Wednesday 11 May 2011

Sir Muhammad Iqbal & Ahmadiyya

It is mentioned that the famous poet Sir Muhammad Iqbal, arguably the greatest twentieth century poet of the Indian sub-continent was greatly influenced by the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835 - 1908).  This is thought to be a cause of consternation to those Muslims who wish to herald Iqbal as a champion among Muslim thinkers of the twentieth century. 

Iqbal had become a great admirer of Hazrat Ahmad following the conversion of Iqbal's father and elder brother Shaikh Ata Muhammad.  Iqbal himself made his pledge in 1897 and even celebrated it in a poem on the subject.[1]  He visited Qadian and had defended Hazrat Ahmad in other verses as well  before and after this event.  When Hazrat Ahmad visited Sialkot in 1904, Iqbal and his friend Sir Fazli Husain sought audience with him.[2]

It is a well known fact, for example, that it was Iqbal, who became instrumental in choosing Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad to lead the All India Kashmir Committee in 1933[3] and had a close relationship with Hazrat Sir Chaudhry al-Hajj Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, who was also a prominent Ahmadi.[4]

Muhammad Zafrullah Khan and Muhammad Iqbal in Whitehall, London.

In 1900, Iqbal published a paper in English on the famous Sufi saint Abdul Karim ibn Ibrahim al-Jilli.  Mentioning the great scholarship of the saint, Iqbal wrote: 
It will appear at once how strikingly the author has anticipated the chief phase of the Hegelian Dialectic and how greatly he has emphasised the doctrine of the Logos—a doctrine which has always found favour with almost all the profound thinkers of Islam, and in recent times has been readvocated by M. Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, probably the profoundest theologian among modern Indian Muslims.[5]
During the period of the Caliphate of Hazrat al-Hajj Hafiz Hakeem Maulana Nooruddin, Iqbal was married to his granddaughter.  The Caliph himself led the ceremony of Nikah in Qadian on 26 August 1910.[6]   Iqbal would also correspond with the Caliph on many issues regarding Islamic jurisprudence, theology and Arabic literature. He even sent Mirza Jalaludin to Qadian to request an Edict from the Caliph regarding the case of the divorce of his wife (who he had intended to divorce and was unsure of whether divorce had taken place from the point of Islamic Law) which he promptly acted upon: 
The Maulana said that no divorce had taken place according to Islamic law, but if he was uncertain in his mind he could hold the marriage ceremony again. So a Maulvi was called, and the Allama was re-married to this lady. He then took her to Sialkot. This happened in the year 1913.[7]
Iqbal referred to the Community as "a true model of Islamic life" in a lecture he delivered at Aligarh[8] and sent his eldest son Aftab from his first marriage to Karim Bibi to Qadian to be educated in the Taleem-ul-Islam High School there.[9] 

He actively continued engaging with both the Qadian and Lahore branches of the movement for the rest of his life.[10] Praising their work and influential publications.  But eventually detracted to the Sufi order of the Qadiriyya on the grounds of doctrinal differences  only during the last few years of his life. 

[1] Makhzan,  vol 2, p 48.  See also Al Hakm.  (10 January 1903).  8, 9.
[2] Maulana Muhammad Ali.  Sir Muhammad Iqbal's Statement re the Qadianis.
[3] Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid. Tahrikh e Ahmadiyya: v. 418.
[4] Professor Pervez Perwazi.   The Reminiscences of Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan.  (Oriental Publishers, 2004).  15 - 19.
[5] Indian Antiquary, vol. 29.  (September 1900). 239. 
[6]  Hazrat al-Hajj Maulana Hafiz Hakeem Nooruddin. Khutbat e Noor. (Nizarat Nashar o Ishaat, Qadian. 2003). 477.
[7] Abdul Majeed Salik. Zikr e Iqbal.  70.  See also Ahmad, Syed Hasanat.  Hakeem Noor-ud-Deen - Khalifatul Masih I 
    - The Way of the Righteous.  (Islam International Publications Ltd, 2003).  126, 127.
[8] Sir Muhammad Iqbal.  Millat Baiza Per Ayk Imranı Nazar.  84, 85.
[9]  Al Fazl, 2 August 1935.
[10] Muhammad, Hafiz Sher Muhammad.  Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal & the Ahmadiyya Movement.  (Ahmadiyya Anjuman  Ishaat Islam Lahore, 1995).