Biographical note on Iqbal

Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the Poet-Philosopher of the East, was born at Sialkot (northern India, now Pakistan) on 9th November 1877 of a middle-class family. He was educated in both Eastern and Western cultures and took a Master's degree in Philosophy from the Government College, Lahore, in 1899. After teaching philosophy and political economy at Lahore, he went to the University of Cambridge in 1905, where he took a B.A. degree by dissertation in 1907. Iqbal went, thereafter, to Germany, where, on the basis mainly of his Cambridge dissertation (entitled The Development of Metaphysics in Persia), he was awarded a degree of Ph.D. by the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich at the end of 1907. Having enrolled at Lincoln's Inn, London, in November 1905, he was called to the Bar in July 1908, whereafter he returned to India and took up legal practice at Lahore.

His real vocation, however, remained that of a thinker and a poet. In the following years, Iqbal started taking a practical interest in the political evolution of the country, and in December 1930 delivered his famous presidential address at the Allahabad meeting of the All-India Muslim League, in which he put forward the idea of an independent homeland for the Muslims of India (a vision that was realized 17 years later in the shape of Pakistan). He represented India at the Round Table Conferences in London in 1931 and 1932. On these occasions he travelled widely and visited many countries of Europe and the Middle East.

At home, he lived a spartan life. He spent most of his time reading, writing and receiving visitors of all backgrounds from far and wide. He died on 21st April 1938. Over seventy thousand people attended his funeral, and his grave in Lahore, Pakistan, is a national shrine.

Iqbal Academy (UK) is dedicated to the dissemination of the message of the Poet-Philosopher of the East, which is distinguished by its emphasis on dynamism, self-awareness, and universal values of the dignity and creativity of Man. Registered Office: 93 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1AU, England, UK.