Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Yusuf Salim Chishti
A thorough study of the Quran and the lives of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his blessed Companions goes to reveal that the Summum Bonum of the Islamic teachings is to create in Muslims the attitude of Faqr; and when this faqr reaches its perfection it embodies the whole of Islam in itself so much so that it becomes synonymous with it (Islam).
لفظ اسلام سے یورپ کو اگر کد ہے تو خیر
دوسرا نام اسی دن کا ہے ’’فقر غیور‘‘
"If Europe has any inborn hatred against Islam and does not like to hear that word; well, we can represent Islam by styling it "Faqr-i-Ghayyur".
The word 'Ghayyur' applied by Iqbal as an attribute of Faqr in reality denotes nothing external to it; it simply emphasises its most outstanding characteristic i.e. Ghairat;(غیرتfor faqr' is nothing if it does not inspire'Ghairat' even in the remotest cells and tissues of a Muslim — he has ghairat as his ideal and cannot tolerate anything which is detrimental to it, and will lay down his life — if need be — in upholding that ideal which in reality he holds dearer than life itself. In short Ghairat is something which is generated from faqr itself; it does not come from outside. Further this Ghairat is the outward symbol of a true Muslim. In the words of Iqbal, a Muslim minus ghairat is a nonentity, pure and simple.
تا کجا بے غیرت دیں زیستن
اے مسلمان مردن استا یں زیستن
How long wilt thou live without any ghairat (love) for thy faith? O Muslim! this sort of life is (worse than) death (if you ponder over it).
Now, faqr's logical consequence is that when a nation or community becomes imbued with it, it acquires power and sovereignty on the earth; take for instance, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Usman and other companions; they were intoxicated with the wine of the unity of Allah and this made them masters of the East and the West.
ملتے چوں می شود توحید مست
قوت و جبروت می  آید بدست
When a millat (nation) becomes Unity intoxicated, she automatically acquires power and might.
But sovereignty brings its own evils in its train and Muslims could not be an exception to this rule  —  blinded with power and riches, all ranks forgot their position and function in life and what do we find in the 4th century Hijra ? Nobles and the rich indulging in women and wine; Ulama (Divines) indulging in scholastic hair splitting; Sufia (Mystics) indulging in neo-platonic dogmas, with the result that the nation as a whole totally forgot that Islam was only another name for faqr. It is why the dead body of Tippu Sultan Shaheed was found half naked — his garments, sword-belt, and turban all gone — beneath a heap of slain by Major Allan on the 4th of May 1799 — the year which sounded the death-knell of the political suzerainty of the Indian Musalmans. The brave sultan would not have met his martyrdom in this way if the Musalmans of India had even an ounce of faqr left in their souls. After his martyrdom all those Muslims who could not maintain their faqr, were brought under the yoke of British Imperialism through the fateful subsidiary system well known to the students of Indian history.
کیا گیا ہے غلامی میں مبتلا تجھ کو
کہ تجھ سے ہو نہ سکی فقر کی نگہبانی
"Thou art labouring under the yoke of slavery simply because thou couldst not preserve the quality of faqr."
یورپ کی غلامی پہ رضا مند ہوا تو
مجھ کو تو گلہ تجھ سے ہے یورپ سے نہیں ہے
"Thou submitted thyself to the slavery of Europe (out of thine own free-will) hence I do not find fault with Europe--rather hold thee responsible for thy wretched plight."
The didactic role of Iqbal
The greatest achievement of Iqbal, in my opinion, is that he reminded the Muslims their long forgotten lesson — the great truth that Islam is not prayers and fasting alone; it is not a set of rituals alone; but in essence it is an attitude towards life in its manifold aspects and the technical term employed by the Holy Prophet to denote that attitude is faqr.
This aspect of Iqbal's thought has received but little attention up to this time for reasons which I do not like to discuss here; suffice to say, that it is high time now that Muslim students of Iqbal should start studying this subject with the seriousness that it deserves, for Iqbal himself draws our attention to this most important aspect of his teachings in the following words:
اب ترا دور بھی آنے کو ہے اے فقر غیور
کھا گئی ر وح فرنگی کو ہوائے زر و سیم
The European nations have become dead to all higher values of life on account of their lust for gold and silver. Therefore, gird up thy loins O Faqr! as thy time is about to come.
The great war is now over. The Axis and the Nippon both have met their Waterloo. Now, according to the prophecy of Iqbal the era of Faqr is to commence anew. Having full faith in the prophetic vision of Iqbal I think it would not be out of place if I try to present an exposition of the doctrine of faqr as propounded and so fervently preached by Iqbal throughout the last six years of his earthly sojourn i.e. from 1932 to 1938.
Though the two main ideas underlying faqr — Knowledge and Love — were made the basis of his philosophical thought as early as 1914, yet the term itself was not used by him before 1932. It is Jaweed Namah(published in Feb. 1932) that we come across this term for the first time.
The reason for keeping this term in the background for such a long time is best known to Iqbal himself. My own conjecture is that faqr is, so to say, a crown and you need a royal head for it beforehand; so Iqbal first of all propounded the doctrine of Khudi and when he had said all that he could possibly say about it, he came forward with the diadem to adorn the royal head (a crown is useless if there is no head to wear it). Hence we find that from 1932 onwards he harps upon the strain of faqr in all his works :‑
Jaweed Namah, published in         1932
Musafir, published in  1933
Bal-i-Jibreel, published in 1934
Pas Che Bayad kard       1935
ZarbiKaleem                  1936
Armughan (posthumous)    1938
All these works are teeming with the exposition of this wonder-working doctrine expressed by three simple letters of the Arabic Alphabet, but carrying in its bosom one of the profoundest truths inculcated in the word of Allah — the inimitable Quran-i-Majeed.
Presentation of the doctrine
جز بقرآن ضیغمی روباہی است
فقر قرآں اصل شاہنشاہی است
فقر قرآں اختلاط ذکر و فکر
فکر را کامل ندیدم جز بذکر
All sovereignty, not based on the teachings of the Quran, is in reality deceit and fraud ; the true basis of sovereignty is to be found in the doctrine of faqr as preached by the Quran.
The faqr of the Quran is a happy and harmonious blending of 'zikr' and Fikr' ; and hearken! fikr can never be perfected without the aid of zikr.
These memorable verses occur in connection with the message which Iqbal has put into the mouth of Allamah Syed Jamaluddin Afghani for the communist Russia. Afghani exhorts the Soviet Russia in these words:
کردہ کار خداونداں
تمام بگذر از لا جا نب الا خرام
You people have done away with Imperialism and Capitalism — well and good; now from "La (No kings) i.e. (no earthly gods) turn your face towards "Illa" (الا ).
اے کہ می خواہی نظام عالمے
جستۂ اورا اساس محکمے؟
داستان کہنہ شستی باب باب
فکر را روشن کن از ام الکتاب
If you want to establish a new world-order, find out a sure and sound basis for it first of all; and what else can that basis be, but the Holy Quran; so get your light and guidance from this book, and beware all sovereignty not based upon the Quran is deceit and fraud.
Now what is the meaning and significance of these two terms? Iqbal says, "Go to the Quran, if you want to understand my message."
دارم اندر سینہ نور لا الہ
درشراب من سرور لا الہ
My soul is illuminated by the light of the Divine Unity; and all intoxication in my wine is due to this doctrine of the unity of Allah.
Let us go therefore to the source of lqbalian philosophy, viz. the Holy Quran:
"Unto Allah belongeth the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. Allah is able to do all things.
Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the difference of night and day are tokens of His sovereignty for men of understanding; such as remember Allah standing, sitting and reclining and consider the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say) our Lord! thou createth not this in vain. Glory be to Thee! Preserve us from the doom of the fire."          (III: 183-191)
These verses, as is evident to every reader, contain the two fundamental principles upon which Iqbal has built up his whole philosophy of Faqr, i.e. zikr and fikr.
Now let us study in detail both these terms which have been utilized by Rumi and other mystics as well in expounding their mystic thought.
Definition of Zikr
"To feel the presence of Allah in one's heart and to fervently employ all the limbs of one's body in the discharge of obligatory duties constantly and ceaselessly, through immense reverence and love for Him."
Definition of Fikr
اختصار المعرفتین او المعارف لاستنتاج معرفۃ اخری
"To keep in view two or more already known facts in order to infer some other unknown fact from them." For instance we knowthat (a)   الاخرۃ البقی من الدنیا
The hereafter is more durable and permanent than this world and (b)      الابقی اولی وبالانتخابThe more durable and permanent is worthier to be chosen.
Now keeping in view both these premises and contemplating upon them seriously we come to the conclusion that (c) فالاخرۃ اولی بالانتخاب therefore, the hereafter is worthier to be chosen. Now this third truth is the result of our contemplation and reflection upon the first two truths which were known to us before. In short Fikr means to reach an unknown through the help of two or more known.
Again suppose, a prophet said someting and we believed it to be true — this is Taqleed (following somebody). But if we reflect upon his saying and through syllogistic reasoning come to the same conclusion, as arrived at by that prophet — this is Tahqeeq (realisation of truth through one's own reasoning).
Differentia between Zikr and Fikr
(a) It is possible that you may acquire certain truths or new ideas through Zikr, hut there is no inference involved in the process of Zikr ; while the chief characteristic of Fikr is that by means of that you make inferences and draw conclusions for yourself. Zikr pertains to mind and bodily limbs ( جوارح )both; while Fikrpertains to mind alone. The faculty of Fikr is not found in everybody while that of Zikr is a universal phenomenon. Everybody cannot be a Mufakkir in this world; but Zikr is possible to everybody. Fikr includesZikr; but zikr does not include fikr; i.e. کل مفکر مذکر (Every Mufakkir is Muzakkir as well) ; but every Muzakkir is not necessarily a Mufakkir وبعض مذکر لیسن بمفکرIn short Zikr and Fikr are exclusive and inclusive terms. AMuzakkir is generally Muqallid (مقلدbut a Mufakkir is a Muhaqqiq(محقق)  He does not follow others blindly; on the other hand, he examines every truth and accepts it after he has fully realised it for himself.
Life and these two principles
The perfection of human life depends upon the harmonious development of these two faculties in man.
(a)      The Zikr of Allah
(b)     And Fikr about or regarding the attributes of Allah and the universe created by Him. Even the Muslim confession of faith "La ilaha illa Allah" (لا الہ الا اللہ) is based uponthese two principles (Zikr and Fikr).Human Fikr's highest flight in the realm of thought is La ilah i.e. there is no God. Now comes the faculty of Zikr for his guidance and says to him, "yes, you are right in that there is no God in the Universe superior to or above men; but there is one Being over and above every thing and that is Allah the Rabb of the universe. Says Akbar:
یہ عشق ہی ہے کہ منزل ہے جس کی الا اللہ
خرد نے صرف رہ لا الہ پائی ہے
It is love whose destination is "except Allah",
For Intellect couldn't go beyond "There is no God".
Various forms of Zikr
(a)               Oral i.e., to remember the Beloved i.e., Allah and utter His Holly Names with lips and tongue every now and then.
(b)               Contemplative or reflective i.e., to contemplate upon the different names or attributes of Allah and strive to imbue one's self with those attributes. This is, in the Quranic phraseology, to dye oneself in the dye of Allah (صبغۃ اللہ) i.e. obedience and submission to the Divine will. This is the highest and real form of Zikr. This is to follow in the footsteps of the Holly Prophet and to carry out the injunctions of the Shariah most willingly and sincerely. C.f. the Hadith من اطاع اللہ فقد ذکر اللہ
"He who obeys Allah and carries out all His commandments is one who really remembers Allah." In other words, Zikr means obedience to the divine will. According to the Quran everybody who is not Zakir (ready to obey) is 'Ghafil' (i.e. neglectful) and everybody who is Ghafil is just as dead.
Life has two aspects (a) Biological
        (b) Spiritual
Biologically alive is one, who inhales and exhales, spiritually alive is one, who is Zakir c.f. the Quran: —
ولا تطع من اغفلنا قبلہ، عن ذکرنا
"and do not obey him whom we have made unmindful of Our zikr"
The reward of zikr:‑
The importance and significance of zikr in the life of a "Momin" can be best realised from the fact that the parting advice given to Moses by Allah was:- ولا تینا فی ذکری
"Be not remiss in remembering me"(20 ; 42)
The greatest reward bestowed upon a Zakir is that Allah Himself begins to remember him in return Lفاذکرونی اذ کرکمs;
"(You) remember me, I will remember you (in return)". (2 : 152).
This shows that zikr in its essence is based upon love for:
(a)          You cannot remember a person constantly unless you are in love with him.
(b)         Love is reciprocal. Hence when a man begins to remember Allah; Allah in His turn responds to his love, and remembers him in return.
Various forms of Fikr
(a) By the help of the known to arrive at something unknown. Deduction, Induction, Inference, Analogy and various forms of syllogistic reasoning these are all so many activities of Fikr.
Induction means act or process of reasoning from particulars to generals or from the individual to the universal. "Induction is the process", according to J.S. Mill, "by which we conclude that what is true of certain individuals of a class, is true of the whole class."
The Holly Quran has laid so much emphasis upon observation of the various phenomena in the universe, and the process of reasoning from the individual to the universal, that the unbiased reader is sure to be convinced of the fact that the Quran wants each one of us to exercise our faculty of Fikr. There are many verses in it which make constant appeal to ponder, contemplate and reflect upon the phenomena of of Nature, e.g.
ان فی ذالک لایۃ لقوم یتفکرون
"Verily there is a sign in this (observation) for a people who reflect." (16 : 68)
Rightly has Iqbal concluded that "the birth of Islam, as I hope to be able presently to prove to your satisfaction, is the birth of INDUCTIVE intellect"[1]
Bacon formulated his well known Inductive method under the direct inspiration he received from the works of Muslim thinkers and scientists who flourished in Spain long before he was born.
(b)                 Various sciences e.g. Logic, Psychology, Ethics and Metaphysics —  are the sweet fruits of this faculty.
(c)                  Inventions, discoveries and researches.
(d)                  Physics, Chemistry, Biology and various other sciences — all owe their origin to Fikr.
Zikr and Fikr Complementary
Although Zikr is superior to Fikr (as the former is by itself capable of making one virtuous) yet there can be no permanence in Zikr without Fikr; hence according to an authentic tradition Fikr is superior to "Nawafil" c.f: the tradition: —
تفکر ساعۃ خیر من قیام لیلۃ
"Contemplation for an hour is better than standing in prayers for the whole night".
Hence the mystics have regarded"مراقبہ",(contemplation and meditation) far superior to "شغل" (repetition of the Divine names). The Quran has indeed laid greater emphasis upon the study of Nature than ritualistic prayers. There are about one hundred and fifty verses in the Quran regarding prayers, fasting, Zakat, Hajj etc. but there are seven hundred and fifty six verses in which Allah has exhorted us to study Nature and its ways. No wonder then, that Fikr too is a form of worship and if obedience to the commandments of Allah is worship (عبادت) certainly Fikr also is worship. Let me quote Iqbal who says that, "Nature is to the Divine Self as character is to the human self. In the picturesque phrase of the Quran, it is the habit of Allah..... owledge of Nature is the Knowledge of God's behaviour. In our observation of Nature, we are virtually seeking a kind of intimacy with the Absolute Ego; and this is only another form of worship."[2]
Zikr illumines one's heart; Fikr illumines one's mind.
اذا المرء کانت لہ فکرۃ
ففی کل شیئ لہ عبرۃ
"When a man contemplates and meditates upon this universe, he can draw lessons from everything."
In short, both these faculties are complementary to each other; but Fikr alone is useless without Zikr in making one a true Mo'min.
Realisation of the ideal
The ideal of a 'Mo'min' according to the Holy Quran is "لقاءرب" (the Divine vision or one's meeting with hisRabb) and this ideal can only be realised through Zikr and Fikr; as the well known mystic saying goes :
لا لقاء بدون المحبۃ والمعرفتہ
"No vision without Love and Gnosis".
What is the function of Love?
المحبتہ تقتضی دوام الذکرالمحبوب
The characteristic of love is that a lover always thinks and talks about his beloved, e.g. (a) he will constantly form visual images of his beloved, (b) he will always picture to himself the form of his beloved in different poses and styles, (c) he will always be writing or talking about the extra-ordinary physical or intellectual charms of his beloved; (d) he will place all his internal and external faculties and all the members of his body at the disposal of his beloved and will always be ready to carry out his orders and wishes.
والمعرفتہ تقتْضی دوام الفکر فیہ و فی صفاتہ
It is the characteristic of gnosis (true knowledge) that it always includes one to contemplate and meditate upon the object of one's attention.
The fikr (thought) of a lover shall always be either about the being of his beloved and its various aspects or his own being. When he meditates or reflects upon his own being or personality, he invariably says to himself:
(a)               as compared with my beloved I am just as dust
(b)              I should not do anything which may displease my beloved
(c)               I should lead my life in accordance with my beloved's wishes
(d)              I should hate whom my beloved hates and admire whom he admires
(e)               In short, I would merge all my passions and desires in the personality of my beloved; and do nothing which he does not like.
(f)               As my whole life is devoted to my beloved, I should not foster any attachments with other people.
Likewise, a Mo'min says to himself:
(a)               as compared with Allah, I am just as dust
(b)              I should not do anything which may displease Allah
(c)               I should lead my life in accordance with my Allah's wishes i.e. obey the Holy Prophet.
(d)              I should hate whom Allah hates or love whom He loves
(e)               I should merge all my passions and desires in the Shariah
(f)               As my life is devoted to Allah alone I should not foster attachments with other people.
If a Muslim observes all these rules he is sure to become the beloved of Allah. In short, the whole Shariah is only another name for keeping the will of the Beloved (Allah) permanently before one's self.
When the lover contemplates upon his nothingness and insignificance as compared with the personality of his beloved, gradually a spirit of humility and meekness is engendered in his heart, and this spirit does away with pride and haughtiness in him. c.f. Rumi
شادباش اے عشق خوش سودائے ما
وے طبیب جملہ علت ہائے ما
اے دوائے نخوت و ناموس ما
اے تو افلاطون و جالینوس ما
Long live our malady of Love which is in reality a physician who can heal all our wounds.
O Love! thou art the sure remedy for our disease of pride and egotism surely thou art Plato and Galen to us.
This attitude of complete submission and surrender to the will of the beloved (اللہis the true spirit of Islam. In other words a Muslim can be a Muslim only when he is a lover. c.f. Iqbal:
طبع مسلم از محبت قاہر است
مسلم از عاشق نباشد کافر است
"A Muslim acquires the power of conquest only through love.
If he is not a lover surely he is kafir.
This attitude of submission further prepares the lover to obey all the commandments (آوامر ) and shun all the prohibitions (نواہی)And what is the Shariah? Only a collective name for commands and prohibitions. And Allah will be pleased with those persons only who observe these two component parts of the Shariah.
He whose beloved is Allah, will naturally contemplate and reflect upon the work of his beloved i.e., the universe; (there is no other course open to him as Allah is not visible to our physical eyes; hence no mental image of Allah is possible). Now if this universe is beautiful, surely its Creator and Sustainer must also be beautiful — not only beautiful but also the source of all beauty and charm. Mo'min or a lover always remembers Allah (یذکرون اللہ قیاماً و قعوداً) and when he reflects upon the beauties of creation and finds out the wonderful adjustment between man and his environs and the precise working of various laws and alternation of day and night and the blowing of winds and the down-pour of rain and the regular movements of the heavenly bodies, he shouts forth:
ربنا ما خلقت ھذا باطلا
"O Lord! thou has not created this universe in vain or in sport. i.e. this universe is not unreal; on the other hand there is a great purpose hidden behind it."
A lover is always careful lest he should do something which shall belittle him in the eyes of his beloved. There is nothing in the world which he dreads more than his humiliation in the estimation of his beloved. If a lover goes down in the estimation of his beloved, the inner tie which binds the lover to the beloved is rent as under.
Respect and esteem in the sight of the beloved is the basis upon which a lover rears his whole superstructure of love. It is why a true lover will prefer hundred deaths to one humiliation or disgrace in the eyes of his beloved. Love's fire is extinguished altogether if a lover loses his honour and esteem in the sight of his beloved. It is for this reason that a woman came to the Holy Prophet and said "0 Apostle of Allah! when news reached me that my husband was returning home from the military expedition along with his regiment, I went out to receive him and took my stand on a mound in order to catch a glimpse of his face; but when I beheld him, he wore a very dirty and dejected countenance; there was nothing soldierly or manly about him. Thereupon a feeling of utter disgust and loathsomeness arose in my heart; therefore I request you to dissolve my nikah (marriage) with him. He has become of no value in my eyes, hence I cannot pull on with him any more." Hearing this the Holy Prophet declared her marriage null and void.
Mo'min (lover) can never tolerate the idea of falling into disgrace with his beloved (Allah) and it is why he loves him with all his might and mind.
والذین آمنوا اشد حبا للہ
"Those who believe are staunchest in their love for Allah"
How can he love Allah? By following in the footsteps of the Prophet. What is its consequence? Allah loves him in return. cf. the Quran:
ان کنتم تحبون اللہ فاتبعونی یحببکم اللہ
"If you love Allah, obey me (in all walk of your life) and Allah will love you (in return)"
What is Shariah? Only another name for the sure and certain method of winning the favour of the Beloved (Allah).
Beliefs (عقاید                       ), worships (عبادات) and dealings (معاملات)all the three aspects of religion are only so many manifestations of zikr. The whole religious life of a Musilm is remembrance of Allah i.e. zikr. The zikrof Allah does not stand in the way of business, trade, occupation, social relations, marriage, domestic life, study jihad, and sovereignty or other wordly affairs. Zikr (remembrance of Allah) in Islam does not necessitate renunciation or monasticism. One's life in accordance with the Shariah is Zikr pure and simple, whether he is a soldier or a sailor or a trader or a judge. Zikr(ذکر) in mosques and monasteries which we behold today is only an elementary form of it — this is only lip-service — and certainly it is not the whole of it.
There was a time when the Quranic term Zikr included all lawful human activities in its meaning and import — the doing of good deeds(اعمال صالح) and performance of all the duties prescribed by the Shariah; but like several other terms (e.g. sabrصبر), taqdeer تقدیر ) etc.) it has now come to mean only recitation or repetition of the divine names with the help of a rosary. The causes of the deterioration of the meaning of zikr are two-fold;
(a)            The introduction and acceptance of the un-Islamic type of Tasawwuf(تصوف) which Muslims borrowed from Gnostics, NeoPlatonists and Hindu Pantheists. This totally alien mysticism taught self-abnegation and renunciation and these principles destroy all impetus to action. When a man believes that matter is evil, corporeal body is unclean, world is evil and wicked and life is a misery or drudgery, naturally he would avoid all activity and hide himself in some cave or monastery.
(b)            The neglect shown in the development of fikr due to overemphasis on taqleed ( تقلید ) which became the rule of Muslim life from 5th century Hejra onwards, (for further discussion on this subject the readers are recommended the study of Hujjatullahil Baligha by Hazrat Shah Waliulla Dehlawi)
The secret of the phenomenal success of the companions of the Holy Prophet and early Muslims lies in the fact that they developed both their faculties to their full — zikr and fikr. To them zikr was nothing but the performance of all the duties — religious, moral, social, econom ic and political — enjoined upon them by theShariah. Also they gave a free play to their faculty of fikr which provided them with the knowledge of those duties, as well as knowledge of the universe.
What is fikr? The knowledge of duties as prescribed by the Shariah. What is zikr? The fulfilment of those duties to the best of one's abilities. Both these faculties must work in harmony; mere 'fikr' without zikr is useless. Suppose, by means of my fikr (reasoning) I come to know that the Quran is the word of Allah ; but this knowledge alone (unaccompanied by good deeds) cannot make me a good or virtuous Muslim. Similarly zikrwithout fikr (true knowledge) is misleading in many cases and renders the Zakir an early prey to unQuranic ideas and practices of  Iqbal: —
رائے بے قوت ہمہ مکر و فسوں
قوت بے رائے جہل است و جنوں
"Knowledge without power eventually results in deceit and fraud and power without knowledge is ignorance and folly."
In its higher form zikr means pious deeds ( عمل صالح) and fikr means deduction and inference (اجتہاد). But, un-Quranic mysticism killed all impetus to action and taqleed put a stop to all reasoning and independent judgement. In short, when Muslims, refused to avail themselves of both these divine gifts and decided to lead a life of inactivity and mental slavery, they gradually came to be governed by others.
ہر کو برخود نیست فرمانش رواں
می شود فرماں پذیر از دیگراں
"He who cannot govern himself, of necessity comes to be governed by others."
We, in the twentieth century are reaping the fruit of our un-Islamic, therefore, irrational attitude towards life. If we want peace, prosperity and happiness we must betake ourselves to the eternal truth:
الا بذکر اللہ تطمئن القلوب
"(Hearken O'ye mankind!) It is only through zikr or remembrance (obedience to Allah) of Allah that human hearts attain peace and tranquillity."
No doubt, man can achieve peace of mind through the zikr of Allah alone i.e. by walking in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet. And it is theنفس مطمئنہ" who will ultimately win the favour of Allah and enter His Paradise of the Quran:
 یا ایتہا النفس المطئنۃ ارجعی الی ربک راضیۃ مرضیۃ فادخلی فی عبادی و ادخلی جنّتی
"O soul that art at rest! return to thy Lord well pleased (with Him) well pleasing (Him) so enter among my servants and enter into my garden."
Faqr and Jihad
The Holy Prophet says:
لی خرقتنا الفقر والجھاد
"I possess two robes (dresses or aspects), the faqr and the jihad". Faqr, as we have seen means zikr and fikr;so this statement comes to mean that:
Zikr +Fikr +Jihad=the three aspects of the Prophet's life. Psychology teaches us that human personality also has three aspects: —
Knowing, feeling and willing.
Fikr (فکر ) represents the faculty of knowing
Zikr (ذکرthat of feeling
Jihad (جہادthat of willing.
In other words faqr and jihad cover the entire field of human personality. By means of fikr we acquire the knowledge of being and attributes of Allah. By means of zikr we learn to love Him, and this love urges us to sacrifice our wealth and life for the sake of Allah. In other words, "Jihad fi sabeelillah" is the logical consequence of faqr. If a Muslim acquires the quality of faqr, he will necessarily practise jihad, just as:
فاذا الشمس طالعۃ فالنھار موجود
"As soon as the sun rises, it becomes day"
The essence of faqr is that a Muslim attaches no importance to worldly riches or his earthly life. He has full realisation of the Quranic truth:-
ان اللہ اشتری من المومنین انفسہم وا موالھم بان لھم الجنۃ
"Lo Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the garden will be theirs."
He knows that his life and his property are not his, but Allah's; therefore he is always ready to sacrifice both of them in the path of Allah. Zikr teaches him to love Allah above everything else; so he lives for Allah and dies for Allah.[3]
قل ان صلاتی و نسکی و محیای و مماتی للہ رب العالمین
"Say (O' Apostle) my prayers and my sacrifice (religious rites and ceremonies), my living and my dying are for Allah alone, who is the Rabb of this universe."
But with the lapse of time, Muslims acquired un-Islamic ideas which threw the entire teaching of faqroverboard. They were taught by the Quran to
(a)             Meditate and contemplate upon the universe and study the working of its laws.
(b)            and to love Allah with all their might.
But they forgot the Quranic lesson totally and reversed the order of things entirely. They began to discuss the Being of God — although Allah and His Apostle both had advised them never to speculate regarding the nature of His essence or the relation of His attributes to His Being — a course of action, not only fraught with dangers but also beyond human power, cf. the Quran:
وما اوتیم من العلم الا قلیلا
"and of knowledge you have been vouchsafed but little"
What do we find during the reign of Al-Mamun and subsequent periods? Ulema (theologians and schoolmen) indulging in heated discussions regarding the being and attributes of God. They began to love life and riches; and when the Quranic order was reversed, the spirit of jihad automatically died out; for you can't sacrifice your life unless you hold Allah dearer than yourself. Muslims of the early phase of Islam courted death simply because they loved not their own selves, but Allah; later on when they began to love their own selves the logical consequence was that they began to shun jihad, which means risking one's life and riches both.
Man's relative position
Zikr of Allah makes Him our Beloved. Fikr fil makhluqat makes them subservient to us. This order of things postulates the true position of man in this universe.
(a)  Allah — our Beloved (مخدوم) and Ideal
(b)  Universe — subservient to us (خادم)
(c)    Man — vicegerant of Allah and His servant
The whole universe is subservient to man, and man, in his turn, is Allah's servant and slave; this is the order promulgated by the Quran and faqr is the sole means of preserving this natural order intact.
The faculty of fikr is bestowed upon us by Allah so that we may subjugate this universe and that of zikr isgranted to us so that we be able to love Him.
The one great aim of the entire teachings of Islam is that man should strive to preserve this divinely ordained order of things — to conquer the universe through the faculty of fikr and to submit himself along with his conquests to Allah, through the instrumentality of zikr. This happy blending of zikr and fikr produced in the history of Islam men like Hazrat Siddiq-i-Akbar, Faruq-i-Azam, Khalid bin Waleed, Zubair and Talha — to name but a few out of a galaxy of those angelic beings who swept everything before them and within a short space of time planted the green banner of Islam by the shores of the Atlantic. But when their descendants declared war against the word of Allah (acceptance of values utterly un-Quranic is tantamount to wage war against Allah) their sorry plight in this world today can better be imagined than described.
نہ ایراں میں رہے باقی نہ توراں میں رہے باقی
وہ بندے فقر تھا جن کا ہلاک قیصر و کسری
"Neither in Persia nor in Turkistan are to be seen those men any more whose faqr sounded the death-knell of the Qaiser and the Kisra (of Iran)".
The Historical Role of Iqbal
The greatest service rendered by Iqbal in my humble opinion is that he has reminded the Muslims the great lesson which they have totally forgotten for the last five or six centuries. He wants the Muslims of today to go back to the Quran and the Holy Prophet;
گر تو می  خواہی مسلمان زیستن
نیست ممکن جز بقرآن زیستن
"If you want to live in this world as Muslims, it is impossible to do so without making the Quran your sole guide in life.'
so that they may be able to re-discover themselves:
چیست دیں؟ دریافتن اسرار خویش
زندگی مرگ است بے دیدار خویش
"What is Deen? to discover the hidden secrets of your self. Believe me, your life is just as death, if you fail to behold your self."
How can they re-discover themselves ? By developing the spirit of faqr. What is faqr? The harmonious blending of zikr and fikr.
فقر قرآں اختلاط ذکر و فکر
فکر را کامل ندیدم جز بذکر
Mere fikr unaided and unguided by zikr is never perfect; rather it leads man to very dangerous paths. In our own times Hitler and Mussolini are nothing but true specimens of fikr unaided and unguided by zikr.
Fikr urges man to subjugate this universe and if this faculty is under the guidance of zikr, the conqueror becomes a Faruq-e-Azam; if not the same man becomes a Changez or Halaku.
جلال بادشاہی ہو کہ جمہوری تماشا ہو
جدا ہو دیں سیاست سے تو رہ جاتی ہی چنگیزی
"Whether it be the glory of monarchy or the performance of democracy, if the politics is divorced from religion, the result in either case is Changezi (barbarity and brutality)."
Now let us turn to Iqbal and see what he has to say about faqr. A survey of his philosophical and theological thought would go to reveal that there are four fundamental ideas in his system:
1.      Allah: the ultimate Reality — the Creator
2.      Man: the lord of His creation and His vicegerent
3.          Faqr: the two principal faculties vouchsafed to man
4.      Universe : the field for his activities.
The relation between these realities is that Allah has created man with a definite aim in view:
ان جاعل فی الارض خلیفہ
"I am about to appoint a vicegerant in the earth" and his vicegerancy demands that he should bring this universe under his sway (تسخیر کائنات) and he would achieve this purpose by means of Faqr and having conquered the elements he would rule over the earth in the name of Allah and establish His Kingdom therein.
From this statement, the importance of "Faqr" shines forth like the mid-day sun. The khudi is there, but without the aid of Faqr, it is of no value. Allah has endowed man with two faculties viz reason or intellect(فکر)and Love (ذکر ) so that he may be able to conquer this universe; and these faculties are the component parts of Faqr. A Muslim without Faqr is just like a lamp without oil. The importance of Faqr can be easily realised by pondering over this Hadithالفقری فخری ). The Apostle of Allah says, "I take pride in that I am in possession of Faqr". In other words, Faqr is the highest honour that a Muslim can earn by his individual effort.
Faqr literally means the breaking of the back; hence" فقرات الظہر" (the vertebrae composing the spinal column) then it came to mean want, penury and poverty or being in possession of nothing.
Faqr teaches man to believe that all he possesses, (his soul, and
wealth) is not his, but Allah's, therefore, a Faqeer(فقیرis one who, in spite of all worldly riches which he possesses, regards himself utterly destitute; and having nothing, he will naturally go to Allah for all his wants. He possesses everything, but out of his own free will, gives, away everything, and accepts the status of a Faqeerso that he may grasp the hand of Allah and His Apostle firmly cf. Siddiq-iAkbar's attitude,
پروانے کو چراغ ہے بلبل کو پھول بس
صدیق کے لئے ہے خدا کا رسول بس
"The lamp is sufficient for a moth and the flower will suffice a nightingale, likewise the Apostle of Allah is quite sufficient for Abu Bakr Siddiq.

Notes and References

[1] Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam p. 120.
[2] Reconstruction, p. 54
[3]The greatest objection to Nationalism from the Islamic point of view is that it teaches man to love his country above everything else — a doctrine which strikes at the very root of Islam and everything it stands for.


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