Philosphy of Iqbal

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Iqbal's Poetry
If we wish to understand Iqbal and the significance of his message, it is necessary for us to know the conditions of the Subcontinent during Iqbal's lifetime - an epoch that culminated in Iqbal. Without this study we cannot understand the real meaning of Iqbal's message, the melody of his tone and the inner fire that kept him restless. The Subcontinent went through the hardest phase of its history during Iqbal's lifetime. Iqbal was born in 1877, that is, twenty years after the quelling of the Muslim's revolt against the English in 1857, when they inflicted a final blow upon the Islamic rule in the Subcontinent. A great revolutionary upsurge overtook the whole country and continued for several years, but four months (the middle of 1857) marked its culmination. The British used this opportunity for making an assault on Islam, which they were contemplating to make for the last seventy or eighty years, and they imagined to have uprooted Islam from the Indian soil.

They put an end to the Muslim rule that was breathing its last breaths. The only obstacle in their way of the total colonization of the Indian subcontinent was the existence of the same rule, which they had succeeded in weakening during the course of time They liquidated its chief fighters and eminent personages in order to eradicate the deep-rooted Islamic civilization and to completely uproot this corpulent and old tree which was shown of any power of resistance at that time, and to make India a part of the British empire. The year 1857 was the year of absolute victory for the British in India. After having officially annexed India to Britain and named their country as the Empire of Britain and India, the colonizing of India did not pose any problem, for India was treated henceforward as one of the provinces of the Great Britain. After that they took all possible precautions to crush every revivalist, nationalist or religious movement in that country. Their aim was to wipe out completely the Muslim population, as they knew it well that it were the Muslims who resisted them in India. They already had tested this. The Muslims fought with the English and their mercenaries, the Sikhs, who were serving them since the early nineteenth century. This was known to the English very well and to those who were acquainted with the Indian affairs, who used to tell them. that the Muslims were their real enemies in India and that they were to be eliminated. From the year 1857, which was the year of their victory, an extremely oppressive and tyrannical plan was chalked out to suppress the Muslims. If we go into its detail it will take a long time. Many books were written on this subject. The Muslims were subjected to economic pressures as well as to cultural and social discrimination. Collectively they were subjected to the worst kind of humiliations. As regard to the conditions of employment their declared policy was to recruit non-Muslims only.
The awqaf (endowments) that ran Islamic institutions and mosques were in large number and they were taken away. The Hindu merchants were motivated to lend money to the Muslims in order to seize their property in return for their debts. It was resolved that their relationship with the land be cut off and their sense of belonging to the land be uprooted.
This process continued for a long time. The Muslims were killed without reason and arrested for no fault of theirs. All such people who were suspected of carrying on any activities against the English were suppressed and eliminated ruthlessly. These conditions prevailed for several years. After one or two decades of this repression, which has no parallel anywhere in the world - not in any of the colonized countries were the people suppressed so severely as the Indian Muslims - ultimately some people began to think about the possible remedy for this Situation but of course the angry resistance against the English was not given up. India should never be forgetful of the fact that the Indian Muslims played the most vital part in the battle against the English. In fact it will be an act of thanklessness on the part of India to forget her indebtedness to the Muslims of India. The Muslims did never sit idle during the freedom struggle as well as during the great revolution that was brought about there.
During the years after the incident of 1857, when there was peace and calm everywhere, the militant Muslim elements were active in every nook and cranny. There were two courses of action open to them, that is, either the politico-cultural movement, or a purely cultural movement to meet the challenge threatening the position of the Muslims. One of the movements was led by the 'Ulama' and the other was initiated under the leadership of Syed Ahmad Khan. These two movements represented two cross-currents opposing each other, and this is not the occasion to go into detail concerning them.


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