ALLAH does not change the state of people, until they change it themselves

24.6.14

Greetings, from Kashmir

I made a new friend. We met at the ninth batch of our online course Introduction to Iqbal Studies and instantly hit it off.

She is from Kashmir and that is one of the major reason
Source
of writing this post.

Whenever we end our conversations she always asks me to say her salam to everybody, and that means Everybody! I find it endearing. Nobody has ever made such a request of me. First I was shy, as to how to give her salam to the people in Pakistan but then the idea of writing this post, in order to honor her wish and to tell the world about her, came to me. Therefore, first and foremost; Salam/Peace to you, dear reader, from the valleys of Kashmir.

The most touching idea about this exchange for me is; she cares about us, Pakistanis. It brims my heart with so much joy and love, my heart expands and is ready to burst out with happiness. I could never know that somebody could love selflessly. For I have always heard people telling us that Kashmiris no longer like Pakistan, that we have failed them. This was excruciating for me to even imagine that they'd ever hate us or be despaired of Pakistan. Communicating with her sews my heart back to the hope that perhaps we have not lost all the battles, perhaps there is still chance to win them back and somebody from that sacred valley thinks about us in a good way and to this extent. Words fail me when I try to explain what this news do to me. I'd like to be her friend even after we are dead. For it would be an inconsolable loss to lose her for eternity.

I hope we go on loving each other for the sake of Allah. May we help each other in whichever way we can and we have more ways to communicate than just via internet. I pray that He blesses her and everybody in the troubled valley and provide them with Peace and Serenity. May her silent prayers be answered. May her wish for Peace rings throughout the world.

I pray she finds joy in her life.

Ameen!

22.5.14

Take Kindly The Counsel Of The Years*

The 9th batch of Introduction to Iqbal Studies started this month and I am co-facilitating it with my honorable teacher Mr. Khurram Ali Shafique.

This post is about my long journey at Marghdeen Learning Centre; first as a participant and then actively working for it. Interestingly, I was in the first batch of Introduction to Iqbal Studies in June 2011 when it all started. and at that time I had never imagined that I will be one day assisting my teacher run this very course.

I remember how I felt when I started studying at MLC. It was the first time I took up virtual learning seriously [apart from my Spanish online lessons]. I was skeptic of some of the ideas presented in the lessons but our teacher was ever so patient and led me to the point where I became devoted to that very idea, the city of Marghdeen. Looking back at myself in my fresh year I was unrelenting, rigid and well, naïve. Running this course with my teacher is proving to be so healthy, spiritually! It feels so good to remind myself from where I come from, to trace back my progress, the point where it all started for me. It makes me realize [actually it hit me very hard] how far I have come and the things I gained in this journey. I have been very shy initially and used to communicate very little with other participants. But now, most of them are my friends. And one man made it all possible; my teacher Mr. Khurram Ali Shafique, whom I will always be grateful for. He had been a very good example of compassion, perseverance, patience and love which is not very common in today's teachers.

The thing I like about learners is their enthusiasm and fresh curiosity. I get to learn so much from the present group. They remind me of me. They are adorable. [some are older than me but that doesn't matter. They probably don't know how young I am.]. I want them to have what I had from this course which made it impossible for me to go back to my old ways. I want them to feel the real essence of education, the things which should be learned and taught, not the rote-learning and cramming of unrelated knowledge which is the hallmark of our education system. The spiritual fulfillment, the dynamics of science, arts, politics, education; the applicability of Dr. Iqbal's ideas, the sacred nature of human being, are few of many ideas which I learned from these courses. And there are many things which are yet to be studied.    

Indeed, the frustration from our education system made me realize how badly we need the kind of education which is imparted at MLC. And I cannot wait for it to be a prestigious university. I am not afraid to claim that no institute can vie with MLC in respect of discernment of knowledge and excellent quality of education, the real education which is necessary for all of us regardless of our background. 

I hope that this journey never ends. And may I accomplish what I desire.  

"Let my winged days be not spent in vain." (Unknown)  


*Title is a line from poem, The Desiderata, which means the desired things. Poet unknown. 

5.5.14

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times



The mind of Goethe,
The heart of Rumi,
The message of the Quran.
This was the unparalleled legacy of the poet-philosopher credited with birthing a nation and a state, and at no other time has the world been more ready to embrace his ideas than it is right now. 


The story of his mind, and what he taught, as told herein from a new and compelling angle, leads us on a trail of discovery towards a new way of life. You're invited to approach this as a handbook for implementing his life-giving ideas.
The above-quoted blurb reflects the spirit in which my new book, Iqbal: His Life and Our Times, is being offered. The book is a tribute to Iqbal by ten sovereign states, since it is being published jointly by Iqbal Academy Pakistan and the Cultural Institute of the Economic Cooperation Organization, which is the successor organization of the RCD and now includes Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The international edition is being brought out by Libredux, UK, on behalf of the original publishers. It will be available from Thursday, May 8.

It can be ordered from the page on the Createspace Website. It will also be available on other websites, including Amazon. The Pakistani edition is hopefully coming out by the end of this month.

Much has been written about Iqbal but this book may turn out to be different (even from my earlier writings) because it presents Iqbal with a special focus on how his ideas can be implemented today - especially in Pakistan and the Muslim world, but also elsewhere - by individuals as well as societies. I have kept it less than 200 pages, so that it may serve as a compact handbook.

Until the book comes out this Thursday, I offer you following introduction written by two people for whom I have deep respect and gratitude.


Introduction
by
Muhammad Suheyl Umar, Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan;
and Iftikhar Arif, Director, ECO Cultural Institute (ECI)

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) is the only poet and thinker in the history of world literature who has been credited with the birth of a new nation and a new state. It is therefore very befitting that a handbook about his life and thought should be brought out by an organization comprising of ten member states. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI) is pleased to bring out this publication jointly with Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

In addition to his unique status in Pakistan, Iqbal also happens to be either a national poet or a household inspiration in several other countries including Iran, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and India. In Turkey, his symbolic grave stands in the compound of the mausoleum of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. In the universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge, there are chairs or fellowships in his name. Roads, buildings and monuments have been named after him in other countries too, including Mauritius.

Iqbal: His Life and Our Times fulfils the need for a simple and reliable introduction to the life and work of this unmatched genius, highlighting the practical relevance of his ideas for those who wish to consider them for implementation. The author, Khurram Ali Shafique, is well-known in the field of Iqbal Studies. The awards which he has received for his previous publications include the coveted Presidential Iqbal Award.

The present volume includes many findings that are the outcome of the author’s original research. Of special interest to the general readers as well as the experts would be the evidence, presented here for the first time, which establishes a historical connection between the political ideas of Iqbal, the American thinker Mary Parker Follett and the Bengali visionary C. R. Das.

We are hoping that this volume will offer much by way of looking at the present times from new avenues.

It is shown here that the views expressed by Iqbal in his poetry and prose formed a coherent system of thought, and the same was implemented by him through political and social action.

This is to dispel the myth which has been preventing a deeper understanding of Iqbal’s thought until now, i.e. the false but widely perpetuated assumption that the ideas presented by Iqbal were either inconsistent with each other or they kept undergoing such perpetual changes throughout his life that they cannot be considered for implementation in any other time.

The system of his thought and its underlying principles are being presented here, perhaps for the first time. It is also being shown that in spite of its inner coherence, the system of Iqbal’s thought kept pace with the evolution of the collective life of his community.

This evolution can be studied by dividing the intellectual life of the poet-philosopher into three stages: inquiry, discovery and transcendence. The duration of each stage has been established here on the basis of biographical and textual evidence, and the book has been divided into three chapters accordingly.

Each of these three stages started in his mental life when his community adopted a new goal collectively. The goals, their relevance to the world and humanity, their implications for Iqbal, and his contribution towards achieving them are issues which are being discussed here in a fresh light. This may turn out be one of the most significant contributions which this book will make to the subject.

If nations of the world desire to come closer in their hearts and minds, they cannot ignore to learn about the ideas, emotions and visions of each other. The Economic Cooperation Organization’s Cultural Institute (ECI), formed through a charter at the third summit meeting of the countries of ECO held at Islamabad in 1995, aims at fostering understanding and the preservation of the rich cultural heritage of its members through common projects in the field of the media, literature, art, philosophy, sport and education.

The present volume is being offered in line with this vision, and with the conviction that it is important for everybody to be informed about the ideas of Iqbal, since they may be counted among those cultural forces which have gone into shaping a significant part of our world.

This conviction is shared by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, a statutory body of the Government of Pakistan, originally established through an act of parliament in 1951 and reinforced through an ordinance in 1962. The aims and objectives of the Academy are to promote and disseminate the study and understanding of the works and teachings of Iqbal. The Academy has been translating its objectives into action and activity through a number of measures including publication programme, IT projects, outreach activities, Iqbal Award Programme, website, research and compilation, audio-video, multimedia, archive projects as well as exhibitions, conferences, seminars, projection abroad, research guidance, academic assistance, donations and library services.

We hope that the readers will benefit from the book which we are offering here jointly, and this will go a long way in achieving our common objectives.


Reblogged from: Marghdeen

27.4.14

Is America Really Our Enemy?

However much I would like to punch Haqqani in the face, I will stick to just facts and teach him some history lessons which he studied long ago and which American shine and glam dazzled out of his brain.

"Haqqani said that Pakistan wouldn't be able to fight USA". Not that I want to go on war with any country or I am a jingoist. Nor do I hate US. Yes, I don't like her policies for her fellow countries and I have issues with that. I want the problems to be solved with as much peace as we can work out. We need to act like adults and spare the world of the nukes. Thank you.

I don't know what made Haqqani say that. May be the war paraphernalia US has been able to acquire in all these years, or the courage of her soldiers or determination of her generals, or the money they have or how they have always been invading/controlling the countries.

I will just talk about 'how' Haqqani is wrong in his claim.

Haqqani must remember that the great Alexander was defeated at the hands of a mere raja of Porus. Any middle school kid can tell him that. Napoleon Bonaparte's great army crashed in the snowfields of USSR. USSR had to fall out of Afghanistan after almost a decade of nerve-wrecking occupation of the poor country. Don't tell me that US helped Afghans to fight USSR. if that is so, then how Afghans managed to contain the US this time? Who is providing them the 'arms' and other required equipment to fight ten times a great power? US has no way of staying in Afghanistan even after the invasion of more than a decade. US has literally bomb-flattened the country yet they are compelled to just leave the place now. The war-torn country will pick up the pieces on its own. Like always.

He forgot Vietnam, may be? Or how Colonel Chavez held his ground even after a coup d'etat? Did Haqqani forget, say by chance, that Chavez was back on his seat after just a few hours of the coup which was pulled against him by US?

Or the most classical example, no, in fact anti-classical, Ghazwa-e-Badr where 313 men were pitting against the well armed 1000 men but still the former won?

Really? Haqqani has such a bad memory that he forgot all of his history lessons or is he such a spineless coward that he just crumpled under the technology US has been able to build?

Or does he under-estimate Pakistan to this extent? If that is the case, well I am offended big time! Our own ex-ambassador has so little integrity for his motherland. Aghast. And he insists that "this is the reality we have to accept". I think Haqqani needs to study a lot of history for sure. Or may be, he is following the defeatist mindset.

I am appalled that this kind of a man represented Pakistan in US.  No wonder they don't hold us in high regard. They haven't met 'real men' of Pakistan.

oh by the way, he also should learn that it is not always about 'winning'. Its about honor. Whether you live or die, you do that with honor, integrity, dignity.

Is America really our enemy, What do you say? 

21.4.14

Workshop by SuperTec Foundation

My sister is looking for a good internship program these days and SuperTec sounded good. I went along with her to explore this world as an outsider and I must tell you that it was one of the best experience of my life. 


The environment was friendly. The participants had a chance to interact with each other as well as with the curator freely which made the experience more lively. We had the chance to get to know the individuals who are striving in their own unique styles for the betterment of Pakistan. It was heart warming to see such enthusiasm and hope in the youngsters to share with people what they know.

About the Foundation: 

Supertec was founded on July 2012.
 

Their Mission is: To equip the common people with useful technology that empowers them to be more productive.
 
VISION: Supertec Foundation is Advisors and Consultants to NGO's. It is our way of giving back to the world in a more organized way.

General information: 

Super Technologies Foundation was formed to help and assist organizations to adopt better systems, and software’s for better effectiveness of their work.
Super Technologies Inc., over the years has created many processes, software, and systems that we believe have helped us to be more productive and practical in solving the problems we faced, and Super Technologies Foundation is here to help other organizations implement similar systems, and processes, to become more effective.
[The best thing about them is:]
We did not want to start a new School, Hospital or NGo to do these, but want to make exisiting NGO’s and foundations more functional, and more efficient.


You can see more here: https://www.facebook.com/SuperTecFoundation

Attending this workshop filled me with hope for Pakistan. Pakistan is well ahead on the road of development and nothing/nobody can stop her from attaining her goals. I am re-assured that despite of the ugly environment which is persistent in political scenario, there is a floodlight which is shining upon economic aspect of my homeland. Something is going good here. I am almost always talking about this group and sharing their plans with my friends and pray fervently that these plans come to fruition. I cannot wait to see a prosperous Pakistan where 'sasti hoge roti, or mehengi hogi jaan... Ek din ayega jub aesa hoga Pakistan...' Insha Allah! 

Until next time...

19.4.14

Why Do We Need Iqbal

“Nations are born in the heart of a poet, they prosper and die in the hands of a politician.” Stray Reflections.

 

Today we, the Pakistani nation, proudly boast of being the nation who was born in the heart of one of the greatest poet of world history. Dr. AllamaIqbal stands tall among the giants who go on living despite of having ceased to exist in the world. Iqbal is one of those people who personify the concept of immortality. After many decades of his death, he still lives in many forms among us; through his written work, his services, and his ideas. He is among those few people who are cherished and owned equally by East and West and his work has been researched and appraised by scholars around the world.

Today I am going to look into one of the many facets, which make him a legend. I want us to remember why we need him now and what he has to offer us in these trying times.
When I started studying AllamaIqbal, the thing that struck me most was the grandeur he attributed to the human being. He exalts the individual whose perfect culmination was in the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

The human being is essentially good and powerful enough to take down anything is his recurring theme. The fact that the person is capable of almost anything is mind blowing. I have always seen how people are treated on different levels in our society so it was very hard for me to imagine the equality suggested by him in his different anecdotes. I was awe-struck when a mere soldier of a Muslim army pledged peace to a deadly enemy [being unaware that he is the one they had to kill]. When his commander came to know about the pledge, he immediately accepted it and forgave the enemy on account of one of his soldiers.
Iqbal states that “man must be regarded as a unit of force, an energy, a will, a germ of infinite power, the gradual unfoldment of which must be the object of all human activity.”… The idea that the human being is endowed with infinite power and he has so many courses open to him, he can take whichever course he likes and make his life, is so empowering and revitalizing. It is a perfect explanation of the phenomenon mentioned in Quran, “And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives.” Al-Quran [53:39]
He admits the flaws and limits in the human beings but he insists and proves that despite of these defections the human was sent as a trustee of God and that alone makes him special and trustworthy. There is also a possibility [a strong one] that in the course of his life a man is perfectly capable to get rid of the personality flaws or reduce them to minimum level.

He had an incredible insight. For example he describes the transgression of Adam in Lecture IV, in unique terms: Adam’s first transgression was forgiven [he was not sent on Earth as a punishment rather it’s a blessing and Earth is a dwelling place. But the point to be noted is the value of the human being. “That God has taken this risk shows His immense faith in man; it is for man now to justify this faith.” Lecture III
The status Iqbal re-asserts in his poems for an individual, his relation with his society and God was absolute opposite of what was/is going on in the Muslim Community. Those poems changed a lot of thought-processes in the community. The false humility and weak-spirit garbed in virtuousness had to end. He wanted them to realize that the fall of the Muslim empire was due to specific reasons and most of those reasons were borne out of the Muslims’ attitude towards their own lifestyle and thinking. The stagnation, dead spirit and most of all the despicable character of later Muslims were among the many reasons of the downfall. He reminded them that “it has always been Islam that saved the Muslims in their difficult times and not the Muslims who saved the Islam.” This implies that the Muslims need to come back to the spirit of Islam which is absolutely anti-classical. The core messages of equality, justice, freedom, self, selflessness, being true to one’s faith were all but forgotten.

Even a verse from him is not short of a miracle. After reading him, the person feels fresh. His/her vision shifts dynamically and he/she has the urge to do something valuable, to add worth to life. And Iqbal’s objective is exactly that; to make the person aware of their true potential. In his paper, Islam as a Moral and Political Ideal, he states: “Give man a keen sense of respect for his own personality, let him move fearless and free in the immensity of God’s earth, and he will respect the personalities of others and become perfectly virtuous.” The strong individual is one of the fundamental reality in Iqbal’s world and we cannot move ahead without giving it its due status in the society. The importance given to the development of a strong individual is so crucial for a healthy society that the interests of the existing generation are sacrificed for the future generation. In the course of time, we have neglected the individual and instead over-emphasized the objects. In our world, which is a stark contrast to Iqbal’s world, individuals are sacrificed in the name of law and order.
It is proven that when people took up Iqbal’s message and tried to gain that spirit back they never failed. Agha Hashr Kashmiri and others produced some top class literature and carved new ideals for the nation which eventually helped them to go through the most difficult journey of their life; Partition. For once, the whole nation was at one to dream the collective future. Iqbal made them dream in daytime.

We are always looking down upon our triumphs and talk about our glory wistfully, led to think as if we are never going to gain it back again. What we need most today is that same confidence, attitude of winning ourselves and the world, in short we need to come back to the voice of Iqbal which beckons us towards the glory of humanity. He always insisted that “will, not intellect” is essential principle for growth. His message is not limited to a single area nor does it get old. It is as fresh today, even after so many decades. He covers almost everything, as if standing on the vintage point. He points the reader to the right direction and motivates them to take the journey on their own just like the Simorgh. He would not map out the whole journey for you;that is not his style. Neither does he leave you stranded. He leaves the signs and signals on the way to reassure the reader and means to test themselves if they are on the right path.

We all wish for the change around us yearns for our country to prosper and unity of people but how many of us are ready to go through that change, sacrifice our personal interests, the petty/non-existential issues? Once again, Dr. Iqbal, our ideological father pointed out thatHe who desires to change an unfavourable environment must undergo a complete transformation of his inner being.” [The Lahore Address] Isn’t it unfair with Iqbal that we, his own people, are always ready to turn our backs to him when he becomes inconvenient for us to carry forward? When will we stop using him for our qawwalis, folk music and take him to the platform of politics, education, literature, science, religion? When will we start using him as our sword and shield against the corporate, imperial, colonial monsters? We need to seriously think about our priorities and walk the talk instead of just delivering the monologues of how great Iqbal was or what he failed to deliver. 
  • Islam As a Moral And Political Ideal. This paper was read by AllamaIqbal at the anniversary celebration of the Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam, Lahore. It was first published in The Observer of Lahore, in April 1909 and was fully reproduced in The Hindustan Review of Allahabad in its issues for July and December 1909
  • Muslim Society- A Sociological Study
  • Islam As A Moral And Political Ideal, 1909
  • A story written by Persian poet Fariuddin Attar showing the unity of humanity.
  • That is what I have been able to understand from studying his works.
  • It is a sequel of Allahabad Address. The Lahore address was delivered in 1932.


I wrote this article for the group, Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz.