Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal (9th Nov 1877—21stApril 1938)—commonly known as Allama Iqbal—was a multi-dimensional personality: poet, philosopher, and a great political ideologist/ activist. He is regarded as one of the most distinguished and dominant figures of 20th century, globally, and in Pakistan he is admired as the ‘mussawir-e-Pakistan’, ‘mufakkir-e-Pakistan’, and ‘spiritual father of Pakistan’. For most of his life, Allama Iqbal’s profession was law, and his passion was writing prose and poetry. And, over the decades—rather over the last century or more—one sees that a plethora of literature has been produced on Iqbal’s poetry, philosophy, and political thought: an example of this is ‘Iqbal Academy Pakistan’ and its peer-reviewed academic journal ‘Iqbal Review’, which recently published its 59th volume. This journal is “devoted to research studies on the life, poetry and thought of Iqbal and on those branches of learning in which he was interested”, ranging from Islamic Studies and Philosophy, to History, Sociology, and Literature. This write-up, as a tribute today on his 141st birth-anniversary, throws some glimpses on some prose pieces that he published in different newspapers and journals, and deal with different aspects of Islam and Politics. A number of scholars have thrown light on, and have discussed and deliberated on the prose works of Allama Iqbal. In 2013, Dr Tehsin Firaqi (one of the most renowned experts on Iqbaliyat) in “Democracy in the Views of Iqbal” underlined that in order to understand Iqbal’s views on Islam-Politics (and especially his stand on Democracy) one must look into the prose pieces of Iqbal, many of which were published in the first two decades of 20th century. Dr Firaqid discusses Iqbal’s views on democracy in the light of his four prose pieces, while not over-looking his poetry. These are: “Islam as a moral and Political Ideal” (1909); “Political thought in Islam” (1910); “Forms of Government, Modern Science and Democracy” (no date); and “Muslim Democracy” (1917). To this list may be added these three pieces as well: “The Muslim Community—A Sociological Study” (1910); “Divine Right to Rule” (1928); and his All-India Muslim League presidential address delivered in Allahabad (in Dec 1930). Allama Iqbal’s poetry presents ‘a scathing critique of democracy’ but in his prose works he considers it “an essential part of Islamic government”, calling it ‘Muslim/ Spiritual Democracy’ All these pieces have been compiled, among others, by Latif Ahmad Sherwani in “Speeches, Writings, and Statements of Iqbal” (first published, under his pseudonym ‘Shamloo’, in 1944 and 6th edition published in 2015)—so far “one of the most important collections of Allama Iqbal’s prose pieces”. However, among these prose pieces (besides the 1930 presidential address) it is “Islam as a Moral and Political ideal” which has gained incredible reputation, and has been reprinted again and again; two such examples are: Syed Abdul Vahid (ed.), “Thoughts and Reflections of Iqbal” (Lahore, 1992) and Charles Kurzman (ed.), “Modernist Islam, 1840-1940: A Sourcebook” (New York, 2002). Besides his poetry, the above mentioned prose pieces, along with his magnum opus “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam” (first published in 1930; republished in 1934; an annotated edition produced by M. Saeed Shaikh in1984; and a new edition, with a new Introduction by Javed Majeed, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at King’s College, London, published recently), are considered as the major sources for knowing Allama’s thoughts/ views on Islam and politics in general, and his stand on democracy in particular. There have been many attempts to highlight Iqbal’s thoughts on Islam-democracy discourse. Some of these are: John L. Esposito, “Muhammad Iqbal and the Islamic State”, in his edited volume “Voices of Resurgent Islam” (New York, 1983); Prof Muhammad Munawwar, “Iqbal’s Idea of Democracy” (1985); Dr Abdul Haq, “Iqbal: Concept of Spiritual Democracy” (1986); Dr. WaheedIshrat, “Iqbal and Democracy” (1993 & 1994); Dr Zeenat Kausar, “Iqbal on Democracy: Acceptance or Rejection?” (2001)—all published in Iqbal Review; Riffat Hassan, “Iqbal’s Views on Democracy” (Dawn, 11th June, 2010); MujiburRahman, “Iqbal’s Critique of Democracy” (2010). DrTahseenFiraqi, “Democracy in the Views of Iqbal” (Quarterly Nazriyyat’, 2013);Mustansir Mir, ‘Iqbal: Makers of Islamic Civilization’ (2007), and his entry on “Iqbal, Muhammad (1877– 1938)” in Gerhard Bowering’s Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (Princeton & Oxford: 2013; pp. 259-60). Allama Iqbal was a critic as well as supporter of democracy: while in his poetry he emerges as a staunch critic and strong opponent of (western) democracy, in his prose the situation looks different. Though it is true that Iqbal’s stand on any issue cannot be studied, in isolation with his poetry, but it is also true that over the decades more focus has been on his poetry. That is why scholars, like Riffat Hassan and Dr Firaqi, put it (respectively) :“That Iqbal was a critic of democracy is well known” and “As far as Iqbal is concerned, he was a less-supporter, and more critical, of democracy” .In most of these writings, it is Iqbal’s poetry which is focused on; and this write-up, in this context, summarises Iqbal’s views/ vision of ‘Islamic Political System’ and more specifically on ‘Islam and democracy’, based on his above mentioned prose-pieces, including ‘The Reconstruction.’ Some of his main views on this issue are: “The best form of Government” for Muslim community (society), Iqbal believes, “would be democracy, the ideal of which is to let man develop all the possibilities of his nature by allowing him as much freedom as practicable”. A strong advocate of freedom, individuality, equality, and brotherhood—all of which are necessary ingredients of ‘liberal democracy’—Iqbal asserted that the best form of government is “democracy” because it is “the most important aspect of Islam regarded as a political ideal”. Considering Islam as an egalitarian faith with no room either for a clergy or an aristocracy, Iqbal recognised the importance of ijtihad and argued “for its democratisation and institutionalisation in a popular legislative assembly thereby bridging the theoretical gap between divine and popular sovereignty”. Iqbal is of the opinion that the “republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that are set free in the world of Islam”. Iqbal believed that Divine vicegerency is the representation of God on earth as revealed in the Holy Qur’an and aims at the establishment of “the Kingdom of God on earth” meaning the “the democracy of … unique individuals”. Calling it ‘Democracy of Islam’, ‘Muslim Democracy’ and ‘Spiritual Democracy’ Iqbal says: “The Democracy of Europe… originated mainly in the economic regeneration of European societies…. The Democracy of Islam [on the other hand] … is a spiritual principle based on the assumption that every human being is a center of latent power, the possibilities of which can be developed by cultivating a certain type of character”. Iqbal favoured, and preferred the term, ‘spiritual democracy’, considering it the “ultimate aim of Islam”; and stresses: “Let the Muslim of today appreciate his position, reconstruct his social life in the light of ultimate principles, and evolve, out of the hitherto partially revealed purpose of Islam, that spiritual democracy which is the ultimate aim of Islam”. Iqbal stated that “There is no aristocracy in Islam”; and believes that “the Muslim commonwealth is based on the absolute equality of all Muslims in the eyes of the law. There is no privileged class, no priesthood, and no caste system. Islam is a unity in which there is no distinction, and this unity is secured by making men [humankind] believe in two prepositions—the unity of God [Tawhid] and the mission of the Prophet [(pbuh) Risalah]”. Iqbal believed that “the republican form of government is thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam”; and thus argued: “Democracy, then, is the most important aspect of Islam regarded as a political ideal”. These statements, from his various prose pieces including ‘The Reconstruction,’ reveal clearly Iqbal’s stand on Islam and democracy, and evidently show his support for democracy. However, Iqbal’s views on any issues can neither be based on his prose only, nor can be isolated from his poetry. Therefore, it is apt here to quote these statements of Prof(s) ZeenatKausar (2001) and Mustansir Mir (2013), respectively, which clearly depict Iqbal’s overall approach to, and his stand on, this issue: “Iqbal’s acceptance of some democratic principles that are compatible with Islam does not mean that Iqbal has totally accepted democracy. The secular philosophy of those democratic principles is far away from Islamic concepts of Shura andijmaand is incompatible with Islam and is therefore rejected by Iqbal”; “Some of Iqbal’s poetry contains a scathing critique of democracy. … But while his grounds for criticizing democracy were both philosophical (democracy has some inherent limitations) and practical … Iqbal was a strong supporter of the democratic principle and considered democracy an essential part of Islamic government”. From his overall approach to, and his stand on, this issue, it becomes evident that Allama Iqbal presents “a scathing critique of democracy” in his poetry, while as in his prose he considers democracy as ‘an essential part of Islamic government’—calling it ‘Democracy in Islam’ and/ or ‘Muslim/ Spiritual Democracy’. The writer has served as ‘Iqbal Fellow’ (2014) at IRD, IIUI and is presently working as Assistant Professor, Islamic Studies, in Higher Education Department, J&K (India). Email firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, November 9th 2018.