Project Reports

INAUGURAL SESSION - Report of Allama Muhammad Iqbal Conference


MUSLIM Institute organized Allama Muhammad Iqbal Conference on Thursday November 8, 2018 at National Library, Islamabad. The Conference was divided in four sessions and one Cultural Musical Evening on Kalam-e-Iqbal. In the inaugural session, Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali (Chairman, MUSLIM Institute) delivered the Opening Remarks whereas Keynote Speech was delivered by Prof Dr Marcia Hermansen (Director, Islamic World Studies Program, Loyola University Chicago, USA). Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum (Retd) (Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence Production, Senate of Pakistan & President Nazria Pakistan Forum, Islamabad) was chief guest on the occasion. HE Mr Piotr Opaliński (Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan), HE Mr Sherali Jononov (Ambassador of Tajikistan to Pakistan), Mr. Hazrat Wali Hotak (Cultural Attaché, Embassy of Afghanistan, Islamabad) and Mr. Tariq Pirzada (Former Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Pakistan) were guest of honour. Mr. Asif Tanveer Awan Advocate (Research Associate, MUSLIM Institute) moderated the proceedings of inaugural session. Researchers, scholars, students, university professors, lawyers, journalists, social activists and people from different walks of life participated in the conference.

Brief Summary of the remarks shared by speakers in inaugural session are observed as under:

Opening Remarks
Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali

Chairman, MUSLIM Institute

On behalf of the MUSLIM Institute, I warmly welcome all the guests, scholars and august audience. Today’s conference is organized to explore various contours of Iqbal’s philosophy as well as ideology in connection with contemporary challenges. In this respect, a very august comity of scholars from national and international forums are present here to share their views. Iqbal narrates in one of his Persian poetic verses that the history of Muslim Ummah is packed with hundreds of scholars who expressed very delicate points but it was Iqbal who pointed out deficiencies of Ummah and provided remedial measures. I often used to say as Iqbal said,

“For a thousand years the narcissus laments its blindness
With great difficulty the one with true vision is born in the garden”

Today we misuse this poetic verse while relating it to different political figures in our political circles. In my opinion, Iqbal is the only personality who truly deserves this status of true visionary.

Keynote Speech
Prof Dr Marcia Hermansen

Director, Islamic World Studies Program, Loyola University Chicago, USA

In Holy Quran Barzakh is referred as a barrier. Barzakh is a space or phase of transition which in modern and postmodern theories is called as liminal space. Then the idea of third space which is not here nor there but offers the potentiality to do or to be something new. In verses of Armaghan e Hijaz, Iqbal mentioned Barzakh in relevance to Quran, as having the potential of the new but for any new creation destruction is required. If we consider meeting of the Two Seas as a Barzakh, it is most importantly the place where Moses, meets Khidr, who teaches Moses the knowledge of the Unseen. Here the soul, as representative of this Barzakh, is precisely the meeting point of the Manifest and the Unmanifest. In ‘Reconstruction of religious thoughts in Islam’ Iqbal briefly mentioned Barzakh, by referring to a verse of Holy Quran, “And there shall be a blast on the trumpet, and all who are in the heavens and all who are in the earth shall faint away, save those in whose case God wills otherwise”. (39: 68). Iqbal says who can be the subject of this exception but those in whom the ego has reached the very highest point of intensity? And the climax of this development is reached when the ego is able to retain full self-possession, even in the case of a direct contact with the all-embracing Ego.


Participants during the inaugural session of conference.


Participants during the inaugural session of conference.

Guest of Honour
HE Mr Sherali Jononov

Ambassador of Tajikistan to Pakistan

Allama Muahmmad Iqbal is a well known figure in our region. We consider Allama Iqbal as our poet and the poet of humanity. His poetry and philosophy are part of curriculum in our schools. Indeed, he received attention from numerous writers. Pakistan was fortunate to have him as its ideological founder. Iqbal is considered as the most serious philosophical thinker of his times. Iqbal’s poetry is very comprehensive and a deep ocean. Iqbal was deeply interested in issues of human life, survival and progress, relationship between body and soul, conflict between reason and emotion, evil and sufferings. He has also read widely history, philosophy, literature, mysticism and politics and again his primary interest was in poetry. His work shows broad acceptance of humanity, one must strive to be a perfect human. He stressed to establish a new world, a world dominated by the agents of love, brotherhood and justice. Tajik people are rich in culture and literature and are keen to promote human values propagated by Iqbal.

Guest of Honour
HE Mr Piotr Opaliński

Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan

I congratulate MUSLIM Institute for initiating research collaboration with Poland’s most ancient university. It is exactly the year before when an eminent polish scholar Prof Piotr klodkowski came to Islamabad on MUSLIM Institute’s invitation in an International Allama Muhammad Iqbal Conference. Allama Iqbal is one of the most eminent personalities of 20th century not only in South Asia but in many European countries including Poland. His proposed ideas on modern democratic systems needs reinterpretation in the context of modern trends of 21st century. The references to the western philosophers in Iqbal’s work need to be critically reassessed in order to discover its relevance in cross cultural and cross civilizational dialogue. Iqbal’s contribution in shaping the Pakistan’s identity is widely recognized but his vision on modern pluralistic state has a global appeal that demands much deeper clarification. Polish orientalists are doing research on his philosophical ideas. Iqbal’s message is the bridge builder among west and east in the times when there is much rift between east and the west.


Stage and Participant view during the inaugural session of conference.

Guest of Honour
Mr. Tariq Pirzada

Former Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Pakistan

The foundation of Iqbal’s philosophy is his love for the Holy Prophet (S.A.W). If we look into the life of Iqbal, we will be able to observe an entire change in Iqbal’s life following the deepening of his love for Prophet (S.A.W) day by day. Spiritual reality started disclosing on him. In his poetry, we find Iqbal’s special love and tribute for the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) while setting aside his philosophy. Philosophy is not the basis of his view point rather his love for Prophet (S.A.W) is. Our love for Iqbal should be obligatory. Our fragile relationship with Urdu and Persian has resulted in our unfamiliarity with Iqbal. We should revisit our modern education system and pay heed towards the learning of these languages. It is the only way we would be able to keep alive our classical literature.

Guest of Honour
Mr. Hazrat Wali Hotak

Cultural Attaché, Embassy of Afghanistan, Islamabad

I really feel honored to be a part of this knowledgeable and research oriented conference where discussion is going on regarding literature and knowledge. The purpose behind organizing such conferences is to pay tribute to our heroes and to acquaint our youth with their works. The personality of Allama Iqbal truly deserves such tributes. Allama Iqbal was not only the leading poet of Pakistan but that of the world at large. Enormous literature has been published across the globe regarding the philosophy of Iqbal. A significant research has been conducted into his works. Iqbal had a great love for Pashtuns especially because of their moral, brave and hospitable nature. He also manifested his love for tribal people in his poetry.


Stage view in inaugural session of conference.

Chief Guest
Lt Gen (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum

Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence Production, Senate of Pakistan & President Nazria Pakistan Forum, Islamabad

Allama Iqbal was a great researcher, thinker, intellectual, philosopher, poet and politician. His impacts can be found not only at national and regional levels but also at international levels. In addition to being rich in imagination, observation of nature and fluent language, he was distinctively inclined towards spiritualism and believed in role of spiritual powers in every matter of life. Allama Iqbal wrote a lot on the strength of spiritualism. Someone asked famous Iranian scholar Ali Shariati about Iqbal. He replied that Iqbal is crux of 1400 years history of Muslims. On the demise of Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam expressed historical words and said “To me, he was a personal friend, a philosopher and guide and as much main source of inspiration and spiritual support”. According to Iqbal, belief on spiritualism and oneness of Allah cannot be separated from realities of life. During a speech at Cambridge in 1931, Iqbal expressed that if church wasn’t separated from state, World War I may not have occurred.


Prof Dr Marcia Hermansen addressing the conference's participants.

 

Stage and hall view in inaugural session of conference.

 

Participants during the inaugural session of conference.

 

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