In his magnum opus, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (also known as the Poet of the East) discusses the need for humanity to reorient their lived experiences in light of a spiritual awakening. He discusses how every grain of sand is God’s immaculate creation and the purpose of human life on earth is to look for God’s signs in its beauty and profundity.
He further discusses how humanity’s struggle to replace the religious mind with a secular worldview, arrived at flawed solutions like the division of humanity into races and nations. Whereas, the emergence of Islam amidst a disintegrated, barbaric Arab society was partly necessitated by the need to remove deep-seated discrimination in the human society.
Back in his day, things weren’t much different while Iqbal also lamented the decline of progressive religious thought. Iqbal takes to task both the dogmatists and the “enlightened” european thought which lost the key to the evolution of human thought; the emancipation of the soul.
He argues that Divine revelation has historically demonstrated the need for the emancipation of the human soul followed by an unprecedented transformation of the social structure. Therefore, to remove the soul out of the equation of human intellectual progress, is a huge disservice to humanity itself.
Islam’s gift to mankind has been to obliterate the false idols of language, cast, sect and race, withholding peace (within and around us) and enjoining the soul to fitra; its natural state of being. Such a spiritual awakening enabled the Arab society out of the throes of oblivion and such is the current state of affairs of the entire human race. The solution which Iqbal suggests to this epiphany, is a spiritual regeneration supported by a rational approach, rooted in a profound understanding of God’s revelation and the Prophet’s (SAW) sunna.