Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, was a philosopher, poet, politician in British India. He is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement and he is still, although he died almost 80 years ago (1938.), one of the most important and relevant figures in Urdu literature, with literary work both in Urdu and Persian language.
Though Iqbal is best known as an eminent poet, he is also a highly acclaimed Muslim philosophical thinker of modern times. Along with his Urdu and Persian poetry, his various Urdu and English lectures and letters have been very influential in cultural, social, religious and political disputes over the years.
Iqbal’s thoughts in his work primarily focus on the spiritual direction and development of human society, centered around experiences from his travels and stays in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was profoundly influenced by philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Goethe. The poetry and philosophy of Mawlana Rumi bore the deepest influence on Iqbal’s mind. Deeply grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal began intensely concentrating on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, while embracing Rumi as “his guide”.
Iqbal’s six English lectures were published first from Lahore in 1930 and then by Oxford University press in 1934 in a book titled The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. The lectures dwell on the role of Islam as a religion as well as a political and legal philosophy in the modern age. In these lectures Iqbal firmly rejects the political attitudes and conduct of Muslim politicians, whom he saw as morally misguided, attached to power and without any standing with Muslim masses.
He is commemorated widely in Pakistan, where he is regarded as the ideological founder of the state. His Tarana-e-Hind is a song that is widely used in India as a patriotic song speaking of communal harmony.
Personally, I admire all of his work and his efforts, but I always had a soft spot for poetry. So – to end this post, enjoy reading Iqbal’s verses dedicated to his mother.
Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?
Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive?
I will visit thy grave with this complaint:
Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?
All thy life thy love served me with devotion—
When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed.