By Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq

Pakistan and Afghanistan share deep-rooted historic bonds of culture, geography and faith. They also cherish common customs, languages, literature and heroes. This historic bond between the two nations was revived by Allama Iqbal – the national poet of Pakistan – through his poetry.

Iqbal was a strong proponent of political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilization across the world. He conceived the creation of a Muslim state in South Asia . Therefore, he is known as Muffakir-e-Pakistan (the thinker of Pakistan ). He is also called Hakeem-ul-Ummat (the sage of Ummah) and Shair-e-Mashriq (the poet of the East).

Iqbal’s poetry is mostly in Persian. Out of 12,000 verses, some 7,000 are in this language, which makes Iqbal Lahori a household name in Afghanistan .

The primary focus of Iqbal’s intellect is on spirituality and development of human society. His thoughts were influenced by several Western philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Goethe but he abhorred the Western society’s obsession with materialism.

Iqbal’s study of culture and history of Islamic civilization was because of his strong liking of Jalal-ud-Din Rumi/Balkhi whom he called hisMurshid (guide). The poetry and philosophy of Jalal-ud-Din influenced Iqbal more than any other scholar.

In his 1932 work Javed Nama (Book of Javed), addressed to his son, Iqbal depicted himself as Zinda Rud – a stream full of life through various heavens and spheres. As Zinda Rud Iqbal approaches divinity and come in contact with the divine light. The whole idea is a reiteration of Jalal-ud-Din Balkhi’s thought.

Iqbal’s dislike for political divisions amongst Muslim nations is evident both from his poetry and prose. He promoted the global Muslim community – the Ummah . A concept influenced by Syed Jamal-ud-Din Afghani.

In 1915, Iqbal published his first collection of poetry, Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of the Self) in Persian. In this book Iqbal has explained his philosophy of “Khudi” (Self). He advocated that the whole universe obeys the will of “the Self”. Iqbal also condemned self-destruction.

In his Ramuz-e-Behkudi (Hints of Selflessness), Iqbal considers Islamic way of life as the best code of conduct for a Muslim nation’s survival. He said a person should preserve his individual characteristics but sacrifice his person for the betterment of the nation.

The three messages of Asrar-e-Khudi and Ramuz-e-Bekhudi i.e., (i) Khudi; (ii) condemnation of self-destruction; and (iii) sacrificing self for the nation are particularly relevent for us in Pakistan and Afghanistan in today’s uncertain and dangerous era.

In his poetry, prose and speeches Iqbal repeatedly referred to the heroic struggle of Afghans against imperialism. He was greatly impressed by Afghans’ love for freedom and their natural hatred of attempts to subjugate them.

Iqbal idealized the bravery of Afghans.

Iqbal praised, and wrote about, Afghanistan and its people more than any other country or people. In his book Ramuz-e-Ajam, he said:

Iqbal was also impressed with the love of Afghans for Islam. He said:


Iqbal’s book Payam-e-Mashreq is dedicated to Amir Amanullah Khan in recognition of his heroic struggle for a free Afghanistan . In his first visit to Afghanistan , he presented Payam-e-Mashreq to Amanullah Khan and addressed him with following message:

Iqbal also advised Afghan nation that only knowledge was the basis of progress and not the blind following of alien cultures:

Iqbal gave a message of unity to Afghan nation, in addition to several other messages, by saying in an Urdu poem:

Iqbal was an ardent admirer of great sons of Afghanistan such as Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi, Sayed Ali Hajwari, Sanai Ghaznavi, Abdur Rehman Jami and Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani.

Iqbal wrote about them extensively for example about Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani he said:

Iqbal also admired Afghan conquers and kings like Zaheer Uddin Babar, Sultan Mohammad Ghori, Nadir Shah, Alauddin Khilji, Sher Shah Suri, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Ahmad Shah Baba and Amanullah Khan.

In 1933, at the invitation of King Nadir Shah, Iqbal came to Afghanistan on his second visit. He paid homage at the mausoleums of Babar at Kabul , Sanai Ghaznavi and Sultan Ghaznavi at Ghazni and Ahmad Shah Baba in Kandahar . He extensively wrote about this visit but what he said at the grave of Emperor Babar was resounding:

Iqbal’s love for Afghanistan , its scholars and mystics, its rulers, its people and its customs and traditions was unlimited. He, therefore, called Afghanistan the heart of Asia and said trouble in this land was likely to extend to the whole continent. He said:

Iqbal, yearning for the freedom of his own homeland, further said if Afghanistan was free the whole of Asia would be free:

Iqbal’s poetry was greatly instrumental in re-introducing their heroes to the people in Pakistan . Almost all these heroes had roots in Afghanistan .

Afghanistan has an important role in the historic evolution that led to the creation of Pakistan – a Muslim state in South Asia . Our faith, culture, languages and attire – that made us a separate nation on the continent – all came from, or through, Afghanistan .

Iqbal could dream of a separate homeland for Muslims of South Asia because of what came to the Subcontinent via Afghanistan and created a separate nation in South Asia .

(This paper was read at a Seminar on Iqbal held in Kabul by the Ministry of Information and Culture of Afghanistan jointly with the Embassy of Pakistan on 1 May 2010 )

Remarks by Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq at Pakistan Day Reception

(30th March 2011)

Excellency Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Foreign Minister of Afghanistan,

Honourable Ministers, Elders and Parliamentarians,

Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a matter of great honour and pleasure for me to welcome you to the Pakistan Day Reception.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share deep-rooted bonds of history, culture, geography and faith. Our customs, languages, literature and heroes are all common. Also, we have a common vision of peace, prosperity and development of our peoples and the region.

The National Day of Pakistan is celebrated on 23rd March every year to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution adopted in 1940 in Lahore, which envisaged a free Muslim state in South Asia.

Afghanistan has an important role in the historic evolution that led to the creation of a Muslim state in South Asia. Islam came to us through Central Asia and Afghanistan. The culture, languages, attire and outlook of Muslims of South Asia are borrowed from Afghanistan. The importance of Afghanistan for Pakistan is seen in this light by our philosophers, intellectuals and poets.

As our histories, destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are also intertwined. Even the threats we face are common. These common threats are: international terrorism; economic underdevelopment; and onslaught of alien cultures.

Terrorism is a threat to our life and property. It also dampens economic growth.

Economic under-development creates unrest in the society. It causes illiteracy and feeds terrorism.

Alien cultural onslaught threatens our ethos and identities as Muslims, as Afghans and as Pakistanis.

We need to work together not only to protect our states and people but also to protect our common value system.

Pakistan welcomes the transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan forces and uphold the right of the Afghan state to have a strong national security force to defend the motherland.

Also, Pakistan supports the reconciliation process which is aimed at bringing peace and sustainable economic development to Afghanistan.

There is no debate on the fact that a strong, stable, prosperous and united Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s national interest. Any contrary hypothesis is disingenuous.

Pakistan is deeply committed to improving ties with Afghanistan. We believe our two countries can build a lasting partnership based on the principles of non-interference and respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are committed to removing misunderstandings of the past and nurture an atmosphere of trust and confidence.

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for celebrating our National Day with us. I particularly thank our chief guest, His Excellency the Foreign Minister and invite him to address us.

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