Muhammad Iqbal is one of the most important intellectuals of twentieth century Islamic tradition. From the outset of his intellectual creative process, the issue of religion represents the Archimedean point in the poet-philosopher’s thinking. However, Iqbal’s much respected and followed work is linked and interwoven with questions which cannot all be traced back to a single discipline. He picks up on Islam as a religion, its genesis, its social and political roots, both from a philosophical and spiritual but also existential point of view, as, according to the Islamic scholar, philosophy and religion always point to the limits of human cognition; at the same time, they always transcend limits in their respective purpose while never becoming estranged. Between East and West, between lively and flowery poetry and exact philosophical definitions, between theological austerity and spiritualism, between trembling faith and doubt, Muhammad Iqbal raises questions whose originality is hard to top and which are of key importance for our present lives. How can we define philosophy and religion based on the entire works of Muhammad Iqbal? How can Islam understand the relationship between religion and philosophy? How can we define religion within the limits of reason?
As Muhammad Iqbal's works represent an explicit focus in the research activities of the Chair for Kalām, Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism, the Centre for Islamic Theology Münster (ZIT) is arranging regular events and conferences since 2015. The conferences and workshops allow discussions and in-depth deliberations and include also accounts of the individual research activities surrounding the work of Muhammad Iqbal.
The kick-off event for a series of events on Muhammad Iqbal honoured at the same time the centenary anniversary of the publication of Muhammad Iqbal's "The Secret of the Self" (Asrar-i Khudi). On this occasion we welcomed among other guests Walid Iqbal, grandson of Muhammad Iqbal, and Muhammad Suheyl Umar, former Head of the Iqbal Academy Pakistan - an organisation that made a tremendous effort to support the research on Iqbal's works. We also welcomed speakers from Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria and Germany who discussed the alleged antagonism between philosophy and religion.
The Muhammad Iqbal Research Centre under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ahmad Milad Karimi wants to establish a fundamental framework for the revitalisation of Iqbal Studies and the systematic research of Iqbal's works in Europe. It aims to support scholars and young researchers and sees itself as as a research network and think tank. The Muhammad Iqbal Research Centre is not only dedicated to Iqbal's work but strives to provide innovative impulses for Islamic thought.