Muhammad Iqbal (November 9, 1877 – April 21, 1938) was a poet,
philosopher, reformer and a politician born in Sialkot, British India (now in
Pakistan). He wrote his major poetic works in Urdu, Persian and Arabic. His
vision of an independent state for the Muslims of British India was to inspire
the creation of Pakistan. He was a strong proponent of the political and
spiritual revival of Islamic civilization across the world. He is known as
Muffakir-e-Pakistan (“The Thinker of Pakistan”), Shair-e-Mashriq (“The Poet of
the East”), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (“The Sage of Ummah”). He is officially
recognized as the “National Poet” in Pakistan.
have never considered myself as a poet…. I am no longer interested in the art
of poetry. But yes, I have some special objectives. To express them in line with
the spirit of our current condition and traditions I have adopted the medium of
poetic expression otherwise
great movement has a philosopher and Iqbal was the philosopher of the National
Renaissance of Muslim of Indo Pak. He in his works has left an exhaustive and
most valuable legacy behind him and a message not only for the Musalmans but
for all other nations of the world.
was a poet who inspired Muslims with the spirit and determination to restore to
Islam its former glory and although he is no more with us, his memory will grow
younger and younger with the progress and development of Muslim India.
works should therefore, be read and digested by every Musalman to create
solidarity, and we should all try to organize the Muslims throughout India
economically, educationally, socially and politically.
-Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Works of Allama Iqbal
Iqbal was an heir to a very rich
literary, mystic, philosophical and religious tradition. He assimilated all that was best in the past and
present Islamic and Oriental thought and culture. His works covered the areas of
Religion, Philosophy, Art, Politics, Economics, the revival of Muslim life and
universal brotherhood of man. But poetry was his medium par excellence of
expression. Everything he thought and felt, almost involuntarily shaped itself
into verse. Many of Iqbal’s poetical works have been rendered into foreign
languages, including English, German, Italian, Russian, Czechoslovakian,
Arabic, and Turkish.
- Asrar-i Khudi (Persian) was published in 1915. Translated into
English as The
Secrets of the Self (1920) by Professor Reynold Nicholson of
- Rumuz-i Bikhudi (1918)
- Payam-i Mashriq (1923)
- Bang-i Dara (1924)
- Zabur-i ‘Ajam (1927)
- Javid Namah (1932)
- Musafir (1936)
- Zarb-i Kalim (1937)
- Armaghan-i Hijaz (1938, posthumously)
Iqbal & Philosophy
While his primary reputation is that of a poet, Iqbal has
not lacked admirers for his philosophical thought. He has in fact been called
“the most serious Muslim philosophical thinker of modem times.” The frequently
used appellation of “poet-philosopher” is thus well deserved. The hyphen in the
phrase is all-important: Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy do not exist in
isolation from each other; they are integrally related, his poetry serving as a
vehicle for his thought. Iqbal wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian, and several
collections in each language exist.
deeply interested in the issues that have exercised the best minds of the human
race—the issues of the meaning of life, change and constancy, freedom and
determinism, survival and progress, the relation between the body and the soul,
the conflict between reason and emotion, evil and suffering, the position and
role of human beings in the universe—and in his poetry he deals with these and
other issues. He had also read widely in history, philosophy, literature,
mysticism, and politics.
Although his main interests were scholarly, Iqbal was not
unconcerned with the political situation of the, country and the political
fortunes of the Muslim community of India. Already in 1908, while in England,
he had been chosen as a member of the executive council of the newly
established British branch of the Indian Muslim League. In 1931 and 1932 he
represented the Muslims of India in the Round Table Conferences held in England
to discuss the issue of the political future of India. And in a 1930 lecture
Iqbal suggested the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.
Iqbal died (1938) before the creation of Pakistan (1947), but it was his
teaching that “spiritually ... has been the chief force behind the creation of
Pakistan.” He is the national poet of Pakistan.
زور سے دنيا پہ چھا جا خودي
رنگ و بو کا راز پا جا مقام
بحر ساحل آشنا رہ برنگ
کف ساحل سے
دامن کھينچتا جا
must, therefore, strive to be perfect qua humans, and that is a goal yet to be
The theme of humanity is closely linked in Iqbal with that of khudi (literally,
“selfhood”). Khudi is a complex thought in Iqbal. Broadly speaking, it
represents the principle of the inner self with an urge to manifest itself.
Societies as well as individuals have khudi, and it is on the development or
suppression of one’s or failure in the world depends, khudi that one’s
success the khudi of slaves, for example, is moribund.
Recognition, discovery, cultivation, and assertion of their khudi should,
therefore, be the aim of humans. Iqbal’s critique of Muslim societies is
predicated on the assumption that these societies have lost their khudi or have
allowed it to become seriously impaired. The best way to understand Iqbal’s
concept of khudi is by reading poems in which he discusses the subject.
Perfection, or rather limitless perfection, is a frequently occurring motif in
Iqbal’s poetry. “I seek the end of that which has no end,” says Iqbal in “The
Houri and the Poet”, and, in the same poem: “From the spark I seek a star, from
the star a sun.” Iqbal sees no end to human potentialities. He wishes humans to
embark on a never-ending journey of discovery and to this end, emphasizes the
importance of action. Constant action and perpetual movement are in fact the
only guarantee of survival in the world. Nations fall behind when they cease to
be dynamic and start preferring a life of idle speculation over one of
But the quest for perfection can give rise to irony. Irony, in fact, fills
human life, for while they have been imbued with the desire to achieve
perfection, humans have been denied the ability to achieve it in practice.
ےن جس کو استبداد کے کسری
و قیصر مٹایا
وہ کیا تھا، زور حیدر، فقر
بوذر، صدق سلمانی
he has wide-ranging interests, Iqbal essentially belongs to, and speaks from within,
the Islamic tradition, employing, for his purposes, the historical, religious,
philosophical, and literary resources of that tradition. A full appreciation of
Iqbal requires an understanding of these resources, and the notes and
commentaries in this volume elucidate Iqbal’s use of them.
Iqbal held to the doctrine of art for life’s sake. Acutely aware of the problems
of Muslim decadence and backwardness, Iqbal takes it upon himself to shake the
Muslims of India and other countries out of their lethargy, urging them to take
the path of progress, so that they can gain an honorable position in the polity
of nations, He uses the medium of poetry to arouse socio-religious
consciousness among Muslims. As a result, Islamic religious and social themes
predominate in his poetry. But Iqbal’s vision of a revived religion is far from
conservative. He is sharply critical of many of the institutions of historic
Islam (of the institution of monarchy, for example), and his vision of a new
world derives from the Islamic notions of egalitarianism and social justice. He
rejects dogmatism in religion, advocates rethinking of the Islamic intellectual
heritage, and stands for the establishment of a forward-looking community.
Views of Supreme Leader Syed Ali
اک بازو زور کے اس ہے سکتا
کر اندازہ کوئی
نگاہ مرد مومن سے بدل جاتی
International Conference on Iqbal was held at Tehran on March 10-12, 1986, on
account of 108th birth anniversary of the poet of the Subcontinent. The opening
speech of the conference was delivered by Supreme Leader Syed Ali Khamenei.
Following are some abstracts of the speech:
should admit candidly that today when I see that our country is holding a
seminar for paying tribute to our beloved Iqbal, I am obliged to feel that this
day would prove to be one of the most memorable and exciting days of my life.
That luminous spark that washed out from our hearts the darkness of the days of
suffocation and repression (through his impressions, poetry, counsel and
teachings) and projected a bright picture of the future before our eyes, is now
transformed into a bright torch to have attracted the attention of our people.
people who were the first foreign addressees of Iqbal were unfortunately very
late to recognise him. The particular conditions in our country, especially the
political domination of the colonialist powers during the last years of Iqbal’s
life in his favourite country, Iran, never allowed Iqbal to visit this country.
This great poet of Persian language, who composed most of his poetry in Persian
and not in his own mother tongue, could never breathe in his dear and desired
climes. Not only that Iqbal never came to Iran, but the same politics with
which Iqbal was at war throughout his life did not allow his ideas, his ideology
and his teachings to reach the ears of the Iranian people, who were ever eager
to receive his message. I have an answer to this question as to why Iqbal did
not come to Iran.
Islamic Republic (i.e. the embodiment of Iqbal’s dream) has been established
here, Iqbal, whose heart ached to see the Muslim people having lost their human
and Islamic personality, and who viewed their loss of identity and spiritual
poverty as the greatest danger to their existence and tried with all the power
at his disposal to uproot this vicious weed from the human soul in general and
from the inner being of the people of the East in particular and especially the
Muslims, had he been alive today, he could have seen a nation standing on its
feet, infused with the rich Islamic spirit and drawing upon the inexhaustible
reservoirs of Islamic heritage, a nation which has become self-sufficient and
has discarded all the glittering Western ornaments and is marching ahead
courageously, determining its own targets and moving to attain them, advancing
with the frenzy of a lover, and has not imprisoned itself within the walls of
nationalism and racialism. I am glad to have this opportunity (though for a
brief time) to introduce to our people this great figure, a great thinker, a
great reformer of our age, a revolutionary and an unrelenting warrior. I would,
of course, be pleased if my presence in this function be free from all
formalities, so that, firstly, I may enjoy with satisfaction this commemorative
ceremony and, secondly, I may be given an opportunity to give vent to a
fraction of my emotions about Iqbal before the audience. I request the brothers
and sisters to allow me to speak frankly like a person who for years had been a
follower of Iqbal and has lived emotionally in his company, so that to some
extent I can give him what is due to him on behalf of myself. Iqbal is one of
the eminent personalities in the history of Islam.