The Reconstruction of religious thought in Islam
By Sir Muhammad Iqbal
Hardback 205 pages
Edited and Annotated By M Saeed Sheikh
Publisher : Kitab Bhavan, India
About The Book
This is a good and innovative book that will be of interest to most modern day educated Muslims who are fed up with the dogmatic outlook of their religion.
Non-Muslims will not find it interesting because it is primarily written by a Muslim for his fellow Muslims.
The main messages of the book are the following:
- First, this universe is dynamic and so is God. He is the Creator and is constantly busy in creation.
- Second, God has given man complete freedom of choice and man is not restricted by his destiny.
- Third, Muslims have made a big mistake by discontinuing the evolution of Islamic law and by confining themselves to four major (Sunni) schools of law. Since the world is constantly changing, we need constant evolution of Islamic law to keep pace with the world. Modern democracy can go a long way in achieving this goal and the concept of 'caliphate' can be replaced by the concept of 'republic'.
- Fourth, mystic religious experience is not only possible but is the only way to find the Ultimate Reality.
At times the author is lost in philosophical jargon and makes a simple point look very complicated. Most of the big talk in the book is based on mere theory (or whim).
Nonetheless, the book offers some food for thought and courageously challenges the status quo. No wonder then that according to Wikipedia this book is banned in Saudi Arabia.
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a compilation of lectures delivered by Muhammad Iqbal on Islamic philosophy; it was published in 1930. These lectures were delivered by Iqbal in Madras, Hyderabad, and Aligarh. The last chapter, "Is Religion Possible", was added to the book from the 1934 Oxford Edition onwards.
In Reconstruction, Iqbal called for a re-examination of the intellectual foundations of Islamic philosophy. The book is a major work of modern Islamic thought. It calls for a radical reinterpretation of the Islamic thought, pointing out that the classical schools of Islamic thought were merely human constructions developed in the middle ages. Iqbal considers the abolition of the Islamic caliphate was legitimate and argues that democratic government is now a necessity.
He also calls for reform regarding the rights of women and criminal penalties, such as the hudood laws. It was a major influence on Iranian sociologist Ali Shariati and other contemporary Muslim reformers, including Tariq Ramadan
Table of Contents
- Editor's Introduction
- Knowledge and Religious Experience
- The Philosophical Test of the Revelations of Religious Experience
- The Conception of God and the Meaning of Prayer
- The Human Ego - His Freedom and Immortality
- The Spirit of Muslim Culture
- The Principle of Movement in the Structure of Islam
- Is Religion Possible?
From the Editor's Introduction
In the present edition of Allama Iqbal's Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, an attempt has been made at providing references to many authors cited in it and, more particularly, to the passages quoted from their works. The titles of these works have not always been given by the Allama and, in a few cases, even the names of the authors have to be worked out from some such general descriptions about them as `the great mystic poet of Islam', 'a modern historian of civilization', and the like.
About The Author
Sir Muhammad Iqbal (9 November 1877 21 April 1938), widely known as Allama Iqbal, was an academic, poet, barrister, philosopher, and politician in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement.
He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both the Urdu and Persian languages.
He is admired as a prominent classical poet by Iranian, Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and other international scholars of literature. Though Iqbal is best known as an eminent poet, he is also a highly acclaimed "Muslim philosophical thinker of modern times".
His first poetry book, Asrar-e-Khudi, appeared in the Persian language in 1915, and other books of poetry include :
- Payam-e-Mashriq and
Amongst these his best known Urdu works are
- Zarb-e-Kalim and a part of
In Iran and Afghanistan, he is famous as Iqbal-e Lahor (Iqbal of Lahore), and his poetry enjoys immense popularity among the masses, as well as strong support from ideologues of the Iranian Revolution.
Along with his Urdu and Persian poetry, his various Urdu and English lectures and letters have been very influential in cultural, social, religious and political disputes over the years.
In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title "Sir". While studying law and philosophy in England, Iqbal became a member of the London branch of the All India Muslim League.
Later, in one of his most famous speeches, Iqbal pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in Northwest India. This took place in his presidential speech in the League's December 1930 session. In much of Southern Asia and Urdu speaking world, Iqbal is regarded as the Shayar-e-Mashriq ("Poet of the East").
He is also called Mufakkir-e-Pakistan ("The Thinker of Pakistan") and Hakeem-ul-Ummat ("The Sage of the Ummah"). The Pakistan government officially named him a "national poet".
His birthday Yom-e Wiladat-e Muhammad Iqbal or Iqbal Day is a public holiday in Pakistan.
In India he is also remembered as the author of the popular song Saare Jahaan Se Achcha.
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