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Muhammad Iqbal, Ataturk, and the Secularist LieBy khiladi
It is promulgated nowadays by certain Pakistani elite, primarly to justify their agenda of secularization of the Pakistani state, to argue that Muhammad Iqbal was a supporter of the policies of Kemal Ataturk. Considering this view is propounded by the moderators of Naseeb Vibes without allowing for rebuttal, I thought it wise to take this point to my journal. I would like to add further, despite me being raised in the States my whole life, that such assertions by them are based upon an inferiority complex, and clearly evidences that have no pride in their heritage. Ths is substantiated by the fact that they willingly censor whatever position doesn't suit their agenda. They are sell-outs, plain and simple. They would rather twist the views of their own people to satisfy their own petty lusts in the name of 'patriotism' and 'love of the motherland'.
It is true that Muhammad Iqbal praised Kemal Ataturk in the beginning. It was primarily the result of his military actions to protect Turkey from the military onslaught of the Western powers that earned him the praise of not only Iqbal, but the Muslim world in general at the tme. He turned what was almost an impending defeat during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 into a sudden victory. Not only that, he provided an admirable defense at Gallipoli during WWI against heavy odds. He also frustrated the Greeks, who were supported by the British. Iqbal makes a poignant reference to Ataturk's patriotism in his poem Tulu Islam, when he says,
"Stability of life in this world is bestowed by firm faith
The Turanian has proved even longer lasting than the German."
This poem was originally written in the early 1920s, BEFORE Ataturk ended the khaleepha. One should also not forget the fact that Ataturk, during this tme, was assisted by many religious Muslims, and the Turks put up a UNITED front against these invasions. The statements of praise of Iqbal are made during this time, and are not to be confused with statements regarding his policies and reforms. To argue in this manner would be like arguing that Iqbal favored the reforms of Mussolini when he praised his powerful leadership. Nobody in their right mind would take this statement to argue Iqbal favored fascism, only that he was pointing to the powerful leadership of the General. In fact, we know from other statements of Iqbal his hatred for the policies of Mussolini. t was the dynamic action of Ataturk that drew admiraton from Iqbal.
Muhammad Iqbal's ideas are further manipulated by those that wish to push the secularist agenda when they refer to Iqbal's speeches regarding Turkey in his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. His statements regarding the Nationlist Party agenda to place the State above religion is taken totally out of context. As Iqbal, in a few sentences from where these people stop argues, there is some truth to the statement, but the misconception rises in an understanding that is Christian, and that is view of the bifurcation of the body and the spirit, i.e. they are two opposing realities. This is why he says "The State, from the Islamic standpoint, is an endeavour to transform those ideal principles into space-time forces, and aspiration to realize them in definite human organization. It is in this sense alone that the State in Islam is a theocracy, not in the sense that it s headed by a representative of God on earth who can always screen his despotic will behind his supposed infallibility. THE CRITICS OF ISLAM HAVE LOST SIGHT OF THIS IMPORTANT CONSIDERATON." He then goes on to argue that the "TURKISH NATIONALISTS ASSIMILATED THE IDEA OF SEPARATION OF THE CHURCH AND STATE FROM THE HISTORY OF EUROPEAN IDEALS." Their platform, according to him, is misleading, and he further praises the Religious Reform Party headed by Said Halim Pasha. The discussion could continue in this direction, but the main point of emphasis is already established. Iqbal is clearly manipulated by these people.
As far as secularism goes, Iqbal has said very poignantly in his Iblis ke Majlis Shoora, "The Devil's Parliament":
We ourselves have dressed kingship in the garb of democracy,
When man has grown to be a little self-cosncious and self-observant.
To even argue that Iqbal favors secualrism is on the border of sheer lunacy, considering his countless statements against it. In fact, he said that one man possessed with khudi is better to lead a nation, than 100 donkeys. According to the great thinker, secularism is the greatest evil propounded in today's age, and his critique on capitalism is so visionary, that to argue he was JUST a man of his times, is ridiculous. This does not mean Iqbal was a proponent of socialism either. In fact, in the same poem he considers the proponents of it possessors of incoherent speech. To make a long story short, we can end with Iqbal's own remarks regarding Ataturk, after the khaleepha was abolished, in 1924:
"The imprudent Turk has torn the cloak of Divine Khaleepha,
Look at the Muslims' simplicity at other's cunningness also look."
("Hilal-i-Eid", the Eid Cresent)