Sir Muhammad Iqbal, fondly remembered as Allama Iqbal, was born in Sialkot
on November 9, 1877. He was educated at Sialkot and Lahore, and later
at Cambridge. After receiving a doctorate from the Ludwig-Maximillian
University at Munich in 1907 for his thesis The Development of Metaphysics
in Persia, and bar at law from Lincoln's Inn in 1908, he practiced
law for many years in Lahore, the city he had adopted as his home.
Iqbal's fame as a poet grew with his annual performances at the sessions
of a philanthropic association from 1900 in Lahore and the publication
of his poems in Makhzan, a leading literary magazine from 1901.
With Asrar-i-Khudi (The Secrets of the Self), he shifted to Persian,
especially the form of mathnavi, as the prime medium of expression for
his philosophical ideas. His greatest masterpiece was Javidnama (1932),
a spiritual odyssey across the universe under the guidance of Rumi and
culminating in an interview with God. Among his Urdu anthologies, Bang-i-Dara
(The Caravan Bell), which came out in 1924, remains the most popular
and includes such well-known poems as 'The Complaint,' 'The Candle and
the Poet' and 'Khizr of the Way' while Baal-i-Gabriel (The Flight
of Gabriel) in 1936 took the literary forms of Urdu poetry to unprecedented
heights through poems such as 'The Mosque of Cordoba,' which is often
estimated to be the greatest poem in that language.
Iqbal's stature as a philosopher rests mainly on his superb poetry but
is thoroughly supplemented by his prose writings, especially The Reconstruction
of Religious Thought in Islam. He also supported the idea of a separate
Muslim state in the North-West of South Asia in his Presidential Address
to the annual session of the All India Muslim League at Allahabad in December
1930. In the subsequent years he gave active support to the cause of this
state although he did not live to see its making as Pakistan in 1947,
when he was officially acclaimed as its ideological founding father. He
died in Lahore on April 21, 1938.
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