Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Muhammad Iqbal

Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism, 1st Edition

By Javed Majeed

Routledge India

192 pages

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Bringing together Islamic studies, a postcolonial literary perspective, and a focus on the interaction between aesthetics and politics, this book analyses Iqbal’s Islamism through his poetry. It argues that his notion of an Islamist selfhood was expressed in his verse through the interplay between poetic tradition and creative innovation. It also considers how Iqbal expressed an Islamist geopolitical imagination in his work, and examines his exploration of the relationship between the modern West and a reconstructed Islam.

For the first time, Iqbal’s personal letters have been drawn upon to provide an insight into his inner conflicts as articulated in his poetry. Concentrating on the complexity of his work in its own right, the book eschews the standard appropriation of Iqbal into any one political agenda — be it Indian nationalism, Muslim separatism or Iranian Islamic republicanism. With its analytical and in-depth reading of Iqbal’s verse and prose, this book opens a fresh perspective on Islam and postcolonialism. It will be a fascinating study for general readers and readers with interests in the intellectual and political history of modern South Asia, colonialism and postcolonialism, Islamic studies, and modern South Asian literature (especially Urdu and Persian poetry).

Table of Contents

Glossary Acknowledgments Introduction 1. The Broken Garden: Ruination and Iqbal's Political Aesthetic 2. Selfhood's Aesthetic 3. Khudi and Be-khudi: Selfhood and its Fluctuations 4. Pan-Islam, Race and Nationalism 5. The Aesthetic of Travel 6. Iqbal, Cosmopolitan Modernity and the Qu'ran 7. Islamic Hellenism, Selfhood and Poetry Conclusion Bibliography Index

About the Series


This series explores the intellectual history of South Asia through the lives and ideas of significant individuals within a historical context. These 'pathfinders' are seen to represent a break with existing traditions, canons and inherited histories. In fact, even the idea of South Asia with its constituent regions and linguistic and religious divisions maybe thrown into crisis as we explore the idea of territory as generated by thought. It is not cartographic limits that determine thinking but the imagining of elective affinities across space, time and borders. These thinkers are necessarily cosmopolitan and engage with a miscegenation of ideas that recasts existing notions of schools of thinking, of the archive for a history of ideas, and indeed of the very notion of national and regional limits to intellectual activity. The books in this series try to think beyond the limited frameworks of colonialism and nationalism for the modern period and more generally of histories of societies that are told through the prism of the state, its institutions and ideologies.

These slim volumes written by leading scholars are intended for the intelligent layperson and expert alike, and written in an accessible, lively and authoritative prose. Through telling the lives of celebrated names and lesser known ones in context, this series will expand the repertoire of ideas and individuals that have shaped the history and culture of South Asia.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory