Around 200 experts, young reseachers and students were invited to the first Muhammad Iqbal Symposium titled "Limits and Transcending Limits. The Antagonism of Philosophy and Religion" on 20 and 21 November 2015. The participants had the opportunity to exchange views and discuss theological and religious philosophical questions closely linked to the work of Muhammad Iqbal. The kick-off event for a series of events and research activities marks a successful start for a revitalisation of Iqbal Studies in Europe and worldwide.
The event marked a succesful beginning for a series of conferences on Muhammad Iqbal under the responsibility of the Chair for Kalām, Islamic Philosophy und Mysticism, represented by Prof. Dr. Ahmad Milad Karimi, coordinated by Mr. Daniel Roters. Guests and speakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pakistan, Turkey, Austria und Germany praised the event as a successful and fruitful intellectual exchange. The event was officially opened by Prof. Dr. Ursula Nelles, Head of the University of Münster and by Walid Iqbal, grandson of Muhammad Iqbal, who came from Pakistan to deliver an impressive talk on Muhammad Iqbals work and life. Students of the Centre for Islamic Theology honoured the widely travelled guests from Pakistan with a cultural evening programme which included reciations of Iqbal's poetry. The programme prepared the audience for a thematic and intensive discussion about Iqbal's work on the second day of the conference.
Three thematic sections dealt with Iqbal's thought. The first section, presented by Mr. Daniel Roters, dealt with the question of God in Iqbal's work. Dr. Mustafi Ceric, Grandmufti Emeritus of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muhammad Suheyl Umar from the Iqbal Academy Pakistan opened the second day of the conference. The second section, presented by Mrs. Asmaa El Maaroufi, dealt with the quesion of God's creation in Iqbal's thought and included talks by Dr. Talib Hussain Sial from the Islamic University Islamabad and Dr. Selahettin Öz from the Faculty for Theology at Hitit University in Corum (Turkey). The third section, presented by Mr. Raid Al-Daghistani, was dedicated to the question of the Self in Iqbal's thought. Without examining this question, as Dr. Stephan Popp and Professor Shahab Yar Khan from the University of Sarajevo highlighted, understanding Iqbal's philosophical thought and his humanist vision would be impossible because the question of God and his creation are closely linked to the question of the Self.
The fourth section dealt with the alleged antagonism between philosophy and religion. The participants discussed the importance of the attitude in Iqbal's thought. Iqbal let himself become the quesion: Who am I? What is my role, the purpose of my community, the purpose of mankind in this life? What is the conditio humana?
The event underlined that the theological and philosophical potentials of Iqbalian Studies are not exhausted at all. Prof. Dr. Ahmad Milad Karimi summarised in his talk the importance of the examination of Iqbal's work and highlighted that religion and philosophy are reconciled in the work of Iqbal in a way that in it philosophy is not just pointing to religion and vice versa - both religion and philosophy alone do not suffice for an interpretation of the world. The genesis of an authentic Islamic religious philosophy lies therefore in the appreciation of the human search for meaning, existence and fulfillment. Prof. Dr. Karimi underlined the programmatical significance of the event for the Centre for Islamic Theology and announced to develop a research focus at the Chair for Kalām, Islamic Philosophy und Mysticism dedicated to the intellectual heritage of Muhammad Iqbal.
The objectives of this research should include translations and commentaries of Iqbal's works, workshops for young researchers and international conferences. The Chair will seek to support intercultural and interdisciplinary studies in reference to Iqbal's thought. The hidden potentials of his thought should be mobilised and harnessed fruitfully.
The conference proceedings will be published in 2017.