BY: JAMEELA KHATOON
Journal of the Iqbal Academy, Pakistan
April 1960 – Volume: 01– Number: 1
Iqbal cannot be classed under any of the three schools of philosophical thought: the empiricist, the rationalist or the intuitionist. In his theory of knowledge, sense perception, reason and intuition, all are combined in an organic whole. He knew full well that light from one direction alone could not illumine the whole of reality in all its manifestations. The ontological problem needs to be approached from all angles, scientific and religious, in order to secure some articulate, luminous and well-established grounds. It is in the light of this view that he advances his theory of knowledge, which promises both direct evidence and indirect experience of God or Reality—the former by intuition or immediate experience and the latter by reflective thought.
Rationalism, though not admired, is not wholly condemned and discarded by him. On the contrary, according to him, if rationalism is not divorced from concrete reality, it represents truth. This is visible from his own attitude and is also betrayed by his admiration for prophets and mystics and non-mystic rationalists, whose quest and yearning for a coherent system of ideas resting on a rational foundation and rendering religion more secure and fruitful is well-known. He admits and justifies the metaphysical methods. In his words, "Now since the transformation and guidance of man's inner and outer life is the essential aim of religion, it is obvious that the religious truths which it embodies must not remain unsettled. No one would hazard action on the basis of doubtful principles of conduct. Indeed, in view of its function, religion stands in greater need of rational foundation of its ultimate principles than even the dogmas of science. Science may even ignore a rational metaphysics; indeed it has ignored it so far. Religion can hardly afford to ignore the... [continues]
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