The Morning Star
“After the darkest hour at night the morning star hails every break of dawn, the arrival of a new day… A new opportunity.”
Decades ago, when the people of subcontinent were groping in the dark for their destinies, a morning star was born on November 9 ,1877. Little did the people know at his birth that this star was to brighten the horizons of an entire nation… That his knowledge and intellect, his wisdom and his voice would echo far beyond the numbered years of his life, all across the vast recesses of the known world. Indeed, Dr. Mohammed Iqbal outgrew his stature as a mere philosopher by his profound insights into human nature. So much so that today his works and views are studied as a complete subject in its own right namely ‘Iqbaliyaat’.
A poet and a barrister, a politician and a philosopher, Dr. Mohammed Iqbal lived a life with such vigor and energy that he rose out of his humble origins as son of a tailor at Sailkot to be honored by the title Poet of the East. A lot can be said about how he was born, raised, schooled in the various branches of knowledge specially art. Indeed, many writers have paid their tribute to him by writing thick volumes of his biography and intellectual contributions. Today however, do you not think that we should take this opportunity and examine the ever-burning flames of his love and pain for his people and their fate? Does it not strike you something worth exploring, to know what exactly sparked such a fire which simultaneously fueled and consumed him and made him shine as our morning star? For if ever there was a need to be irrevocably faithful and unshakably convinced as he was of our people’s greatness, it is now, when all we see around us is a sad but sure devaluation of ideals, purpose and purity, when our youth insists and being blind to how they hold the destiny of our beloved Pakistan in their hands, how we have lost sight of who we were, would have been and can still be!
Iqbal’s poetry and other works revolve around multiple themes. Nevertheless, the soul of his poetry and other works remain his steadfast beliefs which can be glimpsed with varying expressions in all his writings. 1 of these believes was that we need to live our lives with a heart and soul which thinks beyond our own well-being and of others we come across especially our entire nation. He believed that such a wholesome sensitivity can only be fostered by constantly reminding ourselves of our past glory and how our ancestors steadfastly remained true to their principles, how nothing could deter them from doing all in their power to strive day and night for practically materializing their beliefs and becoming world leaders. He jolts his readers and listeners again and again to think what was it which made them fly to such heights that even mountains were dwarfed by their greatness and what is it which has lowered us to the lowest of shadows. The answer that he repeatedly taught in his poetry and other writings is that it is a matter of faith in divine guidance, in ourselves, and in practically manifesting our believes in our lifestyles.
Today we also need to revive our faith in Him and in ourselves. We need to abandon sloth and laziness in favor of a lifestyle which centers upon our tireless, honest efforts to reclaim our identities as Muslims and as Pakistanis.
I end this small tribute to Iqbal’s memory by a humble translation of his own words.
“Har Koi Mast-e-Mai-e-Zauq-e-Tan Asani Hai,
Tum Musalman Ho? Ye Andaaz-e-Musalmani Hai?
Haidari Faqr Hai Ne Doulat-e-Usmani Hai
Tum Ko Aslaaf Se Kya Nisbat-e-Rohani Hai?
Woh Zamane Mein Mu’azzaz The Musalman Ho Kar
Aur Tum Khawar Huwe Taarik-e-Quran Ho Kar”
“The ecumenical, the love of ease, like fumes of wine makes sots of you today,
How dare you pass as Mussalmans? It’s not Islam’s way, is it?
Nor Usman’s treasure‐chest you own, Nor Ali’s empty bowl,
With spirits of such great forbears, what kinship has your soul?
The honored of their times, they lived, for theirs was true Iman,
You live disgraced, as having left the paths of Al‐Quran.”