Sir Muhammad Iqbal (November 9, 1877 – April 21, 1938), also known as Allama Iqbal (was a poet and philosopher and is widely considered one of the most important figures in Urdu culture His literary work is in the Urdu and Persian languages.
Iqbal is admired as a prominent classical poet by Pakistani, Indian and other international scholars of literature Although most well known as a poet, he has also been acclaimed as a modern Muslim philosopher. His first poetry book, Asrar-e-Khudi, appeared in the Persian language in 1915, and other books of poetry include Rumuz-i-Bekhudi, Payam-i-Mashriq and Zabur-i-Ajam. Some of his most well known Urdu works are Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril and Zarb-i Kalim. Along with his Urdu and Persian poetry, his various Urdu and English lectures and letters have been very influential in cultural, social, religious and political disputes over the years. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title “Sir”.
During his years of studying law and philosophy in England, Iqbal became a member of the London branch of the All India Muslim League. Later, in one of his most famous speeches, Iqbal pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in Northwest India. This took place in his presidential speech in the league’s December 1930 session. He was very close to Quid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mushriq (Urdu: شاعر مشرق) meaning Poet of the East. He is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan (“The Inceptor of Pakistan”), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (“The Sage of the Ummah”). Pakistan has officially recognised him as its “national poet”. In Iran and Afghanistan he is famous as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī (اقبال لاهوری Iqbal of Lahore), and he is most appreciated for his Persian work
His birthday Yōm-e Welādat-e Muḥammad Iqbāl) is celebrated on November 9 and is a holiday in Pakistan.
Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877 in Sialkot, within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan Iqbal ancestors were Brahmin from Kashmir who converted to Islam in time of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In the 19th century, when Sikh were taking over rule of Kashmir, his grandfather’s family migrated to Punjab. Iqbal often mentioned his Kashmiri Brahmin lineage in his writings
Iqbal’s father, Shaikh Noor Mohammad, was a tailor, not formally educated but a religious man. He raised his children in the religious way of life. Iqbal’s mother was a polite and humble woman who helped the poor and solved the problems of neighbours. She died in 1914. Iqbal loved his mother, and on her death he expressed his feelings of pathos in a poetic form 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.
When Iqbal was four years old, he was sent to the mosque to learn the Quran. Later, Syed Mir Hassan, the head of the Madrassa in Sialkot, became his teacher. Iqbal received the Faculty of Arts diploma from Scotch Mission College in 1895, where his teacher Hassan was the professor of Arabic. n the same year Iqbal married Karim Bibi, the daughter of a Gujrati physician through an arranged marriage.
At the same time, Iqbal began to study philosophy, English literature and Arabic in Lahore’s Government college. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and graduated first in his philosophy class.
Higher education in Europe
Iqbal was close to Sir Thomas Arnold, a scholar of Islam and philosophy. Iqbal was influenced by Arnold’s teachings and traveled to Europe to get higher education. Iqbal qualified for a scholarship from Trinity College in Cambrige in 1907, and was called to the bar as a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn in 1908.
During his study in Europe, Iqbal began to write poetry in Persian. He prioritized it because he believed he had found an easy way to express his thoughts. He would write continuously in Persian throughout his life.
Iqbal went to Heidelberg Germany in 1907. His German teacher, Emma Wegenast, taught him about Goethe’s “Faust”, Heine and Nietzsche. Iqbal had feelings for her, but no relationship developed.
He continued with his PhD degree, receiving admission to the Faculty of Philosophy of the Ludwig Maximilian University in 1907 at Munich. Working under the guidance of Friedrich Hommel, Iqbal published his doctoral thesis in 1908 entitled: The Development of Metaphysics in Persia.
Iqbal died on April 21, 1938 in Lahore.