I MUST CONFESS TODAY.

When I was young, I was a one of the biggest fan of Michael Jackson. I was just mesmerized buy his moves and his epic Kings like status among masses. People would faint after watching him perform and he was one of the greatest artist to have lived ever. Because he was well ahead his time in terms of creativity and content. He was genius at what he did and I admired him like crazy. I used to dress like, I even grew my hairs below my shoulders, heck I used to even dance like him. Not to mention I did a very good job while impersonating him. Some of my childhood friends would attest to that.

The day when he died I received a phone call from one of my close friends in the middle of night, telling me not to cry after listening to what he was about to tell me. I thought some of my relative died. He went on to tell me that “MJ is dead”. I turn on the TV and the news was real, I was shocked and grieved. Till this day I have regret that I would not be able to fulfill my childhood dream to watch him live performing his famous moves.

Time passed and as I became more mature, I explored more and traveled a lot. I went through the regular life turbulence and the lessons that I have learned from all these experiences is that not all that glitters is gold. We see the glamorous lifestyle of people and we admire them, we see someone enjoying high-end lifestyle with all the luxuries, owning properties, flying in private jets, driving sports cars, wearing branded suits and we start to idealize them. I am not against worldly pleasures neither do I not desire to achieve success in life but time has taught me that actual success is the success in hereafter. We should admire such any person not because of the big house he or she lives in or expensive things he or she owns or how attractive they look. But become an admirer and a mentee of that person who can build your character, show you the right path to growth and success not only in this life but also in the life after death.

Now that’s a very difficult criteria and even more difficult rather impossible task is to find such a person who not only is a benchmark of success in his field of expertise but also is the beacon of light for generations to follow. Who can revolutionize your thought process and disrupt your thinking to enable you to see a bigger picture, think outside the box, breakthrough your cultural chains, challenge your beliefs.

Role Models are Important

It is eminent for every human to have a real life role model in life. Someone who you can turn to seek advice. Someone to guide you and mentor you when you cant find a way out of a particular situation or you can’t determine what is right or wrong?

I am aware that it’s a very delicate and crucial status that one has to give to anyone but I believe it’s mandatory. After listening and even personally meeting lots of successful entrepreneurs, business gurus, spiritual scholars, I have realized that everyone of them has that one person in their lives that they would consider the most important component on their success. Without that one human being they would not have made this far.

No Such Thing As ‘Self-Made’ Man

Remember there is no such thing as a self-made man. Each and every individual that has ever achieved even a tiny bit of success is either because of someone else’s generosity, someone’s advise, someone’s footsteps, someone’s help. It could be your father, brother, wife, teacher, friend, celebrity, spiritual guru or even your gym instructor. NO one does it all alone. I know people who pay hefty sum of money to someone just to be their mentor in business or in life. People have made a profession out of these mentor-ships in different walks of life. If you think it’s a wrong judgment then look at your consultants and trainers, what are they? They are your paid mentors.

My Quest

I was on this quest to find such a person for almost a decade. Coming from a Muslim family, we are told that there is no better human to have walked on this earth apart from our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him, his family and companions). We all Muslims do belief that. But, on a broader spectrum other religions believe that their prophets or their buddhas or their gods were the best that humanity ever saw. That’s a very sacred ground and everyone’s opinion and belief should be respected. So I decided to look for a person that is either alive so that I can meet him or atleast see and observe his lifestyle either on internet or through any other medium possible. A person that is more recent and well versed with the problems and challenges we are faced with today.

No One Is Perfect

I must admit that in this search I have followed, listened, read, met, traveled, watched and searched for countless hours. From Warren Buffet to Mirza Ghalib, From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mufti Menk. You name them and I am aware of their work, their achievements or I would atleast know what they are about and what they preach. I dedicated a major chunk of my time looking for that one person that is a combo and complete package in all aspects. But astonishingly I reached to a conclusion there is no such thing as Perfect. So it would be foolish to look for best of best physical, mental and spiritual traits inside one human being. So I changed my approach and after that it was not that difficult for me to choose my mentors. Now I have mentors in every area of my life. From personal development to character building, From professional consulting to relationship counseling. But let me make one thing clear that there is a big difference between a mentor and consultant. Mentor is someone who would give advice, assistance, support without expecting anything in return. Whereas a consultant would charge you money for any services they provide you. So today I am not afraid to ask for help and seek advise from people I consider are successful in their arena. They are all normal human beings with whom I can relate to without even blinking an eye.

I MUST CONFESS Now

Out of all my mentors till date I have found one person at the center of everything I learn each day. And I am very active learner, a knowledge hungry individual that learns new things each day from anyone and anywhere. Heck I can learn something from an animal by observing their behaviors and reactions. Let alone a complete human being that is we know as a supreme creature.

Whatever I learn, I always try and relate it with the philosophy of that one person that the world knows as ‘Iqbal-e Lahori’. Sir Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, our national poet and hero, the visionary, philosopher, influencer, poet and the biggest motivator of his time. It was his vision that led to the creation of a country we all know as Pakistan. I recently rediscovered Iqbal’s message and I am in awe of his farsightedness and the creative genius that he has portrayed throughout his poetry where each stanza is capable to be interpreted separately in an individual book. I am only beginning to understand and grasp the magnitude of impact his poetry can have on your personal development and self-actualization. I have only started to read him with dedication and zeal to get in-depth understanding of his glorious global vision through his poetry.

I Have Decided

I have made it a point to read and understand all of his books in my lifetime and share his message with the world and especially with our youth that are astray. It’s heart breaking to see them look for wisdom and direction in all the wrong places. I will play my part through my work to interpret, publish and propagate his ideology and teachings so that our youth can realize the true status of a man. As he himself wrote;

Agarche But Hain Jamat Ki Astinon Mein
Mujhe Hai Hukm-e-Azan, La Ilaha Illallah

Many idols are still concealed in their sleeves by the Faithful Fold,
I am ordained by Almighty Allah to raise the call and be much bold.

Although many of his books are written in Persian language which we have lost to the legacy left behind British colonization. But I begin my conquest of this path by reading his famous book titled “Zarb-e-Kaleem” literally meaning “The Rod of Moses”. His work is now translated into many languages and the best start I found would be to begin reading the man through these websites:

http://iqbalurdu.blogspot.com/

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/

Conclusion

I conclude my article by copying the below extracts from an interview with Mian Ali Bakhsh, the life-long domestic assistant of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. This interview was conducted by Pakistani man of letters Mumtaz Hasan on 23 September 1957. It’s from “Tribute to Iqbal” by Mumtaz Hasan, collected and edited by M.Moizuddin.

The interview in itself is sufficient to give you the real essence of minimalistic life Sir Iqbal had even after achieving the highest accolades known to men at that time.

An Interview with Mian Ali Bakhsh

  • When did Allama Iqbal usually get up in the morning?

Very early. As a matter of fact, he slept very little. He was keen on his morning prayer. After the prayer he read the Qur’an.

  • In what manner did he read the Qur’an?

Before his throat was affected, he used to recite the Qur’an in a clear and melodious voice. Even after he got the throat disease he used to read the Qur’an but not loudly.

  • What did he usually do after he had finished his prayer and recitation?

He used to sit in an easy-chair. I would prepare his “hookah” and place it before him. He would study the briefs of cases which were to come up in court that day. Now and then, while still at his files, he would have moments of poetic inspiration.

  • How did you know when he was in his poetic mood?

He would call me and say: “Bring my note book and my pencil.” When I brought these, he would write down the verses in pencil. Now and then, when he did not feel satisfied with his composition, he was extremely restless. While composing he would often ask for the Qur’an to be brought to him. Even otherwise he called for the Qur’an a number of times in the day.

  • What time did he usually go to court when he was practicing at the bar?

He used to leave 15 or 20 minutes before court time. As long as he lived in Anarkali [his house, which is no longer in existence, was where the New Market, Lahore, is now] he used to go to court in his horse carriage. Later, he bought a car.

  • How long was he active as a legal practitioner?

He was in practice until he got his throat disease which was around 1932 or 1933.

  • What did he do on return from court?

Before doing anything else he used to ask me to help him take off his court clothes. He was never fond of formal dress and used to put it only for the court and that also with effort.

  • What did he do after changing his dress?

He composed verses if he felt like it.

  • Did he sleep in the afternoon?

Not usually, but he did so now and then.

  • At what time did he take his meals?

Between 12 and 1 o’clock in the day. He ate only one meal. Normally he did not eat in the evening.

  • What were his favourite dishes?

He was fond of pulao, mash-ki-daal seasoned with ghee, karela stuffed with minced meat, and also khushka.

  • Did he like many dishes at his meals?

No, there were only a few dishes at a time. He was a poor eater.

  • Did he take any exercise?

In the early days, he did. In those days he used dum-bells, and performed dand [a stretching exercise].

  • Was he interested in games and sports?

He was interested in watching wrestling matches.

  • Was he in the habit of going out in the evening?

Getting out in the evening was almost an impossibility with him. In the earlier days when he was living inside Bhati Gate [where he lived before going to Cambridge, England in 1905], he would sometimes walk as far as the platform outside the house of Hakim Shahbazuddin [a close friend of the poet]. Once in a while Sir Zulfiqar Ali [of the ruling family of Malerkotla; author of book on poet ‘A voice from the East’] would come in his car and take him out.

  • When did he go to sleep in the evening?

In the evening a number of friends and visitors used to call on him. These sittings went on till 9 or 10 o’clock. After this he sat alone with Ch. Mohammad Husain and recited to him the verses he had composed during the day.

  • How long did Choudhry Sahib normally stay?

Up to 12 or 1 o’clock in the night. After this Doctor Sahib would go to bed, but would get up for his Tahajjud prayer after he had hardly slept for two or three hours.