Thursday, 12 Safar 1431
Time is running out for the republican State of Pakistan. Only those who see with one eye will fail to recognize the evil reality that clients of Israel now control strategic decision-making both in Pakistan’s government as well as in the Armed Forces. The writing appears to be on the wall for Pakistan – unless Pakistani Muslims can rid themselves of those clients of Israel. The best way to do so appears to be through massive peaceful public demonstrations similar to those which brought down the USSR with narry a nuclear risk, rather than civil war which will automatically invite external military intervention that will eventually dismember Pakistan.
Scholars of Islam have a duty to prepare Muslims for destructive attacks that are soon to be launched which will target not only Pakistan but perhaps, Turkey and Iran as well. The situation is not entirely hopeless since at least the Iranian Armed Forces do not appear to be under the control of Israel’s clients. In fact Iran seems to have already succeeded in building a strategic alliance with Russia. It is interesting to note that an authentic Hadīth has prophesied an end-time Muslim alliance with Rūm (i.e., Byzantine Christianity that was based in Constantinople), and Russia is part of Rūm. The Saudi and Pakistani governments and Armed Forces on the other hand, are allied with the Anglo-American-Israeli alliance which does not form part of Rūm.
Those who control power in Britain, USA, and Israel, and who now have a strategic ally in India, are already waging unjust war on Islam and Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, but most of all in the Holy Land (otherwise known as Palestine). Their ruthlessness is such that they would wage war even upon their own people if such were deemed to be necessary for achieving their messianic goal. The 9/11 terrorist attack on America which killed thousands of innocent people was an ominous example of what they are capable of doing. The recent US military occupation of Haiti in consequence of a massive earthquake for which the US Armed Forces seem to have been mysteriously prepared (right down to drills conducted on the very eve of the earthquake), displays for the umpteenth time the extent to which they would commit monstrously evil deeds in dogmatic pursuit of goals such as the overthrow of Venezuela’s courageous government. Earthquakes have now become their mysterious new weapon of war. Will Caracas and Islamabad soon be targeted with massive earthquakes? Or will a nuclear device be exploded in USA or a very prominent American assassinated, and Pakistani or Iranian Muslims be held responsible, so that causus bellum can be created?
Their messianic goal is to deliver to Israel the rule over the whole world so that a false Messiah can rule the world from Jerusalem with a fraudulent claim to be the true Messiah. That goal cannot be achieved so long as Pakistan possesses nuclear military power. Hence the most important attack that must now be anticipated is on Pakistan’s nuclear installations.
When Muslims had the freedom to choose their own rulers, the violation of the person of a single Muslim woman would have been sufficient to rouse the whole world of Islam to wage war in order to not only punish those guilty of such a despicable crime, but also to uphold the honor of women. But at a time when Pakistan’s political and military rulers are anointed by the enemies in London, Washington and Jerusalem, a Pakistani Dr Aafia Siddiqui could be subjected to barbaric utterly shameless violation of her body and freedom for years (in a manner unheard of in the entire history of the Ummah), and the clients of Israel who control power in Pakistan do absolutely nothing in response – other than to seek, shamelessly so, to cover-up the extent of the crime. Indeed Pakistan’s Armed Forces under its present pro-American/Israeli command will certainly brutally suppress any popular peaceful Aafia Siddiqui protests in Pakistan that threaten Israel’s Pakistani clients.
There are one-eyed Muslims who dare to suggest that Pakistan’s Armed Forces can somehow conquer India and the Holy Land! Then there are others, equally one-eyed, who would dare to wage bloody civil war in order to extricate Pakistan’s government and Armed Forces from the control of Israel’s clients. In the process of doing so they walk into a trap set for them by those who hunger for causus bellum with which to attack and dismember Pakistan.
In order to prepare Muslims for the coming days of unprecedented and unimaginable trials and tribulations, Islamic scholarship must acquire a clear and firm grasp of the reality of the modern age and of the ‘end of history’. It is lamentable that no less a scholar than the intellectual and spiritual father of Pakistan, Dr Muhammad Iqbal, appears to have been negatively influenced in his views on the subject by secular European scholarship and, as a consequence, failed to embrace authentic Ahadīth which combine with the Qur’ān to clearly establish an Islamic conception of the ‘end of history’. Iqbal’s failure to understand this subject has had enormous negative consequences for legions of Iqbalian Pakistani intelligentsia as well as for many others in the larger Muslim world. In some respects it is now impossible to repair the damage done and we may just have to accept to move on without them in our struggle to restore the authentic Islamic public order.
There are many obstacles which will have to be surmounted if contemporary Islamic scholarship is to explain the grand evil design with which history now appears to be ending. Not least of these are obstacles in respect of methodology for recognizing and understanding the Quranic guidance (i.e., Usūl al-Tafsīr) that explains the reality of the modern age, as well as for assessing the authenticity of Ahadīth and of visions in relation to the end times. Maulānā Dr Muhammad Fadlur Rahman Ansari’s greatest intellectual achievement appears to be his exposition of the methodology for a ‘probe-level’ study of the Qur’ān (see chapter two on ‘methodology’ in An Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern World).
I have made a very humble effort (while using that methodology) to address that subject in books such as Jerusalem in the Qur’ān, the first three books in my Surah al-Kahf quartet (the fourth is now being written) and my booklet entitled The Gold Dinar and Silver Dirham – Islam and the Future of Money, as well as in lectures such as ‘Islam and the End of History’. Critics should note that events are already unfolding in the world confirming my interpretation and explanation of the Qur’ān and Ahadīth as they establish Islam’s conception of the end of history. Our analysis of Pakistan’s moment of truth promises to further confirm that explanation.
What methodology did Ibn Khaldūn and Iqbāl use with which to reject the Ahadīth concerning the advent of Imām a-Mahdi? The authenticity of these Ahadīth has not only been universally accepted all through our history, but they are also crucially important for recognizing (in Islam’s conception of the end of history) the fate which awaits western political secularism and its modern model of a state that spawned the States of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, etc. The Ahadīth concerning the advent of Imām al-Mahdi are inseparably linked to the release of Gog and Magog into the world, the advent of Dajjāl the false Messiah, the return of Jesus the son of Mary (‘alaihi al-Salām), and the consequent restoration of both the Islamic Caliphate and Dār al-Islām. Iqbal’s rejection of these Ahadīth made him incapable of reading and understanding the reality of the world that had emerged before his very eyes.
Was the Prophet’s prophecy that “you will conquer Constantinople” fulfilled in 1453, or has he also prophesied an end-time conquest of that city that will result in its liberation from the present NATO (hence Anglo-American-Israeli) military control? It seems fairly clear that a Russian-Islamic alliance will inevitably have to challenge NATO control over Constantinople (now renamed Istanbul in order to divert attention from this prophecy) if the Russian navy is to gain access to the Mediterranean Sea. But Russia may have other objectives as well in mind, such as the restoration of Constantinople as the seat of Byzantine Christianity.
What is the authenticity of Ghazwah-e-Hind Ahadīth prophesying an end-time Muslim conquest of India? In my previous essay on Obama’s Afghan Surge I warned that the long-planned attack on Pakistan will soon occur. In A Muslim Response to the 9/11 Attack on America written in 2001 I suggested that if the enemies do not succeed in provoking civil war in Pakistan they will search for some other causus bellum. I have not made a study that would allow me to determine the authenticity of these Ghazwah-e-Hind Ahadīth, but it is already clear to me that there is a sinister plan at work, exploiting these Ahadīth, to create causus bellum; and that will be a very interesting subject of legal inquiry in The Hague or the UN Security Council if and when an attack to truncate Pakistan is launched and India seeks post facto justification for launching the attack.
Dreamy Pakistani Muslims who are now sleep-walking to their round-the-corner prophesied conquest of Hind must be awakened to reality. In Jerusalem in the Qur’an I have interpreted the Hadīth of Tamīm al-Dāri in such wise that I expect Israel to soon replace USA as the ruling State in the world, and that Israel will then rule the world overtly for 'a day like a week' (Israel is already ruling the world by virtue of the Zionist control of the US Government and Armed Forces). When that rule for a day like a week is accomplished, Dajjāl will then appear in person to proclaim himself the Messiah. His mission of impersonation of the true Messiah would then be completed. It is at that time (and not a moment before) that Imam al-Mahdi will emerge, Nabi 'Isa ('alaihi al-Salaam) will return, and a Muslim army coming out of Khorasan will liberate the Holy Land. That army has already begun its struggle and, Alhamdu lillah, has survived despite nine years of murderous attacks from an Anglo-American-Israeli alliance that has been (and still is) disgracefully and treasonously supported by the Pakistani Armed Forces.
My only other response to the present preoccupation with the Hadīth prophesying an alleged round-the-corner Muslim conquest of Hind is to suggest that those who see with two eyes and who also understand Islam’s conception of the end of history would recognize a skillfully contrived ISI-blessed round-the-corner diversion when they see one.
Finally, how do we respond to the news which has been widely spread that someone saw Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in a dream warning that Pakistan’s end was near – but that the recitation of Sūrah al-Shams of the Qur’ān can in some mysterious way, save Pakistan? To which Pakistan did the dream direct attention? Was it the ‘American’ republic of Pakistan whose political and military leaders have been shamelessly dancing for the longest while (and are still dancing to this day) to every fraudulent tune that came out of Washington? Was it the Pakistan which has consistently deceived the devoted Pakistani Muslim masses with its claim to be an Islamic Republic, while sinfully banning at Washington’s behest non-Pakistani Muslim students from studying Islam in Pakistan? (This writer, who is non-Pakistani, got his Islamic education at the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies in Karachi, Pakistan.) Or was it the other Pakistan which, since 1947, has remained but a distant dream in the hearts of the sincere followers of Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and will continue to remain a dream until Islamic scholarship succeeds in grasping the reality of the modern age and in responding to its challenges appropriately.
This essay asks: can the recitation of Surah al-Shams of the blessed Qur’ān, or the ISI-blessed passionate beating of Iqbalian drums, save that ‘American’ Republic of Pakistan from a fate that was long-scripted for it in London, Washington, Jerusalem and New Delhi? But most importantly of all, this essay asks whether the modern republican State as envisaged by Iqbal can ever be a substitute for the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah)?
I wrote the first text of this essay 12 years ago in 1998 when I left New York to reside for a few months in Lahore, Pakistan. Since then the essay was published several times with a previous title. I have now included in it an appendix to Jerusalem in the Qur’an as well as a brief essay on Islam and Constitutional Democracy.
I am grateful to Dr Burhan Ahmad Faruqi who taught me the Islamic philosophy of history at the Aleemiyah Institute of Islamic Studies in 1965-66. May Allah have mercy on his soul. Amīn! I am also grateful to Muhammad Alamgir in Sydney, my classmate in that fascinating class in the philosophy of history, who kindly assisted me in editing the present text of the essay.
True scholarship must subject all knowledge - including Iqbāl’s thought - to critical evaluation
Let me begin by recognizing Dr Muhammad Iqbāl to be one of the great scholars and poets of Islam of the modern age. That is my opinion after having spent a lifetime (I am now 68 years old) devoted to the pursuit of knowledge of Islam. I pray, and I urge my gentle readers to join me in the prayer, that Allah Most Kind might bless him, forgive him his sins and grant him the reward of the highest heaven. Amīn.
We are not concerned in this essay with Iqbal the Poet and Sufi since his thoughts as expressed in poetry do not appear to have contributed in any way whatsoever to Pakistan’s present predicament. If anything, Iqbal the poet may have helped to keep Pakistan alive up to this day. Rather it is Iqbal’s scholarship as expressed in the English language which has created a significant problem for those in Pakistan and elsewhere who have been led to believe that Muslims can create their own modern republican state which can somehow function as a valid replacement for the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah) and Dār al-Islām.
True scholarship must subject all knowledge, including Iqbāl’s thought, to critical evaluation. Even the Qur’ān invites mankind to critically examine its credentials as divine revelation and goes on to challenge doubters to find any inconsistency or contradiction in the book:
﴿ أ َفَلاَ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللّهِ لَوَجَدُواْ فِيهِ اخْتِلاَفًا كَثِيرًا ﴾
“Will they not then ponder over (the phenomenon of) this Qur’an; for had it issued from any but Allah (Most High) they would surely have found in it many contradictions (internal as well as external)!”
(Qur’ān, al-Nisā, 4:82)
This writer is disturbed and dismayed to discover a strangely intolerant Muslim mind in Pakistan in particular, that brooks no critical Islamic assessment of either Iqbāl’s or Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s thought. Pain in this respect is compounded by the fact that both Iqbāl and Jinnah themselves displayed a marvelous intellectual integrity that was completely alien to and different from those who mindlessly ascribe infallibility to them.
In the passage quoted below Iqbāl commended that attitude towards knowledge which made it possible for this essay to be written: “It must, however, be remembered that there is no such thing as finality in philosophical thinking. As knowledge advances and fresh avenues of thought are opened, other views, and probably sounder views than those set forth in these Lectures, are possible. Our duty is carefully to watch the progress of human thought, and to maintain an independent critical attitude towards it.” (Muhammad Iqbāl, Preface to Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam). We can do no more than to commend the above to those who would raise holy objections to this essay – while showing little or no regard for the validity of the arguments raised therein.
Iqbal (1877-1938) had the good fortune to live at the tail-end of British colonial rule over Hind and he died just nine years before Britain finally decolonized while transferring power to the Republics of India and Pakistan. One would have expected an outstanding Islamic scholar to so penetrate the reality that confronted the world at that time that he would have recognized in it Signs of the Last Day. We have not found such recognition in Iqbal’s thought.
Dajjal the false Messiah has a mission to accomplish of ruling the world from Jerusalem, and hence from a Holy State of Israel. Only at that time when he rules the world from Jerusalem can he declare himself to be the Messiah. In order to accomplish that mission he not only has to establish his political economic and military control over all of mankind but, in addition, he has to do the following:
- liberate the Holy Land from Muslim rule;
- bring the Jews back to the Holy Land to reclaim it as their own;
- restore a State of Israel in the Holy Land and get the Jews to embrace it as the Holy Israel of David and Solomon (‘alaihim al-Salām);
- cause that State of Israel to constantly grow in strength until it becomes the ruling State in the world.
The emergence of modern secular western civilization as the dominant civilization in the world, the emergence of the island of Britain as the ruling State in the world, and consequent British colonial rule over every strategically important part of the non-European world, did not occur by chance. Rather they were designed to play a crucially important role in creating one unified global society and in thus advancing Dajjāl’s mission of ruling the world from Jerusalem. That mission has reached such an advanced stage that Dajjāl is now poised to reach his goal. Neither did Iqbal recognize this, nor have the latter-day Iqbalian drum-beaters recognized it. Yet a British historian who was Iqbal’s contemporary had the intellectual courage to recognize that “Europeans have regarded themselves as the Chosen People. . .” in consequence of which non-European humanity was considered to be gentile. Arnold Toynbee showed at least some insight into the subject of the emergence of a global society and a world government. His ‘Civilization on Trial’ was published in 1946 and in it he recognized that “. . . since AD1500 . . . mankind has been gathered into a single world-wide society. From the dawn of history to about that date, the earthly home of man had been divided into many isolated mansions; since about AD1500, the human race has been brought under one roof.” He recognized the actor who was bringing all of mankind under one roof “Western civilization is aiming at nothing less than the incorporation of all of mankind in a single great society and the control of everything in the earth, air and sea . . .” He recognized globalization to have a political agenda “. . . the world is now on the eve of being unified politically by one means or another . . .” He even ventured to muse “If the United Nations organization could grow into an effective system of world government, that would be much the best solution of our political crux.” Toynbee even discerned the coming trial of strength between Russia and the West that is located in Islam’s conception of the end of history: “In the Islamic world it had come to seem likely that the people’s vote would be cast for westernization in so far as the question of cultural allegiance remained a matter of free choice, but it was clear that the issue would depend , not entirely on the people directly concerned but partly also on a trial of strength between a Western and a Russian world which encircled the Islamic world between them.” All these quotes are taken from Toynbee’s Civilization on Trial, Oxford University Press, 1946.
Iqbal witnessed Britain’s infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917, and also the British conquest of Jerusalem in the same year. He was acutely aware of significant Euro-Jewish immigration into Palestine which followed, and which eventually provoked the Wailing Wall riots of 1929. He participated as a member of a high-powered Indian Muslim delegation to the Al-Aqsa Islamic Conference held in Jerusalem in 1930. That conference was convened for the specific purpose of identifying and articulating the Islamic response to the fast-developing crisis in the Holy Land. A review of the proceedings of that conference reveals no evidence of any recognition by delegates, including Iqbal, of the reality of events that were unfolding in the Holy Land (see my book The Caliphate the Hejaz and the Saudi-Wahhabi Nation-State for a brief review of the proceedings of that conference).
Britain, the ruling State, was a part of a greater whole, to wit, modern western civilization. This civilization emerged full-blown before Iqbal’s very eyes, bringing in its wake the greatest test of religious faith ever witnessed in human history. Western colonization of non-European humanity and subsequent decolonization, which were absolutely unique events in human history, were also designed to put institutions in place that would pave the way for one world government to eventually emerge; and thus would Dajjāl establish his political economic and military control over all of mankind. Iqbal did not penetrate the reality of Dajjāl’s finest achievement.
Iqbal was a keen observer who monitored the progress of Europe’s scientific and technological revolutions that delivered to Europe that unprecedented military power with which to conquer the world. Indeed the Crusades reached their climax in his lifetime with that British conquest of Jerusalem. Iqbal witnessed the destruction of the Islamic Caliphate and the dismemberment of the Ottoman Islamic State and its replacement by the secular made-in-Europe Republic of Turkey. The significantly (and therefore suspiciously) Jewish Bolshevik revolution in Russia broke the back of Christian Czarist Russia, and an essentially godless Soviet Russia replaced it. The world moved significantly before Iqbal’s very eyes towards a messianic end of history which Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had described in great detail, yet Iqbal failed to read that movement of history towards its climax.
If our critical comments and conclusions in this essay are valid, they do not diminish either Iqbal’s status as a great scholar, or our recognition of the resplendent inner light that Allah Most High bestowed on him. He still remains my teacher’s teacher – and hence my own teacher. Rather they clearly reveal the inadequacy of a policy of clinging to Iqbal for theoretical guidance (rather than motivational fire) with which to respond to Pakistan’s moment of truth. Unless Muslim Pakistan fixes its gaze firmly on the restoration of the Islamic Khilafah as its supreme political goal, even while recognizing that the struggle which has already commenced in Khorasan (Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan are parts of ancient Khorasan) to achieve that goal cannot reach its final success for perhaps another 20-30 years, Pakistani Muslims will remain woefully unprepared to face that moment of truth which has now arrived.
There are two Pakistans
This essay directs attention to two divergent dimensions in Iqbāl’s thought, and goes on to suggest that as a consequence, Pakistan has two divergent faces. Islamic scholarship has an obligation to explain this disturbing duality in order that Pakistani Muslims might better be able to recognize the inadequacy of a policy of clinging to Iqbal for theoretical guidance with which to respond to the specific challenges of the moment.
The first Pakistan, which is the one which has prevailed throughout that country’s tortured history (with continuous generous help from Washington in particular), is western and secular and is nurtured by a curious Islamic modernism which has sought for the longest while to so reconstruct Islamic religious thought as to deliver a so-called progressive reinterpretation of Islam. That new modernist version of Islam was required in order to meet the demands of a secular (and hence essentially godless) modern western civilization that came into being in consequence of a mysterious alliance of European Christians and Jews. The Qur’ān has firmly prohibited Muslim friendship and alliance with a Jewish-Christian alliance, and this seems to have escaped Iqbal’s attention (see our essay entitled “Neither Friends nor Allies” on our website). That European Judeo-Christian alliance has consistently stolen or exploited Muslim resources, oppressed and occupied Muslim territories, and colonized and humiliated Muslims who refused to worship them and to adopt their way of life, dress, customs and behavior. It also enslaved the African people for slave labor with which to build a new heaven in America. It committed genocide of indigenous peoples resident in the Americas, Australia, Southern Africa etc. It is still waging holy wars or crusades on Islam and Muslims to this day.
The modern secular state which emerged from modern western civilization has long claimed that it offers the only model of a state in which people belonging to different religions can live together in peace. In fact the harsh reality is that the modern secular state has functioned as a vehicle through which Dajjāl has been dismantling the religious way of life around the world. It has trampled on religious freedom and religious rights to such an extent that liberté in the French Republic does not extend to freedom for Muslim women to cover their heads (Hijāb), and the hapless 100-million-strong Muslim community in the secular republic of India now fears for its very existence.
Modern western civilization also delivered to the world a secular feminist revolution that sought to overturn the status and role of women in society that was established by true religion. That secular feminist revolution succeeded in Pakistan in installing a woman as Prime Minister and head of government in manifest violation of the Qur’anic guidance as well as the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad and of his companions. What is even more important is that it deceived Muslim Pakistan to support a previous struggle (in the 1960’s), which did not succeed, in having a woman elected as President and head of government. (See my essay entitled Can Muslims choose a woman to rule over them?)
The second Pakistan is so adamantly Islamic and religious that many Pakistani Muslims still long, more than fifty years after the birth of the modern republican Pakistan, for the restoration of indigenous Muslim political culture. At the heart of that political culture is the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah) and Dār al-Islām that was destroyed by the modern secular west and by their clients in Turkey and Arabia. It was that sacred Islamic model of a state which, for more than a thousand years, successfully maintained peace and harmony between Christians, Jews and Muslims resident in the Holy Land, while the dismal failure of its secular successor and rival has created a dangerous threat for the whole world.
When the Tanzeem-e-Islami, headed by the learned and respected Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmad, organized a Khilafat Conference in Lahore, Pakistan, more than a decade ago, the very large Diwan-e-Iqbāl (Iqbāl Hall) where the Conference was held was packed to capacity. This writer, who traveled from New York to participate in that conference, noticed that every square inch of floor space, including sitting on the floor of the aisles, was occupied by those who voted with their very presence in that hall for the restoration of the Caliphate (Khilafah). If such a conference could be reconvened in Pakistan today, attendance would be certainly multiplied many times over.
It is therefore clear that there are two Pakistans, one that is modern and secular and the other that clings to Islam for the establishment of a public order. We argue in this essay that an understanding of Iqbāl’s duality of thought would assist in responding to Pakistan’s ‘duality’ predicament described above.
There is duality in Iqbāl’s thought
There was that knowledge which Iqbāl imparted to his native people – Indian Muslims who were subjected to brutal and humiliating anti-Muslim and anti-Islam British colonial rule. It touched their very souls and fired them with a scorching reaffirmation of commitment to Islam the religion as well as to indigenous Muslim political culture. It was communicated in verse in their native languages – Urdu and Persian. Had it been communicated in English prose, the European world of scholarship that was waging relentless war on Islam would have rejected it, sneered at it, and viciously opposed it. Iqbāl would have suffered irreparable loss of prestige amongst his Judeo-Christian European peers. He would eventually have been castigated by the west, as well as by those who worship the west, as obscurantist, fundamentalist, jihadist, terrorist, and all the rest of such pathetic epithets. He would never have become Sir Muhammad Iqbal.
And then there was that other knowledge which he communicated in English prose, and which included his views concerning the end of history in his philosophy of history. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is far and away his most important work in English and it appeared at the very end of his life and therefore represented the fully mature final expression of his thought. Some of it qualifies as the finest expression of Islamic scholarship in the modern age. It impressed European scholarship, as well as his western-educated countrymen. However it revealed beyond any doubt whatsoever that Iqbal had no proper understanding of Islam’s conception of the end of history and as a consequence he could not discern the architect of modern western civilization. Nor could Iqbal penetrate the grand design for European colonization of non-European humanity and for the offer of decolonization that appeared on the horizon in the last years of his life.
There seems to be a possibility that western civilization’s new secularized eschatology influenced Iqbal’s thought concerning end-time personalities and events, in consequence of which he expressed views clearly implying rejection of belief in the advent of Imām al-Mahdi, of Dajjāl the false Messiah or Anti-Christ, and in the return of the true Messiah, Jesus the son of the Virgin Mary (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them both). This is indeed an interesting subject for research. Had these views been expressed in Urdu or Persian they would have created serious and abiding problems for him amongst the Muslim masses. He may not have been honored with the title of Allama. To this day, there are Muslims who are inspired by Iqbāl but remain blissfully ignorant of the above, and who would respond to this essay with great anger. As a result of his failure to read history correctly he could not recognize Europe’s strategy with which it was dismantling the indigenous Islamic civilization and was replacing it with political, economic and educational institutions which would ensure that Europe would continue to rule the decolonized world by proxy and that non-Europeans would slowly be absorbed into godless and decadent western civilization. Iqbal most certainly did not realize their plan to rule the world from Jerusalem on behalf of a false Messiah. As a consequence of this failure on the part of Iqbal, succeeding generations of Muslim scholars and thinkers were similarly affected. They are most likely to scornfully dismiss this essay.
Iqbāl is wrong in his view that the modern republican State can replace the Caliphate
Iqbāl agreed with the bogus and fraudulent Turkish Ijtihād (it was he who used the term Ijtihād) to the effect that the Imāmate or Caliphate (which was abolished by Mustafa Kamal’s Turkish Grand National Assembly in 1924) can be vested in a body of persons or an elected Assembly. Provided that the Parliament of a modern State was freely constituted of good Muslims rather than paid illiterate political serfs of vested interests, Iqbāl was prepared to accept it as a valid substitute for the Caliphate. In promoting a brand new so-called modern Islamic republican democracy that was supposed to replace medieval dictatorship in the lands of Islam, Iqbal actually contributed to the acceptance, seemingly once and for all, of a post-Caliphate Islam. The predictable result was that Muslims were eventually either swallowed up in the system of modern (secular) States which they accepted as an abiding reality of the modern world of Islam, or they were transported on a futile journey of creating something quite novel which they were wont to describe as an Islamic State. In doing so they unwittingly dug a grave in which to bury the sacred institution of the Caliphate (Khilāfah).
“Let us now see how the (Turkish) Grand National Assembly has exercised this power of Ijtihad in regard to the institution of Khilafat (Caliphate). According to Sunni Law, the appointment of an Imām or Khalifah is absolutely indispensable. The first question that arises in this connection is this - Should the Caliphate be vested in a single person? Turkey’s Ijtih«d is that according to the spirit of Islam the Caliphate or Imamate can be vested in a body of persons, or an elected Assembly. The religious doctors of Islam in Egypt and India, as far as I know, have not yet expressed themselves on this point. Personally, I believe the Turkish view is perfectly sound. It is hardly necessary to argue this point. The republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that are set free in the world of Islam.” (Italics inserted by this writer)
(Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ‘The Principle of Movement in the Structure of Islam’)
Iqbal supported the Turkish view to the extent of declaring: It is hardly necessary to argue this point. Yet Iqbāl’s view expressed above was false. Regardless of what Iqbal may have expressed elsewhere in his voluminous works, the view expressed above was not only monumentally wrong and misguided, but also misguided others. The Turkish view that the Caliphate can be vested in an elected Assembly of a modern republican State is false. The Turkish view that the Caliphate can be replaced by western civilization’s constitutional democracy and secular model of a State is false.
Modern political democracy originated in modern secular western civilization, and required the adoption of political secularism as the basis for the establishment of polity and State. Political secularism, however, like all other applications of secularism, denied religion any significant role in the public order. This, in turn, facilitated the decline of religion and of absolute moral values, and around the world, has led to the emergence of ever-changing secular values and eventually to an essentially godless way of life.
Let us recall that when the British colonized countries such as India they found Muslims with a political culture which, though corrupted, was derived structurally from Islam. British colonial rule imposed European political secularism at the point of the sword as the alternative to Islamic political culture. Both Hindus and Muslims eventually challenged the new European ‘political secularism’, and sought to restore and to preserve their own indigenous political culture. This led eventually, and alarmingly so for the British, to an ominous political alliance of Muslims and Hindus in what was called the Khilafat Movement – a struggle to preserve the institution of the Islamic Caliphate located at the very heart of Muslim political culture. Gandhi himself forged the alliance with the Muslim Khilafat Movement since he wanted to restore (for Hindus) indigenous Hindu political culture and a Hindu model of a State.
The Khilafat Movement threatened to topple the entire system of European political secularism and constitutional democracy that the colonial West was forcing upon the colonized non-European world. A British strategy was devised, in collaboration with Mustafa Kamal's newly emergent secular Republic of Turkey, to abolish the Ottoman Turkish Caliphate, and in so doing to sabotage and to bring about the collapse of the Indian Khilafat Movement with its alarming Hindu-Muslim alliance. The strategy succeeded. The Caliphate was abolished in Turkey in March 1924. By the end of that same year the old Indian Muslim leadership, comprised of men who knew and lived Islam, went into irreversible decline. They were replaced at the helm of affairs by the secularly inclined ‘All India Muslim League’, largely led by men with western education and westernized thought. They presided over the cleverly disguised passage from Islam as the basis of political culture, to a new European-inspired political culture and conception of a modern state. It was deceptively spirited in by way of religious nationalism, and emerged as a curious creature named ‘Muslim nationalism’. The passage from the one to the other was so cleverly disguised that it is still not discernible to many Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The turbulent history of secular European constitutional democracy in the Muslim world cannot be understood without recognition of that effort at fundamental change in political culture from Islam to the European model of political secularism. Indeed the passage from the one to the other has not as yet been accomplished in any final way even in Pakistan or Turkey. Time and again the religious beliefs of the Muslim peoples in Africa, the Arab world, South and South-East Asia, etc., have impacted on politics in such wise that the West has been forced to continuously resort to devious means, including brute force and barbarism in present-day Iraq, Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan, to thwart the effort to restore Islam’s model of State and of an international order (i.e., the Khilāfah and Dār al-Islām) as the basis of polity.
It would surely surprise some of our readers to learn that Islam has never claimed to be a new religion. Rather it has consistently proclaimed that it is the original religion of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them all). It was therefore natural that Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) should have preserved in the Islamic State of Madina the essential model of a polity and State that was established by the Prophet-Kings, David and Solomon (‘alaihim al-Salām) in the Holy State of Israel. What was that model?
Firstly, political culture in Holy Israel tolerated no secular separation of politics from religion. In both David and Solomon (‘alaihim al-Salām) the religious/spiritual head of the community (i.e., the Prophet), was also himself, King or Head of State.
Secondly, the polity and State recognized the One God as Sovereign (al-Malik), and to Him belonged the Kingdom (al-Mulk), and hence Israel was the Kingdom of the One God on earth.
Thirdly, the One God’s authority and law were both supreme in this model of a State.
In the secular European model on the other hand, sovereignty was taken away from the One God and vested in the polity and republican state (even when it formally remained a monarchy). That was blasphemy (Shirk). The One God was further stripped of supreme authority and law and these also were vested in the people and the republican state, and were institutionalized in secular government (administration, judiciary and legislature). That, also, was blasphemy (Shirk). The people not only assumed supreme authority and installed their own man-made law as supreme law, they even went on, and recklessly so, to make legally permissible that which the One God had Himself prohibited. Such was the case, for example, with the Divine prohibition of ‘lending money on interest’, gambling and lottery, etc. The Qur’ān has described all these efforts to ‘play God’ as blasphemy (Shirk), which is the one sin that Allah Most High has warned that He would never forgive. I guess that someone would respond by accusing the One God of being fundamentalist.
When a people turn away from the One God, as they most certainly do in political secularism and the secular republican state, the Qur’ān has warned that they would eventually forget Him and would pay the price of forgetting themselves (i.e., forget their human status or forget what it means to be a Muslim). Their conduct would eventually become worse than that of wild beasts. Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prophesied that they would eventually engage in sexual intercourse in public like donkeys. There is an abundance of evidence that mainstream society in this so-called progressive modern age is heading down that road and is already approaching the fulfillment of the prophecy of roadside sex.
The Islamic Khilāfah differs in no way whatsoever from the model of the Holy State of Israel except that Prophet Muhammad, the Prophet/Head of State, was recognized as Servant of Allah rather than King! Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has prophesied that the Islamic Khilāfah would be restored at that time when Jesus (‘alaihi al-Salām) returns.
“How will you be (at that time) when the Son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imām would be from within your ownselves.”
I believe that historic moment is now so close that children now at school will live to see the return of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah).
It will surely come as quite a surprise to our readers to learn that the same Iqbāl who provided the theoretical foundations for the emergence of the modern republican Pakistan after the model of Mustafa Kamal’s modern secular Turkey, is also the hero of those Pakistani Muslims who fervently long for the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah) and Dar al-Islam that the modern secular republican state was specifically designed to supersede and permanently replace. Iqbāl, in verse, urged the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah), and sought (eloquently and passionately) that mobilization of the Islamic spirit that would make it possible:
“Taa Khilafat kee bina dunyah main ho phir ustawaar,
Laa kahein say dhoond kar aslaaf ka qalb-o-jigar.”
“In order to strengthen or vitalize the cause of the restoration of the Caliphate in this world
it is imperative that we locate and rebuild the heart and liver,
i.e., the courage, faith and mettle of the first Muslims.”
Iqbāl rejects belief in the advent of Imam al-Mahdi
Iqbāl is explicit in his rejection of belief in the advent of Imām Al-Mahdi and in the return of the true Messiah, Jesus (‘alaihi al-Salām) the son of the Virgin Mary which he criticized as being Magian in attitude. He argued that since Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was the final Prophet the implication was that belief in the advent of these end-time personalities could have no basis in the Qur’an and authentic Ahadīth. Indeed he felt that such beliefs in Islam had been finally demolished by Ibn Khaldun who rejected the Ahadīth pertaining to the advent of Imām al-Mahdi (‘alaihi al-Salaam) as fabrications. This is what Iqbāl says:
“The doctrine of the finality of prophethood may further be regarded as a psychological cure for the Magian attitude of constant expectation which tends to give a false view of history. Ibn Khaldun, seeing the spirit of his own view of history, has fully criticized and, I believe, finally demolished the alleged revelational basis in Islam of an idea similar, at least in its psychological effects, to the original Magian idea which had reappeared in Islam under the pressure of Magian thought.”
(Iqbāl, Dr. Muhammad., Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, ed. by M. Saeed Shaikh, Lahore, Institute of Islamic Culture, 1986 p. 115)
Indeed in his letter to Muhammad Ahsan, Iqbāl is explicit in adding the belief in the advent of Dajjāl the false Messiah and in the return of Jesus (‘alahi al-Salaam) the true Messiah to the list of so-called Magian ideas which, he claims, had infiltrated Islamic thought. This is clear from his use of the word masihiyāt. (Iqbālnama, Vol. II, p. 231..Quoted in M. Saeed Sheikh, ‘Editor’s Introduction’ to Iqbāl’s Reconstruction, op. cit., p. xi).
Iqbal’s views expressed above are manifestly and dangerously false. He committed a mountain of a mistake which permanently corrupted his capacity of ever understanding Islam’s conception of the end of history. There was no way that he could have understood, in view of the above declaration, the eschatological implications of the emergence of a modern western secular civilization that triumphantly took center-stage even though it had hardly ever previously appeared on the stage of history. He could not have read the implications of the abolition of the Islamic Caliphate, and hence could not formulate a proper response to it. He could not realize the implications of the final triumph of the European crusades in ‘liberating’ Jerusalem in 1917 and in then allowing the Jews to return to the Holy Land 2000 years after they had been expelled by divine decree. In fact his followers who today constitute a significant part of the Pakistani intelligentsia also cannot understand why Pakistan’s nuclear installations are threatened with demolition, and why Pakistan has to be denuclearized and further dismembered. It is clear that Toynbee the British philosopher of history had a superior understanding of the historical process in the modern age than Iqbal the Muslim philosopher.
We recognize that Ibn Khaldūn and Iqbāl are both scholars of such eminence that one must hesitate again and again before offering a critical comment concerning their thought. But a proper understanding of the nature of the historical process as it pertained to the advent of the Messiah would have saved them from committing the mistake that they unfortunately made. What was the nature of that historical process? It was one in which the question of positive identification of the Messiah (when he was to appear) was solved by way of a special person who was raised by Allah Most High, and was commissioned to make that positive identification. John the Baptist (‘alaihi as-Salām) not only kept on declaring to all and sundry that the Messiah was coming but, additionally, it was before John (‘alaihi as-Salām) that Jesus (‘alaihi as-Salām) appeared when he returned to the Holy Land as an adult. John then faced him and publicly declared: “This is the man you have been waiting for; this is the Messiah!” This was the divine method of ensuring ‘positive identification’ of the Messiah!
Similarly, when the Messiah is to return, Allah would raise another man whose function would be the same as that of John’s. The historical process thus maintains consistency. Imām al-Mahdi’s role is identical to that of John the Baptist’s.
When the Imām emerges and publicly declares that he is the Mahdi, this will be the sign that the return of the true Messiah is nigh. When Jesus (‘alaihi as-Salām) returns he will descend in front of the Imām who will then declare: “This is the son of Mary!” (see Sahīh Muslim). Thus the positive identification of the Messiah would be accomplished on both occasions that he appears in the world, the first and the second, and it would be done through the same method, to wit, through someone raised by Allah Most High for that specific purpose. A proper understanding of the crucial role of John the Baptist (‘alaihi as-Salām) in relation to Jesus the true Messiah (‘alaihi as-Salām) would have saved Ibn Khaldun from committing the serious and dangerous error of rejecting all the Ahādīth pertaining to the advent of Imām al-Mahdi, and would have saved Iqbāl from repeating and compounding the error of Ibn Khaldun.
We may note in passing that the belief in Imām al-Mahdi whose advent will be contemporaneous with the return of the Messiah, the son of Mary, appears to parallel a Jewish belief in two persons who will appear in the End Time, the first is described as a ‘royal’ Messiah and the other, a ‘priestly’ Messiah. Haim Zafrani made this important comment concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls:
“From certain other passages in the Qumran writings, it appears quite certain that this community, which was fundamentally a priestly one, expected an especially anointed high priest (‘the Messiah of Aaron’) as well as an especially anointed lay ruler (‘the Messiah of Israel’). It should be noted that in the Cairo Damascus Document (CD 7:20) the royal Messiah is not called a ‘king,’ but a ‘prince’ (nasi, in keeping with Ezek. 34:24; 37:25; etc.). The concept of two Messiahs, one royal and one priestly, probably goes back to Zechariah 4:14: ‘These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth’.”
(Encyclopedia Judaica - Eschatology - Messianism)
In addition to those two there was to be a third person who could not have been any other than Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):
“The rule which they (i.e., the priestly community in Qumran) received from him (i.e., their teacher) was to be their way of life ‘until the coming of a Prophet and of the anointed ones of Aaron and Israel’.”
(1 Qumran Scrolls 9:11)
(Encyclopedia Judaica – Yahad – Eschatological Hope)
Yet Iqbal’s Khidr-e-Waqt appears to be Imam al-Mahdi
Iqbāl in verse seems to affirm belief in the advent of Imām Al-Mahdi:
“Out of the seclusion of the desert of Hejaz,
The Divinely-illumined Guide of the Time (Khidr-e-Waqt) is to come.
And from that far, far away valley,
The Caravan is to make its appearance.”
Khidr is a divinely-illumined guide who appears in the Qur’anic Surah of the End-time, i.e., Surah al-Kahf. In directing attention to a divinely-illumined Khidr who is to appear from the Hejaz in Arabia, Iqbal affirmed his belief in some form of divine intervention at the end of history. This is in direct contradiction with Iqbal’s views pertaining to the end of history expressed above.
The view has been expressed that Iqbāl’s Khidr-e-Waqt was none other than the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We disagree. By no stretch of the imagination can Jinnah be conceived of having emerged from a distant valley in the Hejaz. Nor could the Saudi King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud who placed the Hejaz under Anglo-American-Israeli clientage, possibly be recognized as the Khidr-e-Waqt. Who then, other than Imām al-Mahdi, was Iqbāl referring to?
This essay directs attention to this divergent dualism in Iqbāl and suggests that it may have resulted from an epistemological ambivalence in his thought. Different epistemologies function at different levels of human consciousness. Iqbāl’s theoretic consciousness, operating with the vehicle of the English language, appears to have functioned with one epistemology which he derived from western civilization. His aesthetic and spiritual consciousness, operating with the vehicle of his native languages, functioned with another which we identify as the Sufi epistemology. Unless one succeeds in integrating all levels of consciousness in the personality, an epistemological ambivalence and a dualism in thought can appear. Indeed dualism in the external form of personality (e.g., choice of language, clothing, a clean-shaven face, manners, etc., can betray the existence of duality and internal contradiction in the very substance of personality. The pursuit of Tazkiyah in the Islamic spiritual quest (Tasawwuf or al-Ihsan) facilitates harmonious integration of different levels of consciousness in the personality. This in turn delivers the epistemological capacity to subject all knowledge wherever located, to critical evaluation and assimilation without falling prey to any dualism or contradiction in thought.
Pakistan’s dualism was cast in concrete when Iqbāl, the spiritual father, anointed Muhammad Ali Jinnah to lead a (Muslim) nationalist struggle for Pakistan. Jinnah’s scholarship was firmly established on the secular foundations of western legal thought and he had no hesitancy in embracing and leading an essentially nationalist struggle. He neither displayed, nor claimed to possess, any such Islamic scholarship that could have recognized the illegitimacy of a nationalist struggle; nor could he anticipate the immense damage that it would inflict on the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). There is no place for nationalist struggles in Muslim political culture.
The Sufi epistemology
The authentic Sufis such as Imām al-Ghazzali and Maulānā Jalaluddin Rumi have a consistent record of not only recognizing, but also of using the heart as a vehicle for the acquisition of knowledge. That experience of the heart through which it ‘sees’ and directly experiences ‘truth’, is frequently referred to in philosophy as ‘religious experience’. In its wider sense, ‘religious experience’ also includes that internal intuitive spiritual grasp which delivers to the believer the ‘substance’ or ‘reality’ of things. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) referred to it when he warned: “Fear the firasah (i.e., intuitive spiritual capacity for penetrating the substance of things) of the believer, for surely he sees with the light of Allah.” (Tirmidhi) And Iqbāl himself directed attention to it in his famous couplet:
“Hazaron saal Nargis
apni baynuri pay roti hai,
Bari mushkil say hota hai,
chaman main, deedawar paida.”
“For thousands of years,
The narcissus (flower) has bemoaned her blindness;
It is with great difficulty that a discerning sage (i.e. one who sees what others cannot see)
appears in the garden of life.”
Iqbāl’s deedawar (i.e., the discerning sage) is clearly one who sees with an inner light, and this is the defining quality of a Khidr. Iqbāl is himself, an example of a deedawar, and so too was his distinguished student and my dear teacher, Maulānā Dr Muhammad Fadlur Rahmān Ansārī (rahimahullah) (1914-1974).
The epistemology which embraces ‘religious experience’ as a source of knowledge is herein referred to as the Sufi epistemology. The inner knowledge that comes from such a source is known as ‘Ilm al-Batin.
All through history, it was always important for the seeker of knowledge to be able to penetrate the ‘substance’ or ‘reality’ of things. But that would become absolutely essential in an age in which ‘appearance’ and ‘reality’ would be in total conflict with each other. ‘Appearance’ would be so dangerous that, if accepted, would lead to the destruction of faith. And so, in that age, survival would depend upon the capacity to penetrate beyond external form to reach internal substance, and thus be saved from being deceived and destroyed. Islam has declared that such an age would appear at the end of history, and this reconfirms the abiding importance of not only the Sufi epistemology but also the capacity to use it to penetrate reality in the last age.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon him) advised that Sūrah al-Kahf (Chapter 18) of the Qur’ān be recited every day of Jumu‘ah (i.e., Friday) for protection from the Fitnah (deception, trial) of Dajjāl whose modus operandi is to deceive. The story in Surah al-Kahf of Musa (i.e., Moses ‘alaihi al-Salām) and Khidr (‘alaihi al-Salām) delivers a dire warning of the dangerous inadequacy of the western epistemology which admits of knowledge only through observation. Moses (‘alaihi al-Salām) is mistaken on all three occasions. Khidr on the other hand, who sees with the light of Allah Most High, corrects the mistakes which Moses made.
The story also indirectly points an ominous finger at the misguided so-called Mosaic community of Christians and Jews in the Zionist-created Judeo-Christian alliance, as a people who would be subjected to the greatest deception and would fail to read accurately the historical process. In consequence of being deceived they would blindly follow the most dangerous of all Pied Pipers, i.e., Dajjāl, the false Messiah or Anti-Christ, to their final destruction in history. (Readers may wish to look at the Chapter on ‘Moses and Khidr’ in my book entitled Surah al-Kahf and the Modern Age available on my website www.imranhosein.org.)
Iqbāl is himself an excellent example of a scholar with a capacity to penetrate beyond appearances to grasp the reality of things. He made a thorough and penetrating study of Judeo-Christian modern western civilization and came to the conclusion that its appearance was quite different from its reality. Just three months before his death, he tore away the veil or appearance of ‘progress’ and delivered a stinging denunciation of the modern West. Many advocates of Islamic modernism, including the likes of Shaikh Muhammad Abduh, as well as today’s secular liberals, have declared that they have seen Islam itself in the modern West. Iqbāl was not deceived:
“The modern age prides itself on its progress in knowledge and its matchless scientific development. No doubt, the pride is justified…. But in spite of all these developments, tyranny of imperialism struts abroad, covering its face in the masks of Democracy, Nationalism, Communism, Fascism, and heavens know what else besides. Under these masks, in every corner of the earth, the spirit of freedom and the dignity of man are being trampled underfoot in a way of which not even the darkest period of human history presents a parallel.”
(Iqbāl, Dr. Muhammad, New Year’s Message, Broadcast from All India Radio, Lahore, Jan. 1, 1938.
Quoted in Syed Abdul Vahid, Thoughts and Reflections of Iqbāl, Lahore, Ashraf, 1964. p. 373)
Yet the same Iqbāl unwittingly laid the foundations of Islamic Modernism with unfortunate comments such as this:
“The most remarkable phenomenon of modern history, however, is the enormous rapidity with which the world of Islam is spiritually moving towards the West. There is nothing wrong in this movement, for European culture, on its intellectual side, is only a further development of some of the most important phases of the culture of Islam. Our only fear is that the dazzling exterior of European culture may arrest our movement and we may fail to reach the true inwardness of that culture” (Italics inserted by this writer).
(Chapter on ‘Knowledge and Religious Experience’ in Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.
Op. cit. Italics are mine)
Iqbāl failed to recognize the Shirk that was embedded in the very foundation of the western secular model of a state (see Pt Two of Jerusalem in the Qur’ān). As a result, he made the monumental error of accepting what he called a republican model of a state as a substitute for the Caliphate. He thus laid the theoretical foundation for Jinnah to bring into being a Pakistan that eventually replicated Mustafa Kamal’s modern Turkey. Both states have since been swallowed up into a western-created global political order that has imprisoned both the Turkish and Pakistani Muslim peoples.
The epistemology of the modern West
Modern western civilization emerged in consequence of sudden unprecedented and hitherto inexplicable change that overtook Europe. A civilization which was previously based on faith in Euro-Christianity, and which had given mysterious expression of that faith in the Euro Crusades, experienced a radical change which mysteriously transformed it into an essentially godless and uniquely decadent Judeo-Christian civilization based on materialism. The new ‘one-eyed’ epistemology, which paved the way for the collective embrace of materialism, was one that specifically denied the possibility of knowledge being acquired through religious experience, or through revelations from the unseen, i.e., through the second (inner) eye. Observation and experimentation were the only valid means through which knowledge could be acquired; hence that which could not be observed could not be known. The new epistemology naturally paved the way for a dramatic conclusion, to wit, that a world which could not be observed and known, did not exist. Hence there is no reality beyond material reality.
In so dismissing God from the conduct of all worldly affairs the modern west made possible the creation of both the secular godless model of a state as well as the secular Riba-based economy.
Iqbāl’s epistemological response to the modern West
Iqbāl realized that the acceptance of this western epistemology would result in the complete destruction of religion, including Islam. Knowledge would be secularized, and the secularized mind would be cut off from the unseen world — the world of the sacred. The heart would then lose that sacred light without which its sight is, at best, dim. Even the best scholars in the world of Islam would then be in danger of being deceived by western Pied Pipers, and all of mankind would dance to their tunes. Islamic thought would be so secularized that a spiritually-blind Protestant so-called revivalist version of Islam would emerge. An age, which had already experienced the total dominance of western civilization over all of mankind, posed a great danger of precisely such an epistemological penetration and corruption of the Muslim mind.
Iqbāl’s response was to devote two of the seven lectures that were subsequently compiled in a book as “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”, to a vigorous defense of the Sufi epistemology, and to place these two lectures at the very beginning of the series of lectures. They occupy the same prominent position as the first two chapters of the book.
In Knowledge and Religious Experience and The Philosophical Test of the Revelations of Religious Experience, Iqbāl presented the most well-reasoned and persuasive challenge to the new western epistemology ever penned by a Muslim. These first two chapters of the Reconstruction were produced and prominently placed for precisely this purpose, i.e., to stimulate Islamic scholarship to probe with Allah’s light, and to penetrate beyond the seductive appearances presented by the modern age, in order to reach its poisonous reality. Such a penetration of reality would expose the Shirk that was located in the secular western model of a state and the Riba that was located in the secular western model of an economy. It would also expose the bogus and utterly fraudulent nature of European-created paper currency.
More than seventy years have passed since that epistemological response to the challenge of the West appeared in the first two chapters of Reconstruction, and neither has western scholarship condescended to respond to it nor has Islamic scholarship cared to follow in the epistemological trail which Iqbāl had blazed. Indeed, this failure on the part of Islamic scholarship is partly responsible for the terrible plight in which the world of Islam now finds itself. The western world, with its secularized system of education, its politics of power-lust, greed and polarization of society, and its economics of exploitation, has enjoyed almost total success in deceiving the world of Islam and in thus leading it down the road of impotence, anarchy, intellectual confusion, and the ruination of faith. The most embarrassing example of that western success is of course the bogus, utterly fraudulent and Harām paper currencies that the whole world has been deceived into embracing.
Iqbāl not immune from negative western influence
From his adolescent days as a college student in Lahore when he was exposed to Thomas Arnold, to his university education in the leading universities of Britain and Germany, Iqbāl’s exposure to western thought was daringly intimate. He lived in an age that was forced to observe and to respond to the literal explosion of a unique and amazing western scholarship that was extending the frontiers of knowledge in almost every branch of knowledge. Western civilization’s modern thought occupied center-stage in the world of knowledge. History had never witnessed anything comparable to that scholarship. It challenged the traditional world of scholarship with a claim to surpass everything that preceded it. Indeed, the scientific and technological revolution of the West was something unique in the world of knowledge.
More often than not Iqbāl’s respect for western scholarship grew into outright admiration. This culminated in the closing years of his life in comments made in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. That admiration for western scholarship provoked a disturbing corollary. It revealed itself in the startling claim that “ . . . during the last five hundred years religious thought in Islam has been practically stationary” (‘Knowledge and Religious Experience’ in Iqbāl, Reconstruction . . ) The evidence of that profound admiration for western scholarship was found in the Reconstruction, which is littered with references to, and quotations from, his peers in that European/western world of scholarship. In the first two chapters of the Reconstruction for example, he quotes from or makes mention of British philosopher/mathematician Professor Alfred North Whitehead, British metaphysician Professor John McTaggart, Greek mathematician Euclid, Scottish physiologist John Scott Haldane, British philosopher Herbert Wildon Carr, German mathematician Georg Cantor, British philosopher/mathematician Bertrand Russell, French philosopher Henri Bergson, ancient Greek philosophers Democritus, Zeno, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, German philosopher Immanuel Kant, French philosopher/mathematician René Descartes, Scottish philosopher/economist/historian David Hume, American philosopher/psychologist William James, British physicist/mathematician/astronomer and theologian Sir Isaac Newton, Irish philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, German-American Jewish theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, German writer and literary genius Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his German literary protégé Johann Peter Eckermann, American philosopher Josiah Royce, British philosopher/physician John Locke, Russian philosopher/psychologist Peter D. Ouspensky, German biologist Hans Driesch, British naturalist Charles Darwin, American philosopher William Ernest Hocking and a Professor McDonald.
By comparison there was not a single reference to, or mention of, any contemporary Muslim scholar. Rather he went back in time to refer to the 11th century jurist/theologian/Sufi scholar Imām Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali who hailed from Nishapur in northern Iran, the 12th century Andalusian philosopher/theologian and jurist Abul Waleed Ibn Rushd, the secular Turkish poet Tevfik Fikret who was a nemesis of the Ottoman Caliphate in its last days, the 17th century anti-establishment Indo-Afghan poet Mirza ‘Abd al-Qadir Bedil, his own mentor the 13th century Persian poet, jurist, theologian and Sufi Master, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, the 14th century historian/social scientist/philosopher Ibn Khaldun, the 11th century Andalusian Muslim theologian Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazm, the 17th century Persian poet Urfi Shirazi, the 17th century Indian poet Nasir Ali Sirhindi, etc.
Did Iqbāl have no peer within his own world-wide Muslim community? Why was there not a single reference in those pivotally important first two chapters of Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam to Turkey’s Said Nursi or to a contemporary Muslim scholar in the huge and intellectually influential Indian Muslim community? Had Islamic thought really come to such a standstill, even amongst those who were recognized as Allama, Shaikh al-Islam, Shams al-Ulama and Sufi Shaikh, that there was nothing that contemporary Islamic scholarship could contribute to the subject matter of those two chapters of Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam? Was Iqbāl addressing the western world, or was he addressing the Muslim world in this series of lectures he chose to publish under the title of ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam’? Why did he choose to deliver his addresses on such an important subject in a language that belonged to western civilization and was alien to Islamic civilization?
It must have been an absolutely amazing spectacle to behold Iqbāl, seventy-five years ago, addressing his largely uncomprehending Muslim audience (one needs to have some knowledge of philosophy in order to comprehend these lectures) in chaste English and in a manner which conformed to secular Western linguistic etiquette and sensibilities.
It must have been an equally amazing sight to behold the same Iqbāl using the native Urdu and Persian languages to convey through poetry a message whose form and substance was quite alien to the Western mind but which penetrated the very soul of his people. It reawakened and re-energized them. It gave them hope and caused them to respond with a ringing reaffirmation of faith in Islam.
We believe that Iqbāl was not, himself, immune from the negative influence of the very Western epistemology of which he warned so strongly. His poetry, which came directly from the heart, witnessed the unsurpassed use of the Sufi epistemology and was uncluttered by any Western logical or epistemological restraints. The same cannot always be said of his thought when expressed in English. Our purpose in this paper is to direct attention to a subject which, more than any other, illustrates Iqbāl’s duality of thought. That subject is the end of history.
Islam and the end of history
Is there an Islamic view of the end of history? Did Iqbāl ever address it? We have explained in An Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern World the distinction between ‘end of history’ and ‘end of the world’. It is appropriate in the context of the subject we are here examining, to note that Islam has chosen terminology located in time for referring to the end of history. The Islamic word is “the Hour” (al-Sa‘ah). The supreme importance of this subject of “the Hour,” i.e., the end of history, was established in the famous visit of Archangel Gabriel (‘alaihi al-Salām) when he appeared before the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in the Masjid in the form of a man. He asked questions, the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) answered them, and Gabriel (‘alaihi al-Salām) then confirmed that the answers were correct. Sometime after his departure the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) informed the Muslims of the identity of the visitor, and of the fact that he had come (at that very late stage in the life of the Prophet) to instruct them in their religion.
The Archangel asked five questions and the last two of them related to the end of history. The first of those last two questions was: when will the end come? The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) replied to the effect that the one who was being questioned had no more knowledge of the subject than the questioner. The second question was: tell me of the signs by which we would know that the end is at hand (i.e., what are some of the signs by which we would recognize the age that would witness the end of history?) He replied that:
- a slave girl would give birth to her mistress – and this has now become possible because of surrogate parenting, and that
- the barefooted shepherds of yesterday would be competing with each other in constructing high-rise buildings.
Here is the full text of the Hadīth:
`Umar ibn Khattab (Allah be well pleased with him) said:
“As we were sitting one day before the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), a man suddenly appeared. He wore pure white clothes and his hair was dark black—yet there were no signs of travel on him, and none of us knew him.
He came and sat down in front of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), placing his knees against his, and his hands on his thighs. He said, “O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and to perform the prayer; pay Zakat; fast Ramadan; and to perform Hajj to the House if you are able.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth,” and we were surprised that he asked and then confirmed the answer.
Then, he asked, “Tell me about belief (Iman).”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to believe in Allah; His Angels; His Books; His Messengers; the Last Day; and in destiny—its good and bad.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth. Now, tell me about spiritual excellence (Ihsan).”
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to serve Allah as though you see Him; and if you don’t see him, (know that) He surely sees you.”
“Now, tell me of the Last Hour,” asked the man.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “The one asked knows no more of it than the one asking.”
“Then tell me about its signs,” said the man.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “That a slave woman would give birth to her mistress; and that you would see barefooted, naked shepherds competing in the construction of tall buildings.”
Then the visitor left, and I waited a long time. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked me, “Do you know, Umar, who the questioner was?”
I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best. .” He said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “It was Jibril.(Gabriel) He came to you to teach you your religion.”
One needs only a pair of eyes (in fact a single eye would be sufficient) to recognize that the age of tall buildings has arrived. Dubai’s naked barefooted shepherds will not be the last to faithfully follow Manhattan down into the lizard’s hole.
This extraordinary Hadīth amply demonstrated the supreme importance that Islam has attached to the subject of the end of history. It also clearly established that we now live in the last age.
The Islamic view of the last age is quite comprehensive. It includes the belief that the earth would function as habitat for a limited duration (al-Baqarah 2:36). The earth would one day be transformed into a dust bowl (al-Kahf 18:8). This implies that the end-time, which witnesses the (temporary) death of the earth ─ and hence of food production ─ would be preceded by an age of a constantly diminishing supply of (fresh) water, leading, eventually, to extreme scarcity of water. The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) described that last age as the age of Fitan (i.e., tests and trials), and the Qur’ān warned that all of mankind would be targeted, and that Allah’s punishment would be terrible. (Qur’ān, al-Anfāl, 8:25).
The constantly diminishing supply of water would take place in consequence of the release into the world by Allah Most High of evil beings whom He created, namely Gog and Magog (Ya’jūj and Ma’jūj). The last two chapters of the Qur’ān were specifically devoted to warning the believers of the very great dangers which would emerge in the world in consequence of the release of “evil created by Allah.” The evil would appear as “evil beings” created by Allah Most High to test and to punish. They also include Dajjāl, the false Messiah. The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) described Gog and Magog as beings so thirsty that they would drink up all the water of the world. “They would pass by the Sea of Galilee in (the Holy Land) and drink it dry.” (Sahīh Muslim). “They would pass by a river”, he said, “and they would drink it dry”. (Kanz al-Ummāl, Vol. 7, Hadīth No. 2157). The last age would thus be characterized by over-consumption, waste, and disrespect for water. Mankind would witness, in the last age, riots and wars fought over water.
When we look around us in the world, it appears to be quite clear that the water countdown has already begun. There is an ominous and growing shortage of water in nearly all parts of the world today. The head of the UN Environment Program has recently expressed his fear that the world is heading towards a “period of water-wars between nations.” A Pakistani government minister warned of the eventual likelihood of riots over water in the city of Karachi. The Kalabagh Dam project threatens bloodshed. The Farrakha Dam, built by India, threatens to drown Bangladesh. Turkey and Syria may one day wage war over water which is one of the gravest issues that divide them. Israel, the Palestinian Arabs, and the neighboring Arab Sates (particularly Jordan) have serious and growing differences over the sharing of dwindling water supplies. The Israelis are actually waging a water-war on the Palestinian Arabs, Muslims as well as Christians. The source of most Middle East water is located in Turkey, hence we can expect perhaps a 2012 bonanza of Israeli fireworks which will include an attempt to topple Turkey’s pro-Islam government in order to restore the pro-Israeli Turkish military command to power. Such an event could well provoke a Russian military intervention on behalf of the legitimate Turkish government that can fulfill a prophecy concerning the conquest of Constantinople.
The constantly increasing evidence clearly confirms that the release of Gog and Magog has already taken place. Iqbāl agrees. Indeed, he appears to be one of the very few scholars of Islam to have ever had the vision and the courage to make a formal declaration that the release has taken place. It seems inexplicable that Iqbal did not recognize that we consequently now live in the last age or the age that will witness the ‘end of history’. Despite this failure on his part we nevertheless dedicated our recent book entitled An Islamic View of Gog and Magog in the Modern World to Iqbāl.
This important declaration was made by Iqbāl in Urdu verse, and, predictably, there is not even a hint of it in any of his writings or statements made in English. This is the verse:
“Khul gayay y’ajuj aur m’ajuj kay lashkar tamam,
Chashmay Muslim dekhlay tafseer harf-e-yansiloon.”
The hordes of Gog and Magog have all been released;
The Muslim can (now) perceive with his very eyes (right in front of
him) the meaning of yansiloon.
The word yansilūn, which occurs at the end of the verse, and to the Tafsīr (explanation) of which Iqbāl has directed the attention of the Muslims, refers to a passage of the Qur’ān in Sūrah al-Anbiyāh in which Allah Most High declares that when Gog and Magog are released they will spread out in every direction (min kulli hadabin yansilūn). Here is the passage:
“And there is a ban on a town which We destroyed, that they shall not return (i.e., the people of the town are banned from returning to reclaim the town as their own), until Ya’jūj (Gog) and Ma’jūj (Magog) are released (from the barrier which Dhū al-Qarnain built in order to contain them), and they spread out in every direction.”
(Qut’an, al-Anbiyah, 21:95-96)
This indicates that Gog and Magog would not only become the dominant force in the world, but that their power would subdue all of mankind. Indeed, their power would be such that, according to a Hadīth al-Qudsi, Allah Most High has Himself declared: “None but I can fight (and destroy) them.” (Sahih Muslim).
Our view is that Iqbāl arrived at this amazingly accurate conclusion some eighty years ago in consequence of his use of the Sufi epistemology. He had the courage to make an intellectual leap for a startling intuitive grasp which delivered to him, for one dazzling moment in time, the very substance of the subject. The uneducated say many things without knowledge. But when a scholar of the Qur’ān makes a declaration such as this, it must rest on extraordinary foundations. Conventional Islamic scholarship armed with impressive Ijāzahs, yet unable or unwilling to reach out for that intuitive grasp of the subject, is yet to pronounce on the release of Gog and Magog. This writer met in Lahore with the late commentator of Iqbāl, Prof. Muhammad Munawwar, who was of the view that Iqbāl considered the modern Judeo-Christian west to be the civilization of Gog and Magog.
We believe that Iqbāl was absolutely correct. Consider the following:
The Caliphate is an institution central to the collective integrity of the Muslim Ummah. Although the seat of the Caliphate was oft-times filled in a manner which did not conform to the Shari‘ah of Islam, the institution of the Caliphate survived for some 1300 years. There is an indication in a famous Hadīth that the Caliphate would be lost but would be restored at the time of the advent of Imām Al-Mahdi and the return of Prophet Jesus (‘alaihi al-Salām):
“How will you be when the Son of Mary descends amongst you and your Imām will be from amongst yourselves.”
Within seven years of Iqbāl’s pronouncement concerning the release of Gog and Magog in 1917, the unprecedented power and influence of today’s dominant western civilization led to the destruction of the Ottoman Islamic Empire and, subsequently, to the collapse of the Caliphate.
Secondly, the Hajj is an institution which is even more central in importance to Islam, and which has survived for thousands of years. The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has prophesied the abandonment of the Hajj in the context of the aftermath of the release of Gog and Magog. The fulfillment of that prophecy appears to be imminent. When it does come to pass it will confirm beyond any shadow of a doubt that Iqbāl was absolutely correct in this pronouncement concerning the release of Gog and Magog.
Thirdly, the basic characteristic of Gog and Magog is their Fasād (i.e., their conduct which corrupts, spoils and ruins) (Qur’ān, al-Kahf, 18:94). The age of Gog and Magog would thus be one of immense and unprecedented corruption and destruction. Everything will be corrupted and eventually destroyed — religion and religious scholars; government and political life; the market, the economy, and the world of finance or money; law and justice; transportation, the environment, even the ecological system of the earth; sex, marriage and family life; sports and entertainment; education, youth, the role of women in society, and so on. When we look around us in the world today we find ample evidence of this universal corruption and destruction. The earth will soon become a dust bowl incapable of producing food to sustain human life. This indicates that Iqbāl was correct, and that the countdown has begun.
Fourthly, another basic characteristic of Gog and Magog is their godlessness and decadence (khabath). The godlessness was described in a Hadīth al-Qudsi in which we were informed that only 1 of every 1000 of the end-time would enter into heaven (and that person would be a follower of the true religion of Abraham). The rest, 999 out of every 1000, would all be the people of Gog and Magog and would all be sent to Hell (Sahīh Bukhārī, 4:567; 6:265; 8:537). The decadence was described in a Hadīth in which the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) conveyed to his wife, Zainab (radiallahu ‘anha), the news that the destruction of the Arabs would occur at that time when Gog and Magog would have inundated the world with decadence. His words were: “Woe unto the Arabs, because of an evil which is now approaching” (Sahīh Bukhārī,, 4:797; 9:181; 9:249). In other words, the release of Gog and Magog would result in great calamities and suffering in the Arab world in particular. There is already a veritable mountain of evidence of such calamities and suffering..
The Qur’anic use of the term Khabath includes that sexual perversity which characterized Sodom and Gomorrah. There is sufficient godlessness, immorality, and sexual perversity in the world today to qualify for the description given by the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Hence we can now expect the destruction of the Arabs. When they are decimated by epidemics (plagues) earthquakes and whatever else Gog and Magog have in their arsenals, it will confirm that Iqbāl was correct.
A fifth characteristic of Gog and Magog, and one which also follows from the above, is that they would transform all of mankind into one single global society in which all would follow essentially the same way of life. It would be godless and decadent. Already that single godless, decadent society has embraced the elite around the world. The process is now moving relentlessly to embrace the masses as well. The actual Hadīth is that Gog would expand to incorporate another four hundred communities and that Magog would do the same. And so the world of Gog and Magog would be an ever-expanding globalized world of information, communication, entertainment, and culture, etc. It would culminate in one decadent global society with the mental and spiritual illumination of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Coca Cola. A world government will preside over it. Television has played, and still plays, a crucial role in the relentless pursuit of that goal — a goal that now appears to be quite within reach. This confirms Iqbāl’s declaration.
Sixthly, perhaps the most significant clue of the release of Gog and Magog, and ominous consequences of that release for the world of Islam, is expressed quite explicitly in the Qur’ān. Allah Most High declared of a town (or city) which He had destroyed, that its restoration would never be possible until the release of Gog and Magog makes it possible (see reference to verses 95 & 96 of Sūrah al-Anbiyāh above). I recognized that town to be Jerusalem (i.e., the State of Israel) and hence I interpreted the verse to the effect that the State of Israel, destroyed by Allah Most High twice in history, would be restored when Gog and Magog are released, and as a consequence, that restoration formed part of the Divine Plan through which Dajjāl the false Messiah or Anti-Christ would deceive the Jews and lead them to their final destruction. Indeed, this is precisely why he is known as al-Masīh al-Dajjāl. The identification of the “town” with Jerusalem is not far-fetched at all. There is a Hadīth which links Gog and Magog with Jerusalem (i.e., the State of Israel). The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said that when Gog and Magog are released they would pass by the Sea of Galilee (which is in Israel) (Kanz Al-Ummal, Vol 7, Hadīth No. 3021). Then there is a very long Hadīth in Sahīh Muslim in which we are told that Gog and Magog would attack the true Messiah, Jesus the son of the virgin Mary (peace and blessings of Allah Most High upon them both) in Jerusalem.
It should be noted that the Jordan-Israeli Peace Treaty of October 1994 recognized Jordan’s contractual rights to a certain amount of water from rivers shared by both countries. Israel may fulfill treaty obligations by pumping water from the Sea of Galilee. The water level in the Sea of Galilee had reached so low in 1998 at the time when this essay was originally written, that further pumping of water would have caused damage to its capacity to store water. Consequently, Israel was forced to suspend its fulfillment of its treaty obligation concerning the supply of water to Jordan. The water scarcity predicament today, 12 years later, is so desperate that Israeli attacks on both Lebanon and Turkey are now expected.
The restoration of the State of Israel not only confirmed the release of Dajjāl the false Messiah and of Gog and Magog, but it also constituted a veritable dagger plunged into the very heart of the Arab Muslim world. This, in turn, fulfilled the ominous prophecy: “Woe unto the Arabs.” We may add, in passing, that the feminist revolution of the modern age (in which night wants to become day) confirms that Dajjāl is now in the last stage of his mission.
It is indeed a pleasant surprise to find Iqbāl coming to the conclusion that Gog and Magog were released into the world and were spreading out in all directions for this had to be the reason why he called for attention to be devoted to tafseer harf-e-yansilūn (i.e., the interpretation of verses 95 and 96 of Sūrah al-Anbiyāh of the Qur’ān).
For reasons which are yet to be explained we find no evidence that Iqbal himself devoted further attention to tafseer harf-e-yansilūn. Had he done so he would have understood the reality, in the context of Islam’s conception of the end of history, of such events as the emergence of modern western secular civilization with an obsession of liberating the Holy Land, the Euro-Christian crusades, the birth of the Zionist Movement in 1897, the European crusader ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem in 1917, the British government’s mysterious Balfour Declaration of 1917, and emergence of an alliance between the European Jewish Zionists and European Christian Zionists, etc. He may even have anticipated the birth of an imposter State of Israel in the Holy Land the way we now anticipate, more than 70 years later, the rule of Israel replacing that of USA over the world.
Iqbāl’s epistemological ambivalence and the end of history
The major actors in the last stage of history, viz., Gog and Magog, Dajjāl, Imām al-Mahdi, and the return of the true Messiah, Jesus the son of the Virgin Mary (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them both), and the respective roles which they play, all combine to form an integrated inseparable whole.
What is truly alarming is that despite Iqbāl’s confirmation of the release of Gog and Magog, he rejected belief in Dajjāl the false Messiah, Imām Al-Mahdi and the return of the true Messiah, Jesus the son of the Virgin Mary (peace and blessings of Allah Most High be upon them both). What possible explanation could there be for this truly unfortunate situation? Also, how do we explain the surprising fact that apart from that one absolutely amazing verse declaring the release of all the hoards of Gog and Magog Iqbāl is otherwise mysteriously and inexplicably silent on this strategically important subject that lies at the very heart of Islam’s conception of the end of history?
Whatever be the explanation, my view is that if Iqbāl were alive today, the unfolding events in the world, and, in particular, in the Holy Land, would have forced him to change his views with respect to Dajjāl the false Messiah, Imām Al-Mahdi and the return of Jesus the true Messiah as well as his view that that a modern republican Islamic State could be a substitute for the Islamic Caliphate (Khilafah). Did he not himself say: “Only stones do not change”!
Perhaps it was because the reality of Gog and Magog was established by the Qur’ān, there was no way that Iqbāl could have dismissed the subject. The corollary is that if belief in Gog and Magog had not been established in the Qur’ān, and were dependent on the Ahadīth, they might have suffered the same fate as belief in the advent of Imām al-Mahdi, Dajjāl, and the return of Jesus (‘alaihi al-Salām). When Iqbāl turned to the study of these subjects he appears to have experienced an epistemological transformation. The spiritual or religious consciousness was used to recognize the release of Gog and Magog into the world. The light of Allah Most High illumined for him the path for a dazzling display of the intuitive embrace of truth. On the other hand, it was the theoretic consciousness which was used to study the other verities which were not established by the Qur’ān, and this perhaps led to his incapacity to grasp the Islamic conception of the end of history.
It is in the very nature of the historical process, especially when it approaches the end of history, that only truth can survive the awesome tests and trials that precede the end. Our Islamic view is that the final countdown to the end of history commenced with the creation of the Zionist Movement in 1897 (see Jerusalem in the Qur’an) and is fast approaching its culmination when an imposter Messiah will rule the world from Jerusalem prior to the advent of Imam al-Mahdi and the return of the true Messiah, son of Mary.
Despite his greatness as a scholar of Islam Iqbāl misjudged Dajjāl’s modern secular State and unwittingly laid the foundation for a modern republican Pakistan to be born with a bogus claim to function as a valid substitute for the institution of the Islamic Caliphate (Khilāfah). Hence there are significant limits to which we can turn to Iqbal for deriving an understanding of the reality of this age, and for formulating an Islamic response to Pakistan’s hour of ultimate peril. This constitutes a particularly painful predicament for secular Pakistanis and Islamic modernists as well as for those whose response to Pakistan’s moment of truth can rise no higher than the passionate beating of Iqbalian drums.
Our hope is that this humble essay might help in some small way to produce a studied and a theoretically firm Islamic response to Pakistan’s hour of ultimate peril. Our gentle readers (including Hizb al-Tahrīr) should carefully note that such a response cannot emerge without a prior recognition of Signs of the Last Day unfolding in the world as the historical process approaches its culmination. Whatever the response that may emerge, and regardless of what the immediate future holds in store, Muslim Pakistanis must never waver in their conviction that the end of history will witness a divinely-ordained triumph of Truth over all rivals regardless of the Anglo-American-Indo-Israeli alliance’s unjust and barbaric war on Islam and Muslims:
﴿هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَى وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ﴾
“He it is who has sent forth His Messenger with the (task of spreading) guidance and the religion of truth, to the end that He may cause it to prevail over all (false) religion, however hateful this may be to those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Allah.”
(Qur’an, Taubah, 9:33)