Born: November 9, 1877
Died: April 21, 1938 ( Aged 60 )
Notable Idea: Two - Nation Theory & Conception of Pakistan
Sir Muhammad Iqbal (محمد اقبال) (November 9, 1877 – April 21, 1938), also known as Allama Iqbal (علامہ اقبال), was a philosopher, poet and politician in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both the Urdu and Persian languages.
Iqbal is admired as a prominent classical poet by Pakistani, Indian and other international scholars of literature. Though Iqbal is best known as an eminent poet, he is also a highly acclaimed "Muslim philosophical thinker of modern times".His first poetry book, Asrar-e-Khudi, appeared in the Persian language in 1915, and other books of poetry include Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, Payam-i-Mashriq and Zabur-i-Ajam. Amongst these his best known Urdu works are Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril, Zarb-i Kalim and a part of Armughan-e-Hijaz.Along with his Urdu and Persian poetry, his various Urdu and English lectures and letters have been very influential in cultural, social, religious and political disputes over the years.In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title "Sir".
While studying law and philosophy in England, Iqbal became a member of the London branch of the All India Muslim League.Later, in one of his most famous speeches, Iqbal pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in Northwest India. This took place in his presidential speech in the League's December 1930 session.He was very close to Quid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mushriq (Urdu: شاعر مشرق) meaning Poet of the East. He is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan ("The Inceptor of Pakistan") and Hakeem-ul-Ummat ("The Sage of the Ummah"). In Iran and Afghanistan he is famous as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī (اقبال لاهوری Iqbal of Lahore), and he is most appreciated for his Persian work.Pakistan Government had recognised him as its "national poet".His birthday (یوم ولادت محمد اقبال – Yōm-e Welādat-e Muḥammad Iqbāl) is a Public holiday in Pakistan.
Iqbal was born in Sialkot, within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). His ancestors were Kashmiri Pandits, the Brahmins of the Sapru clan from Kashmir who converted to Islam.In the 19th century, when Sikh were taking over rule of Kashmir, his grandfather's family migrated to Punjab. Iqbal often mentioned and reminisced about his Kashmiri Pandit Brahmin lineage in his writings.
Iqbal's father, Shaikh Noor Mohammad, was a tailor, not formally educated but a religious man. Iqbal's mother Imam Bibi was a polite and humble woman who helped the poor and solved the problems of neighbours. She died on November 9, 1914 in Sialkot. Iqbal loved his mother, and on her death he expressed his feelings of pathos in a poetic form elegy.Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?
Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive?
I will visit thy grave with this complaint:
Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?
All thy life thy love served me with devotion—
When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed.
When Iqbal was four years old, he was sent to the mosque to learn the Quran. Later, Syed Mir Hassan, the head of the Madrassa in Sialkot, became his teacher. Iqbal received the Faculty of Arts diploma from Scotch Mission College in 1895, where his teacher Hassan was the professor of Arabic. In the same year Iqbal married Karim Bibi, the daughter of a Gujrati physician Khan Bahadur Ata Muhammad Khan, through a first arranged marriage.They had daughter Miraj Begum and son Aftab Iqbal.Later Iqbal's second marriage was with Sardar Begum mother of Javid Iqbal and third marriage with Mukhtar Begum in December 1914.
During his first marriage, Iqbal began studying philosophy, English literature and Arabic in Lahore's Government college. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Higher education in Europe
Iqbal was close to Sir Thomas Arnold, a philosophy teacher at the college. Iqbal was influenced by Arnold's teachings and so traveled to Europe for his higher education. Iqbal qualified for a scholarship from Trinity College in Cambridge in 1907, and was called to the bar as a barrister from Lincoln's Inn in 1908.
During his study in Europe, Iqbal began to write poetry in Persian. He prioritized it because he believed he had found an easy way to express his thoughts. He would write continuously in Persian throughout his life.Iqbal went to Heidelberg Germany in 1907. His German teacher, Emma Wegenast, taught him about Goethe's "Faust", Heine and Nietzsche. Iqbal had feelings for her, but no relationship developed.He continued with his PhD degree, receiving admission to the Faculty of Philosophy of the Ludwig Maximilian University in 1907 at Munich. Working under the guidance of Friedrich Hommel, Iqbal published his doctoral thesis in 1908 entitled: The Development of Metaphysics in Persia.
Final years and death
In 1933, after returning from a trip to Spain and Afghanistan, Iqbal began suffering from a mysterious throat illness. He spent his final years helping Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan establish the Dar ul Islam Trust Institute at the latter's Jamalpur estate near Pathankot, an institution where studies in classical Islam and contemporary social science would be subsidised, and advocating the demand for an independent Muslim state. Iqbal ceased practising law in 1934 and he was granted pension by the Nawab of Bhopal. In his final years he frequently visited the Dargah of famous Sufi Hazrat Ali Hujwiri in Lahore for spiritual guidance. After suffering for months from his illness, Iqbal died in Lahore on 21 April 1938. His tomb is located in Hazuri Bagh, the enclosed garden between the entrance of the Badshahi Mosque and the Lahore Fort, and official guards are maintained there by the Government of Pakistan.
Iqbal is commemorated widely in Pakistan, where he is regarded as the ideological founder of the state. His Tarana-e-Hind is a song that is widely used in India as a patriotic song speaking of communal harmony. His birthday is annually commemorated in Pakistan as Iqbal Day, a national holiday. Iqbal is the namesake of many public institutions, including the Allama Iqbal Campus Punjab University in Lahore, the Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, Allama Iqbal Open University, the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town in Karachi. Government and public organizations have sponsored the establishment of colleges and schools dedicated to Iqbal, and have established the Iqbal Academy to research, teach and preserve the works, literature and philosophy of Iqbal. Allama Iqbal Stamps Society established for the promotion of Iqbaliyat in philately and in other hobbies. His son Javid Iqbal has served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Javaid Manzil was the last residence of Allama Iqbal.
Iqbal took up an assistant professorship at Government College, Lahore, when he returned to India, but for financial reasons he relinquished it within a year to practice law. While maintaining his legal practice, Iqbal began concentrating on spiritual and religious subjects, and publishing poetry and literary works. He became active in the Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam, a congress of Muslim intellectuals, writers and poets as well as politicians. In 1919, he became the general secretary of the organisation. Iqbal's thoughts in his work primarily focus on the spiritual direction and development of human society, centred around experiences from his travels and stays in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was profoundly influenced by Western philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Goethe.
The poetry and philosophy of Mawlana Rumi bore the deepest influence on Iqbal's mind. Deeply grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal began intensely concentrating on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, while embracing Rumi as "his guide." Iqbal would feature Rumi in the role of guide in many of his poems. Iqbal's works focus on reminding his readers of the past glories of Islamic civilization, and delivering the message of a pure, spiritual focus on Islam as a source for socio-political liberation and greatness. Iqbal denounced political divisions within and amongst Muslim nations, and frequently alluded to and spoke in terms of the global Muslim community, or the Ummah.
Allama Iqbal's poetry has also been translated into several European languages where his works were famous during the early part of the 20th century. Iqbal’s Asrar-i-Khudi and Javed Nama were translated into English by R A Nicholson and A J Arberry respectively.