Muhammad Iqbal, popularly known as Allama Iqbal, was a renowned British Indian writer, poet, politician and philosopher. Acknowledged as one of the greatest Urdu poets and philosophers across the world, Sir Iqbal changed the course of Islamic polity, thought and literature. Iqbal is not recognised for his thought-provoking poetry or should we say, Allama Iqbal shayari, but also as the catalyst who served to conceptualise the idea of a nation for British – Indian Muslims. In this blog, let us strive to honour the man who gave India her most famous patriotic song!
‘Kaun rakhega yaad hume is daure khudgarzi mein, Haalat aisi hai ki logon ko khuda yaad nahi’ .
Childhood and Early Life
Much before Allama Iqbal Shayari took its course, let’s look at the early life of Iqbal. Born to a Kashmiri family in Sialkot, British India, in 1877. Iqbal had a modest and religious upbringing; his father worked as a tailor while his mother was a homemaker. From a very young age, Allama Iqbal was encouraged to learn Arabic, along with other languages and exposed to the Quran’s teachings. Drawn to the world of ethics, Iqbal joined the Government College University at Lahore, where he studied philosophy, English literature and Arabic. He even went on to pursue a masters from the same institute.
Under Sir Thomas Arnold’s tutelage, a professor at his college, Iqbal learnt much about the philosophical ideas of Western thinkers and scholars. In 1903, Iqbal published his Urdu literary work, The Subject of Economics, which was inclusive of the famous Allama Iqbal Shayari. His religious upbringing profoundly impacted his poetry and political career; his strong belief in the unification of the global Islamic community and criticism of the divides within the Muslim fold was lauded by many.
‘Tu shaheen hai parwaaz hai kaam tera, tere saamne aasman aur bhi hain’
A professor, philosopher, lawyer and scholar, Sir Iqbal pushed his educational boundaries. From a reader of Arabic to a professor of philosophy at his old college, Iqbal rose to greater heights in a short span. But his penchant for western philosophical thought led him to pursue higher studies in England at Trinity College, Cambridge University.
‘Khudi ko kar buland itna ki hai taqdir se pahle, khuda bande se khud puchhe bata teri raza kya hai’
His discipline and academic bent led him to study law at the Lincoln Inn. In the West, he was further exposed to scholars like Nietzche, Bergson, Goethe, & Rumi and indulged in writing poetry in Persian, which is now famously known as Allama Iqbal Shayari. Sir Iqbal’s academic journey led him to the University of Munich in Germany. He pursued his PhD and wrote his famous doctoral thesis called The Development of Metaphysics in Persia.
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After completing his doctoral studies in Germany, Iqbal returned to India and continued to teach philosophy and literature at the Government College and actively participated in the Association for the Support of Islam, a group that sought to reform the Islamic society through education revival of Islamic teachings. Iqbal’s perspective towards nationalism profoundly changed in the West. He became more critical of the destructive impact of nationalism and sought the Islamic community’s unification across the world. Iqbal pursued law and often vocalised his political and spiritual ideas through his poetic works and recitals, which were not just famous across British India but also revered. The depth and impact of literary work even brought him a knighthood in 1922.
Iqbal had an active involvement with All-India Muslim League along with churning out – what was trademark to him – beautiful Allama Iqbal shayari. Close association with Muslim leaders like Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Mohammad Ali Jouhar boosted his political career. His cynicism towards the Indian National Congress and fear of privation of Islamic culture led him to contest elections in 1926 in Punjab Legislative Assembly where he won by a close margin.
A watershed moment in his career came when he became the President of the Muslim League and published his English work: the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam in 1930. The book was a series of lectures that Iqbal delivered in different British India and propounded his theory of Islam as a legal, political and philosophy guide in the modern world; his lectures criticised the temperament and power-hungry nature of Muslim politicians.
Iqbal was one of the first Muslim leaders to advocate a separate statehood for Muslims based on Islam’s religious and political ideals. Though his beliefs and criticism of Muslim politicians included Mohammad Ali Jinnah, he also believed Jinnah was the only leader capable of guiding Muslims in their quest for political independence.
‘Amal se zindagi banti hai jannat bhi jahannam bhi, yeh khaki apni fitrat men na nuuri ha na naari hai’
‘Dil se jo baat nikalti hai asar rakhti hai, par nahin taqat-e-parvaz magar rakhti hai’
Mohammad Iqbal was an eminent lawyer, professor, politician and a celebrated writer-poet. His poetry and literary work are famous across the world even today by the name of Allama Iqbal Shayari and translated into several European languages. Though Sir Iqbal wrote numerous books and poems in many languages, his most earnest poetic literature is in Persian and Urdu. It is hard to reduce the great work of genius and literary pioneer. Here are some honorary mentions that won him the titles like ‘Shair-e-Mashriq’. Some of his best works include:
- Asrar-i-Khudi (Secrets of the Self) written and published in 1915 to appeal to the Muslim community and espouse the idea of ego and self through different stages of life.
- Rumuz-i Bekhudi (Hints of Selflessness) written and published in 1918; this literary applauds the ideals of selflessness in service of the greater good.
- Payam-i Mashriq (The Message Of The East) published in 1924; invokes strong themes of spirituality, morality and universal validity of Islam.
- Bang-i-Dara (The Call of the Marching Bell) written in Urdu and published in1924; is a collection of his poetic works written in several different stages of Iqbal’s life. The poems reflect upon the different influences on his life and work.
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Allama Iqbal Shayari and his literary work continue to impact the world. Renowned as the National Poet of Pakistan, his poetic romanticism and sensibilities are unmatched and cherished worldwide. Iqbal’s academic, creative and political achievements make him a true renaissance man. Hopefully, this blog gave you an insight into the life of a true legend. For more gripping educational content, follow Leverage Edu on Quora, Facebook and LinkedIn.