ONCE there was a school student who turned up late in his class.
“Why are you so late?” demanded his teacher.
“Sir, iqbal (prosperity/success) always comes late,” the student gave a confident, intelligent reply.
The teacher was pleasantly surprised by the intelligent and profound reply of his student and from that moment on always held a high opinion of him. The student was none other than our national poet, Allama Mohammed Iqbal.
It was this type of intelligence and ‘out- of-the-box’ thinking that made Iqbal the great person we have all come to know. Iqbal was born in 1877, is Sialkot. His early education was in Sialkot and Lahore, and for his higher education he travelled to England and Germany where he obtained his PhD degree.
Iqbal’s keenness to look for deeper meanings of things and how things actually work out in every aspect of our lives made him a great philosopher. He was a well-learned person whose ideas and values were shaped by reading the works of a variety of eastern and western writers. These traits of Iqbal clearly point out to us as to what it really takes to be a great person. It is by reading relevant, reliable material from a variety of sources that we can acquire a deeper understanding of things and so attain a higher level of both spiritual and material satisfaction and happiness.
In one of Iqbal’s notable messages for youngsters, he encourages them to aim high for the very best in life.
“Mohabbat Mojhe Un Jawanon Se Hai
Sitaron Pe Dalte Hain Jo Kamand.”
(I have love for those youngsters who pull the stars down.)
In the following verses, he also advises youngsters not to be fazed by hard times in their pursuit of achievement and doing the right things
“Tundi Baad-e-mukhalif Say Nah Ghabra Aye Uqaab,
Yeh Tu Chalti Hai Tujhay Uncha Uranay Kay Liye.”
(Don’t get frightened by these furious, violent winds, O Eagle! These blow only to make you fly higher.)
Here the great poet rightly conveys that dealing with hard times will only make you a stronger and improved person.
Being a strong, self-reliant person is strongly advocated by Iqbal because it essentially involves belief and confidence in one’s abilities. And this is what we all are meant to do because we all have tremendous potential to achieve things. With self-confidence and self-respect, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.
This aspect is strongly advocated by Iqbal in the following lines,
“Khudi Ko Kar Buland Itna Ke Har Taqdeer Se Pehle
Khuda Bande Se Khud Puche, Bata Teri Raza Kya Hai”
(Develop the self so that before every decree God will ascertain from you: “What is your wish?”)
Iqbal also stresses the need to attain education and knowledge and apply this knowledge in our everyday life. It is knowledge, according to him, that helps us understand life and our perception of reality.
“O wise men! it is good to have a thirst for knowledge,
But of what use is knowledge that cannot apprehend reality?”
He also puts the message across that life is a process of progressive creation and this ongoing process necessitates that each generation, guided but unhampered by the work of its predecessor, should be allowed to find new solutions and new ways of dealing with things.
Iqbal also stressed on the need to improve one’s spiritual side. According to him, we all are material as well as spiritual beings, we cannot ignore nurturing our spiritual side because that would render us incomplete. Only by focusing on our spiritual side, while on our pursuit of material things, can we live a better and satisfied life. In addition, by improving one’s spiritual side, one also discovers secrets and new realities about his existence and the world.
Iqbal’s poetic and prose works also gives us the message of independence, patriotism and national spirit. He was deeply concerned about his Muslim brothers of the subcontinent. And through his poetic and philosophical work, as well as political efforts, he motivated the Muslims of the subcontinent to demand a separate homeland for themselves.
He was one of the driving forces behind Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammed Ali Jinnah returning to the subcontinent to take over the presidency of the Muslim League and guide the Muslims in their successful struggle for a separate homeland. For these reasons he is known as our National Poet, ‘Muffakir-e-Pakistan’ (The Thinker of Pakistan) and ‘Hakeem-ul-Ummat’ (The Sage of the Nation).
Iqbal’s Urdu poetry books include, Bang-e-Dara (Call Of The Marching Bell), Bal-e-Jibril (Wings Of Gabriel) and Zarb-e-Kaleem (Powerful Strike); and Persian ones include Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets Of the Self), ‘Ramuz-e-baykhudi’ (Hints of Selflessness), ‘Payam-e-Mashriq’ (Message Of The East), ‘Zabur-e-Ajam’ (Persian Psalms), ‘Javed Nama’ (Book Of Javed), ‘Pas Chih Bayad Kard ay Aqwam-i-Sharq’ (What Are We To Do, O Nations Of The East?) and ‘Armaghan-e-Hijaz’ (Gift Of Hijaz). He also has literary works in English, such books ‘The Development Of Metaphysics In Persia’ and ‘Reconstruction Of Religious Thoughts In Islam’.
Iqbal’s message through his poetic and philosophical works guides us in all the important and essential areas of our lives. It guides us towards a better life and being a better person by developing virtues that are characteristic of successful and happy people.