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Philosophy of Iqbal

Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a brilliant philosopher, poet and undoubtedly the most influential Muslim of the twentieth century.

In the post classical period of Islamic philosophy Iqbal alone stand as the person who set the Muslim world in motion. He is the only Muslim philosopher who worked really hard to grabble with the problem of the modern western philosophy within Islamic context. His thoughts and ideas are considered very influential in the Islamic world today.

He introduces the concept of ‘Khudi’ or self. He rejected the idea of fall of Eden because of sin rather he presented the advent of human being on earth as a magnificent event, as Adam was appointed as the vice-regent of God on Earth. Human are not sent to earth by accident. This thought exists to make emergence and human perfection possible on Earth. The purpose of human life is the development of one’s self. This only occurs when one gains the knowledge of what lies within him and also the external world.

Philosophy of Iqbal is considered as the philosophy of action and motivation. Its main purpose is to boost the morale of human beings and to prompt them to strive and use the God given potential to its fullest degree. Arising from a desire to awaken the Muslim Ummah and drawing upon inspiration from western existentialists like Nietzsche, and Muslim spiritual teachers he empowers the Muslim individual. Iqbal other than being an influential personality manifested a deep philosophical thought which can be seen in all his writings.

Iqbal’s knowledge was commendable. Being an educated person he got a unique perspective to handle different problems. Iqbal divided the concept of self into two categories

  1. Efficient and
  2. Appreciative

According to Iqbal the efficient self is the one which is concerned and formed by the physical world. Whereas the appreciative self is the deeper self which one experience only in the condition of intense meditation. Every single experience in the appreciative self affects our actions.

Along with these two categories of self-Iqbal also presented two levels of time i.e. serial time and pure duration. Serial time is the time of the clock but pure duration is the unending continuous flow in which all actions and things live and have their own being.

Iqbal strongly believed that human are the makers of their own destiny and the way of that destiny lies within the character of a human being. He constantly refers to the Qur’anic verse,

‘Verily God will not change the condition of a people till they change what is in themselves’ (Surah 13: 12). Humanity’s mission on earth is not only to win greater freedom but also to gain immortality, which according to Iqbal ‘is not ours by right; it is to be achieved by personal effort. Man is only a candidate for it’ (Iqbal 1930: 119).


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