Allama Iqbal (1877-1938), most popularly known as the poet of the East, perhaps the most influential Muslim philosopher in his time, dominated the field of Muslim political, cultural and religious philosophy after caliphate movement during the British period in India. Allama Iqbal is often described one of the strong proponents of political revival across the Muslim world through his idea of Islamic nationalism which advocates the unity of Muslims with Islamic principles. One can see Iqbal’s view on nationalist philosophy into two phases-Taranaye Hindi which denotes nationalism, love for home land especially undivided India, and pan Islamic nationalism expressed in his Taranaye Milli, an enthusiastic poem for Muslim Ummah beloved by all.
Taranaye Hindi was published in weekly Ittehad on 16th August, 1904 and spread throughout British India. Iqbal wrote-
Hum bulbulain hain es ka ye Gulsitan Hamara
(Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan, we are its nightingales, and it is our garden abode).
Tranaye Hindi expresses nationalist philosophy which glorifies the land of Hindustan, furthermore, Iqbal put emphasized on the idea of Indian unity and independence inspired by national sensation. Then, Iqbal sailed Europe for higher education after writing Taranaye Hindi, and on his return from Europe, his love for homeland transformed into love for Humanity.
However, Allama Iqbal wrote taranaye Milli returning from Europe which revealed the outline of Pan Islamic nationalism, as he wrote-
(China is ours, Arabia is ours, India is ours, we are Muslims and the whole world is our homeland).
Taranaye Milli is not only an enthusiastic anthem but also it has a great appeal to the whole Muslim community to uphold Islamic nationalism, humanity and unity of Muslim Ummah(community). Allama Iqbal firmly believed that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations with a distinct cultural and religious heritage and should be allowed to live separately. Consequently, Iqbal’s view on Pan Islamic nationalism inspired the leaders of Muslim league to put forward the idea of two nations.
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The appeal of Iqbal’s pan Islamic nationalism is still abuzz in 21st century. The curse of ultra nationalism cloaked the whole world as we see Muslims living in place like Myanmar, China and India are not safe from repressive ultra nationalist government who are responsible for human sufferings. In India Hindu vigilantes and Hindutva are lynching Muslims on the suspicion of eating beef, under the name of protection of cow, and the demolition of 16th century Babri mosque another perpetration of ultra nationalism to be mentioned. In Myanmar, Muslim minority Rohingya are victims of slow burning genocide that has been seen in the last few weeks, males including children have been killed, women raped and houses burned down. Besides, we have seen the same matters happened relating to Kashmir and Palestine.
In spite of the evil nationalism to turn our world into perennial war zones and killing fields, the Muslim world needs serious introspection embracing Allama Iqbal’s view of Pan Islamic nationalism diagnosing the evil curse of ultra nationalism that had transformed the world a battle ground. Muhammad Iqbal’s Taranaye Milli, Pan Islamic nationalism, is a treasure trove that would work as panacea appeasing the ultra nationalistic curse faced by the Muslims in the 21st century.
Written by: – Abdullah Al Mamun
The writer is studying M.S.S in Political science at University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh.