Muhammad Aman Hob ohm
Some time before his death the poet and philosopher Mohammad Iqbal, in whose memory this meeting is held, wrote the following quatrain:
"When I depart from this world
everyone will say: "He was known to me
But in truth, none knows this traveller,
Or what he said, and to whom nor whence he came."
I have neither the good fortune of knowing Iqbal personally nor am 11 an Iqbal scholar. When I was asked by the Honorary General Secretary, Pakistan Cultural Group, to participate in this meeting and to share with you some of my thoughts on the contribution made by Mohammad Iqbal to the renaissance of the Muslim World in general and to the re-awakening of Muslims of pre-partitioned India in particular, I accepted, mainly for the following two reasons:
Firstly I feel that as a Muslim whose own understanding of Islam has been deeply influenced by Iqbal it was my duty to join you in paying homage to this great and noble soul repaying some of the debt of gratitude I owe him for enlightening me through his writings on so many aspects of Islamic teachings and for in-creasing my love and respect for the Messenger (peace be upon him) -- and his message through Iqbal's inspired exposition of the religion of Islam, -- the religion of my choice.
Secondly acceptance of your kind invitation to address tonight lies in the fact that I hail from a country for which Iqbal has always had the highest esteem and what is more, a deep and abiding love and admiration i.e. Germany. Iqbal himself tells us in the preface to Payam-e-Mushriq the book in which his art has probably reached the height of power and perfection, that of the two great sages who have influenced him more than anyone else in his career as a thinker and poet, one was Maulana Jalal-ud-Din Roomi -- who hailed from the East, the other was Goethe, who came from West.
Iqbal went to Germany in 1906 when he studied philosophy at the Universities of Heidelberg and Munich. He presented his doctoral thesis entitled "The Development of Metaphysics in Persia" to the Munich University which, in November 1907, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. His thesis was an original contribution to the subject and it still retains its importance.
During his stay in Heidelberg and Munich he developed deep admiration for Germany, German thought, and poetry. As every scholar of Iqbal knows there are innumerable instances in his writings, his letters and in recorded conversation with him which clearly indicate that the works of German philosopher and poets have been a source of great inspiration to him.
I have in my possession a number of letters which Iqbal wrote to his German tutor in Heidelberg. These letters, some of them written in fluent German, express his love and admiration for Germany in a most touching and convincing way.
"It is impossible for me", writes Iqbal to his tutor "to forget your beautiful country where I have learned so much". "My stay in Heidelberg is nothing now but a beautiful dream. How I'd wish I could repeat it". "I am very fond of Germany. It has had great influence on my ideals, and I shall never forget my stay in that country". Never shall I forget the days I spent at Heidelberg, where you taught me Goethe's Faust, those were very happy days, indeed". -- And a final quotation, "Germany was a kind of second home to my spirit. I learned much and I thought much in that country. The home of Goethe has found a permanent place in my soul". Iqbal's stay in Europe from 1905 till 1908 has had, I think one can call it, "revolutionizing" effect on his attitude to life, and nowhere does this find a more forceful expression than in his poetry. Iqbal's career as a poet began during his school days. His earlier poems show him as a lover of nature and as a patriot to his country, undivided India. Iqbal was, indeed, an ardent Indian nationalist, until he went abroad....