Most of us, poetry lovers or others, have read Allama Muhammed Iqbal at least some of him somewhere. To many he remained hard-to-understand philosopher poet. Iqbal has written pure poetry too which is equally remarkable. I like Dr Iqbal, one my favourite poets. I find his poetry the most interesting, most intriguing and most touching. It leaves an indelible mark on reader's mind. I vitalize his style also his gift for conciseness and frugality.
This is the poetry of Iqbal very much in the usual sense. Looks like the great influence of traditional style of poetry exercised over Iqbal's mind. This appeals to the lighter mood. Simplicity combined with reasonable depth..Isn't it beautiful?
Gharz nishat hay shughel-e-sharab se jin ke
halal cheez ko goya haram kartay hain
bhala nibhay ge teri hum se kyonkar ay waez
ke hum tu rasm-e-mohabbet ko aam kartay hain
ju be-namaz kabhi parthay hain namaz Iqbal
bula ke dair se mujh ku imam kartay hain
Iqbal was a philosopher poet, not a pure poet and he freely borrowed ideas from different schools and systems in accordance with the demand of his poetry, but they carry Iqbal's very own colour. Borrowing ideas does not mean that his thoughts are incoherent or entirely visionary, in point of fact his poetry is a historic product rooted in the intellectual climate of an age which witnessed the Indian war of independence and new era for Muslims of India. To write about the regeneration of the Muslim ummah in such an age was by no means a quixotic venture.
Tha zabt boht mushkil iss sail-e-ma'ani ka
keh dalay qalander nay asrar-e-ketab aakhir
The couplet above is a typical Iqbal-type. Those who read Iqbal's poetry at once recognize in him a devout and ardent Muslim/Easterner defending the Islamic and oriental values against the supremacy of Western culture. He certainly moralises his 'songs' and he succeeds proving true to what he advocates mostly in his poetry.
Iqbal achieved his effects largely through the generalization of his descriptions working on the readers sensitivity to the religion and union being one ummah. If we object Iqbal's poetry consists of all the obvious ideas of Islam, and thoughts enveloped in a characteristic atmosphere of philosophy then we are recognizing his symbolic appropriateness, which is at its best and beautifully sustained at every point in his poetry. He avoided the smooth easy pattern of most of his predecessors e.g. Dagh, Ameer Meenai etc. and his contemporaries preferring to arrest attention rather than to lull the senses.
He is essentially a philosopher poet whose primary concern is purposefulness. See...
Main sh'er kay asraar se mahram nahe lakin
ye nukta hay tareekh umam jis ke hay tafseel
wo sh'er ke paigham hayat-e-abdi hay
ya naghma-e-Jibraeel hay ya baang-e-srafeel
His poetry is inspired by religious thoughts, philosophical conceptions and the role assigned to the human spirit in the great drama of existence. He directs his readers to where to look for the truth. Iqbal is aware of the clash between the old and the new, the world of faith and the world of reason and the clash between the civilisations. He combined this with two elements; the fantastic in form and style and the 'incongruous' in matter and manner.
I read somewhere that AbdurRehman Bajnoori once said that there are two divine books of India: The holy Vedas and Dewan-e-Ghalib. But no doubt Iqbal as a poet is the greatest after the mighty Ghalib, and as a thinker and philosopher among the very greatest. His poetry is pure inspiration, a thing of lightness, melody and grace. His ideas are incomparable. He remains a philosopher poet, the greatest that sub-continent or perhaps the modern East has produced. There is no doubt that Iqbal's poems represent the highest achievement of philosophical poetry.