Urdu and Persian Poet Allama Iqbal

Dr Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s life, thoughts, beliefs, ideologies, accomplishments, achievements and their impact on individuals or even on nations is literally impossible to summarize in such a limited time and space..

Sialkot, a small city in the province of Punjab holds the honor of being Allama Iqbal’s birth place in 1877. Sheikh Nur Muhammd, Allama Iqbal’s father, being a pious and religious person himself, arranged best of religious and contemporary education that he could.

Iqbal was educated and groomed initially at home by a renowned scholar of his times, Syed Mir Hassan who furnished Allama Iqbal with the basic knowledge of Urdu, Persian, Arabic, History, Philosophy and Islamic Studies, also discovering and nourishing the talent of his poetry in its initial stages, which lead Allama Iqbal to produce the greatest of Urdu and Persian poetry of all times.

He accomplished his Bachelor and Master degrees with various distinctions and was appointed to Arabic readership in Oriental College Lahore. It was where he got his first Urdu publication in 1903, i.e. The Knowledge of Economics or Ilm ul Iqtisad (Urdu translation).

But his untamed quests for knowledge soon lead him to Europe where his educational career culminated even further in various renowned institutions, also becoming a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn at London, England.

It was in England that he got involved practically in politics in 1908, elected as a member of executive committee for All India Muslim League of its British Chapter.

He got back to subcontinent after his educational achievements to continue his careers in education and law.

All the while he continued with his poetry, Persian being the language of his prime interest rather than Urdu, as he believed Persian gave him more room of expression for his philosophical thoughts.

Asrar-i-Khudi (1915) was his first poetic compilation in Persian, followed closely by Rumuz-i-Bekhudi (1917), Payam-i-Mashriq, Zabur-i-Ajam, Javiadnama and Armaghan-i-Hijaz (1938). All of these were in Persian but a small part of the last one contained Urdu poetry as well.

His first Urdu poetic compilation was named Bang-i-Dara (1924) followed by Bal-i-Jibril (1935) and Zarb-i-Kalim (1936). One sees Allama Iqbal’s top poetic self in Urdu poetry in Bal-i-Jibril.

The main theme of Allama Iqbal’s Urdu and Persian poetry remains Khudi or Selfhood. He teaches and tries to inculcate the essence of Khudi into Muslims by exposing them to their brilliant past, giving them the strength and motivation for a Renaissance, for the betterment in their present, setting a foundation for yet another buoyant future, all by the means of self actualization/realization, cultivation and assertion of their long lost Khudi.

No wonder both Persian and Urdu poetry, are indebted heavily to Iqbal’s poetic endeavors. Especially Urdu poetry was exposed to certain new wonderful and powerful dimensions of self realization and universal Muslim brotherhood, all courtesy to Allama Iqbal’s literary brilliance.

His ornamentation of Urdu poetry with Persian and Arabic terms and proverbs has set an attraction of its own to his poetry which has added a certain new flavor to conventional Urdu poetry.

Iqbal expanded the horizons of Urdu poetry in several of its domains like poems, nazams, ghazals etc, thus offering the depth and versatility it lacked priorly.

He has also embroidered Urdu poetry by producing wonderful poems for children as well, thus presenting himself as a real poet of masses.

Allam Iqbal’s poetic contributions to Urdu and Persian languages, no doubt are of greatest stature, but what could be deemed as his greatest achievement, turning the course of history for the Muslims of Subcontinent in particular and Muslims all across the globe in general, is his idea of a sovereign Muslim state comprising of the Muslim majority areas of United India. This served to be the basis for the creation of a new Muslim state named Pakistan, under the great leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, convinced by Sir Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal to take command of this great movement initiated by the Muslims of the Subcontinent, rightly named as Tehreek e Pakistan or Pakistan Movement,which gifted the Muslims of the region and the whole world with the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims, i.e. the Pakistan.
As stated earlier, encompassing the achievements of Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, in their scope and level of impact and significance might take decades to be done justifiably.