6 lesser known facts about Allama Iqbal

6 lesser known facts about Allama Iqbal

A great thinker, exemplary poet and devoted philosopher, Iqbal's vision for Pakistan was revolutionary.
Updated 10 Nov, 2020

Large crowds haven't gathered at the tomb, school assemblies aren't lined up with speeches and nation's celebrations have evidently come to a halt. Unlike special programs and honorary tributes, Iqbal day in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is a little different.

A great thinker, exemplary poet and devoted philosopher, Iqbal's vision for Pakistan infused a revolutionary spirit in the lives of Muslims advocating for their own homeland. To date, his words serve as a timeless guide for those in quest of their own journey.

Remembering the visionary on the day of his birth, here are six facts that you might have not known about the forefather of the nation.

Iqbal's first book Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of the Self) was written in the Persian language.

Believing that persian was better suited for articulation, Iqbal wrote a letter to poet Ghulam Qadir Girami, declaring that the ideas behind the verses of Asrar-e-Khudi had never been expressed before either in the East or in the West.

Known as his first collection of poetry, the book revolves around the self, emphasising on the spirit from a religious perspective. It has inevitably been deemed one of his finest works.

His lineage dates back to the Kashmiri pandits

Part of the larger Shaivite Saraswat Brahmin community, Allama Iqbal's family dates back to the Sapru clan with roots back in the South Kashmiri village of Kulgam.

Having converted to Islam in the 15th century, the literati often made poetic references to his lineage, such that in his poem Ek Falsafah Zada Sayyid-zade Ke Naam.

Iqbal's father was a tailor by profession

Iqbal's father Sheikh Noor Muhammad was a tailor by profession. His speciality lay in embroidering caps for burqas (veils) and thus, did not bring the poet up in a life of extravagance.

His higher education was courtesy of his brother Atta Muhammad, who's job as a contractor with the British army provided the necessary funds.

Allama Iqbal married three times in his life

His first marriage was arranged by his family at the age of 18 to Karim Bibi, daughter of a Gujrati physician. While the couple had two children Miraj Begum and Aftab Iqbal, they parted ways.

His second marriage was with Mukhtar Begum in the year 1914 who died during childbirth in 1924. Later, Iqbal married Sardar Begum with whom he has a son and a daughter, Javed and Muneera respectively.

There is a street in Heidelberg, Germany named after him

One of the forefathers of Pakistan, Allama Iqbal stayed in Heidelberg for six months to learn German for his PhD thesis. A plaque on a nondescript old building in Neuenheim reads “Dr Mohammad Iqbal, national philosopher, poet, spiritual father of Pakistan, lived here in 1907.”

Right there is the Iqbla Ufer - the street named after him on the bank of River Neckar.

He passed away from a mysterious throat illness

After suffering for months from the illness, Iqbal died in Lahore on the 21 April 1938. His tomb is located in Hazuri Bagh, the enclosed garden between the entrance of the Badshahi Mosque and the Lahore Fort, and can be visited to pay respects.


AAA Nov 09, 2020 06:02pm
Thanks for highlighting the true fact about one of our founding father, as that is what strengthen our resolve, instead of fantasy stories that mostly float for no reason, specially the part about his lineage, as we all need to understand this is our land, this is where our roots, non of our ancestors came from Turkey or KSA or UAE, this is where we born and this is where we have to make things better.
Ali Mehdi Nov 09, 2020 07:09pm
Pewasta reh shajar se Ummeed e bahar rakh Here the poet Allama Iqbal is strongly advocating to keep your hopes intact no matter what. I really like it.
Zak Nov 09, 2020 08:39pm
@AAA Not correct, where you come from does not matter, what matters is how you spend your life on this earth and what you are remembered for, doing good or doing bad. Rest of the 1 billion, in your country should follow his path as well. The region would be a more peaceful, enlightened and humane place.
Pplaris Nov 09, 2020 08:50pm
Thanks for the article. It is always nice to know more about Allama Iqbal - a great thinker, exemplary poet, and devoted philosopher,
John Nov 09, 2020 09:16pm
He wrote song for India.. saare jahan se accha
Dr. Gurbakhsh Singh Nov 09, 2020 10:42pm
His achievements are mind boggling. I feel privileged and empowered to have studied his Persian poetry. I’m myself a doctorate in philosophy, and masters in Persian. Besides, I have good knowledge of Urdu to understand his Urdu poetry and some understanding of Arabic. (2 year diploma in Arabic). We sometimes discuss his Urdu poetry at a couple of groups.
Omarz Ace Nov 09, 2020 11:40pm
@AAA That means you are less knowledgeable thus less educated... We, Qutub shahi Awan; have family tree and our ancestors are from KSA, the descendants of Hazrat Ali Ibn e Talib.
HashBrown® Nov 10, 2020 05:56am
Thank you Yusra. I always love learning more about the great Allama, but I have to admit, I came here mainly because I read your name in the header.
Pinaki Rath Nov 10, 2020 06:31am
@AAA most of your ancestors came from Hindustan
Aamir Alvi Nov 10, 2020 08:59am
@Pinaki Rath Let's agree to disagree!!!
Mohit Nov 10, 2020 10:16am
Forefather of Pakistan, spiritual father of Pakistan.... Wrote saare jahaan se accha Hindustan hamara
Isra Nov 10, 2020 11:06am
@Dr. Gurbakhsh Singh : You yourself seems to be a quite accomplished Sir. Regards
Ahmed Nov 10, 2020 11:13am
Iqubal wrote Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara.
Sridhar Raghunath Rao Nov 10, 2020 03:23pm
So, his deep roots are with Brahmin culture.
Zak Nov 11, 2020 03:40am
@Ahmed 'Iqubal wrote Sare jahan se achha Hindustan hamara.' He meant the subcontinent with different countries and different languages with a glorious Mughal historical past.
Ray Nov 11, 2020 06:48pm
Thank you for bringing a spotlight on rare aspects in the life of Iqbal. It shows how a simple man gave his genius to this world.
Ak Nov 11, 2020 09:12pm
@Zak Yes so true
Zak Nov 11, 2020 10:29pm
@Pinaki Rath '@AAA most of your ancestors came from Hindustan' Where they came from is of no importance, it's what they do is.
Bupi Nov 12, 2020 03:54pm
@AAA truth accptenc is really a great step. Be blessed.
sara Nov 13, 2020 12:01pm
@HashBrown® So the author is the basic attraction!