Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a short biography

Noted British Indian Muslim thinker, philosopher and Urdu poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877, in Sialkot, Punjab, British India (in present-day Pakistan). Iqbal has been defined as one of the greatest Urdu poets of all time.

Iqbal received his early education in Lahore. He travelled to Europe in 1905 CE where he earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, qualified as a barrister in London, and received a PhD from the University of Munich, Germany in 1907-08 CE.

Allama Iqbal at Masjid-e-Qurtaba

In 1933, Iqbal visited the Great Mosque of Córdoba in Spain. The Great Mosque of Córdoba was converted into a Catholic Church in 1236 CE. However, Iqbal was fortunate that he was allowed to offer his prayers in the mosque (as you can see in the photo).

Read more: When Allama Muhammad Iqbal visited the Great Mosque of Córdoba, 1933 CE

Throughout his career, Iqbal wrote and delivered lectures on the political and spiritual revival of the Muslim community across the world, specifically in the Indian subcontinent. The six lectures he delivered at Madras (now Chennai), Hyderabad, and Aligarh in 1928–29 were published as The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam in 1934 CE.

Iqbal had a great interest in Islamic studies, especially in Tasawwuf (Sufism). His thesis, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia, revealed some aspects of Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf) formerly unknown in Europe. Iqbal was very much influenced by the famous Islamic scholar and Sufi poet Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi.

Today, Iqbal is celebrated throughout the world, especially in Pakistan and India, for his outstanding contributions to Urdu and Persian poetry, philosophy, and Islamic thought. He died on April 21, 1938, in Lahore (now in present-day Pakistan).

Iqbal writes:

Ki Muhammad se wafa tu ne to ham tere hain
Ye jahan cheez hai kiya lauh-o-qalam tere hain

کی محمدﷺ سے وفا تو نے تو ہم تيرے ہيں
يہ جہاں چيز ہے کيا، لوح و قلم تيرے ہيں

Translation/Interpretation:

If you remain devoted/loyal to Prophet Muhammad, We are yours;
This universe is but nothing, you’re a writer of destinies.

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