Muhammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal – Poet of the East) is a remarkable individual who made a significant impact upon the Indian subcontinent community in the 20th century, inspiring and motivating many.
He was born in a Kashmiri family, on 9 November 1877 in Sialkot, Pakistan and died on 21 April 1938, Lahore, Pakistan. His father was Sheikh Noor Muhammad (d 1930), mother was Imam Bibi (d 1914) and grandfather Sheikh Muhammad Rafique.
His teachers included Syed Mir Hassan and German Professor Emma Wegenast. He was educated at Government College University (BA, 1897), University of the Punjab (MA, 1899), University of Cambridge (BA, 1906) and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (PhD, 1907–1908).
Iqbal was influenced by the writings of Mawlana Rumi and Sir Thomas Arnold. His contributions were to poetry, philosophy, politics, law, economics, religion and revivalism.
He married three times to Karim Bibi, Sardar Begum and Mukhtar Begum. His children included Javed Iqbal, Aftab Iqbal and Miraj Begum.
He was knighted in 1923 and adopted the title ‘Sir’.
Muhammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal, was a poet, philosopher, and politician, as well as an academic, barrister and scholar in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Independence Movement in his 1930 speech at the Allahabad address for a separate Muslim state.
His political influences included Mian Muhammad Shafi, The Muslim League, Muhammad Ali Jouhar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Aga Khan.
He is universally popular amongst literary scholars and the public within the Urdu and Farsi speaking world. His poetry was greatly inter-twined with Indian nationalism in his early career and Islam as a core philosophy. He was a strong advocate of an Islamic solution to the problems of the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent and he used poetry to express and unify the people and society. Iqbal promoted greater global political ummah unity, cooperation and understanding.
He is very well known within India, Iran and Pakistan.
Books and Writings
- The Secrets of the Self
- The Secrets of Selflessness
- Message from the East (Payam-e-Mashriq)
- Persian Psalms
- The Call of the Marching Bell
- Gabriel’s Wing (Bal-e-Jibril)
- The Rod of Moses
- Asrar -i-Khudi
- Javed Nama
- Shikwa and Jawabe-e-Shikwa
- The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam
- The Development of Metaphysics in Persia
- Ilm ul Iqtisad
Poetry & Quotes
Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.
The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something.
Words, without power, is mere philosophy.
With courage great a war i wage
Gainst evils of the present age:
I do not bear a fighter’s name’
To chieftainship I lay no claim.
I am not conscious “bout this fact
If it is verse or other tact:
ALLAH has bestowed on me science long
His praise, reflection, charm and song.
The flood of light that makes its show
On true and faithful Muslim’s brow:
With grandeur same is quite replete
That fills being’s soul and make complete
You do not call it unbelief,
No less it is than disbelief:
That truthful man may get content
With today, for change shoe no intent.
Don’t grieve, for millennium and aeons more
Still lie ahead for man in store:
The ever spinning heaven blue
Is not devoid of planets new.
The diverse hues of world I can descry,
Here stone and gem, there moon and starry sky.
My insight also gives this verdict clear,
These are hills, river, earth and sphere.
Of facts so true, I strive to hide not aught,
You are, all else a trick that eyes have wrought.
Zarb e Kalim (The Rod of Moses)
Dr Ghulam S Ashraf is a content writer