09 Dec

Introduction :

Allama Muhammad Iqbal is a figure of legendary greatness amongst the scholars and poets of the modern age and his political thought has won a great deal of attention and respect amongst discerning students of political philosophy. He was born at Sialkot, a renowned city of Pakistan. He received his early education in Scotch Mission College, Sialkot and after his elementary schooling he came to Lahore for higher education. He did M.A. in Philosophy from Government College, Lahore in 1899 and served the Government College, as a lecturer in the subject of Philosophy for about five years. He later left for England in 1905 for higher studies. He obtained Ph.D. degree from Munich University by writing a thesis, The Development of Metaphysic in Persia. He again went to London and did Bar-at-Law from Lincoln's Inn. He returned to India in1908 and was appointed as Professor of Philosophy in the Government College, Lahore. Along with professorship he enrolled himself as a practising barrister at the Lahore High Court. He resigned after a year and half from professorship and continued his legal practice.

He entered into practical politics and joined his efforts with freedom-champions to liberate the Indian Muslims from the clutches of the Hindus and subjugation of the English. He was elected as Member of the Punjab Legislative Council, and later elected unanimously of the  President of All-India Muslim League. He vigorously advocated the Two Nation Theory and demanded a separate homeland for Indian Muslims, where their religion and culture could flourish without any fear of chauvinism. He actuated the Muslims of India from political slumber to champion their cause for separate country within India, and this very vision became crystal reality in his pronouncement in the annual session of the League in 1930. Dr. Allama Iqbaľ's declaration for Pakistan echoed throughout the worried and it became the instrumental in re-awakening and the enlightenment of Muslims to combat all forces for the achievement of a separate homeland, i.e. Pakistan. 

Dr. Iqbal has given an ever-inspiring treasure of knowledge and philosophy through his works, which have immortalized him on the pages of existence. He is widely respected because of his philosophy and poetry which enlivened the nation, living in a state of vertigo to win their liberty from the usurpers. As poet he is considered to be the poet of prophets for all ages. His works have been translated into many foreign languages so that the students must properly be benefited in their future researches by his thoughts and philosophies.

His works are detailed as under:

  1. The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (Thesis for Ph.D.)
  2. Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of Self)
  3. Ramooz-e-Bekhudi (Mysteries of Selflessness)
  4. Payam-e-Mashriq (Message of the East)
  5. Bang-e-Dara
  6. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (collection of lectures)
  7. Bal-e-Jibraeel
  8. Pas Che Bayad Kard Ay Aqwam-e-Sharq
  9. Zarb-e-Kaleem
  10. Armughan-e-Hijaz
  11. IIm-al-Iqtisad (Economics)


Allama Iqbal a great supporter of freedom and pioneer of Muslim movement in the sub-continent recklessly strived for the achievement of his noble ideals. Indian Muslims were tied in the chains of enslavement and subjection and he strived for the whole nation with his virulent speeches and thought-provoking declarations for making unanimous efforts for liberty and emancipation. His dynamism is proverbial, his mysticism is extraordinary and his simplicity is an example for his followers. He gave new inspiration to the Muslims who were politically unconscious and ignorant. He kindled fire in them to fight for their basic rights. He is loudly applauded everywhere due to his greater contributions leading to the ultimate establishment of Pakistan.

Allama lqbal was a sensitive sage of his age and he saw the prevailing political ills in India, and inculcated ideals for the complete liquidation of the dominators, so that Islamic culture and heritage be protected from all penetrating evils. The Hindu and the English were the two domineering forces in the subcontinent and all fundamental privileges for Muslims were completely denied. In order to liberate the Muslims from cruel subjugation, the thinker took deep interest in the political situation and problems as no sensitive and intelligent young Indian could fail to do, but "it was only when he realized that most of the political leaders of the Muslims were lacking political acumen and foresight that he started taking active interest in politics." (S. A.Vahid)

Allama Iqbal was a member of the Committee of Muslim League formed in London in 1903 by the Rt. Hon. Ameer Ali. On his return from England, Iqbal took keen interest in the objective working of the Muslim League but did not participate actively in politics from 1910-1923. In 1924, Allama Iqbal joined the National Liberal League of Lahore but not finding it very effective resigned from it later on.

Iqbal's Contributions :

No one today denies that Iqbal placed a very vital part in the founding of Pakistan. Iqbal was perhaps not a politician in the strict sense in which Mr. Jinnah or Mr. Nehru were, but he could see further than almost any other of his contemporaries could. It was the part of Allama lqbaľs greatness that he not only formulated conception of an Islamic State in India and outlined its physical boundaries but laid down the characteristics which a state must have. Rushbrook Williams said, "If it were to provide that interplay between the individual and the society in which the individual lives, which Iqbal knew to be essential for the highest development of both.

"Allama Iqbal's contributions to Islam and Muslims are unparalleled in their characteristics and his followers interwove the practicability on the basis of his ideals. All Muslims of the world are indebted to great thinker and pay gratitude for his relentless fight for a separate homeland, which changed the political attitudes of other sovereigns. His selfless services and devotion in the field of poetry, philosophy and metaphysics are unprecedented, which ushered a new era of literature and knowledge. His message through his statements, speeches and work will ever vibrate against evil, slavery and subjugation.

Iqbal's Concept of an Islamic State :

Allama Iqbal's greatness as a versatile poet and his originality and profoundity thinker can never be denied in any age of human thought and philosophy. His greatness in these fields can attract no controversy. The eternal presence of the Poet of the East in Pakistan is felt with deep reverence and respect more than a visionary poet or merely an academic philosopher. He is the creator of the very conception of the state of Pakistan. The birth of Pakistan, as an independent Islamic state, on the map of globe, had many causes but name so potent as the one that has reference to the vision which Iqbal had about the political future of the Indian Muslims.

Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, the former President of Pakistan, said, "It is common fallacy to believe that the concept of Pakistan was formed in a poet's dream. The poet, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, was no idle dreamer. Nor can countries like Pakistan, square miles; population 80,000,000 spring from the nebulous realm of poetry alone. Iqbal was in fact a philosopher of traditional as well as modern thought who had made a careful study of human affairs, both of East and West, and focused the light of his inquiry on the causes of economic and cultural subjugation to which the Muslims of India had been systematically subjected since their first abortive struggle for independence in 1857. It was in his presidential address at the annual session of AIl-India Muslim League in 1930 that he spelt out the broad outlines of a plan under which the Muslims of India were led to aspire to an independent state in which they would be free to follow their own way of life.

"the name of ljtehad, strongly defended his idea of the creation of Muslim Empire within the subcontinent of India, which was very akin to its approximation to the Western conception of the term "state", purely as an interim and transitional phase of the growth of universal brotherhood of man. Khawaja Abdur Rahim was of the view that Universal brotherhood is an ideal good for human evolution which Islam came to establish, and the symbol of which phenomenon every year is held aloft by Islam for the rest of the world to see on the day of pilgrimage at Makkah, when millions of Muslims coming from distant parts of the world congregate, in the presence of God, and stand shoulder to shoulder in spite of the local loyalties they may owe to the lands whence they come.

No nation is prepared to surrender any part of its sovereignty in favour of the creation of super national authority; that is so simply because the state in our own day has become an idol which is to be worshipped to the utter neglect of our reverence for that element of transcendence which gives to the human history, a universal background. Much of the chaos and disorder that one notices is the social, economic and political. Life in Pakistan ultimately reflects the crisis of a character which has taken place in our interior consciousness. It is here that an attempt that healing has to be initiated. Ethics but not Economics lay down the primary force for the redemption of man. All strength, even material strength is ultimately possible and durable only upon a moral basis. 

lqbal's Conception of Khudi (Ego) :

The conception of khudi has been the most important contribution of Iqbal to the realm of political thought. It was not due to the fact that he was the first to treat the subject before him such eminent minds as Nietzsche, Fichte, Bergso and William James had dealt with the subject from the various angles of vision. Iqbal's originality lay. in the fact that the whole concept of khudi underwent a radical change and assumed a realistic interpretation under his masterly pen. To Iqbal, khudi or ego does not signify pride or arrogance, but the spirit of self affirmation of one's potentialities and their proper utilization. One hadith alludes to this fact in these words:

"I was a hidden treasure. I wished that I may be recognized, therefore I created the whole creature."

Thus, man being the highest creature, should have spirit of "I-am-ness" in its perfection, and should assimilate and absorb in himself the attributes of God and thus become His vicegerent(naib) on earth. This implies that a limited authority has been given to every man to fashion his life according to ego. Ego must then consist in creating desires and wishes and trying to realize them, by the authority vested in every man.

When the Self awakened itself, it revealed the world of concepts.

A hundred worlds are hidden in its being; its not-self comes to being from its self-affirmation has sown the seeds of hostility in the world by imagining itself to be other than itself.

Allama Iqbal believed that the philosophy of self-denial was developed by the weaker nations in their days of decline and degradation. The criticism of Nietzsche against Christianity was based on the fact that the Christians having a defeatist mentality believed that paradise was to be given to the weak and the humble few and not to the wealthy and the strong.

Helpers of Ego :

Allama Iqbal maintains that stability, permanence and integrity are the essence of ego. A dew drop vanishes with the sunlight; a drop of tear disappears after a while, because they took stability, while a drop which remains in a sea shell becomes a pearl. Similarly, an individual should subjugate and exploit to his benefit, the things external to him and save himself from being subjugated. It is true that as against God man is helpless, but as against other creatures or natural objects, man is quite powerful, to harness them to his best advantage and benefit.

According to Iqbal the following factors and forces fortify the human ego or personality:

1. Love

Iqbal explained the word Love in a letter to Prof. Nicholson, "It means the desire to assimilate, to absorb. Its highest form is the creation of values and ideals and the endeavours to realize them. Love individualizes the lover as well as the beloved. The effort to realize the most unique individuality individualizes the seeker and implies individuality of the sought, for nothing else would satisfy the nature of the seeker."

2. Faqr

By faqr, Iqbal means an attitude of mind which enables a man to endlessly strive spurning delights and rewards, except the attainment of worthy ends. In other words, it depicts selflessness and abnegation and ascendancy over one's natural environment and a sense of complete detachment from worldly affairs and rewards. Once an individual is able to achieve this attitude of mind, there is no limit to what he might attain in the way of development of personality and spiritual strength.

Allied with faqr is the element of courage, both physical and moral.

3. Courage

Both physical and moral courage means overcoming and combating all obstacles and hurdles with no failure of nerve, no submission to forces of evil or to desire to give in except to conviction. Iqbal calls upon the younger generation to live dangerously and courageously.

4. Tolerance

For other people's views and manners represents the strength of the high order and its cultivation is greatly beneficial to human society. It also sustains and strengthens the human ego.

5. Kasb-e-Halal

In a world where selfishness and aggrandizement are playing vital part in human life, insistence on kasb-e-halal is of the utmost significance. Iqbal insists that the individuals should ,constantly exert him to acquire things which he wants to enjoy. He even goes to the extent of depreciating inheritance of worldly good as he feels that it hurts the ego. Even in the field of ideas, Iqbal advices avoidance of borrowing.

6. Creative and original activity

Iqbal is opposed to mimicry and copying others slavishly. Blind imitation is of no avail and must be discouraged. 

As against these positive factors there are certain negative forces which are constantly atwork to weaken the ego and stultify the human personality. These are:

1. Fear

Fear of persons and objects (except God) in all its different phases such as worry, anxiety,anger, jealousy and timidity is a positive danger for ego. It robs man of efficiency and happiness.

2. Beggary

Not used in the limited sense but all that is achieved without personal effort and it is in every form inimical to ego development. All economic and social parasites which flourish on society under various high-sounding names are beggars.

3. Slavery

It completely arrests the freedom of man, which retards the development of one's ego. Enslavement and mental torture of man, who's self prompts him for freedom. Every kind of slavery, whether physical or mental, distorts character and lowers man to the level of a beast and weakens the human ego. It stifles the growth of ego which needs freedom for its normal development.

4. Nasab-Parasti

Races, nations, tribes, communities, castes and families take pride in their superior racial characters come to destroy the peace and tranquillity of the world.

Iqbal is strongly opposed to all these weaknesses in human character. In fact, these weaknesses develop due to the failure of the individual to practice or inculcate in him the positive elements for the development of character and personality.

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