Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Spirit of Muslim Culture According to Muhammad Iqbal : Adibah binti Abdul Rahim Ph.D

The Spirit of Muslim Culture According to Muhammad Iqbal - Adibah binti Abdul Rahim

International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, Vol. 5, No. 8, August 2015

Full Article PDF:

Abstract—In the history of civilization, culture and religion have always developed in a close proximity to each other. Indeed, one cannot conceive of development in religion and culture in isolation from each other. It is precisely this unity of culture and religion which is to be the basis of Muhammad Iqbal’s views on Muslim culture. Culture, for Iqbal, is the most important factor of sociological life and the basis of its change. In explaining social change, he believed that culture plays a greater role than other factors, such as, economy and politics. Although he has deeply studied the Western thought, Iqbal’s views on culture are essentially shaped by the teachings of the Qur’an. This paper tries to explore Iqbal’s concept of Muslim culture and its spirit. It does not mainly concern with the determination of what constitutes culture or the enumeration of various traits of Muslim culture. Rather, the paper tries to study Iqbal’s critical evaluation of the spirit of Muslim culture and the fundamental principles which motivate, inspire, and direct Muslims in their cultural pursuits. Index Terms—Muslim culture, the concept of self, the concept of society. I. INTRODUCTION Iqbal‟s concept of Muslim culture is not confined to geographical, social, and national limitations; rather it includes a very wide scope and embraces all expressions of human activity. For Iqbal, Muslim culture describes comprehensively about the concept of self, the concept of society, and the concept of life as a continuous movement in time. All these concepts are inseparable from each other and have direct bearing on his views on Muslim culture. (systematically in his lectures, the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. For Iqbal, understanding of the nature of self is essential for understanding of the nature of culture and the principle of its growth. Iqbal regarded self as the basis of the entire organization of life. Self, according to him, is an active and creative force in which a person should strive towards the achievement of a refined personality as well as to participate in the affairs of the universe to suit his highest position as the vicegerent of God on earth. Self is also considered as the centre of all man‟s activities and actions. Therefore, Iqbal rejected all philosophical and religious schools of thought which inculcated self-negation or self-abandonment and denied the reality of self, and regarded it as a mere illusion not worth striving for. The concept of self- negation considers weakness, laziness and inaction as fascinating things, and it holds a renunciation of the world, escape from the struggle of life, and living in asceticism. These are obviously against the spirit of Islam. Therefore, Iqbal is strongly opposed to the doctrine of self- negation, and he observed that this concept as the main cause for the decline of Muslims nation. The moral and religious ideal of man, according to Iqbal, is not self-negation, but it must be self-assertion or self-realization. Since man is the supreme creation of God, he must realize his inherent ability, power and possibilities for the perfection of his own personality and for the progress of society. 


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