It is a great honour for me to be invited to deliver a lecture named for the spiritual father of Pakistan. I thank the organizers, and I hope that my talk will live up to their expectations.
Given Allama Iqbal’s laudable efforts to reformulate the basic theoretical teachings of Islam in a manner that would be appropriate for modern times, I took this lecture as an occasion to reflect on thirty-five years of study of traditional Islamic thought. The questions I asked myself went something like this: Is there anything about traditional Islamic thought that makes it more than a historical curiosity? Is it relevant to the very real and concrete problems that all human beings, not just Muslims, face at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Should Muslims continue the common practice, acquired in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of ignoring their own tradition of thought in their attempts to reformulate Islamic teachings?