Building a future, God and human beings performing this task together.
There is no actualized future sitting in the corner waiting for us to experience it. There are potentialities that are to be realized, the future which we have to build together, with God's guidance. God and human beings, along with the rest of creation, are coworkers in the process of construction.
The world is more like a workers cooperative in this regard, than it is a hierarchy based organization in which order comes from top most and the rest just have to follow. God's role is to make available unrealized possibilities which, if actualized by human beings, yield maximum value. As Iqbal says in Bal-e-Jibreel:
یہ کائنات ابھی نا تمام ہے شاید کہ آ رہی ہے دما دم صدائے کن فیکوں
"The universe is perhaps still unfinished, For one can hear the command : `Let there be, and Lo ! it is born."
For Iqbal the universe is still unfinished; we human beings and the rest of creation are in continuous process of becoming. The divine command is a command to create together continuously: a process of incarnation from present to future, with novelty and creative evolution paving our path toward a future, a future that is unfinished.
As we move into the future, we humans are not moving alone. God is also moving along with us: luring us toward the directions that are rich and enjoyable for all, but it is up to us that we choose to go in that direction or not. We are part of an open-ended universe that likewise moves along with God and humanity. We are moving together.
God: The Great Adventurer
God in such universe is like a wayfarer, who adopts the road more than a goal. As Iqbal says in Payam-e-Mashriq:
راھرو کو داند اسرار سفر ترسد از منزل ز رھزن بیشتر عشق در ہجر و وصال آسودہ نیست بے جمال لا یزال آسودہ نیست ابتدا پیش بتاں افتادگی! انتہا از دلبراں آزادگی کیش ما مانند موج تیز گام اختیار جادہ و ترک مقام
"The wayfarer who knows the secrets of travel Is more afraid of the goal than of the highway dacoit. Love is not satisfied with the cycle of union and separation. It craves for nothing less than Beauty everlasting! It begins with prostration before idols And ends with liberation from the beloved! Our creed, like that of the swift-footed wave, Is the adoption of the road and rejection of the goal!
The passage resonates with Whitehead's idea, in Adventures of Ideas, that beauty is the goal of life, the self-justifying aim toward which lures the world. For Iqbal as for Whitehead, we have a future that is open: open to be realized or actualized, open to all types of beauty. God is both non-temporal and temporal, beyond space and time and yet everywhere at once, moving with us; and God is an adventurer who shares in our journey. The journey itself, not the destination, is what is valuable and important to God and to us. God likewise shares in our experience of the journey in a loving way: enjoying our joys and suffering our sufferings, choosing the risk of discord in the quest for the different types of perfection that are possible.
Voyage of Human
But humans are not different in this regard, we also enjoy the journey more than the destination. Whenever we share our experience with others, we talk about adventures along the way more than the the destination, we are more excited and aroused during the travel than at the end of it. Even during our adventure, we face many difficulties and harsh realities but still we opt for the voyage as hardships make the same more worthwhile. That's why God and humanity are together in the voyage of adventure toward new forms of beauty. This is the same nature that we have inherited from the creator, God.
زندگانی را سر تکرار نیست فطرت اُو خوگر تکرار نیست زندگانی نیست تکرار نفس اصل اُو از حی و قیوم است و بس
"Our life does not consist in recurrence ; This is against its very nature. Life is much more different from the mere continuity of breaths. Its basis is the ever-living and ever-creating God".
God, Humankind & Creativity
In Javed Namah, Iqbal points out that as we are in an adventurous voyage, our life is not merely at the mercy of repetitive mechanical laws. Our lives unfold dynamically and creatively without repetition; we do not live in a world of predestined and predetermined future but in the world of creativity and novelty - a world in which the future is ours to create. As Iqbal writes in Payam-e-Mashriq,
تو شب آفریدی چراغ آفریدم سفال آفریدی ایاغ آفریدم بیابان و کہسار و راغ آفریدی خیابان و گلزار و باغ آفریدم من آنم کہ از سنگ آئینہ سازم من آنم کہ از زہر نوشینہ سازم
"Thou created the night, I the lamp; Thou created the clay, I the vase ! Thou created the jungle, mountains and deserts, I created gardens, orchards and flower plots! It is I who make glass out of stone, It is I who extract elixir out of poison.
The poetry of Iqbal is the human declaration of having creative capacity along with the anticipation of oneself as sharing in the creation of the future. If the future is radically open, the essence of human must be creative. We create the future in our decision. We are responsible for the future and this responsibility upon us is due to capacity of creativity granted to us. We are free as we are responsible.
We humans are also appointed custodian of Earth as future of mankind and Earth is bound together.
"Now, behold! Your Lord said to the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it" (Al Baqarah 2:30).
It is important that we work towards the conservation of earth, ensuring sustainability of natural resources for us and generations coming after. We must not be extravagant in consumption, whether of food, cloth or natural resources. As cited similarly in the Quran:
"Eat and drink of that which Allah has provided and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth" (Al Baqarah 60).
In short, we cannot act destructively or irresponsibly in our conduct toward environment, biodiversity, ecology and earth as a whole Ecological responsibility is a cardinal tenet of the Islamic religion. A total of eighty eight verses in forty two Quranic chapters are identified with a considerable emphasis placed on the importance of water resource management and water conservation, environmental justice, plant conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental stewardship.
We should be working for a future in which earth is given the place that the God and our religion has granted it. As Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The entire earth has been made a place of prayer [mosque], except for graveyards and washrooms.”
We should hope that someday this future will be realized by humanity as whole.
The Future Attitude & Role of Nature
جہانِ رنگ و بو گلدستۂ ما ز ما آزاد وہم وابستۂ ما
The world of colors and odours is a bouquet in our hands, It may be beyond us, but is inalienably bound to us.
Having an "ecological attitude" is crucial in Iqbal's poetry. Strictly speaking, the inspiration that Iqbal takes from nature in his poetry shows the interconnections among things, specifically between nature and the human. This take on an additional connotation, which shows his respect or even reverence for, and perhaps a feeling of deep relation with, the other creations in the universe.
The philosophy of Iqbal's poetry in this sense is ecological in all respects. Being nature-oriented, and it can be defined primarily in terms of interdependence, which leads to habits of thinking and feeling that recognize the interdependence of humanity and nature in particular and various level of existence in general.
Our existence as human beings is always being-in-the-world. We cannot be apart from the world or the world apart from us. As Whitehead puts it in Process and Reality, the very building blocks of the universe -- actual occasions of experience -- are present in one another even as they are unique. This means that inter-dependence is more than simply causal relations. As we live in the world, the world beyond us is also within us and vice-versa. We are bound together in a real mutuality. So nature is playing its role in creating future in this more-than-human world .
Iqbal put it his way in Goristan-e-Shahi:
عشق کے ہنگاموں کی اڑتی ہوئی تصوير ہے خامہ قدرت کی کيسی شوخ يہ تحرير ہے
A living picture of the commotion of Love How beautiful is this picture from Nature’s pen!