A Reformer, Poet, Philosopher and Economist par Excellence: The Great, One and Only Allama Iqbal

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Muhammad Iqbal popularly recognized as Allama Iqbal was a writer, theorist, philosopher, and political figure along with being an educationist, lawyer, and scholar par excellence (Javaid, 2005). Despite the fact that he never studied the subject of economics formally, he was well versed with it and its applied side due to which he got the opportunity to teach economics at the Government College, Lahore. The main aim behind his involvement in economics through teaching and publications was to emphasize the significance of economics in our ordinary business of life and its capacity to solve societal problems in general and economic problems, in particular. He goes to the extent of stating that economic and social problems of the societies can be solved once we have a better understanding of the subject of economics and for that matter let’s master the subject of economics, ‘‘A wrong concept misleads the understanding; a wrong deed degrades the whole man, and may eventually demolish the structure of the human ego (Allama Iqbal).’’

The problems being faced in the present day in South Asia were forecast by Allama Iqbal many decades ago. The understanding of Allama Iqbal on the political economy of South Asia, formation of new institutions and new economic orders, and ideological radicalism constitutes guiding light and a symbol of hope for nations falling under South Asia. He is undoubtedly one of the great economists until today. In the Indo-Pak subcontinent, he was the first personality cum economist to raise his expression against the exploitation of Muslims by local and foreign classes who had full control over the factors of production. His economic thought has applied implications and is, therefore, brilliant. He is among the few to scrutinize the active working of an economy scientifically, logically and systematically. It was Allama Iqbal who first made the realization of the importance of man. In fact, the principle of human personality is the opening lines and decisive point in his solutions to all multifaceted planetary problems in general and economics in particular.
For the great Allama, a man should maintain law and order conducive to social, political and economic activities. There are many advanced countries , in general , and Muslim countries , in particular, which actually follow his social and economic thoughts, and guidelines as far as policy making and implementation is concerned.
According to Allama Iqbal, more expenditure should be on scientific and applied education, health services, public works and all other activities that contribute to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) while as less expenditure should be on unproductive works which don’t create value additions in the economy.
When education has no enlightenment, it is no education at all. When it gets burning inside out, it is education in the real sense of the term-all-inclusive and all comprehensive. The first education in economics which has the capacity to burn us from the heart and soul is Ilmul Iqtisad which was the first book on economics in Urdu authored by Allama Iqbal. It was his first publication (1903) which is the science of economics. In the beginning of the twentieth century Europe, the books written by classical economists like Adam Smith, J. S. Mill, Malthus, Ricardo, Alfred Marshall were taught. At that time British Sub-continent’s lecturers had a blurry vision of economics.
The Allama’s work served as an encouragement and a light for the next generation of authors in economics. He underlined and delineated the correla¬tion between economic activity and human psychology and raised the query of the upshot that a man would have on his body and mind if he is not in a position to meet both ends meet. According to him the macroeconomic problems of unequal distribution of income, output and employment, malnutrition, and poverty have great bearing upon the human mind and soul.
Man is the main protagonist in Iqbal’s philosophy. The doctrine of Khudi (human ego) is the fundamental and defining aspect of his works. The ethical and religious ideal of man is not self-negation but self-assertion and he attains this ideal by becoming more and more individual, and therefore, more, and more exclusive and distinct. This notion is the dominant melody of Allama’s thought. In fact, the canon of human personality is the preliminary and decisive viewpoint in Iqbal’s answers to all composite cosmological problems. According to him, originality, creativeness, vision, untiring economic activity and the relentlessfight against hitches and problems are the vital and vivacious modes of human life. Through his poetry and logical and philosophical writings, we come to the conclusion that freedom is the basis of all standards and values. He upholds that egoistic life is possible only in freedom. In one words, life is a struggle for freedom (Hakim, n.d.). Man’s liberty and creativity, at the early stage of life must be under the control and guidance of Law that may teach him to abide by certain moral principles.

History is scientific enquiry conducted by historians with a purpose to know the origin, development, change, and fall of civilizations. It is witness to the fact that the rise and fall of civilizations is a matter of how they consider their socio-cultural, political, and economic factors. All those nations had a fall who neglected their socio-cultural, political, and economic factors. Underdeveloped economies in general and South Asian economies, in particular, must revisit their political economy and re-construct their social, political, and economic institutions, resolve their social, political and economic problems by following Allama Iqbal’s socio-economic-political thoughts and make their economies truly a welfare state. “The people of Asia are bound to rise against the acquisitive economy which the West has developed and imposed on the nations of the East. Asia cannot comprehend modern Western capitalism with its undisciplined individualism”. They must give up their ‘undisciplined individualism’. Once, underdeveloped nations become civilized in the true sense of the word, all problems will come to an end. Allama Iqbal believed that socio-economic ups and downs(changes) were necessary for the establishment of social justice for which the highest qualification is the moral excellence of man, in which Islam must have a decisive role.
Rehman, Javaid (2005). Islamic State Practices, International Law and the Threat from Terrorism: A Critique of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ in the New World Order. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Abdul Hakim, K. n.d. Renaissance in Indo-Pakistan: Iqbal in M.M. Sharief, Ed. A History of Muslim Philosophy, op. cit. Vol. II, p. 1617.

The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, an Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar and Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Science. She is also theIJRULA title awards, 2018 winner (Best Researcher, and can be reached at: qadribinish@gmail.com