Allama Iqbal, great poet-philosopher and active political leader, was born at Sialkot, Punjab, in 1877. He descended from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins, who had embraced Islam about 300 years earlier.
Iqbal received his early education in the traditional maktab. Later he joined the Sialkot Mission School, from where he passed his matriculation examination. In 1897, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Government College, Lahore. Two years later, he secured his Masters Degree and was appointed in the Oriental College, Lahore, as a lecturer of history, philosophy and English. He later proceeded to Europe for higher studies. Having obtained a degree at Cambridge, he secured his doctorate at Munich and finally qualified as a barrister.
He returned to India in 1908. Besides teaching and practicing law, Iqbal continued to write poetry. He resigned from government service in 1911 and took up the task of propagating individual thinking among the Muslims through his poetry.
By 1928, his reputation as a great Muslim philosopher was solidly established and he was invited to deliver lectures at Hyderabad, Aligarh and Madras. These series of lectures were later published as a book “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. In 1930, Iqbal was invited to preside over the open session of the Muslim League at Allahabad. In his historic Allahabad Address, Iqbal visualized an independent and sovereign state for the Muslims of North-Western India. In 1932, Iqbal came to England as a Muslim delegate to the Third Round Table Conference.
In later years, when the Quaid had left India and was residing in England, Allama Iqbal wrote to him conveying to him his personal views on political problems and state of affairs of the Indian Muslims, and also persuading him to come back. These letters are dated from June 1936 to November 1937. This series of correspondence is now a part of important historic documents concerning Pakistan’s struggle for freedom.
On April 21, 1938, the great Muslim poet-philosopher and champion of the Muslim cause, passed away. He lies buried next to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003