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Islam and Open Society Fidelity and Movement in the Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal

Souleymane Bachir Diagne

Publication Year: 2011

In the atmosphere of suspicion and anger that characterizes our time, it is a joy to hear the voice of Iqbal, both passionate and serene. It is the voice of a soul that is deeply anchored in the Quranic Revelation, and precisely for that reason, open to all the other voices, seeking in them the path of his own fidelity. It is the voice of a man who has left behind all identitarian rigidity, who has 'broken all the idols of tribe and caste' to address himself to all human beings. But an unhappy accident has meant that this voice was buried, both in the general forgetting of Islamic modernism and in the very country that he named before its existence, Pakistan, whose multiple rigidities ñ political, religious, military ñ constitute a continual refutation of the very essence of his thought. But we all need to hear him again, citizens of the West, Muslims, and those from his native India, where a form of Hindu chauvinism rages in our times, in a way that exceeds his worst fears. Souleymane Bachir Diagne has done all of us an immense favor in making this voice heard once again, clear and convincing. Charles Taylor, Professor, McGill University Quebec, Canada

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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pp. ix

My father, Sheikh Diagne Ahmadou, introduced me to Muhammad Iqbal; he was also the first attentive reader of this work, inspired by his teaching of an Islam conceived in accordance with what Iqbal calls here 'The spirit of the caliph Umar'. My friends – Maziar Djoneidi, Catherine Clément, Philippe Gouet and Sémou Pathé Guèye – have given me the benefit of their comments. My thanks also go to all those with whom I discussed ...

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pp. xi-xii

We must reread Iqbal. For a time we could imagine him forgotten, consigned to the oubliettes with the other figures of Islamic 'modernism' from the beginning of this century. But he had to come back. ...

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pp. xiii-xv

Referring to his major philosophical work, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938) confided to one of his colleagues that if his book had been written during the reign of the Abbasid caliph Al-Ma’mun – from 813 to 832 – it would have had profound repercussions in all of the Islamic intellectual world. Simply, an author’s pride or even arrogance? To evaluate ...

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Chapter I - A faylasûf of Today

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pp. 1-3

At the end of his poem translated into English under the title The Mysteries of Selflessness,3 Muhammad Iqbal addresses a prayer to God entrusting Him with the posterity of his work. Thus, the same author who in the Prologue of another of his long philosophical poems entitled The Secrets of the Self, had declared that his message, bearer of 'things that are yet unborn in the world',4 was addressed to the future ...

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Chapter II - A Philosophy of the Individual

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pp. 5-17

But which 'I' is speaking in the man who says 'I am the Truth'? It should be truth itself, so inconceivable is it that such a predicate could be attributed to a finite ego. Truth alone being able, truthfully, to testify for itself, only an 'I' previously annulled by it, and in it, could, not profess regarding itself: 'I am the Truth', but be the instrument of this testimony. ...

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Chapter III - A Philosophy of Action

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pp. 19-38

While the divine 'I am' is 'independent, elemental, absolute',79 since nothing stands opposed to Him, no 'non-self' confronts Him in its alterity, our 'I am', which makes us be and gauges our level of reality, is held in the relationship, which is constitutive for it, of the self to the non-self. It is for this reason that while its creative activity, properly speaking, is nothing other than the very manifestation of the Ego as free energy, what ...

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Chapter IV - Fidelity and Movement

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pp. 39-50

In his monumental History of Islamic Philosophy, Majid Fakhry has Muhammad Iqbal occupy a prominent position among the representatives of 'modernism', at the heart of a line in which one encounters the names of the Persian reformer Djamal al-Dîn al Afghânî (1839–1897), who can be considered as the spiritual father of this current of thought, the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (1849– 1905), a disciple of the first, or, in India, Sayyid ...

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Conclusion - On Modernity

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pp. 51-55

We cannot fail, after referring so often to the 'modernist' current in which the Iqbalian philosophy is inscribed, to examine the very notion of modernity. Firstly by repeating that Iqbal quite particularly insists on the idea that this cannot be about a particular content to imitate. And this refusal as much concerns the imitation of a tradition as an external model. Modernity here is thus not something which it would be a matter of a society conforming to, but, in a manner of speaking, a mirror held out to it. ...


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pp. 57-68


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pp. 69-71

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782869784345
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869783058

Page Count: 88
Publication Year: 2011