What is concept of khudi (self) by Allama Muhammad Iqbal?

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The concept of khuldi as outlined by Iqbal was influenced by the Western view of the self. He viewed the self as a fount through which the individual could understand ultimate reality. The self is dynamic, and requires control and self-mastery through prayer to reach its true expression.

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Iqbal's concept of khudi shares certain similarities with the Western notion of the self, albeit in the context of heterodox Islamic thought. Iqbal was strongly influenced by European thinkers such as Bergson, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard, all of whom placed great emphasis in their thought on the individual. As a Muslim, however, Iqbal differed from these philosophers (who were respectively Jewish, atheist, and Lutheran) in that his notion of the self was the source through which we can bring ourselves to an understanding of what is ultimate.

For Iqbal, the self is dynamic. It is an entity which is energetic and productive. Largely because of its vitality, the self must be controlled by the individual. As Iqbal says "Self control in individuals builds families; in countries, it builds empires."

Once the individual has discovered themself, it is necessary to protect it from external forces which can do the self great harm. To a large extent, life consists of a constant battle between the self and external forces. Only when the individual has successfully resisted those external forces is it possible to attain to a position of complete self-mastery. Prayer and meditation are particularly important methods of attaining this blessed state.

When complete self-mastery has been achieved, the human heart is sufficiently purified to receive God. Now that the self has been awakened, the way is clear to understand God. For Iqbal, another way of understanding God is to define him as Beauty, which means that the journey to selfhood begins in love—which is the true foundation of the self—and ends in Beauty, or God.

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