Allama Muhammad Iqbal
(1877 - 1938)
Iqbal, Sir Muhammad
(1873-1938), philosopher, poet, and political leader, was born in
Sialkot. In 1927 he was elected to the Punjab provincial legislature and
in 1930 became president of the Muslim League. Initially a supporter of
Hindu-Muslim unity in a single Indian state, Iqbal later became an advocate
of Pakistani independence. In addition to his political activism, Iqbal
was considered the foremost Muslim thinker of his day. His poetry and philosophy,
written in Urdu and Persian, stress the rebirth of Islamic and spiritual
redemption through self-development, moral integrity, and individual freedom.His
many works includeThe Secrets of the Self (1915), 23); a long poem; A Message
from the East (19and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1934).
Although Iqbal did not live to see the creation
of an independent Pakistan in 1947, he is nevertheless regarded as the
symbolic father of that nation
Allama Muhammad Iqbal is generally known as a
poet and philosopher, but he was also a jurist, a politician, a social
reformer, and a great Islamic scholar. People even bestowed on him the
title of "Shaere-Mashriq" (Poet of the East!). It may sound strange that
Iqbal never considered himself a poet as is evidenced by his correspondence
with Syed Sulaiman Nadvi [1885-1953].
"I have never considered myself a poet.
Therefore, I am not a rival of anyone, and I do not consider anybody my
rival. I have no interest in poetic artistry. But, yes, I have a special
goal in mind for whose expression I use the medium of poetry considering
the condition and the customs of this country."
Iqbal's contribution to the Muslim world as one of
the greatest thinkers of Islam remains unparalleled. In his writings, he
addressed and exhorted people, particularly the youth, to stand up and
boldly face life's challenges. The central theme and main source of his
message was the Qur'an.
(translated from the original
in Urdu; Maktoobat, Volume I, page195)
Iqbal considered the Qur'an not only as a book
of religion (in the traditional sense) but also a source of foundational
principles upon which the infrastructure of an organization must be built
as a coherent system of life. According to Iqbal, this system of life when
implemented as a living force is ISLAM. Because it is based on permanent
values given in the Qur'an, this system provides perfect harmony, balance,
and stability in the society from within and the source of security and
a shield from without. It also provides freedom of choice and equal opportunity
for the development of personality for everyone within the guidelines of
Qur'an. Thus, in Iqbal's opinion, Islam is not a religion in which individuals
strive for a private subjective relationship with God in the hope of personal
salvation as it is done in secular systems. Iqbal firmly opposed theocracy
and dictatorship and considered them against the free spirit of Islam.
Humanity, as a whole, has never faced the challenge
posed by the enormity and the complexity of human problems, such as it
is facing today. The problems have taken on a global dimension now and
transcend the barriers of race, color, language, geography, and social,
political and religious ideologies. Most of the problems of mankind are
universal in nature and, therefore, require a universal approach to the
solution. Iqbal's universal message is an attempt to address this challenge
faced by humanity.
Through his travels and personal communications,
Allama Iqbal found that the Muslims throughout the world had detached themselves
from the Qur'an as a guiding principle and a living force. After the disaster
following the Balkan War of 1912, the fall of the caliphate in Turkey,
and many anti-Muslim incessant provocations and actions against Muslims
in India (1924-27) and elsewhere by the intellectuals and so called secular
minded leaders, Allama Iqbal suggested that a separate state should be
given to the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent so that they can express
the vitality of Islam to its fullest. In his 1930 Presidential speech delivered
to the annual session of Muslim League at Allahabad, Allama Iqbal stated:
"I, therefore, demand the formation of
a consolidated Muslim state in the best interests of India and Islam. For
India, it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of
power; for Islam, an opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian
imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its laws, its education,
its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original
spirit and with the spirit of modern times."
Iqbal's "Deeda-war" (visionary), is like Iqbal himself.
He could foresee what others could not. Whereas others only have a short
term view of things, a visionary sees the problems in a long term perspective
and develops some sort of cosmic sense. A nation is indeed fortunate if
it produces a few such individuals in centuries. Such individuals, although
very rare, change the course of history forever, as indeed Iqbal did. Pakistan
owes its existence to Allama Iqbal. Thus, the people of Pakistan owe a
great deal of gratitude to this extraordinary visionary.
Allama Iqbal's contributions are numerous and
it is not possible to give even a glimpse of his work here. A brief outline
of Allama Iqbal's life and achievements is presented below:
Sialkot (present Pakistan) on Friday, November 9, 1877. Kashmiri origin.
and Intermediate - Scotch Mission College, Sialkot.
||B. A. (Arabic
and Philosophy) - Government College, Lahore. Awarded Jamaluddin Gold Medal
for securing highest marks in Arabic, and another Gold Medal in English.
- Government College, Lahore. Secured first rank in Punjab state and awarded
Reader in Arabic, Oriental College,
poem "Nala-e-Yateem," (Wails of an Orphan) at the annual function of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam
published in Makhzan.
Assistant Commissioner's Examination
(didn't qualify due to medical reasons).
Professor, Government College, Lahore. Published his first book, "Ilmul-Iqtasad"
(Study of Economics), Lahore.
to England for higher studies.
University, Germany (Thesis: Development of Metaphysics in Persia).
of Arabic, London University.
London. Returned to India.
Started law practice on October
Part-time Professor of Philosophy
and English Literature.
read famous poem "Shikwa" (Complaint) at Lahore.
Professor of Philosophy, Government
epoch-making "Jawab-e-Shikwa" (Reply to Complaint).
of India" for middle school students, Lahore (now out of print).
a long Persian poem "Asrar-e-Khudi" (Secrets of Self). Resigned from professorship
to spread the message of Islam.
to "Asrar-e-Khudi", published "Rumuz-e-Bekhudi" (Mysteries of Selflessness)
translation of "Asrar-e-Khudi" by Prof. R.A. Nicholson of Cambridge University
entitled "Secrets of Self."
Visited Kashmir and presented his
famous poem "Saqi Nama" at Srinagar.
knighthood "Sir" at Lahore on January 1, 1923. Published "Pay am-e-Mashriq"
(The Message of the East) in Persian. It was written in response to Goethe's
an Urdu course material for Grade 6,7 students at Lahore. Published
"Bang-e-Dara" (Call of the Caravan) in Urdu in March 1924.
to Punjab Legislative Council, Lahore (1926-1929).
"Zaboor-e-A'jam" in Persian.
his famous six lectures at Madras, Osmania University at Hyderabad, and
Aligarh. He made very thought provoking comments on the latest scientific
and philosophical developments of the 1920s in the light of Islamic teachings.
All India Muslim League. Elaborated on the idea of an independent Muslim
state in his presidential speech at Allahabad. [Refer to 1924-28 events
in particular and 1912-29 in general in the Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent
- V 1800 - 1950 CE].
"Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam," - a collection of six lectures,
Lahore; it was also published by Oxford University.
Participated in Mo'tamar-A'lam-e-Islami
(World Muslim Conference) in Palestine.
Participated in the Second Round
Table Conference, London, September 7 - December 31, 1931.
Paris and met French philosophers Bergson and Massignon. Bergson was astonished
to hear his remark on the Islamic concept of time.
Published "Javed Namah" in Persian.
It was a reply to Dante's 'Divine Comedy'.
Participated in the Third Round
Table Conference, London, November 17 - December 24, 1932.
met Mussolini in Rome after Mussolini expressed his interest to meet him.
Visited Qurtuba, Spain and wrote
the poems "Dua" (Supplication) "Masjid-e-Qurtuba." (The Mosque of
Served as Advisor to the Government
of Afghanistan on higher education (October 1933).
Awarded Honorary D. Litt degree
by Punjab University on Dec. 4,1933.
(Traveler) in Persian.
"Bal-e-Jibril" in Urdu.
"Zarab-e-Kalim" in April 1936, "Pas Che Bayad Kard" in Persian, and "Payam-e-Mashriq"
in September 1936.
Al-Azhar University visited Allama Iqbal at Lahore.
Lal Nehru visited Allama Iqbal at Lahore in January 1938.
Allama Iqbal died at Lahore on
April 21,1938. He was a versatile genius-poet, philosopher, lawyer, educationist,
politician, and a reformer. "Armughan-e-Hijaz" published posthumously.
It was a collection of Urdu and Persian poems.
Allama Iqbal's other famous poems include 'Zubur-e-Ajam'
in Persian, and 'Shama-o-Shaer' (The Candle and the Poet), 'Taswir-e-Dard'
(The Picture of Agony), 'Naya Shiwala' (New Temple), 'Tuloo-e-Islam' (The
Dawn of Islam), all in Urdu. The last three were written to unite his countrymen
for the common good.
(Complaint) and "Jawab-e-Shikwa" (Reply to Complaint) translated by Altaf
Reconstruction of Religious Thought
in Islam," - a collection of six lectures, translated by Prof Arberry,
and "Payam-e-Mashriq" translated by Dr. Abdul Wahab Azzam, Professor, Al-Azhar
translated by Dr. Ali Ganjeli.
translated by Professor Hell.
of Religious Thought in Islam," - a collection of six lectures, translated
by Madame Eva Meyerovitch, Paris.
translated under the title 'II Poema Celeste' by Professor Alessander Busani.
translated by M. Burhan Rangkuti.