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Iqbal, the Hekem-ul-Ummah

Mubashir Iqbal Kitaba

IQBAL was born on Friday, November 9, 1877 in Sialkot and died on April 21, 1938 in Lahore. Iqbal’s ancestors hailed from Kashmir. His grandfather Shaikh Muhammad Rafiq had migrated from his ancestral village of Loehar in Kashmir and then settled in Sialkot. The family never returned to Kashmir however, the memory of Kashmir and its inhabitants were never erased from Iqbal’s mind and soul. Iqbal showed his love for Kashmir in several of his poetic verses. Iqbal says: “My body comes from the earthly paradise of Kashmir, My heart belongs to the holy land of Hijaz, and my song to shiraz”. Since the beginning of childhood Iqbal had a great thirst for knowledge. A famous Persian poet once said about Iqbal that, “He did the work of a Prophet, though one may not call him a prophet”.
Iqbal was a great scholar with deep understanding and profound knowledge of philosophy, religion, science, literary and politics. He was a great poet, thinker, philosopher, statesmen, teacher and lawyer of a distinguished quality. Iqbal’s intellectual quality and performance was not just meant for finding solutions to any one particular group or community but to the whole of the humanity. He was very much well aware of the circumstances of both east and the West. As he was born and brought up in the east and got his higher education in the west. Iqbal was a scholar and poet par excellence who spoke his heart and mind through his poetry, speeches and philosophical writings. Iqbal as a philosopher and poet par excellence put his ideas and matters related to religion, social and politics in line with the teachings of Holy Quran and Sunnah. His philosophy has a universal message and appeal to the whole of humanity especially to the Muslim Ummah. Iqbal gave us the concept of Khudi (self-hood) which has deep philosophical meanings. Iqbal makes clear the reality of life in terms of human will and action. According to this philosophy of Khudi man is the supreme creation of Almighty Allah; therefore he must realize his inherent ability, power, responsibility, duty, role and possibilities for the progress of society and for the perfection of one’s own personality. Iqbal advised individuals to sacrifice their self-interest for the greater cause of society and humanity at large.
In the year 1920, after the publication of the secrets of self-hood, the name and fame of Iqbal was carried over to Europe and his philosophic genius and poetic talent was recognized by the British government. For that the honour of Knighthood was conferred on Dr Iqbal by the British government. When Dr Iqbal was nominated for the knighthood, he refused to accept unless and until his teacher, Maulvi Mir Hassan was honoured with the title of Shamsul-ul-Ulema (the sun of scholars). The Governor of Punjab inquired from Iqbal whether there was any creative work of his teacher, Iqbal indicating towards himself replied: I am one of his great works alive. Finally his teacher and Iqbal were honoured with the title of Shamsul-ul-ulma and Sir respectively. Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal raised his voice against the injustice meted out to the people of British India and especially to awaken the consciousness of Muslims of the Subcontinent. Iqbal was the first who put the idea of separate homeland for Muslims.
Dr Iqbal was very much concerned about the youth. He encourages them to reach the heights of great glory and success. Iqbal while addressing youth says that when one reaches those commanding heights Almighty Allah makes them friend and ask them what you want me to do for you? He calls the Muslim youth with the name of Shaheen. Iqbal in his poetic verses laid much stress that one should never lose hope and always be courageous. He says that one should use his heart and mind to understand the supernatural forces which are hidden inside ones heart. Iqbal was against all kinds of slavery, blind imitation, aimlessness both in thought and action. The father of Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal Sheikh Noor Muhammad had seen a dream before Iqbal’s birth which he used to narrate to his friends in the later part of his life. In that dream, he saw a big crowd gathering in a very large field. A beautiful coloured bird was flying over our heads, and every one tried to catch it, but no one succeeded. At last it came down and flew, right into my hands. His dream turned into reality by emergence of Iqbal as a poet, philosopher and thinker of international repute by virtue of his dedicated service to humanity and Islam.
— The writer is PhD Research Scholar, Srinagar Kashmir.