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POET OF THE EAST
ALLAMA DR. MUHAMMAD IQBAL  

Allama Iqbal, an ace Muslim poet and a renowned philosopher was born on November 9, 1877 at Sialkot, District of Punjab(Pakistan). His father Shaikh Noor Mohammad was held in high esteem for his religious and moral character, who laid the foundation of Iqbal's education on religious and moral lines. After completing his degree education in Pakistan, Allama Iqbal went to Europe for higher studies. He studied at Cambridge as an advanced student of philosophy and qualified for the Bar from Linclon's Inn. He obtained Ph.D. from the University of Munich on his thesis, "The Development of Metaphysics in Persia."

Allama Iqbal was born with a sensitive mind and a will to strive and struggle against the woes in the Islamic World. He is different from ordinary poets in the sense that there is no disparity between his writings and his beliefs. He says only what he believes in.

Iqbal must not be looked upon simply as a poet. One should not study his poetry for the sake of merely artistic and aesthetic pleasure, but to learn what he has to say and expound with such passionate fervour. He has a message to give - a message to strive and struggle for what matters in life. Iqbal saw with tearful eyes the tragedy besetting the Islamic World. This situation inspired him to evolve a new pattern for his poetry - a pattern which would reflect the plight of the Muslims and a remedy for its ills.

It is noteworthy that Iqbal who completed his education and researches in the West and spent a part of his life amidst Western society, became a tireless soldier for the cause of Islam. He did not boast of any high pedigree, though his ancestors were Kashmiri Brahmins. He belonged to no monastic order or mystic school. Nor was he a graduate of any special school of Fiqah (Islamic tenets). He was actuated simply by the love of the Quran and of the great Prophet.

Allama Iqbal could not let the Muslims remain in the morass into which they had fallen. That is why he called them in unambiguous words towards the path of liberty and freedom. He urged them to free themselves form the yoke of British imperialism and the chauvinism of the majority community. He said:

"We have lost the heritage of our fathers, The fates have cast us from high heaven to the lowest depths".

Iqbal ranks as one of the greatest political thinkers who have created revolutions in the domains of thought and culture and under whose intellectual impact great states were carved out. Like Plato, Rousseau and Mazzini who were the forerunners of Greek State, French Republic, and Italian Empire, Iqbal is the spiritual founder of Pakistan. His contribution to political philosophy and science are valuable in as much as he revitalised the decaying civilization of the Muslims of India and raised them to a higher pedestal of vision and culture.

"Dare and Live", said Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, "is Iqbal's message. Optimism, industry, faith, self- confidence and courage are the principles on which Iqbal bases his philosophy and which he believes are the essential factors for the purification of human soul, and for the elevation of human character. The obstacles and setbacks in life, according to him, make the life worth living. The sacrifices and losses made and incurred in the service of a right cause and for noble principles elevate a nation and make life more glorious and worth living.

"Iqbal never believe in failure. He believed in the superiority of mankind over all the rest that God created. In fact, he was convinced that man is a collection of all that is best in God's universe. Only man does not know himself. Man has but to utilise his great potentialities and to use them in the right direction for the realisation of that 'self' which finds itself so near to God; and Islam is the code which has prescribed easy ways and means for that realization.

Iqbal was not only a philosopher but also a practical politician. He was one of the first to conceive of the feasibility of the division of India on national lines as the only solution of India's political problem. He was one of the most powerful thinkers, tacit precursors and heralds of modern political evolution of Muslim India.

Iqbal's most significant contribution to the contemporary political thought was made in his presidential address to the All-India Muslim League in 1930 at Allahabad. It is here that he propounds the Muslim philosophy of State and suggests in its light the solution to the communal problem of the subcontinent. It was this suggestion to divide India on ideological grounds that flowered into Pakistan. In his address Iqbal said: "As far as I have been able to read the Muslims minds, I have no hesitation in declaring that, if the principle that the Indian Muslim is entitled to full and free development on the lines of his own culture and traction in his own Indian homelands is recognised as the basis of a permanent communal settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom of India."

"I would like to see the Punjab, NWFP, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North-West India.....

"I therefore, demand the formation of a consolidated Muslim State in the best interests of India and Islam. For India it means security and peace resulting from an internal balance of power; for Islam and opportunity to rid itself of the stamp that Arabian imperialism was forced to give it, to mobilize its law, its education, its culture, and to bring them into closer contact with its own original spirit and with the spirit of modern times."

Iqbal's poems have been translated into various languages of the world, chiefly into English, German, Italian and Russian. Some translations have appeared in French, Turkish and Arabic. He wrote mostly in Urdu and Persian. And many critics have asserted that not only in quantity but in quality also his Persian poems form the best part of his work. Thus Iqbal epitomises that great tradition of Arabic-Persian-Indian relations which began with the advent of Muslim India.

Iqbal's poems though philosophical in content are lyrical in inspiration. His beliefs are not dry theories and his message is not a mere sermon. He was well-read in European thought, having studied at Cambridge and Heidelberg. Buth though he admired the scientific achievements of Europe and learnt a great deal at the Universities of West, he did not surrender himself to uncritical admiration or blind imitation. He was an ardent internationalist and therefore condemned the warring nationalism of European states. He was a believer in the Brotherhood and Equality of Man and therefore rejected the class tyrannies of society. And being religious, he criticised the growing intellectualism of modern thought. He was learned in Arabic, Persian and Indian thought and philosophy, and ardently urged the rejuvenation of the East. Between the East and the West, he acted as a bridge and sought to unite the two.

In 1931 Allama Iqbal was invited as delegate to the second Round Table Conference held at London. He advocated the cause of the Muslims for their rights of representation in the conference. During this journey to Europe he met an eminent French thinker and philosopher, Bergson and discussed with him the philosophy of the Time, Space and Institution. Allama Iqbal met Benito Mussolini of Italy at Rome in 1933 and discussed with him Islamic culture and philosophy. Mussolini was greatly moved by Iqbal's Mathnavi, Asrar-i-Khudi (The Secret of the Self).

Allama Iqbal visited Spain in 1933 to observe the legacy of the magnificent civilization of the Muslims and offered prayer in the Mosque of Cordova. He also visited Afghanistan the same year.

This great Muslim Philosopher and national poet of Pakistan breathed his last on Thursday, April 21, 1938 and was buried near Badshahi Mosque, Lahore.

Iqbal's Work

1. Ilmul Iqtisad (1903)

2. The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1909)

3.. Asrar-i-Khudi (1915)

4. Rumuz-i-Bekhudi (1918)

5. Payam-i-Mashriq (1923)

6. Bang-i-Dara. (1924)

7. Zabur-i-Ajam (1927)

8. The Reconsturction of Relgious Thought in Islam (1930)

9. Javed Namah (1932)

10. Bal-i-Jibreel (1935)

11. Pas Chu Bayad Kard Aye Aqwam-i-Sharq (1936)

12. Zarb-i-Kaleem (1936)

13. Musafir (1936)

14. Armughan-i-Hejaz (1938)

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