keep hope and do not remain immersed in sorrows. It is essentially pride and not avoidance (on the part of your beloved).

It gives him a new understanding about the behaviour of his beloved. He solaces himself by the idea that the beloved does not shun him on account of his imperfections but has his own majestic way of responding to love.

ڈے ویرن ڈوہ ڈوراپے

موئیں جیندیں تھلڑے مانے

رَکھ آس مِلن دی آپے

نیتس پوری گور کفن میں[13]

 

My adversaries are passing censures and sarcasms against me. I am keeping to myself my hope of meeting him. I shall dwell in these deserts, while living and dying. I will accomplish my funeral rites.

Her sufferings multiply by the attitude of her adversaries who leave no stone unturned in proving her wrong. It is not only ‘what’ they say but ‘how’ they say, which terribly pains her. She resolves not to disclose her hope of union and wait till end. It is so difficult for her to keep things to herself. She would like to narrate the tale of her woe and misery even to a wall. Does she feel that she will die in holding her breath of love in case she does not breathe it out? And isn’t her latest resolve to keep things to her own self akin to holding her breath? How difficult love is.

مولیٰ جھوکاں پھیر وسیسی

یار فرید انگن پوں پیسی

سارا روگ اندر دا ویسی

ڈیسم   بانہہ   سِراندیاں[14]

 

God will again make these habitations turn into dwellings. All my internal malaise will wither away. Farid! My friend will visit my courtyard. He will fold his arm under my head.

He keeps treading the path of love with a ray of hope in the benevolence of his beloved. He is hopeful that his beloved will unveil himself within his being ending his inner malaise. He will realise union with him.

میڈا آس اُمید تے کھٹیا وٹیا

تکیہ مان تے تران وی توں[15]

 

You are my hope, expectation and profitable earnings, reliance, pride and support.

The beloved is the ground of hope, expectations and achievements. His only pride is in his beloved. He fully relies upon the support of his beloved in all situations of life. He never banks upon otherness.

تھیو سے سول کنوں جی واندا

یار فرید ملیم دل بھاندا

گذریا ویھلا وقت ڈکھاں دا

بخت اسّاں ول ڈھلیا ہے[16]

 

My heart has become free of afflictions. The times of sufferings have passed away. Farid! My heart is pleased to meet my friend. Good fortune has turned towards me.

My heart has become free of afflictions. The times of sufferings have passed away. Farid! My heart is pleased to meet my friend. Good fortune has turned towards me.

اجھو مارو ملیو

دل ناں ماندی تھی[17]

 

My heart! Do not be so weary. You will soon unite with your beloved.

She consoles her weary heart by giving it hope of union with her beloved. Her solitariness reaches such heights that there is no one to soothe her heart burning in passion except herself.

شالا تھیوم وصل دا سانگ کڈیں

ٹلے سخت پہر کرے بخت وہر

مِٹے لٹڑی دل دی تانگ کڈیں

سوہنا صحن سنجی دے پیر دھرے[18]

 

I pray that I may succeed in uniting with my beloved some day. The longing of my looted heart may find its fulfilment. My hard times may end and good fortunes may start smiling on me in multitudes. My handsome beloved may step in the courtyard of the damned one.

The beauty of love is that its flame does not die down even in the most adverse circumstances. He remains enkindled with hope, which does not let him fall in the pit of despair. He prays for self-fulfilment of his ravished heart and the ushering of good fortunes displacing misfortunes leading to the ultimate union with his beloved.

دل نوں لُٹیا عشق مَریلے

متاں فرید کرے رب میلے

پھری دی شہر تے جنگل بیلے

تانگھ آرام ونجایا ہے[19]

 

Farid! My ravishing love has looted my heart. I am wandering in cities, forests and riparian shrubbery with the hope that the Sustainer unites me with my beloved. My longing has been instrumental in the loss of my comfort.

The ravishing love loots his heart and he wanders in wilderness with the hope that the Sustainer unites him with his beloved. The longing of the beloved banishes him from his comfort zone. Isn’t it the graciousness of love to snatch comforts from his hands and ultimately invest him with peace, instead?

یار فرید نہ وِسرم ہرگز

جیندیں مردیں اوکھیں سوکھیں

دوہری سکدی سانگ جگر وچ

رو رو دُھانہیں کَرساں

ساہ محبت بھرساں

جے ڈکھ ڈیوم ڈوڑے[20]

 

Farid! I can never be oblivious of my friend. I will beseech, while crying. I will always breathe love in the state of hope or despair and in the state of ease or discomfort. The spear of longing doubly pierces my being in proportion to the double sufferings given by my beloved.

His passionate commitment of love consists in never being forgetful of his friend. He resolves to remain constant in love in the state of liveliness or deadness and in the situation of ease or discomfort. The intensification of suffering proportionately intensifies his longing of the beloved. The principle of sincerity in love makes it exceedingly imperative for him to remain steadfast in the path of love by exercising patience in adversity.


[1]       Ibid., Kafi 47.

[2]       Ibid., Kafi 61.

[3]       These verses have been taken from Diwan-i-Farid text by Aziz ur Rehman, Urdu Academy, Bahawalpur, Kafi 145.

[4]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 68.

[5]       Ibid., Kafi 76.

[6]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 78.

[7]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 82.

[8]       Ibid., Kafi 83.

[9]       Ibid., Kafi 89.

[10]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 96.

[11]     Ibid., Kafi 97.

[12]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 101.

[13]     Ibid., Kafi 120.

[14]     Ibid., Kafi 131.

[15]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 132.

[16]     Ibid., Kafi 161.

[17]     Ibid., Kafi 168.

[18]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 178.

[19]     Ibid., Kafi 184.

[20]     Ibid., Kafi 193.

He has to remain committed to his beloved in the most trying circumstances and in the most testing times. How could he mature if he falls from the nest of love without flying? The nest of love, at times, may turn into hornet’s nest but still it is his vocation to amass courage to face the ordeals of love. His leaving half-way makes him neither here nor there. He should not become the arbiter of his own fate but let the destiny unfold itself. The lover need not be passive but he is certainly required to be receptive. All great things in life are received in the state of receptivity. How unfortunate is the lover who abandons the path of love when his beloved is just a few steps away? The dimension of future exists as an open possibility. The inept lover tends to close it by mistakenly considering his wretched situation as permanent in the world of change. Time is dynamic and not static. Things change on the spectrum of time. There is no room for despair in the creativity of love. The tendency to take results in one’s own hand is the root cause of despair. It is really tragic to be despaired of God’s Mercy. Hope is our best friend. The lover should struggle and leave the results in the hands of God. Let the beloved have the last word.

زعشق عارض رنگیں چو لالہ داغ ہا دیریں

کیتیاں ہن دل اندر جاہیں کڈیں رب یار ملوائے[1]

The old marks like a tulip have found a place in my heart due to my love of red cheeks. God will sometimes make me unite with my friend.

His heart places his beloved in the inmost chamber of his being. He is hopeful of uniting with his beloved, by the Grace of God. The light of hope keeps shining in his heart even during the pitch dark night of transcendence. Hope vitally links him with his beloved during these testing times. The end of hope is the end of love.

گذریا وِیہلہ ہسن کھلن دا

اوکھا پینڈا دوست ملن دا

آیا وقت فرید چلن دا

جان لباں تے آندی ہے[2]

 

The times of playfulness have ended. Farid! The time has come to depart (from the terrestrial world). The path of uniting with my beloved has been so arduous. I am just breathing my last.

He recounts initial playfulness of love with his beloved, while departing from the terrestrial world. The subsequent path of realising union with his beloved had been very arduous since it was characterised by separations and disunions. The adversities of love notwithstanding, he gives the final message of hope in realising friendly union.

آیا وقت فرید ملن دا

بُھورل جانی یار سجن دا

 

رین  غماں    دی   بیتئی [3]

Farid! The times of having union with my charming beloved have dawned. The Night of sorrows has ended.

The times of union with his charming beloved draw well-nigh. The acts of exercising patience in adversity bear their fruits. The difficult times of separation and disunion come to an end. Doesn’t hope of union keeps him firmly saddled in the tracks of love?

یار فرید نہ وِسرم شالا

اُوڑک لَہسی آپ سنبھالا

 

میں بے وس بے کس دا (ڈھولا ماہی)[4]

Farid! I pray that I never become oblivious of my friend. Ultimately, my friend will take care of me. I am just helpless and without any support, my beloved friend.

He prays never to become oblivious of his friend even in the most testing times. He has hope in the responsiveness of his beloved. He is helpless and without any support. His only help and support rests with his beloved. It is an element of hope, which keeps the flame of love burning in ‘the dark night of the soul.’

آس امید نوید ہے شادی

راحت ہر دم وادھو وادھی

عید سعید مبارک بادی

سکھ سکھڑا ڈکھ ماندا ہے[5]

 

My hope and expectations have got the message of union with happy greetings. My fulfilments are on the increase at each moment. My peaceful state is on the increase and sufferings have become weary.

The era of joy ushers in leading to the end of sufferings undergone by him in the state of separation and disunity from his beloved.

آس آئی تے یاس سدھائی

اجڑیاں جھوکاں خنکی چائی

جھڑ بادل آ جھرمر لائی

غم ڈر ڈر لُک پوندا ہے

 

Hope has dawned with the end of despair. The raining clouds have started to rain. The deserted dwellings have become fresh (inhabited). Sorrow is fearfully trying to hide itself.

One of the signs of happy times is that the night of despair ends with the dawn of hope. Nuptial blessings start to pour. The deadness of his self is transformed into liveliness. There remains no room for sorrow.

ڈکھ ڈوہاگ دا وقت وِہایا

یار فرید انگن پوں پایا

بھاگ سہاگ دا ویلھا آیا

ہار سنگار سہوندا ہے[6]

 

The days of sufferings and misfortunes have gone away. The times of good fortunes and union have dawned. Farid! My friend has stepped in my courtyard. My makeup seems so pleasant to me.

The mystery of time is one of the greatest mysteries encountered by man. There are numerous dimensions of time and eternity. One of the greatest blessings of time is that it does not stop or stand still. It builds civilizations and razes them to the ground when they are metamorphosed into ‘sensate cultures’. It moves in majestic silence without creating any hue and cry. People live in time and die in time but time never dies but lives on. It goes its way in different patterns in order to reach its source. No moment of life and thereby no situation of life is static. Dynamism pervades all situations. Patience in adversity by remembering God and acting in consonance with His will is the traditional lesson forgotten by the modern man. He is so desperate that he wants dawn at midnight. He has intensified the pace of life. He has no space for time. Time has also no space for him. Despair errs in considering time as static. Hope understands the dynamic reality of time. Modern alienation is essentially alienation from time. The traditional man understands the reality of time. He creatively struggles within the parameters of time without losing his poise. There is easiness after difficulty says the Qur’an. It is a moment of great happiness for him to see the passing away of the difficult times of sufferings and misfortunes. The times of good fortunes and nuptial union begin to dawn. How could time remain static in the face of dynamism? The beloved steps in his courtyard (unveils within the lover’s heart). He finds the taste of his embellishments so relishing. God is Time, says the tradition. How great!

اپنا آپ سنبھال کے دیکھو

فکر نہ کیجو یارو ہرگز

کر کے نظر حقیقت کی

آسی یا نہ آسی رے[7]

 

Realise your self by virtue of casting a real glance (within). My friends do not worry at all about his coming or not, oh.

One has to develop a doctrinal understanding of his being and plunge in the infinite depths of his consciousness. It is up to his beloved to unveil himself or not. His relationship with his beloved has to be unconditional. It is one of the most illuminating guidance in the path of love. The lover does expect positive results of his efforts. But they do not accrue according to his hopes and expectations. He may have a feeling of perpetual emptiness, instead. It is here that he may get discouraged and as a reaction engross himself in worldly activities, which ultimately make him more empty. He may finally abandon the path of love. The safest course in love is to remain concentrating on the Real for the sake of it beyond results. Apparently, the regular response of the beloved seems to inspire the lover in remaining fastened in the tracks of his beloved but in reality it does not happen. The period of transcendence becomes so unbearable. The lover who remains steadfast in love without concerning about the vision and union of his beloved is surely to reach his destination. But it is so difficult to sustain love during the long periods of transcendence. Doesn’t one require courage to love?

تھی خوش فرید تے شاد ول

اَجھو تھیوم جھوک آباد وَل

ڈکھڑیں کوں نہ کر یاد دل

ایہا نیں نہ وہسی ہِک منی[8]

 

Farid! Be glad and happy and do not remember your sufferings. Your world will flourish soon (will unite with your beloved). The stream does not flow at one bank (it flows at the other bank also).

He is sustained by hope even during the unresponsiveness of his beloved.

کئی سہنس طبیب کماون

میڈے دل دا بھید نہ پاون

سے پڑیاں جھول پلاون

پووے فرق نہیں ہک تِل دا[9]

 

There are countless therapists, who are diagnosing and administering medicines as remedial measures. They are far from understanding the mystery of my heart’s malady. There has not even been an iota of improvement in my state.

The society is inimical to the lover but even that segment of society, which is friendly and wants to help him, is at a loss to understand the malady of his heart. Their diagnosis and medication are wide off the mark and thus, fail to restore his wellbeing. They falter, in the very first instance, in considering his love as a disease. They consider it as ‘sickness-unto-death’ without realising that the sickness of love is many times better than so-called healthiness.

آساں اُمیداں ، ساڑیاں پُجالیاں

مارو ، مِہر دیاں دیداں نہ بھالیاں

اصلوں بروچل پیتاں نہ پالیاں

آیُم فریدا سختی دا سایا[10]

 

My hopes and expectations have been burnt to ashes. My beloved has not truly nurtured love with me. He has not cast glances of affection and care on me. Farid! I am condemned to live in the shadow of hard times.

He has no expectation and hope of a loving response from his beloved. His beloved has not returned his love. It is so difficult for him to live in a state of despair.

مارو مٹھل وَل مکھڑا چھپایا

ڈکھڑیں ڈکھایا دردُیں منجھایا

 

My overpowering sweet heart has again hidden his face. The sufferings have made me suffer and the pains have caused me anguishes.

The suffering of separation stands in corresponding inversion to the joy of union. It is this inversion, which makes her fall in anguish and despair. One who tastes the best flavour of love cannot withstand his being divested of this savour. The attainment of union after severest suffering leads to the most intense joy. How could such intensity be experienced otherwise? After the end of this phase, she has to undergo the period of immense distress. The cycle of love, comprising continual unions and separations, moves on till the final union. The intermittent periods intensify both her joys and sufferings.

تانگھیں تپایا مونجھیں مُسایا

سُولیں ستایا نیڑے ہرایا[11]

 

My longings have burned me and the anguishes have beguiled me. My afflictions have vexed me and made me lose the game of love.

The feeling of losing the game of love arises in her many a times but still the game continues. She is a key player but the master card is in the hands of her beloved. What she considers her loss is in reality her win. All losses in love are victories.

یاس پیاس نصیب اساڈے

نہ کوئی ٹوبھے نہ کوئی تاڈے

 

نہ راہ ڈسدم کرہوں قطار[12]

The despairing thirst has fallen to my lot. There is neither any pond nor are there any transitory dwellings to be seen. There is not even a line of camels signifying the way.

The way of love both in its inward and outward dimensions is so testing. Her thirst of love can only be quenched by the presence of her beloved. Love like water sustains life. She feels being dried down from within. But this dry state is ultimately a harbinger of rain or heavenly blessings (responsiveness of the beloved). She finds herself as a lone traveller but unlike an alienated person, she remains in a state of solitude. She is not like an alienated person who is ‘lonely in crowd and crowded when alone’. She finds no indications of her beloved’s return but beneath this seemingly despair there is an element of hope. If the possibility of the beloved’s return was not there, then the drama of love would have finished there and then. Her constant expression of sufferings is paradoxically the expression of her hope. She has freely chosen love. She is free from inner and outer compulsions. Her attachment with her beloved is not symbiotic since it does not stem from the psychical plane. It is purely a free relationship. She understands the game of love; otherwise she would have thrown her cards long ago.

سینگیاں سرتیاں سیجھ سہاون

بانہہ چوڑیلی ور گل لاون

 

ہک میں مفت رہی مہجور[13]

My same age friends are laying their nuptial beds. They embrace their beloveds with their ornamental hands. I am the one, who has been forsaken for nothing.

The realisation of love by her friends makes her experience an intense feeling of being forsaken by her beloved. It is a kind of despair but with a hidden hope of universal realisation.

سب آس ہو گئی یاس ہے

مونس نہیں کوئی پاس ہے

ہر دم اداس ہراس ہے

ہے دل کہاں دلبر کہاں[14]

 

All my hope has been turned into despair. I am sad and terror-stricken all the times. There is no one with me to share my sufferings. My heart is here but my beloved is elsewhere.

He passes through certain states where his hope turns into despair. He feels sad, lonely and terror–stricken but these are not psychic states but spiritual ones.

تانگھ فرید نوں آکھدی

بر ڈوں پاندھی تھی[15]

 

The insatiable longing asks Farid to travel to the world of wilderness.

His insatiable longing for his beloved makes him resolve to reach the wilderness of his self with the hope that the autumn of life will certainly have its spring. His despair is qualitatively different from ordinary forms of despair. There is an invisible ray of hope buried beneath his darkness of


[1]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 208.

[2]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 209.

[3]       Ibid., Kafi 222.

[4]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 226.

[5]       Ibid., Kafi 233.

[6]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 244.

[7]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 247.

[8]       Ibid., Kafi 250.

[9]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 15.

[10]     Ibid., Kafi 11.

[11]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 16.

[12]     Ibid., Kafi 36.

[13]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 37.

[14]     Ibid., Kafi 96.

[15]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 168.

despair. It is this ray, which keeps him moving in the tracks of love. Isn’t love and hope identical?

اللہ راسی ما نا ماسی

طرح اوداسی سخت پیاسی

کھوساں پھاسی تھی بے آسی

شہر بھنبھور دی واسی

بدن بھبھوت سناسی

پل پل موت کہیڑے[1]

 

I am powerless without my mother and aunt. I am the inhabitant of the city of Bhambore. I am wandering in sadness and I am feeling very thirsty. I am an ascetic with my body covered with dust. I will tie the noose around my neck and die in the state of despair. Death is challenging me at each and every moment.

She finds herself powerless without her inward ties. She is trying to find her transcendent beloved, while dwelling in immanence. She is saddened not to find him. Her eyes are very thirsty of his vision. She is becoming lowly in order to find the higher one. She envisages the possibility of death, which shall end her despairing life. Doesn’t her deplorable plight take her to the threshold of her beloved?

یار فرید نہ وِسرم ہرگز

جیندیں مردیں اوکھیں سوکھیں

دوہری سکدی سانگ جگر وچ

رو رو دُھانہیں کَرساں

ساہ محبت بھرساں

جے ڈکھ ڈیوم ڈوڑے[2]

 

Farid! I can never be oblivious of my friend. I will beseech, while crying. I will always breathe love in the state of hope or despair and in the state of ease or discomfort. The spear of longing doubly pierces my being in proportion to the double sufferings given by my beloved.

His passionate commitment of love consists in never being forgetful of his friend. He resolves to remain constant in love in the state of liveliness or deadness and in the situation of ease or discomfort. The intensification of suffering proportionately intensifies his longing of the beloved. The principle of sincerity in love makes it exceedingly imperative for him to remain steadfast in the path of love by exercising patience in adversity. He has to remain committed to his beloved in the most trying circumstances and in the most testing times. How could he mature if he falls from the nest of love without flying? The nest of love, at times, may turn into hornet’s nest but still it is his vocation to amass courage to face the ordeals of love. His leaving half-way makes him neither here nor there. He should not become the arbiter of his own fate but let the destiny unfold itself. The lover need not be passive but he is certainly required to be receptive. All great things in life are received in the state of receptivity. How unfortunate is the lover who abandons the path of love when his beloved is just a few steps away? The dimension of future exists as an open possibility. The inept lover tends to close it by mistakenly considering his wretched situation as permanent in the world of change. Time is dynamic and not static. Things change on the spectrum of time. There is no room for despair in the creativity of love. The tendency to take results in one’s own hand is the root cause of despair. It is really tragic to be despaired of God’s Mercy. Hope is our best friend. The lover should struggle and leave the results in the hands of God. Let the beloved have the last word.



[1]       Ibid., Kafi 181.

[2]       Ibid., Kafi 193.

 

                                                Postscript     

The greatest contribution of Iqbal, among other things, is to understand religion as an experience. His First Lecture: ‘Knowledge and Religious Experience’ coupled with his Seventh Lecture: ‘Is Religion Possible’ lays a solid foundation for linking religion with knowledge. His usage of such terms and expressions as ‘religious experience’, ‘mystic experience’, ‘prophetic experience’, ‘prophetic consciousness’ ‘mystic consciousness’, ‘unitive experience’ and ‘in its deeper movement....thought is capable of reaching an immanent Infinite’ inspires one to understand religion as an experiential reality. He examines various issues of religious experience with a clear insight, which is a creative addition to the literature on the subject. He demonstrates the possibility of experiencing God in all ages and countries. He discusses the idea of finality in Islam. However, he lays down a principle in this regard: ‘All personal authority claiming a supernatural origin has come to an end in the history of man’. Now, all experience in consonance with this principle has to be rationally scrutinised like all other forms of experience. The waning of ‘all personal authority claiming a supernatural origin’ fully emancipates the individual and the community. One has to understand Iqbal’s message of spirituality, which reflects the development of religious consciousness. He does not rest content with mere faith but desires its understanding and culmination in spirituality. Faith bereft of spirituality remains a mere creed. It is spirituality, which infuses vitality in doctrines, rituals and modes of actions. Religious life is not static. It is ultimately transformed into a living experience of God.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid is a unique metaphysician in the world of Islam. His universality consists in creatively integrating the dimensions of pure, traditional and religious metaphysics. He considers religion as an experience. He experiences hal (states) and dwells in maqam (stations) while traversing the Sufi path. He attains mystic consciousness in the process of mystic or individual realisation. He gains further intellectual and spiritual heights in attaining metaphysical or universal realisation. His doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) answers the metaphysical and spiritual questions of his Age and is relevant for all aeons.

Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid envision the integration of the individual and society. The individual has to realise his possibilities in the society and the society has to provide space for the individual to develop freely. It helps in harmonising the inward and the outward. Khawaja Ghulam Farid brings out this message in his poetry. He says in one of his kafis:

آ چنوں رل یار

پیلوں پکیاں نی وے

 

My friends! Let’s pick together. The pilus is ripe, oh!

The tree of the desert laden with ripened fruit symbolises the essential vocation of Man in realising the possibilities of his existence. Pilu harvest in its natural and cultural context notwithstanding, the picking of pilu in the company of friends symbolises realisation of possibilities in society. It is a message of integrating the inward with the outward. It is integration and not segregation from community that helps her attain metaphysical realisation.

کئی بگڑیاں کئی ساویاں پیلیاں

کئی اودیاں گلنار

کئی بھوریاں کئی پِھکّڑیاں نیلیاں

کٹوریاں رتیاں نی وے

 

Some are white, green and yellow; some are brownish and light bluish while some are red, mauve and grey, oh!

The traditional symbolism of colours helps in understanding the nature of different existential possibilities realisable on the spectrum of time.

بار تھئی ہے رشک ارم دی

ہر جا باغ بہار

سُک سڑ گئی جڑھ ڈکھ تے غم دی

ساکھاں چکھّیاں نی وے

 

The paradise is envious of the desert. The roots of sufferings and sorrows have been dried and burnt. There is blossoming spring everywhere. The recently plucked fruits have been tasted, oh!

The desert of the inner self becomes paradisal state leading to the uprooting of sufferings and sorrows of individuality. Tasting symbolises realisation.

پیلوں ڈیلھیاں دیاں گلزاراں

کئی لا بیٹھیاں بار

کہیں گل ٹوریاں کہیں سرکھاریاں

بھر بھر پچھیاں نی وے

 

Pilus and other fruits are flowering. Some (pilus pickers) are bearing neck baskets and some are bearing small baskets on head. Some has gathered heaps of fruits by filling on hawker’s baskets, oh!

The beautiful art of realising existential possibilities varies from individual to individual. It is the manifestation of the inward in different modes of the outward.

جال جلوٹیں تھئی آبادی

لوکی سَہنس ہزار

پل پل خوشیاں دم دم شادی

کُل نے پھکیاں نی وے

 

People have gathered at the site of the pilus trees. There is happiness and rejoice at each and every moment. There are hundreds and thousands of people over there. They are chucking pilus in their mouths with the palms of their hands, oh!

The realisation of existential possibilities in the community sets such a beautiful pattern. The society of selves is a happy society where play and work become identical.

حوراں پریاں ٹولے ٹولے

راتیں ٹھڈیاں ٹھار

حسن دیاں ہیلاں برہوں دے جھولے

گوئلیں تتیاں نی وے

 

The beautiful and lovely maidens are visible in groups. They are the breezes of beauty and the gusts of love (in the desert). The nights are cool and chilly. The day wind is hot, oh!

The integration of beauty and love is the integration of contemplation (night) and action (day); hot day wind symbolising the testing times of love, which are necessary for the realisation of union.

رکھدے ناز حسن پروردے

تیز تِکھے ہتھیار

اَبرو تیغ تے تیر نظر دے

دِلیاں پھٹیاں نی وے

 

These maidens keep prides and nurture themselves in beauty. Their eyebrows are swords and the arrows of their eyes are sharp and pointed weapons. Hearts have been ravished, oh!

The magnetism of beauty attracts the lovers and their hearts become ravished in return.

کئی ڈیون اَن نال برابر

کئی ویچن بازار

کئی گِھن آون ڈیڈھے کر کر

تُلیاں تَکّیاں نی وے

 

Some is bartering for wheat. Some is bartering for one and half wheat. Some is measuring by the eyes keeping in a view the market price, oh!

The realisation of possibilities takes place by virtue of freedom. It is not a mechanical affair but a creative one, which makes every individual choose his own mode of realisation.

کئی دھپ وچ دِی چندیاں رہندیاں

کئی چن چن پیاں ہار

کئی گِھن چھان چھنویرے بہندیاں

ہُٹیاں تھکیاں نی وے

 

Some remain picking pilus even in sunshine. Some has picked these and sat under the shade. Some by constant picking have become exhausted, tired and worn out, oh!

The act of picking pilus even in sunshine symbolises the resolve to attain universal realisation, whereas the sitting of the pickers in shade symbolises the inferior stage of individual realisation. The realisation of the doctrine is free but it is so hard. Some may even ultimately fail to attain realisation (union and deliverance).

ایڈوں عشوے غمزے نخرے

کُسَن کان تیار

اوڈوں یار خرایتی بکرے

رانداں رسیّاں نی وے

 

There are amorous glances, enticements and blandishments, on part of the beautiful maidens. There is the spirit of sacrificial animals on part of the lovers, readily available for being slaughtered. The game of love is in full swing, oh!

There is inseparability of beauty and love. Beauty attracts the lovers and the lovers like iron filings get attracted to it. It is the game of realisation, which is in full swing.

پیلوں چُندیں بوچھن لیراں

گِلڑے کرن پچار

چولا وی تھیا لیر کتیراں

سینگیاں سکیاں نی وے

 

The shawl has been torn apart and the shirt has also been torn in bits, while picking pilus. The youthful companions and relative girls are making complaints and objections (being critical and making them ashamed), oh!

The difficult act of realisation is essentially inward leading to the dwindling of individuality into universality and going beyond the ordinary standards of society in simultaneity. The lover is a rebel who, in the act of realisation, casts away his self and at the same time sets higher standards for the community.

آیاں پیلوں چنن دے سانگے

چھوڑ آرام قرار

اُوڑک تھیاں فریدن وانگے

ہکیاں بکیاں نی وے[1]

 

They came for the sake of picking pilus. Ultimately, they became Farid like. They left peace and rest and fell in a state of rapture, oh!

The possibilities inhering in the Divine Essence were in the state of calm and repose (nonexistence). They were manifested in the state of existence in individual forms. The individuals embarked on attaining realisation (symbolised in the act of pilu picking). The individual realisation gave way to his universal and bewildering stage of metaphysical realisation.

The contemporary man needs to delve deep within his own being. It is an encounter with his inner world, which will make him capable of beautifully transforming his outer world. It is a beautiful integration of contemplation and action. Spirituality is beacon of hope for the coming generations. One has to imbibe the metaphysical values of truth, beauty and love. The vocation of Man is to worship God in His transcendence and serve Him in His immanence. He has ultimately to achieve ‘deliverance and union’ by virtue of metaphysical realisation.

The metaphysical thought of Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid can be helpful not only in bridging East and West but in reiterating the metaphysical foundations of human society. The contemporary man is in search of intellectual and spiritual foundations of humanity. He has started looking ‘beyond the post-modern mind’. The bitter fruits of modernism and post-modernism have again provided him an opportunity to go back to his roots. It is at this critical juncture that the wisdom of metaphysics can provide him guiding principles to orient his life accordingly. The metaphysical principle of ‘unity in diversity’, among other things, has assumed tremendous importance in view of the forces, which are threatening the very core of humanity. It is the need of the hour to metaphysically understand this principle and sincerely apply it to the varied situations of life.

 



[1]       Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 166.

 

 

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