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Allama Iqbal’s Approach towards the issue of Rationality:

Posted by khuram on August 27, 2006

Iqbal, basically was not a Rational Philosopher. He was a Scholastic (Mutakkalim — Mahir-e-Ilm-ul-Kalam). Scholasticism basically is such an attempt whereby Scholastic scholars try to interpret their religion in such a way as to show that religious doctrines are in perfect harmony with the established rational philosophies.

As I pointed out in another post on the topic of “Scientific Revolution and Muslim World” that roots of early Muslim philosophers could be found in Mutazillah faith. Mutazilities were the first ever Scholastics (Mutakalims) in Islam. Thus Yaqub Alkindi, Al-Farabi and Ibn-e-Sina etc. were also basically Scholastic scholars. All of them had tried to resolve the apparent differences between the doctrines of Islam and the work of such rational Philosophers as Aristotle and Plato.

All of these Muslim scholars however committed a common mistake. They mistakenly took the work of Platinus, a first century B.C mystic type philosopher as an original work of Aristotle. Both Plato and Aristotle were pro-rational philosophers but Platinus was inspired by mysticism of Pythagoras. In this way elements of Greek mysticism entered in the work of above-mentioned Muslim scholars. Platinus was not pro-rational in the strict sense but under the influence of Plato, he did assign due importance to rationality in his otherwise pure mystic type doctrines. This point basically deceived Muslim philosophers and they considered those doctrines as the original work of Aristotle, who was a complete Rationalist Philosopher. So the work of Muslim Philosophers was aimed at bringing harmony between the religious doctrines of Islam with such Greek rational doctrines, which had been contaminated by the elements of mysticism. Muslim Philosophers had tried to get understanding of religious doctrines based on strong rational footings. Their intention was admirable and it might had got ultimate success also just if they had successfully segregated the mystic elements from the rational elements of Greek thought.

Just like early Muslim philosophers had tried to bring harmony between Islamic religious doctrines and rational doctrines of Aristotle and Plato, Allama Iqbal also had tried to bring ‘harmony’ between Islamic doctrines and the doctrines of Western philosophers, who were popular in his time. Thus Iqbal had tried to bring harmony between Islamic doctrines and the works of such Western philosophers as Rousseau, Fichte, Neitzsche, Bergson, Loyed Margon, Alexander Ward etc. etc. In addition, Iqbal also incorporated various elements of Muslim Sufism in his work. Iqbal also had taken the negative meanings of the emergence of Quantum Physics in his time. He had viewed it as a defeat to classical physics. He also equalized this ‘defeat’ of classical physics as a ‘victory’ of religion.

Iqbal, in his work, had adopted many anti-rational elements out of the work of Rousseau, Neitzsche and Bergson. Rousseau, in his work, had preferred ‘passions’ (jazbat) to ‘rationality’ (aqal). The same thing reflected in the work of Iqbal where he gave preference to ‘Ishq’ (obviously a kind of passion) over ‘rationality’.

Bergson was another anti-rationalist. According to him, human rationality particularly was incapable to understand the true nature of time or ‘duration’. For him, ultimate reality could be found in the true meaning of his ‘duration’. But this purpose could not be achieved by using intellect or rationality. Only ‘intuition’, according to him, could find that ultimate reality. According to Bergson, Rationality can understand ‘time’ only in terms of ‘minutes’ and ‘seconds’ etc. whereas reality is that each and every moment of time continuously keeps on creating new and new features to the universe. He calls this phenomenon as ‘creative evolution’ and considers it as the ultimate reality of universe. Since rationality sees time just in mechanical terms of minutes and seconds, so it cannot get the true knowledge of ‘creative evolutionary’ aspect of duration. Only intuition, according to Bergson, can find out this reality. Bergson has conceived ‘intuition’ as equivalent to such ‘instincts’, which acquire the quality of ‘self cognition’. So according to Bergson, only the ‘intuition’ (i.e. self-aware instinct) can find out the ultimate reality of ‘creative evolutionary’ duration. This reality, which intuition finds in this way cannot be communicated to others with the help of written or spoken words. So reality can be found only through personal intuitive experience. Bergson also discusses the role of ‘rationality’, which just serves the purpose of converting that non-communicate-able pure reality into the shape of less pure but communicate-able form of written or spoken words of language. In this way, ‘intuition’ produces the knowledge of reality. This original knowledge is pure but cannot be communicated to others in this pure form. Role of rationality is secondary. Rationality converts this pure knowledge into impure form that can be communicated to others in the form of written or spoken words.

What Iqbal has done? He has picked the same concept of Bergson’s ‘intuition’ with the same meaning and has given preference to this concept of intuition over rationality. He also says that only intuition gives pure knowledge but this pure knowledge cannot be communicated. By just following the Bergson’s course, he says that rationality can be used to convert this pure knowledge into impure form and so knowledge can be communicated but only in impure form. Just like Bergson, Iqbal also says that pure knowledge can be acquired only through personal ‘intuitive’ experience. Rationality cannot produce any knowledge. Rationality only converts pure knowledge into impure but communicate-able form. See that for the purpose of getting new knowledge, there is no need of rational inquiry according to Bergson and Iqbal.

Bergson’s views deserve heavy criticism. Despite the traditional criticism, these views are not acceptable to me because of my own views about how new ideas are generated by mind. I myself have worked on the issues of how new ideas come to mind. I am having the opinion that only rationality produces new ideas. At first new ideas (in the form of compound ideas etc.) are formed inside mind in such way that gives the vague feelings that something new has been known. This thing has been considered to be ‘intuitive product’ by Bergson. I consider it the product of rationality. Bergson considers it as pure knowledge. I consider it as vogue and less transparent knowledge. According to Bergson, his intuitive and ‘pure’ knowledge could be made into ‘impure’ but ‘communicate-able’ through the application of rationality. In my opinion, that ‘vogue’ and ‘less transparent’ knowledge can be made into solid, more transparent and more explanatory by purposeful thinking and deep rational inquiry, which are more advanced features of human rationality. In another post, where I have presented some aspects of my views about ideas, I have shown that in producing any form of new knowledge, mind only arranges and re-arranges the already available pieces of information. I, in my work, have defined ‘intellect’ as the ability of mind that it can arrange and re-arrange various sets of information. So the process of creation of ‘new’ knowledge takes place under the control of ‘intellect’ or ‘rationality’. At first instance, rationality can produce only vague and less transparent ideas. Those vague and less transparent ideas can be made into more transparent and more explanatory through the processes of deep purposeful thinking and analysis, which are advanced features of same rationality.

What cannot be communicated cannot be regarded as ‘pure’ just because it cannot be communicated. Actually it could not be communicated just because it was not sufficiently elaborated or it had not acquired sufficient transparency and explanatory power so as to be successfully communicated. What cannot be communicated can be better termed as ‘vogue’ or ‘less transparent’ etc. One who knows something new in ‘vogue’ and ‘less transparent’ form finds oneself unable to successfully communicate it to others. If that person makes his mind more clear about that vogue or less transparent idea after thinking and analysis, then he can bring sufficient elaboration in that idea that now it becomes communicate-able. A more elaborated idea would be better than a vogue idea. Bergson and Iqbal are having the view that more elaborated idea would be ‘impure’ whereas that vogue idea would be ‘pure’.

Actually this ‘intuition’ has deceived many Sufi-type philosophers. It is another interesting fact that only Bergson has tried to define the term ‘intuition’. Otherwise, it always has been regarded as something very mysterious, which at once can convey the knowledge of reality to Sufi etc. Bergson is actually a Sufi by heart. According to Bertrend Russell, Bergson has just presented old Sufism using modern terminology of biology such as ‘instincts’ etc. Iqbal is also a Sufi, though explicitly he has reacted against Wahdat-ul-Wajood. Actually there are many other things in Iqbalian thought where he has assumed clear contradictory positions. Iqbal has presented his views in the form of poetry but his detailed views about philosophical matters are found in his lectures on ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’. His poetry is full of exaggerations and cannot serve the purpose of any systematic philosophy. ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought’ is actually an attempt to ‘modernize’ the Islamic Theology. He has taken many of the views from above mentioned western philosophers as well as even from Wahdat-ul-Wajoody Sufism and has presented them in the name of new Islamic Theology.

There is clear difference between the approach of ancient Muslim philosophers and that of Iqbal. Ancient Muslim Philosophers like Al-Farabi and Ibn-e-Sina also had tried to present Islamic Theology on strong rational footings. But, for doing it, they openly had admitted that their works were the attempt to bring harmony between the doctrines of religion and those of Plato and Aristotle. Allama Iqbal however never has admitted that he has taken such and such ideas from the works of such and such western or Muslim Sufi Scholar. Instead, he has presented these ideas and has given supporting proofs by manipulating the meanings of various teachings of Islamic Sacred books in a way which was suitable to his context. Original meanings of those teachings do not come up to the meanings, which Iqbal takes for his purpose. For example, he has taken the same meaning of ‘time’ as had been taken by Bergson. But Iqbal uselessly has tried to show that he had taken that meaning of time from the work of ancient Muslim scholars.

FICHTE belonged to post Napoleon-war Germany. He had tried to re-build the morale of German nation after their defeat in the hands of Napoleon, with the help of his philosophy of ‘Egoism’. According to him ‘Absolute Ego’, an impersonal entity – i.e. instead of religion’s God who possesses ‘personality’, was the ‘ultimate reality’. All humans also possess ‘personal egos’ which have been originated (emanated) from the same ‘Absolute Ego’. This Absolute Ego, according to Fichte, was in the state of transition towards stronger positions. (Remember that aim before Fichte was to give strength to the ego of German nation after their defeat … with the view to restore the morale of nation.) Fichte also asserted that those individuals who successfully strengthen their personal egos, not only contribute to the purpose of Universe as a whole, but also they could ensure the survival of their individual personalities even after death.

What Iqbal has done? In his new Theology, Iqbal has adopted the same concept of Ego by the name of ‘Khudi’ and Fichte’s ‘Absolute Ego’ has become ‘Ana-e-Mutliq’ for Iqbal. There is one important difference however. Fichte had conceived Absolute Ego as the ultimate reality. That ultimate reality was of a non-religious type. Iqbal only has given this non-religious type ultimate reality a religious touch. He also conceives ‘Ana-e-Mutlaq’ as the ultimate reality but in addition, he has equalized this ‘ultimate reality’ to God. Individuals, on the other hand possess personal ‘khudies’, which have been emanated (originated … In a manner in which light originates from sun) from Ana-e-Mutlaq. See that in this scheme, individuals have not been ‘created’ by God but individual khudies (individuals) have been ‘emanated’ from Ana-e-Mutlaq (God). Just like Fichte’s views, Iqbal’s Ana-e-Mutlaq is also in the state of transition towards stronger positions. Individuals who try to give strength to their khudies (through ‘ishq’, ‘riazat’ etc. etc. i.e. not through using rationality) contribute to the purpose of Ana-e-Mutlaq. Again just like Fichte, In Iqbalian system also, individuals who possess strong khudies can survive death also. It’s meaning is that persons who did not possess strong khudies shall not be given any life after their death. According to Iqbal, a person who wants to die forever can do it provided he must not try to give any strength to his khudy. So there are no such things as paradise and hell in Iqbalian new Theology. Just like SATAN is hero of Milton (Remember a famous quotation by Milton: “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven” – Milton’s work relates to Romantic movement in literature) , Iblees is the hero of Iqbal. Iqbal also was influenced by Romantic writers/ scholars like Milton etc.

At this point, it seems necessary to give a mention of two main forms of Theology. Theology is any systematic theory about God and about the relationship of God with the Universe. In Theology, there always have been two different types of views about God. First one is the ‘Transcendental View of God’ (Mawarayi) and the second is ‘Imminentalist View of God’ (Suryani). Semitic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam etc. possess the ‘Transcendental View of God’ (Mawarayi Khuda). Its meaning is that these religions conceive God as a ‘personality’ whose existence is separate from and is independent of the existence of material universe. God existed in those times also when there was no existence of material world. The relationship between God and Universe is that of a Creator and creature.

Second view, which is mainly held by Arian nations, is known as ‘Imminentalist’ (Suryan) view of God. According to this view, God is not viewed as any personality. There is no separate existence of God and Universe. God actually pervades (Taari-o-Saari Hona) in the whole Universe. The relationship between God and Universe is not that of Creator and creature but is that of soul and body. If God is viewed as a ‘soul’ of Universe then it means that God did not exist before the existence of material world. Actually, according to Imminatalism, God and Universe neither had any origin and nor would have any end.

It is clear that Islamic concept of God is that of Transcendental. First of all Fichte’s ‘Absolute Ego’ is an impersonal entity. Iqbal has equalized this impersonal entity with God. So Iqbalian Theology talks of an ‘Imminantalist’ God and this view has to be contradictory with the Islamic doctrines.

Secondly, Iqbal was also influenced by an Evolutionary School of Thought, which is known as “Emergent Evolution”. Alexander Ward and Loyed Margon were the main proponents of this school of thought. According to Prof. Alexander, (In Europe, name of one of Iqbal’s teacher was Alexander … I am not confirmed however whether he was same Prof. Alexander) the whole Universe is in the process of evolution. Non-living matter first evolved into the form of plant life. Then plant life evolved into animal life. This life ultimately has been evolved into the shape of human mind. According to him, it seems wrong to assume that human mind was the last stage in the evolution of universe. He says that universe is moving towards another stage of evolution. He calls this stage to be Divinity. He says that relationship of human mind to Divinity is similar to the relationship of animal life to human mind. According to him, just like human mind has been evolved from animal life, in the same way, Divinity shall evolve from human mind. Thus universe is not complete at the moment because it is still in the process of evolution.

Under the influence of these views, Iqbal has conceived reality to be in the process of continuous evolution. According to him, God pervades (taari-o-saari hai) in this evolutionary reality. Here Iqbal explicitly adopts the imminentalist view of God. According to him, since reality is ‘evolutionary’, so Transcendental God will have to be considered indifferent and having no linkage with the affairs of material world. By saying that God pervades in such an evolutionary reality, Iqbal is saying that God is also in the process of evolution. To be in the process of evolution means to be still incomplete etc.

So there is variety in Iqbalian thought but neither Iqbal has given this variety any systematic shape, nor anything can be regarded as pro-rationality in this confused bundle (Iqbalian thought) of a handsome variety of ideas.

Posted in -Home-, Allama Iqbal's Philosophy, Muslim Philosophy, Philosophy, Philosophy in Pakistan, Philosophy of Science | 17 Comments »

Some Possible Historical Roots of Iqbalian ‘Ishq’:

Posted by khuram on August 19, 2006

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Some Historical Facts About “Ishq”:

In the context of Iqbalian ‘Ishq’, it is important not only to differentiate between ‘Haqiqi’ and ‘Majazi’ Ishq, but also to differentiate between “ishq vs Fear” and “ishq vs Rationality”. It is clear now that Iqbal, in his work has compared Ishq with Rationality. The difference beween ‘Haqiqi’ and ‘Majazi’ Ishq is quite famous. So here I only shall mention some historical facts regarding “Ishq vs Fear” and “Ishq vs Rationality”.

“Ishq vs Fear” has been the issue of religion whereas “ishq vs Rationality” has been the issue of Philosophy. Haqiqi and Majazi Ishq, on the other hand, have been the issues of religion and Sufism.

1- Ishq vs Fear:

Since most religions require their followers to offer certain prayers. The issue in various religions has been that what should be the reason of prayers. Should humans offer prayers in order to ensure some worldly benefits? Or should they offer prayers with the view to avoid punishment in after life? Or with the view to acquire good status in paradise, surely in the after life? In other words, the issue has been that should humans offer prayers because of worldly gains, or because of fear of God, or because of anything else?

Aryian Vedas are the most ancient religious teachings which are available to us. Contents of Rig-Vadas show that the ancient Arians had been offering their whatever form of prayers with the view to ensure worldly benefits for them. For example they used to offer those prayers so that they might get good crops, or so that they win wars against their enemies etc.

Soon Arian religion turned into a strict but invisible code of many customs and traditions. Vedas did not contain any mention about the stratification of society into caste system. At first, Arians had been just fighting against the native Indians, throughout the time of Vedas. Eventually, they however had to include the native Indians also in their society. This was the time when they felt the need of splitting up their society into various castes so as to ensure the survival of their distinct identity from the native Indians. In the main classification of four castes, first three i.e. Berhaman, Khashtaries and Vesh were Arians whereas Shudars were the Native Indians. With the view to introduce such a social stratification, they brought about many changes in their religious doctrines as well. Now reason for offering prayers also changed, for them. Previously, they had been offering prayers with the view to ensure worldly benefits, now on ward, they would offer prayers with the view to avoid “Janam-Chacker”, which was a new introduction to the religious outlook of Indian people. Actually, with the view to legitimize such a rigid caste system, Hindu religious leaders had developed a philosophy of “kerma”. This philosophy asserted that after death, the soul again would take birth in some other body. Whether the soul would go to some inferior body or to some superior body, would be determined by the “karams” (i.e. Aamals …. doings) of the person. A person who did good aamals in his life, after his death his soul would go to superior body. For example the soul of a good vesh would again take birth in the body of a Khashtari or even Berhaman. Similarly, the soul of a bad Berhaman could go in the body of Shudar or even in some other inferior animal. In this way, this philosophy of “kerma” “successfully” legitimized the rigid caste system. This philosophy deprived shudars, of their right to complaint against their such a low status in society because according to this philosophy, their low status was the result of their own bad kermas (aamal) in their previous life. So the basis of Aamal (or prayers etc.), in those days, had been the fear of bad transmigration as well as the fear of social punishments because of strict social customs and traditions.

With the passage of time, Janeism and Buddhism emerged mainly as a reaction to this caste system and the philosophy of Kerma. Both Janeism and Buddhism rejected caste system and introduced the idea of Nirvana with the view to end up the evil “janam chacker”.

Rapid success of Janeism and Buddhism posed severe threat to Hinduism. Hindu religious leaders again felt the need to introduce new reforms in their religion in order to counter the threat of Janeism and Buddhism as well as to win the popularity of Hinduism among the general public.

Emergence of such literature as Ramayein and Maha-Bharata relates to this point in time. Bhagwat Geeta is the important portion of Maha-Bharata. Philosophy of Bhagwat Geeta provided for a new basis for why humans should offer their prayers. Philosophy of Bhagwat Geeta is also not in favour of caste system. Secondly this philosophy asserts that basis of prayers should be the LOVE OF HUMANS FOR GOD. According to this philosophy, this love should be unconditional — means the basis of this love should not be the fear of punishment, or expectation of reward after death. Humans should love God without any hidden or secondary motive, and Such a love for God should be the reason for the offer of religious prayers.

In Semitic religions like Judaism and Christianity, the reasons for why humans should offer prayers have been both (i) to ensure worldly benefits and; (ii) the fear of punishment or expectation of reward in the after-life. The examples of worldly benefits include that Jews were promised for the acquisition of ‘promised land’. Hazrat Isa (RA) had promised for the ‘heavenly kingship’ for his nation.

In Islam, the reason for offer of prayers include (i) spiritual growth, (ii) fear of punishment and expectation of reward in the after-life, (iii) Love for and obedience to Prophet of Islam (PBUH). etc. (iv) As a thanks to God.

The concept of ‘love of human for God’, in an elaborated and transparent form, has been evolved after 1st century of the emergence of Islam. By that time, many ‘Abid-o-Zahid’ Muslims had lost the spiritual basis of their prayers. They used to offer their prayers just to show before others that how much ‘ibadat-guzar’ they were. The ‘riakary’ of such ‘Abid-o-Zahid’ persons was apparent in their dishonest conducts and attitudes in various worldly matters. Sufism, in Islam, has been emerged, originally as a reaction to this type of ‘riakary’ of such type of ‘Abid-o-Zahid’ persons. Early Sufis differentiated between ‘Zahir’ and ‘Batan’. They took the initiative to offer their prayers with such purpose as the purification of their inner-self (batan), instead of just to make show of their number of prayers to others. In those days, Hazrat Rabia Basri (RA) happened to be the first Muslim scholar who introduced the idea of ‘Love of Human for God’, as a basis for the prayers.

This original idea of ‘Love of Human for God’, later on was contaminated by later Sufis with the Greek notion of ‘Ishq’. Actually later Sufis had adopted various elements of ‘Immanatalist’ doctrines of Indian ‘Vedantas’ and Greek’s ‘Neo-Platonist’ theologies. I shall discuss about the historical development of ‘Neo-Platonism’ theology later in this post. Here I shall discuss only the main doctrine of this ‘Neo-Platonism’. This theology, or philosophy, was developed by the 1st century B.C philosopher Platinus. According to him, the whole reality or the source of origin of everything is a single unity which he calls ‘Zat-e-Behet’. This entity, according to him, transcends the universe but everything of the universe which are (i) First Intellect, (ii) Ruh-e-Kul, (iii) Ruh-e-Alvi of humans, (iv) Ruh-e-Safli of humans and (v) matter; have been EMANATED from that ‘zat-e-behet’. ‘Emanation’ means just like light emits from sun in such way that no loss is suffered by the sun.

According to the details, first of all ‘first intellect’ emanated directly from ‘zat-e-behet’. Then Ruh-e-Kul emanated from the intellect. Then Ruh-e-Alvi of humans emanated from that Ruh-e-Kul. Then this Ruh-e-Alvi lost its true status and became inclined to matter and thus became ‘Ruh-e-Safli’. According to Platinus, human body is composed of matter. Human soul has been imprisoned in matter in this way. The highest goal before human is to try to purify his soul (through ‘riazat’, ‘maraqba’ etc. etc.) so that the soul may get freedom from the imprisonment in matter. After getting freedom from matter, the ‘purified’ souls then starts backward, or better to say, up-ward movement towards Ruh-e-Kul, then to intellect and finally again units with the ‘zat-e-behet’.

Platinus says that when human soul is in imprisonment of matter, it feels intense missing of ‘zat-e-behet’ and the soul acquirs the feeling of ‘Be-Qarari’ for meeting or uniting with ‘zat-e-behet’. This feeling of ‘Be-Qarari’ of human soul for uniting with ‘zat-e-Behet’ has been named as ‘Ishq’ by Platinus.

It is this ‘Ishq’ which compells humans to do such things as ‘maraqbas’, ‘riazat’ etc. etc. so that the soul may be purified and get freedom from the imprisonment of matter. To get his soul re-united with the zat-e-behet is the ultimate real goal for any human, according to this doctrine.

It is important to mention that not only Muslim Sufis, but Muslim rationalist philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Ibn-e-Sina also had adopted this emanation doctrine with its details — but after some modifications. Muslim Sufis have derived their concepts of ‘Ishq-Haqiqi’, ‘Fana-Fi-Allah’, etc. from this doctrine. In addition, various concepts which are found in works of Muslim scholars such as sufli, alvi, first intellect etc. also have Greek origins. Just like in this ‘Neo-Platonism’, where ultimate goal for human is to get his soul re-united with ‘zat-e-behet’, in many forms of Sufism, the ultimate goal before Sufi is also ‘Fana-fi-Allah. Just like in Neo-Platonism, where maraqbas and riazats are required for this purpose, in many forms of Sufism also the same maraqbas and riazats are required for this purpose. In addition, according to Neo-Platonism, since everything has been emanated from a single source, so all the beauty found in universe is just the reflection of that singe source. This concept has been taken up by Sufis by the name of ‘Husn-e-Azal’ and they have named the ‘attraction’ for this ‘Husn-e-Azal’ as Ishq.

Hazrat Muhayyudin Ibn-e-Arabi, the main proponent of Islamic Wahdat-ul-Wajood, has taken many things from Neo-Platonic doctrines. Both ‘Neo-Platonism’ and Ibn-e-Arabi’s ‘Wahdat-ul-Wajood’ are ‘monistic’ doctrines instead of ‘mono-theistic’ doctrines. Monism asserts the unity between God and universe. In other words, according to Monism, God and Universe are one and single thing as no other thing can exist except God. Mono-theism (Islamic Tauheed) on the other hand, asserts that God and universe are two separate entities. The thing which mono-theism emphasizes is that God is only one i.e. there are not more than one gods. But fact remains that one God is considered separate entity than universe. Universe is the creature and the creator is only one God, according to Mono-theism. Secondly Ibn-e-Arabi has described ‘creation’ of universe in Neo-Platonic terminology of emanation etc. In addition, he also has adopted another Greek concept of ‘Logos’, after some modifications.

2- Ishq vs Rationality:

Iqbal, in his work, has compared ‘ishq’ with ‘rationality’. It means that he has taken whole different meanings of ‘ishq’. It is clear by now that the term ‘ishq’ has Greek origins. The meaning, which Iqbal takes of this term, also has very interesting history. In various poetic verses, Iqbal has equalized ‘ishq’ with ‘masti’. Then Iqbal compares this ‘ishq-o-masti’ with ‘rationality’ and then gives preference to ‘ishq-o-masti’ over ‘rationality’. Here, ‘masti’ vs ‘rationality’ also has Greek origins. In ancient Greece, a god of ‘sharaab, masti and be-khudi’ was imported from the nearby island of Kareet. The name of that god was ‘Dyonisus’. The worshipers of that god used to heavily drink ‘sharaab’ in order to get ‘masti’ and ‘be-khudi’. They had the belief that during ‘masti-o-be-Khudi’, their god i.e. Dyonisus entered in their inner selves (halool ker jata hai). A person named ‘Orphios’ is said to be the main proponent of this Dyonisusism. When this god enters into the innerself of a ‘mast-o-be-khud’ person, that person is supposed to acquire ‘irphan’ (i.e. famous ilm-o-irfan’). Note at this point that many Sufis use to call themselves as ‘Arifs’ (i.e. this term has been derived out of this ‘Orphios’ which becomes ‘oriph’ and so ‘Arif’). So this ‘Dyonisusism’ is also known as ‘Oriphism’. ‘Oriphies’ endeavoured to get ‘irphan’ (irfan) in the state of ‘masti-o-be-khudi’.

Pythagoras was actually a reformer of this ‘Oriphism’. The reform which he brought about was that he replaced the method of ‘masti-o-be-khudi’ with the method of applying rational thought and pondering etc. with the view to get ‘irphan’. Although for Pythagoras also, the meaning of ‘irphan’, just like other followers of ‘Orphism’, was not ‘getting of knowledge’. Actually, even in those times (i.e. about 500 BC), some Greeks (including Pythagoras) believed that body was the prison of soul. The objective before human was the same … i.e. to get freedom for soul from the prison of body. These views later on would serve the founding stone of above mentioned Neo-Platonism. The purpose of getting liberty from body could be achieved if a person acquired the state of ‘irphan’. Orphios and other followers of Orphism used to try to get this ‘irphan’ in the state of ‘masti-o-be-khudi’. Pythagoras introduced reforms whereby he replaced the method of ‘mast-o-be-khudi’ with the method of ‘rational thought and pondering’. So this was the first ever comparison between masti and rationality. Masti was older than rationality. But this masti had no any such roots over which Allama Iqbal sahib can feel any pride.

Actually, in old times, the process of acquisition of new knowledge was considered to be the most mysterious one. There was no such idea that rationality could produce new knowledge. In many ancient nations, it was only ‘Kahins’ etc. who used to tell mysterious new things to general public. And those Kahins usually did it in the state of ‘masti-o-be-khudi’. The meaning of Kahin is also that a person who tells mysterious things in the state of masti-o-be-khudi. In the pre-Islamic Arab, whenever any poet used to say any new poetry, common people would consider that it was actually some JIN in the inner self of that poet who was telling that poetry to the poet. It was due to the simple fact that those people did not know that new poetry was just a product of rationality (obviously inspired by intense feelings) of poet. Due to the ignorance of this fact, ancient people only could think that new knowledge or poetry could only be produced in the state of masti and be-khudi when the inner self of person was pre-occupied by some super-natural entity such as Jin or god etc. Comparison of ‘masti’ with ‘rationality’ has this type of history … but Iqbal, in his work has taken immediate inspirations out of the work of Rousseau, who in his work had given preference to passions over rationality. Rousseau was a supporter of dogmatism. Dogmatists are those who think that since they already know all the possible things, so they are not in need to apply their rationality with the view to get knowledge of any new thing. But instead of following the views of Rousseau, we must think that we are behind other nations just because we really do not know so many things. We must accept this clear fact that we are in need of acquiring new knowledge and for this purpose we should apply our rationality. But before applying rationality, we first should give the rationality its due respect, which unfortunately has not been given to rationality by our national heroes. Rather, they unduly have de-graded the rationality by just following the views of some anti-rational type western scholars.

Posted in -Home-, Allama Iqbal's Philosophy, Muslim Philosophy, Philosophy, Philosophy in Pakistan | 2 Comments »

 
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