Iqbal Society Celebrates Annual Iqbal Day
By Dr. Zafar M. Iqbal
Chicago , IL


Iqbal Society of Chicago, IL, celebrated its Annual Day on Saturday, November 20 in the Auditorium of the East-West University, 816 S. Michigan Ave. , Chicago, IL 60605.                                                                                                                   

Many Iqbal scholars of the Metropolitan Chicago area were present, and some of them participated in the proceedings. Approximately 100 people, nearly 20% female, attended the meeting, which lasted most of the afternoon, and was widely regarded as one of the most successful held by the Society.   

After lunch, Dr. Arshad Mirza, a vice-president of the Society, conducted the meeting, which began with a Naat recited by a Loyola University student, Mohd. Nooruddin.  Then, Dr. Mohd. Wasiullah Khan, the General Secretary of the Society, Chancellor of East-West University and the host of the event, described the basic purpose of the Society, its history and important activities, including noted guest speakers, over the last 15 years or so.  He stressed that the Society still meets, every 3 rd Sunday of the month, in the afternoon, at The Islamic Foundation, Villa park , IL 60181. 

This year, the keynote speaker was Dr. Syed Taqhi Abedi of Toronto, Ont., Canada, who was introduced by Dr. Habibuddin Ahmed.  Besides being a pathologist, Dr. Abedi  is the author of over 30 books in Urdu, including  Choon Marg Ayed and Iqbal Kay Irfani Zaweye,  both dealing with Iqbal were published in Lahore , Pakistan.  For his contributions in Urdu literature, he has received several awards in India, Pakistan, US and Canada. He spoke quite eloquently on Iqbal’s message to the Western world and its relevance today. He emphasized that we need to understand his message, not just idolize him.  He thought that Iqbal’s Javid Nama is at par with such other classic works as Sa’adi’s Gulistan, Diwan-e-Hafiz, Firdausi’s Shah Nama and Rumi’s Masnavi.  This occasion also used to introduce his latest books, Kuliyath-e- Ghalib Farsi, published in Tehran, Iran (2010) and Kuliyath-e-Galib, published by Ghalib Institute, Delhi, India.  

There were several local participants in this Annual Day. Mohd. Wasiuddin presented his thoughts on Iqbal’s love of Prophet Mohammed. Prof. Aqeel Alam Khan recited some of Iqbal’s poetry in Persian, with Urdu and English translation and explanation. Mr. Ustad Mazhabi, an Afghan-American, described how much respect does Iqbal still enjoys across the border from Pakistan.  

Two well-known Chicago poets also presented their recent works: 

Dr. Khursheed Khizer, another vice-president of the Society, welcomed the guest speaker with a quatrain, and then read a poem written for this occasion, in tribute to IqbalSome of his memorable lines were: 

“ Hindustan aur Muslim dais ki khud-daari ka khiyaal / Nagar, nagar mayn bay-baaki aur bay-daari fa-aal / Jauhar-e-isaani mayn nihan ttha juzba-e-dil ka jamaal …  Jhaluck raha ttha her peh-loo say sur-shaari ka jalaal/ Allama Iqbal.”

 Dr.  Tawfeeq Ansari Ahmed, in his poem “Na-ee Nasul kay Naam,” exhorted the youth with a message apparently patterned after Iqbal’s.  It included these lines:   

“Zulmuth-awn ki aankh say noor-e-nazar paida karo / Jo undhair-awn ko mita day, wo saher paida karo…... Jis pay chul kar loag pow-chain manzil-e-maqsood tuk / qaa-fil-awn kay was-thay wo rah-guzar paida karo.”  

Mr. Tanveer Azmath, who, after completing his Master’s degree thesis on Iqbal’s Khudi at a local university, is pursuing his doctoral work in the same area, presented a brief sketch of hisresearch. 

Dr. Zafar M. Iqbal,  who has translated some of Iqbal’s poetry for a forthcoming book, presented his views on problems in translating Urdu poetry, particularly Iqbal’s multi-layered, Persianized-Urdu, laden with unique cultural metaphors and allegories. 

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Teepu Siddique, President of the Society, cited some of  Iqbal lines to weave together Iqbal’s influence as an intellectual, reformer, philosopher, and an inspiration not just to the South Asia but also to other parts of the Muslim world.  He reminded that Iqbal described himself as a dervaish who knows the secrets of the heart and not fiqh, or sufi. He was not a prophet, but his writings are prophetic. He was a seer, and his vision transcended time and space. 

During a break in the meeting, a video of recital and musical rendition of Iqbal’s poems was played on the screen to entertain the audience.

 The meeting ended little after 6:30 PM.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.