…in commemoration of URS, excerpts from the paper presented in KU seminar
On October, the 9th 2013, Anjumn-e-Himayat-e-Islam (a premier religious organization) organized a seminar in Ibn Khaldun auditorium of Kashmir University to commemorate Hazrat Shah-e-Hamadan on his URS (an annual remembrance). The theme was Shah-e-Hamadan—Nizam-e-Tahzib-ul-Iklaq (Shah-e-Hamadan—civilization based on morals). A galaxy of prominent persons—jurists, academicians, columnists, writers, religious scholars participated. The excerpts of the paper I presented on the auspicious occasions follow.
How does Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani (RA) relate to issues that concern humanity, probably nothing explains it in as fine a manner and with as deft a touch as exhibited by the art of Allama Iqbal (RA). The art in Persian poetic form, the finest medium of human expression encompasses the entire spectrum of Amir-e-Kabir’s thought. Allama Iqbal’s ‘Javid Nama’ is marked by the magnificence of its literary form, its comprehensiveness, its interaction with a galaxy of literates, soldiers of fame and spiritualists of yore. The poetic treatise has a comprehensive Kashmir related poem captioned ‘Ziyarat-e-Amir Kabir Mir Syed Hamdani and Mulla Tahir Ghani Kashmiri’ the two Persians who enriched the tale of Kashmir, Ghani with his poetry added colour. He made Kashmir his home. Originally a Khorasani (from Khorasan province in Iran—bordering Afghanistan) in Persian literature, he got immortalized as Ghani Kashmiri.
Allama Iqbal praises Shah-e-Hamdan as Salar-e-Ajam (leader of Persians) the one who shaped Kashmir’s destiny and blessed the heavenly vale with knowledge (Alim) industry (Sanat) civilizational morality (Tahzib) and religion (Deen) and remained a consultant of sages and kings. He is related to have guided Sultan Shuhab-ud-Din (1354-1373 A.D) in statecraft. Shawl industry, carpet weaving, wood-crafts were started, as Amir-e-Kabir (RA) with 700 Iranian nobles blessed the vale. In the realm of knowledge, Allama Iqbal relates the scholarly background of Shah-e-Hamadan. His ancestors, reveals Iqbal, were teachers of famed Imam Ghazali (1058-1112 A.D). Imam Gazali’s classic view that faith being inherently logical does not need substantiation applied brakes on neo-Platonic and Aristotelian concepts that knowledge flows from reason. Imam Ghazali (Gazelez for occident) called the Greek philosophy as ‘Incoherence of Philosophers’.
Amir-e-Kabir a few centuries later took cue from the take of Imam Ghazali that faith is the predominant factor; however for the ones with faith, the nature reveals itself with abundance of reason. Nothing remains a secret as the elements that form nature fall in place one by one. Shah-e-Hamadan in a consoling advisories soothes Iqbal’s fears in session after session of fervent questioning…May I tell you a secret, while physical self withers, spiritual self sparkles like a pearl, hence it may remain distinct as the pure ought to remain distinct from impure. The power of the spirit is unparalleled, nothing may be compared to it, and it may look caged, which in fact it isn’t. Give it free play instead of suppressing it, doing that would widen the horizons. Material needs may be kept subservient to spiritual needs. Beauty lies in discovering the inner self, like the star of the night it sparkles, ugliness engulfs the one who fails to do it. Not realizing the self amounts to non-existence and caging of spirit, realizing it means getting hold of the self and freeing the spirit. Going beyond self preserves the spirit, self-interest kills it.
Iqbal (Zinda-e-Roud—the assumed name in Javid Nama that implies a live stream) gets into another interactive session with Amir-e-Kabir. In a query of general nature, he asks why good and bad is fashioned the way it exists in universe and the task of human beings rendered difficult in choosing between the two. The creator asks for good deeds, while making the ‘Satan’ as powerful as he is. Iqbal seeks an answer; assured that the one who has untied so many knots would provide it. Amir-e-Kabir says that anyone versed with living meaningfully knows how to make a distinction between what is beneficial and what is harmful. Becoming a partner in satanic endeavours is a disgrace, fighting it adds to grace. Satanic tendencies have to be overcome, as you are sword and the Satan the element of sharpening the sword (Sung-e-Fasan in Persian—the stone on which the sword is sharpened). We are indeed living in a society with many satanic manifestations—corruption, nepotism and an array of social customs eating into vitals of economy and disturbing social order.
The question remains that could we ever build a civilization based on morals without a sound political order? Governance in east or west, says Amir-e-Kabir could either be by the willing participation of the governed or by suppressive order. Obeisance could only be to paid to Allah (swt) and the messenger…Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and also the one amongst you duly elected [Minkum in Quranic text alluding to chapter 59, verse (Ayah) 4]. An order of governance outside the prescribed format may not be acceptable. Setting up the desired order may entail deft handling of war and peace, of order and disorder. Good governance is not a purchasable commodity, purchasing it may be akin to purchasing highly fragile chinaware. Ideal governance springs from experience of exercising it and is akin to Cyrus’s goblet of wine [Cyrus (Jamsheed) was the ancient king of Iran; Jam-i-Jam (Jamsheed’s goblet of wine] symbolizes the accumulated experience in governance in oriental (mainly Persian) lore.
By quoting the governing skills of Cyrus the great, while presenting the Islamic viewpoint on governance, it is apparent that governance which is consistent with the spirit of Islamic governance finds favour with the thinking of great Islamic scholars. There is a common vein running in the take of Imam Ghazali, Maulana Rumi, Amir-e-Kabir Mir Syed Ali Hamdani and Allama Iqbal. Governance…proper, with precision to provide services to the governed has had a common refrain from concept of ideal state devised by Plato—a state where a philosopher statesman may rule. Islam perfected the ideal state—the republic of Medina reflected it. Wherever Islamic sages like Amir Kabir Mir Syed Ali preached, they attempted to set-up a state on those very lines.
Amir-e-Kabir means a lot to Kashmir, generations have paid their tribute, and generations to follow would remember him. The best tribute however would remain to work for the state, the sages dreamt of, and the state actualized by the likes of Amir-e-Kabir. He had multiple attributes; stabilizing polity of Kashmir would remain the prime one.
Yaar Zinda Sohbat Baqi (Reunion is subordinate to survival)