Thursday, November 17, 2011

Allama Iqbal's Marghdeen: Light for Us Today

Whether we consider the emphasis all over the world on "green" living, the need for freedom which does not limit the freedom of others, the longing for a world without war and overbearing law-enforcement, Iqbal has something to say. Look at the goals of the "Occupy...the Banks or the 99% movements". Or see how often religion has become the opiate of people in various places, times and with different names. Consider not only how we sabatage the free expression and imagination of our children yet also do the same to our own.

Then read the following reflectively. This is from Iqbal's imaginary journey with Rumi in his book "Javidnama". Iqbal called this one book (for the childlike of all ages and times) his life work. How generous he left behind such wisdom for us all!

From JAVIDNAMA "Sphere of Mars" p. 27 Retold by Hina Tanvir, Ed. by Khurram Ali Shafique and Illustrated by Tabassum Khalid - available from Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

The city of Marghdeen is a magnificent place with tall buildings. Its people... speak a language that sounds melodious to the ears. They are not after material goods; rather they are the guardians of knowledge and derive wealth from their sound judgment. The sole purpose of knowledge and skill in that world is to help improve the life. Currency is unknown, and temperaments are not to be governed by machines that blacken the sky with their smoke...there are no landlords to plunder their harvest, and the tillers of the land enjoy the entire fruit of their labor. Learning and wisdom don’t flourish on deceit and hence there is neither army, nor law keepers...because there is no crime in Marghdeen. The marketplace is free from the...heartrending cries of the beggars.

“In this world there is no beggar,”...“Nor anyone is poor; no slave, no master – no ruler and thus none dominated.”

(The visitor) said, “Being born a beggar or a destitute, to be ruled or suppressed, is all by the decree of God. He alone is the architect of destiny. Destiny cannot be improved by reasoning.”

“If you are suffering at the hands of destiny,” replied the (Marghdeenian)..., “It is not unfair to ask God for a new one. He has no shortage of destinies for you. Failure to understand the mystical significance of destiny has led the inhabitants of the Earth to lose their identities. Here is a hint to the secret of destiny: change yourself and your destiny will change with you. If you are dust, you shall be scattered by the wind. But if you become solid as a rock, you can break the glass. If you are dewdrop, then you are destined to fall but if you are an ocean, then you will remain. To you, faith means conformity to others while your imagination remains confined because you do not conform to yourself. Shame on the faith that serves like an addiction to opium!”

Then he paused, and added, “A gem is a gem as long as you think it is valuable, otherwise it is just a stone. The world will shape itself according to your perception of it. The heavens and the earth too will adjust.”

Thumbnail above is "Evening in Amsterdam"
Lower represents painting "Lights and Shadows"
both painting are by artist Leonid Afremov Find him at


  1. Thanks for this wonderful introduction. The book from which you have generously quoted is also available online for those who may like to read the whole book: Javid Nama at the Republic of Rumi Website.

  2. Thank You for coming by, Shafique Sahib.

    For readers, Khurram Ali Shafique is the editor of the above mentioned book and much more.

    I surely hope many worldwide avail themselves of Allama Iqbal's marvelously insightful, layered and prophetic works(in the truest, calmest use of that phrase).

    "Javid Nama" is quite a rich introduction for all ages (Using both meanings of the word 'ages'.)