Reply to the allegations of Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy about Allama Iqbal
A video clip (39 Seconds) of an interview of Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is circulating on Social Media where he alleges that Iqbal was an enemy of Sciences. He also alleges that Allama Iqbal wrote poems against Avicenna, Al-Razi and Al-Farabi. Both claims are incorrect.
Dr. Hoodbhoy didn’t bring any evidence in this support. However, Allama Iqbal’s essays “A Plea for Deeper Study of the Muslim Scientists”1. and “Muslim Community – A Sociological Study”2. explains his position in favour of these scientists. His famous lectures on “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”3. are addressed to the science students.
The truth is that religious and scientific processes, though involving different methods, are identical in their final aim. Both aim at reaching the most real. In fact, religion, for reasons which I have mentioned before, is far more anxious to reach the ultimately real than science. And to both the way to pure objectivity lies through what may be called the purification of experience. In order to understand this we must make a distinction between experience as a natural fact, significant of the normally observable behaviour of Reality, and experience as significant of the inner nature of reality.
Iqbal has spoken in favour of Mathematics, Psychology, Biology and other disciplines of science. Even he has paid tribute to Einstein in his Persian poetry.4.
جلوہ ئی میخواست مانند کلیم ناصبور
تا ضمیر مستنیر او گشود اسرار نور
از فراز آسمان تا چشم آدم یک نفس
زود پروازی کہ پروازش نیاید در شعور
خلوت او در زغال تیرہ فام اندر مغاک
جلوتش سوزد درختی را چو خس بالای طور
بی تغیر در طلسم چون و چند و بیش و کم
برتر از پست و بلند و دیر و زود و نزد و دور
در نہادش تار و شید و سوز و ساز و مرگ و زیست
اہرمن از سوز او و ساز او جبریل و حور
من چہ گویم از مقام آن حکیم نکتہ سنج
کردہ زردشتی ز نسل موسی و ہارون ظہور
Like Moses he sought a theophany
Until his mind, in quest of light,
Unveiled its mystery.
A moment’s flight from heaven’s height
To the observer’s eye—
Such is the unimaginable speed
Of its fast‐beating wings, indeed.
Sequestered, it lies at the core
Of black coal in a pit.
When manifest in its full glory, it
Burns up like straw a bush on Mount Sinai.
Unchanging in this magic world of more
Or less, of high and low,
Of far and near, of to and fro,
Its make‐up has in it two sets
Of qualities, engaged in mutual strife,
Like brightness, darkness, soothing, burning, life
And death, one of which sets begets
The angels and the houris, while
The other shows in Ahriman the vile.
What can I say about this subtle‐minded sage
Except that from
The race of Moses and of Aaron there has come
A Zarathustra in our age?
The allegation that Allama Iqbal wrote poems against Muslim Scientist i.e. Avicenna, Al-Razi and Al-Farabi is also incorrect. In a number of verses, Iqbal appreciated these scientists. For instance,
دِگر بمدرسہ ہائے حرم نمی بینم
دلِ جُنید و نگاہِ غزالی و رازی 5.
I no longer see in the schools
Heart of Junaid and insight of Ghazzali and Razi
مقامِ ذکر، کمالاتِ رومیؔ و عطّارؔ
مقامِ فکر، مقالاتِ بوعلی سِینا 6.
The achievements of Rumi and Attar are stations of dhikr;
The computations of Avicenna pertain to the station of fikr.
1.Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Speeches, Writings and Statements of Iqbal, comp. by Latif Ahmad Sherwani (Lahore: Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1995).
3. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (London: Oxford University Press, 1934)
4. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Kuliyat-e-Iqbal Persian (Lahore: Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 1994) p. 328.
5. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Kuliyat-e-Iqbal Urdu (Lahore: Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 2018) p. 748.
6. Ibid, p. 535.