Muhammad Allama Iqbal

1877 –

Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, is the National Poet of Pakistan. A poet, philosopher, politician, lawyer, and scholar, Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877, in Punjab, Pakistan, to Kashmiri parents and educated at Scotch Mission College in Sialkot. He received BAs in philosophy, English literature, and Arabic at Government College University, where he was awarded the Khan Bhadurddin F. S. Jalaluddin medal. In 1905, Iqbal worked closely with Sir Thomas Arnold while studying philosophy at Trinity College Cambridge in England.

Having written a treatise on economics, Iqbal also wrote the Urdu ghazal Sare Jahan se Achccha Hindostan Hamara, which became a rallying cry against the British Raj. The song, an ode to Hindustan (present-day Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan), eventually became a patriotic ballad sung largely in India. 

Iqbal is widely known as one of the most important figures in Urdu and Persian literature, having written numerous volumes of poetry in both languages. After returning to Lahore in 1908, Iqbal taught philosophy and English literature while practicing law. His first book, Asrár-I Khudí (The Secrets of the Self), was published in 1915, followed by Ramuz-e-Bekhudi (The Mysteries of Selflessness) in 1918—both of which are regarded as the base for his poetic philosophy. He continued to write and publish volumes of poetry up until his death on April 21, 1938.