Allama Iqbal visits Palestine
Allama Iqbal accompanied by Mautana Ghulam Rasul Mehr left Cairo for Palestine on the 5th December 1931 an 6 P.M. They reached Jerusalem on the 6th December at 10 A.M. When the train reached Jerusalem it was raining. Mufti Amin ul Hussaini the Mufti of Palestine and other office holders of the World Muslim Congress were present at the railway station to receive the guests. The Allama and Maulana Ghulam Rasul Mehr were lodged in Grand Hotel.
The same day in the afternoon, an introductory function was held in the spacious Hall of Razutul Maorif at which all delegates to the World Muslim Congress were introduced to one another and to the Palestine leaders. The ceremony being over all the delegates left for Masjid Aqsa. In the way they stopped at the grave of Maulana Muhammad Ali to offer Fate ha. In Masjid Aqsa besides prayers, recitations from the Holy Quran and Naat Khani was held.
The proceedings of the World Muslim Congress began after the night prayers. In his presidential address Mufti Syed Aminvl Hussain thanked the delegates, and said:
“By organising this World Muslim Congress our object is to organise ourselves against any power or religion. We are friends of all and enemy of none. Our object merely is to provide a common platform for the Muslims of the world so that united they may fulfill the mission of Islam.”
Immediately after the Mufti, Allama Iqbal rose to thank the organisers of the World Muslim Congress on behalf of the delegates. Thereafter some other delegates also spoke expressing their thanks.
The regular session began on the 7th December. Mufti Syed Amin ul Hussaini was unanimously elected as the President. Three Vice Presidents were elected and Allama Iqbal was one of them. Thereafter seven Committees were set up. It was decided that as soon as a Committee completed its deliberations, its report should be submitted to the full house. Allama Iqbal was a member of the Education Committee. In this Committee the matter that
came up for consideration was the establishment of a Muslim Uni* versity at Jerusalem. The Allama was against the establishment of a University which should merely impart education in Muslim Theology. The Allama was of the view that it should be a full- fledged institution which should impart education in all subjects usually taught in the Universities in any part of the world.
Before the World Muslim Congress was officialy over, Allama Iqbal left Jerusalem on the 14th December. On the eve of his de¬parture the Allama addressed the full house of the World Muslim Congress. He said:
*‘l am sorry that I cannot stay till the closing session of the World Muslim Congress. I am also sorry that as I do not have a full command over the Arabic language, I could not play an effective role in the deliberations of the Congress.
I very much long that I should come again to Palestine to see the Holy places for which this land is so well known. I congratulate the organisers of this Congress as well as the dele¬gates for the demonstration of the sentiments qf Muslim brotherhood. We are passing through critical times and it is necessary that we should provide proper guidance to our youth so that they may tread on the path of Islam.
Islam is at present subject to two great dangers. One of these dangers is from materialism, and the other from national¬ism. It is our duty that we should oppose both these hostile forces. It is my faith that Islam has the potential and the power to defeat both these forces. Nationalism by itself is not bad, but it must be within certain limits. If it exceeds certain limits there is the danger of it leading to atheism and materialism. I appeal to you that you should be Muslims in the true sense. I am not afraid of the enemies of Islam. My fear is from the Muslims themselves. Whenever I ponder, I bow my head in shame over the thought that we are not worthy of the great Prophet of Islam. When our hearts are illuminated with the light of Islam, we may be in a position to call ourselves the followers of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be on him).
The World Muslim Congress has great responsibilities. Some of the tasks facing It are really stupendous, but I am sure that If we set to the task in the true Islamic spirit, we will certainly succeed in our objective. I appeal to the delegates that when they return to their countries they should spread the message of the World Muslim Congress. They should inculcate the spirit of Muslim brotherhood in all parts of the world. They should in particular concentrate on the youth, for they are the citizens of tomorrow and our future de¬pends on them. I have seen in the youth of Arabia that spirit of determination and resolution which I have not seen any¬where else except in the youth of Italy. It is my faith that the future of Islam is associated with the future of Arabia. The future of Arabia itself depends upon unity of the Arabs. When the Arabs are united Islam will prosper. It is our duty that all of us should lend our hands in bringing about this consummation. May God crown our efforts with success”
In Palestine, Allama Iqbal visited some of the places of worship of the Jews and the Christians. Giving his impressions of the visit to such places, Allama Iqbal said:
‘I have carefully seen the places of worship for the Jews and the Christians. These places are underground and are so dark that it necessitates the lighting of lamps in the day-time. Just on entering therein, one feels the atmosphere so sad and dry that the limbs are paralysed. When I came out, having seen these places of worship, I thanked God that Islam is the first religion that has ordained man to pray in the open, and in fresh air and has laid emphasis on praying in the life- giving light of the sun.”
Affected with the conditions of the Muslims in Syria and Palestine which countries were under the mandate of France, the Allama wrote the poem “Syria and Palestine” which is included in “Zarb-e-Kaleem. The poem reads as follows:
“Let the tavern of the drunkards of France prosper.
In Halb every flask is full of wine ot bright hue.
If the Jews have a right on the land of Palestine,
Why have not the Arabs a right to Spain?
The aim of the imperialism of the British appears to be different. It is not a matter of mere trade in oranges, honey or dates. In another poem entitled “To the Palestinian Arab” which is also included in Zarb-e-Kaleem, the Allama said:
l know you have that spark in your frame;
Of which the world is not yet wholly deprived.
Your remedy does not lie in Geneva or in London,
The life-nerve of the Europeans is in the grip of the Jews.
I have heard that the only way of the emancipaticn of the subject people,
Lies in the manifestation and realisation of ‘Self’.”
In another poem entitled “The Trap of Civilisation”, included in Zarb-I-Kaleem) the Allama said:
“Iqbal has no doubt about the bonafides of Europe,
Which claims to come to the rescue of every wronged people. It is the miracle of the Church in the west.
That it has illuminated thought with electric lamps.
But I feel distressed at the fate of Syria and Palestine,
No plan can unravel this knot.
Having been rescued from the so-called tyrannies of the Turks.
These poor men have been caught in the trap of civilisation.”