Unexplored aspect of Iqbal’s life

Book Review: Qanoon Dan Iqbal

2016-04-06T22:38:03+05:00 Faizan Hussain

The world knows Dr Muhammad Iqbal as a poet and philosopher. There are thousands of books written on him explaining his work as a poet as philosopher. The research work is still going on exploring new horizons from his philosophies. But it is very interesting to note that there is rarely a book written in detail about the profession which Iqbal adopted to earn his livelihood. He was an advocate by his profession who passed his LLB exam in 1898. According to Zafar Ali Raja’s research in 1892 Iqbal had decided to join law as his profession. In order to get higher education he went to London and got admission in Lincoln's Inn. In 1908 when he returned back to his country after getting the degree of Barrister at Law, he got many offers for teaching but he preferred to start his practice as a lawyer and made his name enrolled in the list of lawyers of Chief Court (Lahore High Court). At that time the other prominent lawyers practicing were Sir Mian Muhammad Shafi, Justice Shadi Lal, Justice Shah Din, Lala Lajpat Rai and Sir Mian Muhammad Fazal Hussain. Iqbal practiced law from 1908 to 1934.

Zafar Ali Raja, a senior advocate, wrote a satiating book about Iqbal as a lawyer. In this book he brings to limelight many of those aspects of Iqbal’s professional life which have never been tried to explore. The bibliography of the book shows that the author did extensive research on Iqbal’s professional life and consulted more 100 reports and cases linked to this great lawyer. He also looked up law journals and magazines of that time to get the fact based information about Iqbal. Mr Raja writes that Iqbal joined a law journal ‘Indian Cases’ in 1909 to get more awareness about law and its interpretations and it is pertinent to mention that Iqbal was the only law qualified professional who was working for that journal.

The book also mentions about the financial difficulties which Iqbal faced in the initial years of his practice. Besides his own family (three wives and two children) he also had to support the family of his elder brother. At that time he was also offered stipend which he refused to take. Iqbal considered monthly stipend against his dignity. It did not take a long time when he came to be known as a good lawyer and started to earn handsomely. Till 1917 he became a regular tax payer. But he preferred to earn only to the extent which he found sufficient for comfortable living. He never took any case which was based on falsehood.

The writer contradicts all the notions which say that Iqbal’s practice was normal and most of his time was spent in assisting Barrister Muhammad Shafi and personally he never prepared any case. According to Mr Raja there are 104 judgments available about Iqbal’s cases in which more than 50 percent judgments were in favour of Iqbal. In his research about Iqbal’s cases, the author have found 103 judgments were reported in law journals as a reference. Besides, Mr Raja also writes the names of some famous judges in whose courts Iqbal appeared as a lawyer and gives the list of his cases in this book. His name was also suggested as a judge but he was not appointed because of Hindu biasness.

There is a chapter about the good sense of humour with which Iqbal was blessed. The writer mentions that Iqbal was a humorous person and anyone sitting in his company never felt boredom. In the end Mr Raja has compiled some of Iqbal’s analysis related to present era which has made this book more valuable. Overall this book proves that Muffakir-e-Pakistan, Shair-e-Mashriq and Hakeemul Ummat was also a successful lawyer of his time. The book is as an asset and helpful for those students and lawyer who want to know about Iqbal in personal life and as a lawyer.

 Title: Qanoon Dan Iqbal | Author: Zafar Ali Raja | Genre: Biography | Pages: 560 | Publisher: Jamhoori Publications, Lahore

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