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


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. 


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.

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