9 November is commemorated annually as “Iqbal Day” in memory of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who was born on 9 November 1877 in Sialkot, Punjab, British India, to a family of Kashmiri descent. Iqbal was influenced by the teachings of Sir Thomas Arnold, his philosophy teacher at Government College Lahore. Sir Thomas Arnold encouraged Iqbal to pursue higher education in the West after he had received an early education in India. In 1905, Iqbal travelled to England for higher studies. He learned about Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, and Rumi. Iqbal received a scholarship to Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1906. His B.A. from London qualified him to practice as an advocate. The same year, he received his bar call to practice law at Lincoln’s Inn. Iqbal relocated to Germany in 1907 to pursue his Ph.D., and in 1908, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich awarded him a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Iqbal wrote his doctoral dissertation, “The Development of Metaphysics in Persia,” under Friedrich Hommel’s supervision. Iqbal began to compose poetry in Persian while he was studying in Europe. He was fluent in several languages, including German.
Muslims were encouraged to take an interest in building society through Iqbal’s poetry, which reawakened a feeling of national identity. When it came to developing a distinct homeland for Muslims, he had a significant role to play. Iqbal announced a plan for an independent state for the regions in northwest India with a Muslim majority in his presidential address on December 30, 1930. Iqbal urged the establishment of “a Muslim India within India” in his speech, particularly in the country’s northwest. Muslims should have the ability to rule themselves, according to Iqbal. It is due to his deep concern for the nation that he is frequently called “Muffakir-e-Pakistan” (the thinker of Pakistan) and “Hakeem-ul-Ummat” (the sage of the nation).
Read more: Iqbal’s Concept of Self
More than a poet, statesman, or philosopher, Allama Iqbal was unquestionably a visionary. He was one of the greatest intellectuals of all time, writing, speaking, and acting a great deal to both reassure and caution the world about its future. Iqbal based his entire argument on the idea that discovering oneself is just a momentary vision of God. By putting the emphasis on the individual “I,” he shifts the emphasis from divine to human. The path of self-awareness is the path that leads to a meeting with the Absolute. In one of his verses, he counsels young people not to let difficulties deter them from doing great things.
Iqbal regularly encouraged young people to strive for greatness, comparing them to a brave, soaring eagle with no limitations. He has influenced and continues to inspire young people across generations. In his poetry, Iqbal exhorts young people to strive for greater and unimaginable possibilities. He challenges the youth to forge ahead, become trailblazers, and see beyond the apparent to go where no one has gone before by assuring them that there are greater skies ahead of them. That is exactly what our youth must do to free Pakistan from the mediocrity it has shackled itself to. If our country is to undergo genuine development, the youth must change and not follow the path taken by earlier generations. There is no simpler way to achieve this goal than by rediscovering oneself through Iqbal’s magnificent body of work.