The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 7, 2007

Philosophy of Culture(s)

Mohammed Maruf
Pages 191-200

Kant and Iqbal
Two Epistemic Views

Muhammad Iqbal propounds a much wider view of knowledge and the universe than does Immanuel Kant. According to him, the fundamental pattern of knowledge remains the same whether we are dealing with the perceptual type of knowledge of everyday life or with a special type of knowledge called mystic or religious knowledge. This insight was not within the purview of Kant, who was working his way through specific limitations imposed by his Western legacy. Iqbal, no doubt, drew inspiration from his Muslim legacy as bequeathed by thinkers like al-Farabi, according to whom higher thought (or 'intellect' as he called it) "rises to the level of communion, ecstasy, and inspiration". It was under the inspiration of Muslim Sufis and thinkers that he could enlarge his vision regarding the knowledge of man. In fairness to Kant, however, it may be said that Iqbal accepted his epistemic model in toto and extended its application beyond the pale of sensible and empirical knowledge into the non-sensible realm of entities with which religion deals - a venture which, if accepted, will extend human knowledge beyond its present limits into various directions and dimensions.