The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 25

Machiavelli


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The earth spreads out in front of you like a sheet as if you could see both hemispheres at once.

It is the chapter after Kerbala. “Since the Muslim nation is founded upon Unity and prophet-hood, it is not bounded by space,” says Iqbal. He goes on to add that the Prophet was not of this world and his migration from Makkah to Madinah demonstrated a principle of Islam: one who is free of dimensions ranges through all directions, like the sky.

The opposite of this principle is presented next.

Country

In a picturesque village near Florence in Italy, the diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli lives in exile, spending several hours every day in writing Il Principe, or The Prince, inspired by phantoms from the bygone glory of the Roman Empire. With a pen capable of shattering the truth into irreconcilable fragments, he establishes the countries to be the foundations of nations.

He dies in 1527 and the book gets published five years later. Having an ideal becomes unfashionable and people begin to define their identity by territory. Societies are now left without souls and degenerate into tribes, each holding up a territory like an idol to be worshipped.

The view has changed. The earth, which spread out like a sheet, has now become fragmented so that you cannot hold two countries together in view. Your five clues, having almost come together to solve the mystery, are now disjointed and the possibility of finding Joseph might be gone forever: Rumi and Iqbal have become separated by thousands of miles and different ages, and the organic unity between them is gone.

Iqbal was born in such an age and he was aware of this: “My own age does not know the secrets; my Joseph is not for this market.”

DISCUSS

  • How does the Machiavellian approach affect your five clues of Joseph – Rumi and Iqbal, kings, Joseph, Sufism and Time?

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The concept of territorial identities propounded by the Florentine thinker Machiavelli reduces nations to tribes.
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