The 143rd birth anniversary of the poet of the East is celebrated with traditional zeal, enthusiasm, and passion across the country. Allama Iqbal was a philosopher, poet, and politician in British India who was born on 9 November 1877. He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both Urdu and Persian languages.he was also called as Muslim philosophical thinker of modern times. Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mashriq 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”). In Iran and Afghanistan, he is famous as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī or Iqbal of Lahore, and he is most appreciated for his Persian work. Pakistan Government had recognised him as its “national poet. He has different literary and narrative works. 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. Amongst these, his best known Urdu works are Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril, Zarb-i Kalim, and a part of Armughan-e-Hijaz and also Pas Che bayad kard.
He had series of lectures in different educational institutions that were later on published by Oxford press as ‘’the Reconstruction of Islamic religious thoughts in Islam’’. Iqbal was influenced by the teachings of Sir Thomas Arnold, his philosophy teacher at Government College Lahore, Arnold’s teachings determined Iqbal to pursue higher education in West. 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 a Ph.D. degree from Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich in 1908. Working under the guidance of Friedrich Hommel, Iqbal published his doctoral thesis in 1908 entitled: The Development of Metaphysics in Persia.
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, after completing his Master of Arts degree in 1899, initiated his career as a reader of Arabic at Oriental College and shortly was selected as a junior professor of philosophy at Government College Lahore, where he had also been a student; Iqbal worked there until he left for England in 1905. In 1908, Iqbal returned from England and joined again the same college as a professor of philosophy and English literature. At the same period, Iqbal began practicing law at Chief Court Lahore, but soon Iqbal quit law practice, and devoted himself to literary works, and became an active member of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam. In 1919, he became the general secretary of the same organisation. Iqbal’s thoughts in his work primarily focus on the spiritual direction and development of human society, centered around experiences from his travels and stays in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was profoundly influenced by Western philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, and Goethe.
Iqbal had a great role in the Muslim political movement. Iqbal had remained active in the Muslim League. He did not support Indian involvement in World War I, as well as the Khilafat movement, and remained in close touch with Muslim political leaders such as Maulana Mohammad Ali and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was a critic of the mainstream Indian National Congress, which he regarded as dominated by Hindus and was disappointed with the League when during the 1920s, it was absorbed in factional divides between the pro-British group led by Sir Muhammad Shafi and the centrist group led by Jinnah.
In his presidential address on December 29, 1930, Iqbal outlined a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in northwestern India, “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated Northwest Indian Muslim state appears to me to be, at least of Northwest India.
Iqbal was the first patron of the historical, political, religious, cultural journal of Muslims of British India. This journal played an important part in the Pakistan movement. The name of this journal is The Journal Tolu-e-Islam.
Iqbal wrote two books on the topic of The Development of Metaphysics in Persia and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam and many letters in the English language, besides his Urdu and Persian literary works. In which, he revealed his thoughts regarding Persian ideology and Islamic Sufism in particular, his beliefs that Islamic Sufism activates the searching soul to a superior perception of life. He also discussed philosophy, God and the meaning of prayer, the human spirit, and Muslim culture, as well as other political, social, and religious problems.
Iqbal died on 21st April 1938 due to a severe throat infection that lasted for long till his death. He was buried in Lahore near Badshahi Mosque. He will be remembered for good.