↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Would anyone dare issue a fatwa against Iqbal? By M J Akbar

Spare a prayer for God's professionals; they are not very fashionable among the elite, and who is more elitist than media? I have great respect for the thousands of priests, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, who perform community service on pitiable pay. There is neither reward nor award for the nameless, selfless maulvis and monks devoted to a Calcutta Muslim Orphanage or a Ramakrishna Mission. We pen-pushers swan around mouthing homilies and delivering self-satisfied sermons; they deliver.

But so much of their good work on the ground is destroyed by the pomposity of clerics floating at the top. Education is no insurance against their stupidity.

The conflict is not between religion and the believer, but between religiosity and the poet. The poet taunts those who seek to dominate men in the name of God, without understanding either God or man. There has been no one with a finer understanding of Islam among the greats of the language than Allama Iqbal. Iqbal's personal commitment to his faith shaped his world-view, and underpinned his philosophical essays. If Iqbal was not a Muslim then a Muslim has not been born on the Indian subcontinent. Iqbal uses the image of wine and saqi, freely.

Sharaab-e-kuhan phir pila saaqiya
Yahi jaam gardish mein laa saaqiya.
(Pour me that familiar wine again, saqi!
Fill the world with the same wine, saqi!)

Iqbal is even more scathing of the priest than Daagh:

Ummeed-e hoor ne sab kuch sikha rakha hai waaez ko
Yeh hazrat dekhne main seedhe hain, saade hain, bhole bhaale hain.

(The hope of houris has taught him all he wants to know
The priest merely looks simple, humble, plain, innocent.)


Post a Comment

<< Home