Muhammad Iqbal: ‘Greatest intellectual of Islamic culture’

The birth anniversary of Muhammad Iqbal, a Muslim poet, philosopher, and politician who is also known as one of the greatest intellectuals that Islamic culture and civilization brought to humanity, is being commemorated on Nov. 9, which is annually observed as Iqbal Day in Pakistan and India.

Prof. Celal Soydan, a lecturer in the Department of Urdu Language and Literature at Istanbul University, told Anadolu Agency that Iqbal was an intellectual who not only tried to put the political and cultural future of Indian Muslims on solid foundations but also tried to give the Muslims of the world the determination to awaken, know themselves and struggle by producing constructive ideas. He (Iqbal) shed light on the plight of Muslims across the world and instigated them to protect their rights by evolving constructive ideas.

Iqbal was born on Nov. 9, 1877, in Sialkot town in Pakistan. Commonly referred to as Allama (Scholar), he studied in England and Germany, establishing a law practice. However, he concentrated primarily on writing scholarly works on politics, economics, history, philosophy, and religion.

"Iqbal's ideas on every aspect of life gain a universal dimension, as they conform to the traditional structures of other Islamic countries that are going through a similar historical process. The philosophy he offers is a rebirth of philosophy for the Islamic world, which is experiencing dissolution, corruption, and alienation in every field," Soydan said.

He added that, his importance is significant for Pakistanis, as he imagined an independent state for the Muslims of India, later founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

"Another feature that makes Iqbal important in Pakistan and India is that he not only expressed opinions about the problems of the period in which he lived but also produced opinions on the political future of the Muslim nation. In light of the political developments of the Indian subcontinent, he made intense efforts towards this goal as an intellectual who realized the necessity of a separate state for Indian Muslims," Soydan said.

He noted that Iqbal holds a place in the hearts of both the Pakistani people and Muslims across as the spiritual architect of Pakistan.

-Iqbal's philosophy

Soydan said Iqbal's philosophy is based on three pillars; that is the establishment of an independent state in Southwest Asia, the creation of a new Islamic culture in Asia, and the unity of the Islamic world.

He stressed that Iqbal was a leading personality who tried to fulfill his duty to shed light on the future political and social lives of Muslims with the ideas he formed and added that there were justified reasons why Iqbal is loved and respected, especially in the Islamic world.

"First of all, his approach in determining the problems of the period and his philosophical views do not go beyond the basic limits of Islam. Iqbal clearly states in his works that all his ideas and views are based on the sources of the Quran and Hadith. His poems and poetry show that he frequently referred to the Quran, Hadith," he said.

Soydan also said that Iqbal mentions the 13th-century Persian poet and Islamic scholar Rumi with great respect and devotion in almost all of his works.

"Poems about the discipleship of Rumi are included in all works of Iqbal. For Iqbal, Rumi had an extraordinary foresight and vast enthusiasm in terms of life philosophy. For Iqbal, Rumi was not only a guide, leader, and respected person but most importantly, the source of his ideas," he said.

Soydan said that among the works of Iqbal he is best known for his poetic and philosophical works. The Secrets of the Self, Javid Nama, one of the Persian masterpieces of Iqbal, and Gabriel's Wing, which is considered the most important work among his works in Urdu.

Iqbal died on April 21, 1938, in Lahore, Pakistan.







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