Pillars of Nationhood
There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger.
This is the basic statement of Muslim faith, and Iqbal derives two
pillars of Muslim nationhood from this:
- Unity of God (There is no god except God)
- Prophet-hood (and Muhammad is His Messenger)
The first pillar: Unity
The Mughal Emperor Alamgir is offering prayer in his
camp. A tiger appears and attacks him. Rather than disrupting the
prayer, Alamgir takes out his dagger and smites the beast.
“Fear of God is the only caption to faith whereas
in every other fear there is the seed of contradiction and unbelief,”
says Iqbal. “Whatever evil lurks within your heart can be
traced back to fear. Since it is weakened when zeal is high, it
is most happy in disunion.”
The second pillar: Prophet-hood
“The purpose of Muhammad’s mission was
to found Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood among all human beings,”
you are informed by an inscription nearby.
The Arab army has overthrown the Persian Empire.
Jaban, supreme commander of Persian armies, is captured by a Muslim
foot soldier who doesn’t know him. Jaban obtains pardon
for his life without telling him who he is. Superiors find out
the truth and bring the matter before Bu Ubaydah, the commander
of Arab armies.
“Friends, we are Muslims,” says Bu
Ubaidah. “We are strings upon one lute and have a common
melody. It is still the voice of the masters even if it comes
out of the throats of slaves. A promise given by an individual
is as good as treaty signed by the entire nation. O followers
of the Holy Prophet, the blood of Jaban may not be spilled by
any Muslim sword.”
Sultan Murad, the Ottoman emperor has found fault
in the work of a mason who was assigned to build a mosque. In
a fit of rage, he cuts the mason’s hand.
The poor man files suite and the king is summoned.
The judge recites from the Quran: “There is life for you
in retribution.” The emperor trembles, folds back his sleeve
and takes out his hand to be cut off. The plaintiff is overcome
with commotion and recites another verse from the Holy Book: “God
bids you to act with generosity as well as justice.” Then
he adds, “I forgive in the name of God and the Prophet.”
Early Muslims chose their rulers through consensus
but now a caliph has nominated his son, Yazid, to succeed him.
He demands allegiance.
Husain, also known as Shabbir, is grandson of the
Prophet and the son of Ali. With just seventy-two companions (including
women and children) he sets out to take on the usurper but is
ambushed in Kerbala, a place on the bank of the Euphrates in the
He is slain along with most of his companions but
he has managed to draw out the sword of No-god and with its blade
write on the sands of Time: “Except God.”
- How are the Unity of God and prophet-hood
of Muhammad relevant to your quest for Joseph?
- Kings were usually held in contempt in ‘The Secrets
of the Self’. Why are they being presented here
- Is there a connection between “brotherhood”
as defined here and the kind of power attributed earlier
to Bu Ali Qalandar (Chapter 9)?