Sir Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, was a philosopher, poet and politician in British India who is widely regarded to have 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.
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".
Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mushriq 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 Iqbal-e Lahori (Iqbal of Lahore), and he is most appreciated for his Persian work.
His birthday is celebrated on November 9.
Iqbal was born in Sialkot, within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). Iqbal ancestors were kashmiri Pandits, the Brahmins from Kashmir who converted to Islam. Iqbal's father, Shaikh Noor Mohammad, was a tailor, not formally educated but a religious man. Iqbal's mother Imam Bibi was a polite and humble woman who helped the poor and solved the problems of neighbours. 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. In the same year Iqbal married Karim Bibi, the daughter of a Gujrati physician Khan Bahadur Ata Muhammad Khan, through a first arranged marriage. They had daughter Miraj Begum and son Aftab Iqbal. Later Iqbal's second marriage was with Sardar Begum mother of Javid Iqbal and third marriage with Mukhtar Begum in December 1914.
During first marriage at the same time, Iqbal also began to study philosophy, English literature and Arabic in Lahore's Government college. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Higher Education in Europe
Iqbal was close to Sir Thomas Arnold, an philosophy teacher at the college. Iqbal was influenced by Arnold's teachings and so traveled to Europe for his 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.
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 took up an...
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