Distinguished writer and a great patron of mystical psychology in
Pakistan, Dr Muhammad Ajmal is no more with us. He served the nation as Federal
Secretary of Education, Vice Chancellor University of the Punjab and Principal
Government College, Lahore for many years.
Dr Ajmal was M A in philosophy and Ph.D in psychology. Apart from his
contribution in the academic and social life of Lahore and Islamabad, he could
be introduced as the founder of spiritual psychology in Pakistan.
He upheld the banner of an independent thinking and deep philosophical
conceptions for quiet a long time.
His extraordinary approach towards human psychology made his name known in
the intellectual world around him.
Dr Ajmal rendered his experiences and sensibility to the service of
psycho-analysis and behavioral therapy in modern psychology.
His book on the subject of analytical psychology received compliments from
the concerned intellectuals for the clarity of expression and the distinctness
He wrote many thought-provoking articles both in Urdu and English
languages. A book containing these articles have been published by
ldara-e-Saqafat-e-Islamia, Lahore under the title of Maqalat-e-Ajmal.
Dr Ajmal was great admirer of theory of collective unconsciousness
propounded by C. J. Jung. His love for the knowledge gathered by Martin Lings, a
spiritual Muslim orientalist, was an open secret. He proved that general
psychology and spiritual psychology are closely related to each other. In 1968,
he published his remarkable theoretical article namely 'An introduction to
Muslim tradition in psychotherapy.'
Dr Azhar Alt Rizvi, former head of psychology department G. C Lahore says,
"Dr Ajmal's name in Pakistan is extremely significant with reference to
research in Muslim psychology. National Institute of Psychology published his
book 'Muslim contribution to psychotherapy.
Dr Ajmalís article meanings of prayer in Iqbal" published in
Pakistan Times on November 9,1977 determines positive role of good in a society
victimized by social and spiritual sickness.
Dr Ajmal indicated in his various articles that old Muslim thinkers
delivered thoroughly the mentally ills from harms of disillusionment and
hallucinations. They thought that the causes of mental illness could be searched
in moral weakness rooted in the man under treatment.
Dr Ajmal also stressed on the rule proclaimed by Muslim psychologists
'Faithlessness generates immorality and immoral character acts as an animal.' He
was of the opinion that mysticism could cure modern man who was a victim of
mental diseases. In this connection he studied thoroughly the theories of Muslim
philosophers such as Kindi, Razi, Farabi, Ave Sina, Ghazali, Ibn- e-Tufail,
Suharwardi, Ibn- e- Rushd, Ibn- e- Arabi, Rumi, Al Jeli, Sadr ud Din Sherazi,
Shah Wali ulah, and Alama Muhammad Iqbal.
In Pakistan people like Hasan Askari, Ahmad Ali, Qudratulah Shahab and Dr
Ajmal were working hard for the revival of Muslim knowledge. They knew well that
the colonialists introduced a sense of alienation between the aspirations of
people and their intellectual outlook with the help of their advanced and
secular knowledge. On the other side they were convinced that the view of
Islamic knowledge given by the majority of our "talented" Ulama did
not comply with the needs of present-day society as it was completely rigid in
They believed that the ideological confusion which was basic feature of
our present-day life could lead to intellectual chaos and split in
For them survival of Muslims as a solid nation would only be possible if
it will be impregnated with certain dimensions of speculations and psychological
unity and they were convinced that Muslim thought like Muslim philosophy has
remained inert for many centuries. As Khalifa Abdul Hakim Puts it, 'With the
awakening and independence of Muslim nations new life has to be put into their
intellectual and spiritual heritage. As once Muslim intellectual development
gave a fillip to the European Renaissance after many centuries of darkness, so
now Western intellectual and cultural achievements of the last two centuries
must be accepted with critical discrimination, but open-hearted appreciation for
resuscitating dormant Muslim life. May be Islam shall again play a mighty role
in alliance with new knowledge as it did once by fraternizing with Hellenistic
thought. Muslims now for a long time have been philosophically inactive. In the
realm of philosophy they have now a twofold task before them. The first is to
gather the intellectual and spiritual heritage left by their philosophers, poets
mystics, literary geniuses and even by some theologians who attempted to
substantiate their beliefs and dogmas by reasoning.'
Knowing all these facts Dr Ajmal knocked at the door of modern knowledge.
He studied the works of George Frazer, Eric Fromm, William James, C.G Jung,
Hussain Nasr, Alferd Adler, Max Ernst, Susan K Langer, Michel Foucalt, Sigmund
Freud, Roger Fry, Johann Kepler, Rene Guenon, and many other.
He wanted to evolve a new generation of Islamically oriented intellectuals
in Pakistan. So he raised voice to warn of the threat of cultural as well as
social guidelines by alien systems and doctrines. Joining hands with many other
he questioned the invasion and apparently pervasive postures of the West in the
cultural fields. He expressed at places his precious opinion that clerics were
unable to provide the positive charisma and reinterpretation of old outlook
needed in modern society. Due to his faith in the true awareness he acquired
modern as well as traditional knowledge.
In the last years of his life he joined editorial board of Vision a
quarterly periodical of Iqbal Shariati Foundation. The chairman of the
'Too often Western systems and pre-suppositions were adopted uncritically
by modern elite regardless of their appropriateness. They were unable to render
change with some continuity with the past. Both the traditional and the modern
elite failed to provide a new syntheses capable of supplying continuity in the
midst of modern change. This crisis of identity was positively and creatively
responded to by Jamal-ud-Din Afghani (Al-Afghani) and Dr Muhammad Iqbal. They
were followed by Hassan-al-Banna and Rashid Rida, and others like Hassan Turabi,
Sadiq-al-Mehdi, Taleqani and Dr. Ali Shariati. Shariati was a creative thinker
whose thought stood in sharp contrast to the traditional religious
interpretations of many of the Ulama, as also to the Westernized secular outlook
of many university professors and intellectuals. Reflecting the influence of
Al-Afghani and Iqbal, he emphasized the dynamic progressive and scientific
nature of Islam to revitalize the Muslim community by a thoroughgoing
reinterpretation of Islam. Shariati maintained that he was reclaiming the
original, true, revolutionary message of Islam. Shariati preached a theology of
liberation, which combined a reinterpretation of Islamic belief with modern
Dr Ajmal identified these problems as his brilliant predecessor Allama
Iqbal did 'with the sense of cultural and societal crises and the realization of
man's authentic identity.'
Iqbal envisioned a system in which science and religion were to find out
joint harmonies. Dr Ali Shariati, a great scholar from modern Iran, unfolded
Iqbal's poetic and introspective thought in the perspective of modern sciences.
He expressed his thought in his theoretical books and asked Muslim
societies to go back to their roots, a way which could bring current of progress
Shariati says, today 'the intelligentsia have premised the role which
prophets played in the olden times. As scholars assume a significant role in
every society, they give direction and provide guidance to the people living in
their societies. He parts the thinkers in two distinct groups, the academicians
and the "enlightened thinkers." Academicians simply utilize their
conventional or pragmatic know-how. Enlightened thinkers with their sense of
social commitment, play the role of social prophets.
Visualizing the path taken by Shariati Dr Ajmal, as an enlightened thinker
maintained that the world was watching the beginning of a new period. Even the
finality about scientific realities was facing fresh challenges. The school of
thought of the literate of tomorrow, as opposed to the intellectuals of today,
will be a religious school of thought.
Dr Ajmal knew that a new surge of human thought was emerging, which could
attain success in a few years. All that Dr Ajmal attempted to point out was that
though convictions on these points had been given in fairly large numbers we
could improve upon the situation by trying to generate new situational opinions
on these points.