Muhammad Iqbal

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Iqbal, Muhammad

(məhăm`ĭd ĭkhbäl`), 1877–1938, Indian Muslim poet, philosopher, and political leader. He studied at Government College, Lahore, Cambridge, and the Univ. of Munich, and then he taught philosophy at Government College and practiced law. He was elected (1927) to the Punjab provincial legislature and served (1930) as president of the Muslim LeagueMuslim League,
political organization of India and Pakistan, founded 1906 as the All-India Muslim League by Aga Khan III. Its original purpose was to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in India.
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. An advocate initially of a pan-Islamic movement that would transcend national boundaries, he became a supporter of an independent homeland for India's Muslims and aligned himself with Muhammad Ali JinnahJinnah, Muhammad Ali
, 1876–1948, founder of Pakistan, b. Karachi. After his admission to the bar in England, he returned to India to practice law. Early in his career he was a fervent supporter of the Indian National Congress and an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity.
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. He is regarded by many as the spiritual founder of Pakistan, and the anniversary of his death (Apr. 21) is a national holiday. Iqbal was the foremost Muslim thinker of his period, and in his many volumes of poetry (written in Urdu and Persian) and essays, he urged a regeneration of Islam through the love of God and the active development of the self. He was a firm believer in freedom and the creative force that freedom can exert on men. He was knighted in 1922. His works include The Secrets of the Self (1915, tr. 1940), and Javid-nama (1934, tr. 1966).


See biographical studies by A. A. Beg (1961), A. Schimmel (1963), H. Malik, ed. (1971), and S. M. Burney (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iqbal, Muhammad


Born Feb. 22,1873 or 1877, in Sial-kot, Punjab; died Apr. 21, 1938, in Lahore. Hindustani poet, philosopher, and public figure.

Iqbal studied in Lahore and then in Britain and Germany. He began publishing his works in the late 1890’s. He addressed himself to the Muslims not only of India but of the entire East—for instance, his narrative poems in Persian The Secrets of the Self (1915), The Mysteries of Selflessness (1918), The Message of the East (1923), and The Book ofJavid (1932). In addition to a collection of early verses in Urdu, The Caravan Bell (1924), Iqbal published the collections Gabriel’s Wing (1935), The Staff of Moses (1936), and The Gifts of Gedzhaz (1938), in which he celebrated man’s creative activity and called for a restructuring of life. Iqbal’s creative work is permeated with humanism and patriotism. Nevertheless, his philosophical and sociopolitical opinions are marked by a certain contradictory quality. While criticizing the capitalistic system, Iqbal at the same time defended private property and individualism.

Iqbal welcomed the October Revolution and had a sympathetic attitude toward the ideas of socialism (his narrative poem Lenin), but he was opposed to “communistic atheism.” In 1930, Iqbal declared himself in favor of the future creation of a Muslim state in northwest India to be included within an independent Indian federation. This declaration led the advocates of the formation of Pakistan to consider Iqbal an originator of their movement.


Zvon karavannogo kolokol’chika. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from Urdu and Persian.)


Anikeev, N. P. Vydaiushchiisia myslitel’i poet Mukhammad Ikbal. Moscow, 1959.
Gordon-Polonskaia, L. R. Musul’manskie techeniiav obshchestvennoi mysli Indii i Pakistana. Moscow, 1963. Chapter 7.
Prigarina, N. I. Poeziia Mukhammada Ikbala (1900–1924gg.).Moscow, 1972.
Ghani, A., and K. Ilahi. A Bibliography of Iqbal. Lahore, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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