“Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper

and die in the hands of politicians.”

Muhammad Iqbal

 

Muhammad Iqbal, popularly known as Allama Iqbal, was a poet, philosopher, politician and a lawyer. He was born on 9th November 1877. Iqbal came of age in the days when the Asia and Africa were under the tight grip of European colonisers. Iqbal was not a thinker and political commenter of the highest order, he was also a men of letters. He, along with Mir and Ghalib, is considered a poet who defines Urdu poetry. However, it is his political ideas that make him relevant across the Muslim world.

Iranian thinker, Ali Shariati was one of Iqbal’s greatest admirers. He once remarked about Iqbal, “The greatest advice of Iqbal to humanity is: Have a heart like Jesus, a thought like Socrates and a hand like the hand of a Caesar but all in one human being, in one creature of humanity, based upon one spirit in order to attain one goal. That is, Iqbal himself: A man who attains the height of political awareness of his time to the extent that some people believe him to be solely a political figure and a liberated, nationalist leader who is a 20th-century anti-colonist. A man who, in philosophical thought, rises to such a high level that he is considered to be a contemporary thinker and philosopher of the same rank as Bergson in the West today or of the same level as Ghazali in Islamic history.”

At present when some of the “educated ones” think of Iqbal’s message being “tossed to the dustbin of history”, it is only natural to see the likes of Khadim Hussain Rizvi to take up Iqbal’s work to present their fundamentalism appealing to the masses.