Notes and Comments: The Nanga Parbat Tragedy

The Young Islam, 15th August 1934 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 6, p. 2)

The German expedition to the Nanga Parbat peak has failed. Its leader, Herr Merkl, has perished. But it has many a lesson to teach. It shows the invincible spirit of man. Explorers know full well what chances of success these expeditions have and what dangers and calami­ties they have in store for them. Yet the brave adventurous spirit in man cannot be curbed. Every hardship, hazard, privation and disaster is faced voluntarily. What is its gain to the individual? Perhaps the glory of being successful or the pure spirit of adventure and exploration.

How much would the world at large benefit? Knowledge of the hitherto unknown regions. Despite such remote chances of success and despite the fact that even if successful the benefit to the individual and society is not a vital one, it is a sign of life among nations to court dangers and disasters. The story of dead nations is however different. Muslims know for certain that the message of the Quran is a blessing to humanity and they know for certain that it is destined to prevail. The world is in need of it as it was never before. Yet how many Muslim leaders are there who have the courage of conviction to sacrifice their all in such a sacred cause? And when the leaders lack the spirit of courting dangers and disasters it is folly to expect an average Muslim to do even his little bit. It is the spirit of dash and daring that moves men. Pious sermons and a wealth of argumentative power have never created a spirit of sacrifice. We may rest assured that the Nanga Parbat Expedition has not failed, for its leader has by his noble and daring spirit produced a wave that must someday conquer the peak. Sometimes one is inclined to conclude that the present-day Muslims are either completely unconvinced of the truthful­ness of their faith or else have hearts entirely empty of any love for it. Is one far from right in coming to such a conclusion?