Seminar: 'Rumi and Iqbal were more than poets'

Seminar: 'Rumi and Iqbal were more than poets'

A seminar titled ‘Rumi and Iqbal — two great minds’ was organised by the Greenwich University and the Rumi Forum
04 Mar, 2016

KARACHI: Iqbal really loved the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This can be known from his writings and through the recollections of those who visited him. They say whenever the Prophet would be discussed, Iqbal would feel deeply touched by it and tears would begin to flow from his eyes.

This was said by Dr Zeki Saritoprak, professor of Islamic Studies, department of theology and religious studies, John Carroll University, Ohio, while speaking at a seminar titled ‘Rumi and Iqbal — two great minds’ organised by the Greenwich University and the Rumi Forum on the university’s premises on Thursday.

Dr Saritoprak, who grew up in Turkey and now lives in the United States, said the topic of his paper was ‘The love of the Prophet in Rumi and Iqbal’s thoughts’. He said the origin of love for the Prophet was in the Holy Quran. He said following the Prophet was loving Allah, the most forgiving and merciful. He said one of the titles of the Prophet was Habibullah, the beloved of God. He said in Rumi the love of the Prophet was a large concept. The poet, he said, had touched upon it in his verses on Mairaaj (the Ascension). He gave many examples in which Rumi had praised the Prophet using beautiful metaphors, one of which was the incomparable pearl. He said according to Rumi, we had idols in our hearts; if we loved the Prophet, we would be able to free our hearts of all the idols.

On Iqbal, Dr Saritoprak said he really loved the Prophet which could be known from his writings and from those who visited him. He said those who visited him said whenever the Prophet would be discussed, it would deeply touch Iqbal and tears would begin to flow from his eyes. He said in Pyam-i-Mashriq Iqbal said he who cherished the love of Mustafa controlled everything in the seas and land. Quoting from Armaghan-i-Hijaz, he said his community possessed the heart but had no beloved. And who is the beloved, he asked and replied: the Prophet.

After his talk, responding to a question about why this aspect of Rumi did not get highlighted in the West, Dr Saritoprak said: “It’s now getting better.”

Dr Iftikhar Shafi, associate professor, department of English, University of Karachi, was the next speaker. Giving his own example that how he reached Rumi through Iqbal, he said he focused on the subject as to what brought the aesthetic and the religious (or ethical) together in the two poets’ works. He called it unique and astounding. He said they belonged to a unique league of creative individuals who did not call themselves poets. He claimed such a league did not exist in western literature. He said Rumi and Iqbal called themselves something else, and to explain that he quoted from different sources, including those taken from philosophical thought, suggesting where art ended something else began.

He also quoted Iqbal’s line ‘Meri nava-i-pareeshan ko shairi na samajh’ (Don’t misconstrue my concerned voice as poetry) to explain himself. He said Iqbal was important to us because he took us to Rumi.

After his speech, quite a few questions were put to Dr Shafi. One of them was to do with the definition of tasawwuff, to which he said it needed a detailed answer and for that the questioner could get in touch with him later.

TV anchor and journalist Yasir Qazi was the last speaker of the evening. He started off by narrating one of his dreams which, apart from the two poets, also featured the great Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.

Earlier, Dr Sait Celik, director of the Rumi Forum, delivered a brief speech beginning by the famous Rumi verse, “I’m a mountain. You call. I echo.” He said Rumi was a great messenger, who used the language of love. He said it had been seven centuries since the poet passed away but his verses penetrated centuries to reach our time. He said his voice was waiting for the right person to convey his message and then came Iqbal to convey that.

Uruj Perwaiz introduced the Rumi Forum to the audience. She said it was founded in 1999 in the US and had chapters in different cities of Pakistan. She said the aim of the forum was to promote peace, love and harmony.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2016


why so Serious? Mar 04, 2016 10:56am
when rumi meet Shams Tabrizi he wrote "Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi" , now think what Shams Tabrizi was?
Satt Mar 04, 2016 11:00am
Rumi is bigger poet if he would be living in modern world he would surely be getting nobel prize.
RumiIqbal4Love Mar 04, 2016 11:00am
Rumi is a great promoter of love. He had eloquently said "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Ahmar Qureshi Mar 04, 2016 11:26am
Dr. Allama M. Iqbal "dil-e-mushtaq paida kar, agar chahay waqar apna! mohabbat k bina dunya se kuch haasil nahin hota!" - & He proved it!
M. Emad Mar 04, 2016 11:51am
Is Allama Iqbal anyway comparable to Rumi ?
Khanm Mar 04, 2016 12:08pm
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words...indeed they were human with feelings and thoughts compassion
Taher Nana Mar 04, 2016 12:43pm
Exactly both
Shahid Mar 04, 2016 12:55pm
@M. Emad preachers of love do not need to be compared!
Fast Mar 04, 2016 01:21pm
there is a great similarities Between Iqbal and Romi. Iqbal called Romi as his spiritual teacher. Romi no doubt was a great poet but Poet of east is no other but Allama Iqbal.
think tank Mar 04, 2016 01:43pm
Mohd Junaid Mar 04, 2016 01:57pm
Your comment Rumi, gave a scholary concept of Islam as was acknowledged by the world in his times. Iqbal,was not just a poet he was a teacher a philosopher a great lover of Prophet (PBUH) and political guide. So many qualities in a single soul.
BRILLIANT Mar 04, 2016 02:31pm
Please don't compare Rumi with Iqbal. Please don't compare Heart with Head.
Abbas Naqvi Mar 04, 2016 02:42pm
Rumi and Iqbal opened new avenues of understanding the ultimate reality by traveling through our own self. They were massengers in their own ways revealing to others what they had seen and experienced through Devine inspiration. Their love of the HolyProphet (pbuh) was their main guide that led them to ascend the higher plains of perfection as human beings. They spoke to human intellect prompting it to contemplate and discover its way to salvation and eventual destination. They were ahead of their time though but will continue to provide inspiration for all times to come.
Arifa Mukhtar Mar 04, 2016 03:56pm
It's great idea
Ijaz Mar 04, 2016 06:43pm
@M. Emad Of course yes - Rumi was the inspiration and teacher, Iqbal the diligent disciple. But disciples can become as comparable and sometimes greater than their teachers, take Jalal ud din Rumi and Shams o Trabrizi. It does not matter who one thinks compares to whom - it is a matter of personal taste. What is essential is to read, learn and take something from these great minds, If even 10% of the Pak population understood 10% of the wisdom of Rumi or Iqbal, I tell you Pakistan would be a very different place
Hamid Mar 04, 2016 10:25pm
@BRILLIANT Indeed, little knowledge leads to confusion!
Imaddi Mar 05, 2016 01:39am
@M. Emad you are right.
Farooq Mar 05, 2016 02:30am
@BRILLIANT Comparing Rumi with Iqbal is pointless... Why compare a teacher with his disciple. Moreso this special relation spans centuries that elapsed betweeen the two great thinkers. Correct perspective is warranted to contemplate their message of love.
Mustafa Mar 05, 2016 07:46am
One branch of philosophy leads to practical aspects like science and more practical aspects like Engineering. Another branch of philosophy leads to practical aspects like ideology and more practical aspects like politicians such as Quaid-e-Azam. I see a clear line of thought evolution from Rumi to Jami to Iqbal to Quaid-e-Azam Mohommad Ali Jinnah.
Invinci Mar 05, 2016 07:59am
@why so Serious? What was rumi's state when Shaams pulled out pile of books from water, yet there was no single drop of water on it.... Agreed to your question.
Mustafa Mar 05, 2016 07:59am
@why so Serious?; 'when rumi meet Shams Tabrizi he wrote "Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi" , now think what Shams Tabrizi was?' Every scholar learns from scholars before him and few can add to the knowledge. Shams-uddin Tabrazi also had a teacher, Kamak-uddin Jumdi. If the disciples could not improve on their teachers, the humanity would not evolve.
Mustafa Mar 05, 2016 08:02am
@Khanm; 'Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.' Quite true, no wonder great poets come from societies with evolved languages.
Mustafa Mar 05, 2016 08:37am
@BRILLIANT; 'Please don't compare Rumi with Iqbal. Please don't compare Heart with Head.' I think you have missed half of each poet, they both had hearts and they both had heads.
shahid Mar 05, 2016 08:59am
Keep on posting versus on face book and twitter daily.
Shamail Shahid Mar 05, 2016 09:08am
The on e understand Iqbal will surely be able to understand Rumi, the great.
naseem haider Mar 05, 2016 09:56am
dr allama iqbal was really a great philospher.,
Mian Zahoor Ahmad Mar 05, 2016 08:52pm
@Satt Nobel prize does not deserve the high level of Rumi or Iqbal. they are far above these tiny miny honors.
Ahluwalia (A proud Punjabi from village AHLU near Lahore) Mar 06, 2016 06:12am
@Mian Zahoor Ahmad sahib, very well said:)
Zubair Siddiqui Mar 06, 2016 09:51am
Good coverage.