The Battle for Marghdeen – Introduction

This title has already been released. Further info here

Seven Stages article at Republic of Rumi website

Anyone who has read Systems will know that its publisher, Libredux, is named after the ideal social system based on the Cohesive Ethics Theorem. When I used that name, I had no plans for it other than to publish the novel. But now, and quite unexpectedly, Libredux is taking on its second title, this time penned by the Marghdeen Learning Centre’s Khurram Ali Shafique.

At around the same time as I was formulating the theorem for the novel, Mr Shafique was formulating a theory of his own. His new book is inspired by a pattern he has found in the writings of Iqbal, which reveals a seven stage cycle for the development of a nation, or what Iqbal called the ‘collective ego’.

The book, titled: 2017: The Battle for Marghdeen, is due out on 14 August 2012 (coinciding with Pakistan’s 65th independence anniversary). I’m reproducing the Introduction below, to give you an idea of what it’s about. Further details will come later.

NB: Marghdeen is a fictional city on Mars, representing an ideal society as conceived by Iqbal in his epic poem, Javid Nama.



Khurram Ali Shafique has one of those rare gifts of being able to find patterns in the most unexpected of places. His discovery of the ‘seven stages’ in Iqbal’s works, (having first seen the connection between Iqbal’s epic poem Javid Nama and his famous Reconstruction lectures) is most intriguing and has wider implications for the study of history with an essentially inductive method. This is not to suggest it is a tool of prediction, but it does provide a method for analysing the psychological direction in which a given society is moving as a ‘collective ego’. Moreover, it serves to illustrate the universal principles that motivate all nations in pursuit of a Higher goal, and to also show what happens when these same principles are neglected.

2017: The Battle for Marghdeen coverIn this work, Mr. Shafique has looked at Pakistan (and also Bangladesh) as a case in point. The most interesting part of the cycle can be seen at stage four – the ‘freedom’ stage (1947-67). At first glance it seems thatPakistanis not moving as we might predict in light of the cycle of stages. As Mr. Shafique shows, this is because the ‘freedom’ stage marks the point at which individuals and small sections of Pakistani society actively began to focus on individualistic goals instead of collective goals. Some commentators on the history of Pakistan have similarly concluded that there is a point of departure from the ‘Pakistan idea’ in the same period. The main difference between most of these commentators and Mr. Shafique however is that Mr. Shafique has illuminated the fundamental reason for the departure in clear terms. ThePakistanidea was the Muslims’ collective basis of partition in 1947, but the point of departure also becomes manifest soon after 1947. The implications for the later stages, especially the final one we have entered as of 2007 (‘creation’), are very interesting indeed, if not alarming, depending on how one interprets the data.

Yet Mr. Shafique has also shown that surface appearances rarely if ever represent the whole of reality. In fact the decision and actions taken by a collective ego or nation are based, in his words, ‘either on the real goal collectively adopted thirty years earlier, or its misinterpretation’ (emphasis mine). What this means is that the collective ego will always choose between one of two directions, or what the Quran calls the ‘two highways’; and this has obvious implications for that much misunderstood concept called the ‘Two Nation Theory’. Again, as Mr. Shafique puts it, whether or not Pakistan proves true to herself ‘will depend, eventually, on whether or not its people manage to make its history a success story. That in itself seems to a daunting task just now, but this pattern itself might be a key to the solution’.

In other words, if the Pakistani nation can become consciously aware of its choices, it will be in a better position to make the right one and so succeed in the final phase. With this in mind, he has not only outlined the double nature of Pakistan’s path using some compelling evidence, but he has also supplied what he sees as the defining goal for the last phase, and the all-important turning point (2017) which will ultimately determine the outcome. Will Pakistan recognise her true nature? Will she transform into Marghdeen?

Whether or not Pakistan succeeds in the end, her journey through its seven stages nevertheless stands to offer invaluable information on the universal principles that motivate all nations in pursuit of a Higher goal.

And in any case, Mr. Shafique is optimistic, for he believes – based on what his theory truly implies – that there is no such thing as an evil age. Indeed he is, as Iqbal once described himself, ‘almost a fatalist in regard to the various forces that ultimately decide the destinies of nations’. This work thus presents an exciting new development not only for Iqbal and Pakistan studies, but for the field of history as well.

Saleena Karim, Nottingham, 28 July 2012



  1. Robert says:


    Thank you for this article.

    I like how you’ve worded things in reference to the Khurram Ali Shafique’s gifts. He most certainly possesses a penetrating intellect into Iqbal’s philosophy and, as you state, the patterns therein.

    I pay close attention to his teachings not only about Pakistan, but also in terms of how they apply to the rest of the world. It is immediately apparent that the gifts he offers the world are qualitatively different than the surfeit of multi-various partisan ideologies.

    All good wishes,


  2. Bushra says:

    Dear Saleena,

    Good to see your write up on Khurram’s work. Thanks for sharing it! He no doubt is gifted! Over the last twenty two years I have witnessed his prowess not only in Iqbal studies but in several other matters too.



  3. Huma says:


    Thanks for your article. Congrats to him and his family on this accomplishment!

    Good wishes,


  4. chaman asgar says:

    I am glad to read about Mr. Shafique’s accomplishments.Thank you for your work.

  5. Suddaiz says:

    There is no doubt that this is an extremely interesting piece of work and one that only an accomplished mind could possibly conceive let alone construct and disseminate! However, I would question a few salient notions in the rendering of Iqbals’ thought with regards to the eventual emergence of a ‘marghdeen’. This utopian ideal although desirable is as history has proven unreachable. The inherent dichotomy in man to identity with his kith and kin usually splits the seams which hold so called nations together. This modern day conception of the sovereign state is as Anderson stated a notion of ‘imagined communities’ with no real binding source other an artificially constructed identity created for those who have been forced to reside within its borders. Pakistan was created in desperation by an elite that promulgated and displayed externally all the right intentions but had their own political goals. Pakistan and India for that matter are an incredible example of why the nation state concept is so flawed. Splitting families, lands and histories under the arbitrary swipe of a high handed colonial patron has imbued into the collective psyche ‘mistrust’ and a ‘division’ rather than the collective psyche of development and evolution as say per the Japanese after the atomic bombing or the Chinese united under Mao’s cultural revolution. In the partition period there was a systematic creation of a society victimized by its own history and its own collective ego! Of course we can go on but just to discuss upon the point that I agree this is an extremely useful and imaginative piece of work but to present the antithesis to its very notion enhances its value, as we are tittering on the edge of sanity and survival not as a nation, people or community but civilization. For the destruction of Pakistan will no doubt give rise to penury states embroiled in small scale disputes and strife not too dissimilar to what the central American nations have and continue to experience. Anyhow an excellent article, most engaging and pleasing to see our talented writers and thinkers express themselves so well. Continue the great work Saleena.

    • Welcome Suddaiz, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do hear what you’re saying, even if I don’t necessarily agree. Khurram Sahib’s book is highly optimistic, but not (in my opinion) an impossible idea.

      Incidentally, as Khurram Sahib has written in this book, Iqbal’s Marghdeen is not a utopia – where utopia suggests the unreachable (to borrow your word). That’s the very issue that is addressed in this book. 🙂

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