6 lesser known facts about Allama Iqbal

Updated 10 Nov, 2020 11:39am

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.

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