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“Not of an Age, but for All Time”

Revolutionary Humanism in Iqbal, Manto, and Faiz

Abdul Jabbar

The world can derive much enlightenment from Muhammad Iqbal, Saadat Hasan Manto, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz—three of the greatest twentieth-century authors featured in this book. All of them believed and taught through their writings that the world should be led by principles that transcend territorial, religious, and cultural divides and serve the essential needs of all human beings. Iqbal’s works teach us that without infusion of compassion and justice in the world’s political and economic systems, the noble ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity will remain out of reach. Like Iqbal, Manto and Faiz also wrote to give voice to the systemically excluded segments who are oppressed by one system or another. All three authors’ works are an invitation to the victims to rise up against oppressive systems, break the chains that bind them, and claim their rightful place. This book also demonstrates through the works of the selected three authors that the only enduring foundation for human civilization, as well as the primary linking force, is love, empathy, and compassion. If built on that foundation, our world can easily find ways to solve our economic and political problems that so often erupt into flames of war.

“In his monograph of three powerful Urdu language writers, Abdul Jabbar forcefully and successfully argues how vital the humanities remain in our lives. Iqbal, Manto, and Faiz write with compassion and commitment as they critique the devastations of colonialism, imperialism, militarism, and religious and patriarchal violence. Islamic writers devoted to an internationalism that addresses economic inequities, they are more relevant than ever to humanity’s desperate need to come to terms with the threat of planetary annihilation.” —Leslie Simon, author of The Divine Comic (a novel) and several other publications

“A must-read book for anyone interested in powerful and reformist works by three prominent South Asian authors. Jabbar’s careful selections of works by Iqbal, Manto, and Faiz open up our eyes and hearts and take us on a historical journey relevant to our lives today. This book is also for anyone who longs for a world without wars, where social justice prevails over greed.” —Louise Nayer, author of five books including Burned: A Memoir, an Oprah pick

“In these days of worldwide pandemic, economic meltdown, political demagoguery, in short, a total chaos, release of this very significant work on Iqbal, Faiz, and Manto, three of the most influential revolutionary and literary minds of the East, is indeed a much-needed scholarship for the Western readers. Particularly, the introduction of Iqbal will give them a way out of their stressful lives.” —Ahsan Syed, recipient of the “Complete Scholar” Award from the Aligarh Muslim University of India

“Abdul Jabbar’s innovative approach towards three luminaries of modern Urdu literature is a watershed moment, as it introduces a new area of study. It accords them their rightful place denied so far because of their background. The author’s personal experience and credentials make him most suited for writing this book because he relates to the writers’ varied relationships to Islam, their prescient gaze on world affairs, critique of colonialism, and their unwavering faith in universal humanism.” —Moazzam Sheikh, author of Idol Lover and Other Stories

“Abdul Jabbar’s book is a rare tour de force in combining three of the greatest minds of South Asia in one volume. The works of these authors remain unsurpassed both in craft and content. Only a person of Jabbar’s multicultural knowledge, background, and complete mastery of both English and Urdu languages and literature could have written a book like this. His translations of the three authors’ works are the best that I have read.” —Javaid Sayed, author of dayar-e maghrib se (a collection of poems)