Dr. Mohammed Iqbal by Anna Marie Schimmel

Here is a link to a lecture by Professor Annemarie Schimmel  “The Work of Muhammad Iqbal”. Allama Iqbal was a philosopher, a scholar , a mystic and a renown poet. He was born in 1877 in Sialkot, Pakistan and died in in Lahore in 1938. He

Annemarie Schimmel (1923-2003) was a highly respected German scholar who wrote extensively on Islam and Sufism and taught in many universities of the world including Harvard.  A link to her  talk..

Ferdowsi Hakim Abu ʾAl-Qasim(935–1025) But hear an…..

But hear an old man’s words: the heart that’s freed
From gnawing passion and ambitious greed
Looks on kings’ treasures and the dust as one;
The man who sells his brother, as you’ve done,
For this same worthless dust, will never be
Regarded as a child of purity.
The world has seen so many men like you,
And laid them low: there’s nothing you can do
But turn to God; take thought then for the way
You travel, since it leads to Judgment Day.”

Amir Khusro (1253-1325)

Amir Khusro  was born in U.P in India in 1253 where his family had settled after leaving Balkh in Afghanistan He was a mathematician, a poet, a Sufi, a musician and a composer. He originated Khayal, Tarana and other forms  of Indian classical music. He  also originated Qawwali. It is said that he introduced Sitar. It is similar to a Persian instrument, the Setar(3 strings).  It is also said that he introduced the tabla. Others say that his name sake Khusrao Khan did. The tabla is an adaptation from Mridangam and Pakhawaj.

Amir Khusro died at the age of 72 in 1325 . The same year Sultan Mohammed Tughlaq became the ruler of Delhi and Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia of the Chisti Order died.
Music and dance is an integral part of Hindu worship and devotion. Khusro introduced Khyal,Tarana and other forms as a secular element of Indian classical music that does not require invoking Radha, Rama and other Avatars.Khaliq).
Here is a sample of Khusro’s poetry.
Oh Khusrau, the river of love
Runs in strange directions.
One who jumps into it drowns,
And one who drowns, gets across.
Please note that the harmonium, an integral part of North Indian music was introduced by missionaries in the early nineteen hundreds. They brought the stand up version and probably used it  for  hymn  singing in church services. The violin, an integral part of South Indian music, is also an import.

Farid Uddin Attar(1150-1222) an overview of that period.

Continuation  of posts introducing a few scholars of the *Golden age of Islam (8th to 13th century), by giving a short overview and a sample of their work

Farīd ud-Dīn (Attar) a physician, a pharmacologist, a scholar of Islam and a Sufi was born in Nishapur, Iran  in 1150. At the age of 72 he was killed during the massacre of the people of Nishapur by invading Mongols.  The killing and destruction of cities, libraries, institutions of learning and Mosques was wide spread from Bokhara to Syria. In Baghdad a city of over one million*, over 500,000 people were killed. Merv, a city of 500,000 was totally destroyed and most of its inhabitants killed and it exists only in ruins today. Bokhara and Samarkand were attacked by Jochi Khan in 1220. Balkh, Nishapur and others cities were targeted in 1222, followed by Merv after that, Isfahan in 1237 and Baghdad in 1258 by Hulagu Khan. Cities in Syria were next to be invaded until Hulagu Khan was stopped by the Mamelukes of Egypt in 1260. Mongols destroyed the centers of Muslim Civilization east of Egypt, converted to Islam, rebuilt Samarkand and Bokhara and became patrons of art, science and architecture.

Hulagu Khan died at the age 40 in 1265. His mother was a Nestorian Christian.  Berke Khan, his cousin and a grandson of Genghis Khan, was an early convert to Islam. The destruction of Baghdad angered him and he had a role in the defeat of Hulagu.

Here is a selection from the writings of Attar.

“Loghman of Sarrakhs cried: “Dear God, behold Your faithful servant, poor, bewildered, old– An old slave is permitted to go free; I’ve spent my life in patient loyalty, I’m bent with grief, my black hair’s turned to snow; Grant manumission, Lord, and let me go.” A voice replied: “When you have gained release from mind and thought, your slavery will cease; You will be free when these two disappear.” He said: “Lord, it is You whom I revere; What are the mind and all its ways to me?” And left them there and then —– “Who am I now? The slave I was has died; What’s freedom, servitude, and where are they? Both happiness and grief have fled away;.. I neither own nor lack all qualities; I know not whether You are I, I You; I lose myself in You, there is no two.”


Important to note that after the destruction by Mongols, a revival in science, architecture, irrigation, Governance, literature  and other fields in the Muslim areas did take place and continued to the onset of the colonial period. The colonial occupation stifled all the creative energies and since then revival is spotty and only a few countries show sign of hope. The burden of intellectual colonialism was most severe on Muslim populations and it still lingers in some from the older generation. The focus now is on cultural domination.

It is also noteworthy that at the onset of the colonial era the quality of life in Muslim countries for an average person was better than what existed in the lands of occupiers.