Allama Muhammad Iqbal – Shayar e Mashriq

Allama Iqbal Biography in English

Sir Muhammad Iqbal (علامہ محمد اقبال), Commonly called Allama Iqbal is known for his magnificent poetry. However, he was also a philosopher, lawyer, and politician.




He is believed to be the inspiration driving the independence of Pakistan and is one of the first leaders who proposed the idea of a separate nation for Muslims.

Iqbal was a very learned man and we can only unravel parts of his diverse life from historical pages.

From poetry that touched the deepest of hearts to political leadership, Iqbal’s life is full of monumental achievements that we can’t even begin to describe to the full. Here is a brief autobiography on the renowned ‘Shayar-e-Mashriq’.




Childhood and early life:

The celebrated poet was born in Sialkot to Sheikh Noor Muhammad and imam Bibi. His family wasn’t educated. His mother was a housewife and his father was a tailor.

Starting from humble beginnings, Muhammad Iqbal was introduced to religious learning when he was only 4 years old. He started learning Arabic and gained his primary education in Lahore. He then moved on to get his intermediate from the faculty of arts, Murray College.

Iqbal was drawn to philosophy so he opted for the subject in his bachelors, enrolling in the government college Lahore in 1895 for the purpose. He also did his bachelors in English and Arabic. Iqbal excelled at his studies and stood first in Punjab University Lahore. He also went on to do his masters from the same university.

However, this wasn’t the need of his academic learning. During his stay at college, Iqbal was very influenced by his philosophy teacher, Sir Thomas Arnold.

After graduation, he traveled to Europe and secured a scholarship from Trinity College in Cambridge in the year 1907. Iqbal proceeded to secure his Ph.D. degree in philosophy from the faculty of Philosophy of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich in the year 1907. He published his thesis: the development of metaphysics in Persia in 1908.

Married Life

In 1895, Iqbal married Karim Bibi through an arranged marriage. She was the daughter of Khan Bahadur Ata Muhammad Khan, A Gujarati physician. They both had a son and a daughter. However, Iqbal had a second marriage with Sardar Begum who bore him a son. His third marriage was with Mukhtar begum in 1914.

Love for Persian

During his study abroad, Iqbal started to delve in poetry in the Persian language. He preferred the language because he found it easy to express his feelings in the language. It would turn out later that his love for Persian drove him to write many of his famous poetry books in the language.

Academic Career

Thanks to the academic degrees, Iqbal started off his career as an assistant professor at government college Lahore. He then shifted to law, due to financial issues, while focusing on law, he also adopted spiritual and religious subjects. This is when he started publishing his poetry and literature. Gradually, his interest developed and he became part of a popular congress of Muslim intellectuals called the Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam. Moving on, in 1919 he was elected the general secretary of the organization.

Iqbal was deeply influenced by western philosophy especially by Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, and Henri Bergson. However, it was Mawlana Rumi’s poetry that had the philosopher enchanted.

He decided to further his Islamic knowledge he started focusing on the Islamic study as well as the history of Islamic civilization. He embraced ‘Rumi’ as his guide and would mention him in many of his future poetical writings.

He set out to work on reminding people about the glorious history of Islam. He strictly rejected Islamic divisions and often referred to the Muslims as an ‘Ummah’.


Even after committing to poetry, Islam, and law, Iqbal remained active as a member of the Muslim league. He was influenced by leaders like Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Maulana Muhammad Ali whom he joined in their quest for Pakistan.

Iqbal also disapproved of the Indian National Congress which he said was dominated by Hindus and was excessively disappointed when the committee was divided into the pro-British and centrist group in the 1920s.

Iqbal supported Jinnah’s proposals for Muslim political rights and with the encouragement of his friends stood for a seat in the Punjab legislative assembly but was defeated. This did not dampen his spirits though and he went on to work with Aga Khan and other Muslim leaders to achieve unity in the Muslim league.

Literary works

Iqbal primarily wrote his poetry in Urdu and Persian. He wrote about 12000 verses of which 7000 are in Persian. His first poetry collection, Asrar-e-Khudi was published in 1915 and was in Persian. In this book, Iqbal strives to discover himself and expresses his vision in terms of ‘rooh’ or the true self as stated by the Quran.

In another book Rumuz-e-Khuda, Iqbal again sides with Islamic teachings and tries to portray them through his serene poetic verses. This book compliments Asrar-e-Khudi and is often paired together and called Asrar-e-Rumuz.

He then proceeded to write Payam-e-Mashriq in 1924 and Zabur-Ajam in 1927 both featuring some of Iqbal’s renowned poetry. In 1932, he published a book, Javed Nama, which was dedicated to his son and featured him in many verses.

His first Urdu book, Bang-e-Dara was a masterpiece and was published in 1930. The book was directed towards spiritual and political reawakening. One of his finest works is Bal-e-Jibril, published in 1935 and considered to be the finest work of poetry by many world critics.

He also wrote two books and several letters in English. He was invited to Cambridge in 1931 where he expressed his vision to the students.

Final Years of Iqbal’s Life

Iqbal returned to India after a trip to Afghanistan and Spain in 1933 and was affected by a strange throat disease. His final years were dedicated to advocating an independent Muslim state in Dar ul Islam Trust Institute. The philosopher stopped practicing law in 1934 and received his pension from the Nawab of Bhopal. As his life drew to a close, Iqbal started visiting Sufi Dargah in search of spiritual guidance. The famous Poet died in Lahore on 21st April 1938. His tomb rests in Hazuri Bagh in a garden between Badshahi Masjid and Lahore fort where the official guard is assigned by the government of Pakistan.

Iqbal is a name to be remembered in Pakistan. He is considered as the founder of the independent ideology. The Tarana-e-Hind is a song written by Iqbal, often featured in many Pakistani patriotic songs. A number of public institutions were named in memory and honor of the great poet.

The Allama Iqbal Campus Punjab University in Lahore to the Allama Iqbal Medical College and the Iqbal Stadium, there are a great many historic building that proudly bears the name of this poet.

The government has also sponsored the establishments of educational institutes in the name of the scholar and his birthday is considered as a national holiday. His son, Javed Iqbal has served as a justice of the supreme court of Pakistan.

Iqbal’s, last residence was Javaid Manzil. He will always be remembered as one of the most extraordinary and influential poets of the world.