Khadijah Abdul Rahman
Creative Response to Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawab-i-Shikwa
My creative response to Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawab-i-Shikwa is in the form of a collage. The central idea of my creative response is to show some of the reasons for God’s anger and disappointment with the Indian Muslims, and His response, according to Iqbal, to remedy their situation. In Iqbal’s poetry, Shikwa and Jawab-i-Shikwa, the people of Indian are complaining to God about their dismal situation. They have lost their power and privileged position in India, and are lamenting why God has abandoned them. The lady with her hands up, in a praying position depicts this scenario. The background of the collage is in green to reflect the Islamic religion. The collage takes the path from lower left to upper right. The left lower side shows the reasons for God’s anger and disappointment. The right side is higher than the left to show the superiority of God’s response to and expectations for the Indian Muslim society. The top center image is Iqbal and the Shikwa and Jawab-i-Shikwa. At the top right is the Muslim declaration of faith and at the lower right are the names of God and the Prophet.
At the lower left side, the image of the British leaders shows the British colonization of the India. God’s anger and disappointment with the Indian Muslims stems from the fact that the Indian Muslims have forgotten God, neglected their duties and have introduced impure elements to their practices. I have depicted some of the reasons in the collage. Indian Muslims religious practices have intermingled with the Hindu traditions; this is expressed in the images of a Muslim family paying respects to Ganesh, the image of the Muslim man praying among the idols of Ganesh, which he sculpted, and Muslim ladies giving respect to Hindu deity. Indian Muslims have always revered the sufi maters and their practices at the sufi shrines, such as praying to the dead master or kissing his grave, may be seen to contradict Islamic teachings; this is expressed in the two images at the sufi shrines. Since the British rule in India, many Indian Muslims have adopted western culture in their clothing, drinking alcohol and socializing between men and women; this is expressed in the images of Indian Muslim men and women wearing western clothes and socializing with the British, drinking alcohol and playing English game of snooker. Indian Muslims have neglected their duties towards performing regular prayers; this is expressed in the images of the mosque where people are sleeping and not praying, and the empty mosque. I have also included these phrases from the poetry, to express some of the central these of God’s anger.
‘Now no more for us Thy favors and thy old benevolence’
‘Christian is your mode of living, and your culture if Hindoo’
‘The community a heartbreak to their Prophet and a Shame’
At the right side, I have shown God’s response that, according to Iqbal, is for the Indian Muslims to return to the traditional Islamic teachings in the Quran and hadith, and revive the traditional practices of the Holy prophet. Iqbal envisages that this will be achieved through intellectual and spiritually invigorated Indian Muslims who is learned in both the Islamic and Western sciences. I have depicted some of the reasons in the collage. Iqbal promotes a return to the traditional Islamic teachings and practices; this is expressed in the images of the Quran, people praying at the Kaabah, and the Holy mosque of the Prophet. He also promotes intellectual development in both Islamic and Western sciences; this is expressed in the images of the western philosophers and Aligargh Muslim University. Of primary importance is to return to the practices of performing prayers in the mosque; this is expressed in the pictures of the ummah performing prayers, women and men asking for prayers and forgiveness from God. I have included these phrases from the poetry to express God’s response to remedy the situation.
‘Light the world, too long in darkness with Muhammad’s radiant name’
Thou hast Reason for Thy buckler, and thy sword is Love Divine’
‘It requires thy burning breath’