Allama Iqbal |  South Asian Muslim writer & philosopher | Biography

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Photo: Internet

Born:  9 November 1877

Born Place: Sialkot, Punjab, British India (Now, Punjab, Pakistan)

Died:  21 April 1938 (aged 60)

Death Place: Lahore, Punjab Province, British India
(present-day Punjab, Pakistan)

Resting place: Iqbal’s Tomb, Hazuri Bagh, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan

Education: Scotch Mission College (F.A.) | Government College (BA, MA) | University of Cambridge (BA) | University of Munich (PhD)

Notable work: Bang-e-Dara,Tarana-e-Milli, The Secrets of the Self, The Secrets of Selflessness, Message from the East, Persian Psalms, Javid Nama, Sare Jahan se Accha, “Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa”

Era: 20th-century philosophy

Region: Islamic philosophy

Thesis: The Development of Metaphysics in Persia

Doctoral advisor: Fritz Hommel

Main interests: Islam, Islamic ethics, Urdu poetry, Urdu literature, Persian poetry, Metaphysics, Law, Islamic history

Notable ideas: Concept of Khudi, Allahabad Address

Website: allamaiqbal.com

 

BIOGRAPHY

Sir Muhammad Iqbal Kt (Urdu: محمد اقبال; 9 November 1877 – 21 April 1938), was a South Asian Muslim writer, philosopher, Scholar and politician, whose poetry in the Urdu language is considered among the greatest of the twentieth century, and whose vision of a cultural and political ideal for the Muslims of British-ruled India was to animate the impulse for Pakistan. He is commonly referred to by the honorific Allama (from Persian: علامہromanized: ʿallāmalit. ‘very knowing, most learned’).

Born and raised in Sialkot, Punjab in an ethnic Kashmiri Muslim family, Iqbal completed his B.A. and M.A. at the Government College Lahore. He taught Arabic at the Oriental College, Lahore from 1899 until 1903. During this time, he wrote prolifically. Among the Urdu poems from this time that remain popular are Parinde ki faryad (A bird’s prayer), an early meditation on animal rights, and Tarana-e-Hindi (The Song of Hindustan) a patriotic poem—both poems composed for children.

In 1905, he left for further studies in Europe, first to England, where he completed a second B.A. at Trinity College, Cambridge and was subsequently called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn, and then to Germany, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Munich. After returning to Lahore in 1908, he established a law practice but concentrated on writing scholarly works on politics, economics, history, philosophy, and religion.

He is best known for his poetic works, including Asrar-e-Khudi – after whose publication he was awarded a knighthood, Rumuz-e-Bekhudi, and the Bang-e-Dara. In Iran, where he is known as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī (Iqbal of Lahore), he is highly regarded for his Persian works.

Iqbal regarded Rumi as his Guide and Ashraf Ali Thanwi as the greatest living authority on the matter of Rumi’s teachings. He was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation across the world, but in particular in South Asia; a series of lectures he delivered to this effect were published as The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.

Iqbal was elected to the Punjab Legislative Council in 1927 and held a number of positions in the All India Muslim League. In his 1930 presidential address at the League’s annual meeting in Allahabad, he formulated a political framework for Muslims in British-ruled India. Iqbal died in 1938. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, he was named the national poet there. He is also known as the “Hakeem-ul-Ummat” (“The Sage of the Ummah”) and the “Mufakkir-e-Pakistan” (“The Thinker of Pakistan”). The anniversary of his birth (Yom-e Welādat-e Muḥammad Iqbāl), 9 November, used to be a public holiday in Pakistan until 2018. Abul Hasan Ali Hasani Nadwi wrote Glory of Iqbal to introduce him to the Arab world.

allama iqbal poetry

His love of the Persian language is evident in his works and poetry. He says in one of his poems:

گرچہ ہندی در عذوبت شکر است

garchi Hindi dar uzūbat shakkar ast

طرز گفتار دري شيرين تر است

tarz-i guftar-i Dari shirin tar ast

PERSONAL LIFE

Iqbal was born on 9 November 1877 in an ethnic Kashmiri family in Sialkot within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). His family was Kashmiri Pandit (of the Sapru clan) that converted to Islam in the 15th century and which traced its roots back to a south Kashmir village in Kulgam. In the 19th century, when the Sikh Empire was conquering Kashmir, his grandfather’s family migrated to Punjab. Iqbal’s grandfather was an eighth cousin of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, an important lawyer and freedom fighter who would eventually become an admirer of Iqbal.

Iqbal often mentioned and commemorated his Kashmiri lineage in his writings. According to scholar Annemarie Schimmel, Iqbal often wrote about his being “a son of Kashmiri-Brahmans but (being) acquainted with the wisdom of Rumi and Tabriz.”

Iqbal’s father, Sheikh Noor Muhammad (died 1930), was a tailor, not formally educated, but a religious man. Iqbal’s mother Imam Bibi, a Kashmiri from Sambrial, was described as a polite and humble woman who helped the poor and her neighbours with their problems. She died on 9 November 1914 in Sialkot.Iqbal loved his mother, and on her death he expressed his feelings of pathos in an 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.

MODERN REPUTATION

“Poet of the East”

 
Allama Iqbal after the conferment of a Doctorate of Literature by the University of the Punjab in 1933

Iqbal has been referred to as the “Poet of the East” by academics, institutions and the media.

The Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, stated in a seminar addressing a distinguished gathering of educators and intellectuals that Iqbal is not only a poet of the East but is a universal poet. Moreover, Iqbal is not restricted to any specific segment of the world community, but he is for all humanity.

Yet it should also be born in mind that while 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 stylizing himself as the representative of the East, Iqbal endeavored to talk on equal terms to Goethe as the representative of West.

Iqbal’s revolutionary works through his poetry affected the Muslims of the subcontinent. Iqbal thought that Muslims had long been suppressed by the colonial enlargement and growth of the West. For 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 principal aim was to explore mitigating alternative discourses to construct a bridge between the “East” and the “West.”

The Urdu world is very familiar with Iqbal as the “Poet of the East”. Iqbal is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan (“The Thinker of Pakistan”) and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (“The Sage of the Ummah”). The Pakistan government officially named him Pakistan’s “national poet”.

IQBAL GALLERY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Prose book in Urdu
  • Ilm ul Iqtisad (1903)
Prose books in English
  • The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908)
  • The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930)
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)[51][50][63] (in Persian and Urdu)
Poetic books in Urdu
  • Bang-i-Dara (1924)
  • Bal-i-Jibril (1935)
  • Zarb-i Kalim (1936)

FINAL YEARS AND DEATH

In 1933, after returning from a trip to Spain and Afghanistan, Iqbal suffered from a mysterious throat illness. He spent his final years helping Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan to establish the Dar ul Islam Trust Institute at a Jamalpur estate near Pathankot, where there were plans to subsidise studies in classical Islam and contemporary social science. He also advocated for an independent Muslim state.

Iqbal ceased practising law in 1934 and was granted a pension by the Nawab of Bhopal. In his final years, he frequently visited the Dargah of famous Sufi 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 provided by the Government of Pakistan.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 26 September 2022. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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