The Muslim News
Awards for Excellence
||Allama Iqbal award for creativity in Islamic thought
poetry that breathes of philosophy and philosophy that reads like a poem
Muhammad Iqbal was one of the most versatile, creative and original thinkers of modern Islam. He was born in India, knighted by Britain, but is most revered in Pakistan - which he never lived to see, but where his birth is an annual holiday.
In 1905, Iqbal came to read philosophy and law at Cambridge University and then completed a doctorate at the University of Munich. He returned to India with an admiration for the enquiring and discursive nature of Western academia but he was also disaffected by its godless orientation. He was one of the first prominent Indians to issue a public call for a separate state for the Muslims of northwest India. He was unequivocally the first to frame this call in the most breathtaking poetry, prose and philosophy of the twentieth century.
Addressing and challenging the alternative faces of Indian Islam (mystical theosophy for its apparent aimlessness, and dogmatic scholarship for its rigid legalism), Iqbal urged both beggar and banker alike to think, think again, and shape time and the world according to the designs of the Almighty. With a dynamic, vital Islam as his motivation, and the Prophetic paradigm as his guide, he gave rhyme and reason to the dust of Cordoba and the flow of the Ganges.
Not all were enamoured of Iqbal's style or subject matter. In 1911, his profoundly moving Shikwa (Complaint) provoked the wrath of Muslim scholars for its seemingly impudent petitioning of God. A year later with Jawab e Shikwa (Reply to the Complaint) Iqbal delivered, with grace and deep conviction, a vision of social reform that Muslims the world over would share long after his death in 1938.
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