Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spiritual Democracy

Six years ago, I wrote a fantasy about the great Sufi master Maulana Rumi changing the world after being elected the ruler of a kingdom. From this fantasy was derived the title of my book as well as this blog and the newsletter: The Republic of Rumi.

The inspiration behind that fantasy was the fact that the foremost disciple of Rumi in modern times was Iqbal, and he is actually being recognized as a national hero in several states. Pakistan claims to have been conceived by him. Some of the Central Asian states acknowledge him as a national poet. In Iran also, he is held in high esteem. Hence, through Iqbal, the spirit of Rumi has actually been taking over the affairs of states since the middle of the 20th Century, at least in some ways.

This was the meaning of the fantasy which I wrote six years ago. At that time it was not possible for me to show how the message and the influence of Iqbal can be used for actually creating the kind of government, commonwealth or world order that may be called a "republic of Rumi". I think, now I am in a position to share some interesting findings in this regards.

The keyword is "spiritual democracy". Iqbal stated in the sixth lecture of the Reconstruction (1930) that the ultimate aim of Islam was some kind of a "spiritual democracy". He said that it was to be evolved out of "the hitherto partially revealed purpose of Islam".

I feel that it may be a good idea if this blog and newsletter could be used mainly for elaborating this concept at least for some time. I hope that this suggestion would be welcome by most of the readers - and I would like to hear from you what you think about it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Message from the East (2010)

A Message from the East by Iqbal; translations from A. J. Arberry, Mustansir Mir and Hadi Husain; compiled by Khurram Ali Shafique; illustrated by Natasha Saleem.

First published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2010
ISBN 978-969-416-445-8

Price: Rs.200

Order online within Pakistan: (visit online Bookstore for details).

Iqbal could see the irony that so many of his generation had received inspiration for action from the writings of Western poets and thinkers in order to get rid of that fatalism which had taken roots in the East in the days of its decline. Iqbal was among those who did not stop here but also rediscovered the past masters of the East through research and finally took Rumi, the great Persian poet, as his guide. However, as he now looked back at the West, he found it to be in the grip of the same defeatist mentality which appears in nations in their periods of decline. A Message from the East was compiled against this backdrop. It reflected the best tradition of Persian poetry but also alluded to icons of Western learning. The preface aptly declared the book to be a friendly response to West-Oestlicher Divan of the great German poet-philosopher Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

The selection offered in this junior edition comprises mainly of translations by A.J. Arberry, Hadi Husain and Mustansir Mir.

Note: Since then, I have switched to "The Message of the East", which conveys the meaning of the original Persian title better.  At that time I was following Hadi Husain, who had styled it "A Message from the East" in his translation of the book.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Topline Social Studies (2012)

Topline Secondary Social Studies Programme (Revised Edition) by Khurram Ali Shafique. This revised edition first published in 2013 in Pakistan by Topline Publishers. 

ISBN 978-969-567-057-6

ISBN 978-969-567-058-3

ISBN 978-969-567-059-0

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Javidnama (2006)

Check Urdu Version

Javidnama by Iqbal retold by Hina Tanvir; edited by Khurram Ali Shafique; illustrated by Tabassum Khalid.

First published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in Junior Editions Series in 2006; reprinted several times since then.
ISBN 969-416-371-4
pp.48 (US Letter size; full-color)

Price Rs.200

Order online within Pakistan: (visit online Bookstore for details).

Read online (free) on the old website

On a lonely evening, Iqbal meets Rumi. Together they embark on a journey to the end of the world and beyond - meeting those who cannot be seen, and those who are long gone. The worlds of spirit and matter combine, leading the poet into the presence of the Divine.

Javidnama was described by Iqbal as his "life's work" and can be justly regarded as one of the most important books of the modern times. This abridged edition presents the grand epic in simple contemporary English.

Note: Since then, I have switched to "Javid Nama" (writing the two words separately) because Iqbal himself wrote it like that. At that time I was following the style of A. J. Arberry who wrote the two words as one in his translation. Khurram Ali Shafique

Friday, March 22, 2013

Stray Reflections (poster)

Read about the book

Stray Reflections (2006)

Stray Reflections: the Private Notebook of Muhammad Iqbal (also includes 'Stray Thoughts'); Edited with Afterword by Dr. Javid Iqbal; Revised and Annotated by Khurram Ali Shafique; Appendix 'A Rare Writing of Iqbal' by Afzal Haq Qarshi

Published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2006; reprinted a few times since then. Previous editions published in 1961 (reprinted 1987) and 1992.


ISBN 969-416-003-0


Stray Reflections is the name given by Allama Iqbal to his private notebook, which he kept for some time in 1910 to jot down his random thoughts and reflections. Many of these notes were incorporated in his prose works at that time, and some were later offered for print in newspapers after revision. 

The notebook, which offers some insight into the development of Iqbal's mind, was first edited and published by Dr. Javid Iqbal, the poet's son, twenty-four years after the poet's death. 

The present revised edition is enriched by comprehensive notes and also includes 'Stray Thoughts', reflections of similar nature published by Iqbal at a later stage. Facsimiles of the original notebook in Iqbal's own hand are also included in this edition, making it a collector's item for anyone who is interested in the development of one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

2017: the Battle for Marghdeen (2012)

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen by Khurram Ali Shafique
First published by Liberadux UK

ISBN/EAN13 0957141637 / 9780957141636
Price printed version: US$5.00 (from CreateSpace)

Ebook ISBN 9780957141629
Price ebook: US$1.99 (from Smashwords)

Marghdeen is an ideal society conceived by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), a foremost thinker of modern times. It is a world where life is inside-out, people know their destinies and there is no poverty, neediness, crime or injustice.

In 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen, the author shows how such a society can be achieved in a short space of time, as long as we are prepared to change our perception about the world we live in. The book presents the basic principles for achieving Marghdeen, illustrated with examples from modern history. There is a special emphasis on societies that already acknowledge Iqbal as their thinker, but these principles can be applied anywhere in the world.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shakespeare According to Iqbal

Shakespeare According to Iqbal: An Alternative Reading of the Tempest by Khurram Ali Shafique

First published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2010

ISBN 978-969-416-448-9

pp. 48

Price Rs. 70

Order online within Pakistan: (visit online Bookstore for details).

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was among those modern thinkers who had tremendous influence on the East, especially the Muslim world. He was also a great admirer of William Shakespeare, and unlike many of his contemporaries, his praise for the Bard was not riddled with skepticism. 

Here is a pioneering attempt by historian and playwright Khurram Ali Shafique to revisit Shakespeare in the light of Iqbal's thought in order to discover some revealing connections between the work of Shakespeare and outstanding poets of the East including Nezami Ganjavi, Mawlana Rumi and Iqbal himself. 
Partly written like an extended parable, this book is meant to be of some interest for the general reader as well as the expert in the field.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Beast and the Lion (2007)

The Beast and the Lion: Issues of Transcendence in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats by Khurram Ali Shafique

First published in Pakistan by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2007

ISBN 978-969-416-398-7


Price Rs.50

Order online within Pakistan: (visit online Bookstore for details).

The poetry of W. B. Yeats is generally acclaimed to be representing the devastation, despair and decadence of the 20th Century. This groundbreaking study attempts to show that the vision of Yeats was grounded more in his philosophical premise than in the objective reality of his times. Contrary to the common perception of Yeats as a cosmopolitan visionary who has something to offer everyone, this study shows that the terror projected in such poems as "The Second Coming" was a fear of the political reawakening of the East!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Iqbal: an Illustrated Biography

Iqbal: an Illustrated Biography by Khuram Ali Shafique

First published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2006; reprinted 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012

pp. 208 (US Letter size, full-color coffee-table format)

Price Rs.1000

Recipient of the Presidential Iqbal Award
Believing in the elemental unity of matter and spirit, he pointed out that all humanity was one. Anything that divides the human race is evil and must be opposed. The ideal to be achieved is a world free from poverty and tyranny. He believed that it was possible, and offered a spiritual solution to achieve this end. His observations seem strikingly contemporary today.

This is the fascinating story of the life and times of the man who defied the cynicism of his age and upheld his belief in the future of the humankind, their glory and their possible immortality.

Iqbal: an Illustrated Biography is arranged like a library of information, visual and documentary records, and memorabilia about one of the most important minds of the modern times.

From the comment by Dr. Javid Iqbal
Printed on the back title

...This book is a commendable effort to bring together the various aspects of Iqbal in an interesting manner with visual embellishment. It is a one-volume encyclopedia of his life, work and times.

From the comment by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
Printed on the back title

...The present book is an encyclopedic biography that covers all these aspects of the mind of Iqbal, without removing him from his various contexts: his time, his beautiful expression, and his unconditional faith in a common future for humanity.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality (2007)

The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality by Khurram Ali Shafique

First published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan in 2007;

reprinted 2009 and 2012

ISBN 978-969-416-388-8

Price Rs.300

Order online within Pakistan: (visit online Bookstore for details).

Inside the Garden lies a secret as old as life itself but you must leave everything outside - even your previous knowledge. This is a fascinating voyage of discovery that stops at nothing short of reaching into the heart of the matter - and spirit.

Iqbal reinterpreted Rumi for our times, and now Iqbal has been reinterpreted for the times to come.

What you will discover here may be of a permanent relevance to your life and life in general, which may be better explained now in terms such as the Five Wisdoms, the Seven Stages of the Journey, the Fountain of Life, Jamshid's Cup, the Dance of the Soul, the Falcon and the Leopard and, of course, Joseph!

Comment from Muhammad Suyel Umar, Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan
Printed on the flap of the dust cover in the book

Khurram Ali Shafique is the first Iqbal scholar to have completed a much-needed requirement in Iqbal Studies that was being pointed out by the scholars for the last few decades.

It has been said about the Quran that "part of it explains other parts of it" and the internal coherence in the writings of Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) had for long seemed to be inspired from this aspect of the Divine Word. The thread that runs through his poetry and the function of his lectures as an explanation of his poetry were all aspects that were touched in Iqbal Studies briefly but no has ever attempted to articulate the architectural whole of Iqbal's canon in order to show the intricacy of the design intended by the author himself. This is what Shafique has done in The Republic of Rumi through a narrative that is remarkably readable and accessible without losing the depth that should be expected in such a work.

This is a book for our times and of our times.

Comment from Ahmad Javed, Deputy Director, Iqbal Academy Pakistan
Printed on the back title of the book

This book takes you a long way on the path devised by Iqbal in order that Rumi's system of mysteries could seep into the deepest possible recesses of human consciousness.

Javidnama (poster)