Muhammad Iqbal

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Muhammad Iqbal

Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Urdu: محمد اقبال; born November 9, 1873April 21, 1938) was a Muslim poet and philosopher born in Sialkot, British India (now in Pakistan). He wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian languages. This poetry is considered to be among the greatest of the modern era[1]. His vision of an independent state for the Muslims of British India was to inspire the creation of Pakistan. He is commonly referred to as Allama Iqbal (علامہ اقبال‎, Allama lit. Great Scholar.)

Origins[change | edit source]

Allama was born as Muhammad Iqbal, in Sialkot, Punjab, then British India, on 9th November 1877 (24th Zilhaj 1289 Hijri) in a Kashmiri Pandit family settled in that town. His father was Sheikh Noor Muhammad, who worked in a small government job but later started his own business. Both Allama Iqbal's mother and father were very pious and religious-minded people and devoted to a simple life. They had six children, two sons, Ata Muhammad and Muhammad Iqbal and four daughters.

After early Islamic education and then primary and secondary education at a small school in Sialkot, Iqbal was admitted to the Scottish Murray College, Silakot, where he topped the higher secondary examinations and got a scholarship to study at the famous Government College, Lahore, for BA. On going to live in the hostel there, Iqbal met Professor Arnold, an English teacher who taught many things to Iqbal and guided him properly in his studies of Philosophy and Literature.

Early career[change | edit source]

At this time, Iqbal also became well known as a new poet and writer, he used to go to attend a 'Mushaira' at the haveli of Hakim Syed Amin uddin, in Bhaati Gate area of Old Lahore city—here, he met many famous poets and writers and also began to write good poems which became very popular. He was guided by Mirza Dagh, Mirza Gurgani, Hakim Amin uddin, Hakim Shuja uddin and Sir Abdul Qadir. His first famous poem, Koh i Himala was also printed in Makhzan magazine, owned by Hakim Shuja uddin and Sir Abdul Qadir.

After doing his BA and MA from Government College, Lahore, Iqbal was appointed a professor at this same institution and after some time, in 1905, he was selected for higher studies in England and Europe. He went and studied in Cambridge University and then also law at London University, and then he went to Munich, Germany, where he took a PhD degree. After all his study, Iqbal decided to go back and teach and also practice law in India.

Later career, poetic and ideological work[change | edit source]

Although faced by many difficulties, especially financial difficulties, Iqbal followed this plan. He taught some senior classes at Government College and also practiced Law at Lahore High Court. At the same time, he wrote many famous poems in his collections of poetry such as Asrar i Khudi, Ramuz i Bekhudi, Payam i Mashriq, Zabur i Ajam, Bang i Dara, Bal i Jibrail, Zarb i Kalim and etc. Because of his learning and knowledge, people soon began to call him 'Allama' Iqbal and in 1922, King George V of Britain, made him a knight, giving him the title of Allama 'Sir' Muhammad Iqbal.

Ideological work[change | edit source]

Allama Iqbal was a poet and a philosopher, he was always concerned about the thoughts and ideas and condition of Muslims everywhere, but specially Indian Muslims who were under British Rule and also threatened by Hindu majority population. Iqbal believed strongly in Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's earlier idea about 'Two Nation theory' that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations and should be allowed to live separately. He put forward this idea again in his famous Allahabad Address of Muslim League, in 1930[2], and also preached this in his poems and lectures. Allama's words and ideas inspired many Muslims, some of whom became leaders of the Muslim League, and struggled to obtain Pakistan later on. He was very popular amongst the Muslim masses too.

Death[change | edit source]

Allama Iqbal died in Lahore, on 21st April 1938, and is buried near the great Badshahi Mosque. His message and ideas lived on after him, amongst Muslims and under the leadership of Quaid i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslims of India were able in August 1947 to finally get a separate homeland, Pakistan.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Bhatti, Anil (2006-06-28). "Iqbal and Goethe" (PDF). Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India. http://www.goethezeitportal.de/fileadmin/PDF/db/wiss/goethe/bhatti_iqbal.pdf.
  2. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_iqbal_1930.html Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal's 1930 Presidential Address to the Muslim League at Allahabad

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