Life story of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

A Portrait of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Iqbal’s father, Sheikh Noor Muhammad who was died in 1930, was a seamster, not properly educated, but a religious man. Iqbal’s mother Imam Bibi, a Kashmiri from Sambrial, was defined as a well-mannered and modest woman who aided the deprived and her neighbors with their difficulties. She died on 9 November 1914 in Sialkot. Iqbal loved his mother, and on her demise, he uttered his feelings of sadness in a poem:

“Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?

Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive?
I will visit thy grave with this complaint:
Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?
All thy life thy love served me with devotion—

When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed.

Primary Schooling of Iqbal

Iqbal was four years old when he was referred to a mosque to obtain teaching in reciting the Qur’an. He learned the Arabic language from his teacher, Syed Mir Hassan, the head of the madrassah and instructor of Arabic at Scotch Mission College in Sialkot, where he matriculated in 1893. He established an Intermediate level with the Faculty of Arts diploma in 1895. The similar year he joined Government College University Lahore, where he got his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, English literature and Arabic in 1897, and gained the Khan Bahadurddin F.S. Jalaluddin award as he accomplished well in Arabic.[29] In 1899, he received his Master of Arts degree from the similar college and earned first place in philosophy in the University of the Punjab.

Birth and Early Period

Iqbal’s family was Kashmiri Pandit (of the Sapru fraternity) that converted to Islam in the middle of 15th century. Which outlined its ancestries back to a south Kashmir village in Kulgam. Iqbal opened his eye on 9 November 1877 in a traditional Kashmiri household in Sialkot within the Punjab Jurisdiction of British India which is now in Pakistan. In the 19th era, when the Sikh Kingdom was dominating Kashmir, his grandfather’s family travelled to Punjab. Iqbal’s grandfather was an eighth cousin of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, a significant solicitor and freedom combatant who would ultimately become a follower of Iqbal. Iqbal frequently stated and memorialized his Kashmiri ancestry in his writings. Conferring to professor Annemarie Schimmel, Iqbal habitually wrote about his being “a son of Kashmiri-Brahmans but (being) accustomed with the knowledge of Rumi and Tabriz.”

Iqbal’s Academic career

The poetry and viewpoint of Rumi sturdily influenced Iqbal. Intensely grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal began absorbing deeply on the study of Islam, the ethos and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, while accepting Rumi as “his guide”. Iqbal’s work emphasis on prompting his readers of the past wonders of Islamic civilization and bringing the message of a pure, spiritual focus on Islam as a source for socio-political liberation and greatness. Iqbal condemned political dissections within and amongst Muslim states, and recurrently mentioned to and spoke in terms of the international Muslim community or the Ummah.

Iqbal started his profession as a reader of Arabic after finishing his Master of Arts degree in 1899, at Oriental College and soon afterward was designated as a subordinate professor of philosophy at Government College Lahore, where he had also been a student previously. He functioned there until he left for England in 1905.

In 1907 he went to Germany for PhD In 1908, he returned from Germany and linked to the same college again as a professor of philosophy and English literature. In the same retro Iqbal started practicing law at the Chief Court of Lahore, but he shortly left law practice and dedicated himself to literary works, becoming an energetic member of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam. In 1919, he became the general secretary of the same body. Iqbal’s opinions in his work mainly focus on the divine direction and growth of human society, balanced around practices from his journeys and stays in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was deeply inclined by Western philosophers such as Nietzsche, Bergson, and Goethe. He also meticulously worked with Ibrahim Hisham during his vacation at the Aligarh Muslim University.

Iqbal’s poems were translated into many European languages in the early part of the 20th century. Iqbal’s Asrar-i-Khudi and Javed Nama were translated into English by R. A. Nicholson and A. J. Arberry, respectively.

Higher education in Europe

In 1907, Iqbal had a close bond with the writer Atiya Fyzee in both Britain and Germany. Atiya would later publish their communication. While Iqbal was in Heidelberg in 1907, his German lecturer Emma Wegenast taught him about Goethe’s Faust, Heine and Nietzsche. He grasped German in three months. During his study in Europe, Iqbal started to write poetry in Persian. He chose to write in this language because doing so made it informal to express his opinions. He would write unceasingly in Persian during his life.

Iqbal qualified for a scholarship from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and got a Bachelor of Arts in 1906. This B.A. degree in London, made him qualified, to practice as an advocate, as it was being practiced those days. In the same year he was called to the bar as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn. In 1907, Iqbal moved to Germany to track his doctoral studies, and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1908. Working under the supervision of Friedrich Hommel, Iqbal’s doctoral thesis was entitled as “The Development of metaphysics in Persia”.

Iqbal was inclined by the wisdoms of Sir Thomas Arnold, his philosophy instructor at Government College Lahore, to hunt higher education in the West. In 1905, he voyaged to England for that determination. While already familiar with Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson, Iqbal would learn Rumi somewhat before his parting to England, and he would explain the Masnavi to his friend Swami Rama Tirtha, who in return would teach him Sanskrit. 

Iqbal and the idea of Pakistan

Some historiographers assume that Jinnah constantly remained hopeful for a contract with the Congress and never fully anticipated the partition of India. Iqbal’s close communication with Jinnah is speculated by some historiographers as having been responsible for Jinnah’s hold of the idea of Pakistan. Iqbal clarified to Jinnah his idea of a distinct Muslim state in a letter sent on 21 June 1937.

Ideologically parted from Congress Muslim leaders, Iqbal had also been disappointed with the officials of the Muslim League, owed to the factional conflict that overwhelmed the League in the 1920s. Displeasure with factional leaders like Shafi and Fazl-ur-Rahman, Iqbal came to believe that only Jinnah was a political leader accomplished of conserving unity and fulfilling the League’s purposes of Muslim political enablement. Building a robust, particular communication with Jinnah, Iqbal was influential in resounding Jinnah to end his self-imposed expatriate in London, return to India and take responsibility of the League. Iqbal resolutely believed that Jinnah was the only leader accomplished of drawing Indian Muslims to the League and upholding party unity before the British and the Congress:

I know you are a busy man, but I do expect you won’t mind my lettering to you repeatedly, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has the right to look up for benign leadership through the storm which is coming to North-West India and, possibly, to the entire of India.

While Iqbal backed the idea of Muslim-majority provinces in 1930, Jinnah would endure to hold discussions with the Congress through the period and only officially embraced the goal of Pakistan in 1940.

Iqbal As an Advocate

Iqbal was not only a productive writer but was also a recognized advocate. He appeared before the Lahore High Court in both civil and illicit matters. There are more than 100 reported judgments to his name.


Iqbal married three times in his entire lifespan

His foremost marriage was in 1895 when he was 18 years old. His bride, Karim Bibi, was the daughter of a physician, Khan Bahadur Ata Muhammad Khan, a Gujurati physician. Her sister was the mother of director and music composer Khwaja Khurshid Anwar. Their families arranged the marriage, and the couple had two children; a daughter, Miraj Begum (1895–1915), and a son, Aftab Iqbal (1899–1979), who became a barrister. Another son is said to have died after birth in 1901.

Iqbal and Karim Bibi parted somewhere between 1910 and 1913. Contempt of this, he continued to financially backing her till his demise.

  • Iqbal’s another marriage was with Mukhtar Begum, and it was held in December 1914, soon after the passing of Iqbal’s mother the previous November. They had a son, but both the mother and son deceased soon after birth in 1924.
  • Iqbal later married Sardar Begum, and they became the parents of a son, Javed Iqbal (1924–2015), who became Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and a daughter, Muneera Bano (born 1930). One of Muneera’s sons is the philanthropist-cum-socialite Yousuf Salahuddin.

Iqbal’s Ending Years and Death

Iqbal stopped practicing law in 1934 and was granted a pension by the Nawab of Bhopal. In his final years, he often visited the Dargah of famous Sufi Ali Hujwiri in Lahore for divine guidance. After suffering for months from his sickness

In 1933, after returning from a journey to Spain and Afghanistan, Iqbal agonized from a enigmatic esophagus illness. He spent his concluding years helping Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan to launch the Dar ul Islam Trust Institute at a Jamalpur estate near Pathankot, where there were plans to grants studies in traditional Islam and modern social science. He also supported a self-governing Muslim state.

Iqbal died in Lahore on 21 April 1938. His tomb is situated in Hazuri Bagh, the surrounded garden between the entrance of the Badshahi Mosque and the Lahore Fort, and indorsed guards are provided by the Government of Pakistan.