Sir Muhammad Iqbal (November 9, 1877 – April 21, 1938), also known as Allama Iqbal , 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.Allama Muhammad Iqbal:Iqbal Day 09 November 2012.
Iqbal was born in Sialkot, within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). on 9 November 1877 His forebears (grandparent) were Kashmiri Pandits, the Brahmins of the Sapru clan from Kashmir who converted to Islam. In the 19th century, when Sikhs were taking over rule of Kashmir, his grandfather’s family migrated to Punjab.
On the death of his mother Iqbal read the following verses:
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.
Basic and Primary Education:
Iqbal was four years old when he was admitted to the mosque for learning the Qur’an, he learned the Arabic language from his teacher Syed Mir Hassan.the head of the madrassa and professor of Arabic language at Scotch Mission College in Sialkot, where Iqbal completed matriculation in 1893.
He received Intermediate with the Faculty of Arts diploma from Murray College Sialkot in 1895. The same year he qualified for Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, English literature and Arabic as his subjects from Government College Lahore in 1897, and won the Khan Bahadurddin F.S. Jalaluddin medal as he took higher numbers in Arabic class. In 1899, he received Masters of Arts degree from the same college and had the first place in Punjab University, Lahore.
In 1905, he traveled to England for his higher education. Iqbal qualified for a scholarship from Trinity College in Cambridge and obtained Bachelor of Arts in 1906, and in the same year he was called to the bar as a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn. In 1907, Iqbal moved to Germany to study doctorate and earned PhD degree from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich in 1908.
Back in India:
Iqbal returned to India in 1908. The poet had won all these academic laurels by the time he was 32 or 33. He practiced as a lawyer from 1908 to 1934, when ill health compelled him to give up his practice. In fact, his heart was not in it and he devoted more time to philosophy and literature than to legal profession.
He attended the meetings of Anjuman Himayat-I-Islam regularly at Lahore. The epoch making poems, Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa, which he read out in the annual convention of it one year after another, sparkled with the glow of his genius and made him immensely popular. They became the national songs of Millet.
Iqbal’s other poems Tarana-e-Hind (The Indian anthem) and Tarana-e-Milli (the Muslim Anthem) also became very popular among masses and used to be sung as symbols of National or Muslim identity at public meetings.
The spirit of Change:
The Balkan wars and the Battle of Tripoli, in 1910, shook Iqbal powerfully and inflicted a deep wound upon his heart. In his mood of anger and frustration, he wrote a number of stirring poems, which together with portraying the anguish of Muslims were severely critical of the West.
The spirit of change is evident in poems like Bilad-e-Islamia (the lands of Islam), Wataniat (Nationalism), Muslim, Fatima Bint Abdullah (who was killed in the siege of Cyrainca, Siddiq, Bilal, Tahzib-e-Hazir (Modern civilization) and Huzoor-e-Risalat Maab Mein (in the presence of Sacred Prophet).
In these poems, Iqbal deplores the attitude of Muslim leaders who lay a claim to Islamic leadership and yet are devoid of a genuine spiritual attachment to the blessed Prophet.
The turning point in Iqbal’s Life:
Iqbal was shaken by the tragic events of World War I and the disaster the Muslims had to face. The genius had passed through the formative period. He had attained maturity as a poet, thinker, seer and crusader who could read the signs of tomorrow in the happenings of today, make predictions, present hard facts and unravel abstruse truths through the medium of poetry and ignite the flame of faith, Selfhood and courage by his own intensity of feeling and force of expression. Khizr-e-Raah (The Guide) occupies the place of pride among the poems he wrote during this period. Bang-e-Dara (The caravan bell) published in 1929 has held a place of honor in Urdu poetry and world poetry.
Iqbal preferred Persian for poetic expression because its circle was wider than that of Urdu in Muslim India. His Persian works, Asrar-e-khudi (Secrets of the self), Rumuz-e-Bekhudi (Mysteries of Selflessness), Payam-e-Mashriq (Message of the East), Javed Nama (The Song of Eternity) belong to the same period of his life. And so is Reconstruction of Religious Thoughts in Islam, which was extensively appreciated and translated into many languages. Academies were set up in Italy and Germany for the study of Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy.
In 1927 the poet was elected to the Punjab Legislative assembly. In 1930, he was elected to preside over at the annual session of Muslim League. In his presidential address at Allahabad, Iqbal for the first time introduced the idea of Pakistan. In 1930-31, he attended the Round Table conference, which met in London to frame a constitution for India.
- Ilm ul Iqtisad (1903)
Poetic books in Persian
- Asrar-i-Khudi (1915)
- Rumuz-i-Bekhudi (1917)
- Payam-i-Mashriq (1923)
- Zabur-i-Ajam (1927)
- Javid Nama (1932)
- Pas Cheh Bayed Kard ai Aqwam-e-Sharq (1936)
- Armughan-e-Hijaz (1938) (in Persian and Urdu)
Poetic books in Urdu
- Bang-i-Dara (1924)
- Bal-i-Jibril (1935)
- Zarb-i Kalim (1936)
Books in English
- The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908)
- The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930)
Poet of the East:
Iqbal has been recognised and quoted as “Poet of the East” by academics and institutions and media.
The Vice Chancellor, Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr. Masoom Yasinzai described in a seminar as chief guest addressing to distinguished gathering of educationists and intellectuals,that Iqbal is not a poet of the East only, actually he is a universal poet. Moreover, Iqbal is not restricted to any specific segment of the world community but he is for the entire humanity.
“Yet it should also be born in mind that whilst dedicating his Eastern Divan to Goethe, the cultural icon par excellence, Iqbal’s Payam-i-Mashriq constituted both a reply as well as a corrective to the Western Divan of Goethe. For by stylising himself as the representative of the East, Iqbal’s endeavour was to talk on equal terms to Goethe as the representative of West.”
Iqbal’s revolutionary works through his poetry awakened the Muslims of the subcontinent. Iqbal was confident that the Muslims had long been suppressed by the colonial enlargement and growth of the West. In this concept Iqbal is recognised as the “Poet of the East”.
“So to conclude, let me cite Annemarie Schimmel in Gabriel’s Wing who lauds Iqbal’s “unique way of weaving a grand tapestry of thought from eastern and western yarns” (p. xv), a creative activity which, to cite my own volume Revisioning Iqbal, endows Muhammad Iqbal with the stature of a “universalist poet” and thinker whose principle aim was to explore mitigating alternative discourses with a view to constructing a bridge between the ‘East’ and the ‘West’ “.
Urdu world is very familiar Iqbal as the “Poet of the East”.
The last phase of Iqbal’s life was embittered with constant illness. But as regards his creative activities this product was most productive. He kept in touch with every question of the day and continued composing beautiful verses.
A few minutes before his death he recited these touching lines:
The departed melody may return or not!
The zephyr from Hijaz may blow again or not!
The days of this Faqir has come to an end,
Another seer may come or not!
Cortusy: allama iqbal