[PAST/ ARCHIVE] IBQAL SYMPOSIUM - London (Venue: Lecture Theatre 2C, King's College Strand Campus) 5th Dec - 10.30am - 5pm

[PAST/ ARCHIVE] IBQAL SYMPOSIUM - London (Venue: Lecture Theatre 2C, King's College Strand Campus) 5th Dec - 10.30am - 5pm

ALLAMA IQBAL stands as one of the 20th Century most important political philosophers & poets - pivitol to the formation of Pakistan & India's Partition (2 Nation Theory), theological governance (Iran as Republic of Iqbal?) and contemporary debates on Modernity, Post-colonialism, Anti-Imperialism, Nationalism, Racism and Identity Politics.


Introduction to Iqbal in Wiki


A comprehensive online library of Iqbal’s work is maintained by The Iqbal Academy on https://www.allamaiqbal.com/ 

IMASE, The Critical Reading Group and Other Asias invite your participation in

The Iqbal Sessions

1030 am to 500pm
Saturday 5 December 2009

Contributions from:
Professor Javed Majeed, Dr Mahbub Gani, Dr. Rabia Malik and AbdoolKarim Vakil 

Iman Poernomo 

Central London Lecture Theatre 2C, King's College Strand Campus. WC2R 2LS

Nearest Tube: Temple 

The Iqbal Sessions is a day-long seminar exploring the thought of Muhammad Iqbal. He is significant as he established a universal and unapologetic Muslim position through poetry and prose across three languages: English, Farsi and Urdu. Addressing philosophical, political and spiritual challenges, he has been described as the "best articulated Muslim response to Modernity that the Islamic world has produced in the 20th century."

Why is such an event relevant? The quality of collective and individual thought and action amongst UK Muslims is not where it could be. Educational events in an Islamic event inventory can be formulaic and fail to inspire the soul, the mind and the hands into action. There is a need to reclaim both our agency as well as the narrative, and to do so accessibly. Our target audience are the dreamy critical public who are drawn to transformative ideas.

The Iqbal Sessions bring speakers and participants together in the spirit of constructive and fraternal learning. We will make a small but important contribution to deepening our capacity to critically engage with, play with, appreciate and create ideas. There is nothing as practical as a good idea.

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided. 

The admission fee for The Iqbal Sessions is £15 for the full day with a student rate of £10. To book your place, or for further details contact fuad@imase.org or 0780 362 7576.

You can find us on Facebook Event  www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175571877091&ref=ts

and www.imase.org 


Proceedings will be interactive and chaired by Dr Iman Poernomo. This is the schedule we will be holding.

1030 Registration 
1040 Introduction
1045 Session One | Keynote Address | Professor Javed Majeed
1145 Tea
1150 Session Two | A vitalist conception of Divinity: Theology a la Bergson and Iqbal | Dr Mahbub Gani
1250 Zuhr and Lunch
1335 Session Three | Khudi: The Human Ego and its potential | Dr. Rabia Malik
1435 Asr 
1425 Session Four | Culture and Imperialism: Reading Iqbal in WarOnTerrortimes | AbdoolKarim Vakil
1525 Tea and Maghrib
1605 Session Five | Plenary: Progressing Thought and Action 
1650 Closing remarks and dua
1700 End


Keynote Address - Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics, Postcolonialism
Professor Javed Majeed 

In keeping with the Iqbal Sessions’ concern with the quality of collective and individual thought and action and the reclamation of agency, Javed Majeed draws on his book Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism (2008) to explore how Iqbal’s aesthetic and intellectual projects can be read as key orientations for a reconstituted Islam in an age of ‘Western’ global dominance and secularizing modernity. He considers what ‘orientation’ means in the context of Iqbal’s work and its main themes and images and how it is dramatized in his texts. Within a framework of a reconstructed Islam, Iqbal grappled with the aesthetics of self-definition, questions of individual selfhood and selflessness in group identity, contestations of modernity, and geopolitically imagined communities. In particular, it is important to draw attention to the aesthetic dimensions of Iqbal’s particular brand of Islamism, since it is a crucial part of his appeal and an intrinsic part of his thought. It is also important to distinguish his position from the Islamism of some militant groups today. Furthermore, Iqbal’s work can be read in terms of its attempt to construct what might be called a ‘postcolonial’ agency. While British colonialism provided Iqbal with the challenge and the opportunity to reconstruct Islam, that historical context may also have placed limitations on his position. Javed Majeed explores what these possible limitations are in relation to the current contemporary situation. In keeping, then, with the Iqbal Sessions’ eschewal of the formulaic, which Iqbal’s work is so often reduced to, Javed Majeed attempts to explore some of the depths as well as tensions and contradictions in Iqbal’s work. This echoes Iqbal’s own open-ended orientation in his texts towards questions that resist closure.

A vitalist conception of Divinity: Theology a la Bergson and Iqbal
Dr Mahbub Gani

In this talk I am going to describe Iqbal’s reconstruction of Islamic theology and explore its possibilities for a life-enhancing relationship with God. Iqbal is concerned to rescue a conception of Divinity from one which relegates God to “utter inaction, a motiveless, stagnant neutrality, an absolute nothing.” It is in chapters 2 and 3 of the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam where Iqbal presents a radical alternative to the idea of an abstract remote God. He begins these chapters by summarily dispatching the traditional philosophical arguments for the existence of God. The point of departure from such traditional arguments for Iqbal is signalled by the reflections on the nature of duration and time by the early twentieth century French philosopher Henri Bergson. Iqbal argues that a careful and rigorous reflection on the contents and nature of our own conscious experience will reveal the true nature of Ultimate Reality: “pure duration in which thought, life and purpose interpenetrate to form an organic unity”. Further, the Divine Self does not relate to nature, His Creation, as confronting other. Rather, nature is to the Divine Self as character is to the human self. The implications of such an approach to the nature of the Divine for worship and divinely guided life are as controversial as they are powerful. I will consider the way in which Iqbal addresses these complications and, in particular, how, for him, the traditional Divine attributes of Creativeness, Knowledge, Omnipotence, Eternity must be reconstituted. Finally, I will examine the role of prayer as a primary means of spiritual illumination and a way of coming into intimate contact with the vital creative movement that is the very essence of Reality. 

Khudi – The Human Ego and its potential
Dr Rabia Malik

Central to Iqbal's philosophy is the concept of Khudi. In his Asrar-i-khudi (The Secrets of the Self), Iqbal tries to awaken the Muslim Ummah encouraging them through Islamic tropes to empower and raise themselves to new heights. Iqbal builds on the Quranic emphasis on the individuality and uniqueness of man as being chosen by God to be his vice-regent on earth. For Iqbal the ego / self is free and in interaction with nature. Each situation offers opportunities for dynamic creative unfolding; the directive purpose being unification with the Ultimate Ego - God. Iqbal despaired of the degrading type of fatalism that had prevailed in the Muslim world, and could be argued to still predominate today. In his Reconstruction of Religious thought in Islam Iqbal discusses at length the importance of self knowledge, personal effort, freedom of the ego and Taqdir (destiny) and reconciles these through a vital conception of life, in which man’s potential surpasses the limits he sets him / herself. In this talk Rabia Malik will reflect on the key concepts elucidated by Iqbal that are necessary for unlocking the potential for Khudi and consider how relevant Iqbal’s empowering message of self realisation and dignity still is for Muslims today, as well as, its impediments.

Culture and Imperialism: Reading Iqbal in WarOnTerrortimes
AbdoolKarim Vakil

What is alive and what is dead in Iqbal? How does Iqbal speak to us? How should we read him? Introducing his 1953 translation of Iqbal’s Rumuz-i Bekhudi the British orientalist A.J. Arberry set the reading of the philosophical poem against the context both of the world historical significance of the formation of Pakistan and, more immediately and urgently, of the Western anxieties awakened by Cairo’s Black Saturday and its portents of a clash of civilisations. Similarly, reviewing in 2005 a collection of texts by the symbolic interactionist Herbert Blumer, which included notes of his talk of the 1970s on the concept of Self in Iqbal’s Asrar and Rumuz, sociologist Dmitri Shalin comments that ‘alas, Iqbal’s plea for Muslim reawakening that Blumer endorses has a different ring to it in the post September 11 world’. Others, such as the philosophers AbdolKarim Soroush, Bashir Diagne and Charles Taylor find in the Iqbal of Reconstruction the reformist thinker and the hermeneutical moves that speak to our times and predicaments. Reading, whether Lolita in Tehran or Iqbal in the Muslim eastWest is a determinedly worldly and sited affair. This intervention approaches the question of reading Iqbal here and now through an exploration of his critiques of Culture and Imperialism. 

Speaker biographies

Iman Poernomo is a Lecturer in Computer Science at King’s College London, where he specializes in software engineering and constructive logic. He holds a PhD on these subjects from Monash University Australia, where he also completed a BSc in Pure Mathematics and a BA in Philosophy and Critical Theory. He is the author of over 46 publications and one book, Adapting Proofs-as-Programs (Springer, 2005).

Javed Majeed is Professor, Department of English, Queen Mary, University of London, and author of: Muhammad Iqbal - Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism (Routledge, 2008); Autobiography, Travel and Postnational Identity - Nehru, Gandhi and Iqbal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Hali's Musaddas - The Flow and Ebb of Islam (OUP, 1997 with C. Shackle); and Ungoverned Imaginings - James Mill's The History of British India and Orientalism (Clarendon, 1992).

Mahbub Gani is a Lecturer in the Department of Electronic Engineering at King’s College London. He is an active member of IMASE and is a contributor to FSTC’s MuslimHeritage.com and the 1001 Inventions projects. He is the founder and convener of the Critical Reading Group, a constellation of Muslims from diverse backgrounds who meet on a weekly basis to engage critically and playfully with the works of important thinkers and scholars.

Rabia Malik is Psychotherapist and Social Psychologist. She is head of the Marlborough Cultural Therapy Centre, where she has been working towards integrating therapeutic principles with cultural and religious beliefs in her work with Muslim clients. Her doctoral research was on the Cultural Construction of Depression amongst Pakistanis. She has been a senior lecturer at the University of East London in Psycho-social studies. She has worked with a number of Muslim community organisations and is currently chairperson of The City Circle. 

AbdoolKarim Vakil is Lecturer in the Departments of Portuguese & Brazilian Studies and History at King’s College London. Thinking Through Islamophobia : Global perspectives, co-edited with S. Sayyid is forthcoming from Hurst.


IMASE is a platform to nurture and exploit knowledge, with an Islamic framework for the benefit of humanity. We are interdisciplinary in our approach and consider ilm in its broadest terms,that is in the unity of the religious, human and physical spheres of knowledge. We are not a guild of scientists and engineers. www.imase.org 

Formed in the summer of 2001 by postgraduate students from leading UK universities, we have held seminars and activities across a range of fields, with depth, including: Philosophy of Science, Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship. Our community-based activities have addressed issues of: Islamic Environmental Ethics and Soulful Careers, and our core activities include establishing a Critical Reading Group and the Muslim Researchers Colloquium.

The Critical Reading Group (CRG) was initiated by Mahbub Gani in the Autumn of 2007 as a constellation of Muslims from diverse backgrounds who meet on a weekly basis to engage critically and playfully with the works of important thinkers and scholars. For much of 2009 we have explored the writings of Iqbal, from his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and political speeches to translations of his Persian language poetical works (Asrar e Khudi, Rumuz e Bekhudi and Javednama). 

Other Asias is a radical Pan-Asian contemporary arts movement based in London, Lahore and Dhaka. Founded in 2008, the initiative operates as an open collective of artists, writers and designers that challenges contemporary navigations of Asia as region, potentiality, memory, imagination and investigation. Through an arena of fluid exhibitionary structures, Currents of exhibitions, film screenings, archives, media publications, plays and critical discourse are activated towards a Post-West cultural horizon. The organisation is directed by artist-curators Hamja Ahsan and Fatima Hussain who have exhibited and curated projects at Tate Britain, Deptford X and Shanaakht festival (Karachi). www.otherasias.com


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