Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July Challenge from Allama Iqbal

Having been away from home & computer due to family & personal responsibilities, I am hesitant to respond without reviewing what has transpired in the Iqbal course & other RR items...

Yet I must because during last night I read an academic article on how people of various faiths in scriptural academia looked at their faith AFTER many years experience in academia.

I was struck by the observation that each was really only partly affected by academia (or used the same as part of their reasoning) to leave their various "faith" positions. (i.e. whether or not there is an actual God...which prophets or scriptures they saw as metaphor or took literally and whether or not they became atheist, agnostic or even changed religion.)

The other dynamic which affected their "faith" in a "real" God and how they saw "Him" was who their friends and associates were and some personal tragedy: the death of a child, the birth of a child with a great handicap, etc.

In this particular article there was also little seeking in the context of the Divine for a RESPONSE to a particular evil or tragedy yet instead only the insistance of the need to KNOW the ins and out of an answer as to why God allowed such.

When I heard one tale after another of combining both academia AND subjective reasoning with personal experience being listed as reasons for their departure from or change within a particular "faith perspective", I was struck by the following:
a) That anger at God or in some ways "trashing Him" was in this article seeing "Him" as THE REASON for suffering in their personal life and in the world. This was the result of a strange mixture of academic polemic and debate mixed with personal experience.
b) I heard in this article all too little of our personal and national/"tribal" or group identity responsibility for both our personal and human collective experiences. This in reference to both tragedy which may have been partly or mostly the result of human error or evil.
c) I read more assumptions that until "God" answered the "reasons" for "His" allowing of suffering, some would feel free to discard any need to take personal responsibility for their own (or their "tribe's" earlier or current) actions.
c) Then having blamed "God" for corporate and/or personal suffering some of the participants in this article or "His nonexistance" they seemed to assume anything at all goes in their own philosophies or religious expressions.

Having not been able to sleep after that, I felt the need to write down these observations for further exploration later.

How striking that here the first email I look at after a ten day trip and after such an article as described above is this quote:

"God does not change a nation until it changes itself’ governs both the individual and the collective spheres of life..."

Here are a few more comments posted by the historian, writer, scholar, teacher considered to be the most respected Allama Iqbal biographer of our time - these are from Iqbal in much earlier times. Let's pray and act that our time may not be too contaminated with current lack of compassion, truth and courage to change what is currently the state of American life and culture for the better.

Perhaps these earlier observations might help readers to return to the best within our earlier freedoms?

"Regarded from a purely literary standpoint, the debilitation of the forces of
life in Europe after the ordeal of the [First World] war is unfavorable to the
development of a correct and mature literary ideal.

Indeed, the fear is that the minds of the nations may be gripped by that slow-pulsed Magianism which runs away from life's difficulties, and which fails to distinguish between the sentiments of the heart and the thoughts of the brain.

However, America seems to be a healthy element in Western civilization,
the reason for which perhaps is that it is free from the trammels of old
traditions and that its collective intuition is receptive to new ideas and

The East, and especially the Muslim East, has opened its eyes after a centuries-long slumber. But the nations of the East should realize that life can bring about no revolution in its surroundings until a revolution takes place in its inner depths and that no new world can take shape externally until it is formed in the minds of men. This ineluctable law, which has been stated by the Quran in the simple but eloquent words, ˜Verily, God does not change a nation until it changes itself governs both the individual and the collective spheres of life; and it is the truth of this law that I have tried to keep in view in my Persian works."

Iqbal, 'Preface' to The Message of the East (1923)

Posted By Khurram Ali Shafique to The Republic of Rumi website at 7/01/2011 12:01:00 AM

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