Pakistan American Cultural Center’s Program on Allama Iqbal
By Dr. Waheed Siddiqee
Glimpses of the program organized by the Pakistan American Cultural Center on Iqbal
San Jose, CA: A program on Allama Iqbal was organized by the Pakistani American Cultural Center on Saturday, March 12, 2011.
The program started with a brief account of Allama Iqbals’s life by Dr. Waheed Siddiqee. Following this, Professor Ahsan Syed, a scholar of Iqbal, presented an inspiring talk on Iqbal. He mentioned five aspects of Iqbal’s poetry and his personality, namely, 1) his conviction and lman which gave him the deep love of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), 2) his solid attachment to the Book of Allah, Al-Qur’an – what could be deeper and more sincere than his saying to the Messenger of Allah SWT “If I have said anything other than Qur’an, then I should be killed and Ummah should be saved from my evil existence - furthermore, I should be dishonored and disgraced on the judgment day and even be deprived of kissing your honored feet, 3) his unique concept of “Philosophy of Khudi” or Selfhood, 4) his habit of getting up in the wee hours and shedding tears in his sujood to the Almighty, 5) his love for Maulana Jalauddin Rumi and his Masnavi Manvi.
Mrs. Talat Qadeer Khan recited two of Iqbal’s poems with beautiful modulation (tarannum). A young Pakistani American Ehsan (son of late Jehangir Hamdani) also recited one poem. Dr. Siddiqee shared two thought-provoking incidences from Iqbal’s life, and a few of his quotations.
Dr. Nazir Ahmad, an avid reader of Iqbal, provided a unique perspective of his poetry. He committed to consider “three Ains” – Ilm, Aql, and Ishq and related these to Zindagi (life) and Khudi (selfhood) - the central theme in Iqbal’s philosophical thought. The angel of death, according to Iqbal, touches our body but remains far away from the center of our being. But what is the center of our being? Taking his clue from Iqbal’s verses - “Johar-e-Zindagi hae Ishq, Johar-e-Ishq hae “Khudi” and “Khudi ka Sirr-e-Nihan La Ilaha Illal La” Dr. Ahmad concluded that the center of our being is Allah, surrounded by Khudi which is surrounded by Ishq. These three elements are eternal, whereas, Aql and Ilm perish when life ends. If these three perishables (Ilm, Aql, and Zindagi) are drenched with Ishq (love), only then does humanity benefit and God’s purpose of peace, justice, and brotherhood amongst people gets fulfilled. Dr. Ahmad concluded his talk with the beautiful statement, based on Iqbal’s poetry, that Aql always calculates gain and loss whereas Ishq is spontaneous and a source of bliss. Khudi is the spiritual purpose of life which manifests itself as faith in the center, and only in the center – Allah.
The program ended with a powerful and passionate recitation of Jawab-e-Shikwa by Mrs. Sahab Hamdani, creating a charged atmosphere in the hall.
Delicious snacks and tea, prepared by Pakistani families, were served at the conclusion of the program.