Iqbal Awards

It is, perhaps, not proper to judge the true worth of a work of scholarship and research by the measure of state sponsored prizes and awards. Such awards quite often fail to acknowledge and appreciate the real works of merit and, consequently, the talent of first magnitude escapes the official net of evaluation committees and panels of judges. Great talent charters its own unfettered course of independent creative activity, away from the den of praises, prizes, premiums, awards and rewards.

However, the tradition of awards and honours, when it works in the right direction and succeeds in appreciating the works of real literary and academic excellence, does prove its own significance since, in this case, it manifests the reassuring fact that, in a given collectivity, talent and excellence is recognised and acknowledged.

In this sense Iqbal Award is not just a conventional, customary award. It tries to register the message with the Iqbal scholars that the society in which they live has not yet become oblivious of one of its most valuable assets i.e. the powerful yet poetic message of Iqbal.

It was towards this end and with this objective in view that the Government of Pakistan, during the Iqbal centenary celebrations, tried to find suitable means of promoting the discipline of Iqbal studies and to elevate it, through Government support and patronage, to a more vigorous and profound level of creativity. Different measures were taken. Among other things, official deliberations included the institution of two Awards: International Presidential Iqbal Award and National Presidential Iqbal Award. The idea received the approval of the highest state authority and, thus, in 1981, through the orders of the President of Pakistan both the Awards were instituted.

National Awards

The National Iqbal Award would be for best books on Allama Iqbal published in Urdu and English. Each Awardees in Urdu and English will be given a cash prize of Rs.50,000 (Rupees Forty thousand) plus a gold medal. Besides, there will be six Awards for best books in regional languages of Pakistan namely Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, Brahvi and Siriaki. Each Award will carry a cash prize of Rs.30,000 (Rupees twenty five thousand) plus gold medal. All these Awards on best books in Urdu, English and Pakistani languages will be for the Authors, Writers, and Scholars belonging to Pakistan.

Presidential Iqbal Awards (National and International) is a two tiered process repeated once in three years. In the first phase Iqbal Academy Pakistan collects the books, selects and short lists according to the rules, presents to the respective judges and prepares the results for the evaluations made by the judges. In the second phase the results of the Evaluation Committees are presented to the Selection Committee that consists of members from the Ministries of Education, Culture, Information and the representatives of Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Authority, Allama Iqbal Open University and National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research.

Iqbal Academy Pakistan has looked after the process of the National Presidential Awards since 1981.

International Awards

The International Iqbal Award will be for the best work on Iqbal or Iqbal Studies in a foreign language, particularly if it has been commended, or recommended, by an educational or other Institution of importance. This prize is specially intended to encourage research on Iqbal by foreign writers and scholars. The Award carries a cash prize of $ 5000 (US dollars Five thousand) plus a gold medal.

In the wake of its reorganisation in 1984, Iqbal Academy Pakistan undertook the difficult task of collecting, sifting and processing the information about all the works written in the foreign languages from 1947-81. Moving through the many-tiered procedure of evaluation Gabriel’s Wing- A Study into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1963, rpt. 1989) written by Prof. Dr. Annemarie Schimmel was declared the best book on Iqbal for the period 1947-81. The next International Award will be given for the works published during the period January 1982 to December 1999 on the basis of one Award for each three years.


Books to be evaluated for the purposes of Iqbal Awards may deal with the following main topics:-

  1. Books written on the religious thought of Iqbal.
  2. Books written on the political thought of Iqbal.
  3. Critical study of Iqbal’s poetry and other literary contributions.
  4. Books produced on Iqbal’s life and works.
  5. Books should be original research work and
  6. Works produced as translations and compilations shall not be eligible.

(a) The books on Iqbal:

  1. should be comprehensive and discuss the subject in a wide context.
  2. Should be a well-documented work of original research.
  3. Should have a high literary standard.
  4. Should make a good impact as evident from reviews and printing history.
  5. May be produced by an individual author or by the efforts of more than one author.
  6. May be produced by any person irrespective of his nationality, race, creed or sex.
  7. May not be compilations of books on Iqbal.

(b) The books written by authors, who have died will also be eligible for the award, which would be given to the next of kin of the winner of the Award.

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