Iqbal's Poetry Reverberates with Our Leader's Message

Examples of Hadith in his Inspiring Poetry
by Kaukab Siddique, Ph.D

The latest crop of munkareene hadith (rejectors of Hadith) has a commonality with the earlier generation (of Ghulam Ahmed Parvez, etc.) in that they claim Iqbal, the Poet of the East, as one of themselves. Such claims of the munakareen are FALSE.
Iqbal, like all Islamic greats, looked critically at Hadith. Islamic scholars have always tried that weak hadith should not gain currency and authentic hadith too should be put carefully in their Qur'anic context. Iqbal, particularly in his prose, tackled the issue of application of Islamic texts to modern times. People who do not understand the modern era sometimes do great harm by picking up Hadith at random and trying to apply them.

Issues of application and political analysis aside, Iqbal's poetry was imbued with the revolutionary message of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) hadith. The most important aspect of Hadith-e-Muhammadi is the IDENTIFICATION OF ISLAM WITH THE OPPRESSED and the BREAKING OF THE CHAINS OF SLAVERY. Even in his early poetry, Allama Iqbal had a poem on BILAL (Allah be pleased with him.(See kulliyat-e-Iqbal, page 80, published by his son Dr. Javed Iqbal in 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1979.) In this poem, Iqbal also refers to Salman (Allah be pleased with him) and Uwais (who could not meet the Prophet). Referring to Bilal's adhan (call to prayer), Iqbal writes: "Azaan uzl say taray ishq ka tarana bani." (The call to prayer was your anthem of exalted love" (for the Prophet). This "exalted and intense love" (ishq) was to be a major theme in Iqbal's poetry.

The point here is that BILAL is not mentioned in the Qur'an. The only way Iqbal or any other Muslim can know of Bilal, one of the seminal figures in Islamic struggle AGAINST SLAVERY, is through Hadith where his life is carefully documented.

Then for one of his major themes, Iqbal quotes an actual Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh): "Al-faqr fakhri." ("Poverty is my pride") In his vibrant "Khitab ba jawanan-e-Islam" (address to the youth of Islam), Iqbal describes a characteristic of the golden era of Islam with the actual words of that Hadith:

"samaa al-faqr fakhri ka ruha shane imarat main/ 'bab-o-rang-o-khal-o-khat chay hajat ruway zeba ra.' " (In their prosperity and power, they (the Muslims) were epitomes of al-faqr fakhri/'what need does a beautiful face have of make-up and paint?) (Kulliyate Iqbal, p.180)

The point of the Hadith is that the Prophet (pbuh) took self-imposed poverty as his lifestyle. The true Muslim does not live in grandeur and wealth when the world is suffering from scarcity, exploitation and oppression. Even a well-to-do Muslim does not take pride in his wealth because mentally he/she is with the poor and the downtrodden.

(There are clear Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) that he wanted to be with the poor in this world and in the Hereafter. In his book Maqame Hadith, Parvez tried to ridicule hadith about the Prophet's identification with the poor. Thus the munakareene Hadith are actually in strict opposition to Iqbal, though they claim Iqbal is on their side.)

Iqbal knew that there cannot be an academic (Qur'an only) Islam from which the idol-shattering army of Muhammad (pbuh) and the sahaba (Allah be pleased with them) has been removed. In his jawabe shikwa, in which Allah metaphorically answers the Muslim's complaint, Iqbal puts the exalted love of Muhammad (pbuh) as the centerpiece of his message:
"Quwwate ishq say hur past ko bala kar day
dahr main isme Muhammad say ujala kar day"

(With the power of exalted love {ishq} raise up all the downtrodden
Bring light to the world with the name of Muhammad)

Iqbal's understanding of Allah's message is that without Muhammad as the leader and the central example of the ummah, there can be no hope for the Muslim world's renaissance. He puts God's words metaphorically:
"ki Muhammad say wafa tunay to hum tayray hain
yeh jahan chiz hay kiya, loh-o-kalam taray hain"
(If you are faithful to Muhammad, I ({God} am with you
This world is nothing: destiny itself {the tablet and the pen} is yours)

(kulliyate iqbal page 207 and 208)

The reference to the Hadith "Poverty is my pride" which Iqbal quoted in Bange Dara, became a strong motif for his poetry in Bal-e-jibreel. Only when one, like the Prophet, takes poverty, rather than wealth, as his pride, does one become a revolutionary who can transform the world. It's the attitude of the Prophet towards this world (recorded in Hadith) which is the esence of Islam. Iqbal says:
"Faqr ka maqsood hay iffate qalbo nigah
'ilm faqih-o-hakim, faqr masih-o-kalim."
(Faqr ([self-imposed poverty] aims at purifying the heart and the vision
'knowledge can make one a scholar and a healer, but faqr is essence of Christ and Moses.) (kulliyat page 369)

Iqbal then goes on to bring together the concept of FAQR and his key concept of KHUDI or selfhood (taken from sura al-'araf). Thus the Qur'an and the Hadith come together in his poetry, as they should in the best Islamic thought.

It might shock the munkareen to know that Iqbal even took hadith which are not mainstream into his poetic cadences (like the one about LAULAK).

So don't let anyone say that in his best thougbt Iqbal rejected Hadith. Of course we must use understanding and wisdom in the application of Hadith. There is no alternative to serious study.
Remember, dear readers, Hadith is under attack from the Zionists and their running dogs, along with some innocent dupes. Goldziher and Schacht started this assault. Our younger munkareen do not know that these attacks have already been defeated.

2000-09-25 Mon 13:08ct