Prof. Dr Muhammad Afzaal

Allama Iqbal is the only universal reformer who got modern highest education along with the ancient learning. He aroused revolutionary spirit in the nation through his poetry. Sufi and Islamic thought are prominent of his poetry.

His poetry has been translated in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, English and several other languages. He is considered as one of the greatest philosophers.

Allama Iqbal envisioned a Muslim state in the sub continent when nobody thinking about it. He was the harbinger of Pakistan Movement and freedom struggle.

He did not believe in any system separated from religion and declared that religion and politics cannot be separate entities. Iqbal firmly believed in the separate identity of the Muslims as a nation. He declared, “India is a continent of human being belonging to different languages and professing different religions. To make a constitution on the conception of homogeneous India is to prepare for civil war. I, therefore demand the formation of the consolidated Muslim state in the best interest of Muslims.” Bang-i-Darra’s was the first book of Allama Iqbal, which was published in 1924. It was written in three distinct phases of his life. The poems he wrote up to 1905 – (the year Iqbal left for England) reflects patriotism and imagery of nature, that includes the Tarana-e-Hind (The song of India), and another poem Tarana-e-Milli (the song of community).

Iqbal also wrote two books on the topic of ‘The Development of Metaphysics in Persia’ and ‘The reconstruction of religious thought in Islam’ besides his Urdu and Persian literary works. He revealed his thoughts regarding Persian ideology and Islamic Sufism – in particular, his beliefs that Islamic Sufism activates the searching soul to a superior perception of life. He also discussed philosophy, God and the meaning of prayer, human spirit and Muslim culture.

In 1915 he wrote long Persian poem Asrar-e khudi (The Secrets of the Self). He wrote in Persian because he sought to address his appeal to the entire Muslim world.

Iqbal’s later publications of poetry in Urdu were Bal-e Jibril (1935; “Gabriel’s Wing”), Zarb-e kalim (1937; “The Blow of Moses”), and the posthumous Armaghan-e Hijaz (1938; “Gift of the Hejaz”), which contained verses in both Urdu and Persian. He is considered as the greatest poet of Urdu in the 20th century. 

On his return from Europe he practiced law, but his fame came from his Persian and Urdu language poetry. Through poetic symposia and in a milieu in which memorizing verse was customary, his poetry became widely known, even among the illiterate.

During this time Iqbal began working with the Muslim League. At the annual session of the League at Allahabad, in 1930, he gave the presidential address, in which he made a famous statement that the Muslims of northwestern India should demand, status as a separate state.

His entry into politics was greatly welcomed by the Muslims where a trustworthy companion of the Quaid-i-Azam was badly needed. Allama Iqbal proved a great political leader and a reliable companion of the Quaid-i-Azam. He awakened the Muslims of the subcontinent with his stirring verses to demand a separate homeland. Iqbal considered Islam a complete code of life. He said, I am fully convinced that the Muslims of India will ultimately have to establish a separate homeland as they cannot live with Hindus in the united India. He advised the Muslims to understand their real position and shed away their mental confusion and narrow approach to life. He clarified the glorious image of the Muslim Ummah.

Iqbal’s views on the Western world were applauded by men including United States Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas, who said that Iqbal’s beliefs had “universal appeal”. In his Soviet biography N. P. Anikoy wrote:

“Iqbal is great for his passionate condemnation of weak will and passiveness, his angry protest against inequality, discrimination and oppression in all forms i.e., economic, social, political, national, racial, religious, etc., his preaching of optimism, an active attitude towards life and man’s high purpose in the world.”