Allama Iqbal, great poet-philosopher and active political leader, was born at Sialkot, Punjab, in 1877. He descended from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins,
The first period of Iqbal’s poetic career ended in 1905, when he left for higher studies in Europe. During his three years of residence in Europe, Iqbal composed twenty-four small poems and lyrics. Iqbal studied in both Britain and Germany. In London, he studied at Lincoln’s Inn in order to qualify at the Bar, and at the Trinity College of Cambridge University, he enrolled as an undergraduate student to earn a bachelor of arts degree. This enrollment was unusual since he already had a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of the Punjab, Lahore, and was simultaneously preparing to submit a doctoral dissertation in philosophy to Munich University. The German University not only allowed him to submit his dissertation in English, but also exempted him from a mandatory stay of two terms on the campus before submitting his dissertation, titled: “The Development of Metaphysics in Persia”. After his successful defence of the dissertation, Iqbal was awarded Doctorate Degree. This dissertation, which was published the following year in London, was dedicated to T.W. Arnold.
In 1915, Iqbal published his major Persian philosophical Poem “Asrar-i-Khudi”. Its continuation, Rumuz-i-bekhudi (Mysteries of the selflessness) appeared in 1918. These poems initiated a series that included Payam-i-Mashriq (The message of the East, 1923) a response to Goethe’s West Ostriches Divan; Zubur-i-Ajam (Iranian Psalms, 1927); and Javid Nama (1932) which has been called “an Oriental Divine Comedy”. His generally shorter, more lyrical Urdu poems were also published in several collections, notably Bang-e-Dara (The Sound of the Bell, 1924) and Bal-e-Jabril (Gabriel’s wing, 1936). A collection of his English lectures on Islamic philosophy was published titled: The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930). At his best, Iqbal is one of the great Urdu poets and a great Indo-Persian Poet as well.
A Philosopher by temperament he was not interested in politics although he had been associated with the Muslim League from his London Years. He was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the London branch of the Muslim League in 1908. However, political circumstances of the last decade of his life forced him to take part in politics. In 1926, he was elected as a member of the Punjab Legislative Council; three years later he was chosen President of the All-India Muslim League which met for its annual session at Allahabad in 1930.
Earlier, a spilt leading to two factions of the All-India Muslim League had occurred in 1927 which forced Iqbal to side with one of these. This rift continued up to February 1930. Thereafter, the Fourteen Points of the Quaid became a charter of unification between the two factions. On 28 February, 1930, Sir Muhammad Shafi and Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah met in Delhi by which the two factions of the All-India Muslim League were merged. Thus the League again became united making Quaid as its President.
By 1928, his reputation as a great Muslim philosopher was solidly established and he was invited to deliver lectures at Hyderabad, Aligarh and Madras. These series of lectures were later published as a book ‘The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. In 1932, Iqbal came to England as a Muslim delegate to the Third Round Table Conference.
It may be recalled that when Allama Iqbal proposed the idea of a separate Muslim State, the Muslim politicians and intellectuals failed to measure up to Iqbal’s prescient views and remained bogged down in the stereotypic politics. At that time, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had withdrawn from politics for the time being. Allama Iqbal was the dreamer of Pakistan and well-wisher of Muslim nation. He was a Muslim Leaguer and great admirer of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. In his opinion the Quaid was the only Muslim in India to whom the community had a right to look for safe guidance through the storm which was coming to North-west India and perhaps to the whole of India.
A Philosopher by temperament he was not interested in politics although he had been associated with the Muslim League from his London Years.
“I am a Muslim and I am not afraid to die.”
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah issued the following statement on the death of Allama Mohammad Iqbal:-
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru held the view that Iqbal was a poet, an intellectual and philosopher of a great order. He writes in his Discovery of India that: