Iqbal on Islam and Persia

Courtesy Shahid Malik

‘If you ask me what is the most important event in the history of Islam, I shall say without any hesitation:”The Conquest of Persia.” The battle of Nehawand gave the Arabs not only a beautiful country, but also an ancient people; or, more properly, a people who could make a new civilization with the Semitic and Aryan material. Our Muslim civilization is a product of the cross-fertilization of the Semitic and the Aryan ideas. It inherits the softness and refinement of its Aryan mother and the sterling character of its Semitic father. The conquest of Persia gave to the Mussalmans what the conquest of Greece gave to the Romans. BUT FOR PERSIA OUR CULTURE WOULD HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY ONE-SIDED.’ (My capitalization!)

‘Stray Reflections’ – The private notebook of Muhammad Iqbal,
First published in 1961; latest edition edited with afterword by Dr Javid Iqbal 2012

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