He was our national poet and the one who dreamed of a separate homeland for us.
He was the legend who gave us a vision which later on became the mission of Quaid-e-Azam.
Allama Iqbal was the most extraordinary philosopher from the sub-continent.
The above are some of the statements I came across when I asked my friends to comment upon Allama Iqbal. He receives the reverence that very few enjoy. And why not? Iqbal was a man of letters, the Poet of the East and a revolutionary philosopher. To quote Quaid-e-Azam’s condolence message on Iqbal’s death: “He (Iqbal) was a personal friend, philosopher and guide and as such the main source of my inspiration and spiritual support.” (Star of India, April 22, 1938).
It might come as a surprise for most of the readers that Iqbal liked neither to be known as a philosopher or as a poet. According to him “hai falsfa Zindagee sy dori”. He had a specific set of objectives behind his poetic work and ideology. Once he wrote to Syed Suleman Nadvi (late): “I have never considered myself a poet. Therefore, I am not a rival of anyone, and I do not consider anybody my rival. I have no interest in poetic artistry. But, yes, I have a special goal in mind for whose expression I use the medium of poetry considering the condition and the customs of this country.” (Translated from the original in Urdu; Maktoobat, Volume I, page195)
As Iqbal became notable in the community of poets, his companions started pointing out grammatical and other poetic flaws in his poetry which was extremely perturbing for him. He once wrote, “Mere nawa-e-pareshan ko shairee na samajh…K main hoon mehram-e-raz daroon ma’y khana”.
Disregarding the rules of poetry writing, Iqbal based his poetry on teaching of Islam and he wanted his readers to comprehend the essence of his message. He used to call his poetry “Iqbal-e-Islam”. Most of his couplets directly translate the verses of the Holy Quran. For instance, one of his verses:
Ho khalkan yaran tou, baray’sham ke tarha narm…
Razm-e-haq-o-batil ho tou folad hai momin
…is actually the poetic form of the verse 29 of Surah 48, Al-Fatah. Dr Israr Ahmed, a renowned scholar, pays homage to Iqbal by saying: “Iqbal was the greatest interpreter and preacher of his time. I have not seen any person provoking Muslims in such a concentrated way.”
A profound review of Iqbal’s thoughts asserts that he was a proponent of “deed” instead of “idea”. His vision, ideology and thoughts were revolutionary and meant for a real, practical Islamic state that might be governed according to modern requirements but not at the cost of religion. His poetry and philosophy handsomely answers the queries in the mind of Muslims.
The poet-laureate of Iran, Bahar, acknowledged the dignity of Allama Iqbal by stating, “Our period would be known as the era of Iqbal. History would remember it as Iqbal’s era.”
The sole purpose of this short piece of writing is to make all of Us realise that now it is high time for all of us, specially for the youth, to get out of a mere course-book based study of Iqbal and truly realise, comprehend and implement his message in our practical life.