Allama Iqbal: The Greatest Poet, Philosopher and Politician of all Times

Remembering the extraordinary life, works and achievements of Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal

Henry David Thoreau said that” if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” What Thoreau said seems befitting for Iqbal who was the greatest poet, philosopher and a visionary thinker in the history of South Asia.  Iqbal was born on 9th November 1877 in Sialkot Punjab to Sheikh Noor Mohammad and Imam Bibi. At the tender age of 4 Iqbal began receiving religious education more over he was sent to the mosque to learn the Holy Quran.  Owing to his extra ordinary brilliance and intelligence Iqbal excelled greatly in his academic life. Iqbal enrolled in Government College Lahore for Bachelors in Philosophy, English Literature and Persian.  Iqbal by securing first position in the University of the Punjab proved that he was certainly a cut above the rest.  Iqbal began his career as an Arabic reader but soon ended up as a Junior Professor in philosophy at Government College Lahore.  His brilliance and intelligence motivated him to acquire higher education. In pursuit of higher foreign education Iqbal further received a degree in B.A from Trinity College Cambridge. Furthermore he did his PhD from Ludwig Maximilian University Munich. Iqbal on his return to India resumed his career as a Professor at Government College.  However Iqbal soon decided to switch his career to Law practice. Resultantly he began practicing law but this could not separate him from the world of literature therefore he got associated with Anjuman-e- Himayat-e- Islam. Iqbal contributed immensely to the field of Urdu and Persian literature. Besides that he also wrote two books in English “The Development of Metaphysics in Persia” and the “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.”

Furthermore he wrote hundreds of inspiring letters in Urdu and English which reflected his intellectualism on various sociopolitical and cultural issues of that time. Besides being a great poet and philosopher Iqbal was also a true visionary and this is what eventually led to his involvement in politics. Iqbal’s address to the Second Round Table Conferencae in London in 1931 disclosed that he was a true visionary. He told his audience that his prediction in 1906 that the Separation of Church and State in Europe is a terrible mistake later proved true resulting in European wars.  Iqbal’s political prudence was evident from his trust in Mohammad Ali Jinnah for materializing his dream of a separate homeland for the Muslims of North West India.

Some less known facts regarding the Great DR. Mohammad Allama Iqbal are as follows.

  • In 1897 Iqbal received the Khan Bhadurddin F.S Jalaluddin Medal for excelling in Arabic language.
  • King George the Fifth conferred Knighthood upon Allama Iqbal therefore he was given the title Sir.
  • The house where he stayed during his stay in Germany has an inscribed metal plate which reads Mohammad Iqbal the National Philosopher, Poet and Spiritual father of Pakistan lived here in 1907.
  • A Street in Heidelberg Germany is named after Iqbal to honor his stay in Germany.
  • In 1977 the Government of Pakistan issued 3000 silver coins of Rs. 100 to commemorate the 100 birth anniversary of Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal.

Allama Iqbal also received the titles Shair-e- Mashriq, Mufakkir-e-Pakistan, Musawar-e-Pakistan and Hakeem-ul-Ummat. In 1934 he was honored with a pension after he had completely stopped his law practice due to his ill health. Iqbal on his return from Spain and Afghanistan had developed a strange throat illness which further resulted in various ailments.  On 21st April 1938 Allama Iqbal died after suffering from a prolonged sickness in Lahore at the age of 60. He shall always be remembered as the greatest poet, visionary leader, philosopher, politician and an extra ordinary gem of our society.

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