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Iqbal and the Ahmadiyya Movement

7. Iqbal's religious views derived from Ahmadiyya Thought
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
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Chapter 7

Iqbal's religious views derived from Ahmadiyya Thought

Views in prose.

Iqbal wrote as follows:

  1. “Arab sufism dominates the hearts and minds of the Muslims of India. They are unable to understand Arab concepts. I am an ordinary man, but even if the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself were to be born again to preach Islam in this country I am sure that the people of this land, in view of their present conditions and the influences upon them, would probably not understand Islamic truths.”
    (Makatib Iqbal, Letters of Iqbal, Letter to Niyaz-ud-Din Khan, p. 53.)

  2. “I believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is alive, and the people of these times can derive spiritual benefit from him just as did his Sahaba (Companions). But in this age even the expression of a belief of this kind would be unacceptable to most minds, so I keep quiet.”
    (ibid., Part II, p. 317.)

  3. “By life is not meant life with the physical body. Hazrat Abu Bakr recited the verse of the Quran: ‘Messengers before him have passed away’, and this is the truth.”
    (ibid., p. 40.)

    The view expressed by Iqbal in this quotation supports the Ahmadiyya interpretation that Jesus is not alive in his physical body, and that he had died before the Holy Prophet Muhammad just as all other prophets were dead at that time.

  4. “Would that the prayer of Maulana Nizami be accepted in this age, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad re-appear to unveil his teachings to the Muslims of India.”
    (ibid., Part I, p. 41.)

    Indeed, not only Maulana Nizami’s prayer but the prayers also of countless other people were accepted, and a servant, lover, spiritual image (buruz) and self-effaced follower of the Holy Prophet came and unveiled before the world the original picture of the religion of the Holy Prophet and the true teachings of Islam. But the world meted out to him the same treatment which it does to all those who come from God. 

  5. “To understand religious issues, especially the religious teachings of Islam, requires a particular kind of education. Regrettably, the new generation of the Muslims is entirely unfamiliar with this. With regard to Muslims, the cause of this trouble is that education became completely non-religious.”
    (ibid., Part I, p. 259.)

  6. “The critic is wrong in saying that Iqbal supports war in this progressive age. I do not support war, nor can any Muslim do so in view of the clear limits set by the Shariah. According to the teaching of the Quran, there can only be two forms of jihad or war: defensive and corrective. In the first case, that is, when Muslims are persecuted and driven out of their homes, they are allowed, not ordered, to take up the sword.

    “The second case, in which jihad is obligatory, is given in 9:49 [in the Holy Quran]. Reading those verses carefully you will realize that what was referred to by Sir Samuel Hoare as "collective security" at the meeting of the League of Nations, the Quran has explained the principle of the same with simplicity and eloquence. If Muslim leaders and statesmen had pondered over the Quran, a League of Nations would have been established in the Islamic world centuries ago. The history of the League of Nations founded in the present day also shows that until the will of nations follows the Divine law, no path to world peace can be found. Besides the two kinds of war mentioned above, I know of no other war. To wage war to satisfy territorial greed is prohibited in Islam. By this reasoning, it is also forbidden to raise the sword for the propagation of the faith.”
    (ibid., Part I, pp. 203 – 204, letter to Maulvi Zafar Ahmad Siddiqi.)

  7. “I believe that the task of the propagation of Islam has priority over all other duties at this time. If the aim of the Muslims in India is merely to achieve independence and economic prosperity by political means, and the defence of Islam is not among their aims, as appears to be the case from the attitude of the nationalists of today, then the Muslims shall never succeed in their aims. I say this from personal insight, and after a little experience of current politics, that so far as the Muslims are concerned the direction of politics in India is a great danger for the religion of Islam. In my view, the threat of the shuddi movement [A campaign by the militant Arya Samaj Hindu sect to convert Muslims back to their ancestral Hindu religion] is of no importance when compared to this danger, or at least this too is an unperceived form of shuddi.”
    (ibid., pp. 209 – 210.)


Influence of Ahmadiyya views on Iqbal’s poetry.

  1. Regarding the continuation of revelation from God, Iqbal wrote in poetic verse:

      “If some audacious person were to be the like of Moses, even now there comes from behind the bush at Tur the call ‘fear not’, [Translator: These words were the revelation of Moses.]

      “Until the Book is revealed to your conscience, the knots cannot be unravelled by either Razi or the author of Kashshaf, [Translator: These are two classical commentators of the Quran.]

      “I am in communication with Gabriel, the Amin, there is no rival, messenger or doorman for me in this path.

      “O God, the meanings which You reveal to my soul like dew, through them I have created a new world for wailing and crying.

      “If a Shuaib could be procured, it only takes two steps from tending sheep to receiving Divine revelation.” [Translator: The reference is to Moses’ stay with Shuaib, during which he tended sheep, and to his receiving revelation while returning home after that stay.]

  2. Iqbal and his admirers and students consider it permissible to use the terms nabi (prophet), paighambar (messenger), juzwi nubuwwat (partial prophethood) etc., about non-prophets. Iqbal wrote:

      “I am, as it were, prophet (nabi) of the land of poetry, on my lips runs the word of Hali.

      “If the aim of poetry be to lead mankind, then poetry is the heir to prophethood.”

    A biographer of Iqbal writes:

      “Wherever I have used the word mujaddid and likewise the word paighambar for the Allama, I have not meant them in their technical sense in the Shariah but have used them in their literal sense.”
      (Maulvi Muhammad Tahir Faruqui, Sirat-i Iqbal, p. 210.)

    Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim, an interpreter and admirer of Iqbal, and famous Pakistani religious writer and philosopher, writes in a poem in praise of Iqbal: 

      “This is poetry which is called a part of prophethood, this is poetry which is a verse (ayat) coming from the discipleship of the Beneficent God.

      “This poetry is in reality reared by Divine revelation, the blessing is highly exclusive but the benefit is very general.

      “One whose word is of this kind is called kalim [one spoken to by God], it is full of wisdom, he is called hakim [wise].” 

  3. According to Dr. Iqbal, a man is not a believer unless he reaches the rank of laulak.
    [This term comes from the opening words of a saying contained in Hadith according to which God said to the Holy Prophet: “If it had not been for thee (lau laka), I would not have created the world.”]

      “The world is the inheritance only of the fearless believer, he is not a believer who has not reached the stage of laulak.

      “The whole world is the heritage of the true believer, the proof of my statement is the subtle point of laulak.” 

  4. Iqbal has spoken of a believer as being Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Some of his verses are quoted below, followed by an explanation by one of Iqbal’s interpreters: 

      “No one knows the secret that the believer, apparently only reciting the Quran, is in reality the Quran.

      “The world is a house of idols, and the man of truth is khalil, this is the idea which lies concealed in la ilaha.
      [The reference in khalil is to Abraham who smashed the idols of his people.]

      “The true believer strikes like lightening from the sky, his fuel is the cities and uninhabited areas of east and west.

      “We are as yet enveloped in the darkness of creation, but he takes part in running the world.

      “He is kalim [Moses], and Masih [Messiah], and khalil [Abraham],
      he is Muhammad, he is the Book, he is Gabriel.”

    An interpreter of Iqbal, Professor Yusuf Salim Chishti, explains these verses as follows:

      “It should be made clear that in the 8th, 9th and 10th stanzas the advice Iqbal has given to young people can be summed up as follows: O young people, acquire the quality of faqr [resigna tion to God]. However, this quality cannot be created without the company of a spiritual guide, as is proved by the lives of the Sahaba. So he is describing the attributes of the perfect spiritual guide: O reader! the appearance of the man of truth, the perfect man, takes place according to the Divine will. He comes from heaven. When God so wishes, He raises for the reformation of His creatures a righteous servant in whom the attributes of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are reflected as an image. That man of God, the perfect mentor, annihilates the forces of falsehood. His characteristics [according to Iqbal in the above verses] are as follows:

      a. While people like us are merely conjecturing in the dark about the creation, i.e. we are bound by time and space, and are the subservient creation, he is involved in the organization and running of the system of creation. That is to say, he is the ruler of creation. It should be made clear that by ‘one who takes part in the running of creation’ Iqbal means the man with whom are associated matters relating to creation, just as with prophets are associated matters relating to religious law. Hence Sura Kahf refers to such an exalted person in the words ‘a servant from among Our servants’ [ch. 18, v. 65].

      b. He is the heir to the spiritual qualities of Moses, Jesus, Abraham and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. In him is manifested the image of the attributes of the prophets. He is potentially a prophet, but not actually a prophet because prophethood has come to an end. This point has been explained by Mujaddid Alif Sani in his Maktubat.

      c. All the holy men of God derive spiritual benefit from his person.

      d. He first of all purifies the souls of human beings and kindles the fire of Divine love in their hearts. Then he shows them how to rule the world.”
      (Yusuf Salim Chishti, Sharh Jawaid Nama, Ishrat Publishing House, Anarkali, Lahore, 1956, pp. 1198 –1199.)

  5. Regarding the mi‘raj of the Holy Prophet, commonly believed to be a physical rising to God, Dr. Iqbal writes:

      “You have put Him on the 'arsh, O preacher, what a God is He Who avoids the people.”

  6. As to the coming of the Mahdi and the Messiah, he writes:

      “Look to the descent of God upon the minaret of your own heart, and stop waiting even for the Mahdi and Jesus.

      “Did Jesus die or is he still alive? Are the Divine attributes distinct from God’s person or identical with His person?

      “By the one to come, is it meant the original Jesus or a Mujaddid possessing the attributes of the son of Mary?

      “Are not enough for Muslims in this age, these idols carved out by theology?”
      (Armaghan-i Hijaz.)

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