Iqbal, Muhammad (məhămˈĭd ĭkhbälˈ) [key], 1877–1938, Indian Muslim poet, philosopher, and political leader. He studied at Government College, Lahore, Cambridge, and the Univ. of Munich, and then he taught philosophy at Government College and practiced law. He was elected (1927) to the Punjab provincial legislature and served (1930) as president of the Muslim League. An advocate initially of a pan-Islamic movement that would transcend national boundaries, he became a supporter of an independent homeland for India's Muslims and aligned himself with Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He is regarded by many as the spiritual founder of Pakistan, and the anniversary of his death (Apr. 21) is a national holiday. Iqbal was the foremost Muslim thinker of his period, and in his many volumes of poetry (written in Urdu and Persian) and essays, he urged a regeneration of Islam through the love of God and the active development of the self. He was a firm believer in freedom and the creative force that freedom can exert on men. He was knighted in 1922. His works include The Secrets of the Self (1915, tr. 1940), and Javid-nama (1934, tr. 1966).
See biographical studies by A. A. Beg (1961), A. Schimmel (1963), H. Malik, ed. (1971), and S. M. Burney (1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Muhammad Iqbal from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asian History: Biographies