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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism [1 ed.]
 0415445787, 9780415445788

Table of contents :
Contents
Glossary
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. The Broken Garden: Ruination and Iqbal’s Political Aesthetic
2. Selfhood’s Aesthetic
3. Khūdī and Be-khūdī: Selfhood and its Fluctuations
4. Pan-Islam, Race and Nationalism
5. The Aesthetics of Travel
6. Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity and the Qu’rān
7. Islamic Hellenism, Selfhood and Poetry
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Muhammad Iqbal

Pathfinders Series Editor: Dilip M. Menon

Department of History, University of Delhi

Books published under Pathfinders have been carefully planned to reflect India’s intellectual, literary, artistic and cultural traditions. Great care has been taken to make these accessible, lively, sharp and authoritative, yet not definitive. These slim volumes strive to reach a wide reading public and the expert alike. They have been written by leading scholars in the field. Individual books have been woven around a ‘path finder’ who is placed within a certain historical, biographical and intellectual context. One aim of this series is to publish accounts of celebrated names as well as those of lesser-known ones. The context and manner of presentation of these books unfold the nature, character and achievements of the protagonists. The series will thus serve to introduce these ‘pathfinders’ to new readers, but also be an event in scholarship. Put cover to cover, the series will be a veritable history of the key ideas and figures that have shaped India in a wide variety of fields.

Muhammad Iqbal Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Javed Majeed

LONDON NEW YORK NEW DELHI

First published 2009 by Routledge 912–915 Tolstoy House, 15–17 Tolstoy Marg, New Delhi 110 001

Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

Transferred to Digital Printing 2009

© 2009 Javed Majeed

Typeset by Star Compugraphics Private Limited 5–CSC, First Floor, Near City Apartments Vasundhara Enclave Delhi 110 096

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the publishers.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-0-415-44578-8

Contents Glossary Acknowledgements Introduction 1. The Broken Garden: Ruination and Iqbal’s Political Aesthetic

vii xxi xxiii 1

2. Selfhood’s Aesthetic

19

3. KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ: Selfhood and its Fluctuations

40

4. Pan-Islam, Race and Nationalism

58

5. The Aesthetics of Travel

90

6. Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity and the Qu’rön

116

7. Islamic Hellenism, Selfhood and Poetry

134

Conclusion

146

Bibliography Index

152 159

Glossary öb öböd shud öbö’Ʈ ‘Abbösid

Įb-e Ʃayöt

ödöb ödam ‘adam afkör aflök afsöna afsɫnƮ-ye afrang afsurda öftöb afzɫdan aƤvöl-e jön ‘ajam akhvat ‘aks-e töbish-e Ƥaqq ‘ölim anö’l Ƥaqq

water, lustre, polish populated, settled ancestral The dynasty of the Caliphs from AD 750 to 1258. The early part of their rule saw the large-scale translation of Greek texts into Arabic. The Water of Life (1880), a history of Urdu poetry, written in Urdu, by Muhammad Husain Azad (1830–1910). elegance of manners, polished etiquette, politeness Adam, man not-being thoughts spheres, firmament tale, story, romance ‘spellbound by the West’ frozen, congealed the sun to augment ‘states of the soul’ Arabic for barbarian; also refers to pre-Islamic/ non-Islamic Persians. In Persian, non-Arab. brotherhood ‘reflection of the shining of the Truth’ theologian, learned in religion, singular of ‘ulema ‘I am the Truth/God’, a phrase uttered by Ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, c. 858–922, for which he was imprisoned and executed in Baghdad. His life and death is an important reference point in the history of Sufism.

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

andarɫn andöz ön-e man ast ‘örifön Armaghön-e Ʃijöz örzɫ ösör asböb öshobƮ aɓl ösmön Asrör-e KhɫdƮ

özödgön özöd shud baƤr-e nɫr bairɫn Böl-e JibrƮl BandagƮ Nöma

band-e jihöt Böng-e Darö baqö

internal, inner, inside measure, weight, style, manner, deportment ‘that is me’ plural of ‘örif, meaning wise, skilled in divine matters; ‘örifön refers to gnostics in the way of God. The Gift of the Ʃijöz (1936), a collection of Persian poems by Iqbal. desire, longing signs, traces, sayings and traditions of the prophet Muhammad accoutrements, baggage tumult source, origin, principle the sky Mysteries of the Self (1915, second edition 1918), a Persian poem by Iqbal in which he sets out his thoughts on selfhood. free men ‘become free’ ‘the sea of light’ external, outer Gabriel’s Wing, a collection of Urdu poems by Iqbal published in 1936. The Book of Servitude, a Persian poem by Iqbal in which he explores the aesthetics of subjugation. This poem appeared in Zabɫr-e ‘Ajam, or Persian Psalms (1927). ‘the bonds of directions’ The Caravan’s Bell (1924), a collection of Urdu poems by Iqbal. The Sufi terms fanö (passing away, effacement) and baqö (subsistence, survival), denote stages in the mystic’s journey towards God. Fanö refers to the passing away from the consciousness of the mystic of all things, including of himself, and its replacement by consciousness of God alone. It also refers to the annihilation of the imperfect attributes of the mystic and their replacement by the perfect

Glossary ix

böɠil böɠin begönagƮ be-Ƥijöb be-khɫdƮ

bƮn bisyör bɫdagƮ chölök chand va chigɫn Dögh

dard-e raƤƮl daryö-ye ‘azƮm döstön Őerö dƮd dƮgaram digarƮ dikhlönö diloǨ kö Ƥa˂ɫr diloǨ kƮ kashɫd dƮn divön dƮvör dɫrbƮn bödshöhƮ dɫrƮ falösifa

attributes bestowed by God. Baqö refers to the mystic’s persistence in these divinely bestowed attributes and the return of his awareness of the plurality of the created world. false, unfounded, devoid of virtue ‘Hidden, inner, esoteric’, as opposed to ʽöhir, meaning ‘outward, external, exoteric, manifest, apparent’. ‘alienation’ ‘without a veil’ loss of self, for Sufis being besides one’s self in an ecstatic state; for Iqbal, the selflessness required to make a community out of individual selves. vision manifold being cunning quantity and quality ‘Dagh’, an elegy for the Urdu poet Nawab Mirza Khan Dagh (1831–1905), composed in Urdu by Iqbal. This appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). ‘the pain of parting’ ‘the vast ocean’ a story, fable, tale tent sight ‘I am another’ ‘another’ a causative verb, meaning to cause to show ‘the presence of hearts’ ‘the opening of hearts’ faith, religion a collection of poems by one poet walls The Royal Observatory distance the Arabic rendering of the Greek word for ‘philosophy’.

x

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

fanö farö’i˂ fard farsɫdan fasöna firöq fitna-gar fiɠrat fiɠrƮ garƮbön-e man garm va sard rɫzgör ghö’ib ghair ghair qöbil ul-i‘tirö˂ gharq taƤaiyur kasht ghazöl ghazal Gulistön Gulshan-e Röz

Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd

gunöh Ƥad ƤadƮs

Ƥajj

passing away, effacement; see also baqö the incumbent parts of one’s religious duty individual to consume, to diminish tale, story, romance, a narrative separation seditious, quarrelsome nature natural ‘my breast’ ‘hot and cold fortune’, a variable fate absent, invisible strangers, others irrefutable ‘lost in wonder’ gazelle, deer An amatory poem, a love lyric The Rose Garden, a famous work composed by the Persian poet Sa‘di in c. 1311. The Secret Rose Garden, a Persian neo-Platonic and mystical poem composed by Mahmud Shabestari in 1311. ‘The New Secret Rose Garden’, a Persian poem by Iqbal written as a rejoinder to Gulshan-e Röz. Iqbal’s poem appeared in Zabɫr-e ‘Ajam (1927). sin limits ‘narrative’, ‘talk’, specifically ‘Tradition’ in the sense of the collected sayings and acts of Muhammad, of what he said and did, or his approval of what was said or done in his presence. After a long historical process, ‘Tradition’ in this sense came to be considered as second in authority only to the Qur’ön as a source of guidance. The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam.

Glossary xi

ƤakƮmöna ham navö hamörö ƤaqƮqat hastƮ Ƥayöt-e jövadönƮ ƤijözƮ Ƥijöz

hijra

Ƥikmat himmat-e ‘ölƮ hindƮ Ƥusn-e andöz-e bayön IblƮs IfrangƮn ijöza ikhtiyör imönat dör inqilöb insön-e kömil

isötiˁa ishörat ‘ishq ‘Ishq ösön namɫd avval iɓlöƤ

sagely, wisely fellow singers ours reality, truth being ‘immortal life’ Arabian, from the Ƥijöz This refers to the north-western part of the Arabian peninsula as the birthplace of Islam and for Muslims also therefore its spiritual centre. The migration of Muhammad with his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622, which was later designated the first year in the Islamic calendar. science, wisdom ‘high courage’ Indian a beautiful style of exposition Satan the European permission liberty, choice trustee revolution ‘The Perfect Man’, an influential idea in Islamic mysticism, referring to man’s leading place in creation and his privileged relationship with God, for example in his role as divine viceregent on earth, and his being created in God’s image. teachers, masters hints, allusions love ‘Love at first seemed easy’; a famous ghazal by Ʃöfi˂ correction, improvement, amendment

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

istighröq

istiƤköm i˂öfat

jadƮd jöh va buzurgƮ jahön-e be-jihöt jöhilƮyat jöm jamö‘at jön jauhar JövƮd Nöma jazböt jihöd

ka‘ba

Kanör-e RövƮ

kashɫd khök khöndön

drowning, immersion; in Sufi terminology the total absorption in God by the adept, who loses self-consciousness through concentration on God’s unity. strength, firmness A Persian grammatical construction whereby two nouns, or a noun and adjective, or a noun and personal pronoun, are linked together through a vowel. new status, position, high rank ‘the undimensioned world’ For Muslims, the uncivilised state of pre-Islamic Arabia. a cup, a goblet community, society, association soul, life essence The Book of Eternity (1932), a Persian epic poem by Iqbal reckoned by some to be his greatest poetic work. passion Derived from the Arabic root jahada, meaning ‘to strive’, ‘to exert one’s self towards a goal’. Within Islamic thinking, jihöd is a complex religious and moral concept, with a range of meanings, but these meanings can be divided into spiritual or internal jihöd, and physical jihöd. The most famous sanctuary of Islam, situated in the centre of the great mosque in Mecca. It is around this sanctuary that Muslims make their ritual circuits during hajj. ‘The banks of the River Ravi’, an Urdu poem by Iqbal in which he contemplates the remnants of Indian Muslim power. This poem appeared in Böng-e Darö (1924). opening dust family

Glossary xiii

khatam khayölöt khövarƮ Kahkashön khevö khidmat va maƤnat kitöbkhöna shöh khabar Khi˂r-e Röh khofnök khɫd-garƮ khɫdƮ khɫd-parast khɫd-sar khɫd-savör khurshƮd khɫshtar khvöb kisht lö’iq aur khɫbɓɫrat ödmƮ MaˁhabƮ khayöl zamön-e qadƮm aur zamanö-ye jadƮd kö maƤfil maƤv-e Ƥairat makön man kƮyam Mantiq uɠ tair maqöm maqöm-e khɫd

a seal thoughts, ideas, imaginings, conceits an Easterner the milky way a boat ‘service and toil’ The King’s Library reports ‘Khizr on the Road’, an Urdu poem by Iqbal which appeared in Böng-e Darö. fearful ‘selfhood-seizing’ selfishness, conceit, egotism; Iqbal appropriates the term to mean selfhood. KhɫdƮ is the central theme of his poetry. self-conceit self-willed obstinancy the sun sweeter dream seed ‘a worthy and beautiful man’ ‘Religious beliefs in ancient and modern times’; the title of an article by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan. an assembly, congregation, a dancing party, an assembly for the purpose of art ‘lost in wonder’ space ‘Who am I’? The Conference/Speech of the Birds, a Persian mystical poem by Fariduddin ‘Attar (1145/61221). a station, a place on a journey; a station on the mystic path towards God. ‘my own station’

xiv

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

maqöɓid mard sƮyöh hindɫstönƮ mard-e Ƥurr marƤala Masjid-e Qurɠaba

masnavƮ MasnavƮ-ye ma‘navƮ

mast-e kharöb mauj-e nasƮm may mazöq ma˂mɫn ma˂mɫn öfrƮnƮ meile aur veƤshƮ jönvar mihr-e munƮr millat mi‘rödj mi‘röj mulkƮ qaumƮyyat marz-bɫm Musaddas madd o jazr-e islöm musöfir Mu‘tazilite

aims, goals ‘a dark-skinned Indian man’ free man stage ‘The Mosque of Cordoba’, a pan-Islamic poem by Iqbal in Urdu in which he meditates on the ruins of the mosque at Cordoba. This poem appeared in Böl-e JibrƮl (Gabriel’s Wing, 1936). a long poem in rhyming couplets An epic poem in Persian by Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-73), which consists of some 26,000 verses. The poem is a compendium of different aspects of Sufism in the thirteenth century. ‘wasted-drunk’, in Sufi terminology the most intense level of intoxication ‘waves of the breeze’ wine taste, wit, sense of discernment subject matter; in aesthetics poetic themes and propositions. in poetics the generation of meaning through the inflection of poetic subjects and lines of metaphor. ‘a dirty and savage animal’ ‘the radiant sun’ community see mi‘röj The prophet Muhammad’s ascension as referred to in the Qur’ön 81: 19–25, 53: 1–21. nationalism place of residence The Ebb and Flow of Islam (1879), an Urdu epic poem on the rise and fall of Islam as a world civilization by Altaf Husain Hali (1837–1914). traveller The name of a religious movement founded at Basra in the first half of the 8th century, which became one of the most important theological schools in Islam.

Glossary xv

muzari’ najöt nölƮd naslƮ imtƮyöz navishtoǨ naˁr nasab nay nihöyet nishön un ke qadmoǨ ke nƮstön nizöm nɫr pahöɅ paighöm paimöna paimönagƮ paish goƮ pareshön Payöm-e Mashriq pƮr qö‘idat qönɫn qönɫn-e fiɠrat qaum qaumƮyat qiyösƮ qiyöm Qur’ön

quvvat-e nafs-e insönƮ röh paimö rahravön ramƮd riƤla roshnƮ

a common metre in Urdu poetry salvation weeping racial discrimination texts, writings gift family, tribe, lineage, race reed extremities ‘signs left by their feet’, footprints reed-bed system light a mountain missive, message measure, cup, goblet measurement predictive scattered, dishevelled, anxious Message of the East (1923), a collection of Persian poems by Iqbal. a spiritual master rules laws laws of nature nation nationality analogical stability, permanence, establishment The Muslim scripture. Qur’ön is the verbal noun of the Arabic ‘he read’, ‘he recited’ (qara’a, to recite, to read), and may be etymologically derived from the Syriac word qeryan-a, meaning ‘scripture, reading, lesson’. ‘a natural human power’ travellers travellers fleeing travelling for the purposes of learning light

xvi

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

rukhɓat rulönö rumɫz Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ

rusvö sabitön ɓöƤib-e soz va sarɫd sair-e davöm söqƮ SöqƮ Nöma

sar kushƮd sarɫd söz söz-e chaman shögird Shöh Nöma Shöhjahönöböd shö‘iröna khayölöt shö‘iröna sabɫt shö‘irƮ sharƮ‘a

sharɠ Shi‘Ʈ

leave, departure, permission a causative verb, meaning to cause to weep mysteries The Mysteries of Selflessness (1918), a Persian poem by Iqbal in which he outlines the constitution of communities in general, and an Islamic community in particular, through the processes of selflessness. disgraced, humiliated, dishonoured fixed, stationary ‘a master of fire and melody’ ‘eternal voyaging’ cup-bearer, page ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’. Iqbal wrote two poems of this title, one in Persian which appeared in his collection Payöm-e Mashriq (The Message of the East, 1923), and the other in Urdu, which appeared in Böl-e JibrƮl (Gabriel’s Wing, 1936). ‘an upsurgence’ melody implement, musical instrument, ornamentation, harmony ‘the instrument or ornament of the garden’ apprentice, student The Book of Kings, an epic poem by the Persian poet Ferdowsi, composed in c. 1000. The Mughal-built quarter of Delhi. ‘poetic thoughts, ideas’ and ‘imaginings’ ‘poetic proofs’ poetry In general terms, a prophetic religion in its totality; within Muslim discourse the rules and regulations governing the lives of Muslims, derived mainly from the Qur’ön and ƤadƮs. condition The term comes from ShƮ‘at ‘Ali, the party or partisans of ‘Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Muhammad, who was killed in 661 while trying

Glossary xvii

Shikva

shokh va gustökh shu’ɫbiya ɓiföt siƤr silsila sƮmurgh ɜiqilliya

sitöra ɓoƤbat soz-e darɫn soz-e firöq ɠö‘at töb-e guftör Tab‘Ʈon, yö necahrƮon ya fitratƮon

tafsƮr TaƤrƮr fƮ uɓul al-tafsƮr tajallƮ tajriba aur ‘amal talöɠum

to maintain his authority as the Fourth Caliph. The Shi‘Ʈ developed into a religious movement that denied the legitimacy of all succeeding caliphs. ‘Complaint’, an Urdu poem composed by Iqbal in 1911 in which he vents his frustration against God for his seeming neglect of Muslims worldwide. This poem appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). insolence A movement within early Muslim society which denied any privilege to the position of Arabs. attributes magic, sorcery a chain of succession, a genealogy Thirty birds, a fabulous bird; the pun is central to the mystical meaning of Mantiq uɠ tair. ‘Sicily’, 1908, a pan-Islamic Urdu poem by Iqbal meditating on the place of Sicily in Islam’s past. This appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). stars company, companionship, society inner fire, inner burning ‘the fire of separation’ obedience ‘complexities of discourse’ Nature; three different words for Nature are used, one is the term transliterated from English, the other two are Urdu terms derived from Arabic. This phrase is a title of one of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s articles. exegesis of the Qur’ön Discourse on the principles of exegesis, 1892, a treatise in Urdu by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan. manifestation, phenomena experiment and practice ‘the buffeting of waves’

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

talöɠum kosh tamsƮl tand rɫ mönand-e sail ɠöqat va töb Taröna-e HindƮ Taröna-e MillƮ

tarbƮyat TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf tarkƮb taɓavvuf aur shö‘irƮ taɓavvuf va adabƮyöt tauƤƮd toƤfa tɫ ɤulɫ‘e Islöm ‘ulema ‘ulɫm-e jadƮda

ummatön ɫ rasɫl-rö khatam va mö aqvöm-rö ‘urs ustöd

‘surge forward like a wave’ illustrations, similitudes ‘like a fast-flowing flood’ strength, endurance ‘The Song of India’, 1904, an Indian nationalist poem in Urdu by Iqbal, which appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). ‘The Song of the Muslim Community’, 1910, a pan-Islamic poem in Urdu by Iqbal, which appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). upbringing, training, education A History of Mysticism (1912), an incomplete Urdu treatise by Iqbal. composition, compound ‘Sufism and poetry’; a section in Iqbal’s work, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf. mysticism and the arts the oneness and uniqueness of God, the act of believing and affirming that God is one and unique, monotheism. gift you (in Persian) ‘The Rise of Islam’, 1923, an Urdu poem by Iqbal which appeared in Böng-e Darö (The Caravan’s Bell, 1924). Plural of ‘ölim, denoting scholars of learned disciplines of Islam, but refers more specifically to scholars of the religious sciences. ‘The new sciences’, the term used by Sir Sayyid Ahmed Khan to refer to the modern experimental sciences, such as chemistry and physics. Persian plural of ummat, meaning ‘people’, ‘community’. ‘the seal of the apostles and we [the seal] of the nations’ a marriage feast, a remembrance celebration a master

Glossary xix

vödƮ vaɓl vƮrön waƤdat waƤdat al-wujɫd

waɠan yamm-e ɠɫfön yaqƮnƮ yörön judöst yös zabön Zabɫr-e ‘Ajam ʽöhir zamön zamƮn zarra zauq zauraq-e jön ˁikr-e Ƥaqq zinda rɫd zƮyöret

vale union wasted, desolate unity ‘Onenesss of being’, ‘unity of being’, a term associated with the position of Ibn al-‘Arabi (1165–1240). The issue at stake here is the ontological status of other beings in relation to God, who is conceived of as the only truly existent or absolute being. country the stormy ocean certain ‘separated from friends’ despair tongue, language Persian Psalms (1927), a collection of Persian poems by Iqbal. outward, external, exoteric, manifest, apparent; See böɠin time earth, soil, ground, metre mote, particle taste, joy; for Sufis discernment and experience in spiritual matters. ‘the skiff of the soul’ the remembrance of God ‘Living stream’, Iqbal’s name as a character in his poem, the JövƮd Nöma (The Book of Eternity, 1932). Pious visitation, pilgrimage to a holy place, tomb or shrine

Acknowledgements I am grateful to Dilip Menon for giving me this opportunity to write a

study of Iqbal, and to Nilanjan Sarkar as Senior Commissioning Editor of Routledge India, and Jaya Dalal as copy-editor, for their efficient handling of the manuscript, especially with regard to transliteration. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Chris Bayly, who read the final manuscript and made helpful suggestions. Chapters 4–6 are considerably extended (and hopefully improved) versions of Chapters 3 and 4 of my Autobiography, Travel, and Postnational Identity: Gandhi, Nehru and Iqbal (2007). Chapters 1–3 and 7 are new. An earlier version of Chapter 7 was presented at the conference on ‘Ancient and Modern Imperialisms’, Department of Classics, Stanford University, Nov 2–3, 2007, and appeared in Moving Worlds 8(1) (2008) in a special issue edited by Shirley Chew. This book is dedicated to my parents with thanks and love.

Introduction For South Asians, Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938) requires no introduction. He was a pre-eminent twentieth-century Urdu and Persian poet, and also an influential spokesman for Muslim separatism in India. He gave the presidential addresses in 1930 and 1932 at the annual sessions of the All-India Muslim League, the party which spearheaded the movement for Pakistan. He was one of the delegates at the Round Table Conferences of 1930–32 convened by the British government to discuss India’s constitutional future.1 In his own lifetime his more influential poems were translated into English by eminent Orientalists, such as R. A. Nicholson and A. J. Arberry. The novelist E. M. Forster wrote a review of one of these translations, in which he discussed some of Iqbal’s other poems.2 Given Iqbal’s role as a spokesman for Muslim separatism, he was well-known to eminent politicians in India. His correspondence includes exchanges with Jinnah.3 In his The Discovery of India (1946), Nehru discussed Iqbal’s influence on Muslim separatism in India, noting that he played an important part in influencing the growing middle class of Muslims, leading them ‘in a separatist direction’, and providing them with ‘some anchor to hold on to’.4 Nehru also recounts his last meeting with Iqbal, when the latter was on his death bed, adding that because he (Nehru) ‘admired him and his poetry … it pleased me greatly to feel that he liked me and had a good opinion of me’.5 Not surprisingly, Iqbal is seen in Pakistan today as one of its founders, the other being Jinnah. Annemarie Schimmel has pointed to his status as a ‘talisman’ in Pakistan, while Iqbal Singh has referred to Iqbal’s virtual ‘canonization’ as the ‘prophet of Indo-Muslim renaissance’.6 However, it is not for this reason alone that Iqbal’s work has considerable resonance today. His appeal is not confined to South Asia. In a speech delivered in Tehran on the occasion of the First International Conference on Iqbal, Mar 10–12, 1986, the then president of Iran, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ‘the embodiment of Iqbal’s dream’. He added that ‘our people have translated into action his doctrine of selfhood’, and ‘we are following the path shown to us by Iqbal’.7 His speech ends by exhorting different ministries of the Iranian government to publish and disseminate his works. He suggests that Iran is in a better position than Pakistan to put Iqbal’s ideas into action.8

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Iqbal’s work, then, has a transnational resonance today, from Pakistan, a Sunni-dominated nation state created through the partition of the Indian subcontinent, to the Shia-dominated Islamic Republic of Iran, one of whose presidents claimed Iqbal as that Republic’s own. In addition, by virtue of his earlier Indian nationalist poems, Iqbal has also been claimed by post-independence India as one of its own poets.9 It is the complexity of Iqbal’s work that enables him to be appropriated in these different ways. This study’s main aim is to uncover that complexity. It does not seek to paraphrase him or to endorse a simplistic position, often erroneously associated with his work. Instead, it shows how Iqbal combined a variety of positions in his texts, and how the tensions between these positions were kept in play in his poetry. It should be stressed that the bulk of Iqbal’s work consists of his poetry. The significance of this poetry was noted by Nehru who remarked that it was ‘Iqbal’s poetic and philosophic approach’ that prepared the ‘drift in a separatist direction’ by a significant group of Muslims in India. He ‘supplied in fine poetry, which was written in both Persian and Urdu, a philosophic background to the Moslem intelligentsia and thus diverted its mind in a separatist direction’.10 In his address, President Khamenei concentrates exclusively on Iqbal’s poetry. When he appeals to Iranian government ministries to publish and disseminate Iqbal’s work, he refers specifically to his key poems, and recommends that these should be published as separate texts.11 However, Khamenei reads Iqbal’s poetry didactically, for an extractable ‘message’ alone. In contrast, this study shows that the content of Iqbal’s politics cannot be separated from the formal devices and structure of his poetry. Hitherto, analyses of politicised versions of Islam have not engaged sufficiently with the aesthetic dimensions of its writings and thought. By analysing the intricacies of Iqbal’s political aesthetic here, I show how aesthetics was crucial to the articulation and formulation of politics in his work. His poetry was not a transparent medium for expressing that politics, or a by-product of it. It cannot be reduced to a pre-formed and extractable political ‘message’. Instead, it dramatises politics as a complex aesthetic process. If there is one idea which Iqbal’s work is associated with, it is that of khɫdƮ or selfhood. This study examines the notion of selfhood in Iqbal’s poetry. It analyses the creative labour of the imagination which went into the assembling of selfhood in his verse, without which that notion of selfhood could not be articulated nor understood. It shows how that selfhood is dramatised and enacted in his poetry, and how it was

Introduction

xxv

defined in opposition to powerful strands both within Islamic culture and the colonial West. Khamenei describes Iqbal’s notion of selfhood as the ‘central theme of his poems’ and assumes that this was the basis of Iqbal’s pan-Islamic position.12 I consider the complex ways in which Iqbal’s notion of an Islamic collective life was drawn from a vision of that reconstructed selfhood. But while Iqbal’s political aesthetic articulates the links between pan-Islam and a creative selfhood, it also reveals the tensions between that selfhood and the concept of a reconstituted Islamic polity. Iqbal’s notion of selfhood exceeds his own attempts to contain it. It retains a radically innovative potential which cannot be easily disciplined. While historians of Muslim separatism in India have produced excellent work examining the politics of that separatism, the aim here is not to reproduce the insights and detail of that work.13 In his well-known Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson argues that communities need to be distinguished not by their falsity or genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.14 This study shows how the style in which Iqbal’s poems imagine an Islamic community, both globally and within South Asia, distinguishes the nature of that community. It identifies how Iqbal used, and more importantly, inverted Persian and Urdu aesthetic traditions to imagine a global Muslim community and an Islamicised postcolonial identity. It was through complex inversions and appropriations of tradition that Iqbal created what I call harmoniously dissonant verse, in which the relationships between an innovative individual selfhood and a reconstructed Islam were figured. For both Nehru and Khamenei, the obvious context for Iqbal’s work is European colonialism. Khamenei stresses this context, arguing in addition that it was the colonialist domination of the Middle East and Asia that impeded the spread of Iqbal’s ideas outside South Asia, and accounts for the late reception of his work in Iran.15 Iqbal formulates one discursive terrain within what Susan Buck-Morss in her courageous and incisive book calls ‘Islamism’, that is, ‘the politicization of Islam in a postcolonial context … dealing with issues of social justice, legitimate power, and ethical life in a way which challenges the hegemony of Western political and cultural norms’.16 He recasts Islam as a universalising and postcolonial religion in terms of what he called its ‘deracialisation’. His poetry gives us an insight into the formation of an Islamist, postcolonial agency, and its many complexities, rooted in a reconstructed and self-reflexive faith. At the same time, Iqbal sees

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his notion of selfhood as relevant to the postcolonial reconstitution of other communities (for example, a Hindu community) in South Asia. While he focuses primarily on the role of Islam in the modern world, in his work that issue sometimes extends to include the place of religion per se in modernity. But Iqbal’s engagement with the West was complex. There are numerous versions of the West in his texts. His work ranges from an oppositional, postcolonial Islam in relation to a globally dominant West, to a subtler and more constructive engagement with the latter’s philosophy and science, in which he also reworks Islamic Hellenism in distinctive ways. As such, he is one possible landmark for a cosmopolitan critical idiom, in which Islamism and Western critical theory can be considered, not as oppositional discourses, but together, with overlapping concerns, as critiques of and responses to colonial modernity.17 This could also be extended to other religiously motivated and reconstructed discursive terrains, without thereby endorsing those positions in their entirety.18

Notes 1. For Iqbal’s attendance at the Second and Third Table Conferences, see his Urdu letters in M. A. Qureishi. 1977. RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl. Lahore: Iqbal Academy, Letter 707 to Chaudhuri Ghulam Rasul Mihr, Aug 16, 1931; Letter 707 to Sayyid Nazir Niyazi, Aug 19, 1931; Letter 709 to Sayyid Nazir Niyazi, Aug 29, 1931; Letter 718 to Dr. Abdullah Chugtai, Nov 3, 1931; Letter 720 to Hajji Seth Abdullah Haroon, Jan 16, 1932; and Letter 776 to Chaudhuri Ghulam Rasul Mihr, Jun 16, 1933. 2. E. M. Forster, Dec 10, 1920. ‘The Poetry of Iqbal’, The Athenaeum, 4728: pp. 803–4. 3. Riaz Ahmad. 1976. Iqbal’s Letters to Quaid-i-Azam: An Analysis. Lahore: Friends Educational Book Service. 4. Jawaharlal Nehru. 1946 (1989). The Discovery of India. Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 350–51. 5. Ibid., p. 352. 6. Annemarie Schimmel. 1963. Gabriel’s Wing: A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Leiden: E. J. Brill, pp. 377, 385–86; Iqbal Singh. 1951 (1997). The Ardent Pilgrim: An Introduction to the Life and Work of Iqbal. Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 134–35. 7. Sayyid Ali Khamenei. 1986. ‘Iqbal, the Poet-Philosopher of Islamic Resurgence’, Al-TawƤƮd, 3(4): pp. 130, 149–50. 8. Ibid., pp. 152–53. This position is in remarkable contrast to an earlier Iranian view that Iqbal was ‘only a local poet’, for which, see Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, p. 122, see also pp. 26–27. 9. Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, pp. xii, 147. 10. Nehru, Discovery of India, p. 351. 11. Khamenei, ‘Iqbal’, p. 152.

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12. Ibid., p. 138. 13. For example, Ayesha Jalal. 1985. The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the Demand for Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Francis Robinson. 1974. Separatism among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces’ Muslims, 1860–1923. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 14. Benedict Anderson. 1983 (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, p. 5. 15. Khamenei, ‘Iqbal’, pp. 129–30, 133. 16. Susan Buck-Morss. 2003. Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left. London: Verso, p. 3. 17. This is the position outlined by Buck-Morss, Thinking Past Terror, see especially, pp. vii, 43, 49, 100–1. See also Anouar Majid. 2000. Unveiling Traditions: Post-colonial Islam in a Polycentric World. Durham: Duke University Press, p. 150, on how both liberation theology and a progressively defined Islam could address the injustices of the modern capitalist system and provide alternatives to failed Eurocentric models for social, economic and political arrangements. 18. I have in mind here the work of Gandhi. Of course, there were key differences between Gandhi and Iqbal. Nonetheless, both shared one basic position, namely the need to reconstitute religion in the modern world as a viable alternative to, and critique of, a secularising modernity. See Javed Majeed. 2007. Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity: Gandhi, Nehru, Iqbal. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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1 The Broken Garden: Ruination and Iqbal’s Political Aesthetic Iqbal’s persona as a poet is a consciously divided one. On the one hand,

his Urdu correspondence expresses his strong sense of connection as a major Persian and Urdu poet with his predecessors in these traditions. This is evident in his attendance at the ceremonies commemorating their lives and works. He made a point of going to Amir Khusrau’s (1253–1325) ‘urs (commemoration) in Delhi in September 1914, and also attended the centenary commemoration of Altaf Husain Hali’s birth (1837–1914) in Panipat, for which he wrote some Persian verses.1 In one of his letters, he writes of how the spirit of the poet Munshi Hargopal Tufta appeared to him and inspired some Persian verses he wrote for the commemoration in Delhi of Mirza Ghalib’s (1797–1869) birth.2 This conceit of inspiration encapsulates his sense of a ‘silsila’ (or a ‘chain of succession’ and geneaology) of poets to which he belonged. His Persian verses as an offering to Ghalib are mediated through the intercession of another poet from the same genealogy, who was himself a pupil of Ghalib.3 This reinforces his connection with a community of poets formed through that lineage, and indicates how he filtered his own verses through a keen awareness of the presence of his predecessors. Iqbal’s Urdu letters show how he was firmly rooted in the traditional conventions of classical Persian and Urdu poetry in other ways. The relationship between a master poet (ustöd) and his apprentice (shögird) in poetic composition was crucial to the sense of poetic tradition as a lineage developed by transmission from generation to generation. A significant aspect of this relationship was the process of iɓlöƤ conducted by the master poet, which consisted of the correcting of technical errors, and the suggestion of specific improvements in diction. Pritchett has rightly pointed out that post-1857, poets no longer had the same kind of access to the personalised technical training that they once had, and that the continuity of poetic lineages based on oral transmission was irrevocably ruptured.4 Nonetheless, as in the case of Iqbal’s sense of poetic lineage, the process of iɓlöƤ continued to resonate in his sense of himself, albeit in an altered form. A significant part of his correspondence

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

consists of his suggestions to others on how to improve the verses they have submitted to him for his criticism. In this context, Iqbal and his correspondents often use the term iɓlöƤ, with Iqbal referring to the works of poetic masters (isötiˁa) to decide on a range of matters, such as whether certain similes and metaphors have been articulated and used appropriately, whether specific compounds (tarkƮb) are correct or not, and how single words are to be precisely rendered.5 In addition, he comments on poetic themes and propositions (ma˂mɫn), and the process of generating meaning through the careful inflection of poetic subjects and lines of metaphor in the works of poetic predecessors (ma˂mɫn öfrƮnƮ).6 He sometimes recommends his correspondents to another master for corrections, mindful of who has spent time in whose company (ɓoƤbat).7 He also recommends a study of the works of master poets of the past, stressing that such a study would improve an apprentice poet’s sense of taste and discernment (maˁöq).8 In this way, although personalised interaction was no longer available to Urdu and Persian poets in his time, Iqbal and his correspondents recreated the processes of iɓlöƤ in their correspondence. Iqbal’s letters, then, are replete with the technical vocabulary and practice of traditional literary criticism. He was rigorously grounded in, and emotionally engaged by, the traditional universe of Persian and Urdu poetry. He also had a scholarly interest in the history of these poetries, occasionally suggesting interesting topics of research in the development of these literatures in South Asia.9 But his letters reveal another aspect to his poetic persona. While grounded in the tradition of Urdu and Persian verse and its critical practices, Iqbal also sought to differentiate himself from this traditional aesthetic, to such an extent that he denied he was a poet as understood in that tradition.10 In his letters, he defined himself against what he saw as this tradition’s basic sense of poetry for poetry’s sake, and of verse as an autonomous and self-referential art. In its stead, he argued for a politicised aesthetic and politically committed verse, whose main purpose was variously described as instilling in his audience a fresh sense of community through the recovery of an earlier sense of it, recreating in the hearts of others the agitation he experienced in his own, awakening his contemporaries to the condition of their nation, and treating language not as an end in itself but as a vehicle for articulating perspectives on ethics and communal rights and duties.11 This fault line in his poetic persona between tradition and innovation is neatly captured in the double sense in which he deploys the terms iɓlöƤ and ma˂mɫn. Alongside his use of these terms in their conventional meanings, he

The Broken Garden

3

also refers in one case to how his correction (he uses the term iɓlöƤ) of another’s verse is made from the perspective of ethics and religion, and is not concerned with technical errors in metre or word choice. In another letter, he uses the term ma˂mɫn in a way which captures the confluence of religion, politics and aesthetics in his work as a whole. He deploys this term to refer to the difficulties of rendering into his poetry the metaphorical connections between the circumambulation of the ka‘ba, the concept of God’s unity (tauƤƮd), and the world-wide unity of Muslims.12 This kind of analogical correspondence, based on the generation of metaphorical equivalences between distinct categories, is key to understanding some of his influential poems, such as Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ (The Mysteries of Selflessness, 1918).13 Iqbal expands the key notion of ma˂mɫn in traditional literary criticism and the craft of poetry by politicising it and giving it a distinctly Islamic flavour, while simultaneously keeping in play its traditional meaning. The dual nature of Iqbal’s aesthetic is also evident in his critical judgement of the Persian poet Hafez (c. 1324–91), whom he describes as a great poet whose verse, though, has a deleterious effect on the mental and emotional faculties of his audience. He is able to appreciate Hafez’s poetry in terms of the subtleties of its craft, offering an elegant exposition of one of his difficult couplets, while criticising its effect on his audience from the perspective of his own political aesthetic.14 Iqbal’s persona as a poet, then, incorporated two distinct notions of poetry. On the one hand, he had deeply assimilated the techniques and mannerisms of traditional poetry, with its careful stress on measure, and its subtle modulations of meaning and sound, to the extent that these were second nature to him. On the other hand, he strove to evolve a politically committed poetry, a thetic art with a high level of abstraction which contained extractable ideas about selfhood and group identity in a modernised Islam. However, this creation of poetry which prioritised an extractable ‘message’ was itself a carefully crafted formal device. Commentators tend to focus on the ideas contained in his verse, and have ignored the poetic techniques and strategies which made possible the extractability of those ideas in the first place, and that are part and parcel of those ideas.15 The aim here is to consider these techniques, and to explore the complexities of his poetry as a whole.

Tradition and Innovation in Iqbal’s Poetry These complexities of Iqbal’s poetry lie in the way he expresses his divided aesthetic. In Iqbal’s poetry there is an interplay between

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

aesthetic tradition and innovation. In this interplay, he enacts his rupture from tradition by incorporating the latter within his work. This is evident in a number of his more effective poems, in which he transforms the culturally influential image of the garden. The interaction between tradition and innovation also reflects Iqbal’s reconstruction of Islam. In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1934), he refers to the ‘delicate’ problem within Islam of balancing reform with the forces of conservatism, so as not to reject the past totally: ‘in any view of social change the value and function of the forces of conservatism cannot be lost sight of ’.16 In general, the trope of the garden in the classical Urdu and Persian tradition represents that tradition’s sense of itself, as a carefully laid out space in which the linguistic and formal properties of literary texts are assiduously cultivated. Sa‘di’s ‘Gulistön’ (‘The Rose Garden’, composed 1258), and Mahmud Shabestari’s neo-platonic mystical poem, ‘Gulshan-e Röz’ (‘The Secret Rose Garden’, composed 1311), are just two examples of works whose titles refer to this aesthetic sensibility.17 This tradition’s sense of itself as cultivated artifice is also neatly summarised in an anecdote related of the Mughal Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir (c. 1722–1810), by Muhammad Husain Azad (1830–1910) in his history of Urdu poetry, Įb-e Ʃayöt (The Water of Life, 1880). The poet was given a house with a garden by one of his patrons, but never opened the shutters of the windows overlooking it. On being asked why this was so, he gestured to the drafts of his ghazal lying nearby and said, ‘I’m so absorbed in thinking about this garden, I’m not even aware of that one’.18 Iqbal dramatises his transition to a politically committed aesthetic by radicalising the mental and artistic space of that garden. This transition occurs in a number of ways. The image of the garden is sometimes reproduced in his verse as a broken and exhausted one. In his poem ‘Shikva’ (‘Complaint’, 1911) in which the poet complains to God about the decline of Islamic civilisation, the garden is represented through a series of telling absences, from its odourless atmosphere in which the scent of flowers has departed, to the sorry state of its roses and trees, the desolation of its old paths, and its silence as a result of the migration of its turtle-doves (verses 28–29).19 At the centre of this picture of neglect lies the broken implement of the garden (‘söz-e chaman’, verse 28, couplet 2). The compound ‘söz-e chaman’ is apt because of its multiple connotations. As denoting ‘implement’, it calls attention to the techniques and labour of cultivation, but the word ‘söz’ also means musical instrument, and so evokes the harmonies of traditional poetry in its modulation of sound through the handling of metre.

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The word has further connotations of ornamentation and concord, and is thus suggestive of the sophisticated sense of artifice and the values of consonance in the Persianate aesthetic tradition as a whole. The verse is also apt because of the way it brings together a reference to brokenness with and within a compound formed through the grammatical construction of the i˂öfat, or the linking vowel between its two nouns. As a linking device which created compounds, the i˂öfat was an indispensable tool of classical poets. ‘Söz-e chaman’, then, resonates with that classical tradition in its very grammatical construction and not just in its multiple connotations. Its brokenness is suggestive of a de-linking which is necessary for the enactment of Iqbal’s own radicalised and modernised aesthetic. Thus, in the couplet ‘The age of the rose has closed, the instrument of the garden has broken / The singing garden birds have flown from its branches’, Iqbal skilfully links together aesthetic tradition and innovation through brokenness. The broken instrument is suggestive of the uncoupling which is necessary for the performance of Iqbal’s own radicalised and modernised aesthetic, but it is articulated through the linking device of the i˂öfat. This paradoxical linking through breakage reflects the play between continuity and discontinuity in relation to aesthetic tradition in his work as a whole. The other way Iqbal intervenes in the conceit of the garden is to transform it into a referential term. As is evident in the anecdote of Mir, in the classical tradition the garden symbolised the autonomous, self-referential world of poetry, in contrast to gardens in the empirical world. Iqbal, however, reverses this. In the Persian poem entitled ‘SöqƮ Nöma’ (‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’) in Payöm-e Mashriq (Message of the East, 1923), the conventional image of the garden is beautifully rendered in the first half of the poem.20 Here, the series of metaphorical equivalences between aspects of the garden (such as its streams and fountains, and its flower buds) and the polished ornaments of artifice (such as diamonds and burnished mirrors) blend together discourse and garden into one composite entity. Similarly, the sounds of the nightingale and the starling are fused with the harmonies of melody and song. The second half of the poem, however, registers a break from this luscent picture. The garden becomes emblematic of the natural beauties of a politically oppressed Kashmir, in which the Kashmiri is depicted as habituated to servitude and ignorant of his own selfhood (‘khɫdƮ’). The dialectic of innovation and tradition in Iqbal’s work means that the poem incorporates a skilful rendering of the image of the garden in the traditional manner, before transforming

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

that tradition through its politicisation. Iqbal’s poems, then, are not mere exercises in political didacticism; they are also exercises in selfreflexivity, in which they articulate their innovativeness through the re-enactment of the tradition which they depart from. Iqbal intervenes in the space of the garden in other ways too. His identically entitled Urdu poem, ‘SöqƮ Nöma’ in Böl-e JibrƮl, or Gabriel’s Wing (1936), forms an instructive contrast with the landscape of the poems of that name by the eighteenth-century Urdu poets, Mir Taqi Mir and Sauda (c. 1713–81).21 Iqbal’s poem is composed in the same metre as Mir’s, and thus in its metrical form recalls its predecessor. However, in content it is radically different. Mir’s poem creates a three-way metaphorical equivalence between the intoxication of wine, the creativeness of poetry and the exhilaration of spring, within the closely circumscribed space of the garden. The landscape of Iqbal’s poem is immediately different. It opens out onto a naturalistic landscape of plains, mountains and rivers. The latter are especially prominent in Iqbal’s landscapes and are wholly absent from Mir’s and Sauda’s poems. Iqbal’s depiction of a mountain stream through an accumulation of verbs of powerful motion is representative of the dynamism in Iqbal’s landscape in general, and, as we shall see, of the stress on dynamism in his thought as a whole: ‘That mountain stream, bounding, faltering, twisting, sliding / Leaping, slipping, steadying itself, twisting around great bends, emerging / If it is stopped it cleaves the rock / It cleaves the heart of mountains’ (part 1, couplets 5–7). In the Urdu text, the verbs all have feminine endings to agree with the grammatical gender of the subject. The grammatical agreement underlying the variegated senses of motion typifies the tense combination of harmonious consonance and dynamic dissonance in Iqbal’s verse as a whole. The depiction of the movement of the river is also in sharp contrast to the use of the word ‘frozen’ or ‘congealed’ (‘afsurda’) in BandagƮ Nöma (The Book of Servitude, couplet 35) to describe the aesthetic quality of those fine arts produced by the artists of an oppressed population which perpetuate habits of servitude.22 Instead, he argues, what is needed are songs (‘naghma’) which are like a fast-flowing flood (‘tand rɫ mönand-e sail’, couplet 49). In this case, then, Iqbal’s poetic intervention in the trope of the garden represents a mobilising of the landscape of the garden through the imagery of fast-moving torrents, which reflects the stress on dynamism in his poetry and thought as a whole, and is in contrast to the fixed and carefully tended landscape of classical poetics.

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There are other ways in which Iqbal disrupts the garden of classical poetics. As we have seen, in his Persian ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’, Iqbal concretises the garden by transforming it into a geographically specific symbol for Kashmir and its oppressed condition. In this transformation, the subjugated condition of Kashmir is geographically extended, by linking the voice of Kashmiris to those in all the lands from Kashgar to Kashan. The word used for ‘voice’ here, ‘navö’, also means song and musical tone or mood, so that the word calls attention to how this geopolitical imagining is aesthetically structured. Thus, one important strand in Iqbal’s transformation of the garden lies in the role it plays in the geopolitical imagining of a global and resurgent pan-Islamic community. In ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’ (‘The Rise of Islam’, 1923, in Böng-e Darö [The Caravan’s Bell]), the poet refers to a possible Islamic resurgence in terms of agitation in the courtyard of the garden, in the nest and in the leafy branches.23 He exhorts his readers to make every particle of the garden a martyr to a quest (part 1, couplets 6, 8). As we have seen, the visual frame of Iqbal’s Urdu ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’ is much larger than the sharply focused vision of Mir’s and Sauda’s poems. This panoramic enlargement is the basis of an explicit engagement with the global politics of the time between Europe and Asia, in which an Asian resurgence is pitted against a colonialist West (see the second section of the poem, which refers to both China and the Middle East). A political imagination is entirely absent from Mir and Sauda. Iqbal also reproduces the imagery of the garden to imagine the extension of Islam and its evolution as a faith over the centuries. He fuses its image with an Islamicised historical narrative. In ‘Complaint’, the poet refers to the spread of early Islam in terms of Muslims as a breeze spreading abroad the scent of the flower which was the ornament of the garden (verse 3). As usual, though, the poetic diction of this verse is complex. The compound ‘zeb-e chaman’ (‘the garden’s ornament’), formed through the i˂öfat, is doubly eloquent of classical poetics, both in registering the garden as a polished artifice, and in its grammatical construction tying literary artifice and gardens together. Iqbal brings this together with an image of dispersion, so that classical tradition and aesthetic innovation are linked through the image of scattering. Even as he reproduces the garden, then, Iqbal disperses it. However, the word Iqbal uses for scattering is ‘pareshön’, which also means dishevelled (in terms of one’s coiffure) and distressed. The word brings to the mind of the reader of Urdu and Persian poetry the figure of the lover, whose tossed hair is a sign of his distressed condition at the cruel fickleness of his beloved. The word can also refer to

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

the effect the ensnaring tresses of the beloved have on the lover’s heart. Finally, ‘pareshön’ resonates with the poet’s own distressed condition in this poem, as a faithful lover of his beloved God whom he upbraids for His neglect of Muslims worldwide, whose decline and suffering the poem vividly brings to the fore. In addition, the audacity of the poet’s complaint against God, which he refers to in the second verse of his poem in terms of breaking the custom of praise and habit of obedience, is transgressive. This is expressed in the opening verse when the poet locates himself in the garden and compares himself to the rose, only to then dislocate himself and disavow that simile: ‘Should I listen to the nightingale’s lament, and remain all ears only? / My friend, am I also some rose that I should remain silent?’ This association of the preserved, unaltered garden of aesthetic tradition with passivity is expressed in another poem, ‘Khi˂r-e Röh’ (‘Khizr on the Road’) in Böng-e Darö, in the section on ‘Capital and Labour’, when the labouring man is asked ‘Like a bud, forgetful one, how long will you merely accept dew in your lap?’24 Here the quiescent traditional image of the garden, in which the poet has not intervened, becomes a symbol of political acquiescence. In ‘Complaint’, then, the garden of classical poetics is reproduced as a point of departure, and this departure is enacted in the poet’s complaint against God in which the geopolitical image of a once globally powerful Islam is resonant. The image of the garden, then, is reinforced even as it is dispersed. In addition, the sonority of the poem, with its smoothly rhyming couplets in the ramal metre, reproduces the playful tension between continuity and discontinuity. The harmoniousness of the verse is at odds with, but also controls and structures, the passionate audacity of the angered poet’s lament. However, there are other ways in which Iqbal intervenes in the image of the garden, in order to express his own sense of a progressive Islam through the recasting of Islamic motifs. In the Qur’ön, the garden is used as an image of paradise in a number of places (11:108, 18:32, 2:25, 4:57). In his five-part Persian poem, ‘TaskhƮr-e Fiɠrat’ (‘The Subjugation of Nature’) in Payöm-e Mashriq, Iqbal celebrates the expulsion of Adam from Paradise as a necessary step for the development of human beings in their conquest of nature.25 The poet depicts Adam on the morning of the resurrection as justifying the Fall in terms of the technological and scientific advances made necessary by that episode. Here Iqbal also refers to the specific intellectual and emotional qualities which he prizes in his articulation of selfhood.26 Iqbal also reinterprets the Fall in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where he discusses how the legend in the Qur’ön differs from

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that in the Bible. He then interprets it in the light of his notion of selfhood, arguing that Satan tried to keep man ‘ignorant of the joy of perpetual growth and expansion’.27 In ‘The Subjugation of Nature’, then, the expulsion from the garden of Paradise becomes a celebration of the narrative of progress which Iqbal attempts to appropriate for his own brand of Islam. Here again, a conventional image of the garden is reproduced, but within a framework of inverted dispossession, when the poet writes that the streams of Paradise have dispossessed Adam of the ecstasy of toil and action, and of the labour of distilling wine from vineyards. The Qur’ön’s picture of Paradise as a garden flowing with streams and abundant in wine is thus inverted, and in Iqbal’s handling of it, the original garden is emblematic of both dispossession and a paradisal condition. This duality in the image typifies the play between rupture and continuity in Iqbal’s poetry as a whole. The interplay between aesthetic tradition and poetic innovation in Iqbal’s verse, then, enacts his political aesthetic as a process. This aesthetic is not a readymade category, but is instead always in the making in his poetry. Iqbal’s intervention in the trope of the garden, which reproduces that trope as it disrupts it, is emblematic of the character of his verse as a whole. There are, of course, other examples of Iqbal’s technique. One striking instance is his redeployment of aspects of the conventional imagery of the beloved in another of his pan-Islamic poems, ‘ɜiqilliya’ (‘Sicily’, 1908, in Böng-e Darö).28 Here, Sicily is pivotal in the geographical imagining of a globalised Islam, in which other places resonant of the past history of Islam, such as Delhi, Shiraz, Baghdad, and Granada, are linked together through Sicily. In this imagining, Iqbal reworks one feature of the face of the beloved, namely the mole on his or her cheek as a sign of beauty. The poet, addressing Sicily, expresses the hope in the first hemistich of couplet 8 that ‘the cheek of the ocean be adorned by your mole’. Likening the island of Sicily to a mole on the face of the ocean produces a composite geography, through the fusion of the face of the beloved in the world of the ghazal, and the empirical geography of cartography. It also evokes the smoothness of the beloved’s face as an emblem for the charming and seductive geography of panIslam. This fusion points to the role which a distinctively reworked notion of love plays in Iqbal’s sense of pan-Islam, and in the relationship between selfhood and selflessness in the community of Islam, which will be discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. It also points to the nature of the poet’s relationship to his subject matter in the poem, and to the presentation

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

of his own persona as part of the play between tradition and innovation in his work as a whole.

The Creativity of Decline The dual nature of the plotting of decline in Iqbal’s verse is particularly revealing of the tense and productive interplay between tradition and innovation in his work. His Urdu poem, ‘Dögh’ (1905, in Böng-e Darö) is an elegy for the famous Urdu poet, Nawab Mirza Khan Dagh (1831–1905), to whom, according to Singh, Iqbal sent his early verse for correction.29 The opening verse of the poem links the death of the poet to the passing away of other poets, such as Ghalib, so that the poem is an elegy for the decline of classical Urdu poetry as a whole. This is underlined by the reference to Dagh in the fifth couplet as the last poet of the Mughal-built quarter of Delhi, ‘Shöhjahönöböd’. Iqbal presents himself as a member of the community of Urdu poets in this poem, but this entire community is united in mourning, and is pictured as carrying Dagh’s coffin on its shoulders in a funeral procession. The burden of the decline of classical Urdu poetry, then, is shared equally by all the remaining poets. The elegiac tone is also expressed in the third couplet in terms of the tie between the garden and classical discourse, when the poet, addressing his fellow singers (‘ham navö’), writes of how the whole garden and the assembly of poetry is in lament. The death of Dagh is also likened to the ‘departure’ of perfume from a colourful rose, and the effect of his death is expressed as the trampling of the garden of poetry’s assembly by autumn (couplets 17 and 18). However, the poem is deliberately ambiguous. The word used for Dagh’s departure from the garden is ‘rukhɓat’, which means ‘leave’ in the double sense of that word, that is, both departure and permission. Dagh, then, is soliciting Iqbal for permission to leave, and Iqbal’s elegy at his departure is a granting of that permission. While the poem is suffused with a sense of decline, that decline also creates a space for Iqbal’s own aesthetic to emerge. Hence, his reference not just to how more nightingales of Shiraz will be born in the garden (couplet 12), but also to how new cup-bearers will now serve measures of new wine (couplet 13). Here the use of the word ‘paimöna’, which means both measure (and is thus suggestive of metre) and a cup or goblet, refers to both the forms and the content of poetry, and is thereby suggestive of how Iqbal ties together innovative content with traditional metrical forms. These couplets also enact the play between continuity and discontinuity in his verse as a

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whole, since they deploy conventional images to generate innovative possibilities from within themselves. Iqbal also inscribes into the structure of this poem (in couplet 11) a future aesthetic choice between moving others with pictures of the bitterness of time, or disclosing new worlds of the imagination. The use of the causative verbs ‘dikhlönö’, ‘to cause to show’, and ‘rulönö’, ‘to cause to weep’, heightens the sense of poetic agency and reinforces the possibilities of choice. In this regard, it is important to note that one of the features of the arts of servitude which Iqbal comments on in the section entitled ‘Music’ in The Book of Servitude is its addiction to grief and lamentation, which he argues deadens one’s emotive and experiential capacities, and obstructs the development of agency for future-oriented possibilities (see couplets 35, 38 and 41). However, as is demonstrated in his elegy for Dagh, this is not an either-or choice for Iqbal, since this elegy and the rehearsal of grief at decline is tied to the creation of future possibilities and his own arrival as a poet. In the same way, the mapping of an alternative poetry to the arts of servitude in The Book of Servitude is tied to the replication of these latter arts in the very act of defining a poetic against them. Hence, in the penultimate couplet of ‘Dögh’, Iqbal writes of how his tongue/language (the word ‘zabön’ means both) cannot utter any complaint, since the hue of autumn is a cause for the garden’s permanence as well as its establishment (‘qiyöm’ means both permanence and establishment in the sense of founding; it also means rising up). He also refers to his own elegy as a creative act of ‘tilling the ground of poetry with the seeds of tears’ in couplet 16. Here, the word for ground, ‘zamƮn’, means both soil and the pattern of metre and rhyme in a poem, so that the imagery of the garden is again tied to the artifice of poetry even as it is elegised to create innovative possibilities. This creation of harmonious dissonance is captured by the relationship between the harmonious form of his poem, a ghazal in rhyming couplets in the symmetrical ramal metre, and its constructed ambivalence to Dagh’s death as both saddening and yet affording scope for the poet’s own innovative voice. Iqbal’s political aesthetic, then, incorporates the autumnal decline of the classical poetry of Shöhjahönöböd as a point of creative departure. The creativity of decline preserves and displaces the garden of poetry. This constructed ambiguity is eloquent of the ruptured continuity created by Iqbal between his political aesthetic and traditional poetics. It also informs the creation of his dual and willingly divided persona as a poet. On the one hand, the elegy mourns the way in which the assembly

12

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

of poets and the dwelling places of poetry have fallen silent at Dagh’s death, but on the other hand, the articulation of the elegy itself offsets those silences, while preserving them within the poem as points of reference. Iqbal’s poem creates the silence that it laments as a condition for the possibility of its own articulation.

Creative Ruination Some of Iqbal’s other poems also contain enabling silences which make possible his persona as a poet. These silences are combined with an aesthetics of ruination in one of his pan-Islamic poems. In ‘Sicily’, 1908, Iqbal asks of Sicily in the 14th couplet: ‘Whose story is hidden in your ruins? The silence of your shores is a way of telling it’. Apart from intertwining silence with eloquence, the poetic diction here is self-reflexive. It calls attention to the poet’s own creative artefact in relation to the decline and ruins of Islam. The word used for ‘ruins’ is ‘ösör’, which also means ‘signs’ as well as ‘sayings’, in particular those of the prophet Muhammad, so that the notion of ruins comes into the poem already structured with interpretative possibilities, in this case especially those relating to an earlier, more powerful period of Islam. In addition, the words for ‘story’ and for ‘way of telling’ are selfconsciously aesthetic terms, namely ‘döstön’, which refers to a specific genre of long narratives in the Urdu-Persian romance tradition, and ‘andöz’, which has connotations of measure and weight, and is therefore reminiscent of metre.30 It also means elegant symmetry, and bears the general meaning of style or manner, and a more specific meaning of the mannered modulation of one’s voice and performance. In this way, the notion of decline in Iqbal’s verse is a creatively structured one from the outset, and is registered as such in this poem from the very beginning. Moreover, the poet’s communicative capacity as a panIslamic poet, who knits together far flung locations under a geographical imaginary, is tied together with this ruination. This is succinctly expressed in the final couplet, where the poet describes how he will take Sicily’s gift (‘toƤfa’) to India, and how while he weeps here himself, there he will make others cry. As a visitor to Sicily, he is given a gift which then incurs a debt of gratitude and confers a poetic obligation. This couplet, then, ties together ‘here’ and ‘there’, ‘India’ and ‘Sicily’, and Muslims potentially everywhere, in an affective geography of the gift in which the poet’s persona and sense of purpose is pivotal. Finally, the poet’s agency is powerfully underlined in this final couplet through

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its rhyme. Each hemistich ends with the first person masculine future participle, which reinforces the sense of future-orientated action in relation to the creative decline in the poem as a whole. The constructed ruination in Iqbal’s poetry, then, enables his reconstructive and pan-Islamic task to take place as a process in his poetry. A similar interplay occurs in one of his other pan-Islamic poems, ‘Masjid-e Qurɠaba’ (‘The Mosque of Cordoba’, in Böl-e JibrƮl).31 Iqbal visited this mosque in Spain during his tour of Europe in 1931–32. In his letters, he referred to how the mosque affected him deeply, with a level of passion (‘jazböt’) that he had not experienced before. He also refers to how he gave a number of lectures while in Spain on ‘Islam and Spain’, and on ‘Spain and the Intellectual Development of Islam’.32 This combination of measured passion and a conception of global Islam in the past is evident in his poem, in which the poet’s presence plays a pivotal role. The third part of the poem brings together love (‘ishq’), the mosque and the poet. The art which built the mosque is linked to the poet’s own art, and the poet’s communicative capacity both mirrors and completes the mosque. He recreates the mosque in his poem and in doing so, brings to completion the work of others, and reconstructs the ruins of the mosque. This tying together of the poet and the mosque is expressed in the fourth couplet of this part of the poem, where Iqbal writes of how the mosque illumines the heart, just as the poet’s song burns breasts, and how from the mosque comes the ‘presence of hearts’ (‘diloǨ kö Ƥa˂ɫr’), while from the poet comes the ‘opening of hearts’ (‘diloǨ kƮ kashɫd’). The symmetrical connection between poet and mosque is expressed by the internal rhyme within each line of the couplet (thus, ‘firoz’ and ‘soz’, ‘Ƥa˂ɫr’ and ‘kashɫd’). In this way, ruination and reconstruction are neatly balanced, in a formalised harmony, within a couplet which self-consciously refers to and enacts the poet’s own art. This tie between the poet’s persona and ruination is also evident in some of the verses of the poems already discussed. In verse 28 of ‘Shikva’, for example, the brokenness of the garden is offset by the presence of the poet, who casts himself in the terms of the very garden imagery which he destabilises, thereby reinforcing the interplay between tradition and innovation in his own persona. While pointing to the deserted garden, in the same verse he writes that one nightingale still remains rapt in song, and waves of melody still remain alive in its breast. The poetic diction here is again revealing, the repetition of ‘ab taq’, ‘as yet’, ‘up to now’, at the end of each hemistich of the couplet suggesting both defiant

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

survival and possible fragility, thereby pointing to the continuing, but disrupted, existence of the garden. In addition, one of the words used for melody, ‘tarannum’ recalls two of his more overtly political poems, namely ‘Tarana-e HindƮ’ and ‘Tarana-e MillƮ’ (‘The Song of India’, 1904, and ‘The Song of the Muslim Community’, 1910), and thus resonates with Iqbal’s political aesthetic as a whole.33 While recasting himself in the garden imagery, then, Iqbal also politicises it. Finally, the reference to waves (‘talöɠum’, literally the buffeting of the waves) of melody within the poet is suggestive of the way, as we shall see, Iqbal ties together ocean imagery with an individual selfhood in his poetry as a whole, and so evokes his entire project to create a newly discovered sense of political agency through his poetry. The definition of the poet’s persona in relation to creative ruination is evident in other verses of ‘Shikva’, which have already been discussed, such as verse 29, which again alludes to the presence of the poet as a nightingale in the ruined garden. Verse 30 builds on this, but adds a further note of dissatisfaction into the fabric of the garden, when the poet refers to his presence as a restless and agitated one: ‘How restless is the brightness in my mirror / How the lustre in my heart flutters’. Here the words are saturated with connotations of aesthetic artifice, with ‘jauhar’, ‘brightness’, also meaning ‘a gem’ and ‘skill or art’. Furthermore, each hemistich ends with the postposition ‘meǨ’, ‘within’, and so is evocative of the focus on the inwardness that grounds Iqbal’s political stance as a whole. At other points in the poem, Iqbal dramatises the combination of a sympathetic affinity with, and wilful distancing from, the garden of classical poetics. In verse 25 he reproduces the picture of the garden in a frame of estrangement, when he writes of how strangers (‘ghair’) are drinking wine on the banks of the garden stream, listening to the song of the dove with a goblet of wine in their hand. This distancing effect is reinforced by the poet’s reference to those sitting far off from the garden, faithful to God, who are waiting for the call to remember Him. Alongside this in the same verse are conceits of resurgence which utilise conventional images, such as the moth burning in the flame as symbolic of the passion of love, and lightning as evocative of God’s terrible majesty. The entire verse, then, encapsulates Iqbal’s self-consciously divided persona, constructed through the enactment of an interplay between tradition and innovation in his poetry as a whole. It also gestures towards the way this innovation brings together a refashioned Islam with a newly defined political aesthetic.

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Old and New Beginnings The relationship between ruination and reconstruction in the poet’s persona is also reflected in ‘Complaint’ as a whole, with the rebellious poet articulating his ardour through images of the past power and the present decline of Islam. The project of reconstruction is central to one of Iqbal’s better known English works, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where in general terms there is an interplay between past power, contemporary decline and possible future resurgence. A number of other poems by Iqbal are suggestive of this interplay. These powerfully rework the conventional figure of the söqƮ, or cup-bearer, within the framework of rupture and continuity. In the last section of the poem ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’, the söqƮ is invoked as a figure of Islamic resurgence. The poet appeals to the söqƮ to renew laws (‘qönɫn’) of old, while the poem ends with an invitation to invent new ways as the wine of the söqƮ is passed around. In general, images of vessels of wine and their contents abound in Iqbal’s verse, but these are reworked so as to represent the tension between form and content which is dramatised in his verse. This has already been discussed with regard to couplet 13 of ‘Dögh’. It is also evident in the third section of his Urdu ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’, which begins with a request to the söqƮ to pour him ancient wine from the same cup, while linking that to the creation of a politicised, and redefined Islamic aesthetic. However, in ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’ this invitation is contained in a couplet by Hafez, which is cited in full by Iqbal to conclude his poem. Ending the poem with a couplet of Hafez is especially apt, since the first poem in Hafez’s Divön (or collection of poems) begins with an invocation of the söqƮ, with the poet requesting him to make haste in bringing the goblet of wine: ‘Ho, Saki, haste, the beaker bring / Fill up, and pass it round the ring / Love seemed at first an easy thing / But ah! the hard awakening’.34 Iqbal’s poem closes with Hafez’s opening invitation. The interrelation between old and new has multiple, interleaving layers in which beginnings and endings are intertwined in the reworked figure of the cup-bearer. This interplay is also articulated in the ambiguity of the title of the poem, ‘The Rise of Islam’, which on first reading suggests a poem on early Islam. In fact, though, the theme of the poem is the resurgence of Islam in the modern world, reflecting the nexus between past, present and future in Iqbal’s formulation of a resurgent Islam.

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Iqbal often embeds citations from classical Persian poets within his own verse. Nowhere is this more evident than in his Persian epic poem, JövƮd Nöma (The Book of Eternity, 1932), which has been described as ‘his most intriguing literary work’.35 On one level, the poem signals its continuity with the Persian literary tradition by having the figure of the great Persian poet, Rumi (1207–73), as the poet’s guide through the cosmos.36 Some of the lines in the JövƮd Nöma, including its first line, echo lines of Rumi’s MasnavƮ. At another point in the poem, Iqbal cites in full a ghazal by Rumi, into which he inserts a couplet of his own (couplets 101–9). This evokes Iqbal’s strong sense of creative interdependence with Rumi. Moreover, the JövƮd Nöma is written in the same metre as Rumi’s MasnavƮ. But the two texts could not be more different. Rumi’s MasnavƮ is a compendium of different stories, each with its own moral, which can be read on a multiplicity of levels, from the mundane to the esoteric. There is also a contrast between the two poems in their lengths, with Rumi’s MasnavƮ consisting of some 26,000 couplets, and Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma 1,805 couplets. The one is a sprawling and excessive text, an encyclopaedic compendium of anecdotes which represent almost every possible aspect of Sufi thought and practice in the thirteenth century, while the other is a highly condensed and abbreviated poetic artefact, with carefully worked allusions to key figures in Sufi thought and Islamic learning and literature, as well as some important European thinkers and poets. The JövƮd Nöma is tied together through the linear progression of the poet’s journey, with a starting point and a destination, in which each episode is linked to the other episodes in the poet’s travel through the cosmos. Whereas in the classical tradition, the poet’s identity is never an active issue in their work, in the JövƮd Nöma the nature of the poet’s identity is a central issue. It is the subject matter of the poem. The defining question in the poem is ‘Who am I?’ (‘man kƮyam?’) and it is in part this quest for self-knowledge which motivates Iqbal’s visionary journey. The journey is also the poet’s attempt to find his station, for as he laments, ‘I know not where my station (‘maqöm-e khud’) is / I know this much, that it is far from friends (‘yörön judöst’)’ (couplets 1787, 759). Iqbal’s imagined journey through the cosmos is the enactment of his identity as well as his quest for it. It is also the enactment of his distinctive notion of selfhood or khɫdƮ, with its play upon Sufi notions of the self. It is this conception of selfhood which I examine in the next chapter.

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Notes 1. For a reference to the former commemoration, see Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 81 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Sept 5 1914; for a reference to Hali’s commemoration see ibid., Letters 996, 1005 to Saiyyid Nazir Niyazi, Aug 21, Sep 18, 1935; see also Letters 1002–4. 2. Ibid., Letter 1044 to Khwajah Husain Nizami, Feb 15, 1936. 3. Ralph Russell and Khurshidul Islam. 1969 (1994). Ghalib: Life and Letters. Delhi: Oxford University Press, p. 88. 4. Frances W. Pritchett. 1994. Nets of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and its Critics. Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 82. 5. With reference to isötiza, see Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letters 264, 270, 273 to Saiyyid Suleiman Nadvi, Oct 3, Oct 30, Nov 20, 1918; Letter 636 to Shakir Siddiqui, Oct 29, 1929. For a reference to tarkƮb, see ibid., Letter 533 to Professor Sardar Muhammad, Mar 6, 1925. With reference to the rendering of single words, see ibid., Letters 468–70 to Mir Khurshid Ahmed, May 26, May 31, Jun 1, 1923; Letter 590 to Maulana Abdul Majeed Salik, Sep 28, 1927. 6. Ibid., Letter 44 to Saiyyid Reza Ali, Mar 30, 1910; Letter 113 to Shakir Siddiqui, Aug 22, 1915; Letter 423 to Abdul Ali Shauq Sandelvi, 1922. 7. Ibid., Letters 309, 426 to Khan Muhammad Niyazuddin Khan, Aug 30, 1919 and May 15, 1922. 8. Ibid., Letter 122 to Shakir Siddiqui, Oct 1915; Letter 414 to Professor Muhammad Munir, 1922. 9. Ibid., Letters 146, 150 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Mar 8, Apr 3, 1916; Letter 411 to Pirzada Ghulam Ahmed Mahjur, Mar 12, 1922; Letters 539, 731 to Saiyyid Nasiruddin Hashmi, May 7, 1925, May 9, 1932; Letter 1110 to Miyan Bashir Ahmed, Feb 15, 1937. 10. Ibid., Letter 296 to Maulana Ghulam Qadir Girami, Mar 16, 1919. 11. Ibid., Letter 220 to Maulana Ghulam Qadir Girami, Sep 3, 1917; Letter 251 to Captain Manzur Husain, Jun 8, 1918; Letter 378 to Wahid Ahmed Masud Badayuni, Aug 30, 1921; Letter 483 to Sardar Aburrab Khan Nashtar, Aug 19, 1923; Letter 995 to Saiyyid Suleiman Nadvi, Aug 20, 1935. 12. Ibid., Letter 878 to Dr Saiyyid Yamin Hashmi, Jul 30, 1934, Letter 219 to Maulana Ghulam Qadir Girami, Aug 18, 1917. 13. Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ, in Mohammed Iqbal. 1985. KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ. Lahore: Sheikh Ghulam Ali and Sons, pp. 79–170. 14. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 150 to Maharajah Kishan Prashad, 3 Apr, 1916; Letter 638 to Professor Rashid Ahmed Siddiqui, Dec 7, 1929. 15. This tendency is evident in the otherwise excellent work of Ayesha Jalal. 2000. Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam since 1850. London: Routledge; and Ralph Russell. 1992. The Pursuit of Urdu Literature. London: Zed Books. 16. Muhammad Iqbal. 1934 (1989). The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Lahore: Institute of Islamic Culture, p. 132. 17. Mahmud Shabestari. 1880 (1978). Gulshan-e Röz. The Mystic Rose Garden of Sa‘d ud din Mahmud Shabistari. The Persian Text with an English Translation and Notes, Chiefly

18

18. 19.

20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism from the Commentary of Muhammad Bin Yahya Lahiji, ed. E. H. Whinfield. Islamabad: Iran–Pakistan Institute of Persian Studies. Muhammad Husain Azad. 1880 (1991). Įb-e Ʃayöt. Lahore: Sang-e MƮl, p. 184; see also Pritchett, Nets of Awareness, p. 50. This poem appeared in Böng-e Darö, ‘The Caravan’s Bell’, Lahore, 1924, and can be found in Muhammad Iqbal. 1973. KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ. Lahore: Sheikh Ghulam & Sons, pp. 163–70. For the historical background to this poem, see Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, p. 39. For the texts of Iqbal’s Urdu poems, I use Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ; and for his Persian poems, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ. I transliterate the first mention of the titles of Iqbal’s Urdu and Persian poems, after which I refer to them by their translated titles. Payöm-e Mashriq, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 171–392. Böl-e JibrƮl, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 293–462. For the text of Mir and Sauda’s poems, see Kalb Ali Khan Faiq. 1984. KullƮyöt-e MƮr. Lahore: Majlis-e TaraqqƮ-ye Urdɫ, vol. 6, pp. 149–58; Muhammad Shamsuddin Siddiqui. 1987. KullƮyöt-e Saudö. Lahore: Majlis-e TaraqqƮ-ye Urdɫ, vol. 4, pp. 55–56. BandagƮ Nöma appeared in Zabɫr-e ‘ajam or ‘Persian Psalms’, 1927, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 393–587. ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’, Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 267–77. ‘Khi˂r-e Röh’, Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 255–66. ‘TaskhƮr-e Fiɠrat’, Payöm-e Mashriq, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 255–58. For which, see Chapters 2–3. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 65–69. ‘ɜiqilliya’, Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 133–34. ‘Dögh’,Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 89–90; Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, pp. 6–7. Frances W. Pritchett. 1985. Marvellous Encounters: Folk Romance in Urdu and Hindi. New Delhi, Manohar, is the best exposition of this genre. ‘Masjid-e Qurɠabö’, Böl-e JibrƮl, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 93–101. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letters 749 and 750 to Rafiuddin Hashmi, Jan 26, 1933, and Letter 765 to Shiekh Muhammad Akram, Mar 27, 1933. ‘Taröna-e HindƮ’ appears in Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, p. 83. ‘Taröna-e MillƮ’ appears in Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, p. 159. These two poems are discussed in Chapter 4. This is Arberry’s translation; see A. J. Arberry, transl. 1953 (1970). Fifty Poems of Ʃöfi˂. Richmond: Curzon Press, p. 83. The Persian text is on p. 37. JövƮd Nöma, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 589–796. Annemarie Schimmel. 1975. Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, p. 219. Rumi is generally considered to be the greatest Sufi mystic and poet in the Persian language. He is famous for his lyrics and for his epic poem, MasnavƮ-ye Ma‘navƮ or ‘Spiritual Couplets’, which consists of some 26,000 verses. This epic is a compendium of different aspects of Sufism in the thirteenth century. The work, though, is difficult to systematise, and part of its point may be to resist any such systematisation. See Jalaluddin Rumi. 1370 A. H. MasnavƮ Ma‘navƮ. Tehran: Intishöröt-i Behzöd.

2 Selfhood’s Aesthetic If there is one idea that Iqbal’s work is associated with, it is the idea of

selfhood or khɫdƮ. Khamenei describes it as ‘the central theme of his poems’, and summarises this theme succinctly.1 The mainstay of Iqbal’s poetry is the philosophical explication and aesthetic dramatisation of selfhood. However, his poetry is not simply a vehicle for the expression of an already formed idea of selfhood; instead, it is central to the very notion of his selfhood, which is why it is explicated in verse in the first place. Iqbal called attention to this in his letters, when he stressed that Asrör-e KhɫdƮ (Mysteries of the Self, 1915, 2nd edition 1918) is a poem and not a philosophical argument, and that the value of ‘poetic proofs’ (‘shö‘iröna sabɫt’) cannot be assessed from a logical standpoint.2 The character of his verse is best summed up by the ambiguity of the word ‘khayölöt’ which occurs in a phrase he used in another letter, ‘shö‘iröna khayölöt’.3 ‘Khayölöt’ means ‘thoughts, ideas’ and ‘imaginings, conceits’, and so the phrase can be translated as both ‘poetic imaginings’ and ‘poetic thoughts’. Iqbal’s inclination towards aesthetically structured argumentation is also evident in his prose work, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, in which he explicates his views of selfhood not in terms of a closely reasoned argument, but as a vision of individual selfhood. He cites from his own poetry in his explication of that vision, and the book concludes with a citation from the JövƮd Nöma to illustrate his notion of the self.4 For these reasons, the defining features of Iqbal’s aesthetic are central to his notion of selfhood, and the politics of aesthetic self-invention are a key part of his political aesthetic. It is mainly through poetic conceits, metaphors and images that Iqbal articulates his notion of selfhood in his metrically measured verse. The aesthetic nature of khɫdƮ is also evident in the way Iqbal’s persona as a poet becomes an emblem for that selfhood. In the JövƮd Nöma the poet’s quest for identity goes handin-hand with the articulation of selfhood. In the Urdu ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’, features of khɫdƮ are intertwined with the poet’s persona and his self-conscious awareness of his art. The penultimate couplet in the last section of this poem, which abounds in the conceits and images

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

of selfhood, refers to the poet’s creative process. It knits together khɫdƮ, his own interiority and discursive complexities (‘töb-e guftör’). The word ‘töb’ is well-chosen because of its multiple connotations as heat, capability or ability, and twisting. It accords with the complex relationship created in the couplet between the burning candle of the spirit (‘nafs’), the burning nature of the poet’s words, the heat of his ardour as a poet, and the discursive capacities of language itself. In contrast to Mir’s and Sauda’s poems on the cup-bearer, the figure of the söqƮ is no longer external to the poet, but becomes the poet’s self. The celebration of khɫdƮ in Iqbal’s poem is defined against its opposite in Mir’s poem, be-khɫdƮ, or the ecstatic loss of self: ‘Here the wine of the loss of self (‘be-khɫdƮ’) is drunk / Here time revolves entirely around loss of self (‘be-khɫdƮ’)’ (couplet 54). For Mir, the figure of the söqƮ brings the ecstatic experience of losing one’s self, whereas for Iqbal, in contrast, that figure augurs the intoxicating experience of an individuated, creative self.

The Contexts of Selfhood As this contrast with be-khɫdƮ in Mir’s poem suggests, the first context of Iqbal’s khɫdƮ is notions of selfhood in circulation in Islamic artistic and philosophical culture. It is against these that he defines himself. However, in doing so, he recreates these notions of selfhood in relationships of continuity and discontinuity with his innovative concept of self. For Iqbal, these older ideas of selfhood were central to the development of Islamic mystical or Sufi thought, and had an important impact on other areas of life in Muslim societies. His concept of khɫdƮ, of a creative individuated selfhood, is articulated against mystical notions of fanö, or the annihilation of the individual self in the presence of God. Schimmel defines the latter as ‘the nullification of the mystic in the divine presence’.5 Iqbal defines it in his The Development of Metaphysics in Persia as a sense that ‘all feeling of separation is … ignorance; and all “otherness” is mere appearance, a dream, a shadow—a differentiation born of relation essential to the self-recognition of the Absolute’.6 This finds expression in Mir’s ‘SöqƮ Nöma’, when he links be-khɫdƮ with fanö: ‘We have arrived at self-annihilation (‘fanö’) through ecstasy (‘be-khɫdƮ’) / We have found God through loss of self (‘fanö’)’ (couplet 62). In contrast, in the concluding section of his poem of that title, Iqbal articulates his conviction of the unerasable reality of the self by making it central to the fabric of reality, and even the very ground of reality: ‘Your fire does

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not come from this bed of ashes / The world is from you, you are not from the world’. John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart (1866–1925), Iqbal’s tutor at Cambridge, succinctly defined the essential characteristics of mysticism as ‘the affirmation of a unity [in the universe] greater than that which is usually acknowledged’, and, more crucially, as the ‘affirmation that it is possible to be conscious of this unity in some manner which brings the knower into closer and more direct relation with what is known than can be done in ordinary discursive thought’.7 He argues that the latter can lead to a form of mysticism that denies the reality of the human personality.8 Schimmel describes this as the ‘mysticism of personality’. Characterising mysticism as consciousness of one reality, or as ‘love of the Absolute’, she shows how this can lead to views of the world as a ‘limited reality’, which derives its existence from that Absolute. By extension, this includes the individual human self, and can result in the denial of its value. This is often figured in such images as the individual self vanishing like a drop in the boundless ocean, in which the latter is taken to represent the Absolute and Divine unity underlying the universe.9 As we shall see, Iqbal inverts and plays with these images in order to articulate his sense of khɫdƮ. Schimmel has shown how the theories of fanö and baqö, or ‘annihilation, extinction’, and ‘everlasting life, duration’ in God, are central topics of Sufism. They are crucial to the development of its esoteric philosophies with the invention of technical expressions, and the creation of an elaborate language of symbols and conceits in poetry, often designed to shock and perplex the reader.10 Iqbal engaged in detail with the aesthetics of Sufism. The concluding chapter of his incomplete Urdu work, written in 1912, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf (History of Mysticism) is entitled ‘Sufism and Poetry’ (‘Taɓavvuf aur Shö‘irƮ’), and lists verses from Sufi poetry, seen by him as potentially heretical. In his own verse, Iqbal creates a counter-aesthetic to this. However, the key aspect of Sufi philosophies of the self which he criticises is the view that the knower and the known are one, so that the grasp of God as an object of understanding in which subject and object remain distinct was replaced by the fusion of the human subject with God. This meant that Sufism became an experiential knowledge of the mysteries of God’s unity, whereas for philosophers within Islam who were committed to ratiocination first and faith only secondly, such a knowledge was beyond the ken of human intellect.11 More recent scholars have been in agreement with Iqbal, calling attention to the distinction between

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

varieties of mysticism in Islam, and especially between its philosophical varieties in which the Absolute is always beyond the grasp of the human intellect, and the prototypes of Sufism. These prototypes ranged from the mystic seeking a vision of God without a loss of identity or consciousness, to the mystic seeking an organic fusion with the Divine, in which there is a total identification of the human subject with its divine object, and the loss of all personal identity.12 While it is important to stress that Sufism is a broad and protean phenomenon, that cannot be described fully, what exercised Iqbal in particular was the language and conception of the self in one of its more powerful strands.13 In TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, Iqbal stresses the huge impact Sufism had on the populace of Muslim countries from the time of early Islam, such that in the Sunni world in his time (according to him) no ‘ölim was completely accepted who did not imbue his works and deeds with the hue (‘rang’) of Sufism.14 What also made Sufism so powerful was its dual character as popular practices and esoteric, elite philosophies, thereby influencing different sections of the population.15 Moreover, Iqbal argued that to a certain extent, the decline of Islam as a political power in the world can be traced to the influence of Sufi notions of self. For him, mystical notions of selfhood underpin otherworldly attitudes, which undermine the capacity to act effectively in the world. For this reason, he associated the prevalence of mysticism in a culture’s history with the decline of that culture, not just in Islam, but also in Hinduism and the late Roman world.16 For him, countering those notions of selfhood becomes a way of reversing Islam’s decline. Iqbal makes a point of stressing the relevance of his work on Sufism for Indian Muslims in particular. In his letters, he argued that the kind of Sufism he counters in his texts was especially influential among Indian Muslims, hence Mysteries of the Self expressed that aspect of khɫdƮ which was particularly pertinent to them in the present age.17 As Rizvi’s magisterial history of Sufism in India has shown, Sufism played a major role in the spread of Islam in the subcontinent. In general, this Sufism was marked by a rejection of the intellectual variants of mysticism, as articulated by al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd.18 Moreover, this Sufism was also pivotal in popular Islam’s accommodation of Hinduism.19 As such, Iqbal’s concern with an alternative form of selfhood might also have contributed to the philosophical basis for a redefined Islam of Muslim separatism in India. In ‘Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ’ Iqbal contrasts Aurangzeb with Dara Shikoh, valorising the former in terms of securing the boundaries of Islam as a faith.20 As part of Iqbal’s political aesthetic, khɫdƮ was central to his

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understanding of the relationship between individual self and a newly defined Islamic community in India. This leads us to the second context which marks Iqbal’s concept of selfhood. KhɫdƮ was also defined against the oppressive clichés of colonial ideologies in British India, for which Indians were members of groups defined by religion and caste, and not individuals in their own right. The official British view of India as a society dominated by primordial collective loyalties rooted in caste, religion or tribe (its sociology of multiple ethnicity, as one scholar has put it) was reflected in the truncated electoral system established by the British state.21 In addition, from the first decennial census of 1871 onwards, caste and religion were the key categories in the collection of statistical data on the Indian population, thereby reinforcing their importance as the determinants of political allegiances in the public arena. The prevailing presumption was that the numerical strength of communities, defined by these categories, should determine their share of resources. Since politics found it difficult to shake off the straitjacket of these communal categories, the colonial state in India was successful in forestalling the emergence of class politics at various levels of the Indian social hierarchy.22 As Ayesha Jalal has argued, it was because the colonial framework of representation was rooted in communal categories that individuals expressed their subjectivity through collective discourses, fashioned in a manner that made few concessions to diversities within communities.23 While this led to some South Asian nationalists assuming, in Markus Daechsel’s words, that ‘nations and individuals are ontologically analogous’, we shall see that in Iqbal’s case the relationship between khɫdƮ and group identity is more complex.24 Iqbal’s conception of selfhood is an attempt to reconstruct, on behalf of Indian Muslims in particular (although it need not be confined to them alone, as we shall see), a counter agency to the systematic negation of the humanity of the colonised subject by European colonialism. The images and conceits of khɫdƮ counter that fixing of consciousness which characterised British ethnological views of the inhabitants of India, frozen by caste or religion. In addition, through the narratives and poetry of khɫdƮ, Iqbal undermines the incarcerating effect which the limiting and homogenising term ‘Muslim’ had, and continues to have, when used by those in the West. In Western usage, the term is generally rooted in suppositions about the static nature of the consciousness of any person identified as ‘Muslim’. There are two contexts, then, which mark Iqbal’s work on selfhood; the first is internal to the category of Islam, in the form of a dominant

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Sufi language of selfhood, and the second is external to it, in the form of a colonising West whose impact on the power of Muslim societies in the world was traumatic and profound. This double context is recreated in some of Iqbal’s other writings, such as his presidential address at the annual session of the All-India Muslim League in 1932, in which he brings together anti-colonialism and tensions internal to Islam (as reflected in the categories ‘Arab’ and ‘Persian’), as factors relevant to the formation of a Muslim state in India (see Chapters 4–5). A play between continuity and discontinuity is also evident in the relationship between Iqbal’s work and the category of the West. On the one hand, khɫdƮ is clearly anti-colonial in its provenance, especially in its pan-Islamic manifestations. But at the same time, as we shall see in Chapter 6, Iqbal’s work engages in considerable detail with modern European philosophy. He ties this philosophy and science with Islamic philosophy in lines of continuity as he constructs a narrative for a modern Islam. The interplay between continuity and discontinuity is further evident in the way he reconstructs Islamic Hellenism in his work (see Chapter 7) and is a crucial dimension of his cosmopolitan eclecticism.

The Transgressions of Self hood The transgressive nature of Iqbal’s notion of khɫdƮ is signalled by the term itself. Schimmel has stressed that the word has highly negative connotations in Persian, implying selfishness and egotism.25 The standard Persian-English dictionary by Steingass defines the term as meaning ‘selfishness, conceit, egotism’.26 The term thus carries a transgressive charge, which is maintained by Iqbal in his English prose works. Throughout The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal uses the term ‘ego’ to render the Persian term. In the previous chapter we saw how Iqbal’s rupture from classical poetics was in part signalled by the way in which the poet’s persona is an active issue in his work. The transgressive nature of khɫdƮ is articulated in the poet’s occasional hyperbolic characterisation of his own role, in contrast to the self-effacing presence of the classical poet. Thus, ‘Answer to the Complaint’ opens by referring to the poet’s audacious criticism of God in ‘Complaint’.27 It refers to his seditious and quarrelsome (‘fitna gar’) complaint and its artful cunning (‘chölök’), and opines that the poet’s outspokenness pierced the firmament. The poem pictures the angels in the firmament complaining

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of how the poet, like all earth-dwellers, lacks manners (‘ödöb’) and how insolent (‘shokh va gustökh’) he is. This diction of rudeness, of having an ‘attitude problem’, conveys the sense of khɫdƮ well. By characterising his complaint thus, the poet foregrounds the excesses of his notion of selfhood. These consciously hyperbolic excesses, however, are manifestations of Iqbal’s attempt to centralise selfhood as a category. In his poetic conception of the nature of the universe, Iqbal sees it as a system of primary selves which are substantial realities, that is, as substances which cannot be erased, but which are not thereby static; rather they are evolving and travelling. However, the kernel of this conception is the contention that as human selves approach God, rather than losing their individuality (which is what is imagined to happen under the concept of fanö), they become even more individuated. Iqbal ends The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam by asserting that ‘the end of the ego’s quest is not emancipation from the limitations of individuality; it is, on the other hand, a more precise definition of it’.28 Reinterpreting the Qur’ön, Iqbal argues that ‘it is with the irreplaceable singleness of his individuality that the finite ego will approach the infinite ego to see for himself the consequences of his past action and to judge the possibilities of his future … whatever may be the final fate of man it does not mean the loss of individuality’.29 As can be seen from this citation, Iqbal applies his master language of individual selfhood to God, who is also described variously as an ‘ego’, so that the transgressive charge of the word khɫdƮ is in play in his conception of God as well.30 Both God and human individuals are conceived of in the same terms; the difference between them lies in the degrees of selfhood they possess: ‘Only that truly exists which can say “I am”. It is the degree of intuition of “I-amness” that determines the place of a thing in the scale of being’.31 At times there is a slippage between selfhood and God as an ultimate or absolute self, as when he reflects on the properties of selfhood and its ‘directive agency’ in general, by reinterpreting a verse from the Qur’ön that represents God’s ‘creative activity’.32 This slippage is also evident in his poetry. In the sixth section of the Urdu ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’, selfhood is an absolute category. It is seen as eternal, and as participating in relations and yet separate from them, and as inhabiting a world of space and time, while transcending that world. It is also seen as the primary ground of reality, with the world issuing from it. This is captured in a couplet in the seventh section of the poem, already cited, in which the poet asserts

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

that ‘the world is from you, you are not from the world’. KhɫdƮ begins to look suspiciously like God. In other poems, the ontological equality of the human self and God is audaciously expressed, as in the ‘Prelude in Heaven’ in the JövƮd Nöma, which ends with the angels singing of how a handful of earth, man, will one day be so perfectly modulated (‘mauzɫn shud’), that the heart of God will bleed from its impact (couplet 92). Iqbal even applies the language of selfhood to matter, which is seen as ‘a colony of egos of a low order out of which emerges the ego of a higher order’.33 In his conception of selfhood, then, Iqbal dramatically inverts the Sufi notion of fanö. In doing so, he reads the Qur’ön in innovative ways, reinterpreting 33:72 referring to the burden of trust borne by man as ‘the trust of personality’ and the ‘acceptance of selfhood’.34 He also reinterprets another verse in the Qur’ön in terms of ‘the emergence and multiplication of individualities, each fixing its gaze on the revelation of its own possibilities and seeking its own dominion’.35 This echoes the picture he draws of the first day of creation in the JövƮd Nöma, where the emergence of individual entities is depicted thus: ‘Everywhere, out of the taste and joyous yearning for self-habitude / Arose the cry “I am one thing, you are another”’ (couplet 61).36 In this master image of selfhood, some other key terms of the Sufi lexicon are inverted, such as that of ‘ishq or love. Schimmel has discussed in detail the many permutations of the concept of love in the development of Sufism; as she puts it, ‘the whole complex of love was so inexhaustible that the mystics invented different degrees and used different terms to classify it’.37 In his English work, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908), Iqbal discusses some of these ‘infinite’ degrees of love and concepts of the world as ‘an eternal drama of love’.38 In essence, though, ‘ishq might be rendered as the process of effacing the mystic lover’s attributes so that he or she can abide in the essence of God, imagined as the Beloved. This is succinctly expressed in Fariduddin ‘Attar’s (1145/6–1221) poem, Mantiq ut Tair or ‘The Conference/Speech of the Birds’.39 The opening section describing the vale (‘vödƮ’) of love contains powerful images of the force of love nullifying the seeker’s being, thereby preparing him or her for union with the Beloved: ‘Until the cord of your own existence has been burnt / How in joy can your heart be set on fire?’ The lover’s longing to return to God is also expressed in terms of the fish’s longing to return and immerse itself in the sea: ‘The fish thrown out of the sea onto the shore / Throbs with longing to fall back to the sea’.40 Iqbal, however, recasts ‘ishq in terms of his language of khɫdƮ. In an explanatory note

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he wrote for Nicholson’s translation of Mysteries of the Self, Iqbal explains his concept of love: The Ego is fortified by love (Ishq). This word is used in a very wide sense and means the desire to assimilate, to absorb. Its highest form is the creation of values and ideals and the endeavour to realise them. Love individualises the lover as well as the beloved. The effort to realise the most unique individuality individualises the seeker and implies the individuality of the sought, for nothing else would satisfy the nature of the seeker.… Thus, in order to fortify the Ego we should cultivate love, i.e the power of assimilative action.41

The third section of Iqbal’s poem, Mysteries of the Self, entitled ‘An Exposition Showing that Selfhood is Strengthened by Love’, begins with this connection between selfhood and love in its opening couplets: ‘The point of light whose name is khɫdƮ / Is the spark of life beneath our dust / By love it is made more lasting / More living, more burning, more glowing’. For ‘Attar, the vale of love is a station on the way to the vale of fanö; for Iqbal, in contrast, it is a force which further individualises the self, and is at the root of its assimilating expansiveness. The self seeks to assimilate others through its love, but at the same time individualises these others since nothing else can satisfy it. Assimilation would result in the loss of its own selfhood. It is tied to others in reciprocal bonds of individuality. Given this master narrative of selfhood, it is not surprising that Iqbal celebrates the separateness of selfhood in various ways, rather than seeing it as an obstacle in the way of God. In doing so, he appropriates Sufi figures for his own purposes. As mentioned earlier, the JövƮd Nöma begins by alluding to the first line of Rumi’s MasnavƮ: ‘Man, in this world of seven colours / Is always on fire with lamentation, like a lute’. Rumi’s MasnavƮ opens by speaking of the reed’s (‘nay’) tale, complaining of separations (the word is in the plural in Rumi’s text). The plaintiveness of the music produced by the reed-flute or nay is imagined as the reed’s longing to return to its reed-bed, because, the poet says, everything that is far from its source (‘aɓl’) seeks to return to union (‘vaɓl’) with it. Iqbal’s poem, however, although it begins with an allusion to this, normalises those separations as a necessary part of selfhood. Key Sufi figures of the past (in this case al-Hallaj in ‘The Sphere of Jupiter’, the sixth section of the JövƮd Nömâ) are recast as speaking the language of selfhood:42 ‘The whole world has been founded on Selfhood’ (couplets 1113–14); ‘Selfhood is everywhere visible, yet invisible’. He also celebrates separation: ‘Our fire increases out of separation (‘firöq’) / Separation (‘firöq’)is congenial to our life’ (couplet 1085). In the same

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

section of the poem, other figures are imagined as uttering this language: ‘The fire of separation (‘soz-e firöq’) is the substance of life / How sweet is the intoxication of the day of separation / The very name of union (‘vaɓl’) does not come to my words / If I seek union, neither He remains nor I’ (couplet 1228). As we saw in the last chapter, one of the features of the arts of servitude which Iqbal comments on in BandagƮ Nöma is its addiction to grief and lamentation, which he argues deadens one’s emotive and experiential capacities. However, he contrasts this with another kind of grief, which is our constant companion (‘hamdam’). This grief is described in typical images of selfhood, and is thus linked to the expansiveness and intensity of selfhood itself (couplets 42–44). It is an unavoidable part of the reality of separate individuality, and is distinct from other kinds of grief which characterise the arts of servitude. Iqbal’s inversion of Sufi terms and concepts is enacted aesthetically in the reversal of a whole range of images which are found in Sufi verse.43 Here we will only concentrate on ocean imagery. As mentioned earlier, in Sufi poetry, fanö is figured in such images as the individual self vanishing like a drop in the boundless ocean, which is taken to represent the Absolute and Divine unity underlying the universe.44 This image of the ocean is found in ‘Attar’s poem, where it is often contrasted with a drop of water. In the Peacock’s tale, the majesty of God is compared to a vast ocean (‘daryö-ye ‘azƮm’), and the poet asks: ‘When to the ocean you are able to find the way / Why chase after a drop of dew (‘shabnam’)?’ The individual self is contrasted to the ocean to evoke its fragility as well as trembling awe at the majesty and beauty of the ocean: ‘A water drop, painfully quivering from head to foot, / How should it ever be able to do battle with the sea?’ The state of fanö is also imagined in terms of drowning one’s self in God, or istighröq, which is used in Sufi terminology for the total absorption in God by the adept, who loses selfconsciousness through a complete concentration on God’s unity. The depiction of the vale of poverty (‘faqr’) and annihilation (‘fanö’) opens with images of the loss of consciousness, figured in terms of obliteration in the ocean, where the heart finds nothing but being (‘bɫdagƮ’) in the state of being lost.45 Iqbal’s inversion of this imagery has different permutations. In one form, selfhood is imagined to be a drop of water which expands to encompass within itself the ocean, as in the sixth section of ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’ (Urdu), where the question asked in the poem ‘What is khɫdƮ?’ is responded to in a series of images and conceits, including one of the ocean contained within a drop of water. Similarly, in Mysteries of the Self the poet’s tumultuous persona, and so his selfhood,

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is represented as a ‘storm-ridden dew drop’. One character in the poem advises: ‘Do not pass away from selfhood but persist in its completion / Be a drop and drink the ocean’ (couplet 694). Here the play on Sufi terms is intensified by the use of the word ‘baqö’ for persistence, which in the Sufi lexicon refers to the state of subsistence in God following the stage of self-annihilation.46 Elsewhere in this poem, Iqbal challenges other characters to embrace their selfhood in terms which diminish the power of the ocean: ‘Let the ocean beg you for your storms / Let it complain of the straitness of its own skirts / Let it reckon itself less than a wave / And glide along in front of your feet’. This is preceded by the question: ‘Are you a drop of water? Don’t dissolve at your own feet / Surge forward like a wave (‘talöɠum kosh’) and wrestle with the sea’ (couplets 657–58, 654). Iqbal’s inversion of ocean imagery is sometimes combined with other images which are a part of the interplay between aesthetic tradition and poetic innovation. As we have seen, in his Urdu poem, ‘Khizr on the Road’, the labourer’s political acquiescence in relation to capital is figured as being like a bud, passively accepting the dew in its lap in the garden, as opposed to that high courage (‘himmat-e ‘ölƮ’) which does not even accept the sea. Elsewhere, the substance of khɫdƮ is expressed in terms of the pearl in the sea which retains its individuality, as when the creativity of decline is linked to the rejuvenation of selfhood in the second section of ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’: ‘The signs of the tears of the Muslim are born in the spring rain / Pearls will be born in the sea of the Friend of God’.

The Continuities of Selfhood However, Iqbal’s inversion of Sufi concepts and images needs to be seen in terms of the interplay between continuity and discontinuity in his work as a whole. As we saw in the last chapter, Iqbal’s persona as a poet is a consciously divided one. The same willed alienation from the tradition he defines himself against characterises his orientation towards Sufism. In a letter of December 30, 1915, Iqbal wrote of how his natural (‘fiɡrƮ’) and ancestral (‘öbö’Ʈ’) inclinations were towards Sufism as represented by the monism (waƤdat al-wujɫd or ‘unity of being’) of Ibn ‘Arabi (1165–1240).47 But after studying the Qur’ön and Islamic history, Iqbal says he fought an internal and fearful (‘khofnök’) struggle (he uses the word ‘jihöd’ here) against those inclinations. In another letter, he refers to how his father was a follower of the monistic teachings of Ibn

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Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

‘Arabi so that he was brought up on a diet of his teachings. Elsewhere, he described how his constitutional inclination was towards a mysticism of union with God, but how he was constrained by the needs of the time to define himself against the notion of fanö which is central to that form of mysticism.48 As Rizvi has stressed, it was the mystical philosophy of Ibn ‘Arabi which played a key role in the development of Sufi thought and practices in India.49 As in the case of his aesthetics, Iqbal was selfconsciously opposed to those strands of Sufism which, on another level, he was perfectly at home in. Iqbal reinterprets and appropriates Sufism by constructing lines of continuity between his notion of khɫdƮ and Sufi thought, even as he inverts that thought. In his The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, he is at pains to stress that Sufism ‘revealed fresh regions of the self by making it a special study of [human] experience’. What was problematic for Iqbal was more its ‘set phraseology shaped by the thought-forms of a worn-out metaphysics’.50 He also discusses Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind’s ‘idea of a whole universe of inner experience’.51 In his Urdu letters, he makes a similar distinction between its esoteric philosophy and its ethical content.52 In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal adds that ‘devotional Sufism alone tried to understand the meaning of the unity of inner experience which the Qur’ön declares to be one of the three sources of knowledge, the other two being History and Nature’. In this context, Iqbal contrasts devotional Sufism with what he called ‘Magianism’, that is, the abstruse philosophical outlook of the different creed-communities who had been absorbed into Islamic culture, and ‘whose intellectual outlook had been formed by the concepts of a culture which had long dominated the whole of middle and western Asia’.53 One of the major themes of The Development of Metaphysics in Persia is the role which pre-Islamic Persian belief systems played in metaphysical thought after the advent of Islam in Persia. The first part of the study is devoted to this pre-Islamic thought, and the second to Greek dualism, with Iqbal tracing how ‘the Persian mind had to struggle against two different kinds of Dualism—pre-Islamic Magian Dualism, and postIslamic Greek Dualism’.54 TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf is also concerned with the role of pre-Islamic belief systems in the development of esoteric Sufi philosophies in Persia.55 Iqbal reinterpreted Sufism as focusing on the interiority of selfhood and its experiences. He redeployed its vocabulary of inner experiences to fill the category of the individual self with inner content. Key figures such as al-Hallaj are recast as representing not the experience of the ‘drop slipping into the sea, but the realization and

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bold affirmation in an undying phrase [i.e. the phrase ‘I am God/the Truth’, ‘anö’l Ƥaqq’] of the reality and permanence of the human ego in a profounder personality’.56 At the same time, by rescuing the inner experiential content of Sufism from its esoteric philosophical framework, Iqbal was putting into play his own reconstruction of Islam. He describes his ‘main purpose’ in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam to be ‘to secure a vision of the spirit of Islam as emancipated from its Magian overlayings’.57 As we shall see in Chapter 5, this also became increasingly central to his geographical and political imagining of pan-Islam. We have seen how Iqbal’s notion of khɫdƮ sometimes amounts to a form of self-divinisation, in which there is a relationship of ontological equality between God and the individual human self, both of which are represented in the language of ‘ego-hood’. The human self is variously described as being God’s ‘co-worker’, a free personal agent who ‘shares in the life and freedom of the Ultimate Ego’, and an entity that is ‘consciously participating in the creative life of his Maker’.58 Some commentators have seen Iqbal’s concept of God as marking a break from the conception of God as an infinite deity in the Qur’ön, but there is nothing self-evident about the concept of God in the Qur’ön, as the history of theological disquisition in Islam shows.59 These elements of self-divinisation, though, can be seen as a continuation of Sufism in Iqbal’s conception of it, rather than a rupture from it. Here Iqbal could be seen as developing the Sufi notion of ‘insön-e kömil’, usually translated as ‘the Perfect Man’. Nicholson succinctly sums up this key Sufi notion as teaching that ‘every man is potentially a microcosm, and … when he has become spiritually perfect, all the Divine attributes are displayed by him, so that as saint or prophet he is the God-man, the representative and vice-regent of God on earth’.60 Schimmel has shown how one of the pillars of Ibn ‘Arabi’s philosophical system is the veneration of Muhammad, who assumes the role of the Perfect Man. He is the total theophany of the divine names, the whole of the universe in its oneness as seen by divine essence. Muhammad is the prototype of the universe as well as man, since he is like a mirror in which each sees the other. The Perfect Man is necessary to God as the medium through which He is known and manifested.61 Iqbal’s notion of selfhood encompasses this notion of the Perfect Man. The heading of Section 9 of Mysteries of the Self refers to three stages of khɫdƮ, of which the third is ‘Divine Regency’. This third stage (‘marƤala’) is an exposition of Iqbal’s interpretation of the Perfect Man. In essence,

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this is a conflation of the poetics of selfhood with the notion of prophets as messianic leaders. Alongside allusions to Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and to Jesus as ‘as the salvation (‘najöt’) for all the world’, the poet refers to how the figure of the Prophet, as a Perfect Man, creates new worlds: ‘A hundred worlds like this world of parts and wholes / Bloom, like roses, from the seed (‘kisht’) of his imagination’ (couplet 453). This recalls the creativity of the poet in a reformed Islamic artistic culture: ‘Sea and land are hidden within his water and clay / A hundred new worlds are hidden in his heart / Until tulips blossom in his mind / No song of joy and no lament is heard’ (couplets 349–50). In this section, the poet also conflates the Prophet as the Perfect Man with the figure of the söqƮ, when he asks the Divine Viceregent to give back once more the cup of the wine of love (couplet 476). This invocation of the söqƮ is reinforced by referring to the advent of the Viceregent in terms of the coming of spring, the association between the söqƮ and spring being a conventional one: ‘The leaves are scattered by Autumn’s cruelty / Like the spring, pass over our garden’ (couplet 479). This is reminiscent of the poet’s own figuring of his creative potency in the prologue to the poem, when he likens himself to a spring cloud (couplet 29). The cup-bearer, the prophet and the poet are linked together in a composite figure, as one possible apotheosis of khɫdƮ in an aesthetically rendered self. The elements of self-divinisation in Iqbal’s work, then, are an extension of the notion of the Perfect Man. They resonate with what one scholar has called ‘self-divinizing expressions of ecstasy’ by mystics such as al-Bistami (d. 874).62 Iqbal also subsumes rather than inverts the figure of Satan as he had been constructed in Sufi traditions.63 Schimmel has outlined how the manifold aspects of Satan developed through the centuries by Sufis were echoed by Iqbal, but also how he extends those aspects, thereby producing a ‘multicolored picture’ of Satan.64 Alongside his reproduction of Satan as the true monotheist, a conception which formed an important strand in Sufi representations of Satan, Iqbal also appropriates Satan within the terms of one aspect of khɫdƮ, namely the necessity of cultivating the ‘virtues’ which lead to and help maintain technological progress and economic success. In Payöm-e Mashriq, Satan’s seduction of Adam, and the latter’s subsequent expulsion from Paradise, is seen as essential to the subjugation of nature by humanity through technological progress. This five-part poem ‘The Subjugation of Nature’ (discussed in the previous chapter) ends with Adam’s plea to God, in which he defends Satan, and in the typically transgressive terms of selfhood, boasts of his own subsequent achievements, which

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appear God-like: ‘Venus was my mirror, the moon adored me / My reason dominated the entire universe / I penetrated the earth and flew up to the heavens / I bound the atom and the sun with my magic’ (Part 5, couplets 3–4).

Iqbal’s Drunkenness There is one final aspect of the continuity between and rupture from Sufism in Iqbal’s notion of khɫdƮ which needs to be considered. Iqbal also appropriates a Sufi lexicon and poetic diction in his verse, almost wholesale, which instead of inverting, he redeploys to expand his own vocabulary of selfhood. There are numerous instances of this, but here we will deal with the imagery and diction of intoxication. There is a vast and detailed Sufi vocabulary surrounding wine and drunkenness, with a plethora of esoteric meanings attached to each aspect of drinking and intoxication. In his magisterial Sufi Symbolism, Nurbaksh lists some 82 symbols representing different aspects of wine and gradations of intoxication and stupefaction. The söqƮ symbolises the Absolute Beloved as well as the master of the Sufi path, ‘the bearers of divine grace and the providers of inspiration, who strengthen the hearts of gnostics through the disclosure of mysteries and the elucidation of metaphysical truths’. He can also symbolise God ‘who bestows the wine of love to his lovers, in whom they are said to be effaced and annihilated’. The figure can further refer to ‘the unveiling of love which brings about intoxication’. Drunkenness is succinctly defined as a mystical state in which the lover’s being, that is, his personal identity, becomes enveloped by love. Different degrees of drunkenness are also discriminated, with the most extreme, ‘wasted-drunk’ (‘mast-e kharöb’), defined as ‘the complete absorption of the heart in the love of the Beloved’, ‘the complete absorption of the heart in God such that no consciousness remains to attend to life’s basic necessities, and wherein one realizes the degree of Divine Union’. Drunken brawling is explicated by citing al-Hallaj: ‘Brawling within the state of intoxication represents the Lordship’s own internal quarrel with Himself’.65 In Iqbal’s poetry, this vocabulary of drunkenness and dissoluteness is appropriated to represent not the loss of any sense of self, but the exciting project of individuated selfhood and its self-consciousness. Unlike some of the images discussed earlier, here the imagery is not reversed, but is instead inflected differently. In the first section of ‘The Book of the Cup-Bearer’, for example, the poet asks the cup-bearer for

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the wine (‘may’) which burns the veil (‘purdah’), the wine with which all creation is drunk. This resonates with Sufi symbolism in which ‘may’ (as opposed to other kinds of wine) represents the theophanies of God, the Absolute Being which is immanent in all things. The veil signifies anything that obstructs one from God.66 But as the poem progresses, the secret which the poet asks the cup-bearer to reveal is khɫdƮ itself, not the presence of God, and it is a khɫdƮ which is drunk in company but at the same time seeks solitude (Section 6). Here, then, intoxication signifies a notion of selfhood at odds with Sufism. It also indicates the problematic relationship between interiority and the external realm of politics.67 Similarly, elsewhere intoxication is used to represent the agency of selfhood in the world, that is, its setting of goals and its purpose-driven activity. In the second section of Mysteries of the Self, entitled ‘Showing that the Life of Selfhood Comes from the Creation and Birth of Aims and Goals (‘maqöɓid’)’, goal-oriented activity is depicted as ‘like the shining dawn’, and his readership is addressed in this political polemic: ‘Rise, you who are ignorant of life’s secret / Rise intoxicated with the wine of purposefulness’ (couplets 156–57). In the JövƮd Nöma, too, the vocabulary of intoxication is appropriated for the language of khɫdƮ. This epic poem, as we shall see, is a journey of selfhood, in which the poet’s ascent through the spheres plots the development of selfhood. Along the way, the poet encounters al-Hallaj in the Sphere of Jupiter who invites him to ‘Be partner with the ring of wine drinking dissolutes / Beware of allegiance to a master (‘pƮr’) who is not a man of tumult’ (couplet 1056). In the same sphere Ghalib’s song also invites the poet to ‘change the rules of heaven / Let us change fate by revolving a heavy measure of wine’ (couplet 1057). The final couplet of the JövƮd Nöma, when God speaks to the poet, also uses the language of wine and intoxication: ‘So slender is your cup that the tavern has been put to shame / Seize a glass, drink wisely, and be gone!’ This couplet in particular resonates with the complex construction of khɫdƮ in Iqbal’s work as a whole, and requires further explication here. The JövƮd Nöma is modelled on the account of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension or mi‘röj, as referred to in the Qur’ön, Chapter 81: 19–25, and 53: 1–21, when he stood in the presence of God without being annihilated.68 For Iqbal this becomes the perfect emblem of selfhood, for which, as we have seen, ‘it is with the irreplaceable singleness of his individuality that the finite ego will approach the infinite ego’.69 Given that the JövƮd Nöma ends with the poet facing God and retaining his

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self, it is instructive to consider how Iqbal represents the mi‘röj in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam: ‘MuƤammad of Arabia ascended the highest Heaven and returned. I swear by God that if I had reached that point, I should never have returned’. These are the words of a great Muslim saint, ‘Abd al-Quddɫs of Gangoh. In the whole range of Sufi literature it will be probably difficult to find words which, in a single sentence, disclose such an acute perception of the psychological difference between the prophetic and the mystic types of consciousness. The mystic does not wish to return from the repose of ‘unitary experience’; and even when he does return, as he must, his return does not mean much for mankind at large, The prophet’s return is creative. He returns to insert himself into the sweep of time with a view to control the forces of history, and thereby to create a fresh world of ideals. For the mystic the repose of ‘unitary experience’ is something final; for the prophet it is the awakening, within him, of world-shaking psychological forces, calculated to transform the human world.70

This passage needs to be interpreted in the light of Iqbal’s political aesthetic of selfhood. Many of its resonant phrases are applicable to it. First, as we have seen, the creation of a ‘fresh world of ideals’ is an important part of khɫdƮ. This aspect of it is poetically rendered in the second section of Mysteries of the Self, on the need for the self to form ideals, and it is central to selfhood as a form of political agency. Second, throughout Iqbal’s poetry there is a concern with the ‘forces of history’. As we have seen, the historical decline of Islam plays a key role in Iqbal’s aesthetic, and some of his poems, such as ‘Complaint’ and ‘Answer to the Complaint’, represent the grand sweep of Islamic history. These poems also suggest ways in which the revival of a reinterpreted faith-based selfhood might ‘control the forces of history’, and restore Islam’s power in the contemporary world. Third, as we have seen, khɫdƮ is defined against the mystical repose of ‘unitary experience’ as something final. Iqbal’s audacious rendering and appropriation of the mi‘röj in the JövƮd Nöma for his project of selfhood brings together the figures of the prophet, the mystic and the poet, each of whom is transformed in relation to the others, within an aesthetic and philosophical framework of rupture alongside continuity. As we have seen, the JövƮd Nöma concludes with a speech by God. This speech reinforces Iqbal’s notion of khɫdƮ, advising the poet not to gamble away his ‘signet-ring’ of selfhood, and describing him as having come forth brighter than the all-illuming sun, so that he ought to live more intensely, in order to ‘irradiate every mote’.71 Like the drop and

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the ocean, Iqbal often reverses the relationship between the mote and the sun to express the expansiveness of selfhood; he also identifies the latter with the sun to symbolise its power and the warmth of its ardour. This forms one of the lines of imagery in Mysteries of the Self, but it also occurs in the JövƮd Nöma. In the Prelude, Rumi outlines the significance of the mi‘röj in the scheme of selfhood. He exhorts the poet in the context of a face-to-face encounter with God thus: ‘Do not let go of one particle of the glow you have / Tighten the glowing knot in yourself / It is better to increase one’s self-glow / It is better to test one’s self before the sun’ (couplets 131–32). Similarly, in the context of building up selfhood, al-Hallaj tells the poet in ‘The Sphere of Jupiter’: ‘A mote through limitless yearning becomes the envy of the Sun / In its breast are contained a hundred suns’ (couplet 1088). Rumi’s speech reminds us of how the poet’s selfhood tests and maintains itself in the face-to-face encounter with God, rather than being obliterated in fanö. An important aspect of khɫdƮ is the ontological equivalence of God and the human self, and God himself is conceived of in terms of individual selfhood. The content and imagery of God’s speech reflects back to the poet the notion of khɫdƮ. With this in mind, we can unravel the double meaning of the final couplet of the poem: ‘So slender is your cup that the tavern has been put to shame / Seize a glass, drink wisely, and be gone!’ In Sufi terminology, different kinds of cups have different connotations. The word which Iqbal uses in this couplet is ‘jöm’, which is said to symbolise the heart of the Sufi, and its capacity as the space where divine theophanies and illuminations of the Infinite Being appear. The tavern in its various forms symbolises the heart of the Sufi who has realised union with God, and the abode of Sufi masters. Here, in the wine-house, the cup and goblet of all the archetypes of existence are eternally brimming with wine, while the wine-worshippers have fallen down drunk.72 The couplet could be read in conventional terms as signifying the poet’s humility before God, the limited nature of his self and his incapacity to drink (the narrowness of his heart), which disgusts the tavern’s inhabitants. But within the framework of selfhood, the couplet can have an inverse meaning to this one. It is the tavern that is being disgraced here (‘ruswö’, which translates as disgraced, humiliated, dishonoured), not the poet. The smallness of the poet’s cup might signify the protection of his selfhood, the countering of fanö by the project of khɫdƮ, and the refusal to be annihilated in the presence of God, which is further underlined by the wise nature (‘ƤakƮmöna’) of the poet’s drinking. The narrowness of his cup thus evokes the transgressions, even the

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bold arrogance, of selfhood, its refusal to lose itself in the intoxication of self-annihilation. Thus, the final couplet of the JövƮd Nöma has a double meaning. Both these meanings are in interplay with each other and cannot be disentangled. This double meaning reflects the aesthetics of khɫdƮ in Iqbal’s work, which enacts a rupture from Sufism while keeping Sufism in play through the very process of inversion. The force of Iqbal’s inversions relies on the power of what is inverted for it to make sense. Constructed continuities highlight the discontinuities created by rupture. As in the case of his classical poetics, Iqbal recreates the world he enacts his rupture from, and both tradition and innovation sustain each other. The result is a fusion of ecstatic love poetry in a Sufi mode with a political and religious reconstruction of an inverted selfhood, that tries to ground both Muslim separatism and, as we shall see, pan-Islam.

Notes 1. Khamenei, ‘Iqbal’, pp. 138–41. 2. Asrör-e KhɫdƮ, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 3–78; Qureishi, RuƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 153 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, May 10, 1916. 3. Ibid., Letter 64 to Shakir Siddiqui, Dec 7, 1912. 4. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 157. 5. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, p. 144. 6. Muhammad Iqbal. 1907. The Development of Metaphysics in Persia. Lahore: Bazm-i Iqbal, n.d., p. 91. See also p. 89. 7. J.McT.E McTaggart. 1934. Philosophical Studies. London: Edward Arnold, p. 47. For a discussion of the relationship between McTaggart and Iqbal, see Javed Majeed. 1993. ‘Putting God in His Place: Bradley, McTaggart, and Muhammad Iqbal’, Journal of Islamic Studies, 4(2): pp. 208–36. 8. McTaggart, Philosophical Studies, p. 60. 9. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 4–5. 10. Ibid., pp. 44, 142–45, 12–13. 11. Muhammad Iqbal. 1985. TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, ed. Sabir Kalurvi. Lahore: Maktaböh-ye Ta‘mƮr-e InsönƮyyat, pp. 55–56. 12. Majid Fakhry. 1994. Philosophy, Dogma and the Impact of Greek Thought in Islam. Aldershot: Ashgate, Chapter 19. 13. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, p. 3. 14. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, pp. 28–29. 15. Ibid., p. 28. 16. Ibid., p. 30. 17. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 532 to Khan Muhammad Niyazuddin Khan, Jan 20, 1925; and Letter 1119 to Qazi Nazir Ahmed, May 12, 1937. 18. S. A. A. Rizvi. 1978 (1983). A History of Sufism in India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2 vols.

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19. Ibid.; Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, Chapter 8. 20. See the section entitled ‘The Story of the Tiger and Alamgir’. 21. David Washbrook. 1982. ‘Ethnicity and Racialism in Colonial Indian Society’, in Robert Ross (ed.), Racism and Colonialism. The Hague: Leiden University Press, pp. 143–81. Farzana Sheikh. 1989. Community and Consensus in Islam: Muslim Representation in Colonial India, 1860–1947. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Kenneth W. Jones. 1981. ‘Religious Identity and the Indian Census,’ in Gerald Barrier (ed.), The Census in British India: New Perspectives. New Delhi: Manohar, pp. 73–99. 22. Markus Daechsel. 2006. The Politics of Self-expression: The Urdu Middle-class Milieu in Mid-twentieth Century India and Pakistan. Abingdon: Routledge. 23. Jalal, Self and Sovereignty, pp. 41–42. 24. Daechsel, Politics of Self-expression, p. 51. 25. Schimmel, Gabriel’s Wing, p. 42. 26. F. Steingass. 1892 (1988). A Persian-English Dictionary. London: Routledge, p. 483. 27. ‘Answer to the Complaint’ appears in Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 199–208. 28. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 156–57. 29. Ibid., pp. 92–94. 30. Ibid., pp. 45, 47–49, 50–51, 57–58, 61–62, 75, 85, 86–87. 31. Ibid., p. 45. 32. Ibid., p. 82. 33. Ibid., p. 84. 34. Ibid., p. 70. 35. Ibid., p. 70. 36. Literally, the cry is ‘I am another (‘dƮgaram’), you are yet another’ (‘tɫ digarƮ’), which conveys a stronger sense of the separateness of individuation, in that each entity is already ‘another’. 37. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 131–32. 38. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 94–116 discussing al-Ishraqi, and pp. 144–45 discussing Bahaullah. 39. Fariduddin ‘Attar. 1373 A.H. Manɠiq uɠ-ɤair. Tehran: DƮbö. 40. Peter Avery. 1998 (2001). The Speech of the Birds. Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, line 3343, 3345. 41. R. A. Nicholson (transl.). 1920 (1983). Muhammad Iqbal’s The Secrets of the Self. Lahore: Ashraf Press, 1983, pp. xxv–xxvi. 42. Ibn Mansur al-Hallaj c. 858–922, was a controversial Sufi figure whose death in Baghdad is an important reference point in the history of Sufism. He was arrested and imprisoned for reportedly uttering the words ‘Ana al-Ƥaqq’ (‘I am God/Truth’). He was accused of claiming to be divine, and was executed in 922. 43. Schimmel, Gabriel’s Wing, pp. 104–5 discusses how Iqbal recasts mystical images of wine. 44. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 4–5. 45. Avery, Speech of the Birds, couplets 833, 335, 231, 809, 1085–86, 3944–48, and note 99, p. 479. 46. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 143–45.

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47. Although the translation ‘unity of being’ is generally accepted, Schimmel has pointed out that the term ‘wujɫd’ literally means ‘finding’, ‘to be found’ and is thus more dynamic than ‘existence’. Thus waƤdat al-wujɫd also means the unity of existentialisation and the perception of this act. See ibid., p. 267. 48. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 133 to Khwajah Hassan Nizami, Dec 30, 1915, Letter 143 to Shah Suleiman Phulvarui, Feb 24, 1916, and Letter 156 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Jun 24, 1916. 49. Rizvi, A History of Sufism in India, Vol. 2. 50. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 72. 51. Ibid., pp. 152–53. 52. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 141 to Khan Muhammad Niyaz ud din Khan, Feb 13, 1916. 53. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 77. 54. Iqbal, Development of Metaphysics, p. 147. 55. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, pp. 31–34. 56. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 77. 57. Ibid., p. 114. 58. Ibid., pp. 10, 86–87, 58. 59. M. S. Raschid. 1981. Iqbal’s Concept of God. London: R. K. Paul, pp. 59–60, 62. For my comments on this, see Majeed, ‘Putting God in His Place’, pp. 208–36. 60. Nicholson, Muhammad Iqbal’s The Secrets of the Self, p. 79. 61. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, p. 272. 62. Peter J. Awn. 1983. Satan’s Tragedy and Redemption: IblƮs in Sufi Psychology. Leiden: E. J. Brill, p. 11. 63. The best study of this is Awn, ibid. 64. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 193–97. 65. Javad Nurbaksh. 1984. Sufi Symbolism. London: Khaniqahi-Nimatuallah Publications, Vol. 1, pp. 160–62, 209, 208, 212. 66. Ibid., pp. 143–44; Javad Nurbaksh. 1991. Sufi Symbolism. London: KhaniqahiNimatuallah Publications, Vol. 5, pp. 1–10. 67. This is discussed further in Chapter 3. 68. ‘Mi‘rödj’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993 (hereafter EI2), Vol. 7, pp. 97–105, p. 97. 69. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 99. 70. Ibid. 71. In the first section of Asrör-e KhɫdƮ, the signet-ring is used to dramatise the acquisition and loss of selfhood: ‘If the seal-ring had had more substance (‘pukhta’) by nature / It would not have suffered from wounds / Since it derives its value from bearing the name of another / Its shoulder is galled by the weight of another’s name’ (couplets 127–28). Conversely, one’s own signet-ring, bearing one’s own name, symbolises selfhood and the ability to imprint it on the world. 72. Nurbaksh, Sufi Symbolism, Vol. 1, lines 130–32, 200–4.

3 KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ: Selfhood and its Fluctuations In the last chapter, we saw how Iqbal’s inversion of Sufi concepts is

paralleled by his inversion of the conventional images of Sufi poetry. This results in a poetic argument which ranges from stressing the metaphysical substantiality of selfhood to overt politicisations of it. In this poetic argument, his divided attitude to Sufism and classical poetics is brought together, and his willed alienation from both is dramatised in terms of the aesthetic interplay between tradition and innovation. However, there is another important aspect to Iqbal’s political aesthetic of khɫdƮ. In a letter of January 4, 1920, responding to some verses sent to him by their author for his criticisms, Iqbal described his correspondent’s will power as being erased (Iqbal uses the word ‘fanö’ here) by the power of poetry. The price of the imagination, Iqbal adds, is the will power and determination which the poet has to express.1 Elsewhere in his letters he suggests that the writing of poetry is not a consciously willed process, but an inborn talent, or a God-given gift, over which the poet has no control. The poet is not always aware of the meanings of his words.2 We have already seen how for the classical poet his or her identity was not an active issue in their work, whereas Iqbal strove to make his persona an open question in his poetry. The definition of his poetic persona was closely involved with the construction of khɫdƮ. In order to achieve this, he had to alienate himself from classical poetics and Sufism, and even write against the fundamental conception of his poetry in that tradition to will into being that selfhood. In doing so, poems enact khɫdƮ as a process, in which selfhood fluctuates. The fears and hopes of this selfhood are posed in the poet’s expression of his confusion in the Sphere of Venus in JövƮd Nöma (Section 4), as to his station (‘I know not where my station is / I know this, that it is far from friends’) and his fearfulness of both union and separation (‘firöq’) (couplets 759, 764). The fluctuations of khɫdƮ as process are especially apparent in one of his key poetic arguments, Mysteries of the Self, a work which he referred to in his letters as the purpose of his life, and as discussing the ‘reality’ (‘ƤaqƮqat’) and ‘strength’ (‘istiƤköm’) of selfhood.3

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 41

The Fluctuations of KhɫdƮ The prologue of Mysteries of the Self encapsulates the movements of selfhood in the poem as a whole. There are five movements in the prologue. The first begins with the figure of the poet at dawn in a garden (‘When the world-illumining sun struck the path of the night’), overcome by grief, ‘moistening the face of the rose’ with his tears, and washing sleep away from the eye of the narcissus. The poem, then, begins with a figure of the poet not dissimilar to that of grief-stricken poets lampooned in BandagƮ Nama as practitioners of the arts of servitude. But like the dew, the poet has a regenerating effect on the garden; his mournful verse is sown by a gardener in the soil of the garden, who also weaves together the poet’s lament. The first four couplets refer to the poet’s creative potential, but as yet the poet is material in the hands of an external agency, who plants his verse and weaves his discourse. In the second movement, the poet constructs his own spacious interiority, reversing and multiplying the opening image of dawn by proclaiming that within his breast are a hundred dawns. The garden image is also re-used by being internalised, with the poet referring to how his garden is beautiful before the leaves are green, and how it contains roses that have yet to bloom. Here, the sense of deep inwardness is evoked by the use of the words ‘andar nihön’, or ‘inside the within’, so as to suggest a strong sense of ‘within-ness’. In addition, the poet declares that though he is a mote (‘zarra’), the radiant sun (‘mihr-e munƮr’) is his. In this couplet, both hemistiches rhyme with each other through the use of an izafat compound, which includes the first person possessive pronoun (‘ön-e man ast’ and ‘garƮbön-e man ast’), so that there is a double reinforcement of the poet’s power to take possession of what was initially external to him. Thus, what was external to the poet, the scene of the garden at dawn, now represents the potentialities of the poet’s own inner space: ‘From the East my dawn arrives and defeats the night / Fresh dew settles on the rose of the world’ (couplet 15). In contrast to his earlier reliance on others, the world is seen as his own musical instrument to play upon (couplet 9). As we saw in Chapter 2, the transgressive nature of khɫdƮ is sometimes manifested in hyperbolic excess. Here the poet’s hyperbolic extension of his own power, immediately after the conventional opening of the poem, heightens that transgressive effect. However, this hyperbole is modulated by a note of nervous anticipation, suggested by the sea and the mountains as yet untouched by the poet’s

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sun (‘Untouched is the sea by my crimson rays / Untouched are the mountains by the colour of my henna’, couplet 13), and by the poet’s own anxiety at his shimmering newness as a sun: ‘The eye of existence is not familiar with me / I rise, my body trembling, from fear of showing myself’ (couplet 14). The rest of this movement establishes a repertoire of arresting images of khɫdƮ, which the poet will call upon as his selfhood develops in the poem. It establishes the poetic ground for what it is to follow. All of these conceits and images are inversions or reversals of conventional ones, such as reversing the relationship between a drop and the ocean (couplet 20, cited earlier, and couplets 26–27: ‘No river can contain my sea of Oman [i.e., Persian Gulf] / Whole seas are needed to contain my storms’), or imagining the poet as a spring cloud bringing much needed rain to the bed of roses. The fluctuating nature of selfhood in the prologue is also signalled by the third movement of the prelude (couplets 37–47). This begins with the poet’s invocation of the söqƮ to fill his cup with wine, and to ‘pour moonbeams into the night time of my thoughts’ (couplet 43). In this section, the poet combines a reliance on the söqƮ as external to himself, with a representation of the transformative potency of his own verse. This evokes his fluctuating subject-position in relation to others, and enacts the difficulties of khɫdƮ as the assertiveness of self-definition. The poet becomes a fulcrum in which different subject-positions meet and separate, a site of transition from passive acquiescence to an active agent. This is captured in the following couplets: ‘Rise SöqƮ, and pour clear wine into my cup / Pour moonbeams into the night time of my thoughts / That I might draw the wanderer to his destination / And give the onlooker a taste of restlessness / And become an ardent seeker on a new quest / And become a champion of a new desire’ (couplets 43–45). Here, the end rhyme of the first person of the present stem of ‘shudan’, ‘to become’, underlines the poet’s sense of a potential first person agency, even as it is framed within an invocation to the söqƮ. The fourth movement of the prologue (couplets 48–93) recapitulates these previous processes of self-formation. Here the fledgling poet seeks encouragement from Rumi, who addresses the poet in order to inspire him on his poetic mission. Moreover, Rumi’s address enacts the play between tradition and innovation which we find in Iqbal’s verse as a whole. He invokes conventional images, conceits and figures, from references to proclaiming the secrets of the Sufi teacher’s wine (couplet 66), to allusions to the figures of Leila and Majnun (couplet 68).4

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 43

Rumi also refers to the opening of his own MasnavƮ, when he exhorts the poet to be like the reed-flute (‘nay’) and bring a message from the reed-bed (‘nƮstön’, couplet 68). At the same time, Rumi exhorts the poet to create a new style (‘andöz’) for his own song, thereby refreshing and recreating the poetic assembly with his strains (couplet 69), and encourages him to start a journey on a new path, putting aside the passionate melancholy of old (couplet 71). In this way, the dialectic between innovation and tradition in the ongoing aesthetic process of the poet’s khɫdƮ is central to the poet’s relationship with Rumi in this section of the poem. Iqbal appropriates the figure of Rumi, a master figure in traditional Sufi poetry, to legitimise his own innovative political aesthetic. Although the poet is the addressee here, Rumi’s address is itself written by Iqbal, and so Rumi is already supplanted by Iqbal’s sense of his own poetic mission. This orientation towards the future is further indicated by Rumi’s final words, ‘O bell of the caravan, awake’ (couplet 72). Böng-e Darö or ‘The Caravan’s Bell’, was to be a collection of Iqbal’s verse, published in 1923. Iqbal also casts his relationship with Rumi in a way which alludes to the play between fanö and khɫdƮ in his reworked Sufi universe: ‘I am a wave that finds its place in his [Rumi’s] sea / So that I might become a glistening pearl’ (couplet 53). Here the ending of both hemistiches with the first person form of the present participle of ‘kardan’, to do or make, underlines the sense of the poet’s agency being defined in relation to others, through the play of imagery which enacts that interaction, and recalls the Sufi background which the poet breaks from. These fluctuations of selfhood, and the dramatisation of its struggle to define itself, are also evident in the final movement of the prologue. Here the poet asserts himself and his own aesthetic in the wake of Rumi’s rousing address, but again in terms of a fluctuating process. He proclaims what is to be the central notion of his aesthetic as a whole: ‘I unveiled the secret of khɫdƮ / I showed the wondrous secret of khɫdƮ’ (couplet 75). But this couplet is immediately followed by one referring to his own unfinished condition, so that selfhood remains a project and a process, rather than something given from the start. Part of the poet’s self-assertion is also evident in the representation of his poetic self-awareness. Iqbal calls attention to the qualities of his own verse self-reflexively; that is, he explicitly states the qualities of his verse, but in verse which at the same time exemplifies those qualities. He distances himself from poetry (‘shö‘irƮ’) and the charming style of the

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Persian poets of the past, with their stress on beauty (‘Ƥusn-e andöz-e bayön’, couplets 87, 89) but does so in the rhyming couplets of the traditional masnavƮ form, much loved by these poets. In doing so, he modulates conventional imagery by referring to his aim to make the drop co-equal with the sea, and the sand grow into the desert (couplet 86). The prologue ends with a couplet which appeals to the reader not to find fault with the wine-cup, but to pay attention instead to the taste (‘zauq’) of the wine itself. This privileges content over form, bending the traditional poetic form to make it transparent to the poet’s innovative content of khɫdƮ, and it does so by innovatively inflecting traditional imagery of wine to suggest a reversal between form and content (previous poets focused on form at the expense of meaningful content, he will do the opposite). This reversal is rendered in the rhyming couplets of the masnavƮ form, and so this final couplet of the prologue exemplifies the multiple levels of the interaction between tradition and innovation in Iqbal’s verse. It enacts the creation of harmonious dissonance which is key to his distinctive style, and to the process of selfhood which that style articulates. In its fluctuations between a dependency on external others, and the creation of the agency of selfhood, the prologue sets the tone and defines the movement of selfhood in other sections of Mysteries of the Self too. Thus, Section 10 of the poem, ‘Explicating the Secrets of the Names of Ali’, mirrors the movements of the prologue. This section begins with the poet as a passive recipient of Ali’s life-giving attributes, drawing power from them (couplets 483–86). Ali is then opened up as a model to emulate (couplets 496–98; 502–5), and here rather than being a passive recipient, the poet and the addressee begin to become active agents, moulding the world and their environments (couplets 509–18). Again, the role of the poet is crucial here, as he becomes a fulcrum for the interplay between passivity and active agency, and a site for the creation of selfhood. Different sections of the poem as a whole also capture these movements of selfhood, with separate sections detailing what strengthens and what weakens the self (for example, Sections 2 to 5), and other sections explicating views of selfhood within Islamic culture opposed to khɫdƮ, which have to be overcome (for example, Sections 6, 7 and 14). The prologue to Mysteries of the Self, then, enacts selfhood as a process. It dramatises the struggle for selfhood and agency, and establishes a repertoire of images, conceits and poetic strategies, which criss-cross the poem as a whole, held together as an aesthetic unit by the rhyming

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 45

couplets of the masnavƮ form. These are constantly being developed and re-developed in the text, articulating the self-fashioning of khɫdƮ which is the poem’s subject matter. For this reason, the poem reads like a draft of its own meaning, explicating its rationale as it develops. The first section of the poem after the prologue, for example, on how ‘the system (‘nizöm’) of the universe develops from khɫdƮ’, recasts earlier versions of images which relied on discrete and stable entities being measured against each other in terms of their size. These become unstable and are related to each other through the creative work of selfhood. Thus, in the prologue, as we have seen, the poet presents a vibrant scene of mountains and the sea as yet untouched by the poet’s ‘dancing rays’ (couplet 13). This anticipatory scene of the poet’s own arrival is also an anticipation of how this imagery is to be reworked. In the invocation to the söqƮ, the latter’s wine is seen as giving the weight of a mountain to a straw (couplet 40). We have also seen how in the prologue the expansiveness of selfhood is rendered in part by the way in which the drop is to be co-equal with the sea, and the sand grows into the desert. Following the prologue, though, the first section of the poem represents the creative work of khɫdƮ in terms of its self-multiplication and self-unification thus: ‘It dissolved itself and created atoms / It was scattered for a while and created deserts / It wearied of dispersion / And through re-uniting itself it became the mountains’ (couplets 113–14). Here the contestation between sand and desert, straw and mountain, which relies on the differences of size between discrete entities for the forcefulness of the poetic inversion behind khɫdƮ to work, is unravelled. These entities now merge into each other as part of the process of selfhood creating its own playful universe. The playful purposefulness of selfhood is also captured in this section by the use of verbs to express the Self’s activities: ‘It rises, kindles, falls, glows, breathes / Burns, shines, walks, and flies’ (couplet 109). Here the use of the third person singular form of these verbs, without a separate pronoun, highlights the dynamic and active nature of the way khɫdƮ manifests itself. The centrality of selfhood to this poetic universe is also underlined by the way its acquisition and loss is expressed in terms of the changing shapes of entities: ‘When the mountain leaves itself, it becomes a desert / And complains that the sea surges over it / The wave, so long as it remains a wave in the sea’s embrace / Can make itself a rider on the sea’s back / The candle also concatenated itself / It built itself out of atoms / Then it made a practice of melting itself and fled from itself / Until like tears it trickled down its own eye’ (couplets 121–22, 125–26).

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A similar process occurs in the 14th section of the poem, where there is an imagined dialogue between a mountain and a river, each becoming an emblem of different aspects of selfhood. In Chapter 1, we saw how rivers played an important symbolic role in Iqbal’s aesthetic landscape. They are also an evocative emblem of the poet’s selfhood; in the JövƮd Nöma, the poet goes by the name of ‘zinda rɫd’ or ‘living stream’. In this section of Mysteries of the Self, the river Ganges mocks the Himalayas for its statuesque immobility, stressing that life springs from continual movement, and that motion is the wave’s essence (couplets 639–40). The Himalayas reply by pointing to how the river’s end is not a defined selfhood, but instead fanö, since it sinks into the sea. In contrast, the mountain represents the adamantine substance of individuality, resistant to erosion by water (couplet 653). Its inner fire also creates rubies, diamonds and other gems, which cannot be damaged by water (couplet 652). In other sections of the poem, such as Section 12, jewels are contrasted to ephemeral drops of water, with the poet punning on the idea of ‘öb’ or ‘water’ as both liquid (in this case a dew drop) and the lustre or water of a jewel. In asserting itself as a more adequate emblem of selfhood, the mountain gives yet another inflection to the image of the garden, exhorting the river to be self-contained like the rose in the garden, and not to spread its perfume abroad (couplet 646). It also expresses the long time span that is needed for self-growth and the development of selfhood, referring to how its being grew and reached the sky (couplet 649). After this dialogue between mountain and river, the section ends with the poet exhorting the drop of water to wrestle with the sea, forcing the sea to beg the drop for its own storms, or to become the water of a jewel (couplets 654–58). This is also the appeal at the end of Section 12, where the earlier association between the poet and the dew in the opening of the prologue, as discussed earlier, is broken. Here the self-exhortation is to be a diamond, not a dew drop, and become massive in nature, like a mountain (couplets 591–92). On the one hand, then, the river personifies some elements of Iqbal’s thought which endorse movement and travel (we will see how important the latter is for Iqbal), and the mountain suggests immobility; but then the mountain comes to personify other aspects of khɫdƮ, and the river comes to be an inadequate emblem of it. At the same time, aspects of the garden are reworked to represent one dimension of selfhood, namely its self-containment. In this movement of images, the river has to transform itself in relation to the ocean, while the ocean becomes aware of its own inadequacy, suing the drop of water for storms.

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 47

The restlessness of khɫdƮ is enacted, then, not only through the content of its images, but also in the way these images are shown to be inadequate to any full expression of what selfhood might be; each symbolic entity gives way to others in the twists and turns of selfhood as it interacts with its landscape. This landscape becomes a site for its self-reflection, with mountains, rivers and oceans reminding the self of how it can imaginatively appropriate qualities essential for its own growth. Each separate section of the poem, then, refashions the poem’s repertoire of images in accordance with the station of the self in that particular section. Having established selfhood as a basic principle in the first section, the second section of the poem moves on to the means for engendering it through the creation of desire (‘örzɫ’). Desire suggests a lack which has to be overcome or fulfilled, and which therefore energises khɫdƮ into action, and even brings it into being. In this section, certain images are recast, this time in connection with the celebration of desire as a permanent part of selfhood: ‘Desire adorns khɫdƮ in uproar / It is the wave of restlessness in the ocean of khɫdƮ’ (couplet 142). Here selfhood and the ocean are conflated, so that the image of the ocean is recast from the perspective of the interiority of selfhood. This image of introspection, processing inwardly the external expanse of the ocean, is balanced by a couplet celebrating the separation of the reed from the reed bed, that recalls the opening lines of Rumi’s MasnavƮ: ‘Away from the reed bed the reed flourished / The music was freed from its prison’ (couplet 147). Here the connection between the state of flourishing and the condition of freedom is underlined by the end rhyme of ‘öböd shud’ and ‘özöd shud’, brought together through the separation of the reed from its own source, just as Iqbal brings together Rumi’s opening lines with his own departure from it in his own couplet. Whereas in Rumi the reed-flute’s music bewails its separation, here the existence of the music of separation is a sign of the creative freedom of selfhood. This bringing together through separation is another instance of Iqbal’s creation of harmonious dissonance in his verse.

The Vacillations of Be-khɫdƮ These fluctuations of khɫdƮ, then, dramatise the process of selfhood in Mysteries of the Self. However, there is another aspect to these fluctuations, which involves the question of selflessness or be-khɫdƮ in Iqbal’s poetry and thought. As if to offset the possible anarchic consequences of his scheme of selfhood, the ninth section of Mysteries of

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the Self, ‘Showing that the Education of the Self has Three Stages: Obedience, Self-Control, and Divine Regency’, is characterised by a different set of images altogether, representing the need to confine selfhood within the limits of law. The section begins with the image of the camel as exemplifying the traits of ‘service and toil’ (‘khidmat va maƤnat’). This model of patience is recommended to the reader, who is exhorted to carry the burdens of religious duty (‘farö’i˂’). The theme of necessary restrictions on khɫdƮ is underlined by a new permutation of garden imagery, which now expresses the importance of structuring selfhood by restraining it: ‘Imprisonment in the flower-bud makes the air fragrant / Confinement in the navel of the musk-deer makes the perfume become musk’ (couplet 416). The reversal of the imagery of selfhood is reinforced by the grammatical structure of this couplet, in which imprisonment and confinement are the grammatical subjects. It is as though selfhood has willingly exchanged places with constraint. This imagery of selflessness has its own set of permutations too, so that, like khɫdƮ, it is a process as well. Thus, in the second part of this section which depicts self-control, the camel becomes an image of self-conceit, obstinacy and self-will (couplet 424). In the Persian, these are compound terms, conjoining ‘khɫd’ with nouns or verbs to produce negative connotations (thus, ‘khɫd-parast’, ‘khɫd-savör’, ‘khɫd-sar’), so that the reversal of khɫdƮ appears to be even more complete; the term ‘self’ now appears in a new lexical world. Furthermore, the camel becomes a symbol of the body and sensuality, which the reader is exhorted to control (couplet 445). This process of constraining selfhood is continued in another of Iqbal’s extended poetic arguments, Mysteries of Selflessness, which Iqbal repeatedly referred to in his letters as the second part of his masnavƮ, thereby suggesting that he viewed both Mysteries of the Self and Mysteries of Selflessness as one continuous text.5 In the ninth section of Mysteries of the Self, the poet refers to liberty (‘ikhtiyör’) as being born from constraint (‘jabr’, couplet 413). The poetic argument of Mysteries of Selflessness is an explication of a neo-Kantian position, that in order to be free one has to willingly submit to the law. For Iqbal this willing submission of khɫdƮ to the law is essential to the formation of an Islamic community. The focus on the societal in Mysteries of Selflessness is immediately apparent from its diction of community, which is absent from Mysteries of the Self. The key terms which run through the poem are ‘qaum’, ‘waɠan’, ‘millat’, ‘jamö‘at’, ‘ɓoƤbat’, and very occasionally ‘ummat’. In keeping with this, the poetic argument seems to reverse the images of selfhood. In Mysteries of the Self a typical symbol of selfhood which the reader is

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 49

asked to identify with is the burning candle, as opposed to the moth which immolates itself in the flame. In the last section of the poem, the poet also identifies with the candle, imagining himself as the candle that burns openly, and burning for others. He also complains that it is not easy for a candle to burn alone (couplets 852, 841, 856). In the section of the poem outlining Plato’s influence on Sufi notions of the self, he characterises the notions he defines selfhood against as glorifying the extinguished candle (couplet 319). In Mysteries of Selflessness, on the other hand, in the ‘Dedication to the Muslim Community’ which opens the poem, he exhorts his readers to ‘learn the mystery of the ardour of the moth / Make your nest in the flame’ (couplet 6). Here the use of the singular of ‘rumɫz’, ‘ramz’, for mystery, ties this image closely to the title of the poem. Similarly, the emperor Aurangzeb is represented as the moth fluttering around the flame of God’s unity (‘tauƤƮd’, couplet 195). In the section on Prophet Muhammad’s mission to ‘found freedom, equality and brotherhood among all mankind’, he refers to the pan-Islamic community as ‘a moth devoted to Muhammad’s flame’ (couplet 261). This Islamicisation of the image is continued in the section on the objective of an Islamic community being the ‘preservation and propagation of God’s unity’. Here he invokes the image of the moth fluttering around the candle again: ‘The moth’s heart carries the delightful taste (‘zauq’) of burning / For that joy it circles the candle’ (couplet 725). The word ‘zauq’ has multiple connotations. While it means taste and delight, it is also a Sufi term, which Iqbal defines in The Development of Metaphysics in Persia as an ‘inner perception’ which reveals ‘non-temporal and non-spatial planes of being’. He argues that ‘it is the study of philosophy, or the habit of reflecting upon pure concepts, combined with the practice of virtue’, which sharpens this sense of discrimination.6 The basic importance of this notion of seeing is clear when in the JövƮd Nöma he defines religious faith in Islam as ‘attaching the eye to the invisible (‘ghö’ib’)’. This vision includes denying distinctions between tribes and ethnic groups, and especially denying the ‘supremacy of the Arabs’ (couplets 466, 469) so that in the ultimate analysis ‘zauq’ as a perception of the non-material reality of God’s unity and a sociological vision of the nature of Islam become conflated. This conflation of religious belief’s faith in the unseen with a sociological vision of a faith community is also clear in the reversal of other characteristic images of khɫdƮ. When figuring the triangular relationship between the individual, God and the Prophet, the poet writes:

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‘In God the individual, in him the community (‘millat’) lives / In his Sun’s rays resplendent’ (couplet 231). The ardent faith of the first generation of Muslims is represented similarly: ‘Their motes were radiant in the flame of that sun’s sanctuary [i.e. the Prophet]’ (couplet 262). Elsewhere in the poem, the poet reinstates the conventional imagery of the garden in spring, and its associations with the söqƮ and his wine, to figure a Muslim community which is unbounded by time. Here I cite from Arberry’s elegant translation: In Spring thou hast heard the clamorous nightingale, And watched the resurrection of the flowers; The buds arrayed like brides; from the dark earth A veritable city of stars arise; The meadow bathed in the soft tears of dawn That slumbered to the river’s lullaby. A bud bursts into blossom on the branch; The breeze new-risen takes it to her breast; A bloom lies bleeding in the gatherer’s hand And like a perfume from the mead departs. The ring-dove builds his nest; the nightingale Takes wing; the dew drops softly, and the scent Is sped. What though these mortal tulips die, They lessen not the splendour of the Spring; For all the loss, its treasure still abides Abundant, still the thronging blossoms smile. The season of the rose endures beyond The fragile eglantine, yea, it outlives The rose’s self, the cypress, and the fir; The jewel-nourishing mine bears jewels yet, Unminished by the shattering of one gem. Dawn is departed from the East, and night Gone from the West; their too-brief-historied cup Visits no more the wine vat of the days; Yet, though the draught be drunk, the wine remains Eternal as the morrow that awaits When all our yesterdays are drowned in death (couplets 481–93).7

In this extended poetic passage, the restlessness of selfhood is conspicuous by its absence. Instead, we have a moving and lyrical meditation on the transitory nature of spring in the phenomenal world, which gives way to the garden in spring as an ideal image that remains undiminished by its instantiation in the temporal world. This ideal spring is a metaphor for the abiding nature of the Muslim community, despite

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 51

its historical fluctuations in the temporal world. The flow of wine is like the flow of time, but that which generates its flow remains, grounding the permanence of an imagined Islamic community. In many ways, then, it would appear that the aesthetics of be-khɫdƮ dominates in Mysteries of Selflessness. In the prelude to the poem on ‘the bond between individual (‘fard’) and community (‘millat’)’, the poet sets out his argument that the individual self only makes sense if it is constrained and structured by community. In their relationship, the individual and community mirror each other; it is only by fettering the individual that he or she can be free (couplets 46, 59–62). In this same section, this relationship is presented again in terms of garden imagery: ‘KhɫdƮ negates itself in the community (‘jamö‘at’) / So that from a petal it can become an orchard’ (couplet 75). However, as in the case of khɫdƮ, the aesthetics of be-khɫdƮ is self-reflexive as well, so that the latter does not imply an absence of self-consciousness. Thus, in the prelude again, in order to illustrate the reciprocal relationship between community and the individual, the poet uses the following analogy: ‘The word that sits outside its own couplet / Shatters the jewel of the theme (‘ma˂mɫn’) in its own pocket’ (couplet 59). Selflessness and its role in the formation of a sense of community is compared to the rhyming couplets of Iqbal’s own poetry with its extended poetic theme of community. Each word must have its place within the constraints of the rhyming couplets of the masnavƮ in order for the theme of be-khɫdƮ to be articulated. Elsewhere in this poem Iqbal represents aspects of selflessness in similar terms. The relationship between individual Muslims and the community is described as akin to ‘strings on one lute of the same concord’ (couplet 278), and the centrality of Muslim law to an Islamic community’s identity is represented thus: ‘As sound controlled gives rise to a melody / So when control is absent from sound, dissonance is the result / In our throats a breath is but a wave of air / Which when constricted in the reed becomes a note’ (couplets 529–30). Here the fact that each hemistich as well as each couplet rhymes with the other, so that there is a fourfold rhyme, creates the aural harmony which the poet images as an emblem of a harmoniously imagined Muslim community. At one point in the poem, the poet even equates the advent of Islam with the very possibility of measured articulation: ‘We were a word unvoiced in the world / Through his apostleship we became a measured verse’ (couplet 218). Iqbal’s commitment to the traditional forms of poetry, and especially rhyming couplets (in one of his letters he describes metre as the ‘fortress

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of poetry’ which should never be given up), is a formal dramatisation of be-khɫdƮ as well as a reflection of it.8 The dialectic between khɫdƮ and be-khɫdƮ in his work as a whole is in a sense already contained within the interplay between the constraints of the rhyming couplets and the metre of the masnavƮ form in Mysteries of the Self, and the restless images of inversion and expansiveness which characterise that selfhood. However, in the interplay between self and selflessness, the relationship of individual to community is sometimes presented as subtler than simply a mirror reflection of each other. In the section on the first pillar of the Islamic community as the unity of God, Iqbal writes: ‘The heart is a station to itself and to alienation (‘begönagƮ’) / Passion is intoxicated when the cup is shared’ (couplet 130). The couplet here suggests how a community is formed through shared self-alienation, which at the same time makes the self at home with itself; this is further underlined by the rhyming of ‘begönagƮ’ with ‘paimönagƮ’ (a measure, a cup), so that the relationship between that alienation, measured sharing, and being at home is reinforced. At other points, the relationship is represented as a series of complex mediations in which the original substance of khɫdƮ is not erased but transformed (here I cite Arberry’s polished translation again): If thou wilt take a drop of April shower And nurture it within the garden’s close Till, like the dew of the abounding Spring, A rosebud takes it to its near embrace, Then, in the rays of heaven-glittering dawn Whose magic knots the blossoms on the branch, Thou shalt draw out the lucent element Within its substance, all the ecstasy Of leaping in its trembling particles. (couplets 663–66)9

The measured verse here adds to the tranquil picture of a long drawn out process. In this process, the ecstasy of leaping and the careful tending within the garden’s close becomes emblematic of the nurturing of an individual self through the different levels of mediation into a community of selves. There are other ways, too, in which Mysteries of Selflessness dramatises the dialectic between be-khɫdƮ and khɫdƮ. Section 3 on the life-sapping emotions of ‘despair (‘yös’), grief and fear’, which a belief in the unity of God overcomes, recalls the second section of Mysteries of the Self, where, having established selfhood as basic principle, Iqbal moves onto the

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 53

means for engendering it through the creation of desire. The allusion to that section is signalled by the first hemistich in this section of Mysteries of Selflessness on how a living death is the result of the amputation of desire (couplet 145). As was suggested, desire suggests a lack which has to be overcome or fulfilled, and which therefore energises self into action, and even brings selfhood into being. By the same token, each self’s recognition of lack is necessary for the tying together of each individual selfhood with other individualities. Hence the meditation on despair in Mysteries of Selflessness. The means to overcome despair for Iqbal lie in religious faith, and especially the belief in the unity of God, which becomes central to his imagining of a Muslim community, whose main purpose is to preserve and propagate that belief. The overcoming of despair as an ongoing emotional experience is an essential component of the processes of selfhood and selflessness, and for the sense of unity created by a belief in the oneness of God. It is part of the process of linking together the singular experiences of individuals into the shared experiences of a community, and in this, individuality is not effaced but is central to the construction of a group identity. In keeping with the dialectical link between opposites in Iqbal’s verse, the keenness of despair and fear is part of the emotional experience of a self-reflexive faith, as opposed to the blindness of a static faith with an attenuated emotional life in which such emotions have no place.

KhɫdƮ or Be-khɫdƮ? The interplay between khɫdƮ and be-khɫdƮ, then, is central to Iqbal’s vision of an Islamic community, for which, in Iqbal’s words, ‘Islam is a method of personal illumination on the one hand and social experiment on the other’.10 Selflessness also seems to be a sociological, communal rendering of the Sufi notion of fanö. In one of his letters, he defines selflessness in terms of leaving one’s personal and individual inclinations and opinions behind in order to follow God’s commands; he adds that this is a version of fanö.11 Given the stress on the Islamic community and the theological-moral imperatives that bind it together, be-khɫdƮ might also be seen as Iqbal’s return to Sufism as originally representing, in his conception of it, living one’s everyday life according to the tenets of Islamic belief and practice, and as the practice of sincere worship.12 Schimmel is in agreement with Iqbal’s conception of early Sufism when she describes Sufism in the formative period of Islam as ‘mainly an

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interiorization of Islam, a personal experience of the central mystery of Islam, that of tauƤƮd’.13 Given that Mysteries of Selflessness follows Mysteries of the Self, it might appear that ultimately be-khɫdƮ has priority in Iqbal’s political aesthetic. At times, certainly, the former reads as an attempt to discipline and contain what Hardt and Negri have called ‘liberated singularities’.14 This is also Arberry’s view, who sees Mysteries of Selflessness as a response to the possible anarchic consequences of the ‘Iqbalian conception of selfhood’.15 However, I shall argue here that it is khɫdƮ, and not be-khɫdƮ, that has political and aesthetic priority in Iqbal’s work. First, the real interest of be-khɫdƮ derives from its interplay with selfhood, but the converse does not hold; khɫdƮ is of interest in its own right. The very constitution of the term be-khɫdƮ, with the prefix ‘be’ signifying negation, privileges selfhood. Unless khɫdƮ was there in the first place, there would be no work for be-khɫdƮ to do, and the make-up of the latter term reflects this. Similarly, while the harmonious dissonance of Iqbal’s poetry might be read as a way of resolving the tension between selfhood and selflessness, the distinctiveness of that poetry lies in its striking a dissonant note. Without that, Iqbal’s poetry would swing between a lacklustre reproduction of the styles of classical poetry and an empty didacticism. Secondly, in terms of the chronology of Iqbal’s work, Mysteries of Selflessness is succeeded by the JövƮd Nöma, with its appropriation of the mi‘röj as a motif for the journey of selfhood. The audacity of that appropriation is itself testimony to the power of khɫdƮ. Thirdly, in aesthetic terms, be-khɫdƮ is a return to the aesthetic conventions which Iqbal breaks from, or at least it reverses the characteristic images of selfhood. However, this reversal occurs through the prism of khɫdƮ itself. Be-khɫdƮ acquires its aesthetic significance and poetic value from the self-consciousness of the former. The images in Mysteries of Selflessness are only noteworthy and surprising because the scene has been set by the poetic argument for selfhood in Mysteries of the Self, with its images of inversion and strategies of rupture. Otherwise the images in Mysteries of Selflessness would not merit critical attention. Fourthly, the images of selflessness tend to highlight, through constraint, the very intensity of selfhood, from the image of the wave immobilised in the gem, to that of the imprisoned bird, which washes from its wing the will to fly, yet seeks new stratagems every moment, tying difficult knots which it resolves with ease (couplets 678, couplets 683–86). This self-referring vocabulary of the twisting and

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 55

turnings of selfhood is foregrounded by constraint rather than displaced or erased by it. Fifthly, Mysteries of Selflessness begins with a complex series of mediations, constructed by the poet, to create a community out of his political aesthetic. In other words, the poem begins with images of selflessness which are contained within the figuring of the poet’s own selfhood, as creating the communicative nexus which makes a community possible: ‘From the liquid blue sky an ocean trickles / Momentarily over my burning heart / Which I channel narrower than a brook / So that I may fling it into your garden’s dish’ (couplets 20–21). This complex sequence of expansiveness and multiple containment dramatises the poet’s wilful curtailment of himself within the framework of his poetic creativity. A similarly complex series of poetic moments concludes this opening section of the poem, stylishly rendered by Arberry thus: Love, like the tulip, has one brand at heart, And on its bosom wears a single rose; And so my solitary rose I pin Upon your turban, and cry havoc aloud Against your drunken slumber, hoping yet Tulips may blossom from your earth anew Breathing the fragrance of the breeze of Spring (couplets 40–42).16

Here the processes of exchange, rooted in love (‘ishq) as an act of assimilation, and the interchanging of positions under its connective processes, captures the multiple levels of creative endeavour which are involved in the poet’s selfhood articulating the communicative ethic necessary for the creation of a community. This self-transmutation as a part of the poet’s communicative capacity is also evoked in another set of intertwined images in this opening section: ‘When love first cast my breast in the style of lamentation / Its flame made my heart a molten mirror / Like a rose I pluck my blossom apart / That I may hang this mirror before you’ (couplets 24–25). Finally, as Iqbal’s poetic argument in Mysteries of Selflessness develops, the distinctive language of selfhood resurfaces even more strongly, this time in the context of defining his ideal Muslim community in the fourth part of the poem, ‘Summary of the Poem’s Meaning’. It is in this part of the poem that the poet, through a series of analogical correspondences, creates an ontological equivalence between the human self and God as he outlines the contours of his utopian Muslim community, and the virtues necessary for the creation of that community. In the section

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explicating the chapter of ‘pure faith’, on God’s unity, the reader is asked to model his own self-reliance on God’s self-subsistence. An abstract theological concept regarding the nature of God becomes the model for each individual Muslim’s economic self-subsistence. This recalls the self-divinisation of khɫdƮ, and reinforces its priority. It is clear, then, that khɫdƮ has priority in Iqbal’s work. It is perhaps for this reason that a rich but irresolute vocabulary of fragmentation, plurality and multiplicity in relation to unity recurs throughout Iqbal’s prose texts, in a variety of metaphysical and philosophical contexts. A flavour of this diction can be conveyed by listing some instances. These include discussions of the primal oneness of being and the plurality of things in Ismaili thought, Zoroastrian conceptions of the interdependence of ‘visible diversity’ and ‘eternal unity’, the notion of unity, multiplicity and relations in the work of Mulla Hadi, the ‘fundamental problem of the diversity of things’ in pre-Islamic Magian dualism and postIslamic Greek dualism which Persian metaphysics struggled against, notions of unity and plurality in J. S. Haldane, the interpretation of a verse in the Qur’ön as referring to ‘the emergence and multiplication of individualities’, an argument as to the nature of the ego and ‘the mutually penetrating multiplicity we call experience’ (again in relation to a verse in the Qur’ön), the ‘inadequacy of logical understanding’ vis-à-vis ‘a multiplicity of mutually repellent individualities with no prospect of their ultimate reduction to a unity’, the relationship between the Ash‘arite ‘scheme of atomism’ and ‘spiritual pluralism’, the question as to whether space and time ‘can hold together the multiplicity of objects and events’ or whether it is ‘the appreciative act of an enduring self only which can seize the multiplicity of duration— broken up into an infinity of instants—and transform it to the organic wholeness of a synthesis’, ‘the unity of the appreciative ego’ and its individual experiences ‘not as a plurality, but as a unity in which every experience permeates the whole’, ‘the appreciative self’ synthesising instants of time into a ‘coherent wholeness of personality’, ‘fragments of a total experience which do not seem to fit together’, ‘the necessary supplement to our own fragmentary meanings’, ‘the unanalysable wholeness of mystic experience’, consciousness as ‘something single, presupposed in all mental life’ as opposed to ‘bits of consciousness, mutually reporting to one another’, and the question of ‘mental unity’.17 As this list demonstrates, these terms begin to acquire a valency and presence of their own, over and above any attempt to explicate them. The repetitive use of these terms severs them from any argumentative

KhɫdƮ and Be-khɫdƮ 57

or hermeneutic purpose, suggesting that Iqbal’s work remains embedded in questions of unity and plurality, on metaphysical, religious and political levels. These questions are irresolvable precisely because of the radical content and priority of his concept of individual selfhood.

Notes 1. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 329 to Maulana Girami, Jan 4, 1920. 2. Ibid., Letter 64 to Shakir Siddiqui, Dec 7, 1912, Letter 840 to Dr Muhammad Abbas Ali Khan, Apr 10, 1934, and Letter 300 to Hajji Muhammad Ahmed Khan Sitapuri, Mar 29, 1919. 3. Ibid., Letter 73 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Mar 7, 1914, and Letter 94, to Khawaja Hassan Nizami, Feb 6, 1915. 4. For an excellent exposition of these figures in Islamic literature, see Michael W. Dols. 1992. Majnɫn: The Madman in Medieval Islamic Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 5. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letters 118, 170, 200 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Sep 30, 1917, Nov 1, 1916, May 19, 1917; Letter 138 to Akbar Allahabadi, Feb 4, 1916; Letters 141, 179, 229 to Khan Muhammad Niyazuddin Khan, Feb 13, 1916, Feb 7, 1917, Nov 4, 1917; Letter 158 to Sirajuddin Pal, Jul 10, 1916; Letter 220 to Maulana Qadir Girami, Sep 3, 1917. 6. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 111. 7. A. J. Arberry, transl. 1953. The Mysteries of Selflessness. London: John Murray, pp. 33–34. 8. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 840 to Dr Abbas Ali Khan, Apr 10, 1934. 9. Arberry, Mysteries of Selflessness, p. 48. 10. B. A. Dar. 1967. Letters and Writings of Iqbal. Karachi: Iqbal Academy, p. 81. 11. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 258 to Akbar Allahbadi, Jul 20, 1918. 12. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, pp. 32, 56, 91. 13. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, p. 17. 14. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. 2000. Empire. Camb., Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, p. 83. 15. Arberry, Mysteries of Selflessness, p. xi. 16. Ibid., pp. 3–4. 17. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 50, 51, 135, 147; Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 35, 70, 82, 5, 58, 44–45, 38, 39, 33, 15, 14–15, 81, 79.

4 Pan-Islam, Race and Nationalism In the last chapter, we saw how Iqbal dramatised khɫdƮ as an aesthetic

process, and how he conceptualised be-khɫdƮ in his poetry. I argued that the former had aesthetic and political priority in his work. One sign of this is how, in Mysteries of Selflessness, the distinctive imagery of selfhood emerges again in the context of Iqbal’s representation of pan-Islam. Iqbal also suggests a link between khɫdƮ and pan-Islam in his prose works. In this context, he refers to the return of the Prophet from his ascension, which we have seen becomes an emblem of the journey of individual selfhood in the JövƮd Nöma. He suggests that ‘a prophet may be defined as a type of mystic consciousness in which “unitary experience” tends to overflow its boundaries, and seeks opportunities of redirecting or refashioning the forces of collective life’.1 In his presidential speech to the annual session of the All-India Muslim League at Allahabad in December 1930, Iqbal underlined the priority of the individual selfhood represented by the Prophet in the creation of an Islamic polity, arguing that ‘the nature of the prophet’s experience, as disclosed in the Quran’ is an ‘individual experience creative of a social order’. He adds that ‘its immediate outcome is the fundamentals of a polity with implicit legal concepts whose civic significance cannot be belittled merely because their origin is revelational’.2 In this chapter, I consider Iqbal’s conception of pan-Islam and the role it played in his political aesthetic. It is worth noting here that for President Khamenei of Iran it was Iqbal’s pan-Islam, ‘his all-inclusive view of the entire Muslim world’, that distinguished him from other Muslim intellectuals in India.3 In Iqbal, both khɫdƮ and pan-Islam consist of an oppositional stance combined with self-assertion. Here the context of European imperialism is crucial. Iqbal’s own reflections on the word ‘pan-Islam’ show an engagement with European and Western understandings of the word. In an interview, he stated that the word ‘was coined by a French journalist and in the sense in which he used that term, [it] existed nowhere except in his own imagination’.4 Landau has shown that the first extensive use of the term was made by Gabriel Charmes, a French journalist, who developed an interest in the Ottoman Empire. In 1881 he used the term ‘pan-Islam’

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to describe Muslim reactions to France’s takeover of Tunisia and official Ottoman activities mobilising global Muslim opinion against it.5 When asked to elaborate on his conception of ‘pan-Islamism’, Iqbal replied that the term originated in Europe ‘after the fashion of the expression “Yellow Peril”, in order to justify European aggression in Islamic countries’. It represented an imaginary fear of ‘the world of Islam’. Later on, though, ‘the expression Pan-Islamism was taken to mean a kind of intrigue, the centre of which was in Constantinople. The Muslims of the world were understood to be planning a kind of Union of all the Muslim states against the European states’.6 The role of pan-Islam as one policy amongst others of the Ottoman Empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has also been discussed by Landau.7 In the same interview, Iqbal referred to Jamal al-Din Afghani’s (1839–97) formulation of pan-Islam as a ‘defensive measure’ against the ‘aggression of Europe’, a view which Iqbal endorses. But Iqbal then moves on to argue that the term should also refer to Islam not as ‘a political project but a social experiment’ which does not ‘recognise caste or race or colour’. In this sense, he adds, ‘pan-Islamism is only Pan-Humanism’, and the word ‘pan’ should be dropped, since ‘Islamism’ covers its meaning adequately.8 We shall see how this view of panIslam as a defensive measure and as a social experiment is expressed in Iqbal’s work.

The Poetics of Cartography There are two striking features of Iqbal’s poetry; one is the aesthetic of khɫdƮ and the other is the geographical imagination in his work. A recurring feature in his work is the representation of the geographical expanse of Islam, which is a visual theme in his verse. In part, this visualised expanse is framed within the creativity of decline in Iqbal’s aesthetics. The essence of the poet’s grievance against God in ‘Complaint’ is the decline of Islam, which is brought home in terms of its transcontinental spread in the past, from Africa to Europe (stanza 6). In other poems, as Iqbal ponders the ruination of Islam, he ties that ruination to the global spread of Islamic civilisation in the past. This is the case in ‘Sicily’, discussed in Chapter 1. The poem brings together Sicily with the crises of decline in major Islamic cities of the past, such as Shiraz, Delhi, Baghdad, and Granada (couplets 11–12). But at the same time, Iqbal’s geographical aesthetic participates in the creativity of that decline. In ‘Sicily’ the poet signals his affiliation with a community of

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poets, since all of these places are also linked with specific poets, named in the text, who mourned that decline. Moreover, the retrospective framework of the expanse of Islam in the past slides into a reminder of its expanse in the present world. While contemplating the ruins of the mosque in ‘The Mosque of Cordoba’, the poet switches to characterising the category of the Muslim thus: ‘His land without borders, his horizon without bounds / The waves of his sea the Tigris, the Danube, the Nile’ (stanza 4, couplet 5). The tying together of the inventiveness of decline, pan-Islam, and the poet’s own creative selfhood is also clear in another of his Urdu poems, ‘Kanör-e RövƮ’ (‘The Banks of the River Ravi’ in Böng-e Darö).9 Here the poet contemplates the ruins of the tomb of the emperor Jahangir, as a text which relates the cruel revolutions of time (couplets 6–7), which is mediated by the text of the poem. Elsewhere, too, rivers in Iqbal’s imaginary geography become texts that relate the onward flow of time and Islam’s past, as in ‘Taröna-e Milli’˻ (in Böng-e Darö), where the waves of the river Tigris are imagined as still recognising ‘us’, and still relating ‘our story’ (couplet 8).10 In both poems, then, rivers become textual narratives (in the first ‘fasöna’, and the second ‘afsöna’, which refer to long narratives, both oral and printed). There are different levels of creativity to Iqbal’s cartographic imagination in these poems. First, he creates an inter-textual dimension, between the rivers as texts and the text of his own poem. His maps create a play of meaning across the generic boundaries of cartography and poetry, resulting in a geopolitical, and not just a political, aesthetic. Second, in the case of ‘The Song of the Muslim Community’, the decline of Islam becomes the basis for re-imagining its global expanse in the present. Here his narrative of cartographic representation becomes an act of imaginative repossession. The first couplet signals this with its polemical characterisation of the geographical and transnational expanse of Islam: ‘China and Arabia are ours; India is ours / We are Muslims, our country (‘waɠan’) is the world’. Here the threefold repetition of the communal ‘hamöra’ (‘ours’) underlines an anxious act of imaginative recovery. Third, in the case of ‘The Banks of the River Ravi’, in a typically self-reflexive move; the river’s flow and the poet’s transport become closely linked together: ‘I stand on the edge of the banks of the flowing river / But I have no inkling as to where I am standing’ (couplet 2). As already noted, in the JövƮd Nöma, the poet takes the name of ‘zinda rɫd’ or ‘living stream’, to depict his sense of his own mobile creative power. The ability of the poet to refigure his own sense of space and time is also evident in this poem, as is his creative

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transport as he journeys through the cosmos. These are prerequisites for the poetics of cartography and the geographical imagining of pan-Islam in his work as a whole. They ground an Islamicised geography, defined against a global Western dominance, and dramatise a conception of Islam as ‘a living force for freeing the outlook of man from its geographical limitations’.9

Iqbal’s Geographical Re-centring Iqbal’s cartographical narratives have to be placed in the context of European imperialism as a geographical project. They attempt to create an image of the world with an alternative centre to that created by European imperialism, which produced a picture of the world centred on the metropolis.10 Mary Louise Pratt has outlined how travel literature produced a European planetary consciousness, encoding and legitimising aspirations of empire.11 Others have stressed how many of the significant literary works of the period 1770–1830, described as the ‘age of the exploration narrative’, were inspired by the printed texts of explorers.12 The cross-fertilisation between travelogues, exploration narratives and works of literature (especially novels), was exemplified by the popularity of the adventure narrative and romance quest during the period 1880–1920, at the height of British imperial power, and was significant in formulating a geo-political imagination of nineteenthcentury empire.13 However, scholars have not paid enough attention to countervailing historical geographies produced in non-European traditions of thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.14 In nineteenthcentury travelogues by Indian authors, there are hints of a sacred geography at odds with the Eurocentric geography these writers otherwise internalise. These travelogues form a background to Iqbal’s own sacred geography. The struggle between a sacred geography, and an externally imposed colonial, Western-oriented one, is especially apparent in Mohan Lal’s Travels in the Panjab, Afghanistan, and Turkistan, to Balk, Bokhara, and Herat; and a Visit to Great Britain and Germany (1846). Lal commenced his travels in December 1831 as Alexander Burnes’ munshi, and in his account he repeatedly refers to or describes sites of religious or spiritual significance. His employer, Alexander Burnes makes no mention of these sites in his parallel Travels into Bokhara (1834). For example, Lal describes ‘a religious place of the Hindus’, where there is a ‘sacred pond’, in the vicinity of the

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salt mines at Pind Dadan Khan. Burnes only describes salt mines, not a religious site.15 Lal later refers to the tomb of Cheragh Shah, and the temple of Gorakh Nath, neither of which Burnes mentions.16 As they travel through Central Asia and Afghanistan, Lal mediates his geographical account through Shi‘i legends and traditions, noting the locations of important events in Shi‘i religious history.17 Read alongside the lack of such a geography in Burnes, then, Mohan’s sacred geography is especially apparent. However, Lal also lays stress on Greek classical geography. He notes localities Alexander passed through in ancient times.18 He often gives the ancient Greek names for rivers and cities, alongside their current names.19 In this, there is an overlap between Lal and Burnes, who on the first page of his Travels into Bokhara cites as one of his reasons for travelling the desire to ‘visit the conquests of Alexander’.20 Throughout his journey, Burnes searches for an identity between ‘the topography’ of Alexander’s route and his own.21 There are thus at least two geographies in Lal’s Travels, one centred on Hindu and Muslim sites of sacred significance, and another on Burnes’ classical Greek geography, which renders the contemporary geography of the territories they travel through of secondary importance. This internal struggle over geographical conceptions of the world in the writings of colonised subjects is evident in other texts, which also expressed hints of sacred geography. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, who commenced his journey to Britain and Ireland in February 1799, foregrounds his Shi‘i identity in the Ottoman provinces of the Middle East, often in relation to sacred sites. His travelogue contains accounts of zƮyöret (visits to shrines) alongside the account of his travels to Europe.22 But his account also exhibits a sense of growing inferiority as he travels to Britain, so that its geography is centred on the latter. A simultaneous devaluation of India and valorisation of Britain occurs when Mirza Abu Taleb describes the beauties of Phoenix Park in Dublin, adding that its attractions help him to understand the justness of the British desire to return home in spite of their status (‘jöh va buzurgƮ’) in India.23 This is the reverse of his own changing evaluations as he travels. He begins his journey with a sense of Calcutta as a great city but ends with a sense of its inferiority.24 Similarly, Sayyid Ahmad Khan also notes sites of sacred significance in his travels to London in 1869.25 But again, the dominant sense of geography here is centred on Britain’s power. The devaluing of the cities and practices of India by continual reference to European cities and monuments is especially evident in his travelogue. The only positive

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evaluation he offers of an Indian city (in this case Bombay) is because of its approximation to an English city.26 His self-devaluation is such that he argues Hindustanis as a whole are like a dirty and savage animal (‘maile aur veƤshƮ jönvar’) in relation to the English who are compared to a worthy and beautiful man (‘lö’iq aur khɫbɓɫrat ödmƮ’).27 Iqbal’s poetry, on the other hand, tries to re-centre a global geography on the Ƥijöz as a sacred space in Arabia.28 He imaginatively creates links between geographical features in diverse continents through that space. This goes hand-in-hand with an attempt at the self-empowering geography of khɫdƮ (for which, see the discussion later), which forestalls the internalisation of inferiority evident in the travelogues discussed earlier. Thus, in the second couplet of the poem ‘The Banks of the River Ravi’, the poet connects the sound produced by the flowing of the river in the Punjab with the sacred space of the ka‘ba in Arabia (couplet 2). The poet’s globalising reverie at the banks of the river transforms the world, in his imagination, into the precincts of a sacred space. Similarly, the circular geography in the poem ‘Sicily’, connects that location with the Ƥijöz in the first couplet, and with India in the final couplet. In ‘The Mosque of Cordoba’, a specific location is again globalised, with the mosque at Cordoba serving as a locus for imagining a global community of Muslims (stanza 4, couplet 5). Andalusia is linked with the ka‘ba, and also with Yemen and the Ƥijöz in general, through the imagery of love poetry and the image of perfume being carried on a breeze (stanza 6, couplets 7–8). The title of Iqbal’s final volume of poetry, Armaghön-e Ʃijöz (The Gift of the Ʃijöz, 1936) underlines his sense of the Ƥijöz as the spiritual and material centre of Islam.29 Iqbal’s re-centred geography combines a focus on Muhammad as a Prophet with the Ƥijöz as a spatial location. In the third section of Mysteries of the Self which explicates how selfhood is strengthened by love, in the context of representing the prophet of Islam as one focus of the Islamic community, the poet writes of how ‘we belong to the Ƥijöz and China and Persia / yet we are the dew of one smiling dawn’ (couplets 193–94). Here Iqbal combines the importance of the Prophet as one of the pillars of Islam and his own notion of dynamic love, to create a ‘political theology’ of a transnational community.30 In Mysteries of Selflessness, when explicating the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood as one of the ‘pillars’ of Islam, he envisages the Muslim community (‘millat’) as a series of concentric circles with a shared centre in Mecca (couplets 221–22). Following the image of the dew at dawn, the poet deploys the figure of the söqƮ, referring to how ‘we are all under the spell

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of the eye of the cupbearer from Mecca / We are united in the world as wine and cup’ (couplet 196). One section of Mysteries of Selflessness is also entitled ‘That a Good Communal Character Derives from Discipline According to the Manners of the Prophet’. There is an added aesthetic dimension to this imitation of the Prophet, in that the poet’s pseudonym in the JövƮd Nöma of ‘zinda rɫd’ or ‘living stream’ is also a metaphor for prophetic activity in Islamic mystical thought.31 In this focus on the Prophet, Schimmel has shown how Iqbal articulates an innovative political conception of a unified Muslim community, while drawing on both earlier mystical poets and later modernist reformers.32 Thus, the dialectic between tradition and innovation which characterises his work as a whole is in play in Iqbal’s conception of the Prophet also. In some of his other poems, Iqbal self-consciously presents his own aesthetic in terms of this re-centred geography. In the final couplet of ‘Complaint’ Iqbal asks: ‘What does it matter if my wine-jar is Persian? At least the wine is Arabian (‘hijözƮ’) / What matters if the song is Indian (‘hindƮ’)? The tune after all is Arabian (‘hijözƮ’).’

Persian Magianism Iqbal’s re-centring of geography on the Ƥijöz also reflects a tendency in his work as a whole to marginalise the legacy of ‘Persian Magianism’ in contemporary Islam and to refocus on its Arab legacy. The landscapes of the Arab desert and Persian garden recur in his work, and we have seen how the latter is disrupted in order to create his political aesthetic of selfhood. In contrast to this, when exhorting his readers in Mysteries of Selflessness to fortify their hearts by conforming with Arab ways in order to be Muslims (couplet 629), he refers to how early Islamic power was nourished and cultivated by the warmth of the desert. Now fanned by the breeze of Persia, that power has diminished and become as thin as a reed (‘nay’; couplets 614–16). The ‘nay’ here recalls the complex of images which Iqbal weaves around the reed and the lute, playing on and inverting the opening lines of Rumi’s MasnavƮ lamenting separation. Iqbal’s countering of this is part of his poetics of selfhood, so that this poetics also needs to be seen in the context of marginalising Persian ‘Magianism’. When speaking of the nourishing of Islam by the warm desert breeze, Iqbal uses the word ‘tarbƮyat’, which also refers to education and instruction, as well as nourishment and cultivation, so that it evokes an entire civilisational complex of upbringing. It is also important to note that Iqbal uses the word ‘ajam for Persian. This word means

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not just Persian but also ‘barbarian, foreign’ (that is, a non-Arab) and was used by Arabs during the Islamic conquest of Persia to refer to Persians. The use of the word again signals Iqbal’s attempt to centralise and identify with the Arab legacy in Islam. Iqbal’s use of the categories of Persian and Arab reflects tensions in Islam between Arabs and non-Arabs. Such historical tensions are considered by Bernard Lewis in his Race and Color in Islam.33 It is in relation to this tension between Arab and non-Arab Muslims that one has to see the operation of the system whereby non-Arab converts had to become the clients or mawali of conquistador Arabs with proven genealogies, and also the emergence of the so-called shu’ubiya movement in the ninth century in groups seeking to distinguish between Arabism and Islam. This movement reflected, in particular, claims by Persians to social and cultural equality with Arabs, if not superiority.34 Iqbal’s concern with what he calls ‘Persian Magianism’ is also evident in The Development of Metaphysics in Persia, which considers the influence of Magianism and Gnosticism in the formation of a distinctive Islam in Persia, or what he calls a Persian ‘restatement of Islam’.35 He refers to the Ismaili movement as ‘one aspect of the persistent battle which the intellectually independent Persian waged against the religious and political ideals of Islam’.36 In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal refutes Spengler’s views of Islam in The Decline of the West, stating that the main purpose of his lectures was to ‘secure a vision of the spirit of Islam as emancipated from its Magian overlayings’.37 Persian Magianism had a contemporary resonance for Iqbal in other ways; he explicitly defined the Ahmadiyya movement as an expression of preIslamic Magianism in the guise of Islamic mysticism.38 It is clear that Iqbal considers the main threat of Persian Magianism to lie in its subversion of the idea of the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood.39 This is especially evident in his series of articles on the Ahmadiyya movement.40 There is another reason for Iqbal’s marginalisation of Persian Magianism. In his early work, Iqbal associated Sufism and Magianism; this becomes more pronounced in the writings of his later period.41 In TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, he asserts that Sufism in its later stages was the work of ‘ajami– groups (‘qaum’), adding that at the time of the destruction of Baghdad Sufism had a strong hold on the population.42 Given the depth of Iqbal’s engagement with Persian thought, he clearly admires its traditions of speculation and metaphysics, but for him the problem is to reconcile this with the limits of religion: ‘Beware of the imagination of the ‘ajam / Though his thoughts pass beyond the heavens / They do not accord with

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the limits (‘Ƥad’) of the Prophet’s religion’ (couplets 626–27). Iqbal’s recentred and Islamcised geography, then, has to be seen in the context of his recasting of Islam against ‘Persian Magianism’.

Islam and ‘Deracialisation’ However, while marginalising Persian Magianism in relation to the Ƥijöz as geographical location and the source of a civilisation, Iqbal is anxious to ensure that his conception of pan-Islam articulates the universalising aspects of Islam. Here he is also keen to avoid what he sees as the fate of Christianity as another universalising religion. In his presidential address to the All-India Muslim League in 1930, he begins by presenting the contemporary situation of Christianity in the West as a warning of what might befall Islam. He argues that Luther’s revolt against the Church as an organisation, though ‘perfectly justified’, ultimately resulted in the complete displacement of the universal ethics of Jesus by the growth of a plurality of national and hence narrower systems of ethics. Thus ‘the upshot of the intellectual movement initiated by such men as Rousseau and Luther was the break-up of the one into the mutually ill-adjusted many, the transformation of a human into a national outlook, requiring a more realistic foundation, such as the notion of country and finding expression through varying systems of polity evolved along national lines, i.e. on lines which recognise territory as the only system of political solidarity’.43 In order to avoid this fate, and to preserve Islam as a universalising religion, Iqbal defines Islam against nationalism and the category of race. His conception of pan-Islam as a whole revolves around the issue of ‘the final fate of the national idea in Islam’, and whether the latter will ‘assimilate and transform’ the concept of nationalism, ‘as it has assimilated and transformed before many ideas expressive of a different spirit’, or whether it will ‘allow a radical transformation of its own structure by the force of this idea’.44 This stance also forms the background to the dramatisation in his poetry of his geographical imagination in terms of a creative state of transport, which articulates Islam as ‘a living force for freeing the outlook of man from [the] geographical limitations’ of nationalism, and as an expression of an alternative set of values which makes ‘the piece of earth with which the spirit of man happens to be temporarily associated’ not worth ‘dying for’.45 Iqbal’s conception of pan-Islam recasts Islam as a universalising religion whose key message is what he calls ‘deracialisation’.46 There are two

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contexts for this notion of ‘deracialisation’. The first is formed by the historical tensions between Arab and non-Arab in Islam, which Iqbal tries to overcome by defining Islam as transcending ethnic differences. In his 1930 presidential address, Iqbal described the most pressing issue in contemporary Islam as the ‘racialising of the outlook of Muslims’ by the idea of nationalism, which counteracts the ‘humanizing work of Islam’; he adds that the ‘growth of racial consciousness may mean the growth of standards different and even opposed to the standards of Islam’.47 The growth of this racial consciousness is also to be found in Attaturk’s idea of ‘pan-Turanianism’, which Iqbal criticised for resting on an assumption of the ‘absoluteness of races’.48 There is also some evidence to suggest that the vocabulary of race began to creep into the observations on the conflict which accompanied the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire by some members of the Muslim League. For example, in the All-India Muslim League papers, there are a few instances where the term ‘race’ is used in a strident way, which sometimes suggests a view of the clearcut nature of ‘race’ to which certain types of conflict give rise. In the memorial of Jan 1, 1919, addressed to the British secretary of state for foreign affairs, reference is made to the ‘racial conflicts’ in Eastern Europe, where Muslim minorities are vulnerable victims, and to the hope that ‘no racial or religious prejudices’ would determine the attitude of the victorious Entente powers to the settlement regarding the dismemberment of the Ottoman empire.49 Clearly, then, the construct of Islam as ‘deracialisation’ is aimed at Muslims themselves, just as much as anyone else. Iqbal reconsiders some of the key terms of community in an Islamic lexicon within this recasting of Islam. He discusses the meaning of the terms millat, qaum, and umma in a debate with Maulana Hussain Ahmed.50 All three terms occur in the Qur’ön, but the first two terms in particular underwent important changes during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.51 Whereas in the Qur’ön the term millat refers to the religion of Abraham, in post-Qur’ön usage the term appears in the meaning of religion generally. It is in this primary sense that it occurs in official Ottoman documents, where it appears to indicate especially non-Muslim communities of the empire from the seventeenth century onwards. The term became central to the so-called ‘millat system’, whereby the central administration of the empire perceived individual religious communities in local contexts as parts of religious and juridical communities that had an empire-wide dimension under their respective ecclesiastical leaderships. However, when Turkey came to regard itself as

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a ‘nation’, the term millat rather than qaum was used.52 The provenance of the latter term varied from the Maghrib to Persia and Ottoman Turkey in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In Qur’önic usage the term signified the prophets who were Muhammad’s predecessors. More to our purpose here, though, the term ‘qaumƮya’ came to mean the movement of Arab nationalism within the Ottoman dominions in the Fertile Crescent.53 The details of Iqbal’s debate in March 1938 with Maulana Hussain Ahmed are of less interest here than the fact that the debate reflected the way in which key terms of community in an Islamic lexicon were being debated and reconsidered by Muslims at large. Iqbal contrasts the way the terms qaum, millat and umma are used in the Qur’ön, with the meanings they have acquired in the contemporary world.54 He also quibbles with the Maulana’s interpretation of how these terms are used in the Qur’ön, and discusses in detail their significance in scriptural usage, again in the context of comparing the changes that have occurred in the scope of their meanings.55 He argues that his own use of the word millat as ‘nation’ is in accordance with its usage in modern Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages, where it has come to mean nation, rather than law and religion as in the Qur’ön.56 The rest of Iqbal’s article attempts to establish a hierarchy of identities based on qaum, millat and umma. He concludes that qaum ‘means a party of men, and this party can come into being in a thousand places and in a thousand forms upon the basis of tribe, race, colour, language, land and ethical code’. He contrasts this with millat or umma, which refers to the carving of ‘a new and common party’ out of different parties, so that these terms embrace ‘nations but cannot be merged in them’; they are defined against ‘the requirements of race, nation and colour’.57 The second context for Iqbal’s reinterpretation of Islam as ‘deracialisation’ is the ubiquity of European theories of race, and the deployment of race in imperialist ideologies, against which Iqbal defined what he argued was Islam’s original spirit. It is worthwhile noting that in a letter of 1921 Iqbal says that he became aware of the two greatest enemies of Islam, that is, racial discrimination (‘naslƮ imtƮyöz’) and nationalism (‘mulkƮ qaumƮyyat’), during his time as a student in Europe from 1905 to 1908. This realisation, he adds, produced a great revolution in his thoughts.58 Iqbal’s engagement with European theories of race is evident in his appropriation of the term ‘deracialisation’ from Arthur Keith’s The Problem of Race.59 Michael Banton has discussed the importance of the latter’s work as pioneering an approach to race in terms of

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genetic processes.60 Iqbal points to the choice which Keith offers between ‘race building’ and war, and achieving peace through countering ‘race building’.61 Keith’s own solution to the ‘ever-disturbing factor’ of race in human life, is to argue that ‘evolution is true in practice—as well as in theory’. On the basis of this acceptance, he asserts the need to bring our ‘inborn tribal instincts and racial prejudices under the rule of reason’.62 For Iqbal, however, Keith’s pleas for a ‘deracialisation’ of the world enabled him to recast Islam as a universalising religion. The context of European racism on a global scale is important here. Iqbal refers to ‘the world [as] thinking today in terms of race, an attitude of mind which I consider the greatest blot on modern civilization’. It is in this global context that ‘the main endeavour of Islam as a religion has been to solve this problem’.63 The concept of race played a crucial role in British fears of miscegenation in India, and the maintenance of social distance between themselves and Indians. One of the defining features of the British in India was that they never became a creolised elite. The category of race also structured the definition of, and official attitudes to, Eurasians.64 British imperial ideologies used the elasticity of the concept of race to describe a variety of caste, sectarian, tribal, and ethnic identities, which underpinned what David Washbrook has called the Raj’s ‘sociology of multiple ethnicity’.65 The centrality of race in British imperial ideologies was an everyday reminder of how race as a category structured European perceptions of the world. This global context is evident in the All-India Muslim League papers, which show that one arena for Indian Muslim thinking about race was not India at all, but South Africa. It was in the predicament of the Indian settlers in South Africa that the starker realities of racial perceptions had been earlier evident. It is ironic that the Muslim League papers show much concern for this predicament, irrespective of the religious affiliations of the Indian settlers; the development of racial segregation in South Africa in the early twentieth century with its broader notions of ‘race’ paid no heed to finer details of caste, communal or ethnic identities. The predicament of Indian settlers in colonies of European settlement abroad pointed to the fundamental discrepancy between the two empires of the Indian Raj and the colonies of European settlement. At the All-India Muslim League’s annual session of 1912, the League recorded ‘its deep appreciation of the gallant fight that the Indian settlers in South Africa, Australasia, and British North America are maintaining under depressing circumstances for their inalienable rights as British citizens’, and it entered a plea to the imperial government to ensure that its Indian

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subjects received ‘the full rights and privileges of British citizenship by the removal of racial distinctions within the Empire’.66 This discrepancy between the rights of citizens of the same Empire is stressed again, when the position of Indians abroad as citizens of the British Empire is described as ‘very delicate; theoretically we enjoy the same rights and are amenable to the same laws as the English themselves and their kith and kin in the colonies, but in practice even the most elementary rights are denied us’.67 The position of Indians in the Transvaal was especially pointed to as further evidence of this, a position earlier protested against in view of the Asiatic Registration clauses of the Transvaal Immigration Act.68 Iqbal’s reassessment in his March 1938 article of the various terms used to categorise communities in Islam, such as millat, qaum and umma shows the extent to which Muslim intellectuals at the time were selfconsciously re-thinking these concepts, often aware of the genealogy of such terms, and the more recent meanings they had acquired in the twentieth century. Hence Iqbal’s discussion of what such terms meant in the Qur’ön, and his contrast between their usage in the Qur’ön and their present-day usage. At the same time, he was reconsidering these concepts within the framework of a pan-Islamic position which emerges in reaction to the European notion of race; hence his repeated references to a conception of an Islamic community which transcends racial divisions. Sometimes Iqbal uses the term ‘experiment’ in relation to this universalising aspect of Islam. In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam he refers to the ‘social experiment embodied in Islam’ as furnishing a ‘model for the final combination of humanity by drawing its adherents from a variety of mutually repellent races, and then transforming this atomic aggregate into a people possessing a selfconsciousness of their own’.69 Similarly, in an interview in 1931, he refers to Islam as ‘a social experiment’ that ‘does not recognise caste or creed or race or colour’. He contrasts this with Europe’s failings in this respect.70 The language of experimentation calls attention to how, for him, Islam’s project of deracialisation is an ongoing and open-ended process of recasting its universalism. The interplay between European notions of race and a set of terms in a Muslim context of an independent genealogy forms the background to Iqbal’s equation of Islam and ‘deracialisation’. It would seem that this interplay is a negative one, insofar as Iqbal uses notions of race in a negative way, to define an Islam in contrast to these categories. In this sense, a thesis such as Richard Fox’s on a Singh identity runs counter

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to Iqbal’s views on race and Muslimhood.71 Far from internalising an imperial construct of Muslims, Iqbal attempted to define Islam against categories of race. Nowhere does Iqbal assume that Indian Muslims, or Muslims anywhere, form a single ‘race’. The umma consists of a wide variety of groups, who are united in their adherence to certain religious and cultural codes, or as he puts it, Islam is ‘a social structure regulated by a legal system and animated by a specific ethical ideal’ which furnishes ‘those basic emotions and loyalties which gradually unify scattered individuals and groups, and finally transform them into a well-defined people, possessing a moral consciousness of their own’.72 It is difficult to find in Iqbal any reference to the racial underpinnings of a Muslim ashröf culture to which Farzana Sheikh has drawn detailed attention.73 It might be more useful to see Iqbal in terms of his distance from, and not his proximity to, such a culture and some of its assumptions. So while marginalising Persian Magianism in relation to the Ƥijöz as both geographical location and the source of a civilisation, Iqbal tries to ensure that his conception of pan-Islam articulates the universalising aspects of Islam as a religion. For this reason, he occasionally presents the Prophet as a universal figure, rather than an Arab. In Mysteries of Selflessness, he addresses the prophet thus: ‘The six-directioned world is illuminated by your face / Turks, Tajiks, Arabs are your servants’ (couplet 1045). But while Schimmel is right to stress the place of the Prophet in Iqbal’s political theology, what is striking about that politics is the way Iqbal creates an analogical correspondence between the Islamic concept of God’s unity (‘tauƤƮd’), and the unity of a pan-Islamic community. There may be a number of reasons for this. For Islam as a universalising religion, like Christianity, God is clearly not conceived of as a ‘national’ deity or the God of one group of people alone, defined by ethnicity. Because all are equal before this universal God, this potential equality can become the basis for a society which in principle transcends race and ethnicity. Moreover, this can form the basis of such a conception of society more readily than the figure of the Prophet, whose identity as an Arab is always a factor which has to be taken into account. It is for this reason that analogical correspondences between God’s unity and the unity of a pan-Islamic community which transcends race and ethnicity play an important role in Iqbal’s conceptions. This is evident in Mysteries of Selflessness, where the clearest exposition of Iqbal’s notion of pan-Islam is linked to the concept of God’s unity, in such sections as ‘Since the Muslim Community is Founded upon Belief in One God and Apostleship, it is not Bounded by Space’. This section begins with the following verses

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(here Iqbal uses rhyming couplets to good effect, to create a sense of aesthetic unity which transcends each single hemistich): ‘Our substance is not tied to any place / The flow of our wine is not tied to one bowl / Chinese and Indian are the sherds of our bowl / Turkish and Syrian are the clay of our body / Our heart is not of India, or Syria, or Constantinople / Our place of residence (‘marz-bɫm’) is nowhere except Islam’ (couplets 343–45). This link between God’s unity and the ‘deracialisation’ of Islam is also expressed in the section on how ‘True Solidarity Consists in Seizing a Clear Communal Objective, and that Objective is the Preservation and Propagation of TauƤƮd’. Here analogical correspondence plays a key role, because tauƤƮd becomes an emblem for the pan-Islamic community and at the same time, as that community propagates it, it reproduces itself as a global community which transcends race and ethnicity. This nexus of God’s unity and pan-Islam is defined against such ‘idol-fashioning’ and ‘new images’ as ‘colour, country, and race (‘nasab’)’ (couplets 760–73; ‘nasab’ also means family, tribe or lineage and genealogy in general). The connection between concepts of God and Islam as ‘deracialisation’ is even stronger in another section of the poem, dealing with the verse ‘He begat not, neither was He begotten’ in the chapter of ‘pure faith’. Here a panIslamic community which counters lineage and ancestry in the definition of identity is seen as a reflection, even an instantiation, of this aspect of Divinity. Pan-Islam is depicted as transcending the tension between Arab and Persian in a verse which ties together that community with the metaphysical substance of God: ‘True loverhood passes beyond race and lineage (‘nasab’) / Passes beyond Arab and Persian / Love’s community is like the light of God / Our being is derived from his existence’ (couplets 1016–17). This link between God’s nature and an imagined Islamic community parallels Iqbal’s imagining of the ontological equivalence between God and the individual human self. Iqbal was not alone in grappling with the notion of race in his reconstruction of Islam, nor indeed was he alone in considering the tensions between what had come to be seen as the Arab and non-Arab threads in Islam. These concerns were writ large in Abul Kalam Azad’s Masla-e Khilöfat va JazƮrat-e ‘Arab (The Issue of the Khilafat and the Arab Peninsula).74 The breadth and depth of the argument of this work, and its ambiguities, make it a key text for understanding how the issues which are the subject of this chapter were negotiated by Muslim intellectuals at the time. Here only two broad and inter-related points can be stressed. The first is Azad’s anxiety to show that there is nothing in the ƤadƮth or the Qur’ön for the basis of the view that the Caliphate must be limited to the Qureish or

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the Arabs generally. The sophistication of Azad’s argument (not least in the interpretative strategies he brings to bear in his reasoning), and the sometimes tortuous way he arrives at his conclusion cannot be examined here. Suffice it to say that he shows how the view that the Caliphate must be limited to the Qureish arose, and how it had to be placed in the historical circumstances of the time. He also argues that this view was partly based on a reading of ƤadƮth which failed to see those portions of it relating to the Qureish and the Caliphate as predictive (‘paish goƮ’) and not reports (‘khabar’).75 He concludes that there is no evidence in Islamic doctrine that the Caliphate was limited to any nation (‘qaum’) or family (‘khöndön’) or lineage and race (‘nasl’).76 Having argued that the Caliphate can be held by an ‘ajam as well as an Arab, and that historically this has been the case, Azad moves on to his second point, namely a consideration of what the correspondents of European papers have called ‘pan-Islamism’, and in particular, their claim that Abdulhamid II fostered the notion of pan-Islam in order to buttress the prestige of the Turkish sultanate among Muslim groups living outside the confines of the Ottoman empire.77 In rebutting this claim, Azad reiterates a point he has stressed all along, that, in his view, the brotherhood of Islam pays no heed to distinctions of nationality, race or country.78 Thus, there were parallels between Iqbal’s concern with race and panIslam and the reconstructions of other thinkers.79 Significantly, some of these reconstructions were in the context of negotiating the historical differences between ‘ajam and Arab in the Islamic world. However, there are some tensions in Iqbal’s concept of Islam as ‘deracialisation’. In order for that concept to make sense, Iqbal had to rely on the category of race in the first place. His work sometimes reveals signs of tension between an attempt to define Islam by using the notion of race as a foil, and the increasing acceptance of European notions of race as self-evident concepts. Despite his identification of what he calls the ‘race idea’ as inimical to his definition of Islam, and despite his castigation of Attaturk’s ‘Pan-Turanianism’ for resting on an assumption of the ‘absoluteness of races’, Iqbal sometimes wrote as though races were self-evident categories.80 He was at pains to endorse what David Washbrook has called the British ‘vocabulary of a sociology of ethnicity’ as it was applied to India.81 Hence, he repeatedly emphasises the heterogeneity of the subcontinent in terms of race which almost exactly mirrors this sociology, in order to deny the validity of any form of Indian nationalism.82 He refers to ‘martial races’ as self-evident categories when he considers what the future security arrangements in a federal India might look like, whilst

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simultaneously arguing that the British have used such notions of race for their own political ends.83 Iqbal’s simultaneous reliance on categories of race, whilst attempting to escape from them in his definition of Islam as a force of ‘deracialisation’, affords a poignant example of how, like many others, he was sometimes trapped in the very categories he sought to challenge, and how that challenge was often launched on the same premises as the concepts he sought to undermine.84 More importantly, though, it reflects his necessary reliance on the category of race while recasting the universalising aspects of Islam in terms of ‘deracialisation’. This is also indicative of a larger tension in his project. His restatement of Islam as a universalising religion tries to disentangle a category of Islam from the historical processes and ethnic particularities in which it is instantiated. He attempts to extract the ‘birth of an International ideal’ as ‘the very essence of Islam’, from what he calls the ‘Arabian imperialism of the earlier centuries of Islam’.85 However, as we have seen, he relies on these notions as self-evident, and this extends to his use of the terms ‘Arab’ and ‘Persian’. The bringing together of different groups as Muslims both grounds that global ideal and, by instantiating it, dispels that ideal, since the terms of ethnicity which precede that bringing together remain in place in his discourse, and precede it. This sometimes leads to revealing ambiguities in Iqbal’s aesthetics of pan-Islam, as in another section of Mysteries of Selflessness, explicating the verse describing God’s unparalleled nature (‘And there is not any equal to him’). Here again he creates analogies between God’s nature and a pan-Islamic community, the essence of which is the unrivalled nature of a pan-Islamic community which reflects God’s peerless nature. But in doing so, Iqbal uses a beautifully rendered image in the following couplets, equally beautifully translated by Arberry: This heart attached to God, What is its nature? On a mountain-top A tulip blowing, that hath never seen The trailing border of the gatherer’s skirt; The flame is kindled in his ardent breast From the first breaths of dawn; heaven suffers not To loose him from her bosom, deeming him A star suspended, the uprising sun Touches his lips with dawn’s first ray, the dew Bathes from his waking eye the dust of sleep (couplets 1020–24)86

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This picture of a single tulip on a mountain top at dawn derives its intensity from that singleness. The visual power of the image relies on the tulip’s solitariness, thrown into sharp relief against the background of the mountains. But what makes the image so startling as well as powerful is the lack of any interaction with the sociological context which dominates the rest of the poem. This is further reinforced by the tulip’s location in the sublime heights of the mountain range. The analogical correspondence between God’s nature and the society of pan-Islam breaks down, and the image of a peerless uniqueness unravels itself from the sociological dimension of the poem as a whole. The beauty of these lines is paradoxically eloquent of the creative work which tries to bring together the two dimensions of a theological concept of God with a sociological notion of community in the rest of the poem. It is as though we have returned for one lyrical moment to the solitary and transcendental splendour of khɫdƮ, shared by the human self and God alike, which cannot always be equated with, or translated into, pan-Islam or indeed any other community. Read in this way, once again pan-Islam seems like the disciplining of the splendour of khɫdƮ. This is also the case in a dense image in another section of Mysteries of Selflessness, on the sacred geography of pan-Islam, which expresses how ‘the Life of the community requires a visible focus, and that the focus of the Islamic community is Mecca’s sacred house’. This image brings together self and others in the formation of a community during the circumambulation of the ka‘bâ during hajj: ‘Our pure community (‘millat’) draws a single breath in its circumambulation / Even as the dawn’s sun is encaged / By its arithmetic the many count as one / In that conjoining self-possession becomes strong’ (couplets 702–3). There are multiple levels to this image. There is the general analogy between the ka‘ba as a centre and the unification of Muslims. The caging of the dawn’s sun suggests the wilful submission of selfhood to selflessness in the project to define a community, so that both the ka‘ba and selfhood are expressed through that confinement of the sun. This is also suggested by the analogy of a single breathing body and the strengthening of individual self-possession through unity. But the image of the caged sun is effective in another, unpredictable way, partly because of the dialectical interplay between opposites (tradition and innovation, self and selflessness, khɫdƮ and fanö) in Iqbal’s work as a whole. It produces a counter-image of the sun uncaged, and the two together highlight even more strongly the intense splendour of selfhood, which, as we have seen, Iqbal renders in images of the sun in his poetry.

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It is the willing confinement of that selfhood which lends value to Iqbal’s conception of pan-Islam, but in doing so, it necessarily evokes the possibility of its un-confinement and excess.

Islam and Nationalism Alongside Iqbal’s recasting of Islam as a universalising religion in terms of ‘deracialisation’, he also consistently argued that Islam and the European concept of nationalism were incompatible. The starting point of his objections to nationalism as a concept, though, were more general. In his 1932 presidential address to the All-India Muslim League, he argued that the nationalist struggle in India could not be described as ‘India’s revolt against the West’ because in this struggle ‘the people of India are demanding the very institutions which the West stands for’.87 This unease about nationalism as a Western concept was also an important component in the thought of other Indian intellectuals, such as Nehru and Gandhi. I have argued elsewhere that the autobiographical texts of Nehru and Gandhi elaborate elements and questions of postnationality, not as signalling the disintegration of any sense of collective polity, but more as a means to articulate points of resistance to the oppressive potential of collective nationalist identities.88 These postnational elements are deployed at various levels and with varying degrees of success and awareness in their autobiographical texts. In doing so, they sometimes unveil the undesirability, even the impossibility, of certain kinds of national selves.89 However, Iqbal’s objection to nationalism takes a different route after this starting point. For him nationalism was antithetical to the universalising aspects of Islam. This is clear in his 1938 debate with Maulana Hussain Ahmad: I have been repudiating the concept of Nationalism since the time when it was not well-known in India and the Muslim world. At the very start it had become clear to me from the writings of European authors that the imperialistic designs of Europe were in great need of this effective weapon— the propagation of the European conception of Nationalism in Muslim countries—to shatter the religious unity of Islam to pieces.… [This] has now reached its climax in as much as some of the religious leaders in India lend their support to this conception.90

Iqbal also argues that if ‘nation’ is simply a ‘geographical term’, then he has no objections to it. In that sense, it is safe to say that ‘We are all

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Indians and are so called because we live in that part of the world which is known by the name of India’. However, it is when the word ‘nation’ ceases to be a geographical term and becomes a ‘political concept’ signifying a ‘principle of human society’, or what he describes elsewhere as ‘a structuring principle of solidarity’, that the problems arise.91 This is mainly because, in his view, Islam’s purpose was to create a community which ignored all ‘national and racial’ distinctions. Its aim was ‘to unite and organize mankind, despite all its natural distinctions’.92 It is for this reason that Muslims cannot be a nation in the political sense of the word except in terms of their being a millat.93 Iqbal’s 1930 presidential speech to the Muslim nationalist All-India Muslim League is characterised by his opposition to nationalism as a concept. As we have seen, he uses the impact of nationalism on the Christian civilisation of Europe as a warning, painting a picture of Europe as a continent of ‘mutually ill-adjusted States’ which have ‘trampled over the moral and religious convictions of Christianity’. He also adds somewhat presciently, that it is for this reason these states ‘are today feeling the need of a federated Europe, i.e. the need of a unity which the Church organization originally gave them, but which, instead of reconstructing it in the light of Christ’s vision of human brotherhood they considered it fit to destroy under the inspiration of Luther’.94 According to him, this is where Islam had an advantage: ‘A Luther in the world of Islam, however, is an impossible phenomenon; for here there is no church organisation, similar to that of Christianity in the Middle Ages’.95 His aim, then, is to focus on Islam as a ‘universal polity’, with ‘a social structure regulated by a legal system and animated by a specific ethical ideal’ that has ‘furnished those basic emotions and loyalties which gradually unify scattered individuals and groups and finally transform them into a welldefined people’. Nationalism, on the other hand, requires a ‘process of practically remaking men and furnishing them with a fresh emotional equipment’.96 Iqbal also makes a larger point, namely that like other universalising religions Islam has a concept of humanity as a whole (as he puts it, ‘its aim is to furnish a model of the final combination of humanity by drawing its adherents from a variety of mutually repellent races’), whereas nationalism divides humanity into racially and ethnically based groups.97 This is a point he also makes in Mysteries of Selflessness, in a section entitled ‘That the Country (‘waɠan’) is not the Foundation of the Islamic Community’ (‘millat’): ‘Now brotherhood (‘akhvat’) has been cut / The construction of the community (‘millat’) has given way to the country / The country is now the candle in the gathering / Humankind

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has been fashioned into tribes’ (couplets 381–82). He expresses this idea in his 1930 presidential speech when he warns that in the contemporary world the ‘national idea is racialising the outlook of Muslims, and thus materially counteracting the humanizing work of Islam’.98 For this reason his remark in his 1932 presidential speech that nationalism is the ‘greatest danger to modern humanity’ means not just that it leads to wars, and now world wars, but that it undermines the very idea of humanity. There is another aspect to Iqbal’s critical stance towards nationalism. In the JövƮd Nöma, one of the characters whom Iqbal meets is Jamal al-Din Afghani, an influential nineteenth-century Islamic thinker, whose main aim was to strengthen Islam as a ‘focus of identity and solidarity’ against European imperialism.99 In Iqbal’s poem, Afghani’s speech expresses the pan-Islamic view that the category of the nation is a Western category, used to divide non-European peoples in general, but the Muslim umma (the global Muslim community) in particular (couplets 523–24). He also expresses the conflict between the world of the poem and the category of national territory, when he asserts that ‘God’s remembrance (‘zikr-e Ƥaqq’) requires not nations (‘ummatön’) / it transcends the bounds of space (‘makön’) and time (‘zamön’)’ (couplet 726). In the JövƮd Nöma the category of nation is associated with the body and the world of dimensions, which the poem works towards dissolving so that the poet can achieve his status as a master poet. The poem clearly places the territorial concept of the nation in the realm of the body that the poet is struggling to transcend: ‘A nation’s (‘millat’) spirit exists through association / a nation’s spirit has no need of a body (‘badan’)’ (couplet 1783). The same association between the world of dimensions and the nation is also made in Mysteries of Selflessness, where the poet addresses his readers thus: ‘If you’re a Muslim don’t tie your heart to a country / don’t lose yourself in world of dimensions’ (couplet 358). The cosmic landscape of the JövƮd Nöma makes explicit this journeying away from the territorial character of the earth divided up into empires and nations. Here it is revealing that in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Iqbal reiterates that Islam ‘rejects blood-relationship as a basis of human unity’, adding that ‘bloodrelationship is earth-rootedness’.100 For Iqbal, then, nationalism is associated with a materialist view of the world, a point which he stresses in his 1932 presidential speech, that is, the view that only material entities exist in the world.101 He defines the spiritual core of religion against this view, redeploying here the key Sufi notion of ‘zauq’. As we have seen, Iqbal defines this in

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The Development of Metaphysics in Persia as an ‘inner perception’ which reveals ‘non-temporal and non-spatial planes of being’. He argues that ‘it is the study of philosophy, or the habit of reflecting upon pure concepts, combined with the practice of virtue’, which sharpens this sense of discrimination.102 This fusion of philosophical concepts with ecstatic poetry in a Sufi mode is one of the achievements of the JövƮd Nöma. What binds these together is a visionary seeing which transforms the world it beholds. This transforming possibility is sketched out for the poet by his guide: ‘View the world otherwise and it will become other / This earth and heaven will become other’ (couplet 988). For Iqbal, decorporealisation opens up another way of seeing which, moreover, precedes thought itself. Discussing the work of Suhrawardi, Iqbal argues that for Suhrawardi ‘unaided reason is untrustworthy’ and ‘must always be supplemented by Dhauq [i.e., zauq]’. But he then goes on to invert this, arguing that Suhrawardi’s speculative philosophy is really ‘the results of the inner perception as formulated and systematized by discursive thought’.103 For Iqbal, styles of seeing precede rather than follow upon thinking. The basic importance of this notion of seeing is clear when in the JövƮd Nöma, as we have seen, he defines religious faith in Islam as ‘attaching the eye to the invisible (‘ghö’ib’)’. This vision includes denying distinctions between tribes and ethnic groups (see Chapter 3). Iqbal also associates nationalism with pre-Islamic Arabia, or what is known in Islamic discourse as ‘jöhilƮyat’, insofar as in the JövƮd Nöma one of the ancient gods of the Arabian peninsula celebrates how ‘Free man (‘mard-e Ƥurr’) has fallen into the bonds of directions (‘band-e jiƤöt’) / joined up with fatherland (‘watan’) and parted from God’ (couplet 804). In play here is the view of jöhilƮyat as the polytheistic ‘paganism’ that preceded Islam in the peninsula, together with the view that it was a period of turbulent disunion, in which the Arabs were divided into warring tribes. In this narrative, these tribes were unified by Muhammad. Alongside this, Iqbal connects nationalism with what he saw as sectarian heresies. Iqbal ends his 1938 article in his debate with Maulana Hussain Ahmad by associating the European notion of nationalism with the Ahmadiyya movement. He describes the conception of nationalism as having the same role as the rejection of the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood in the beliefs of Qadianis. In other words, those who advocate nationalism of this type are in effect urging Muslims to take up a position outside the prescriptions of the ‘divine law’. Whilst nationalism is a political concept, and the Ahmadiyya position on the finality of prophethood is a theological issue, nonetheless there is ‘a deep inner

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relationship between the two’. He states that it can only be demonstrated ‘when a Muslim historian gifted with acute insight compiles a history of Indian Muslims with particular reference to the religious thought of some of their apparently energetic sects’.104 For Iqbal, what is key here is that the finality of Muhammad’s prophethood encompasses the global community created as a result of his apostleship. In Mysteries of Selflessness he equates Muhammad as the seal (‘khatam’) of the apostles with ‘us as the seal of all nations’ (couplet 239). In the couplet here, the word ‘seal’ only occurs once, in the middle of the hemistich, with the reference to apostleship in the first half of the hemistich and to nations in the second, thereby reinforcing the centrality of finality in the equation between the two (‘ɫ rusul-rö katam va mö aqvöm-rö’). Moreover, both ‘nations’ and ‘apostleship’ take the dative case so that the significance of the act of ‘sealing’ as a crucially central act is highlighted even more. However, in spite of this critical stance towards nationalism, in his 1930 presidential speech Iqbal also argued that the communally charged situation in India, and the deeply heterogeneous nature of Indian society, meant that the ‘formation of a consolidated Muslim state’ is in the ‘best interests of India and Islam’. His envisaging of such a state closely resembles Pakistan as it exists today: ‘I would like to see the Punjab, North–West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state’.105 Thus, in the same speech which defines Islam against nationalism and the category of ‘race’, he argues for the necessity of a separate Muslim state within India. But this demand is itself based on a pan-Islamic platform. He argues that the creation of such a state would give Islam the opportunity to rid itself of ‘the stamp that Arabian imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times’. Muslim separatism is justified within pan-Islamic terms as reviving the ‘original spirit’ of the universalising aspects of the religion, which includes transcending its Arab legacy. Moreover, because of its variety of communities, regional identities, and languages, he suggests that the problem in India is not a national one, but an ‘international’ one. This is because ‘India is Asia in miniature’.106 Here, then, he makes very different use of the trope of India as a microcosm of the world from Nehru.107 Iqbal’s statements also reflect the larger role of pan-Islam in Muslim separatism in India. Scholars have pointed out that the Muslim League struggled to form an all-India Muslim constituency by playing a pan-Islamic card to bolster the status of Indian Muslims as a minority.108 For a time, though, this process was usurped by the Khilafat

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movement, which pushed the League to the periphery of significant politics. As Gail Minault has argued, it was in the Khilafat movement that a pan-Indian Muslim constituency was formed through the use of pan-Islamic symbols.109 There were earlier signs that this strategy was emerging in the aftermath of the annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911. This was clear in the reactions to Montagu’s speech in the House of Commons of April 25, 1919, in which he insisted that it was a ‘mistake to talk of the Mahomedans of India as though they were a homogenous nationality. The Mahomedans of Eastern Bengal and the Hindus had little or no relation with those outside Bengal’. The secretary to the Muslim League responded to this statement by describing it as an attack on ‘the unity of Muslims all over India, not to say all over the world, on the basis of religion, of political rights and social homogeneity’.110 In this rhetoric, the unity of Muslims within a heterogeneous India was based on a putative global unity of Muslims; the one necessarily implied and secured the other.

The Trope of Separatism There remains some uncertainty as to what kind of Muslim separatism Iqbal outlined in his work. In a letter to Edward Thompson of March 4, 1934, referring to his 1930 presidential address, Iqbal stated that he was opposed to ‘a separate federation of Muslim provinces’. His preference was for a ‘Muslim province’ in ‘a federated India’.111 At the historical juncture Iqbal was writing, it certainly makes sense to see him in terms of engaging with a range of open possibilities, from a separatism which envisaged Indian Muslims forming a ‘province’ in a federated India, to one which imagined the Muslim majority provinces of Punjab, NorthWest Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into what he called a ‘single state’ rather than a ‘province’.112 Ayesha Jalal, in her seminal study, The Sole Spokesman, has argued that it was not until 1946 that Pakistan became a realistic option. She suggests that the demand for Pakistan should be viewed as a bargaining position on the part of Jinnah and the Muslim League which did not exclude other possible political arrangements. In this context, Iqbal can be seen not as making a fully fledged commitment to a clearly formulated option, but as working within an open-ended context of a spectrum of possibilities. However, whatever the precise lineaments of the content of his separatism, Iqbal’s work is incomprehensible without the multiple significations of the trope of separatism. His political aesthetic was based on the assumption that

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Muslims in India, simply by virtue of being Muslim, formed a homogenous community. Moreover, his work and writings pointed to and articulated the strong connection which existed between pan-Islam and Indian Muslim aspirations in relation to Indian nationalism. Pan-Islam was useful in helping Muslims within India to come to terms with their minority status both politically and psychically. Iqbal touches upon this in his 1930 presidential speech, arguing that Muslims in India cannot be compared to those in Turkey and Iran, where they are in a majority, and where there are no barriers between them and other communities on the basis of caste.113 The tense connections between Indian nationalism, Muslim separatism and a pan-Islamic geography are evident in the relationship between two of Iqbal’s best known poems, ‘Taröna-e HindƮ’ and ‘Taröna-e MillƮ’. Both poems appeared in Böng-e Darö (1922).114 The former has been rightly described as ‘to this day the best patriotic poem written by any Indian poet in modern times. It comes nearest, in fact, to a truly noncommunal, national anthem for India’.115 It is on the basis of this poem, and other similar ones, that Iqbal has been claimed by post-independence India as one of its own.116 In ‘The Song of the Muslim Community’, however, the link between Muslim minorities and pan-Islam is made explicit in the first couplet, which connects together China, India and Arabia within a rhetoric of repossession. The two poems are clearly meant to be read as a pair. The second poem recalls the first through its title; it is also composed in the same metre and rhyme scheme (muzarƮ‘).117 In both poems the poet refers to himself in the last couplet, in a style reminiscent of the ghazal form. Both also express a strong sense of the passing of time, in part evoked by the flow of rivers; in one case the waters of the river Ganges and in the other the river Tigris. But both poems also recall each other because of the way the poet uses a roll call of place names to evoke history (Greece, Egypt, Byzantium, China, Arabia, India, Andalusia). In other words, time is converted into space through the list of place names. Rather than a narrative with connectives between succeeding events, the poems strive to create a cartographic image for their readers suspended in time. These poems, as a single aesthetic unit, create a simultaneity in which both exist side-by-side within the same narration of space. Thus, the two poems are inextricably linked through their mutual opposition. The way both poems imply each other through their opposition, then, articulates the tension within Indian Muslim separatism itself, which stemmed from the securing of a nationality within India

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on the basis of an ideology which saw itself as the antithesis of the idea of nationalism. This mutual implication through opposition is articulated through the geographical spaces of both poems; the carefully delineated territory of India as a geographical image is secured through the opposing geographical image of pan-Islam. This interdependence through opposition also raises another point. The second poem as a pan-Islamic and potentially separatist text, can only make sense if the reader recalls the first, Indian nationalist, poem. It is orientated towards the first piece, spatially as geographical image, textually as writing back against, and relationally in terms of identity. Its title and form identifies it with the first poem while at the same time repudiating it. Taken together, the geographical imagination in these poems enacts a simultaneous identification and rejection that lies at the heart of Muslim nationalist separatism. To a certain extent, the stress on separatism in Iqbal’s metaphysical language of selfhood, discussed in Chapter 2, can be read in a similar way. It could be argued that Iqbal tried to provide metaphysical foundations for both his religious faith and political separatism. We saw in Chapter 3 that the theme of unity and plurality in metaphysics was key to Iqbal’s intellectual history of Islamic thought, and this might be a highly abstract reflection of political issues of unity and diversity. It may even suggest that ultimately these political problems are quasimetaphysical in nature. This is because in the final analysis, Iqbal’s Islamicised postcolonial project required the defining and securing of first principles and basic positions, which is analogous to the task of metaphysics itself. Another striking feature of Iqbal’s 1932 speech is his acknowledgement of the difficulties of moving between metaphysics and politics. His speech is framed by this difficulty. He describes how the process of abstraction, which involves reflecting upon concepts and defining ideals, necessarily requires a ‘clean jump over temporal limitations’. Describing himself as ‘a visionary idealist’, he suggests that such a thinker ‘has constantly to take stock of, and often yield to, the force of those very limitations which he has been in the habit of ignoring’. The result is the experience of living in ‘perpetual mental conflict’ and ‘self-contradiction’.118 Such is Iqbal’s metaphysical bent, that even the problem of creating a homogenous Indian nationalism is represented in metaphysical language: ‘The problem of ancient Indian thought was how the One became many without sacrificing its oneness. Today this problem has come down from its ethereal heights to the grosser plane of our political life, and we have to solve it in its reversed form, i.e. how

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the many can become One without sacrificing its plural character’.119 Similarly, Iqbal’s language of a separated selfhood as an ontological entity defined against Sufism might also have political connotations. At times there appears to be an analogical correspondence between Iqbal’s scheme of separatism and his language of khɫdƮ. The language can be similar, as in his 1930 presidential speech: ‘Experience ... shows that the various caste-units and religious units in India have shown no inclination to sink their respective individualities in a larger whole. Each group is intensely jealous of its collective existence’. He adds that Indians cannot ‘conceal our egoism under the cloak of a nationalism’.120 We saw that inverting Sufi concepts of self and its aesthetics involved keeping those concepts and its images in play. I also suggested that the force of that inversion relied on the power of what is inverted to make sense. So, too, separatism as a politico-metaphysical concept foregrounds that which is being separated from. It necessarily identifies with, while rejecting, the entity it seeks to separate from.

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 9. 10.

11.

Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 100. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 7–8. Khamenei, ‘Iqbal’, pp. 132, 136. Dar, Letters and Writings, p. 55. Dar reproduces the text of Iqbal’s interview by a journalist of The Bombay Chronicle in September 1931. Jacob M. Landau. 1990. The Politics of Pan-Islam: Ideology and Organization. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 2. Dar, Letters and Writings, pp. 55–56. Landau, Politics of Pan-Islam, Chapter 2. Dar, Letters and Writings, pp. 56–57. I have retained the term ‘pan-Islam’ as signalling more explicitly the stance taken by this position against nationalism as a structuring principle in the modern world. ‘Kanör-e RövƮ’, Böng-e Darö, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 94–95. – ‘Taröna-e Milli ’, p. 159. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 7. Brian Hudson. 1977. ‘The New Geography and the New Imperialism: 1870–1914’, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, 9(2): pp. 12–19; Anne Godlewska and Neil Smith (eds). 1994. Geography and Empire. Oxford: Blackwell; Morag Bell, Robin Butlin and Michael Heffernan. 1995. ‘Geography and Imperialism, 1820–1940’, in Morag Bell, Robin Butlin, and Michael Heffernan (eds), Geography and Imperialism 1820–1940, pp. 1–12. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Mary Louise Pratt. 1992. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge.

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12. Tim Fulford and Carol Bolton, eds. 2001. Travels, Explorations and Empires. Writings from the Era of Imperial Expansion 1770–1835. London: Pickering and Chatto, Volume 1, pp. xiii–xiv. 13. Robert Fraser. 1998. Victorian Quest Romance. Stevenson, Haggard, Kipling, and Conan Doyle. Plymouth: Northcote House Publishers; Patrick Brantlinger. 1988. Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830–1914. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; and Martin Green. 1980. Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire. London: Routledge. Fulford and Bolton, Travels, p. xxviii; Green, Dreams of Adventure, pp. 269–70. 14. But see C. A. Bayly. 1996. Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India 1780–1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 8. 15. Munshi Mohan Lal. 1846. Travels in the Panjab, Afghanistan, and Turkistan, to Balk, Bokhara, and Herat; and a Visit to Great Britain and Germany. London: W. H. M. Allen, pp. 25–26; Alexander Burnes. 1834. Travels into Bokhara; Being the Account of a Journey from India to Cabool, Tartary, and Persia; Also, Narrative of A Voyage on the Indus, from the Sea to Lahore, with Presents from the King of Great Britain; Performed under the Orders of the Supreme Government of India, in the Years 1831, 1832, and 1833. London: John Murray, pp. 50–51. 16. Lal, Travels, pp. 33, 53, 63–64. 17. Ibid., pp. 191, 202, 209, 285. 18. Ibid., pp. 61, 86, 190, 200–1, 263, 365–66. 19. Ibid., pp. 8, 109, 115, 366, 383. 20. Burnes, Travels, p. ix. 21. Ibid., especially pp. 6–8. 22. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan. 1812. MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, ed. Mirza Hasein Ali and Mir Qudrat Ali. Calcutta: Hindoostanee Press, pp. 708–15. 23. Ibid., 128. 24. Ibid., 64–65. 25. Sayyid Ahmad Khan. 1960. Musöfirön-e Landan, ed. Sheikh Muhammad Ismail Panipati. Lahore: Majlis-e TaraqqƮ-e Adab, pp. 90–91, 100. 26. Ibid., pp. 48–49. See also p. 144 for his devaluation of the Red Fort at Delhi in relation to Versailles, pp. 131–32 for how diwali lights and the treasuries of the richest Hindustanis cannot compare to the street lighting and shops in Marseilles, p. 152 on how Chandni Chowk cannot compare with the shops of Paris, and p. 167 on his hotel rooms in Bristol being superior to the rooms in a nawab’s or rajah’s palace. 27. Ibid., p. 184. 28. The Ƥijöz refers to the north-western part of the Arabian peninsula as the birthplace of Islam and for Muslims also therefore its spiritual centre. 29. Armaghön-e Ʃijöz, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 883–1028. Annemarie Schimmel. 1991. ‘Sacred Geography in Islam’, in Jamie Scott and Paul SimpsonHousley (eds), Sacred Places and Profane Spaces: Essays in the Geographics of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. New York: Greenwood Press, pp. 163–75, 168.

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30. The phrase ‘political theology’ is Schimmel’s; see Annemarie Schimmel. 1987. And Muhammad is his Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. Lahore: Vanguard Books, p. 252. 31. Ibid., p. 240. 32. Ibid., pp. 252–53. 33. Bernard Lewis. 1971. Race and Color in Islam. New York: Harper and Row. 34. Ehsan Yarshater. 1982. Encyclopedia Iranica. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Volume 1, pp. 700–1. 35. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 21, 82, 147–48. 36. Ibid., p. 47. 37. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 114–15; Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 103. 38. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 120. 39. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 115. For an examination of this issue in relation to the development of the Ahmadiyya movement, see Yohann Friedmann. 1989. Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 49–82. 40. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 92–93, 106, 110, 117–20. 41. Ibid., pp. 103–4. 42. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, pp. 31–32. 43. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 4–5. 44. Ibid., p. 6. 45. Ibid., p. 7; Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 35. 46. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 134–35. 47. Ibid., p. 6. 48. Ibid., p. 136. 49. All-India Muslim League Papers (Quaid-e Azam Academy, Karachi; hereafter AIML Papers), Volume 503: Memorial presented to British secretary of state for foreign affairs by Aga Khan et al., Jan 1, 1919. 50. Ibid., pp. 235–46. 51. What follows is drawn from the entries in the EI2, which trace the genealogy and development of these terms in various parts of the Islamic world from the early Islamic period to the twentieth century. 52. Ibid., Vol. 7, pp. 61–64. 53. Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 794. 54. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 229, 236–37. 55. Ibid., pp. 237–41. 56. Ibid., p. 229. 57. Ibid., pp. 237, 240. 58. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 379 to Wahid Ahmed Masood, Sep 7, 1921. 59. Ibid., pp. 135–36. 60. Michael Banton. 1987. Racial Theories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 93–96. 61. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 136.

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62. Arthur Keith. 1931. Ethnos or the Problem of Race. London: Kegan Paul & Co., pp. 9, 91. 63. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 195. 64. Kenneth Ballhatchet. 1980. Race, Sex, and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics 1793–1905. London: Wiedenfeld and Nicholson. 65. Washbrook, ‘Ethnicity and Racialism in Colonial Indian Society’, p. 157. See also Sheikh, Community and Consensus in Islam, pp. 49–73. 66. AIML papers, Volume 64: Resolution 8 for annual session of 3rd and 4th March, 1912. 67. Ibid., Volume 65: Reports and Proceedings of the Annual Session of the Muslim League 1912. 68. S. S. Pirzada. 1969. Foundations of Pakistan: All India Muslim League Documents, 1906–1947, 3 vols. Karachi: National Publishing House: Presidential Address, 5th Session, Calcutta, Mar 3–4, 1912, Vol. 1, pp. 244–45. AIML Papers, Volume 4: 1908 Central Committee Meetings, Letter from Hamidia Islamic Society, Johannesburg dated Nov 25, 1907, to President of Muslim League, and subsequent resolution passed by Central Committee (in English and Urdu). 69. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 132–33. 70. Dar, Letters and Writings, p. 56. 71. Richard Fox. 1985. Lions of the Punjab: Culture in the Making. Berkeley: University of California Press. 72. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 3–4. 73. Sheikh, Community and Consensus in Islam, pp. 93–96. 74. This was a speech delivered in Urdu before the Bengal Khilafat conference in 1920; for my purposes, I have relied on an edition published in 1963 by Khalid Book Depot, Lahore. 75. Abul Kalam Azad. 1963. Masla-e Khilöfat va JazƮrat-e ‘Arab. Lahore: Khalid Book Depot, pp. 111, 116. For the need to establish a priority of credence on the basis of distinguishing different types of dictum in Islamic law and in ƤadƮth, see especially, pp. 102–4. Abul Kalam Azad (1888–1958) joined the Indian National Congress in 1920, and participated in the Indian Association of Muslim theologians who were sympathetic to political nationalism and expelling the British from India. He was also a pan-Islamicist, and an opponent of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817–98), a leading Muslim modernist. Azad became the minister of education in post-independence India, a position he held until his death in 1958. See also his autobiography, Abul Kalam Azad. 1958, 1988. India Wins Freedom. London: Sangam Books (the second edition published in 1988 contains sections which were deleted in the first edition). 76. Azad, Masla-e Khilöfat, p. 97; the word ‘nasl’ originally meant ‘lineage’ and ‘pedigree’, but came to mean ‘race’ too. 77. On the holding of the Caliphate by an ‘ajam, see ibid., 94–95; Azad uses the word ‘ajam. See also p. 105. For the reference to pan-Islam, see ibid., p. 135. 78. Ibid., p. 135; see also p. 97 for a strong statement of Islam as opposed to specificities of lineage and national and racial distinctions (‘imtƮöz ul-nasab’), and pp. 98–100. For an interpretation of the hijrat in accordance with these views on Islam and race, see pp. 52–53.

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79. There were, of course, major differences between the thought of Iqbal and Azad; for example, in broad terms between Iqbal’s concept of khudƮ and Azad’s comments on infirödƮyyat (individuality) in Azad, Masla-e Khilöfat, p. 52. However, these major differences make the similarities between their work all the more significant. 80. On the ‘race idea’, see Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 195, 207. On the ‘absoluteness of races’, see ibid., p. 136. 81. Washbrook, ‘Ethnicity and Racialism’, p. 170. 82. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 9–14, 27, 35, 42, 63, 67–68, 94–95, 110, 169, 182. 83. See David Omissi. 1991. ‘“Martial Races”: Ethnicity and Security in Colonial India 1858–1939’, War and Society, 9(1): pp. 1–27, for a lucid discussion of the theories of martial races. 84. Washbrook, ‘Ethnicity and Racialism’, p. 159. 85. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 126. 86. Arberry, Mysteries of Selflessness, p. 76. 87. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 47. 88. This sense of post-national seems to be dominant in Frank Davey. 1993. Post-national Arguments: The Politics of the Anglophone-Canadian Novel since 1967. Toronto: Toronto University Press, pp. 252–66. 89. Majeed, Autobiography. 90. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 230. 91. Ibid., pp. 231, 136. 92. Ibid., p. 232. 93. Ibid., p. 235. 94. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in ibid., pp. 5–6. 95. Ibid., p. 6. 96. Ibid., pp. 3–4, 6, 8. 97. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 132–33. 98. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 6. 99. Nikki R. Keddie. 1983. An Islamic Response to Imperialism: Political and Religious – – Writings of Sayyid Jamöl ad-Din ‘al-Afghöni’. Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 97. 100. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 116. 101. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 34. 102. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 111. 103. Ibid., p. 98. 104. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 245. 105. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in ibid., pp. 14, 11. 106. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in ibid., pp. 28, 9. 107. For which, see Majeed, Autobiography, p. 161. 108. Landau, The Politics of Pan-Islam, p. 306. 109. Ibid., p. 214; Gail Minault. 1982. The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 208, 211–12.

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110. AIML Papers, vol. 91: Council Meetings, 1912, circular letter of Secretary, Apr 27, 1912 which cites the passage from Montagu’s speech. See also the resolution passed by the Punjab Muslim League to the effect that this speech represented ‘an unwarranted departure from a recognised principle of Imperial Indian policy which has hitherto accepted all Indian Musalmans, irrespective of locality and origin, as constituting one community’, and that the interests of Punjabi Muslims are identical to those of Bengali Muslims (Resolution enclosed in circular letter of Secretary, All India Muslim League, May 8, 1912). 111. This letter is cited by Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, p. xiii. 112. This is Singh’s view; see ibid., Chapter 8. 113. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 29. 114. For the text of these poems, see Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl Urdɫ, pp. 83 and 159 respectively. 115. Singh, Ardent Pilgrim, p. 15. 116. Ibid., pp. xii, 147. 117. This is the most common metre in Urdu poetry. There are 14 syllables per line, arranged in this pattern: - - u / - u – u / u - - u / - u -. The common metre suits the popular nature of these poems. The regular pattern of alternating long and short syllables, which is reversed only in the middle, accounts for the measured pace of both poems. 118. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, pp. 33–34. 119. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in ibid., p. 35. 120. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in ibid., pp. 9–10.

5 The Aesthetics of Travel Travel and Pan-Islam The last chapter discussed the poetics of Iqbal’s cartography, and outlined how he produced a re-centred geography in his poetry. Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht have argued sacred space must be understood as a structure of limitation and closure.1 However, in the case of Iqbal’s sacred geography, what is significant is its malleability, which enables linkages to be imagined between multiple locations. Here, then, the sacredness of place puts into play a mobility of boundaries and spatial relationships, rather than closing them off. There are other points of productive instability in this sacred geography, which, at one level at least, are key to its imaginative efficacy. Schimmel rightly argues that Iqbal places the Arabian homeland of Islam at the centre of his philosophical poetry.2 She points to the significance of the title of Iqbal’s first collection of poems, Böng-e Darö as indicating the desire to return to the central sanctuary of Mecca. In ‘Complaint’, the poet also refers to the ‘straying community’ as once more ‘directing its reins towards the Ƥijöz’ (stanza 26). However, what is key to Iqbal’s conception of Islam is that it transcends its geographical origins to become trans-ethnic and not the preserve of Arabs alone. The symbolic and sacred importance of the Ƥijöz is at odds with the specificity of its location. There are two meanings to Iqbal’s sacred geography then. One is the sacred luminosity of the Ƥijöz, and the other is its historically accidental nature as a religious location, which is transcended by the global, post-ethnic, nature of Islam. Iqbal tries to bring together these multiple senses of specific location and post-ethnic global significance in his use of the Ƥijöz as a geographical trope. The malleability of Iqbal’s sacred geography is also evident in its configuration with the aesthetics of travel in his work. In the context of pan-Islam as the re-casting of a universalising religion, the hijra or migration of Muhammad with his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622, which was later designated the first year of the Islamic calendar, becomes a pivotal trope. In Mysteries of Selflessness, arguing that the

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Islamic community is not bounded by space because of its belief in one God, the poet refers to this migration as the foundation of the commun– ity of Islam: ‘He opened the knot of Muslim nationality (‘qaumiyat’) / When he migrated from his country (‘watan’)’ (couplet 361). For Iqbal, then, from the outset a Muslim identity is a travelling identity. This travelling identity is used to open up vistas of space which counteract the European colonisation of territories and consequent circumscription of Muslims, as in the third part of ‘The Rise of Islam’: ‘The station of the Muslim lies beyond the blue complexion of the sky / The stars are the dust on the road of your caravan’ (couplet 2). Furthermore, the hijra is associated with the characteristic images of khɫdƮ: ‘Migration (‘hijra’) is the law of the life of the Muslim / It is the baggage (‘asböb’) of the stability of the Muslim / Its meaning is to fly from shallow waters / To abandon the dew in order to subdue the ocean / Go beyond the single rose, the entire garden is your purpose / This deficiency adorns the belt of your gain all the more’ (Mysteries of Selflessness, couplets 368–70). The country and nation are tied together with migration in a travelling identity as opposites. Countries and nations are points of departures rather than scenes of arrival. The self-conscious lack of nationalism becomes a necessary part of the accoutrements of one’s self as a traveller, and is even displayed by that self as an ornament of its identity. It is not just the hijra which is recast in this way. In Mysteries of the Self, hajj is extolled because it teaches ‘separation from one’s country (‘hijrat’) and burns attachment to one’s homeland (‘watan’)’ (couplet 440). Iqbal sees his role as a pan-Islamic poet in terms of imagining and creating possibilities of travel. In ‘Taröna-e MillƮ’, the penultimate couplet describes the Prophet as ‘the leader of our caravan’. The text ends with Iqbal likening his poem to a caravan’s bell, announcing the start of the day’s journey. Similarly, in Mysteries of the Self, in the section on the role of the poet in an Islamic utopia, Iqbal represents the poet as motivating travel: ‘Caravans march at the sound of his bell / And follow the music of his pipe’ (couplet 356). In the importance given to travel, Iqbal here follows Altaf Husain Hali (1837–1914), in whose nineteenthcentury epic poem Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm (1879; On the Flow and Ebb of Islam), travel played a key role in his representation of the rise and fall of Islam. The imbrication of travel with historical progress and decline in the Musaddas is expressed by Hali’s sense that the Arabs of early Islam were distinguished by their readiness to travel and explore. They are described as internalising their migrant mode of life, so that ‘they reckoned their homeland and travel (‘watan aur safar’) as the same’.3

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For Hali one of the achievements of the early Islamic conquests was the construction of roads, so that not only were Arabs intrepid travellers, they also made travel easy for others.4 The eagerness to travel which distinguished the early Islamic world is contrasted to the present disinclination of Indian Muslims to do so.5 There is thus an implied link between the status of Muslims as a subject population and their indifference to travel. The link between the readiness to travel lightly and a possible regeneration of Islam is made clear in Iqbal’s ‘Answer to the Complaint’, when God is represented as saying that ‘Your caravan will never be laid waste (‘vƮrön’) / You have no baggage apart from the caravan bell’ (verse 28). Similarly, the final hemistich of the ambiguously entitled ‘The Rise of Islam’ also represents the possibility of regeneration in the motifs of travel: ‘After an age, once more the time has come for our caravan’s departure’. However, there is a further dimension to the aesthetics of travel in Iqbal’s case, which lies in the role it plays in his conception of individual selfhood.

KhɫdƮ and Travel A narrative of travel is also key to Iqbal’s self-conception in the JövƮd Nöma, but he deploys a very different kind of travel. It is the poet’s journey through the cosmos, with the poet travelling from earth through the various spheres (‘aflök’) of the planets, which structures the text. The journey is a visionary and imaginary one in an inner realm of the self, rather than a physical one in the external world, but for the poet it is no less ‘real’ for that. It is through this journey that the poet defines his selfhood. The defining question in the poem is ‘Who am I?’ (‘man kƮyam?’), and it is in part this quest for self-knowledge which motivates Iqbal’s visionary journey. We have seen that the journey is also the poet’s attempt to find his station, for, as he laments, ‘I know not where my station (‘maqöm-e khɫd’) is / I know this much, that it is far from friends (‘yörön judöst’)’ (couplet 1787). So the poem is also a symbolic attempt to fix the poet’s station through self-narration. The figure of the poet is depicted as coming into his own as both a poet and a thinker as he approaches the end of his journey. Here he is acknowledged by other characters in the poem as ‘a master of fire and melody (‘ɓöƤib-e sauz va sarɫd’)’ (couplet 1709), and here his guide disappears, leaving the poet to stand on his own as a figure in his own right. The centrality of the journey to Iqbal’s self-conception is evident in other ways too. In the poem, the poet’s name is ‘zinda rɫd’ or ‘living

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stream’, and he is described by others as a river in full flow, as when Tipu Sultan compares him to the River Cauvery (couplet 1664). These attributes are underlined by the poet himself when he refers to the River Cauvery as ‘unceasingly on its journey’ (‘safar’) in whose life he sees a new commotion (‘shor’) (couplet 1655). These images and comparisons reinforce the sense of the poet as himself on an unceasing journey, enacting his selfhood as he unfolds his poem. Moreover, in the philosophical and poetic world of the poem, perpetual travel is both something to aim for as well as a necessary metaphysical and ontological condition. As one of the characters in the poem, the mystic al-Hallaj says, ‘the paradise of free men (‘özödgön’) is eternal voyaging (‘sair-e davöm’)’ (couplet 1075), while earlier on in the poem, in the Sphere of the Moon, the poet equates death with the absence of travelling: ‘O traveller (‘musöfir’) the soul (‘jön’) dies by being at rest / it is more alive with perpetual flight!’ (couplet 246). It is precisely the poet’s self and soul that is at stake in his journey, and one of the key ideas of the poem is the notion that the soul or the self is itself a journey. This conception is expressed by the poet, when he urges his reader to make the soul ‘your journey’ (‘seir’) (couplet 889). In the transfiguring vision which is enacted in the poem, the entire universe is seen to be travelling, so that Tipu Sultan’s missive (‘paighöm’) to the poet includes the exhortation to see that the highways (‘jödahö’) are themselves like travellers (‘rahravön’) on a journey. He goes on to say: ‘The caravan and the camels and the desert and the palm-trees / Whatever you see weeps (‘nölƮd’) for the pain of parting (‘dard-e raƤƮl’)’ (couplet 1680). Even the stars, supposedly fixed (‘sabitön’), have been given the essence (‘jauhar’) of planets, while in one of his lyrics, the poet avers that ‘You say that these roses and tulips are permanently rooted here / But they have the attributes (‘ɓiföt’) of travellers (‘röh paimö’) like the waves of the breeze (‘mauj-e nasƮm’)’ (couplets 915, 741). The vocabulary of travel fills the JövƮd Nöma in other ways, with the poet often using the image of the self as boat travelling across stormy and dangerous seas to underpin his sense of the dangers of the journey he is making (couplets 775–79). In the final section of the poem, when face-to-face with the Presence of Divinity, he speaks of his ecstatic experience in terms of hazarding the skiff of the soul (‘zauraq-e jön’) on a sea of light (‘baƤr-e nɫr’) (couplet 1735). Moreover, the poem also enacts an aesthetics of travel. Like all autobiographical texts, the JövƮd Nöma is a self-reflexive text; but its self-reflexivity is deepened and reinforced by the way in which it reflects its aesthetic qualities back to the poet himself. The autobiographical journey includes the unfolding of its

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aesthetic and creative status as a text. Both Schimmel and Mir have pointed to the paradox of Iqbal’s style as consisting of simple diction but difficult and subtle meanings.6 The state of eloquence in the poem is mirrored in the poet’s pseudonym of ‘living stream’. When Tipu Sultan compares the poet as a living stream to the River Cauvery, he also calls attention to the poet’s eloquence: ‘In the world you are a “living stream” and he is a “living stream” / melody interwoven with melody (‘sarɫd’) sounds sweeter (‘khɫshtar’)’ (couplet 1664). This comparison between flowing rivers and eloquence is made elsewhere: ‘His speech and comprehension flowed like a river / I was lost in wonder (‘maƤv-e Ƥairat’) at his words’ (couplet 916). The poem tries to combine the musicality and mellifluousness of poetic eloquence, through the careful control of metre and clarity of diction, with the profundity of philosophical discourse. While doing so, it reflects these qualities back to the poet himself. The poet’s pseudonym, then, reflects not only his travelling self, but also his aesthetics of travel, in which the flow of the river signifies the mellifluousness of his verse. This aesthetics of travel is evident, too, in the title of his first collection of Urdu poems in 1923, Böng-e Darö, which refers to the ringing of the bell to announce the time for the caravan to recommence its journey. Iqbal’s first collection of verse can be seen as the commencement of an aesthetic journey, and he alludes to this when in the closing verses of his famous poem ‘Complaint’, he hopes that hearts may be awakened by the sound of the caravan bell that is his own poetry. The tying together of a restless self with the aesthetics of travel is also attested to by Iqbal in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, when he refers to the restless being of man in a ‘ceaseless quest’ for new avenues of ‘self-expression’.7 This again extends to his notion of selfhood, when, following Henri Bergson, he argues that ‘individuality is a matter of degrees’. For Iqbal individuality is an ongoing project of travel rather than a finished achievement.8 This conception of selfhood is also evident in another important Persian poem by Iqbal. The poem ‘Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd’ (‘The New Secret Rose Garden’, 1927), is structured by nine questions.9 The fifth question poses the question of selfhood: ‘What am I ? Tell me what “I”(‘man’) means. / What is the meaning of ‘travel into yourself’ (‘andar khud safar kun’)?’ In part, the response includes an exhortation to undertake a journey into one’s self (‘safar dar khud kun’) in order to see what ‘I’ is (couplet 168). The response to question seven also reiterates the centrality of travel to the possession of a self, when the poet warns the

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questioner not to seek the end of the journey, because there is no end point to this journey. For him, the ceaseless journey is immortal life (‘Ƥayöt-e jövadönƮ’) (couplet 245). Iqbal’s notion of travel renders the terms ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ ambiguous. Indeed, one of the key questions in the poem is precisely how to distinguish between the inner and outer: ‘Is this external (‘bairɫn’) then internal (‘andarɫn’)? What is it?’ (couplet 489). The poem is eloquent in opening up the relationships between interiority and the outer world, to the extent that the distinction between the inner space of subjectivity, accessed through introspection, and the external world, perceived through the senses, becomes blurred: ‘Am I of the skies or are the skies of me? / Either heaven has taken my heart into its breast / Or my heart has seized heaven / Is all this internal or is it external? Which is it ?’ (couplets 1487–89). The spaciousness of the cosmos through which the poet journeys becomes an image of the expansive inwardness which the poet articulates, also represented through images of the sea and ocean, and is captured by his guide on his journey, referring to the heart of man as a ‘sea without a shore’ in which ‘All ages and all times are drowned’ (couplets 593–94). One of the characters captures this view of interiority in the poem referring to the fluctuating waves of thought: ‘What is there in man’s (‘ödam’) heart but thoughts (‘afkör’) / Like waves, this upsurging (‘sar kushƮd’) and that fleeing (‘ramƮd’)?’ (couplet 798). It is important to stress not just the willed imaginary quality of nations but also the creative labour of the imagination which goes into the assembling of the self in texts which are simultaneously autobiographical and quasinationalist, although, as we shall see, it is the poem’s conception of selfhood which problematises the concept of nationality.10 This shaping power of the imagination is also reflected in the visionary quality of the poem. Iqbal’s images of internal spaciousness counter the fixing of consciousness which characterised colonial ethnological views of the inhabitants of India, frozen by caste or religion. He undermines the incarcerating effect which the limiting and homogenising term ‘Muslim’ might have on any suppositions about the static nature of his or her consciousness. He also undermines these incarcerating views by grappling with the conflicting and varied traditions within Islamic learning. He displays a cosmopolitan eclecticism as he negotiates the currents of both European and Islamic philosophy. His work uses questions to open up territories of experience and thought. As we have seen, ‘The New Secret Rose Garden’ is formally structured by nine questions. The JövƮd Nöma is full of questions which

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are never really answered by the other characters in the text. Thus, halfway through the poem, despite the advice and admonishment the poet receives at the hands of others, the poet laments when he reaches the Sphere of Venus that he still ignorant of his station (couplet 759). Similarly, towards the end of the poem, when the poet has arrived beyond the spheres, he asks the voice of Beauty some basic but difficult questions, as to the nature of the ‘I’ and ‘thou’ (‘tɫ’), the distance (‘dɫrƮ’) between the two, and the whereabouts of the world (couplets 1787–88). These questions are similar to those the poem has been posing all along. The interrogative tone of the JövƮd Nöma, with its love for open questions and hidden answers, is reinforced by the poet’s expression of his own doubts. In the Sphere of Venus when the poet laments his loneliness, he contrasts himself to those who are ignorant (‘be-khabar’) of the conflict (‘razm’) between unbelief (‘kufr’) and faith (‘dƮn’) (couplet 761). The interrogative nature of Iqbal’s work is also evident in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, whose most striking feature is the contrast between the depth and range of its eclecticism, and its paucity of any clearly articulated conclusions. In Iqbal’s work, it is simply not clear what ‘Islam’ means. This, however, reflects the complex nature of the category itself and its many instantiations. As Aziz al-Azmeh has reminded us, ‘there are as many Islams as there are situations that sustain it’.11 Harris Birkeland is just one of many scholars who has stressed the ‘catholic’ nature of Islam, its incorporation of multiple sources, and the actively constructed nature of what constitutes ‘orthodox’ Islam, which remains an ongoing process rather than a finished fact.12 Eickelman and Piscatori have rightly stressed that ‘it is impossible to say with certainty at any given moment what Islam is’, just as ‘it is impossible to specify the contours of Muslim identity’.13 Iqbal is aware of this in his intellectual history of Islamic thought. His main concern in The Development of Metaphysics in Persia is to consider how Persian thinkers grappled with and reworked Islam in different ways. As we have seen, he regards the Ismaili movement as just one example of how the ‘intellectually independent Persian waged against the religious and political ideals of Islam’, and in his chapter on Sufism, he sees Sufi thought partly as a project to re-state Islam.14 His own reworking and re-statement of Islam is consonant with this history of a succession of Islams. It is also consonant with his stress on interiority. Iqbal’s disposition towards philosophical idealism is evident in the way he sees the history of religions in terms of an imposition of inwardness on the external world. According to him, both Islam and Christianity affirm the ‘revelation of a new world

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within’, with the difference, in his view, that Islam supplements the ‘insight’ contained in Christianity with the ‘illumination of the new world thus revealed not as something foreign to the world of matter but [as something that] permeates it through and through’.15 Iqbal also conveys a sense of the ongoing nature of questions as motivating intellectual history and lived experience in his preface to The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, when he stresses that ‘there is no such thing as finality in philosophical thinking’, and so, as a result, his own lectures can only be provisional.16 Iqbal begins The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam with another set of problems, which he sees as the shared foundational questions of religion, philosophy and what he calls ‘higher poetry’. The opening lines of The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam consist of these questions: ‘What is the character and general structure of the universe in which we live? Is there a permanent element in the constitution of this universe? How are we related to it? What place do we occupy in it, and what is the kind of conduct that befits the place we occupy?’17 The interrogative nature of Iqbal’s work is further evident in the addition of a final lecture in the second edition of The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, entitled ‘Is Religion Possible?’ Iqbal does not answer this question. As in the JövƮd Nöma, it is the asking of questions and the processes of answering them which matter, rather than the answers alone. The defining experience of Iqbal’s work is the experience of living the metaphysical and ontological questions he poses, rather than the asking of them at an abstract distance. In this, then, Iqbal again counters any assumptions about the ethnologically fixed nature of Muslims, or their consciousnesses frozen in categories of religion. Far from being self-complacent, for Iqbal the very nature of selfhood is at stake and has to be constructed through a notion of travel as inwardness. It is important to distinguish Iqbal’s project to articulate selfhood in autobiographical narratives from some key instances of autobiography in the West during the twentieth century, in which autobiography as a textual enterprise unravels as the self it purports to define is shown to be insubstantial. Thus, for Sartre the autobiographical self becomes an elusive absence rather than a substantial presence. His autobiography, rather than a testimony of his self-presence, becomes a declaration of himself as an absence. It mocks the reader’s expectations of the genre of autobiography by chronicling the different ways in which the author does not exist: ‘I had tried to take refuge from glory and dishonour in the loneliness of my true self; but I had no true self….’18

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Instead of the triumphant self-assertion of Descartes’ cogito ergo sum, the autobiographical self-regard of Words is summed up in the starkly negative sentence ‘I was not’.19 For Sartre the act of writing becomes a trick to conjure up a series of selves for the reader.20 In fact, Words becomes an autobiography about the impossibility of autobiography itself: ‘I was always in front of or behind the impossible vision which would have revealed me to myself….’21 This reversal of the conventions of autobiography is also evident in the surrealist poet and ethnographer, Michel Leiris’ Manhood. Far from charting his seamless growth from child to mature manliness, Leiris instead charts his ‘disintegration’ from youth to maturity.22 He openly acknowledges, even celebrates, his inability to attain the manhood of his autobiography’s title and he plays with the multiple nature of his impotence and vulnerability.23 Like Sartre, he also finds the promise of the conventions of autobiography, namely to present one’s self to the public, a chimera: ‘Even as I write, the plan I had devised escapes me, and one might say that the more I look into myself the more confused everything I see becomes’.24 It is perhaps because of this unravelling of autobiography as a genre in twentieth-century European literature that Paul de Man argues that empirically and theoretically autobiography lends itself poorly to generic definition.25 The trajectory of South Asian nationalist autobiography in the colonial period is different, and in this Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma is representative. For these texts, the project to enact a selfhood is an act of empowerment. Instead of the mock heroic ‘I am not’, Iqbal’s text celebrates the act of manifesting one’s self as a separate entity. As we have seen, the day of creation is depicted in these terms: ‘Everywhere out of the rapture and yearning for the seizing of selfhood (‘khud-garƮ’) / arose the cry I am another (‘dƮgaram’) and you are yet another (‘dƮgarƮ’)’ (couplet 61). However, as we shall see, this project to achieve selfhood does not entail a fully integrated individuality, nor the effortless integration of such an individuality into a collective group identity.

Geographies of Subjectivity Iqbal’s poems articulate not just historical geographies but also a geography of subjectivity—that is, the arrangement of an interior space of selfhood in relation to different parts of the external world. Here Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma stands in a complex relationship to Urdu and Persian travelogues by Indians in the nineteenth century. Many of these

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travelogues contain accounts of social, political and economic institutions, particularly those of Britain. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan’s is the most detailed in this respect, containing as it does meticulous descriptions of the British army and navy, relations between social classes, parliament, the position of the Church of England in British society and its hierarchy, and Britain’s judicial system.26 Karim Khan also provides an account of the British Parliament and the British political system, although in less detail than Abu Taleb Khan.27 He does, however, include a full account of the workings and structure of the East India Company in London.28 As Schimmel has stressed, Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma addresses political and social issues, although it is less concerned with the details of empirical description and more with abstract reflections on these issues.29 The JövƮd Nöma, then, does share some of the preoccupations with social and political issues which are addressed by Urdu and Persian travelogues of the nineteenth century. But for Iqbal, engaging with social and political issues in the external realm goes hand-in-hand with the progressive inwardness of a subjective interiority, which is itself fashioned as a form of travel. The focus on interiority as securing social and political processes in the external realm is also stressed in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where Iqbal refers to the impact of the destruction of Baghdad in the thirteenth century on the Islamic world. He argues that in order to prevent the disintegration of the social order, the ulema ‘focused all their efforts on the one point of preserving a uniform social life for the people by a jealous exclusion of all innovations in the law of Shari‘a as expounded by the early doctors of Islam’. The problem with this, though, was that ‘in an over-organized society the individual is altogether crushed out of existence’. For Iqbal, the only way to counter the decline of ‘a people’ is to recover the category of the individual, or what he calls, in an evocative phrase, ‘self-concentrated individuals’.30 It is precisely the interiority of a ‘self-concentrated’ individual, enacted as a travel narrative, which he constructs in his work. While there are many references to an empirical geography in the JövƮd Nöma, this is enfolded in the imaginary geography of the poet’s ascent through the spheres. Moreover, as we have seen, the journey is not a bodily one but an imaginative act of introspection as the poet travels into himself. This represents an obvious break from preceding travelogues. The progressive interiorisation which the JövƮd Nöma represents in relation to preceding travelogues is evident in other ways too. Two of the nineteenth-century Persian/Urdu travelogues refer

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to dangerous storms at sea. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan has a compelling description of his experience of a storm at sea, in which he cites a verse by the Persian poet Hafez, translated by Charles Stewart as ‘Dark is the night, and dreadful the noise of the waves and whirlpool. / Little do they know of our situation, who are travelling merrily on the shore’.31 In his entry for May 11, 1840, Karim Khan also describes a storm at sea, at the end of which he also cites the same verses of Hafez.32 By the late nineteenth century, however, the literary image of the storm at sea was used effectively by the poet Altaf Husain Hali in his epic Urdu poem, Musaddas: Madd-o Jazr-e Islöm, in which, as the title of the poem suggests, the ebb and flow of tides was used as the governing image of the historical fluctuations of Islam. Hali also used the simile of the boat in danger to represent the fragile and vulnerable condition of contemporary Islam.33 As we have seen, in Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma, the sea and ocean come to represent a spacious interiority, and the stormy sea is also internalised as an image for a tempestuous and travelling selfhood: ‘I am the sea; in me lack of tumult (‘öshobƮ’) is a fault / Where is he who can plunge into my depths?’ (couplet 55). In part, then, the interiorisation of travel in the JövƮd Nöma is evident in Iqbal’s use of images of the stormy sea and ocean to represent the inwardness of selfhood, in contrast to earlier travelogues in which stormy seas represent one of the obvious hazards of sea voyages. The interiorisation of travel in Iqbal is also evident in his use of the framework of the mi‘röj for his adventure in interiority. Muslim travellers have used specific and complex concepts of travel as ways to understand their own journeys, but these all refer to travel in the physical sense of the word, and are grounded in the external realm. Piscatori and Eickleman have outlined four categories of journey in an Islamic lexicon of travel. These include Ƥajj (pilgrimage), hijra (emigration), riƤla (travel for learning), and zƮyöret (visits to shrines). While these may involve spiritual or temporal movement, they are rooted in physical travel.34 They also point out that other forms of travel unrecognised in doctrine can have equal or even greater significance. Muslims have often mixed travel for trade purposes with religiously motivated travel, while travel is obviously informed by the social, cultural and political contexts in which Muslims are located.35 This mixture is clear in Mirza Abu Taleb Khan’s travelogue, which contains accounts of zƮyöret in the Middle East alongside his account of his travels to Europe.36 Moreover, scholars have also stressed the historically shifting nature of these categories of travel.37 Some of these categories of travel also had subcategories within

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specific cultural milieus, as in the case of north African Muslims from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, for whom there were three types of riƤla.38 Iqbal’s travelling autobiography incorporates some elements of these categories of travel. For example, the desire for learning partly propels his travels. However, the JövƮd Nöma represents a distinctive (and even an audacious) break from these traditions of travel by utilising as its framework the mi‘röj, or the narrative of the prophet Muhammad’s ascension through the Heavens, as referred to in the Qur’ön 81:19–25, and 53:1–21.39 There have been and continue to be many interpretations of these verses, involving the controversial question as to whether the journey was made in a bodily sense or in spirit alone.40 There is no straightforward divide between ‘orthodox’ and mystical responses to this question, since while many mystics favoured an allegorical interpretation of the ascension, as symbolising the rise of the soul from the bonds of sensuality to the heights of mystical knowledge, other mystics have seen the journey as a bodily one.41 However, mystics have seen the mi‘röj, whether physical or not, as a model of a certain kind of ecstatic state, and a paradigm for a specific type of spiritual experience, while modernists who have favoured a rationalist interpretation of Islam have tended towards seeing the mi‘röj as a vision.42 So not only does Iqbal break with previous travelogues in Urdu and Persian with his internal account of travel, he uses a narrative framework for this travel which is the subject of a wide range of interpretations and accounts, which has also inspired a comprehensive literature, as well as representations in pictorial art.43 Iqbal’s sense of the evolving nature of Islam is reflected, therefore, in the choice of this already contested framework as well as his re-working of it. In particular, as we shall see, it resonates with his own reinterpretation of and engagement with the mystical dimensions of Islam. In choosing the narrative framework of the mi‘röj, Iqbal reinforces his sense of the inwardness of travel and its grounding of selfhood. While Piscatori and Eickelman have stressed how ‘travel of several kinds is … significant for Muslim self-expression’, for Iqbal the self that is being articulated is constructed through a highly specific form of travel, rather than being expressed through it alone. There are other ways in which Iqbal’s travelling texts represent a distinctive development of preceding Urdu and Persian travelogues from South Asia. A number of these travelogues refer to the archives and libraries which their authors visit in Europe, primarily in Britain and France. These descriptions are redolent of the increasing power

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of Europe in its age of imperial expansion, or more precisely, of the ‘textuality of empire’ as Elleke Boehmer has called it.44 I have noted elsewhere that colonial officials in nineteenth-century India sometimes associated the power and prestige of the British state with its archives of printed documents and books.45 This illuminates not just the central role of information gathering and analysis in the maintenance of British rule, but also the way in which officials distinguished the colonial state’s archive of information from the archives of its predecessors in the subcontinent.46 There are two specific ways in which travel, power and archives are imbricated in these travelogues. First, in the case of the King’s Library, Mirza Abu Taleb singles out a copy of the Shöhjahön Nöma, whose process of acquisition he describes. After the unrest (‘fitrat’) at Delhi, it fell into the hands of Asif ud Daula, who then gave it to Sir John Shore, who in turn presented it as a gift (‘nazr’) to the King of England.47 The transfer of the memoirs of a Mughal emperor at the point of the decline of that empire’s capital, into the monarch’s library in London, resonates with the supplanting of one empire by another, and the shift of power from Delhi to London.48 In his epic poem On the Flow and Ebb of Islam, Altaf Husain Hali also articulates how the travelling of texts from one continent to another parallels shifts in political and cultural power. In one verse he refers to how ‘archives (‘daftar’) of Egypt and Greece’ were loaded on camels and brought to the precincts of the ‘Abbösid Caliphate, while the decline of Islam is in part suggested when he describes how these texts (‘navishtoǨ’) now adorn (‘muzayyan’) the libraries of Paris, London and Rome.49 This suggestion of the migration of texts is touched upon earlier with a brief picture of the state of India and Persia in the period of the rise of Islam. Here the ‘tent (‘Őera’) of knowledge and skill’ had been loaded up and taken away, before the arrival of Islam resurrected it.50 The Musaddas is acutely aware of what political and imperial power can command in archival terms. Travel, power and archives are imbricated in a second way in these texts. Yusuf Khan describes the King’s library (‘kitöbkhöna shöh’) in London, referring to its global collection of books in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Syriac, and English, as of such a size that from afar it appeared to be like a mountain (‘pahöɅ’). On a second visit he refers again to its collection (‘dher’) of books on every branch of knowledge and in every language (‘zabön’).51 Here, though, he puns on the verb ‘seir karna’ which means both to travel and to read, when he says that if one were to read/travel through this collection day and night, one would not reach its extremities.52

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The JövƮd Nöma emerges from this twofold conflation of travel and reading. But Iqbal is concerned less with reading texts and more with questioning the authors of those texts themselves. He personifies and personalises texts by representing them in terms of their authors with whom he can either have a dialogue in a face-to-face encounter, or whose views he represents and mobilises on his own ascent through the spheres. To give just one example, the poet presents himself as a participant in the encounter and dialogue between Tolstoy and a woman who identifies herself in response to the poet’s questions as ‘IfrangƮn’ (‘the European’) (couplets 433–59). The high regard Iqbal has for Nietzsche is clear in the poet’s placing him beyond the spheres, which is presented as Nietzsche’s station (‘maqöm’). The poet’s guide, Rumi, identifies Nietzsche, and proceeds to outline his significance and importance in terms of the visionary ascent in the poem. Alongside these European writers and thinkers, the poet also has extended dialogues with the Urdu poet Ghalib, and the mystic all-Hallaj.53 In Persian and Urdu travelogues of the nineteenth century, the archives and libraries of Europe are testimonies to imperial power. In Iqbal’s work, however, the archive is transformed by the poet’s creative imagination into authors he engages with either in dialogue, or those he passes on his ascension with his guide. In doing so, Iqbal calls attention to his own creative powers of reading. In keeping with the internal geography of subjectivity in the poem, this style of reading exemplifies one of the strategies of a ‘self-concentrated’ individual who in part fashions his or her own interiority through the selective appropriation of texts.54 In this imaginary geography, the ‘West’ is a place in an empirical geography, a strategic location for articulating subjectivity, a reading space for the appropriation of selected texts in the project of selfhood, and an interlocutor in a cross-cultural dialogue. It becomes a textual and archival territory in which reading, thinking and travelling are conflated.

The Philosophical Reflexivity of Travel There are other ways in which Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma, and his work in general, represents a distinctive development of preceding Persian and Urdu travelogues. These travelogues of the nineteenth century either express an inability to distinguish between appearance and reality, or raise the issue of the relationship between the two. Mirza Abu Taleb Khan details his visit to an exhibition, in which he describes seeing

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a panoramic representation of a sea battle between the English and French at Gibraltar. He describes how the lighting makes the picture so realistic that it is like witnessing a real scene.55 He also wonders at how, in their masquerades, the English are able to represent either foreigners or the working classes so well, that their imitations (‘naql’) are as excellent as the originals (‘aɓl’).56 The words ‘aɓl’ and ‘naql’ have important connotations in this regard, since ‘aɓl’ means not only an original, but also origin, principle and essence, so that it is a term laden with significant senses of what constitutes reality. During his visit to the Tower of London, Yusuf Khan uses the word ‘aɓl’ in a similar context, when he tells his readers that an equestrian statue was no different at all from its original. He goes on to describe how he mistook a portrait (‘shibh’) of Queen Victoria for the real thing (‘aɓl’), arguing that this would be a common mistake, for any viewer would perceive this portrait to be alive (‘zinda’).57 He also expresses an inability to distinguish between a copy (‘naql’) and an original (‘aɓl’), when he visits Madame Tussaud’s.58 There are other instances of this expression of confusion in the text.59 Elsewhere he uses the language of dreams (‘khvöb’) and enchantments (‘tilsim’) to describe his confused sense of reality.60 Karim Khan uses similar vocabulary when he describes seeing a model of the Taj Mahal at 209 Regent’s Street, London, which is so well-executed that as far as the author is concerned, the makers of the model had rendered the imitative model (‘naql’) into an original (‘aɓl’). The image (‘naqsh’) becomes the walls of the building (‘dƮvör’) itself.61 In Indian travelogues, then, there is a shifting vocabulary of appearance and reality, mimesis and original, which is indicative of the disorienting effect travelling has on these authors’ sense of reality. In Iqbal, however, this becomes a metaphysical question, not one raised in relation to specific sights seen or experiences undergone in bodily travels alone. There are a number of aspects to this, which I will discuss in more detail in Chapter 6. Here, though, we can note again the way in which the JövƮd Nöma is structured around key questions about selfhood and its relation to reality. We have seen earlier how the poet raises questions about what constitutes the internal and the external. Implicit in these questions is the issue as to whether or not the self shapes the reality it perceives and interacts with. Iqbal pursues this issue in his The Development of Metaphysics in Persia. Here he considers the impact of Plato and Aristotle on Persian metaphysics, and argues that the ‘interpreting intellect’ aims to internalise the external.62 This question is again addressed in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where Iqbal

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explores the relationship between the self (or ‘ego’) as he calls it, and its environment, and also the relationship between mind and matter. He tends to incline towards the position that the ‘hypothesis of matter as an independent existence is perfectly gratuitous’.63 He also explores the relationship between thought, reality and individuality, ultimately tending towards a quasi-Hegelian view when he criticises the ontological and teleological arguments for God on the basis that they ‘look upon ‘thought’ as an agency working on things from without’.64 But for Iqbal thought is a ‘potency which is formative of the very being of its material’, and is not ‘alien to the original nature of things; it is their ultimate ground and constitutes the very essence of their being’.65 There is a further dimension to the question of what constitutes reality in Iqbal’s work. This is the issue of dualist and monistic views of reality, which Iqbal treats as the organising theme in his intellectual history of Persian metaphysics. Beginning with Zoroaster, he traces the history of Persian metaphysics in relation to this ongoing question.66 He shows his awareness of the complexities of these issues by suggesting that the two positions of monism and dualism are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Thus, he argues that Zoroaster was ‘theologically a monotheist and philosophically a dualist’.67 This divided position is seen as being reinforced by the advent of Islam in Persia, which is described as bringing ‘the new concept of an uncompromising monotheism as well as the Greek dualism of God and matter, as distinguished from the purely Persian dualism of God and Devil’.68 Distinguishing between these strands of dualistic thought, he argues that the history of Persian metaphysics needs to be studied in terms of its engagement with two kinds of dualistic thought, a pre-Islamic Magian dualism, and a postIslamic Greek dualism.69 These represent two different approaches to a problem which ‘remains essentially the same’ for both.70

Sufism, Travel and the Politics of Vision In Iqbal’s travelling texts, then, the question of appearance and reality becomes a metaphysical and philosophical problem which he explores in both his poetry and prose texts. In dealing with this problem, Iqbal also elaborates an esoteric notion of sight and insight, encompassed by the Sufi term ‘zauq’, which, as we have seen, he defines as a kind of ‘inner perception’ that reveals atemporal and non-spatial planes of reality.71 Iqbal’s engagement with the politics and metaphysics of sight represents another way in which he writes back to South Asian

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travelogues of the nineteenth century. Most of these, as we have seen, noted the experience of being transfixed in the ethnographic gaze of powerful others. Some of them also draw attention to European ways of constructing sights.72 Others note technological enhancements of sight. Karim Khan’s travelogue contains an account of his visit to the Royal Observatory (‘dɫrbƮn bödshöhƮ’) in Greenwich, in which he details, in a rather speculative and sometimes garbled manner, the possible ramifications of astronomical observations made by the telescope, including the possibility of life on other planets, the huge distances between stars and the earth, and the relative size of the earth in relation to other heavenly bodies.73 These huge distances reflect Karim Khan’s sense that, to adopt a phrase from Haraway, visualising technologies are without apparent limit.74 In later travelogues, the concern of the authors is also not to question or destabilise such technologies, but to adopt them in order to construct their own point of view. Thus Pandian’s travelogue is subtitled English Pictures from an Indian Camera, with the reference to photographic reality supposedly reinforcing the documentary realism of his travelogue.75 As Susan Sontag has eloquently argued, while the photograph might distort, ‘there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture’.76 She also argues that the dependence on the camera as ‘a device that makes real what one is experiencing’ does not fade when people travel more. Instead, travel becomes a way of accumulating photographs, and the camera is used to assuage feelings of unease: ‘The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture’.77 Pandian’s subtitle points to just such an attempted use of the camera to legitimise his travels, attempted because his travelogue does not contain any photographs, or indeed any illustrations. This suggests a precarious sense of his own vision, as though sights seen by his naked eye need to be secured by further reference to this technology of visualisation. On its own, the eyesight of an individual Indian traveller, in the judgement of that traveller himself, does not have enough substance. It has to be supplemented by a specifically Western and modern technology of visualisation to underpin its representation of reality in England. A similar strategy is also apparent in Pillai’s London and Paris through Indian Spectacles. The reference to spectacles is reinforced by the cover

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illustration of an Indian male with a turban wearing a pair of spectacles. Norton opens his introduction to Pillai’s travel account by referring to ‘these views of English and French life seen through the focus of a pair of spectacles’.78 Once again, the eyesight of an Indian traveller, unaided by any optical instruments, is deemed by that traveller to be too weak or unfocused to be reliable. This overt reliance on instruments of seeing and visualising technologies by Indian travellers, while it may call attention to their desire to make a spectacle of London and its imperial treasures, only does so by revealing how that reliance on such technology is rooted in their self-conscious sense of their fragility as subjects as ‘see-ers’.79 This reliance also reveals, in the case of Pandian, an internalisation of the narrative of modernity as technological progress, manifested here in his acquiescence to what Sontag calls the ‘imperial scope’ of photography, and his participation in the ‘spread of that mentality which looks at the world as a set of potential photographs’.80 Some historians have stressed the availability of imperial London and Victorian culture for appropriation, challenge and transformation by Britain’s colonial subjects, but others have been more cautious in emphasising the asymmetries of power which put serious constraints on the self-conceptions of Indians and their challenges to their status as colonial subjects.81 In Indian travelogues the immediacy of the experience of being trapped in the ethnographic gaze of others tends to be the norm. There is one revealing exception to this which occurs in Mirza I‘tisam uddin’s Shigurf Nöma. This occurs when he mentions going to see an exhibition of a ‘giantess’ in Haymarket. He recalls how she stared at him, having never seen a dark-skinned Indian man (‘mard sƮyöh hindɫstönƮ’) before, while he stared back at her, lost in wonder (‘gharq taƤaiyur kasht’).82 In the travelogues under consideration here, this is the only description of an Indian staring back. What is significant here, though, is that this reciprocal equality of stares can only occur when the object of Mirza I‘tisam uddin’s stare is herself set apart as an exhibit for others. It is also important to stress that while the assemblage of perspectives in some of these travelogues does counter the ethnographic gaze and construct ethnographies of Britain and Europe, this is not in and of itself necessarily self-empowering. This is because these travellers are often less concerned with defining different ways of seeing against the ethnographic gaze of their powerful others, and more with adopting those very styles of seeing through which they themselves are objectified. They strive to invoke panoramic points of

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view, rather than to create ways of seeing which are partial, embodied and situated. This is apparent in the travelogue by Dean Mahomed (1759–1851), who left India for Europe in 1784. His text frames the landscape of India in the English pastoral tradition of landscape poetry and art, in particular through the aesthetic categories of the sublime and the picturesque.83 Here Mahomed imagines the panoramic views from the houses of British officers, depicted as country retreats, even when these residences are located within barracks. In his description of the ‘very fine barrack’ at Denapur, he refers to ‘the General’s residence, an elegant and stately building, commanding a full view of the country many miles around’.84 Similarly, he represents the house of an English gentleman, writing ‘as it stood on a rising ground, it seemed to rear its dome in stately pride, over the aromatic plains and spicy groves that adorned the landscape below, commanding an extensive prospect of all the fertile vales along the winding Ganges flowery banks’.85 Throughout his Travels, his reliance on the aesthetic language of the sublime and picturesque underpins his organisation of Indian landscape around the panoramic views he imagines are commanded by the English houses, which he himself cannot enter. The invocation of panoramic views is also apparent in later travelogues. Pandian characterises his representation of London as ‘like vivid scenes in a grand panoramic view’, and as ‘our panoramic view of the sights and scenic attractions of the queen of modern cities’.86 The title of Malabari’s travelogue, The Indian Eye in English Life, is remarkable not just for its monolithic and homogenising use of the term ‘Indian’, and its assumption of a single ‘Indian’ point of view represented by the author (‘The Indian Eye’ rather than ‘An Indian Eye’), but also for the way in which ‘The Indian Eye’ becomes a disembodied abstraction.87 The eye is not part of a sensory apparatus tied to an embodied self. It is disconnected from the perceptual apparatus of such a self, for which a field of vision is also always a tactile and acoustic field. As Merleau-Ponty has argued, ‘the lived perspective, that which we actually perceive, is not a geometric or photographic one’.88 Instead, each object we perceive is an ‘intersensory entity’ which relates to ourselves as embodied beings.89 The focus on the eye in these travel accounts, then, suggests how the eye, prised apart from the perceptual apparatus of an embodied self, comes to represent a decorporealised, third-person point of view. We have already seen that in Iqbal’s case the journey he takes in the JövƮd Nöma is not a physical one alone but is primarily an adventure of interiority. As the poet journeys through the cosmos into increasingly

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rarefied atmospheres, so too his body becomes increasingly rarefied and nimble (couplet 221). This progressive refinement of the body becomes one of the signposts of the poet’s ascent and his sight and perception become keener as his body grows lighter. In this sense, then, Iqbal’s JövƮd Nöma is continuous with the enactment of a disembodied sight and decorporealisation in Indian travelogues of the nineteenth century. However, for Iqbal this decorporealisation opens up other ways of seeing, rooted in notions of insight and intuition, which draw on the Sufi notion of zauq. These alternative ways of seeing underpin the visionary quality of the poem, eloquently evoked as a ‘soul drunk with vision’ (‘jalva mast’) (couplet 1459), which is enacted as part of the argument of the poem itself. Moreover, unlike the travelogues of the nineteenth century, there is a self-conscious play between different modes of seeing in the JövƮd Nöma, so that the poem becomes a site for the struggle to see in different ways. Two possibilities of seeing are explored throughout the JövƮd Nöma in which there is an opposition between the control of sight which transforms the objects it gazes upon and being objectified in another’s sight. On the one hand, there are instances of losing one’s autonomy by becoming transfixed in the stare of others. Here the gaze is trapped by the objects it looks upon. Throughout the poem science is characterised as being trapped in seeing as sensory perception so that it cannot go beyond the externalities of phenomena. This is contrasted to the transforming vision of gnostics.90 There is also a complex play on blindness throughout the poem, where blindness to the external world is conducive to introspective insight into inner spaces and worlds. When the poet encounters the lifeless landscape of the moon, he describes himself as placing a hand on his companion’s shoulder, and like a blind man walking into the darkness of a deep cavern. But his guide reassures him that: ‘Its interior (‘bötin’) is fairer than its exterior (‘ʽöhir’) / Another world lurks hidden in its hollows / If the eye has vision (‘bƮn’), everything is worth seeing’ (couplet 262). The connection between blindness and insight is also clear in the evocation of light in the poem. The fading of light and twilight scenes are the backdrop to the development of insight, and the opening up of the inner space of subjectivity through the internal dialogue which constitutes the poet’s argument: ‘I, who saw among my friends none to confide in / rested a moment on the shore of the sea / the sea and the hour of the setting sun / the blue water was a liquid ruby in the gloaming / Sunset gives to the blind man the joy of sight (‘zauq-e nazar’) / sunset gives to evening the hue of dawn / I held

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conversation with my heart (‘dil’) / I had many desires, many requests’ (couplets 95–97). The play of light in the poem reaches its apotheosis when at the end of the poem the poet is addressed as having become ‘brighter than the all-illumining sun’ (couplet 1803). The process of self-transformation in the JövƮd Nöma is partly figured through images of illumination which make the poet not a body which reflects light, but one who actually radiates light as the source of a newly won vision: ‘Man is but sight (‘dƮd’), the rest is mere skin / true sight signifies seeing the Beloved (‘dost’) / Dissolve the whole body (‘tan’) into sight / go into the gaze, go to gaze, go to gaze (‘nazar’)’ (couplets 183–84).Throughout the poem the fixation on the sun as the source of light is taken to be a sign of immaturity of vision, so that the poem’s ending signifies the consummate act of self-envisioning.

Sufi Travels In part, then, this play between different kinds of seeing and light can be read in terms of re-affirming one’s agency to fashion one’s self. The notion of zauq as a combination of gnostic vision, intuition and insight is thus in keeping with Iqbal’s construction of inwardness though a distinctive notion of travel. It signals how Iqbal’s ways of seeing are steeped in Sufi notions of sight, but while drawing on these styles of vision, Iqbal inverts Sufi notions of selfhood to articulate his own sense of self, as we have seen. Iqbal’s travelling aesthetic also appropriates the notion of travel from a Sufi lexicon. Mystical Islam had evolved a complex vocabulary of travel to signify the journey towards God. The journey (‘safar’) represented the ‘alertness and attention of the heart towards God’.91 This lexicon of travel also included the careful differentiation of the stages and stations (‘maqöm’) which the wayfarer had to pass through on his or her way towards God. In The Development of Metaphysics in Persia, Iqbal discusses these stages of ascent as represented by the Muslim theosophist, al-Jili.92 Iqbal’s diction of travel draws heavily on this vocabulary of stations. As we have seen, the poet’s central quest in the JövƮd Nöma is to find his own station (and here he uses the word ‘maqöm’). We have also seen how Iqbal named one collection of his poems ‘The Caravan’s Bell’, and how he likened his verse to the sound of this bell as signifying the start of a new journey. Here, too, he may be alluding to Sufi terminology, in which the ringing of the camel bell signified the onset of awe at a form of Divine powerfulness. During this experience, the wayfarer ‘hears the collision of certain truths with one

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another, which sounds like the ringing of the camel bell’. Nurbaksh also refers to how Muhammad compared prophetic revelation ‘to the sound of the camel bell’ and cites a verse from Hafez: ‘No one knows the way station of the Sought One / We only know that the ringing of the camelbell comes from there’.93 There is also one other aspect to Iqbal’s appropriation of Sufi motifs of journeying, and this involves the images of birds and flight in his poetry. Here Iqbal alludes to a beautiful Sufi travelogue, Fariduddin ‘Attar’s poem Manɠiq uɠ-ɤair.94 This poem represents the journey of a flock of thirty birds on a quest to find their divine and splendid king, the SƮmurgh. The poem represents in vivid detail the different stages of their journey, the hardships they encounter, the different states of mind of each bird, including their different fears and anxieties which they have to overcome in order to start their journey (in fact, the mental preparation for the journey takes up more space in the poem than the description of the journey itself). In the end, after much hardship and suffering, again described in some detail, the birds arrive at their destination, only to find out that they are in fact themselves the SƮmurgh (the word SƮmurgh refers to both a fabulous bird, which appears in Persian romance narratives from the Shöh Nöma onwards, but it literally means ‘30 birds’, ‘sƮ’ meaning 30, ‘murgh’ meaning bird). The poem also includes an elaborate allegorical geography, divided into different vales representing different states of minds and emotional landscapes, which the birds have to pass through. In contrast to this, in Iqbal’s poetry birds and their nests represent rooted dwelling places within a pan-Islamic framework and a migratory aesthetic. Thus, in ‘Taröna-e MillƮ’, in reminding the reader of the expanse of Islam in the past, the poet addresses the garden of Andalusia, asking if it remembers the days ‘when our nest was in your branches’ (couplet 7). Similarly, in the context of Islam as ‘deracialisation’ and a geography centred on the Ƥijöz, in ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’ the poet refers to how ‘Your wings and plumage are soiled with the dust of colour and race / O bird of the holy shrine, shake your wings before you fly’ (part 7, couplet 4). Furthermore, the bird’s power of flight becomes an emblem of freedom from ‘blood-relationship as a basis of human unity’, which is described as ‘earth-rootedness’:95 ‘Beat your wings and escape from the attraction of Earth / Like birds be safe from falling’ (Mysteries of the Self, couplet 703). In general terms, too, some of Iqbal’s poems can be seen to be inverse renderings of ‘Attar’s Manɠiq uɠ-ɤair. Iqbal himself described Mysteries of Selflessness as a ‘new kind of Manɠiq uɠ-ɤair’.96 Here, though, the unity is not one of mystical

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indwelling within God, but a socio-political community, recreated within a political aesthetic, which recasts the universalising aspects of Islam in response to European domination, and which subsists through analogical correspondences with the notion of God’s unity.

Notes 1. Roger Friedland and Richard D. Hecht. 1991. ‘The Politics of the Sacred Place: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount / al-haram al-sharif’, in Jamie Scott and Paul SimpsonHousley (eds), Sacred Places and Profane Spaces: Essays in the Geographics of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. New York: Greenwood Press, p. 27. 2. Schimmel, Annemarie. 1991. ‘Sacred Geography in Islam’, in Jamie Scott and Paul Simpson-Housley (eds), Sacred Places and Profane Spaces: Essays in the Geographics of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Greenwood Press, pp. 164, 166. 3. Altaf Husain Hali. 1879, 1997. Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, ed. Christopher Shackle and Javed Majeed. Delhi: Oxford University Press, verse 78. 4. Ibid., verse 77. 5. Ibid., verses 283, 285, 125. 6. Annemarie Schimmel. 1988. ‘Iqbal’s Persian Poetry’, in Ehsan Yarshater (ed.), Persian Literature. Columbia: The Persian Heritage Foundation, State University of New York Press, p. 425; Mustansir Mir. 1992. ‘Wordplay and Irony in Iqbal’s Poetry’, Journal of Islamic Studies, 3(1): pp. 72–93. 7. Muhammad Iqbal, 1934, 1989. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Lahore: Institute of Islamic Culture, p. 9. 8. Ibid., p. 50. 9. ‘Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd’ appears in Zabɫr-e ‘ajam, in Iqbal, KullƮyöt-e Iqböl FörsƮ, pp. 537–87. 10. Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny (eds). 1996. Becoming National. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 7. 11. Aziz al-Azmeh. 1993. Islams and Modernities. London: Verso, p. 1. 12. Harris Birkeland. 1955. The Legend of the Opening of Muhammad’s Breast. Oslo: I Kommisjon Hos Jacob Dybwad, pp. 58, 60. 13. Dale F. Eickelman and James Piscatori (eds). Muslim Travellers: Pilgrimage, Migration, and the Religious Imagination. London: Routledge, pp. 3–25, 16. 14. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 47, 82. 15. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 7. 16. Ibid., p. xxii. 17. Ibid., p. 1. 18. Jean-Paul Sartre. 1964 (1967). Words, transl. Irene Clephane. London: Penguin Books, p. 69. 19. Ibid., p. 58. 20. Ibid., pp. 122, 149–50. 21. Ibid., p. 130. 22. Michel Leiris. 1939, 1946. Manhood: A Journey from Childhood into the Fierce Order of Virility, transl. Richard Howard 1984. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 6. 23. Ibid., p. 153.

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24. Ibid., p. 83. 25. Paul de Man. 1984. ‘Autobiography as De-facement’, in idem, The Rhetoric of Romanticism. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 67–81. 26. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 357–69, 404 250ff, 430–32, 492–96. 27. Nawab Karim Khan. 1982. SƮyöƤat Nöma. Lahore: Majlis-e Ishö‘at Makhɡɫɡöt Idöröh-ye Adab va TanqƮd, ed. ‘Ibadat Barelvi, pp. 121–22, 274–76. 28. Ibid., pp. 198, 278–83. 29. Schimmel, Annemarie. 1987. And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. Lahore: Vanguard Books, p. 175. 30. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 120. 31. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 43–45; Charles Stewart. 1814. Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan in Asia, Africa, and Europe, during the years 1799, 1800, 1801, and 1803. Written by Himself in the Persian Language. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, Volume1, p. 55. For the Persian text, see the bi-lingual edition of Arberry, Fifty Poems of Ʃöfi˂, p. 37. The couplet referred to is the fifth couplet in the ghazal ‘Ishq ösön namɫd avval’ (‘Love at First Seemed Easy’). Arberry translates the fifth couplet thus: ‘A mountain sea, moon clouded o’er, / And nigh the whirlpool’s awful roar / How can they know our labour sore / Who pass light-burthened on the shore?’ 32. Khan, SƮyöƤat Nöma, pp. 86–87. 33. For a discussion of these images see Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, pp. 49–53. See also Javed Majeed. 1998. ‘Nature, Hyperbole, and the Colonial State: Some Muslim Appropriations of European Modernity in Late Nineteenth Century Urdu Literature’, in John Cooper, Ron Nettler and Mahomed Mahmoud (eds), Islam and Modernity, London: I. B. Tauris, pp. 10–37, where I analyse these images further. 34. Eickelman and Piscatori, Muslim Travellers, p. xii. 35. Ibid., p. 5. 36. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 708–15. 37. Muhammad Khalid Masud. 1990. ‘The Obligation to Migrate: The Doctrine of Hijra in Islamic Law’, in Eickelman and Piscatori (eds), Muslim Travellers, p. 45, and Sam L. Gellens. 1990. ‘The Search for Knowledge in Medieval Muslim Societies: A Comparative Approach’, in Eickelman and Piscatori (eds), Muslim Travellers, p. 53. 38. Abderrahmane El Moudden. 1990. ‘The Ambivalence of Rihla: Community Integration and Self-definition in Moroccan Travel Accounts, 1300–1800’, in Eickelman and Piscatori (eds), Muslim Travellers, p. 70. 39. ‘Mi‘rödj’, EI2, pp. 97–105, 97. 40. Ibid., pp. 97–105; Schimmel, And Muhammad is His Messenger, p. 9. 41. Ibid., pp. 99, 100; Schimmel, ibid., p. 162. 42. Schimmel, ibid., pp. 161, 172, 162. 43. ‘Mi‘rödj’, EI2, pp. 104–5. 44. Elleke Boehmer. 1995. Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 50. Ballantyne has recently developed this perspective by arguing for the need to conceptualise empire as a series of archives, ‘each arising out of local

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45.

46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63.

64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

72. 73.

concerns, but braided together, however imperfectly, by institutional exchanges, webs of personal correspondence and shared bodies of knowledge’. See Tony Ballantyne. 2002. Orientalism and Race: Aryanism in the British Empire. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 9. Javed Majeed. 1995. ‘“The Jargon of Indostan”: An Exploration of Jargon in Urdu and East India Company English’, in Peter Burke and Roy Porter (eds), Languages and Jargons: Towards a Social History of Language. Oxford: Polity Press, pp. 182–205. C. A. Bayly. 1993. ‘“Knowing the Country”: Empire and Information in India’, Modern Asian Studies, 27: pp. 25–29, 33–34. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 313–14. Bayly, Empire and Information, p. 150 for details of the movements of other archives. Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, verses 88–89. Ibid., verse 64. Yusuf Khan. 1847. Safar Yɫsuf Khön Kammal Posh kö Mulk Inglistön Mein. Delhi: Pandit Dharam Naröyan, p. 110. Ibid., p. 110. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797–1869) was a pre-eminent Indian poet who wrote in Urdu and Persian. His Urdu poetry is highly Persianised and condensed. The phrase is Iqbal’s; see Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 120. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 154–55. Ibid., p. 343. Khan, Safar Yɫsuf Khön, pp. 49–50. Ibid., pp. 86–87. Ibid., pp. 60, 72–73, 82. Ibid., pp. 72–73, 103. Khan, SƮyöƤat Nöma, p. 245. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 21. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 83. See Lecture 4 as a whole for the relationship between self and reality. See also p. 98 for the ‘creative unfolding’ of the self, and p. 62 for his remark that ‘we possess no word to express the kind of knowledge which is also creative of its object’. Ibid., pp. 5, 41–42. Ibid., pp. 25, 123. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. x, 7, 28, 50–51, 54–58, 134–39. Ibid., p. 5. Ibid., p. 18. Ibid., p. 147. Ibid. Ibid., p. 111. The term ‘zauq’ includes the senses of enjoyment, taste and rapture, as well as discrimination. Ahl-e zauq refers to those who are able to perceive spiritual realities. Khan, MasƮri TölibƮ yö Safar Nöma-ye MƮrzö Abɫ Tölib Khön, pp. 154–55, 524–55. Khan, SƮyöƤat Nöma, pp. 216–17. In this account, Karim Khan makes no distinction between stars and planets, describing both as ‘sitöra’.

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115

74. Donna Haraway. 1992. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association Books, p. 188. 75. Reverend T. B. Pandian. 1897. England to an Indian Eye: Or Pictures from an Indian Camera. London: Elliot Stock. 76. Susan Sontag. 1977. On Photography. London: Allen Lane, p. 5. 77. Ibid., p. 9. 78. Norton, ‘Introduction’, in G. Paraswaran Pillai. 1897. London and Paris through Indian Spectacles. Madras: Vaijayanti Press, p. 1. 79. Antoinette Burton. 1998. At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late-Victorian Britain. Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 186.The formulation of subjects as see-ers is Burton’s; see ibid., p. 186. 80. Sontag, On Photography, p. 7. 81. Burton, At the Heart of the Empire, p. 187. Michael H. Fisher. 2004. Counterflows to Colonialism. Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain 1600–1857. Delhi: Permanent Black, pp. 49, 181, 201–13. 82. Mirza I‘tisam uddin. Shigurf Nöma man TaɓnƮf I‘tiɓöm ud dƮn, OIOC ms. Or. 200, British Library, London, p. 49, f. 1. 83. I discuss this in more detail in Majeed, Autobiography, Chapter 3. 84. Dean Mahomed. 1794, 1996. Travels of Dean Mahomet, ed. Michael H. Fisher as The First Indian Author in English: Dean Mahomed (1759–1851) in India, Ireland, and England. Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 23–24. 85. Ibid., p. 21. 86. Pandian, England to an Indian Eye, pp. 19, 25. 87. Behramji Malabari. 1893. The Indian Eye in English Life or Rambles of a Pilgrim Reformer. Westminster: Archibald Constable. 88. Maurice Merleau-Ponty. 1993. ‘Cezanne’s Doubt’, in The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, ed. Galen A. Johnson. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, p. 64. 89. Maurice Merleau-Ponty. 1996. Phenomenology of Perception, transl. Colin Smith. Routledge: London and New York, p. 317. 90. ‘The task of science (‘Ƥikmat’) is to see and consume (‘farsɫdan’) / the work of gnosis (‘‘örifön’) is to see and augment (‘afzɫdan’) / science casts its gaze upon phenomena (‘tajallƮ’) / gnosis loses phenomena in itself’ (couplets 1030, 1033). 91. Nurbaksh, Sufi Symbolism, vol. 4, p. 157. 92. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 119, 128–29. 93. Nurbaksh, Sufi Symbolism, vol. 4, pp. 161–62. 94. ‘Attar, Manɠiq uɠ-ɤair. 95. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 116. 96. Qureishi, RɫƤ-e MakötƮb-e Iqböl, Letter 243 to Maharajah Kishan Parshad, Feb 1, 1918.

6 Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity and the Qur’ön The Instability of Modernity’s Moment In Iqbal’s representation of the journey his perspective on modernity

is enacted through the relationships between the literary form and the content of his texts, and the interplay and mutually defining interaction between a modern and pre-modern aesthetic in his poetry. This interplay is at work in Iqbal’s notion of selfhood, with its appropriation of Sufi poetry and its inversion of Sufi notions of the self. The formal and intellectual complexity of the JövƮd Nöma also evokes the complex rendering and appropriation of modernity in Iqbal’s work in relation to its problematic notion of time. In formal terms, what distinguishes an autobiographical text from other texts is the identity between the narrator relating the story and the protagonist enacting it. Even so, autobiographies can be divided between those which are fictional (in the English canon the example of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre [1847] comes to mind) and those which claim to be historically true (in the European canon, a leading example is Rousseau’s The Confessions [1782]). However, the clarity of this distinction does not always withstand critical scrutiny. Sturrock, who only looks at autobiographies which purport to be historically true, has convincingly argued that the intimacy and truthfulness with which autobiographies seem to address us as records of the past is belied by their formal nature and their rhetorical complexity as works of literature.1 Similarly, throughout his Time and Narrative, Ricoeur considers the ways in which historical and fictional narrative borrow from each other.2 As an autobiographical narrative, the JövƮd Nöma unfolds on an explicitly symbolic plane as the poet journeys through the cosmos. It does not constitute itself as a historical document. If anything, the rhetoric of the poem works to abstract the poet from history rather than to insert him in it. At the same time, though, the poem does refer to the large-scale historical process of European colonialism, and takes this process for granted as part of the background against which the poet’s

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persona unfolds. Some of the poem’s figures include historical figures, such as Afghani, Nietzsche and Tipu Sultan, alongside mythical or legendary ones, such as Iblis and Sarosh. The symbolic journey which the poet undertakes in the poem both works to free the poet from temporal limitations while simultaneously reflecting upon them and large-scale historical processes. This reflects the way in which the empirical geography of the poem is enfolded within the imaginary geography of the mir‘öj, which in Iqbal’s handling of it produces a geography of subjectivity. The paradox of temporality in the poem consists in the way that the orderly progression of the poet is not underpinned by a narrative of linear and homogenous time, but by the opposite. His persona is constituted through heterogeneous times which correspond to different modes of being in different worlds. This becomes evident in his journey through the cosmos, when he notes that ‘Time (‘waqt’) in each world flowed like the sea / here slowly, and there swiftly / our year was here a month, there a moment / this world’s more was that world’s less’ (couplets 1324–25). The culminating vision of the poem consists of arriving in a world beyond the dimensions of time and space, into an ‘undimensioned world’ (‘jahön-e be-jihöt’), a world beyond ‘the bounds of quantity and quality’ (‘chand va chigɫn’), which renders thought itself inadequate (couplets 1356, 1557). This is in keeping with the poem’s stress on inwardness, in which time and space are seen as ‘a state of the soul’ (‘aƤvöl-e jön’) (couplet 186). To a certain extent, the poem’s problematic temporality characterises an aesthetic of modernity itself. Habermas has argued that the defining feature of aesthetic modernity is a changed consciousness of time, in which the relation between the ‘modern’ and the ‘classical’ has lost fixed historical reference. The loss of this fixed historical reference is also evident in the exaltation of the present in the modern aesthetic.3 The self-conscious modernity of the JövƮd Nöma’s aesthetic is articulated through the poet’s freedom from specific historical ties, which enables him to appropriate selectively a variety of figures and sources in his work as a whole. At the same time, though, if there is an exaltation of the present in the poem, it is a present that opens the way for the poet to transcend time. The aesthetic modernity of the poem also needs to be read against the attempt by Urdu writers in the late nineteenth century to break open the selfreferential and symbolic universe of pre-modern Persian and Urdu poetry by orientating it towards the empirical world and its historical narratives.4 The way the poem is poised on the brink of transcending

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time, with its combination of a self-referential symbolic universe and its references to historical processes, reflects its own location between the pre-modern world of South Asian poetry and the emergence of a self-conscious modern poetic whose subject matter is in part historical narrative and the nature of temporality itself.5 Paul de Man has argued that ‘assertions of literary modernity often end up by putting the possibility of being modern seriously into question’.6 This instability of the modern moment underlies Iqbal’s depiction of Muhammad as standing ‘between the ancient and modern world’, with the source of his revelation in the ancient world, and its spirit belonging to the ‘modern’ world.7 But there are ways in which Iqbal’s work is not just involved in the instability of the modern moment but actively unveils this instability, as in his attempt to bring Islam and Europe together in a global narrative of intellectual endeavour. As he puts it in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ‘European culture, on its intellectual side, is only a further development of some of the most important phases of the culture of Islam’.8 Iqbal’s location of European thinkers alongside Islam is evident in the JövƮd Nöma, with its inverted framework of Sufism and a reworked version of Islam, in which European writers and thinkers become episodes in a narrative of successive Islams. His aim in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is to reconcile and validate earlier Islamic thought with and through modern European thought and science. The work moves fluently between intellectual traditions as it seeks to answer the question which forms the title of the last chapter, ‘Is Religion Possible?’ This cosmopolitan eclecticism of the text underpins the search for the grounds of religion as a whole, rather than of Islam alone, although there is often a slippage between the two.9 Specifically, Iqbal tries to show how the intellectual revolt against Greek thought by Muslim thinkers, and especially against the speculative nature of Aristotelian logic, paved the way for the experimental and empirical attitudes which underlay the development of modern science.10 There are precedents to Iqbal’s attempt to reintegrate Islamic thinkers into the narrative of a progressive modernity, and indeed to ground the inception of that narrative in their intellectual endeavours. In his Musaddas, Hali was at pains to spell out the debt that modern Europe owed to the achievements of Islamic culture. In the section on medicine, Hali lists the names of famous schools and physicians, and adds, using the image of travelling by boat, that it was ‘through them that the boat (‘khevö’) of the West got across’.11 Similarly, he lists the disciplines of

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knowledge and technological practices on which Arabs have left ‘their footprints’ (‘nishön un ke qadmoǨ ke’).12 Hali’s internalisation of the narrative of progress, and its imbrication with travel, is in part clear in one of the key images of the poem of the ship at sea. The poignancy of the image of the boat of the West getting across is sharpened by the fact that the condition of the Muslim community at the commencement of the poem is represented in terms of a ship that is about to sink into a whirlpool.13 The use of a similar image to illustrate the contrasting fates of Islam and Europe highlights the historical irony that the Western ship got across with the help of the Arabs, but the Muslim ship itself sank. Hali also sees travel as one of the ways of verifying the existence of things mentioned in books, and more importantly, of learning how to distinguish between legendary place and geographical fact, so that there is also an implied connection between the Muslim community’s disinclination to travel and its ineptitude in ‘scientific’ habits of observation and verification.14 Hali’s general anxiety in the Musaddas to gather up traces and signs of past Islamic achievements might also be explained by his awareness of how the narrative of progress was being written as a European story with no mention of the significant Arab contributions to important branches of learning, a point stressed in our own time by Bryan Turner.15 Hali was also aware of how the word ‘liberalism’ had become a term loaded with a sense of cultural supremacy in a European lexicon. This is evident when he depicts the ƤadƮth as exemplifying rules of substantiation and validation which prefigured the rules of researchers in his own day. For this reason, he argues that these volumes of verified reports and attested collections reawakened a sense of critical history, which prefigured ‘liberalism’. In one of those sardonic remarks that occasionally puncture Hali’s apparent infatuation with European values of progress, the poet writes ‘Let those who are pre-eminent in liberty today say when it was they started to become “liberal”’.16 In addition to trying to recover a repressed history of Islamic contributions to learning and science, Hali also refashions the figure of Muhammad himself in keeping with this re-worked narrative of progress. The Prophet of the Musaddas is a liberal figure embodying moral and economic virtues, which are necessary for an Islamic narrative of progress to get underway. He strikes the reader as somewhat similar to the stereotype of a Victorian social reformer. Much of the moral polemic of the Musaddas stresses those very virtues which Samuel Smiles emphasised in Self-Help (1859), a popular text in Victorian Britain which promulgated the contemporary spirit

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of self-help and personal initiative in an idiom of political and social reform.17 That Hali was aware of the term ‘self-help’ is indicated by the fact that he transcribes the term into Urdu when he discusses how Urdu poetry can progress in accordance with contemporary trends.18 The Musaddas also repackages through the model of classical Islam an ethic akin to the one Max Weber so famously described in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–5). This is slightly ironic, given Weber’s own views regarding the sensuality of Islamic culture.19 A major feature of the Protestant ethic is its ascetic attitude to the world and its pleasures, an attitude which plays a key role in fostering the virtues necessary for successful capitalist practice.20 An important characteristic of the Musaddas is its anti-hedonism. As Schimmel has put it, there is no place for eroticism in the new poetry.21 Cantwell Smith has discussed the virtues with which Indian Muslim biographers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries invested the figure of the Prophet. In this context, he notes that these virtues are typical of ‘early capitalist society’ and that the ‘entire axiology may be subsumed under the liberal conception of duty’. The Prophet of these biographies is a ‘liberal Muhammad within a capitalist society’.22 So, too, the Prophet of the Musaddas is a liberal figure embodying the moral and economic virtues of capitalist modernity. Thus, while Urdu and Persian travelogues internalised a narrative of progress and sought to emulate it, Hali’s Musaddas, itself using dominant images of travel, prefigures Iqbal in its attempt to show how Islamic thought and practices contributed to that narrative. To a certain extent, then, Iqbal’s refashioning of Islam vis-à-vis the narrative of progressive modernity had some nineteenth-century precedents. There are a number of ways, though, in which this refashioning takes a new turn in his thought and work. Iqbal is not just concerned with the recovery of a repressed narrative of Islam’s contribution to a progressive modernity, now presented by Europe as uniquely European as well as unprecedented. Iqbal is concerned to trace influences on a historical level, but he moves beyond this, arguing that the ‘independent individuality’ of intellectual endeavour means that ‘the mind’ can ‘gradually evolve out of itself, truths which may have been anticipated by other minds ages ago’. He tries to consider how ‘external influences’ may ‘wake it [an idea] up from its deep unconscious slumber’ while stressing that these influences ‘cannot create it [an idea] out of nothing’.23 His methodology is similar in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where he argues that an idea is a ‘complex whole’, whose ‘inner wealth’ unfolds over a period

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of time. ‘The idea reveals the possibilities of its application with advancing experience, and sometimes it takes more than one generation of thinkers before these possibilities are exhausted’.24 In Iqbal’s intellectual history of Islam and its relation to the West, there are no fully formed ideas but only anticipations of ideas which are in the continual process of being re-thought. In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam he refers to how the ‘idea of degrees of Reality appears’ in the writings of Shihabuddin Suhrawardi Maqtul, how this is found ‘worked out on a much larger scale in Hegel’, and then ‘more recently’ in Haldane’s Reign of Relativity.25 So, too, al-Ghazali is seen as anticipating Descartes’ philosophical method, while ibn Khaldun is seen as a forerunner of Bergson. He is also seen as anticipating the ‘modern hypothesis of subliminal selves’.26 Similarly, one of Zoroaster’s insights is presented as anticipating the thought of the ‘mystic shoemaker of Germany’.27 Iqbal’s history of thought, then, centres on these relationships of foresight, hindsight and anticipation. These by their very nature disrupt linear chronology. While Iqbal is keen to recover the story of Islam’s contribution to a progressive modernity, he does so primarily by striving for a mutual illumination between ideas formulated in the different contexts of Islam and Europe. Sometimes earlier bodies of thought are deployed to illuminate and resolve aporias in the work of later thinkers, as when he suggests that Nietzsche’s ‘failure was mainly due to his intellectual progenitors such as Schopenhauer, Darwin, and Lange whose influence completely blinded him to the real significance of his vision’. Iqbal suggests that Nietzsche’s ‘mental history is not without a parallel in the history of Eastern Sufism’, and by placing him in this history, tries to provide a new perspective on his ‘failure’ and the difficulties of his thinking.28 Here, then, anticipation becomes a form of appropriation and refashioning which aims to release a thinker’s work from the constraints of the context in which he is usually placed. This relocation of Nietzsche is especially apparent in the JövƮd Nöma. Similarly, earlier bodies of thought are illuminated by hindsight, with Iqbal retrospectively deploying later thinkers to recontextualise the struggles and language of preceding thinkers. For example, he adopts the figures of Kant and Hegel, using the phrases ‘As Kant would say’ or ‘As Hegel would say’, to re-read earlier Muslim thinkers. He uses this strategy when he deals with some aspects of al-Jili’s thought, translating these into Hegelian or Kantian terms.29 This strategy means that Iqbal often de-temporalises the history of thought in order to put thinkers in different traditions in dialogue with

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each other as though they were contemporaries discussing the same philosophical and metaphysical questions. In discussing al-Jili’s conception of the attributes of God, he draws in Schleiermacher, stressing the differences between the two, but also adding that al-Jili ‘recognises with Schleiermacher that in himself God is an unchangeable unity’.30 Similarly, he draws parallels between al-Jili, Hegel and Kant, and argues that al-Jili ‘gives his hearty assent to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason; but, unlike him, he makes this very idea the essence of the Universe. Kant’s Dang an sich to him is a pure nonentity; there is nothing behind the collection of attributes’.31 The same strategy and style is used to consider parallels between Bahaullah and Schopenhauer, in terms of their grappling with concepts of Will, and al-Ghazali and Bradley in terms of their notions of the self and its reality.32 The drawing of parallels is also evident in the way Iqbal compares the intellectual situation of thinkers, as when he suggests the similarities between al-Ghazali and Kant in terms of their ‘apostolic’ missions, and the similarities between the Sufi reaction against Islamic rationalism and Jacobi’s and Schleiermacher’s responses to Kant.33 So while Iqbal internalises the narrative of modernity, he argues that there is nothing unprecedented about European modernity. His work suggests that there is no stable moment of modernity, and that European self-conceptions about their own modernity rely on a deliberate forgetting of their Islamic predecessors in order to postulate a unique and unprecedented moment for ‘their’ modernity.

Iqbal’s Exegetical Approach to the Qur’ön Iqbal’s grappling with modernity is also evident in his approach to the Qur’ön. It is important to contextualise his approach in broad relation to traditions of exegesis of the Qur’ön in general, and preceding modernist interpretations of the Qur’ön in South Asia in particular. Needless to say, there have been and continue to be differing and conflicting interpretations of the Qur’ön within different communities of Muslims. These interpretations are, as one would expect, affected by the exegetes’ time, location, cultural predispositions, sectarian affiliations, and popular beliefs. Different exegetes have different concerns and goals. This is reflected in the relative weight they each give to the elements which are in play in the exegesis (tafsƮr) of the Qur’ön, such as history, grammar, semantics, law, theology, and folklore. 34 Traditionally, grammar, including elements of lexicography and orthography, had a

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crucial role to play in the interpretative process.35 In general, the aim of tafsƮr was, and is, to relate the text to context, and to historicise it by grounding the text in the day-to-day life of a Muslim community. These historicisations are controlled by and productive of the meaning which they seek to elucidate.36 The long historical development of traditions of tafsƮr is ongoing, and contemporary commentators continue to produce commentaries in the classical form, while reworking it as a literary genre.37 However, the impetus behind tafsƮr from the late nineteenth century onwards has been the attempt to simplify the content of exegesis, making it more accessible to a wider reading public.38 This means evading or side-stepping the accumulation of exegetical material, thereby moving away from the twofold purpose of tafsƮr, which was to elucidate the meaning the Qur’ön by producing a commentary which engages with a long line of previous commentaries. The other feature of modernist exegeses of the Qur’ön is the tendency to use the text to support religious and social ideas associated with contemporary reform movements, and to stress the ‘scientific’ elements of the Qur’ön, so introducing a new tool for interpretation, that of the modern discipline of science.39 In part, Iqbal’s modernist approach to the Qur’ön emerges from late nineteenth-century interpretations of the text. Here the exegesis by Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan was pre-eminent. Khan’s essay ‘Tab‘ƮoǨ, yö NechrƮon yö FitratƮoǨ’ (‘Nature’) can be read as a contradictory attempt to stake the claims of religion both against and on the basis of nineteenthcentury natural science. On the one hand, the author tries to show that natural science and its discoveries are in fact compatible with Islamic faith by arguing that science and religion relate to completely different areas, and so they neither contradict nor conflict with each other.40 On the other hand, the author also states that the adoption of a natural scientific view entails the acceptance of God as the creator of the universe, although throughout the essay the author points to the other possible positions on this, namely agnosticism and atheism.41 Khan makes a more far-reaching attempt to establish a compatibility between the modern sciences (‘‘ulɫm-e jadƮda’) and the Qur’ön in the course of defining his fifteen principles of exegesis.42 These principles were adumbrated in a series of letters written to Nawab Muhsin ul Mulk in 1892 and were collected under the title TaƤrƮr fƮ uɓɫl al-tafsƮr.43 To sum up here, there seem to be two main points, namely that the work of God or ‘qönɫn-e fitrat’, is in fact synonymous with the natural laws of modern science, and that the criterion employed to decide whether a given passage in the

124 Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Qur’ön is to be interpreted metaphorically or not is truth as established by natural science.44 This also seems to have been al-Afghani’s view on exegesis of the Qur’ön, namely that reason should be used fully when interpreting the Qur’ön, and if the text seems to be in contradiction to what is known, it should be interpreted symbolically.45 There is some continuity between Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s general position here, and his general contention in one of his essays on magic, that from the point of view of the Qur’ön, magic is unreal and false (‘bötil’). He argues that references to magic and sorcery in the text can be interpreted as allusions to the perceptions and beliefs of unbelievers. Moses’ transformation of his staff into a serpent as related in surat al-a‘raf in the Qur’ön is seen not as an instance of magic or sorcery (‘siƤr’), but rather as a manifestation of a natural human power (‘quvvat-e nafs-e insönƮ’).46 Putting together the general contentions of his 15 principles of exegesis, and his essay on magic, Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s view seems to be that miracles are against both reason and the text of the Qur’ön.47 There are of course precedents for these rationalist views, and Troll has described Sayyid Ahmad Khan as a neo-Mu‘tazilite, but he concludes that whilst Sayyid Ahmad Khan revived to a large extent the teachings of the falösifa in his writings, he did so within the context of his own distinctive world-view.48 What made the adoption of a new world-view necessary was precisely the development of modern science.49 As one of Khan’s interlocutors puts it, he (Khan) has considered the hypotheses of science correct, certain (‘yaqƮnƮ’) and irrefutable (‘ghair qöbil ul-i‘tirö˂’) and has given them precedence over the Qur’ön itself.50 Furthermore, in his essay on ‘Religious Beliefs in Olden and Modern Times’, Sayyid Ahmad Khan emphasises the use of nature as a modern religious belief, as opposed to an older attitude of rejecting nature in order to concentrate on God’s transcendental reality.51 The thrust of Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s exegesis of the Bible and the Qur’ön is an anti-miraculous one, and there seems to be no place for the supernatural in his view.52 He tries to argue that the Qur’ön is free from any verses that reinforce a magical view of the world.53 A number of scholars have pointed to the problems in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s notion of nature, such as the vacillation between a mechanical and a teleological view of it, the confusion between laws based on empirical, statistical data and normative laws, the conflation of the God of Islamic faith with the God of natural law, and so on.54 Albert Hourani, writing of Afghani, Abduh and Wajdi, describes how Islam becomes identical with the civilisation and the scientific norms of nineteenth-century Europe in their texts, and how it almost dissolves

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into modern rationality.55 Aziz al-Azmeh has also extensively discussed ‘Islamic liberalism’ and its exegesis of scripture as a code ‘open to the modernist interpreter, which yielded ideas in keeping with science, with evolutionism, and other ideas in currency’.56 Much the same could be said about Sayyid Ahmad Khan in the context of his Islamicising of the category of nature. But far from an easy incorporation of modernity into a liberal Islam, this Islamicisation of nature teases out the problematic character of some of the central categories of modernity itself. The pairing together of various notions from tradition with matters of contemporary relevance, to use Aziz al-Azmeh’s phrase, is certainly part of a self-conscious polemic of modernisation; but this polemic is called into question by some powerfully eloquent ambivalences and tensions.57 First, as mentioned earlier, Sayyid Ahmad Khan vacillates between the claim that Islamic faith can be reconciled with modern science, and the claim that their spheres are so different (since one deals with spiritual and the other with the mundane), that there is no need to reconcile them. But these contradictory claims reflect the shifting nature of the terms of science and faith themselves. This shifting of key terms captures something of the protean nature of modern Enlightenment reason. Sayyid Ahmad Khan often remarks how modern science bears no resemblance to Greek science. He also points to new sciences which had no precedents in the Greek world. In his essay ‘‘Ulɫm-e JadƮda’ he categorises the modern sciences according to those which did not exist among the ancient Greeks, those which did exist among the Greeks but whose principles have been completely recast (such as chemistry and astronomy), and those whose principles have developed to such an extent that they no longer resemble what they were in the Greek world (for example, geometry, mechanics and algebra).58 In his introduction to TaƤrƮr fƮ uɓɫl al-tafsƮr, he argues that the main difference between the modern and the Greek sciences is that the former are based on experiment and practice (‘tajriba aur ‘amal’), while the latter were based on analogical (‘qayösƮ’) and fanciful proofs.59 At the same time, he admits the possibility that just as the nineteenth-century sciences have supplanted the Greek sciences, so the latter too may one day be supplanted by new forms of science. This would necessitate a further reinterpretation of the holy text.60 For Sayyid Ahmad Khan, then, there is a close connection between the shifting nature of scientific truth itself and the need to reinterpret the Qur’ön anew, but significantly, in spite of his valorisation of the natural sciences, he is aware of the changing nature of scientific truth.

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The shifting term ‘science’ in his work exemplifies Popper’s remark that science rests on shifting sands. As Giddens argues, ‘In science, nothing is certain, and nothing can be proved.… In the heart of world of hard science, modernity floats free’.61 In other words, the shifting nature of the term ‘science’ in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s work is part of that crisis of science which Lyotard has noticed, signs of which have been accumulating since the end of the nineteenth century.62 There are also a number of circular definitions in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s work. In general terms it can be said that in TaƤrƮr fƮ uɓɫl al-tafsƮr, Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s argument is that the Qur’ön is ‘true’ because the natural sciences are consonant with it, and the natural sciences are true because they are consonant with the Qur’ön. This kind of circularity points to a feature of modernity itself, which Giddens has called reflexivity: ‘What is characteristic of modernity is not an embracing of the new for its own sake, but the presumption of wholesale reflexivity—which of course includes reflection upon the nature of reflection itself’. He further argues that this reflexivity necessarily subverts reason itself, because we live in a world which is constituted through ‘reflexively applied knowledge’, but ‘we can never be sure that any given element of that knowledge will not be revised’. It is in part because of this ‘circularity of reason’ that modernity is ‘unsettling’.63 Moreover, the terms of faith become fluid in Khan’s work. W.C. Smith has argued that the term scripture refers to a text being given special status by a community. The term is bilateral, since no text is a scripture in itself; rather, a given community makes a text into a scripture by treating it in a certain way.64 This is made clear by the variety of interpretations a scripture receives throughout its history. Sayyid Ahmad Khan, by taking the Qur’ön out of pre-existing relationships of exegesis, and reinserting it into a new set of relationships determined by the watch-words of European modernity, namely reason, nature and progress, unwittingly lays bare the arbitrary nature of the relationship between scripture and the meanings imposed on it. This emerges from Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s admission that should the sciences of his day be superseded by new forms of science, then the Qur’ön will need to be reinterpreted anew. Whilst he dismisses the objection that this would mean that the Qur’ön will become a ‘plaything’ (‘khilona’) in people’s hands, it does seem as though the text becomes a blank screen onto which the current intellectual and scientific trends of the age can be projected.65 By substituting chains of authoritative commentaries with these Enlightenment categories, the result is also a naive view, namely that

Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity, and the Qur’ön 127

individuals can grasp the meaning of scripture without recourse to the constraints of preceding authorities. This is in keeping with Francis Robinson’s argument about the impact of printing on Indian Islam; whereas before the reading of theological students was closely controlled by their teachers, with the issuing of ijöza (permission), but with large scale printing, such constraints were no longer possible.66 This results in what Aziz Ahmad has called ‘exegetical fundamentalism’, namely the invoking of an original text to the exclusion of the traditions of commentary it is embedded in.67 The result in the case of Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s hermeneutics is that scripture becomes almost infinitely interpretable and even malleable, and so comes close to losing its sacredness and ceasing to be scripture. Thus, whereas Smith has spoken of the ‘human propensity to scripturalize’, we also need to consider those possibilities of ‘de-scripturalization’ opened up by thinkers attempting to recast some of the fundamental categories of Islamic faith.68 Smith has also discussed what he calls the ‘de-transcendentalising of concept of scripture and the emergence of its plural’.69 This entailed recognising that scriptures are texts upon which readers impose meanings, and that there is not just one unique scripture (the Bible), but rather a collection of scriptures occurring in a variety of cultures. We see tentative elements of this view in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s Muhammadan Commentary on the Bible, and in his measurement of the Qur’ön by nineteenth-century views of rational nature.70 At times, his work can be seen as hovering between a singular view of the Qur’ön as unique and transcendental, and a post-scriptural view of a plurality of texts that were once scriptures but have now been rendered mundane by the secularising and historicising imperatives of modernity. Such tensions also characterise Iqbal’s modernist approach to the Qur’ön. For example, in Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ he conflates laws as normative and prescriptive with natural laws, as defined by modern science (see couplets 234–35, 528–30). In addition, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam shows that Iqbal kept abreast with the latest movements in European science and philosophy, especially in the areas of physics, biology and notions of evolution. Sometimes, though, he reads these developments alongside verses in the Qur’ön, projecting them backwards, thereby retrospectively reinterpreting various verses.71 It prefigures, and in some senses is, ‘modern’, but this also makes the text vulnerable to the instability of modernity. By this I mean that, as in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s case, the text becomes malleable without any exegetical constraints. It supports a plurality of meanings, between which

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no adjudication is possible, or at least such an adjudication remains unarticulated. It remains an open question whether this desacralises the text or re-sacralises it, but what is striking about Iqbal’s approach to the Qur’ön is his eschewal of the kind of large-scale and totalising interpretation which Sayyid Ahmad Khan favours. Instead, Iqbal deals with bits and pieces of the Qur’ön, embedded in a variety of philosophical contexts which are defined by his own creative hermeneutic. So on the one hand, the Qur’ön is revealed scripture, and yet on the other hand it is an open-ended text which is brought into play with a wide range of other texts, both European and Islamic, in addressing questions of universal import. So, in a typically dense paragraph, the Qur’ön is one point of reference in a discussion regarding the duality of mind and body, in which Iqbal draws in Descartes and Lange as well.72 In other dense passages, Iqbal draws the Qur’ön into an exchange on the question of the nature of selfhood between different philosophical positions, which include those of Bradley and Ghazali. He also reflects upon notions of space, using as points of reference the Qur’ön, Iraqi and Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time and Deity (1920).73 Iqbal also considers how the Qur’ön transforms pre-existing legends, such as the ‘Story of the Fall’, in order to ‘besoul them with new ideas, and thus to adapt them to the advancing spirit of the time’. This is compared to the way in which Goethe gives ‘a wholly new meaning’ to the legend of Faust.74 If there is a method in Iqbal’s approach, it is one which consists of putting the Qur’ön into motion through a series of intellectual encounters, for which his own work is the catalyst. In keeping with modernist approaches in tafsƮr, Iqbal strives to create an immediacy of engagement with the Qur’ön which deliberately eschews the accumulation of exegetical material over the centuries. Nowhere in his work does he refer to traditions of tafsƮr. Instead his The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam focuses on philosophy, mysticism and politics. His one-to-one and face-to-face encounter with the text of the Qur’ön is evident when he cites various of its verses to support what he takes to be its perspective on ‘the character of the universe which we inhabit’.75 What is interesting is his use of these citations in a way which assumes that the content of the text can be paraphrased unproblematically.76 However, there is a tension here because while Iqbal strives for an immediacy of reading, his discussion takes place in English and the verses of the Qur’ön which he cites are themselves translated into English. Iqbal did not have the requisite training in Arabic to undertake an exegesis in the classical style, in which grammar and

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lexicography played a key role.77 The translatability of the Qur’ön opens up yet another world of plural meanings, and calls attention to how the attempt at an immediacy of reading is in tension with the processes of translation which makes that immediacy possible. However, in the JövƮd Nöma, Iqbal’s approach to the Qur’ön is different from that in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Here fragments of verses and phrases from the Qur’ön are embedded, untranslated, in the Persian poem. These untranslated fragments highlight the linguistic specificity of the Qur’ön against the Persian background of the poem. Moreover, the fragments are rarely explicated, instead they are alluded to by characters, or the question of their meaning is raised but is never expounded in a linear fashion.78 This is also the case with Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ. Here again Iqbal approaches the Qur’ön in terms of fragments, hints and allusions. His poems preclude the possibility of any encounter with the entire text of the Qur’ön; it can only be approached circuitously. I have argued that there is a dialectical interplay between, and mutual grounding of, tradition and modernity in Iqbal’s work. Just such an interplay characterises his approach to the Qur’ön, and to a certain extent, this is summed up in his own view that ‘the source’ of the revelation in the Qur’ön ‘belongs to the ancient world’ while ‘the spirit’ of that Revelation ‘belongs to the modern world’.79 On the one hand, Iqbal’s approach eschews the accumulation of exegetical material surrounding the Qur’ön and seeks to create a space for an unproblematic ‘lifting’ of its contents for his own philosophical views. He also seeks to suggest that the world-view expressed in the Qur’ön is compatible with conceptions of the world and the universe in modern scientific theories, such as the theory of Relativity.80 We have already seen how Iqbal tries to show how the intellectual revolt against Greek thought by Muslim thinkers, and especially against the speculative nature of Aristotelian logic, paved the way for the experimental and empirical attitudes which underlay the development of modern science. In accordance with this view, he argues that this intellectual revolt against Greek philosophy stems from the ‘anti-classical spirit of the Qur’ön’ which ‘asserted itself in spite of those who began with a desire to interpret Islam in the light of Greek thought’.81 He also specifies verses in the Qur’ön which opened up ‘a new vista to Muslim philosophers’ for considering quasi-evolutionary perspectives.82 Iqbal’s approach to the Qur’ön has another modernist feature, namely the focus on themes of the Qur’ön (its ‘scientific’ character, its view of the world and nature, and so on) which breaks with the principle in classical tafsƮr of following the order of the scriptural

130 Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

text itself. But despite the modern features of his interpretations, his approach to the Qur’ön is strangely reminiscent of the development of tafsƮr in its formative period, when one finds works which cover only isolated segments of the text. There continues to be a scholarly debate over the question of the fragmentary nature of early tafsƮr.83 While Iqbal sees the germs of scientific ideas in the Qur’ön, this approach is also reminiscent of mystical approaches to the Qur’ön, which privilege symbol and allegory as they use a particular verse for a ‘jumping-off point’ or ‘keynote’ for meditation on a topic not at first sight connected to the text.84 A typical example of this is to be found in the ‘parallel exegesis’ of Ibn al-‘Arabi and his followers, who focused on speculative hints or allusions (‘ishörat’) which revealed hidden or esoteric meanings in the text.85 It is typical of the eclecticism of Iqbal’s work, and the play between modernity and tradition, that his approach to the Qur’ön should be reminiscent of Sufi exegesis in its focus on speculative hints and allusions, even while these allusions are deployed to interpret the Qur’ön as prefiguring modern science. Ultimately, though, the Qur’ön is appropriated by Iqbal in accordance with his notion of selfhood. Not only does he read into the Qur’ön support for his view of the individuality and uniqueness of selfhood, as well as its persistence even in moments of ecstatic union with God, his search for fresh meanings in the Qur’ön, unmediated by traditions of exegesis, includes endorsing the view that the Qur’ön is revealed to each believer just as it was revealed to the Prophet.86 For Iqbal the finality of the revelation in the Qur’ön lay in its very availability for a continual process of interpretation. It is the dynamism of this process which he enacts in his own creative hermeneutics, and which he sees reflected in the text of the Qur’ön itself, for example in its endorsement, according to him, of a ‘dynamic conception of the universe’.87 This emphasis in his work rebuts notions of a fixed Islam with fixed views of the Qur’ön (such views cannot be sustained even with regard to ‘orthodoxy’). It also thereby involves the Qur’ön in the instability of modernity’s moment, while making the Qur’ön, in its very malleability, a central reference point for that instability.

Notes 1. John Sturrock. 1993. The Language of Autobiography: Studies in the First Person Singular. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 3–4. For a more extreme view of the rhetorical nature of autobiography, see de Man, ‘Autobiography as De-facement’, pp. 67–81.

Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity, and the Qur’ön 131 2. This is explored throughout the three volumes of Paul Ricoeur. 1984–85, 1984–88. Time and Narrative, transl. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 3 vols, but for a succinct summary see vol. 2, p. 82. 3. Jurgen Habermas. 1987 (1994). The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures. Transl. Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 3–15. 4. For a more detailed argument on the project to create a modern aesthetic consciousness in Urdu literature, see Majeed, ‘Nature, Hyperbole, and the Colonial State’. 5. This break is signalled by Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm. I would argue that one key feature of modern Urdu poetry is its location on the brink of a selfreferential symbolic universe which is always on the point of giving way to a historical and empirical world without actually succumbing to it. 6. de Man, Paul. 1971 (1983). Blindness and Insight: Essays in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Criticism. London: Routledge, p. 152. 7. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 100–101. 8. Ibid., p. 6. 9. Ibid., pp. xxi–xxii, 2, 6, 78. 10. Ibid., pp. 102–3. 11. Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, verse 102. 12. Ibid., verse 103. 13. Ibid., verse 3. 14. Ibid., verse 126. 15. Bryan Turner. 1994. Orientalism, Postmodernism and Globalism. London: Routledge, pp. 31–32. 16. Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, verses 92–94, verse 97. 17. Samuel Smiles. 1859. Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character and Conduct. London: John Murray; Barbara Dennis and David Skilton (eds). 1987. Reform and Intellectual Debate in Victorian England. London: Croom Helm, pp. 50–57. 18. Altaf Husain Hali. 1893, 1953. Muqaddama Shi‘r o Shö‘irƮ. Ed. Vahid Qureishi. Lahore: Maktaba-e JadƮd, p. 179. 19. Turner, Orientalism, p. 98. 20. Max Weber. 1930. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, transl. Talcott Parsons. London: Allen and Unwin, pp. 54, 71. 21. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, p. 227. 22. W. C. Smith. 1985. Modern Islam in India: A Social Analysis. New Delhi: Usha Publications, p. 76. 23. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 76. 24. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 63. 25. Ibid., p. 57. 26. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 59, Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 112–13, 14. 27. Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 7. 28. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 154–55. 29. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 118, 128–29. 30. Ibid., p. 123. 31. Ibid., pp. 120–21.

132 Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism 32. For parallels between Bahaullah and Schopenhauer see ibid., p. 146. For parallels between al-Ghazali and Bradley, see Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 78–80. 33. For similarities between al-Ghazali and Kant, see Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 4. For similarities between the Sufi reaction against Islamic rationalism and Jacobi’s and Schleiermacher’s responses to Kant, see Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 78–79. 34. ‘TafsƮr’, The EI2, Volume 10, fascicules 163–64, pp. 83–88, 84. 35. Ibid., p. 84. 36. Ibid., p. 85. 37. Ibid., p. 87. 38. Ibid. 39. Ibid., p. 87. See also Helmut Gatje. 1976 (1996). The Qur’an and its Exegesis: Selected Texts with Classical and Modern Muslim Interpretations. Oxford: One World, pp. 42–44. – 40. Sayyid Ahmad Khan. 1984. ‘TabƮ‘ioǨ, ya NecharioǨ ya FitratƮoǨ’, in Maqölöt-e Sir Sayyid, 16 vols. Lahore: Majlis-e TaraqqƮ-e Adab, Volume 3, pp. 281–82. 41. Ibid. 42. For his elucidation of what he means by modern science, see his essay ‘‘Ulɫm-e JadƮda’, in ibid., Volume 7, pp. 211–12. 43. The text I have used is Sayyid Ahmad Khan. 1913. TaƤrƮr fƮ uɓɫl al-tafsƮr. Lahore: Naval Kishore Press. 44. For a full discussion of Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s method of exegesis, see C. W. Troll. 1978/9. Sayyid Ahmad Khan: A Reinterpretation of Muslim Theology. Karachi: Oxford University Press, pp. 160–70; and Aziz Ahmad. 1967. Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan 1857–1964. London: Oxford University Press, pp. 42–48. 45. Albert Hourani. 1989. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 127–28. 46. Khan, ‘Tab‘ƮoǨ’, Volume 4, pp. 306–39. 47. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, pp. 177–79. See also Sayyid Ahmad Khan, ‘MazhabƮ Khayöl Zamön-e QadƮm aur Zamanö-e JadƮd kö’, in Khan, Maqölöt-e Sir Sayyid. Lahore: Majlis-e TaraqqƮ-e Adab, Volume 3, pp. 23–27, where Khan contrasts the older belief that prophets are confirmed by miracles with the new principle that they are confirmed by ‘nature’. 48. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, pp. 173–74; Ahmad, Islamic Modernism, pp. 44–45. 49. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, pp. 192–93, 171. 50. Muhsin al-Mulk to Khan, Aug 9, 1892, in Khan, TaƤrƮr, p. 3. 51. Khan, ‘Tab‘ƮoǨ’, p. 26. 52. Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, pp. 177–79. 53. See the essay ‘SiƤr’, in Khan, ‘Maqölöt’, Volume 4, pp. 306–39. 54. Ahmad, Islamic Modernism, pp. 44–45; Troll, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, pp. 174–76, 217–18, 226. 55. Hourani, Arabic Thought, pp. 144, 162. 56. al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities, pp. 39–59, 77–88. 57. Ibid., p. 80. 58. Khan, ‘‘Ulɫm-e JadƮda’, pp. 211–12. 59. Khan, TaƤrƮr, p. 2.

Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity, and the Qur’ön 133 60. Ibid., p. 35. 61. Anthony Giddens. 1994. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, p. 39. 62. Jean-Francois Lyotard. 1986. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, transl. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 38–39. 63. Giddens, Consequences, p. 49. 64. Smith, Modern Islam in India, pp. 11, 17–18. 65. Khan, TaƤrƮr, p. 35. 66. Francis Robinson. 1993. ‘Technology and Religious Change: Islam and the Impact of Printing’, Modern Asian Studies, 27(1): pp. 229–51. 67. Ahmad, Islamic Modernism, p. x; al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities, pp. 136–37. 68. W. C. Smith. 1993. What is Scripture? A Comparative Approach. London: SCM Press, p. ix. 69. Ibid., p. 11. 70. Sayyid Ahmed Khan. 1862 (1865). The Muhammadan Commentary on the Holy Bible. The Author: Ghazipur. 71. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 50–51, 53, 54–56, 59. 72. Ibid., pp. 83–84. 73. Ibid., pp. 76ff, 110ff. 74. Ibid., p. 65. 75. Ibid., p. 8. 76. Ibid., pp. 8–10. 77. Schimmel refers to the question of Iqbal’s training in Arabic, see Schimmel, Gabriel’s Wing, p. 37. 78. Iqbal’s allusions to the Qur’ön in the poem are listed in A. J. Arberry (transl.). 1966. Iqbal’s Javid Nameh. London: Allen & Unwin, pp. 142–51. 79. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 100–1. 80. Ibid., pp. 31, 45, 64. 81. Ibid., pp. 113, 102. 82. Ibid., pp. 96–97. 83. ‘TafsƮr’, pp. 84, 86. 84. Iqbal uses the word ‘germ’ when he suggests that the Qur‘ön contains a ‘germ’ of the idea of history, which inspired ibn Khaldun. For a reference to the mystical approaches to the Qur’ön, see ‘TafsƮr’, p. 85. 85. Gatje, The Qur’an and its Exegesis, pp. 40–41. 86. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 76–80, 93. For a reference to the endorsement on the Qur’ön being revealed to each believer just as it was revealed to the Prophet, see ibid., p. 143. 87. Ibid., pp. 110, 112–13.

7 Islamic Hellenism, Selfhood and Poetry There is another aspect to Iqbal’s interaction with the West. This

involves his reworking of Islamic Hellenism in relation to khɫdƮ as an aesthetic process. Among Indian intellectuals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Iqbal was not alone in engaging with notions of ancient Greece and Rome in their formulations of Indian identity. In defining the grounds of his nationalism, Nehru constructed a complex set of equivalences between ancient India, ancient Greece, ‘Nature’, and ‘Gandhi’. These equivalences expressed his ambivalence towards antiquity. On the one hand, they secured the importance of Indian antiquity by associating it with ancient Greece, and on the other, they highlighted the persistence of Indian antiquity in contemporary society as a hindrance to a narrative of progress.1 In addition, while he was composing The Discovery of India in prison, Nehru read Plato’s The Republic, which he referred to as ‘the only book I have gone back to again and again, to read in small doses’.2 Given the combination of mental processes and political engagement in Nehru’s autobiographies as a whole, the blend of political philosophy with the theory of forms in The Republic clearly appealed to Nehru. He also refers to Plato in the context of exploring the problem of reconciling the ‘inner’ life of the individual with the scientific laws of the phenomenal world, a problem which was central to his autobiographies as a whole.3 Iqbal’s engagement with ancient Greece and Rome stems from a long history of interaction between Islamic philosophy and science and Graeco-Roman thought, which began in earnest with the ‘Abbösid Caliphate in the early ninth century.4 In his work, Iqbal reflects on this history as he explores and reconstructs relationships between Islam and the West. In particular, he focuses on the impact which neo-Platonism had on the development of Islamic mysticism, which he argued played a role in the decline of Islamic civilisation. Iqbal’s predecessor as a poet in this context was once again Altaf Husain Hali, whose epic Urdu poem Musaddas Madd-o-Jazr-e Islöm, as the title suggests, dealt with the historical fluctuations of Islam in the world, and with its decline in particular. What interests us here is the trope

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of ancient Greece and Rome in the poem. This works on three levels. First, Eurocentric notions of history are undermined by foregrounding Islam’s contribution in preserving and transmitting the Hellenistic heritage common to both it and Europe.5 Second, this serves to highlight the current decline of Islamic civilisation, in contrast to its former intellectual vitality.6 Third and more interestingly, the association of Hellenism with Islamic decline is given another twist. The poem begins with the metaphor of illness, when the poet relates an anecdote about Hippocrates and the incurable disease by which the Muslim community is afflicted.7 This anecdote has considerable resonance in the context of Islamic Hellenism, since medicine played an especially prominent role in Islam’s adoption of Greek heritage.8 But Hali later presents the continuing role of Hellenistic modes of thought in contemporary Muslim intellectual life as a reason for Islamic decline. He draws a distinction between ongoing Muslim commitment to outmoded philosophies and sciences which developed under the impact of Greek learning, and modern Western science.9 Throughout the poem, there is an association of imagery between the decline of ancient Greece and Rome and that of Islamic civilisation. In keeping with the governing image in the poem of ocean tides, referred to in its title, the vulnerable state of Islam is expressed in an image of a ship listing in a storm. A similar image is used to express the decline of Rome.10 The transfer of Greek texts from Egypt and Greece to the archives of the ‘Abbösid caliphate is also paralleled by the transfer of texts of Islamic arts and sciences into the libraries of Paris, London and Rome.11 In Hali’s Musaddas, then, the trope of ancient Greece and Rome is self-reflexive. Its very effectiveness is testimony to the deep-rooted nature of the decline of Islamic civilisation. The poem, by using that trope, rehearses the decline which it seeks to reverse. Iqbal’s engagement with Islamic Hellenism is also complex and selfreflexive, but of a different order. Like Hali, Iqbal is keen to draw attention to Islamic Hellenism in order to rebut Eurocentric notions of history. But unlike Hali he stresses the creativity of Islam’s engagement with Greek thought, showing how Muslims added to and transformed Hellenistic learning. He argues that this partly stemmed from the very nature of that engagement, which took place through processes of translation. Because ‘careless translators’ of Greek philosophy introduced ‘a hopeless mass of absurdities’ in the texts, the commentaries on Greek philosophy by thinkers such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd and others became paradoxically ‘an effort at discovery, not exposition.… They had largely to rethink the Philosophies of Aristotle and Plato’.12 A similar point has also been made

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by contemporary scholars, who characterise the translation activity which brought together Islam and Greece as a consciously creative act, rather than being, to use Iqbal’s words, an act of ‘servile imitation’.13 We saw in Chapter 6, though, that Iqbal goes further in arguing that the intellectual revolt against Greek thought by some Muslim thinkers, especially against the speculative nature of Arisotelian logic, paved the way for the experimental and empirical attitudes which underlay the development of modern science.14 Like Hali, then, Iqbal stressed the role of Islamic civilisation in the preservation and transmission of Greek learning, while simultaneously differentiating and dissociating Islam from that learning. His overall aim is to integrate Islam into a narrative of progressive modernity, by suggesting that the roots of modern science and therefore of modernity lay in the intellectual revolt by Islamic thinkers against Greek learning. His engagement with Islamic Hellenism therefore counters two Eurocentric narratives, one which appropriates Greek and Roman civilisation as the preserve of Europe only, and the other which characterises modernity as an unprecedented European moment, thereby erasing its Islamic predecessors. However, there is a more specific focus to Iqbal’s engagement with Islamic Hellenism. This concerns the impact of neo-Platonism on the development of Islamic mysticism. The framework for this is Iqbal’s concept of khɫdƮ, of a creative individuated selfhood, which we have seen was defined in part against mystical notions of fanö, or the annihilation of the individual self in moments of ecstatic union with God. In his Urdu work written in 1912, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, Iqbal makes three arguments. First, as we have seen in Chapter 2, there is a general argument to the effect that mystical notions of selfhood underpin otherworldly attitudes, which undermine the capacity to act effectively in the world. For this reason, he associates the prevalence of mysticism in a culture’s history with the decline of that culture, not just in Islam, but also in Hinduism and the late Roman world.15 Second, he argues that it was neo-Platonism, and especially the transmission of Plotinus’ Enneads with its philosophy of emanations, which influenced some of the key ideas of Islamic mysticism.16 In this, contemporary scholarship is in agreement with Iqbal; as one scholar has pointed out, neo-Platonism became a ‘new religion’ from the tenth century onwards in the Islamic world.17 In Iqbal’s view, the universe as a series of emanations from the essence of an Absolute Being resulted in the conception of the human body as a prison for the human spirit, which the latter had to be liberated from.18

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It also led to the view that the knower and the known are one, so that the grasp of God as an object of understanding in which subject and object remain distinct, was replaced by the fusion of the human subject with God. This meant that Sufism became an experiential knowledge of the mysteries of God’s unity, whereas for philosophers within Islam committed to ratiocination, such a knowledge was beyond the ken of human intellect.19 The third argument that Iqbal makes in TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf is that neoPlatonism found a welcome reception in Persia, and that its influence is central to some ShƮ’a sects, such as the Ismailis. Moreover, the Persian intellectual climate had a key role in the development of Sufism, in which the interaction between neo-Platonism and pre-Islamic Iranian belief systems such as Zoroasterianism and Manicheanism played a key part.20 Iqbal’s engagement with Hellenism, then, needs to be put into the context of his negotiation of the tensions between Arab and Persian cultural heritages in Islam as a whole, and the overall movement in his work towards the former (see Chapters 4 and 5). In Iqbal’s reworking, Islam becomes in part a category defined against the history of Sufism, and the latter is associated with the persistence of Persian philosophy and heterodox habits of thought in Islam. These in part are the result of the impact of Greek neo-Platonism, and the outcome of an intellectual cosmopolitanism, against which Iqbal tries to define his own brand of cosmopolitan eclecticism. These strands of Iqbal’s critical engagement with Hellenism and Islamic mysticism are evident in Mysteries of the Self. Section 7 of the poem deals with the impact of Platonic theories on the mysticism and – arts (‘taɓavvuf va adabiyöt’) of Islam. This section asserts that the impact of neo-Platonism on Muslim mysticism, and specifically Plato’s theory of forms, results in the downgrading of the sensible world in Islamic intellectual life (couplets 317, 322). In keeping with the poetic strategies in his work as a whole, Iqbal reverses the conventional image of the cupbearer and his intoxicating wine in Persian and Urdu poetry, generally seen as representing a spiritual master and his teachings, when he refers to the soporific effect of Plato’s cup (‘jöm’) which steals the world away from our senses (couplet 320). However, there is a subtler and more implicit aspect to Iqbal’s engagement with Plato in this poem. This concerns two problems, first, the relationship between philosophy and poetry, or what Plato in Book 10 of The Republic refers to as the old quarrel between philosophy and poetry, and second, the relationship between poetry and politics, or the

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right kind of poetry which Plato would allow in his republic.21 These two problems are key to Iqbal’s poetry as a whole. As we have seen, Iqbal’s poetry is philosophical in tone. It combines carefully weighed philosophical diction with reworked poetic conceits of the classical Persian and Urdu poetic tradition. In this sense, the quarrel between philosophy and poetry is overcome in the kind of poetry which Iqbal writes. As regards the relationship of aesthetics with politics, we have also seen how, in Iqbal’s understanding, the colonial context placed unprecedented demands on the Urdu and Persian poet. Following the section on Plato in Asrör-e KhɫdƮ, Section 8 outlines the kind of poetry which is required for Iqbal’s pan-Islamic politics. Moreover, just as Plato’s The Republic can be read as exemplifying his own standards of art, for example, by enacting the right kind of subordination of mimesis to reason in the use of the simile of the divided line and the analogy of the cave, so also the play of imagery in Iqbal’s poem enacts his own distinctive orientation towards Plato and the latter’s impact on Islam. Iqbal uses the same set of images in different ways, thereby performing in the poem the creativity of selfhood which it is his aim to articulate. One set of images is that of the garden moistened by dew. We have seen how Iqbal reworks images of the garden in his poetry. In the section on Plato, a lacklustre garden is suggestive of the deadened self of an Islamic, neoPlatonic mysticism. In this garden, the dew (‘shabnam’) has no power to quiver, nor do the birds have any breath in their breasts to sing (couplet 330). In contrast, in a section of the poem where Iqbal articulates a newly individuated selfhood, he likens his contemporaries to a sea which is silent like dew, whereas his own creative self is presented as dew which is storm-ridden, like the ocean (‘yamm-e ɠɫfön’, couplet 20). Here the storm-tossed ocean and the drop of dew are linked to each other through the poet’s expansive interiority. Iqbal’s engagement with Plato, then, is nuanced. He criticises the impact of neo-Platonism on Islamic philosophy but he also continues, in that very rejection, the tradition of Islamic Hellenism. He does this by reframing Plato for the purposes of his own version of a modernising Islam grounded in an individuated creative selfhood. His assertion against neo-Platonism includes writing philosophical and politicised poetry, which enacts that assertion in terms of the issues which are central to Plato’s The Republic. In doing so, Iqbal also differentiates himself from the earlier Muslim commentators on Plato, Ibn Rushd and Ibn Khaldun, who were concerned in the main with statecraft and the degeneration of polities.22 Iqbal, on the other hand, is concerned with

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defining the relationship between aesthetics and politics in an Islamic, postcolonial and utopian polity, a relationship which he dramatises in his poetry as a process. There is one final aspect of Iqbal’s engagement with Plato which needs to be addressed. One striking feature of Plato’s The Republic is the analogy he draws between the individual self and the polity. This is explicit in what might be called the centre piece of the book, Part 5 on justice in the individual and the state. Here Plato expounds the idea that justice comes about in the individual and in the city through the same means; he suggests transferring his findings on justice in the state to justice in the individual, so that by ‘the friction of comparison we may strike a spark which will illuminate justice for us’.23 He then argues that there is no difference between the just man and the just city so far as the element of justice goes; the individual soul is organised and constituted in the same way as society. I have argued that Iqbal defined an expansive interiority of selfhood to ground his politics, and that his idea of collective life was drawn from a vision of the individual self. The play between individual khudƮ and be-khudƮ (selflessness) in an Islamic polity is an important aspect of Iqbal’s work. Iqbal’s exploration of this relationship between individual self and polity is in general terms an Islamic rendering of the problem adumbrated by Plato in his The Republic. Iqbal differs, though, from Plato in that for him individual selfhood had to be secured prior to any redefined polity; the individual self and the polity are not coeval, and so analogies between their constitutions cannot be made in the same way as in The Republic. Iqbal’s articulation of selfhood, then, partly comes out of, and is asserted against, an Islamic Hellenism in which neo-Platonism and Plato played a major role. But Iqbal’s engagement with Islamic Hellenism is also part of the central feature of his poetry, namely the interplay between tradition and innovation in his verse. This is clear in the relationship between his Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd and Mahmud Shabestari’s neo-Platonic mystical poem, Gulshan-e Röz. The play between tradition and innovation is evident in a number of ways. The title of Iqbal’s poem, with the addition of the word jadƮd (‘new’), is suggestive of how for him newness can only be produced in self-reflexive interaction with tradition. His poem is composed in the same metre as Shabestari’s, so that its form recalls the latter’s poem. It is also structured in terms of questions and answers, with the questions being identical, but with the answers being very different. Finally, Iqbal links the crisis of Islam in Shabestari’s time, with its crisis in his own age. In his prologue Iqbal refers to the incursions of the Mongols and the downfall of the ‘Abbösid caliphate in Shabestari’s time, and in

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the next couplet refers to another revolution (‘inqilöb’) in his own time, namely the rise of the West to a dominant position in the world (couplets 7–8). For both Shabestari and Iqbal, then, the future of Islam was in doubt. Moreover, Iqbal’s concern with selfhood is again key here, since not only does he define a new notion of selfhood against that found in Shabestari’s text, in another text he links the destruction of Baghdad in the thirteenth century to the loss of a notion of individual selfhood. As we saw in Chapter 5, he argues that following this destruction, in order to prevent the disintegration of the social order, the ‘ulema ‘focussed all their efforts on the one point of preserving a uniform social life for the people by a jealous exclusion of all innovations in the law of Shari‘a as expounded by the early doctors of Islam’. The problem with this, though, was that ‘in an over-organized society the individual is altogether crushed out of existence’. For Iqbal, the only way to counter the decline of ‘a people’ is to recover the category of the individual, or what he calls in an evocative phrase, ‘self-concentrated individuals’.24 It is precisely the interiority of the ‘self-concentrated’ individual which Iqbal seeks to construct in his work, thereby countering one of the effects of the crisis of Islam in the thirteenth century, which Shabestari lived through, and which continued up to his own day. The neo-Platonist notion of emanations is key to Gulshan-e Röz in two ways. One is in its world-view and the other is in the tropes and imagery of its poetry. This is evident in the answer to the second question, ‘What sort of thought (‘fikr’) is the condition (‘sharɠ’) of my path? Why is it sometimes obedience (‘ɠa‘at’) and why sometimes a sin (‘gunöh’)?’25 In response to this question, the poet avers that Truth, or Being, as source of all being, is diffused and poured out into the phenomenal world by means of various emanations beginning with Logos and ending with man. Man’s aim is to journey back to his divine source, and to achieve union with it by annihilating his phenomenal self. In this state, thought is no longer possible because thought implies duality. Ultimately, then, in this context, knower and known are one.26 As is to be expected, Iqbal gives a different answer to this question in his poem, arguing that humans cannot dispense either with abstract thought or creative intuition (couplets 34–67), and in doing so, he displaces Shabestari’s emanationist scheme by insisting on the reality of an individuated and creative selfhood which reworks Shabestari’s imagery. For Shabestari the sun is an image of the divine, which the eye of man, symbolising reason, cannot see directly. It has to be seen as a reflection in water or a mirror:

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If you desire to behold the eye of the sun / You must make use of another body (‘jirm’) / Since the eye of the head has not strength (‘ɠöqat va töb’) enough / You may look on the brilliant sun (‘khurshƮd’) in the water / Since its brightness (‘roshnƮ’) shows less brightly therein / You can bear to look on it for a longer space. / Not being (‘‘adam’) is the mirror of absolute Being (‘hastƮ’), / Therein is reflected the shining of The Truth (‘‘aks-e töbish-e Ƥaqq’). / When Not being is set opposite to Being, / It catches its reflection in a moment. / That Unity (‘waƤdat’) is exposed to view in this plurality (‘kasrat’) / Like as when you count one it becomes manifold (‘bisyör’).27

Iqbal, on the other hand, opens his answer to the same question with an image of light within the heart of man, which dwarfs the sun, and which welcomes the materiality of our bodies: ‘What a life-illuminating and heart-kindling light (‘nɫr’) / The sun (‘aftöb’) is illuminated by its ray / Conjoined with dust (‘khök’), it is above space (‘makön’) / Tied to day and night, it is free from the bonds of time (‘zamön’)’, couplets 37–38). In addition, the highly intricate, carefully honed geography of Gulshan-e Röz, with its Ptolemaic structure of the heavens combined with the neo-Platonic system of emanations, is levelled by Iqbal’s geography of selfhood: ‘It is a deer (‘ghazöl’) whose pasture is the sky (‘ösmön’) / Who drinks water from the stream of the Milky Way (‘Khakashön’) / Earth (‘zamƮn’) and sky (‘ösmön’) are its halting places (‘maqöm’) / It walks alone amid a caravan’ (couplets 42–43). The density of Iqbal’s selfhood requires a homogenised space for its expansiveness, whereas for Shabestari the ultimately illusory nature of the self is reinforced by the dense and intricate nature of his geography of the cosmos. Shabestari also uses the concept of emanation as a poetic conceit, likening successive emanations of the Truth in the universe to the revelation of successive chapters of the Qur’ön, and to a series of circles which illustrates the emanation of each particular being from the whole, and its return to its source.28 In Iqbal, however, the complexity of the Ptolemaic world and the system of emanations is displaced by a convoluted and self-referential vocabulary of selfhood. In this circularity of selfhood, self is both the subject and the object. This self-reflexive circularity is evoked through a number of images, but is captured in particular by two couplets: ‘Life makes it into a lasso (‘kamand’) and throws it / To catch everything low and high (‘past o baland’) / By its means it snares itself / And also squeezes the throat of duality’ (couplets 53–54). Here the pronominal confusion (it is not always clear what the pronoun ‘it’ refers to) points to the restless self-reflexivity of the poem.

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At the same time, it indicates how the complexity of the Ptolemaic world and neo-Platonic system is not completely displaced by the geography of selfhood in Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd. On one level, Iqbal appears to want to cut a swathe through the complexities of Gulshan-e Röz, to reduce the differences between both poems to the question of selfhood. Hence the absence of rules (‘qö‘idat’) and illustrations (‘tamsƮl’) in Iqbal’s poem which play a major role in Gulshan-e Röz. The pronominal confusion in Iqbal’s poem, however, points to how knots of complexity persist in the text. An irreducible stratum of difficulty remains in the poem which suggests that the difficulties of ‘The Secret Rose Garden’ have been transformed into the convolutions of selfhood in ‘The New Secret Rose Garden’, linking the two poems in their differences, and further indicating the closeness of the relationship between tradition and innovation in Iqbal’s poetry and thought.

The Otherness of Islam Just as there are multiple Islams in Iqbal’s texts, there are also numerous versions of the West in his work, from pre-modern Christendom, to the West as the site of secular modernity, as the seat of the imperial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and as the home of modern science. There is also the West as the heir of a Hellenistic heritage which it shares with Islam. Iqbal’s reinterpretation of Islamic Hellenism, then, is part of his larger engagement with the West and the redefinition of Islam in his work as a whole. His engagement with Hellenism can also be put in a broader framework of a postcolonial aesthetic in which classical European texts are appropriated to challenge Eurocentrism. A recent example is Derek Walcott’s Omeros (1990), with its creolised version of the conventional epic paraphernalia of Virgil’s Aeneid, and what Walcott called its ‘combination of Homeric line and Dantesque design’.29 However, any comparisons in such a framework would have to be careful not to erase the linguistic and cultural specificities of the traditions and histories in which these writers work. Iqbal’s Hellenism can also be read alongside movements in European philosophy. Habermas has argued that the problem of grounding modernity out of itself first comes to European consciousness in the realm of aesthetic criticism in early eighteenth-century France, in the famous quarrel between the ancients and the moderns.30 A continual engagement with the Greeks is a key characteristic of some of the major philosophers of the West. For Hegel, the history of philosophy develops in a single philosophy through different forms. Because we are dealing

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with the development of a single philosophy, nothing is lost. Earlier philosophies are retained in the later fully adequate one as moments. In keeping with this, Plato and Socrates represent moments in the onward dialectic of Geist. Hegel drew heavily on them to indicate how he saw the development of philosophy passing through them.31 Moreover, the Hegelian term ‘dialectic’ subsumes and sublates Socrates’ ‘dialectic’, so that intrinsic to the very term is the performance of the intellectual operation which it designates. Similarly, Heidegger’s work is marked by a re-engagement with what he calls in the Introduction to Metaphysics the ‘first and definitive unfolding of Western philosophy among the Greeks’. Here his concern is to recapture ‘the authentic naming force’ of the Greek word phusis, whose ‘originary content’ had been thrust aside by its Latin translation natura.32 Thus, just as the Hellenistic heritage is common to both the West and Islam, so, too, is a renewed engagement with that heritage in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European philosophy, in which lines of continuity and ruptures of discontinuity are in play with each other. In the end, Iqbal’s Hellenism underlines the chief outcome of his engagement with the West, namely that the boundaries between the West and Islam are fuzzy and porous. On one level, he tries to forestall the destabilising possibilities of this by reconciling his cosmopolitan eclecticism with his category of Islam. But on another level, Islam and the West merge together, and his cosmopolitan eclecticism exceeds both those categories, becoming an end in itself. This is evident in the texture of The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, which sometimes reads like a confluence of fragments from a variety of currents of thought, which remain unintegrated into any textual whole. To a certain extent, this is also reflected in the use of the terms ‘East’ and ‘West’ in the JövƮd Nöma. In keeping with the multiple levels of meaning in the text, the poet uses these terms literally in the sense of the direction of sunrise and sunset, so that they signify the world of dimensions and the diurnal round of time. He also uses them as discursive terms signifying opposing civilisations and cultures which reflect different ways of being in the world. In one passage, he uses this play of meaning to illustrate the problematic nature of the relationship between a nation and its people, while at the same time framing this within the metaphysical problem of relations and the absolute as a point which is beyond all relations:33 ‘Though it is out of the East (‘mashriq’) that the sun rises / showing itself bold and bright, without a veil (‘be-Ƥijöb’) / only then it burns and blazes with inward fire (‘soz-e darɫn’) / when it escapes from the shackles (‘qaid’) of East and West / its nature (‘fitrat’) is innocent of both east

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and west / though relationship-wise (‘nisbat’), true, it is an easterner (‘khövarƮ’)’ (couplets 537–8, 540). In the context of the metaphysics of being which the poem investigates through its carefully controlled aesthetic, the nation appears as an impediment to self-realisation and to knowing the true nature of things. This is why the JövƮd Nöma ends with this exhortation to the poet: ‘Abandon the East, be not spellbound by the West (‘afsɫnƮ-ye afrang’) / for all this ancient and new is not worth one barleycorn’ (couplet 1800). The poet goes beyond the oppositional categories of East and West as he reaches his final station. On the whole, though, for Iqbal as a postcolonial intellectual the destabilising possibilities produced by the merging of the West and Islam are subversive of Western dominance. In contrast, in the present climate, it is unlikely that any genuine recognition of the porous nature of these boundaries will be forthcoming amongst the intelligentsia or policy makers in the West. In the final analysis, the complete otherness of Islam is less threatening to the West than the fearful possibilities of its sameness.34 In this, Iqbal was perhaps prescient when in an article written in 1936 in reply to Nehru’s criticism of his stance on Qadianis, he wrote that ‘lying midway between Asia and Europe and being a synthesis of Eastern and Western outlooks on life, Islam ought to act as a kind of intermediary between the East and the West. But what if the follies of Europe create an irreconcilable Islam? As things are developing in Europe from day to day they demand a radical transformation of Europe’s attitude towards Islam. We can only hope that political vision will not allow itself to be obscured by the dictates of imperial ambition or economic exploitation’.35

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Majeed, Autobiography, pp. 100–7. Plato. 1977. The Republic, transl. Desmond Lee. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Majeed, Autobiography, pp. 36–37. For useful accounts of this interaction, see Franz Rosenthal. 1975. The Classical Heritage in Islam, transl. Emile and Jenny Marmorstein. London: R. K. Paul; Fakhry, Philosophy; Montgomery Watt. 1985. Islamic Philosophy and Theology: An Extended Survey. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, verses 73, 86, 87, 88. Ibid., verses 89, 108, 109–45. Ibid., verses 1–3. Rosenthal, Classical Heritage, pp. 182–205. Hali, Musaddas Madd o Jazr-e Islöm, verses 232–35.

Islamic Hellenism, Self hood, and Poetry 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

35.

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Ibid., verse 63. Ibid., verses 88–89. Iqbal, Metaphysics, pp. 22–23. For the view of contemporary scholars, see Rosenthal, Classical Heritage, pp. 1–23. For a reference to ‘servile imitation’, see Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 23. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 64, 102–3, 113. As examples, Iqbal refers to works on optics, psychology and logic. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, p. 30. Plotinus. 1991. The Enneads, transl. Stephen MacKenna and John Dillon. London: Penguin Books. Fakhry, Philosophy, pp. 5–7, Chapter 4, 19. See also Rosenthal, Classical Heritage, pp. 144–46 who stresses how ‘Of all Greek metaphysical systems, Neo-Platonism appealed most to Islamic thinkers’. Iqbal, TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf, pp. 30, 35–36. Ibid., pp. 55–56. Ibid., pp. 32–34. See also Iqbal, Metaphysics, p. 88. Plato, The Republic, pp. 421–36. Fakhry, Philosophy, Chapter 10. Plato, Republic, p. 208. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 120. Shabestari, Gulshan-e Röz, line 112. I have modified Whinfield’s translation in places. This is stated clearly in response to question 5, for which see ibid., lines 391–413. Ibid., lines 131–36. Ibid., lines 201–10, 157–65. This echoes Plotinus’ deployment of images of circles to express his metaphysics; see Plotinus, The Enneads, section IV, pp. 3, 17, 12; section VI, pp. 5, 8–18. Robert D. Hamner. 1997. Epic of the Dispossessed: Derek Walcott’s Omeros. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, p. 5. Habermas, Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, p. 8. Charles Taylor. 1975. Hegel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 512–16. Martin Heidegger. 2000. Introduction to Metaphysics. Translated Gregory Fried and Richard Polt. Yale: Yale University Press, p. 14. For a detailed argument regarding this aspect of metaphysics in Iqbal, see Majeed, ‘Putting God in His Place’, pp. 208–36. Slavoj Žižek makes a similar point in an article on the contemporary West’s attitude to Turkey’s threat to launch a cross border attack into Iraq under the banner of the war on terror. See Slavoj Žižek. ‘Turkey is a Thorn in the Side of a Cosy Western Consensus’, The Guardian, October 23, 2007. Iqbal, Speeches and Statements, p. 138.

Conclusion The aim of this study has not been to endorse Iqbal’s political aesthetic, but to uncover its complexities and analyse the intricate construction in his work of one kind of Islamist postcolonial agency. Elsewhere I have argued for the possibility of a non-oppressive, postcolonial secularism.1 Such a secularism would need to take into account the religious modernities that exist as sociological facts in the world. In a keynote address at the London School of Economics, Ulrich Beck argued that one of the developments which had not been anticipated by Western sociologists in the last 50 years is the growth of religious movements in the modern world. He stressed the importance of analysing the role of religion in globalised modernity. More modernity, he remarked, does not necessarily mean less religion.2 It is important to note that Iqbal did not see his reconstruction of Islam under the rubric of khɫdƮ as relevant to that religious civilisation alone. At times Iqbal cast his Islamic postcolonialism in larger geopolitical terms, as the re-assertion of Asian peoples as a whole against a globally dominant West.3 Moreover, he sees religious experience in general as producing a valuable sense of interiority. As he puts it, ‘the whole religious literature of the world, including the records of specialists’ personal experiences, though perhaps expressed in the thought-forms of an out-of-date psychology, is a standing testimony’ of the ‘deliberate enterprise’ in religion. This enterprise’s aim is ‘to seize the ultimate principle of value and thereby to reintegrate the forces of one’s own personality’. The experiences involved ‘possess a cognitive value for the recipient’ and ‘a capacity to centralize the forces of the ego and thereby to endow him [sic] with a new personality’.4 Thus, it is not Muslim mysticism alone which provides an insight into the nature of inwardness, but the ‘whole religious literature of the world’. While Islam was one important example of the predicament of religious civilisation in the modern world, for Iqbal this predicament is shared by other religions too. As we have seen, in his presidential speeches the decline of organised Christianity in the West reinforced his own reconstruction of Islam. In Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ, he refers to this decline in sympathetic terms: ‘When politics [of nationalism] seized the throne of religion / It uprooted this tree in the Western garden / It froze the narrative of Christianity / It dimmed the Church’s flame’

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(couplets 388–89). In the same poem, the Jewish community is seen as sharing a similar ‘variable fate’ (‘garm va sard rɫzgör’) to Islam, and as providing an example to emulate as well. Thus, despite the way heaven has pressed and squeezed their grape (this recalls the general lament in ‘Complaint’), their memory of Moses and Aaron lives on, and their ardent song still has breath in their breasts. Iqbal adds: ‘When their congregation (‘jamö‘at’) was rent / Still they laboured to keep to the path of their forefathers’. Islam’s concourse (‘maƤfil’) is likewise dispersed, and so, as a result, Muslims must also rebuild themselves on the basis of their past (couplets 569–78). In Asrör-e KhɫdƮ, one section of the poem is devoted to arguing that khɫdƮ should also be the organising principle of the Hindu community’s politics in India. In this section, an imaginary dialogue between a Sheikh and a Brahmin takes place, in which the former presents to the latter an outline of khɫdƮ, exhorting him in this way: ‘O trustee (‘imönat dör’) of the ancient faith / Do not turn your back on the path your forefathers trod’ (couplet 629). The purport of this section is reflected in its title also (‘The Story of the Sheikh and Brahmin, and a Conversation between the Ganges and the Himalayas, to the Effect that the Continuation of Social Life Depends on the Strength of Attachment to the Distinguishing Traditions of Each Community’). For Iqbal, the problem was what he saw as the fiction of a secular, homogenising nationalism, rather than a Hindu religious nationalism as such.5 The former did not, he argued, take into account ‘the fact of communal groups in India’, and wrongly assumed that a ‘universal amalgamation’ of communities could take place in India. It involved each individual giving up ‘the communal group which is the source of my life and behaviour, and which has formed me what I am [sic], by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture and thereby recreating its whole past as a living operative factor in my present consciousness’.6 However, what was distinctive about Islam’s place in the modern world at the time Iqbal wrote was the fact that a substantial proportion of the world’s Muslim population was part of European colonial empires. Francis Robinson has discussed how by the 1920s the British Empire ‘embraced substantially more than half the Muslim peoples of the world’.7 This colonial context was crucial to Iqbal’s fashioning of an Islamicised agency as an aesthetic process. In many ways, European imperialism provided Iqbal with an opportunity for the reconstruction of Islam as a self-reflexive and postcolonial faith. For him, that imperialism led to a renewed, self-conscious sense of being Muslim, which was underpinned

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by what I have called the creativity of decline. Iqbal expressed this in ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’, in terms redolent with the imagery of selfhood: ‘The storm of the West (‘maghreb’) has made Muslims Muslim / The waves of the sea have produced pearls in abundance’ (section 1, couplet 3). But we have seen that Iqbal’s engagement with the West was more complex than simply being oppositional, and in this he was not alone; the history of Islamic thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is unthinkable without taking into account this engagement.8 There remains an asymmetry between how Muslim thinkers engage with the West intellectually, and the absence of any reciprocal engagement on the part of the intelligentsia in the West. This insularity is noted by Susan BuckMorss, who argues that Western theorists ‘need to argue for our beliefs on truly foreign, and in many ways unpalatable, discursive terrains—just as colonized people are routinely required to do vis-à-vis the invading culture, just as Muslim intellectuals have done since the Napoleonic invasions several centuries ago’.9 The considerable resistance to even a hint of a reciprocal intellectual relationship is evident from the reaction to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech in the U.K. regarding engaging with legal idioms shaped in other cultural contexts, and the need to undertake ‘a fair amount of “deconstruction” of crude oppositions and mythologies, whether of the nature of sharia or the nature of the Enlightenment’.10 Iqbal argued that a reconstruction of Islam would not be possible without a rethinking of its own legal systems, in which while the ‘ulema would have to be included, they would be only one of many groups involved in such a project: ‘The claim of the present generation of Muslim liberals to reinterpret the foundational legal principles, in the light of their own experience and the altered conditions of modern life is, in my opinion, perfectly justified’. For him a return to the ‘foundational principles’ of these legal systems necessarily involved a reinterpretation which would unravel their ‘unrevealed aspects’, and be in keeping with the ‘new forces set free by the extraordinary development of human thought in all its directions’.11 For Iqbal, then, identity was always a self-conscious issue; it was always framed by questions. His definition of Islam as a process of ‘deracialisation’ can be seen in this light also, since it involved asking basic questions about what constituted Islam as a ‘social experiment’ in the first place. Moreover, these questions of identity are in sharp contrast to the identities held in place by what might be called colonialist thinking, which tend on the whole to react badly to any possibilities of self-interrogation (again, witness the reaction to the Archbishop

Conclusion 149

of Canterbury’s speech). Such identities are sometimes racialised and could be termed ‘whiteness’. The latter has been seen as ‘an unmarked marker’, a process whereby it ‘makes itself invisible precisely by asserting its normalcy, its transparency, in contrast with the marking of others on which its transparency depends’.12 For Iqbal, there is no possibility of Islam, or an Islamicised selfhood, ever being such an unmarked marker. Such a position would foreclose the self-reflexivity which is key to his notion of khɫdƮ, as well as the effectiveness of Islam as ‘deracialisation’. While the West (especially the media) continues to operate with powerful stereotypes, in part rooted in ongoing colonialist ways of thinking, about the ‘blind faith’ of its Others, historically such a view cannot be sustained. What distinguishes the history of religions in South Asia during the period of British rule is that it ‘was an age of definition and re-definition’.13 Iqbal’s reconstruction of religious faith as a selfreflexive belief has to be seen in the context of religious innovation within both Hinduism and Islam in South Asia. Kenneth Jones gives a clear historical overview of these innovations and the ways in which Indians re-thought the basic categories of their religious systems and practices. This includes those who might be termed ‘orthodox’. ‘Orthodoxy’ was itself a process of self-conscious construction in this period.14 Nor was this intellectual ferment limited to those who sought to recast the category of religion alone. As Chris Bayly has argued, not only did Indian liberals appropriate and recast Western liberalism in their own terms, in doing so they sometimes anticipated later intellectual developments in European liberalism itself.15 Iqbal’s articulation of an Islamist postcolonial selfhood, then, has to be seen as part of a wider intellectual landscape in South Asia, in which an active and complex engagement with Western systems of thought in a wide range of areas was de rigueur. Moreover, the intricacy of Iqbal’s concept of selfhood lies in the way it engages with, and inverts, powerful strands within Islamic culture itself. We have seen how it inverts Sufi notions of the self, and how the political aesthetic of khɫdƮ involves creating a rupture from the aesthetic and religious traditions that the poet is at home with on another level. This willing self-alienation is the key to Iqbal’s creation of a postcolonial, Islamist, agency. This selfhood is not an escape from, or compensation for, a crisis identity, but continually keeps that crisis identity in productive play. At the same time, it also keeps in play the richness of those traditions it departs from, so that such an agency is rooted through alienation in the traditions it departs from.

150 Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

In some ways, Iqbal’s political aesthetic reflects his larger project of the reconstruction of Islam, the ‘need to rethink the whole system of Islam without completely breaking from the past’, and to ‘approach modern knowledge with a respectful but independent attitude and to appreciate the teachings of Islam in the light of that knowledge, even though we may be led to differ from those who have gone before’.16 In the final analysis, though, the key idea in Iqbal’s political aesthetic is that of khɫdƮ. Ulrich Beck has suggested that universalising ‘monotheistic’ religions, with their sense of the equality (in principle) of all believers before God, might be seen as antecedents for our secularised version of human rights.17 In his 1932 presidential speech Iqbal contrasts the universalising aspect of Islam, which (in his view) ‘recognises the worth of the individual’ before God irrespective of ‘caste or colour’, with the ‘wholly political civilization’ of the West ‘which has looked upon man as a thing to be exploited and not as a personality to be developed and enlarged’.18 This contrast is of course overdrawn and cannot be sustained. Nonetheless, we have seen how Iqbal tries to define khɫdƮ as an ontological reality that approaches a divine substance, and how such a selfhood retains priority in his work. Such a construction of an ontological self was needed to secure the dignity of individual Muslims as human beings against influential strands within Islamic culture, for which the individual self is illusory, and, at the time Iqbal was writing, as the basis of their own possible postcolonial polities, which so far have proved spectacularly deficient in the respect of rights accorded to the individual. This quasi-divine selfhood was and is also needed against the dehumanising ideologies of Western colonialism, in which its Others are not complex individuals in their own right, but ciphers cast within exclusively racial and religious terms.19 Perhaps it is only by having a concept of selfhood as an ontological, quasi-divine reality that a break can be made from a notion of human rights which sees those rights as a gift to be granted to others, and therefore capable of being withheld at will, rather than as an inalienable part of one’s substance as a person.

Notes 1. At Madison, Wisconsin, on a plenary panel on ‘The Future of Secularism in South Asia’ in Oct 2006, and then in more detail at a workshop organised by the Northern Association for Postcolonial Studies at Sunderland University in Dec 2007. 2. Ulrich Beck. 2008. ‘A God of One’s Own: Individualization and Cosmopolitanisation of Religion’. Keynote address at the London School of Economics, University of London, Feb 13, 2008.

Conclusion 151 3. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Speeches and Statements, p. 31. See also ‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’, where he refers to Islam as the ‘guardian of the nations of Asia’ in the third section of the poem (couplet 7), and ‘Khi˂r-e Röh’, where in the sixth section he refers to the cohesion of Islam as the salvation of the East (‘mashriq’) but the peoples of Asia are so far ignorant of this (couplet 10). In the second section of the Urdu ‘Book of the Cup-Bearer’, Iqbal refers to the resurgence of both China and the Middle East (see Chapter 1). 4. Iqbal, Reconstruction, pp. 149–50. 5. However, for a secular position on this, see Majeed, Autobiography, Chapter 4. 6. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1930 in Speeches and Statements: 10–11. 7. Francis, Robinson. 1999 (2001). ‘The British Empire and the Muslim World’, in Judith Brown and Wm. Roger Louis (eds), The Twentieth Century. The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 398. 8. For some studies of this, see Hourani, Arabic Thought, and al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities. 9. Buck-Morss, Thinking Past Terror, p. viii. 10. This was an address the Archbishop gave at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, entitled ‘Civil and Religious Law in England: A Religious Perspective’ (February 7, 2008). 11. Iqbal, Reconstruction, Lecture VI. This lecture outlines a possible reconstruction of Islamic law. 12. Ruth Frankenberg (ed.). 1997. Displacing Whiteness. Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 1, 6. 13. Kenneth W. Jones. 1989. Socio-religious Reform Movements in British India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 1. 14. Ibid. 15. C. A. Bayly. 2007. ‘Liberalism at Large: South Asia and Britain c. 1800–1947’, Wiles Lectures, Queens University, Belfast. 16. Iqbal, Reconstruction, p. 78. 17. Beck, ‘A God of One’s Own’. Of course, he also noted that these religions produce another hierarchy between believers and non-believers. 18. Iqbal’s presidential address, 1932 in Speeches and Statements, pp. 48–49. 19. In his comments on how the torture of suspected terrorists has been introduced as a legitimate topic of debate within liberal discourse, Žižek wryly observes ‘let us imagine an Arab newspaper making the case for the torture of American prisoners—and the explosion of comments about fundamentalist barbarism and disrespect for human rights this would provoke!’ See Slavoj Žižek. 2002. Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Essays. London: Verso, pp. 40–42. Another example of the blind asymmetry of this way of thinking is provided by Žižek on p. 43.

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Index Ahmed, Aziz 127 Ahmed, Maulana Hussain 67–68 Al-Azmeh, Aziz 96, 125 al-Hallaj, Mansur 27, 33, 38n42 All-India Muslim League (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) ix, 67, 69–70, 80– 81, 88–89n110 Anderson, Benedict xi Arberry, A. J. ix, 50, 52, 54, 55 ‘Attar, Fariduddin (see also under ‘Iqbal, Muhammad’) 26, 27, 28, 111–12 Azad, Abul Kalam 72–73, 87n75 Azad, Muhammad Husain 4 Ballantyne, Tony 114n44 Banton, Michael 68–69 Bayly, Christopher 149 Beck, Ulrich 146, 150 Birkeland, Harris 96 Boehmer, Elleke 102 Brontë, Charlotte 116 Buck-Morss, Susan xi–xii, 148 Burnes, Alexander 61–62 Canterbury, Archbishop of (Rowan Willliams) 148–49 Daechsel, Markus 23 Dagh, Nawab Mirza Khan (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) 10 De Man, Paul 98, 118 Eickelman, Dale 96, 100, 101 Forster, E. M. ix Fox, Richard 70–71 Gandhi, M. K. xiiin18, 76 Giddens, Anthony 126

Habermas, Jürgen 142 Hafez, Shirazi 100, 111 Hali, Altaf Husain (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) 1, 91–92, 100, 102, 118– 20, 134–35 Haraway, Donna 106 Hardt, Michael 54 Heidegger, Martin 143 Hegel, Friedrich 142–43 Hourani, Albert 124–25 Imperialism, Arab 74 Imperialism, European xi, 23, 24, 61, 68–69, 144, 147–50 Iqbal, Muhammad and Afghani, Jamal al-din 59, 78, 117, 124 and Ahmed, Maulana Hussain 67– 68, 76 and Ahmadiyya movement 65, 79–80 and al-Hallaj, Mansur 27, 30–31, 34 and All-India Muslim League ix, 24, 58, 66, 77–78, 80, 83–84 and analogical correspondences in poetry of 3, 55–56, 71–72, 75, 84, 112 and ‘Answer to the Complaint’ (‘Javöb-e Shikva’) 24–25, 35, 92 and Arab, category of 24, 49, 63–65, 67, 71–72, 73, 74, 79, 80, 82, 90, 119, 137, 151n19 and ascension (mi‘röj), rendering of 34–35, 36, 54, 100, 101 and ‘Attar, Fariduddin 111–12 and ‘The Banks of the River Ravi’ (‘Kanör-e RövƮ’) 60, 63 and be-khɫdƮ (see ‘selflessness’ below)

160 Index and ‘The Book of the Cup Bearer’ (SöqƮ Nöma, Persian) 5, 7 and ‘The Book of the Cup Bearer’ (SöqƮ Nöma, Urdu) 6, 7, 15, 19–20, 25, 28, 33–34 and The Book of Eternity (JövƮd Nöma) 16, 19, 26, 27–28, 34–37, 40, 46, 49, 54, 58, 60–61, 64, 78, 79, 92– 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 108–10, 116–18, 121, 129, 143–44 and ‘The Book of Servitude’ (BandagƮ Nöma) 6, 11, 28, 41 and British imperialism x–xi, 23–24, 68–69, 147–50 and The Caravan’s Bell (Böng-e Darö) 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 43, 60, 82 and cartography, poetics of 59–64 and Christianity, view of 66, 77, 96– 97, 146–47 and ‘Complaint’ (Shikva) 4, 7–8, 13– 14, 15, 24–25, 35, 59, 64, 90, 94 and cosmopolitan eclecticism 24, 95, 96, 116–30, 137, 143 and ‘Dagh’ (‘Dögh’) 10, 11–12, 15 and The Development of Metaphysics in Persia 20, 26, 30, 49, 56–57, 65, 79, 96, 104, 105, 110, 121, 122 and Gabriel’s Wing (Böl-e JibrƮl) 6 and Ghalib, Mirza 1, 10, 34, 103, 114n53 and The Gift of the Hijaz (Armaghön-e Ʃijöz) 63 and Hafez 3, 15 and Hali, Altaf Husain 1, 91–92, 118– 20, 134–35, 136 and Hinduism xii, 22, 23, 147 and History of Mysticism (TörƮkh-e Taɓavvuf) 21, 22, 30, 65, 66–76, 136–37 and Indian nationalism x, 73, 77, 82 and interplay of innovation and tradition in work of xi, 1–18, 24, 43 and Iran, Islamic Republic of ix, x and Islam as deracialisation xi, 66– 76, 148

and Islam, decline of 10–14 and Islamic Hellenism xii, 24, 118, 134–44 and Jinnah, Muhammad Ali ix, 9 and Jewish community 147 and Kashmir 5–6, 7 and Keith, Arthur 68 and Khan, Sayyid Ahmad 123–29 and ‘Khizr on the Road’ (‘Khi˂r-e röh) 8, 29 and khɫdƮ (see selfhood below) and love (‘ishq), concept of 26–27 and ‘Magianism’ (see Persian, category of) and Message of the East (Payöm-e Mashriq) 5, 8, 32 and metaphysics (see also The Development of Metaphysics) 83– 84, 104–5, 120, 135–36, 137 and modernity xii, 116–30, 146–50 and ‘The Mosque of Cordoba’ (‘Masjid-e Qurɠaba’) 13, 60, 63 and Mysteries of the Self (Asrör-e khɫdƮ) 19, 22, 27, 28–29, 31–32, 34, 35–36, 40–57, 63, 91, 111, 137–39, 147 and Mysteries of Selflessness (Rumɫz-e Be-khɫdƮ) 3, 48–57, 58, 63–64, 71, 74–75, 77–78, 80, 90–91, 111–12, 127, 129, 146–47 and nationalism 76–81, 91 and neo-Platonism 136–37 and ‘The New Secret Rose Garden’ (‘Gulshan-e Röz-e JadƮd’) 94–95, 139–42 and Nietzsche, Friedrich 103, 117, 121 and Pakistan, creation of ix, 80, 81–84 and pan-Islam x, xi, 7, 9, 12–13, 49, 58–84, 90–92 and Persian, category of 24, 30–31, 56, 64–66, 71, 72, 73, 74, 96, 105, 137 and Plato, representation of 137–39

Index 161 and political aesthetic x, 1–18 and postcolonial Islam xi and Prophet Muhammad 64 and Qur’ön, interpretation of 8–9, 25, 26, 30, 31, 34, 56, 68, 70, 122–30 and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam 4, 8, 15, 19, 24, 25, 30, 31, 35, 56–57, 65, 70, 78, 94, 96–97, 99, 104–5, 118, 120– 22, 127–29, 136, 140, 143, 148 and ‘The Rise of Islam’ (‘ɤulɫ‘e Islöm’) 7, 15, 29, 91, 92, 148 and Rumi, Jalaluddin 16, 27, 36, 42– 43, 47, 64, 103 and Satan, interpretation of 9, 32– 33 and ‘The Secret Rose Garden’ (‘Gulshan-e Röz’) 139–42 and selfhood x–xi, xii, 5, 8, 16, 22– 26, 31–32, 35–36, 55–56, 75–76, 97, 98–103 and selfhood, aesthetics of 19–37, 38n71, 40–57 and selflessness 20, 47–57 and separatism 81–84 and Shabestari, Mahmud 139–42 and ‘Sicily’ (‘ɜiqilliya’) 9, 12–13, 59– 60, 63 and ‘The Song of India’ (‘Taröna-e HindƮ’) 14, 82–83 and ‘The Song of the Muslim Community’ (‘Taröna-e MillƮ’) 14, 60, 82–83, 91, 111 and Spain 13 and ‘The Subjugation of Nature’ (‘TaskhƮr-e Fiɠrat’) 8–9, 32–33 and Sufism 16, 20–24, 26–37, 40, 42, 43, 49, 53–54, 65–66, 78–79, 84, 96, 105, 109, 110–12, 116, 118, 121, 122, 130, 137, 149, 146 and travel 90–112 and the ‘West’ xii, 24, 103, 144 and vision (zauq) 49, 78–79, 105–10 Islamic Hellenism (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) xii, 24

I‘tisam uddin, Mirza 107 Jalal, Ayesha 23, 81 Jinnah, Muhammad Ali (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) ix Jones, Kenneth 149 Keith, Arthur 68–69 Khamenei, Sayyid Ali xi and characterisation of Iqbal, ix, x–xi, 19, 58 Khan, Karim 99, 100, 104, 106 Khan, Mirza Abu Taleb 62, 99, 100, 102, 103–4 Khan, Sayiid Ahmed 62–63 and commentary on the Qur’ön 123–26 Khan, Yusuf 102, 104 Lal, Munshi Mohan 61–62 Leiris, Michel 98 Mahomed, Dean 108 Majid, Anouar xiiin17 Malabari, Behramji 108 McTaggart, John McTaggart Ellis 21 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice 108 Mir Taqi, Mir 4, 5, 6, 7, 20 Negri, Antonio 54 Nehru, Jawaharlal 76, 80, 134 and characterisation of Iqbal, ix, x, xi Nicholson, R. A. ix Nurbaksh, Javad 33 Pakistan (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) ix, x Pandian, Reverend T. B. 106, 107, 108 Pillai, G. Paraswaran 106–7 Piscatori, James 96, 100, 101 Popper, Karl 126 Pratt, Mary Louise 61 Postcolonialism and Islam xi–xii, 144, 146–50

162 Index Qur’ön 8, 72–73, 101, 122–23, 130 Ricoeur, Paul 116 Rizvi, S. A. A. 22, 30 Robinson, Francis 127, 147 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 116 Rumi, Jalal uddin (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) 16, 18n36 Sa‘di, Sheikh Shirazi 4 Sartre, Jean-Paul 98 Sauda, Muhammad Rafi 6, 7 Schimmel, Annemarie ix, 20, 21, 24, 26, 31, 32, 39n47, 53–54, 64, 71, 90, 94, 99, 120 Shabestari, Mahmud (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) 4

Sheikh, Farzana 71 Singh, Iqbal ix Smith, Cantwell Wilfred 120, 127 Sontag, Susan 106–7 Spengler, Oswald 65 Sturrock, John 130 Sufism (see also under Iqbal, Muhammad) 16, 21–22, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33–34, 36, 53–54, 110–11, 130 travelogues, Indian 61–63 Walcott, Derek 142 Washbrook, David 69, 73 Weber, Max 120 Žižek, Slavoj 145n34, 151n19