Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan


Born on: 13 October 1948 – Lyallpur (Faislabad), Punjab, Pakistan
Died: 16 August 1997 (aged 48) London, England
Burial Place: Jhang Road Graveyard, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan
Spouse(s): Naheed Nusrat (1979)
Children: Nida Fateh Ali Khan
Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Music director, Composer, Vocalist
Years active: 1964 – 1997

Image Credit Source – Facebook

  • Qawwali
  • Ghazal
  • Sufi
  • Classical
  • Folk world
  • Punjabi


  • Mubarak Ali Khan (Uncle)
  • Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan (Brother)
  • Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan (Cousin)
  • Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (Nephew)
  • Rizwan-Muazzam (Nephew)


Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; 13 oct 1948 – 16 August 1997

Parvez Fateh Ali Khan known as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, was a Pakistani vocalist, musician, composer and music director primarily a singer of qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music. He is considered to be the greatest Sufi singer in the Punjabi and Urdu language, and World’s greatest qawwali singer ever; he is often referred to as “Shahenshah-e-Qawwali” (The King of Kings of Qawwali). He was described as the 4th greatest singer of all time by LA Weekly in 2016. He was known for his vocal abilities and could perform at a high level of intensity for several hours. He belonged to the Qawwal Bacchon Gharana (Delhi gharana) extending the 600-year old qawwali tradition of his family, Khan is widely credited with introducing qawwali music to international audiences.

Born in Lyallpur (Faisalabad), Khan had his first public performance at the age of 15, at his father’s chelum. He became the head of the family qawwali party in 1971. He was signed by Oriental Star Agencies, Birmingham, England, in the early 1980s. Khan went on to release movie scores and albums in Europe, India, Japan, Pakistan and the U.S. He engaged in collaborations and experiments with Western artists, becoming a well-known world music artist. He toured extensively, performing in over 40 countries. In addition to popularising qawwali music, he also had a big impact on contemporary South Asian popular music, including Pakistani pop, Indian pop and Bollywood music.

Early Life and Career

Khan was born into a Muslim family in (Lyallpur) Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan, in 1948. His family originates from Basti Sheikh Darvesh in Jalandhar, Punjab in present-day India. His ancestors learned music and singing there and adopted it as a profession. He was the fifth child and first son of Fateh Ali Khan, a musicologist, vocalist, instrumentalist, and qawwal. Khan’s family, which included four older sisters and a younger brother, Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, grew up in central Faisalabad. The tradition of qawwali in the family had passed down through successive generations for almost 600 years. Initially, his father did not want Khan to follow the family’s vocation. He had his heart set on Nusrat choosing a much more respectable career path and becoming a doctor or engineer because he felt qawwali artists had low social status. However, Khan showed such an aptitude for and interest in qawwali, that his father finally relented.

In 1971, after the death of his uncle Mubarak Ali Khan, Khan became the official leader of the family qawwali party and the party became known as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mujahid Mubarak Ali Khan & Party. Khan’s first public performance as the leader of the qawwali party was at a studio recording broadcast as part of an annual music festival organized by Radio Pakistan, known as Jashn-e-Baharan. Khan sang mainly in Urdu and Punjabi and occasionally in Persian, Braj Bhasha and Hindi. His first major hit in Pakistan was the song Haq Ali Ali, which was performed in a traditional style and with traditional instrumentation. The song featured restrained use of Khan’s sargam improvisations.

Later Career

In the summer of 1985, Khan performed at the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in London. He performed in Paris in 1985 and 1988. He first visited Japan in 1987, at the invitation of the Japan Foundation. He performed at the 5th Asian Traditional Performing Art Festival in Japan. He also performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, in 1989, earning him admiration from the American audience.

Khan, throughout his career, had great understanding with many south Asian singers such as Alam Lohar, Noor Jehan, A. R. Rahman, Asha Bhosle, Javed Akhtar, and the Lata Mangeshkar.

In the 1992 to 1993 academic year, Khan was a Visiting Artist in the Ethnomusicology department at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States.

In 1988, Khan teamed up with Peter Gabriel on the soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, which led to Khan being signed to Gabriel’s Real World label. He would go on to release five albums of traditional qawwali through Real World, along with the more experimental albums Mustt Mustt (1990), Night Song (1996), and the posthumous remix album Star Rise (1997).

Khan’s experimental work for Real World, which featured his collaborations with the Canadian guitarist Michael Brook, spurred on several further collaborations with a number of other Western composers and rock musicians. One of the most noteworthy of these collaborations came in 1995, when Khan grouped with Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder on two songs for the soundtrack to Dead Man Walking. Khan also provided vocals for The Prayer Cycle which was put together by Jonathan Elias, but died before the tracks could be completed. Alanis Morissette was brought in to sing with his unfinished vocals. In 2002, Gabriel included Khan’s vocals on the posthumously released track “Signal to Noise” on his album Up.

Khan’s album Intoxicated Spirit was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1997. That same year, his album Night Song was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

Khan contributed songs to, and performed in, several Pakistani films. Shortly before his death, he composed music for three Bollywood films, which includes the film Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, in which he also sang for “Koi Jaane Koi Na Jaane” on-screen with the lead pair, and “Zindagi Jhoom Kar”. He also composed music for Kartoos where he sang for “Ishq Da Rutba”, and “Bahaa Na Aansoo”, alongside Udit Narayan. He died very shortly prior to the movie’s release. His final music composition for Bollywood was for the movie, Kachche Dhaage where he sang in “Iss Shaan-E-Karam Ka Kya Kehna”. The movie was released in 1999, two years after his death. The two singing sisters of Bollywood, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar sang for the songs he composed in his brief stint in Bollywood. He also sang “Saya Bhi Saath Jab Chhod Jaye” for Sunny Deol’s movie Dillagi. The song was released in 1999, two years after Khan’s death. He also sang “Dulhe Ka Sehra” from the Bollywood movie Dhadkan which was released in 2000. Khan was used by Imran Khan to source funds for his Cancer Hospital as told by Appo G, his eldest of four sisters. Khan contributed the song “Gurus of Peace” to the 1997 album Vande Mataram, composed by A. R. Rahman, and released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence. As a posthumous tribute, Rahman later released an album titled Gurus of Peace which included “Allah Hoo” by Khan. Rahman’s 2007 song “Tere Bina” for the film Guru was also composed as a tribute to Khan.

Tributes, Legacy and Influence

Khan is often credited as one of the progenitors of “world music”. Widely acclaimed for his spiritual charisma and distinctive exuberance, he was one of the first and most important artists to popularise qawwali, then considered an “arcane religious tradition”, to Western audiences. His powerful vocal presentations, which could last up to 10 hours, brought forth a craze for his music all over Europe.

Alexandra A. Seno of Asiaweek wrote;

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice was otherworldly. For 25 years, his mystical songs transfixed millions. It was not long enough … He performed qawwali,which means wise or philosophical utterance, as nobody else of his generation did. His vocal range, talent for improvisation and sheer intensity were unsurpassed.

Jeff Buckley cited Khan as a major influence, saying of him “He’s my Elvis”, and performing the first few minutes of Khan’s “Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai” (including vocals) at live concerts. Many other artists have also cited Khan as an influence, such as Nadia Ali, Zayn Malik, Malay, Peter Gabriel, A. R. Rahman, Sheila Chandra, Alim Qasimov, Eddie Vedder, and Joan Osborne, among others. His music was also appreciated by singers such as Mick Jagger, socialites such as Parmeshwar Godrej, actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Trudie Styler, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins, and authors such as Sam Harris, who cited Khan as one of his favourite musicians of all time.

Paul Williams picked a concert performance by Khan for inclusion in his 2000 book The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: a ‘top-40’ list, in which he devotes a chapter each to what he considers the top 40 artistic achievements of the 20th century in any field (including art, movies, music, fiction, non-fiction, science-fiction). The Derek Trucks Band covers Khan’s songs on two of their studio albums. Their 2002 album Joyful Noise includes a cover of “Maki Madni”, which features a guest performance by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Khan’s nephew. 2005’s Songlines includes a medley of two of Khan’s songs, “Sahib Teri Bandi” and “Maki Madni”. This medley first appeared on the band’s live album Live at Georgia Theatre (2004).

In 2004, a tribute band called Brooklyn Qawwali Party (formerly Brook’s Qawwali Party) was formed in New York City by percussionist Brook Martinez to perform the music of Khan. The 13-piece group still performs mostly instrumental jazz versions of Khan’s qawwalis, using the instruments conventionally associated with jazz rather than those associated with qawwali.

In 2007, electronic music producer and performer Gaudi, after being granted access to back catalogue recordings from Rehmat Gramophone House (Khan’s former label in Pakistan), released an album of entirely new songs composed around existing vocals. The album, Dub Qawwali, was released by Six Degrees Records. It reached no. 2 in the iTunes US Chart, no. 4 in the UK and was the no. 1 seller in’s Electronic Music section for a period. It also earned Gaudi a nomination for the BBC’s World Music Awards 2008.

On 13 October 2015, Google celebrated Khan’s 67th birthday with a doodle on its homepage in six countries, including India, Pakistan, Japan, Sweden, Ghana, and Kenya, calling him the person “who opened the world’s ears to the rich, hypnotic sounds of the Sufis”. “Thanks to his legendary voice, Khan helped bring ‘world music’ to the world”, said Google.

In February 2016, a rough mix of a song recorded by Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1998 called “Circle of the Noose” was leaked to the internet. Guitarist Dave Navarro described the song saying, “It’s pop in the sense of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, hook. I really love it and we use a loop of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It’s really nice. The best way I can describe it is it’s like pepped- up ’60s folk with ’90s ideals, but I would hate to label it as folk because it’s not, it moves.”

The 2018 book The Displaced Children of Displaced Children (Eyewear Publishing) by Pakistani American poet Faisal Mohyuddin includes the poem “Faisalabad”, a tribute to Khan and to the city of Khan’s birth. “Faisalabad” includes a number or references to Khan, including the excerpt, “There are no better cures for homesickness / than Nusrat’s qawwalis, / except when you’re a mother / and you find comfort in the unfolding / hours of a child’s existence.” The poem was first published by Narrative Magazine in Spring 2017

Awards and Titles:

The world of awards always falls too short in front of a great man of stature of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. No award can exceed the Unimaginable Enduring love and respect  poured by millions of fans and thousands of artists around the globe on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Once a magazine wrote ” Nusrat’s voice has conquered more Alexander’s sword”. World knows that the statement was true. However for the very simple and humble Nusrat, the greatest achievement ever always remained the same “A fan liking his song”.


Lists Featuring Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan:-

  1. 1. Mojo 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time
  2. The 20th Century Greatest Hits: What works of Art should be remembered and why
  3. 3. Artists, writers, and musicians: an encyclopedia of people who changed the world
  4. The 100 Greatest Stars Of 20th Century………….Q Magazine (August 1999)
  5. 5. Top 12 Artists and Thinkers in the last 60 years………TIME Magazine,2006
  6. 50 Most Influential Artists Of Music ………. SPIN Magazine,1998
  7. NPR 50 Great Voices…………. National Public Radio,USA,2010
  8. 20 Most Iconic Musicians From Past 50 Years ……. CNN,2010
  9. 100 Minorities who changed the World: …… Sacred-Bridge
  10. Spin Magazine 100 greatest singers
  11. UGO, Best Singers of All Times


Major Awards (in chronological order)

  • Best Qawwal 1982 Punjab Youth Academy Lahore
  • Award by Cultural Association of Pakistan
  • Pride of Performance Presidential Award Government of Pakistan
  • Grand Prix 1989 Deola France
  • 5th Asian Traditional Performing Art Festival Japan Foundation (Best Singer)
  • Award for Great Contribution to Qawwali by Pakistan Workers Association London
  • Shield Presented by Urdu Revival and Cultural Society South Africa
  • For Services to Pakistan Music by Pakistan Welfare Association Birmingham UK
  • Award Presented by His Worship Councillor Frank Carter Lord Mayor Birmingham
  • Dycct Award
  • Adelaide Music Festival, Most Popular Singer (1992)
  • UNESCO Music Prize (Gretest Musician, 1995) Young Writers Award, Italy
  • Grand Prix des Amériques at Montreal World Film Festival for exceptional contribution to the art of cinema.(1996)
  • Two Grammy Nominations (1997, for fusion work)
  • “Legends” award at the UK Asian Music Awards (2005)



  • A voice from Heaven
  • Shahanshah-e-Qawwali
  • Khusrau-e-Sani
  • Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Doctor Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Professor Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Niak Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Best Qawwal Graduate Award
  • Peace Award Faisalabad
  • Living Legend
  • Guders Award Faisalabad
  • Super Star of Music
  • Popular Voice of Islam
  • Power of Pakistan
  • Pakistan’s Wall of Sound
  • A Man Called Qawwali
  • Nusrat the Magnificent
  • Singing Buddha
  • Shining Star of Music
  • Messenger of Peace
  • De Jays Award
  • Inner Wheel Club of Lahore
  • The Legend of Music World Raja Entertainers
  • Shaharyar-e-Mosseqi


Popular Culture

One of Khan’s famous qawwali songs, “Tere Bin Nahin Lagda” (“I am restless without you”), appeared on two of his 1996 albums, Sorrows Vol. 69 and Sangam (as “Tere Bin Nahin Lagda Dil”), the latter a collaborative album with Indian lyricist Javed Akhtar; Sangam sold over 1 million copies in India. Lata Mangeshkar recorded a cover version called “Tere Bin Nahin Jeena” for Kachche Dhaage, starring Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan and Manisha Koirala. Composed by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Kachche Dhaage soundtrack album sold 3 million units in India. British-Indian producer Bally Sagoo released a remix of “Tere Bin Nahin Lagda”, which was later featured in the 2002 British film Bend It Like Beckham, starring Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley. A cover version called “Tere Bin” was recorded by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan with Asees Kaur for the 2018 Bollywood film Simmba, starring Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music had a big impact on Bollywood music, inspiring numerous Indian musicians working in Bollywood since the late 1980s. For example, he inspired A. R. Rahman and Javed Akhtar, both of whom he collaborated with. However, there were many hit filmi songs from other Indian music directors that plagiarised Khan’s music. Viju Shah’s hit song “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast” in Mohra (1994) was plagiarised from Khan’s popular qawwali song “Dam Mast Qalandar”.

Despite the significant number of hit Bollywood songs plagiarised from his music, he was reportedly tolerant towards the plagiarism. In one interview, he jokingly gave “Best Copy” awards to Viju Shah and Anu Malik. In his defense, Malik claimed that he loved Khan’s music and was actually showing admiration by using his tunes. However, Khan was reportedly aggrieved when Malik turned his spiritual “Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo” into “I Love You, I Love You” in Auzaar. Khan said “he has taken my devotional song Allahu and converted it into I love you. He should at least respect my religious songs.”

His music also appears on soundtracks for Hollywood films such as The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Natural Born Killers (1994) and Dead Man Walking (1995)

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Discography

Most of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s early music was recorded with Rehmat Gramophone House later turned RGH Label. Throughout the ’70s and early ’80s Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan released hundreds of cassettes, most of them containing one or two lengthy songs. Chris Nickson, of Global Rhythm, argues that trying to make order of Khan’s entire discography would be a nightmare.

Nusrat Fateh recorded hundreds of albums around the globe. OSA, Birmingham released about 125 audio albums and 30-35 concert films. His international labels included Real World Records, Virgin Music, Ocora, World Music Network, Shanachie, Nascente, American Records, EMI Arabia & France. He recorded 40-50 cassettes in Pakistan, many of which are available under the EMI Label. More than a decade after his death music companies around the world are releasing new albums every year.


Original Sound Track (OSA):
  • Vol 1, Best of Shahenshah
  • Vol 2, Tumhain Dillagi Bhool
  • Vol 3, Je Toon Rab Noon Manana
  • Vol 4, Wadah Kar Ke Sahjjan
  • Gorakh Dhanda – Vol 05
  • Yadon ke Sayeay – Vol 06
  • Jani Door Gaye – Vol 07
  • House of Shah – Vol 08
  • Dam Dam Ali Ali – Vol 9
  • Jhoole Laal – Vol 10
  • Marhaba Marhaba – Vol 11
  • Magic Touch – Vol 12
  • Shabads – Vol 13
  • Mast Qalander – Vol 14
  • Maikadah – Vol 15
  • Bari Bari – Vol 16
  • Nit Khair Mangan – Vol 17
  • Mae Ni Mae – Vol 18
  • Sham Savere – Vol 19
  • Naat – Vol 20
  • Bulle Shah – Vol 21
  • Aansoo – Vol 22
  • Mighty Khan – Vol 23
  • Dhol Mahia – Vol 24
  • Allah Hoo – Vol 25
  • Chithhi – Vol 26
  • Kali Kali Zulfon – Vol 27
  • Sanson Ki Mala – Vol 28
  • Saqi Mere Saqi – Vol 29
  • Vird Karo Allah Allah – Vol 30
  • Akhian – Vol 31
  • Beh Ja Mahi – Vol 32
  • Neendran – Vol 33
  • Sanam – Vol 34
  • Mere Man Ka Raja – Vol 35
  • Piya Ghar Aaya – Vol 36
  • Washington University – Vol 37
  • Mast Nazron Se – Vol 38
  • House of Shah 2 – Vol 39
  • Kande Utte Mehrman Way – Vol 40
  • Yadan – Vol 41
  • Jana Jogi De Naal – Vol 42
  • Ali Maula – Vol 43
  • Tere Main Ishq Nachaian
  • Charkha Naulakha – Vol 45
  • Kehde Ghar Jawan – Vol 46
  • House Of Shah 3 – Vol 47
  • Jewel – Vol 48
  • Mighty Khan 2 – Vol 49
  • Must Mast 2 – Vol 50
  • Bandit Queen – Vol 51
  • Prem Deewani – Vol 52
  • Kalam-e-Iqbal – Vol 53
  • Ya Hayyo Ya Qayyum – Vol 54
  • Chan Sajna – Vol 55
  • Loay Loay Aaja Mahi – Vol 56
  • Wohi Khuda Hai – Vol 57
  • Pilao Saqi – Vol 58
  • Samandar Maen Samandar – Vol 59
  • Ishq – Vol 60
  • Piala – Vol 61
  • Kulli Yar Dee – Vol 62
  • Gali Wichoon Kaun Langia – Vol 63
  • Sufi Qawwalies – Vol 64
  • Pyar Karte Hain – Vol 65
  • Sorrows – Vol 69


Major International Releases
  • In Concert in Paris, VolNitin Sawhney, Musician, 17 June 2004, 1. Ocora.
  • Shahen-Shah. RealWorld/CEMA.
  • Mustt Mustt. RealWorld/CEMA. Collaboration with Michael Brook.
  • Magic Touch OSA.
  • Shahbaaz. RealWorld/CEMA.
  • The Day, The Night, The Dawn, The Dusk. Shanachie Records.
  • Devotional Songs. Real World Records.
  • Love Songs. EMI.
  • Ilham. Audiorec.
  • Traditional Sufi Qawwalis: Live in London, Vol. 2. Navras Records.
  • Pakistan: Vocal Art of the Sufis, Vol 2 – Qawwali. JVC.
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party. Real World Records.
  • The Last Prophet. Real World Records.
  • Traditional Sufi Qawwalis: Live in London, Vol. 4. Navras Records.
  • Revelation. Interra/Intersound.
  • Back to Qawwali. Long Distance
  • In Concert in Paris, Vol. 3–5. Ocora.
  • Qawwali: The Art of the Sufis. JVC
  • Night Song. Real World Records.
  • Dead Man Walking: The Score. Columbia/Sony
  • Intoxicated Spirit. Shanachie Records.
  • Mega Star. Interra.
  • Bandit Queen. Milan.
  • The Prophet Speaks. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • Sangam. EMI.
  • Live In India. RPG.
  • Akhian. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • Live in New York City. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • Farewell Song: Alwadah. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • In Concert in Paris, Vol 2. Ocora.
  • Oriente/Occidente: Gregorian Chant & Qawwali Music. Materiali Sonori.
  • Dust to Gold, Realworld Recordings.
  • Allah & The Prophet. Ex Works.
  • Star Rise: Remixes. EMI.
  • Live at Royal Albert Hall. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • Missives from Allah. BCD.
  • Imprint: In Concert. Hi Horse Records. (Selections from the 23 January 1993 concert at Meany Hall, University of Washington in Seattle, during Khan’s residency at their Ethnomusicology program.)
  • Peace. Omni Parc.
  • Live at Islamabad, Vol 1–2. M.I.L. Multimedia.
  • Passion. NYC Music.
  • Visions of Allah. Ex Works.
  • Swan Song. Narada.
  • Jewel. MoviePlay.
  • Live in London, Vol 3. Navras Records.
  • Opus. Vanstory.
  • The Final Studio Recordings. Legacy/Sony.
  • Pukaar: The Echo. Navras Records.
  • The Final Moment. Birdman Records.
  • Body and Soul. RealWorld/CEMA.
  • Sufi Qawwalis. Arc Music.
  • Allah Hoo. Saregama.
  • Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. Saregama.
  • Ishq Da Rutba. Saregama.
  • Kartoos. Saregama.
  • Main Aur Meri Awargi. Saregama.
  • Ye Jo Halka. Saregama.
  • Nami Danam. JVC Compact Discs.
  • Mitter Pyare Nu. Nupur Audio


Album Features
  • Passion (1989) – with Peter Gabriel
  • Only One (1997) – with Mahmood Khan
  • Vande Mataram (1997) – with A. R. Rahman



Various reports said Khan weighed over 135 kilograms. He had been seriously ill for several months, according to a spokesperson at his U.S. label, American Recordings. After traveling to London from his native Pakistan for treatment for liver and kidney problems, he was rushed from the airport to Cromwell Hospital in London.

He died of a sudden cardiac arrest at Cromwell Hospital on 16 August 1997, aged 48. His body was repatriated to Faisalabad, and his funeral was a public affair. He was buried in Kabootran Wala Qabristan also known as Jhang Road Graveyard on Jhang Road, Faisalabad.

His wife, Naheed Nusrat, died on 13 September 2013 in Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Naheed had moved to Canada after the death of her husband. She is survived by their daughter Nida Khan. Khan’s musical legacy is now carried forward by his nephews, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Rizwan-Muazzam.

Anwar Maqsood


Image Credit Source – Facebook
Anwar Maqsood Hameedi – 07 September 1940

Anwar Maqsood Hameedi popularly known as Anwar Maqsood is a Pakistani scriptwriter, television presenter, satirist, humorist, and infrequent actor. He was well known for his drama write-ups for PTV in the late 1970s and 1980s.


Early Life and Family:

Anwar Maqsood was born on 7 September 1940, in Hyderabad State. He studied at the Gulbarga Trust School in Aurangabad. His large family migrated to Karachi in 1948, after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. His childhood years were spent in PIB Colony, Karachi with his siblings and family. Maqsood belongs to a prominent family of Pakistan and some of his siblings are well known in their own right: his sister, Fatima Surayya Bajia was a well-known writer in Pakistan and South Asia whose marriage ended early in divorce. She then chose to play a key role in the upbringing of her nine young brothers and sisters and became a maternal figure to them. Another sister Zehra Nigah, is a relatively well-known poet. One of his brothers, Ahmed Maqsood, is a former Chief Secretary Sindh; and his sister Zubaida Tariq was a cooking expert and chef. His wife, Imrana Maqsood is a known novelist and his son, Bilal Maqsood is a rock artist, lead guitarist and vocalist of the former rock band Strings. He has one daughter. A book on the life and work of Anwar Maqsood titled Uljhey Suljhey Anwar (الجھے سلجھے انور) was written by his wife, Imrana Maqsood.



Anwar Maqsood has been associated for many years with PTV where he served as a Presenter for a variety of their Television programs including ‘Studio Dhai and then Studio Ponayteen along with Show Sha and various other shows.



Maqsood is often regarded as one of the leading Pakistani satirists/writers as well as highly respected in social and showbiz industry of Pakistan. Anwar Maqsood is often given credit for encouraging talented television actors like Bushra Ansari and Moin Akhter. He wrote various successful plays for television industry, including:


  • Aik Sachi Chuk (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Aik Thi Safia (Ptv Long Play)
  • Amma (Ptv Long Play)
  • Aangan Terha (Ptv Comedy Drama Serial)
  • Chun Chunao (Ptv Comed Long Play)
  • Daur-e-Junoon (Drama 83) (Ptv Long Play)
  • Fifty Fifty (Ptv Sketch Comedy)
  • Fanooni Latifey (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Half Plate (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Is Tarah To Hota Hai (Ptv Comedy Drama Serial 1999)
  • Karim Sahib Ka Ghar (Sachi Kahaniyan) (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Mirza and Sons (Drama 84) (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Nasri Ganey (Ptv Comedy Long Play)
  • Show Time (Ptv Comedy Stage Show)
  • Show Sha (Ptv Comedy Stage Show)
  • Silver Jubilee (Ptv Stage Show)
  • Studio Dhaai (Ptv Comedy Stage Show)
  • Studio Poney Teen (Ptv Comedy Stage Show)
  • Talaash (Ptv Drama)
  • Zia Mohi-ud-Din Show (1969–1973) (Anwar Maqsood ghostwrote many scripts for this TV show)


  • Studio Chaar Bees (NTM Comedy Show)
  • Sitara Aur Mehrunnisa (NTM Romantic Drama Serial)
  • Nadan Nadia (NTM Comedy Drama Serial)
  • Colony 52 (NTM Drama Serial)


  • Loose Talk (ARY Comedy Show)
  • Majoo Mian
  • Koi Aur Hai
  • Hum Pe Jo Guzarti Hai
  • Paunay 14 August (satire)
  • Sawa 14 August(satire)
  • Anwar Maqsood ka Dharna(satire)
  • Nestlé Nido Young Stars (lyricists)
  • Siachen


  • Pride of Performance Award by the Government of Pakistan in 1994
  • Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) Award by the President of Pakistan in 2013
  • Lifetime Achievement Honour at 4th Pakistan Media Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Award at Hum TV Awards ceremony

Allama Muhammad Iqbal


Image Credit Source – Facebook

Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal  9 November 1877 – 21 April 1938

Sir Muhammad Iqbal (Urdu: محمد اقبال‎; 9 November 1877 – 21 April 1938) was a South Asian Muslim writer, philosopher, and politician, whose poetry in the Urdu language is among the greatest of the twentieth century, and whose vision of a cultural and political ideal for the Muslims of British-ruled India was to animate the impulse for Pakistan. He is commonly referred to by the honorific Allama (from Persian: علامہ‎, romanized: ʿallāma, lit. ’very knowing, most learned’).

Born and raised in Sialkot, Punjab in an ethnic Kashmiri Muslim family, Iqbal studied in Sialkot and Lahore, and thereafter in England and Germany. Although he established a law practice after returning, he concentrated primarily on writing scholarly works on politics, economics, history, philosophy, and religion. He is best known for his poetic works, including Asrar-e-Khudi – which brought a knighthood, Rumuz-e-Bekhudi, and the Bang-e-Dara. In Iran, where he is known as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī (Iqbal of Lahore), he is highly regarded for his Persian works.

Iqbal was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation across the world, but in particular in South Asia; a series of lectures he delivered to this effect were published as The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. A leader in the All India Muslim League, he envisioned—in his 1930 presidential address—a separate political framework for Muslims in British-ruled India. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, he was named the national poet there. The anniversary of his birth (Yom-e Welādat-e Muḥammad Iqbāl) on 9 November was a public holiday in Pakistan.


Personal Life :


Iqbal was born on 9 November 1877 in an ethnic Kashmiri family in Sialkot within the Punjab Province of British India (now in Pakistan). His family was Kashmiri Pandit (of the Sapru clan) that converted to Islam in the 15th century and which traced its roots back to a south Kashmir village in Kulgam. In the 19th century, when the Sikh Empire was conquering Kashmir, his grandfather’s family migrated to Punjab. Iqbal’s grandfather was an eighth cousin of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, an important lawyer and freedom fighter who would eventually become an admirer of Iqbal. Iqbal often mentioned and commemorated his Kashmiri lineage in his writings. According to scholar Annemarie Schimmel, Iqbal often wrote about his being “a son of Kashmiri-Brahmans but (being) acquainted with the wisdom of Rumi and Tabriz.”

Iqbal’s father, Sheikh Noor Muhammad (died 1930), was a tailor, not formally educated, but a religious man. Iqbal’s mother Imam Bibi, a Kashmiri from Sambrial, was described as a polite and humble woman who helped the poor and her neighbours with their problems. She died on 9 November 1914 in Sialkot. Iqbal loved his mother, and on her death he expressed his feelings of pathos in an elegy:

Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?

Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive?

I will visit thy grave with this complaint:

Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?

All thy life thy love served me with devotion—

When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed.


Early Education:

Iqbal was four years old when he was sent to a mosque to receive instruction in reading the Qur’an. He learned the Arabic language from his teacher, Syed Mir Hassan, the head of the madrasa and professor of Arabic at Scotch Mission College in Sialkot, where he matriculated in 1893. He received an Intermediate level with the Faculty of Arts diploma in 1895. The same year he enrolled at Government College University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, English literature and Arabic in 1897, and won the Khan Bahadurddin F.S. Jalaluddin medal as he performed well in Arabic. In 1899, he received his Master of Arts degree from the same college and won first place in philosophy in the University of the Punjab.



Iqbal married three times under different circumstances.

  • His first marriage was in 1895 when he was 18 years old. His bride, Karim Bibi, was the daughter of a physician, Khan Bahadur Ata Muhammad Khan, a Gujurati physician. Her sister was the mother of director and music composer Khwaja Khurshid Anwar. Their families arranged the marriage, and the couple had two children; a daughter, Miraj Begum (1895–1915), and a son, Aftab Iqbal (1899–1979), who became a barrister. Another son is said to have died after birth in 1901. Iqbal and Karim Bibi separated somewhere between 1910 and 1913. Despite this, he continued to financially support her till his death.
  • Iqbal’s second marriage was with Mukhtar Begum, and it was held in December 1914, shortly after the death of Iqbal’s mother the previous November. They had a son, but both the mother and son died shortly after birth in 1924.
  • Later, Iqbal married Sardar Begum, and they became the parents of a son, Javed Iqbal (1924–2015), who became Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and a daughter, Muneera Bano (born 1930). One of Muneera’s sons is the philanthropist-cum-socialite Yousuf Salahuddin.


Higher education in Europe:

Iqbal was influenced by the teachings of Sir Thomas Arnold, his philosophy teacher at Government College Lahore, to pursue higher education in the West. In 1905, he travelled to England for that purpose. While already acquainted with Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson, Iqbal would discover Rumi slightly before his departure to England, and he would teach the Masnavi to his friend Swami Rama Tirtha, who in return would teach him Sanskrit. Iqbal qualified for a scholarship from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1906. In the same year he was called to the bar as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn. In 1907, Iqbal moved to Germany to pursue his doctoral studies, and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1908. Working under the guidance of Friedrich Hommel, Iqbal’s doctoral thesis was entitled The Development of Metaphysics in Persia.

In 1907, he had a close friendship with the writer Atiya Fyzee in both Britain and Germany. Atiya would later publish their correspondence. While Iqbal was in Heidelberg in 1907, his German professor Emma Wegenast taught him about Goethe’s Faust, Heine and Nietzsche. He mastered German in three months. During his study in Europe, Iqbal began to write poetry in Persian. He preferred to write in this language because doing so made it easier to express his thoughts. He would write continuously in Persian throughout his life.


Academic Career:

Iqbal began his career as a reader of Arabic after completing his Master of Arts degree in 1899, at Oriental College and shortly afterward was selected as a junior professor of philosophy at Government College Lahore, where he had also been a student in the past. He worked there until he left for England in 1905. In 1907 he went to Germany for PhD In 1908, he returned from Germany and joined the same college again as a professor of philosophy and English literature. In the same period Iqbal began practising law at the Chief Court of Lahore, but he soon quit law practice and devoted himself to literary works, becoming an active member of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam. In 1919, he became the general secretary of the same organisation. Iqbal’s thoughts in his work primarily focus on the spiritual direction and development of human society, centered around experiences from his travels and stays in Western Europe and the Middle East. He was profoundly influenced by Western philosophers such as Nietzsche, Bergson, and Goethe. He also closely worked with Ibrahim Hisham during his stay at the Aligarh Muslim University.

The poetry and philosophy of Rumi strongly influenced Iqbal. Deeply grounded in religion since childhood, Iqbal began concentrating intensely on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilisation and its political future, while embracing Rumi as “his guide”. Iqbal’s works focus on reminding his readers of the past glories of Islamic civilisation and delivering the message of a pure, spiritual focus on Islam as a source for socio-political liberation and greatness. Iqbal denounced political divisions within and amongst Muslim nations, and frequently alluded to and spoke in terms of the global Muslim community or the Ummah.

Iqbal’s poetry was translated into many European languages in the early part of the 20th century. Iqbal’s Asrar-i-Khudi and Javed Nama were translated into English by R. A. Nicholson and A. J. Arberry, respectively.


Legal Career:

Iqbal was not only a prolific writer but was also a known advocate. He appeared before the Lahore High Court in both civil and criminal matters. There are more than 100 reported judgments to his name.


Efforts and Influences:


Iqbal first became interested in national affairs in his youth. He received considerable recognition from the Punjabi elite after his return from England in 1908, and he was closely associated with Mian Muhammad Shafi. When the All-India Muslim League was expanded to the provincial level, and Shafi received a significant role in the structural organisation of the Punjab Muslim League, Iqbal was made one of the first three joint secretaries along with Shaikh Abdul Aziz and Maulvi Mahbub Alam. While dividing his time between law practice and poetry, Iqbal remained active in the Muslim League. He did not support Indian involvement in World War I and stayed in close touch with Muslim political leaders such as Mohammad Ali Jouhar and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was a critic of the mainstream Indian National Congress, which he regarded as dominated by Hindus, and was disappointed with the League when, during the 1920s, it was absorbed in factional divides between the pro-British group led by Shafi and the centrist group led by Jinnah. He was active in the Khilafat Movement, and was among the founding fathers of Jamia Millia Islamia which was established at Aligarh in October 1920. He was also given the offer of being the first vice-chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia by Mahatma Gandhi, which he refused.

In November 1926, with the encouragement of friends and supporters, Iqbal contested the election for a seat in the Punjab Legislative Assembly from the Muslim district of Lahore, and defeated his opponent by a margin of 3,177 votes. He supported the constitutional proposals presented by Jinnah to guarantee Muslim political rights and influence in a coalition with the Congress and worked with Aga Khan and other Muslim leaders to mend the factional divisions and achieve unity in the Muslim League. While in Lahore he was a friend of Abdul Sattar Ranjoor.


Iqbal, Jinnah and the Concept of Pakistan:

Ideologically separated from Congress Muslim leaders, Iqbal had also been disillusioned with the politicians of the Muslim League, owing to the factional conflict that plagued the League in the 1920s. Discontent with factional leaders like Shafi and Fazl-ur-Rahman, Iqbal came to believe that only Jinnah was a political leader capable of preserving unity and fulfilling the League’s objectives of Muslim political empowerment. Building a strong, personal correspondence with Jinnah, Iqbal was influential in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London, return to India and take charge of the League. Iqbal firmly believed that Jinnah was the only leader capable of drawing Indian Muslims to the League and maintaining party unity before the British and the Congress:

I know you are a busy man, but I do hope you won’t mind my writing to you often, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has the right to look up for safe guidance through the storm which is coming to North-West India and, perhaps, to the whole of India.

While Iqbal espoused the idea of Muslim-majority provinces in 1930, Jinnah would continue to hold talks with the Congress through the decade and only officially embraced the goal of Pakistan in 1940. Some historians postulate that Jinnah always remained hopeful for an agreement with the Congress and never fully desired the partition of India. Iqbal’s close correspondence with Jinnah is speculated by some historians as having been responsible for Jinnah’s embrace of the idea of Pakistan. Iqbal elucidated to Jinnah his vision of a separate Muslim state in a letter sent on 21 June 1937:

A separate federation of Muslim Provinces, reformed on the lines I have suggested above, is the only course by which we can secure a peaceful India and save Muslims from the domination of Non-Muslims. Why should not the Muslims of North-West India and Bengal be considered as nations entitled to self-determination just as other nations in India and outside India are.

Iqbal, serving as president of the Punjab Muslim League, criticised Jinnah’s political actions, including a political agreement with Punjabi leader Sikandar Hyat Khan, whom Iqbal saw as a representative of feudal classes and not committed to Islam as the core political philosophy. Nevertheless, Iqbal worked constantly to encourage Muslim leaders and masses to support Jinnah and the League. Speaking about the political future of Muslims in India, Iqbal said:

There is only one way out. Muslims should strengthen Jinnah’s hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it, our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defense of our national existence. The united front can be formed under the leadership of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only on account of Jinnah. Now, none but Jinnah is capable of leading the Muslims.


Revival of Islamic Policy:

Iqbal’s six English lectures were published in Lahore in 1930, and then by the Oxford University Press in 1934 in the book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. The lectures had been delivered at Madras, Hyderabad and Aligarh. These lectures dwell on the role of Islam as a religion and as a political and legal philosophy in the modern age. In these lectures Iqbal firmly rejects the political attitudes and conduct of Muslim politicians, whom he saw as morally misguided, attached to power and without any standing with the Muslim masses.

Iqbal expressed fears that not only would secularism weaken the spiritual foundations of Islam and Muslim society but that India’s Hindu-majority population would crowd out Muslim heritage, culture, and political influence. In his travels to Egypt, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, he promoted ideas of greater Islamic political co-operation and unity, calling for the shedding of nationalist differences. He also speculated on different political arrangements to guarantee Muslim political power; in a dialogue with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Iqbal expressed his desire to see Indian provinces as autonomous units under the direct control of the British government and with no central Indian government. He envisaged autonomous Muslim regions in India. Under a single Indian union, he feared for Muslims, who would suffer in many respects, especially concerning their existentially separate entity as Muslims.

Iqbal was elected president of the Muslim League in 1930 at its session in Allahabad in the United Provinces, as well as for the session in Lahore in 1932. In his presidential address on 29 December 1930 he outlined a vision of an independent state for Muslim-majority provinces in north-western India:

I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated Northwest Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of Northwest India.

In his speech, Iqbal emphasised that, unlike Christianity, Islam came with “legal concepts” with “civic significance”, with its “religious ideals” considered as inseparable from social order: “Therefore, if it means a displacement of the Islamic principle of solidarity, the construction of a policy on national lines, is simply unthinkable to a Muslim.” Iqbal thus stressed not only the need for the political unity of Muslim communities but the undesirability of blending the Muslim population into a wider society not based on Islamic principles.

He thus became the first politician to articulate what would become known as the Two-nation theory—that Muslims are a distinct nation and thus deserve political independence from other regions and communities of India. Even as he rejected secularism and nationalism he would not elucidate or specify if his ideal Islamic state would be a theocracy, and criticised the “intellectual attitudes” of Islamic scholars (ulema) as having “reduced the Law of Islam practically to the state of immobility”.


Patron of Tolu-e-Islam:

Iqbal was the first patron of Tolu-e-Islam, a historical, political, religious and cultural journal of the Muslims of British India. For a long time, Iqbal wanted a journal to propagate his ideas and the aims and objectives of the All India Muslim League. In 1935, according to his instructions, Syed Nazeer Niazi initiated and edited the journal, named after Iqbal’s poem “Tulu’i Islam”. Niazi dedicated the first issue of the journal to Iqbal. The journal would play an important role in the Pakistan movement. Later, the journal was continued by Ghulam Ahmed Pervez, who had contributed many articles in its early editions.


Literary Work:


Iqbal’s poetic works are written primarily in Persian rather than Urdu. Among his 12,000 verses of poetry, about 7,000 verses are in Persian. In 1915, he published his first collection of poetry, the Asrar-i-Khudi اسرارِ خودی (Secrets of the Self) in Persian. The poems emphasize the spirit and self from a religious perspective. Many critics have called this Iqbal’s finest poetic work. In Asrar-i-Khudi, Iqbal explains his philosophy of “Khudi”, or “Self”. Iqbal’s use of the term “Khudi” is synonymous with the word “Rooh” used in the Quran for a divine spark which is present in every human being, and was said by Iqbal to be present in Adam, for which God ordered all of the angels to prostrate in front of Adam. Iqbal condemns self-destruction. For him, the aim of life is self-realization and self-knowledge. He charts the stages through which the “Self” has to pass before finally arriving at its point of perfection, enabling the knower of the “Self” to become a vice-regent of God.

In his Rumuz-i-Bekhudi رموزِ بیخودی (Hints of Selflessness), Iqbal seeks to prove the Islamic way of life is the best code of conduct for a nation’s viability. A person must keep his characteristics intact, he asserts, but once this is achieved, he should sacrifice his ambitions for the needs of the nation. Man cannot realise the “Self” outside of society. Published in 1917, this group of poems has as its main themes the ideal community, Islamic ethical and social principles, and the relationship between the individual and society. Although he supports Islam, Iqbal also recognizes the positive aspects of other religions. Rumuz-i-Bekhudi complements the emphasis on the self in Asrar-e-Khudi and the two collections are often put in the same volume under the title Asrar-i-Rumuz (Hinting Secrets). It is addressed to the world’s Muslims.

Iqbal’s 1924 publication, the Payam-e-Mashriq پیامِ مشرق (The Message of the East), is closely connected to the West-östlicher Diwan by the German poet Goethe. Goethe bemoans the West having become too materialistic in outlook, and expects the East will provide a message of hope to resuscitate spiritual values. Iqbal styles his work as a reminder to the West of the importance of morality, religion, and civilisation by underlining the need for cultivating feeling, ardor, and dynamism. He asserts that an individual can never aspire to higher dimensions unless he learns of the nature of spirituality. In his first visit to Afghanistan, he presented Payam-e Mashreq to King Amanullah Khan. In it, he admired the uprising of Afghanistan against the British Empire. In 1933, he was officially invited to Afghanistan to join the meetings regarding the establishment of Kabul University.

The Zabur-e-Ajam زبورِ عجم (Persian Psalms), published in 1927, includes the poems “Gulshan-e-Raz-e-Jadeed” (“Garden of New Secrets”) and “Bandagi Nama” (“Book of Slavery”). In “Gulshan-e-Raz-e-Jadeed”, Iqbal first poses questions, then answers them with the help of ancient and modern insight. “Bandagi Nama” denounces slavery and attempts to explain the spirit behind the fine arts of enslaved societies. Here, as in other books, Iqbal insists on remembering the past, doing well in the present and preparing for the future, while emphasizing love, enthusiasm and energy to fulfill the ideal life.

Iqbal’s 1932 work, the Javed Nama جاوید نامہ (Book of Javed), is named after and in a manner addressed to his son, who is featured in the poems. It follows the examples of the works of Ibn Arabi and Dante’s The Divine Comedy, through mystical and exaggerated depictions across time. Iqbal depicts himself as Zinda Rud (“A stream full of life”) guided by Rumi, “the master”, through various heavens and spheres and has the honour of approaching divinity and coming in contact with divine illuminations. In a passage reliving a historical period, Iqbal condemns the Muslims who were instrumental in the defeat and death of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal and Tipu Sultan of Mysore by betraying them for the benefit of the British colonists, and thus delivering their country to the shackles of slavery. In the end, by addressing his son Javid, he speaks to the young people at large, and guides the “new generation”.

Pas Chih Bayed Kard Ay Aqwam-e-Sharq پس چہ باید کرد اے اقوامِ شرق includes the poem “Musafir” مسافر (“The Traveller”). Again, Iqbal depicts Rumi as a character and gives an exposition of the mysteries of Islamic laws and Sufi perceptions. Iqbal laments the dissension and disunity among the Indian Muslims as well as Muslim nations. “Musafir” is an account of one of Iqbal’s journeys to Afghanistan, in which the Pashtun people are counselled to learn the “secret of Islam” and to “build up the self” within themselves.

His love of the Persian language is evident in his works and poetry. He says in one of his poems:

گرچہ ہندی در عذوبت شکر است

garchi Hindi dar uzūbat shakkar ast

طرز گفتار دري شيرين تر است

tarz-i guftar-i Dari shirin tar ast

Translation: Even though in sweetness Hindi* [archaic name for Urdu, lit. “language of India”] is sugar – (but) speech method in Dari [the variety of Persian in Afghanistan ] is sweeter *

Throughout his life, Iqbal would prefer writing in Persian as he believed it allowed him to fully express philosophical concepts, and it gave him a wider audience.



Muhammad Iqbal’s The Call of the Marching Bell (بانگِ درا, bang-e-dara), his first collection of Urdu poetry, was published in 1924. It was written in three distinct phases of his life. The poems he wrote up to 1905—the year he left for England—reflect patriotism and the imagery of nature, including the Urdu language patriotic “Saare Jahan se Accha”, and “Tarana-e-Milli” (“The Song of the Community”). The second set of poems date from 1905 to 1908, when Iqbal studied in Europe, and dwell upon the nature of European society, which he emphasised had lost spiritual and religious values. This inspired Iqbal to write poems on the historical and cultural heritage of Islam and the Muslim community, with a global perspective. Iqbal urges the entire Muslim community, addressed as the Ummah, to define personal, social and political existence by the values and teachings of Islam.

Iqbal’s works were in Persian for most of his career, but after 1930 his works were mainly in Urdu. His works in this period were often specifically directed at the Muslim masses of India, with an even stronger emphasis on Islam and Muslim spiritual and political reawakening. Published in 1935, Bal-e-Jibril بالِ جبریل (Wings of Gabriel) is considered by many critics as his finest Urdu poetry and was inspired by his visit to Spain, where he visited the monuments and legacy of the kingdom of the Moors. It consists of ghazals, poems, quatrains and epigrams and carries a strong sense of religious passion.

Zarb-i-Kalim ضربِ کلیم (or The Rod of Moses) is another philosophical poetry book of Allama Iqbal in Urdu, it was published in 1936, two years before his death. In which he described as his political manifesto. It was published with the subtitle “A Declaration of War Against the Present Times. Muhammad Iqbal argues that modern problems are due to the godlessness, materialism, and injustice of modern civilisation, which feeds on the subjugation and exploitation of weak nations, especially the Indian Muslims.

Iqbal’s final work was Armughan-e-Hijaz ارمغانِ حجاز (The Gift of Hijaz), published posthumously in 1938. The first part contains quatrains in Persian, and the second part contains some poems and epigrams in Urdu. The Persian quatrains convey the impression that the poet is travelling through the Hijaz in his imagination. The profundity of ideas and intensity of passion are the salient features of these short poems.

Iqbal’s vision of mystical experience is clear in one of his Urdu ghazals, which was written in London during his student days. Some verses of that ghazal are:

At last, the silent tongue of Hijaz has

announced to the ardent ear the tiding

That the covenant which had been given to the

desert-[dwellers] is going to be renewed


The lion who had emerged from the desert and

had toppled the Roman Empire is

As I am told by the angels, about to get up

again (from his slumbers.)

You the [dwellers] of the West, should know that

the world of God is not a shop (of yours).

Your imagined pure gold is about to lose its

standard value (as fixed by you).

Your civilization will commit suicide with its own daggers.

For a house built on a fragile bark of wood is not longlasting



Iqbal wrote two books, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908) and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930), and many letters in the English language. He also wrote a book on Economics that is now rare. In these, he revealed his thoughts regarding Persian ideology and Islamic Sufism – in particular, his beliefs that Islamic Sufism activates the searching soul to a superior perception of life. He also discussed philosophy, God and the meaning of prayer, human spirit and Muslim culture, as well as other political, social and religious problems.

Iqbal was invited to Cambridge to participate in a conference in 1931, where he expressed his views, including those on the separation of church and state, to students and other participants:

I would like to offer a few pieces of advice to the young men who are at present studying at Cambridge. … I advise you to guard against atheism and materialism. The biggest blunder made by Europe was the separation of Church and State. This deprived their culture of moral soul and diverted it to atheistic materialism. I had twenty-five years ago seen through the drawbacks of this civilization and, therefore, had made some prophecies. They had been delivered by my tongue, although I did not quite understand them. This happened in 1907. … After six or seven years, my prophecies came true, word by word. The European war of 1914 was an outcome of the mistakes mentioned above made by the European nations in the separation of the Church and the State.



Iqbal also wrote some poems in Punjabi, such as “Piyaara Jedi” and “Baba Bakri Wala”, which he penned in 1929 on the occasion of his son Javid’s birthday. A collection of his Punjabi poetry was put on display at the Iqbal Manzil in Sialkot.


Modern reputation:

“Poet of the East”

Iqbal has been referred to as the “Poet of the East” by academics, institutions and the media.

The Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-e-Azam University, Dr. Masoom Yasinzai, stated in a seminar addressing a distinguished gathering of educators and intellectuals that Iqbal is not only a poet of the East but is a universal poet. Moreover, Iqbal is not restricted to any specific segment of the world community, but he is for all humanity.

Yet it should also be born in mind that while dedicating his Eastern Divan to Goethe, the cultural icon par excellence, Iqbal’s Payam-i-Mashriq constituted both a reply as well as a corrective to the Western Divan of Goethe. For by stylizing himself as the representative of the East, Iqbal endeavored to talk on equal terms to Goethe as the representative of West.

Iqbal’s revolutionary works through his poetry affected the Muslims of the subcontinent. Iqbal thought that Muslims had long been suppressed by the colonial enlargement and growth of the West. For this concept, Iqbal is recognised as the “Poet of the East”.

So to conclude, let me cite Annemarie Schimmel in Gabriel’s Wing who lauds Iqbal’s “unique way of weaving a grand tapestry of thought from eastern and western yarns” (p. xv), a creative activity which, to cite my own volume Revisioning Iqbal, endows Muhammad Iqbal with the stature of a “universalist poet” and thinker whose principal aim was to explore mitigating alternative discourses to construct a bridge between the “East” and the “West.”

The Urdu world is very familiar with Iqbal as the “Poet of the East”. Iqbal is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan (“The Thinker of Pakistan”) and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (“The Sage of the Ummah”). The Pakistan government officially named him Pakistan’s “National Poet”.



In Iran, Iqbal is known as Iqbāl-e Lāhorī (Persian: اقبال لاهوری‎) (Iqbal of Lahore). Iqbal’s Asrare-i-Khudi and Bal-i-Jibreel are particularly popular in Iran. At the same time, many scholars in Iran have recognised the importance of Iqbal’s poetry in inspiring and sustaining the Iranian Revolution of 1979. During the early phases of the revolutionary movement, it was common to see people gathering in a park or corner to listen to someone reciting Iqbal’s Persian poetry, which is why people of all ages in Iran today are familiar with at least some of his poetry, notably Zabur-i-Ajam.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated, “We have a large number of non-Persian-speaking poets in the history of our literature, but I cannot point out any of them whose poetry possesses the qualities of Iqbal’s Persian poetry. Iqbal was not acquainted with Persian idiom, as he spoke Urdu at home and talked to his friends in Urdu or English. He did not know the rules of Persian prose writing. […] In spite of not having tasted the Persian way of life, never living in the cradle of Persian culture, and never having any direct association with it, he cast with great mastery the most delicate, the most subtle and radically new philosophical themes into the mould of Persian poetry, some of which are unsurpassable yet.”

By the early 1950s, Iqbal became known among the intelligentsia of Iran. Iranian poet laureate Muhammad Taqi Bahar universalised Iqbal in Iran. He highly praised the work of Iqbal in Persian.

In 1952, Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, a national hero because of his oil nationalisation policy, broadcast a special radio message on Iqbal Day and praised his role in the struggle of the Indian Muslims against British imperialism. At the end of the 1950s, Iranians published the complete Persian works. In the 1960s, Iqbal’s thesis on Persian philosophy was translated from English to Persian. Ali Shariati, a Sorbonne-educated sociologist, supported Iqbal as his role model as Iqbal had Rumi. An example of the admiration and appreciation of Iran for Iqbal is that he received the place of honour in the pantheon of the Persian elegy writers.

Iqbal became even more popular in Iran in the 1970s. His verses appeared on banners, and his poetry was recited at meetings of intellectuals. Iqbal inspired many intellectuals, including Ali Shariati, Mehdi Bazargan and Abdulkarim Soroush. His book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam was translated by Mohammad Masud Noruzi.

Key Iranian thinkers and leaders who were influenced by Iqbal’s poetry during the rise of the Iranian revolution include Khamenei, Shariati and Soroush, although much of the revolutionary guard was familiar with Iqbal’s poetry. At the inauguration of the First Iqbal Summit in Tehran (1986), Khamenei stated that in its “conviction that the Quran and Islam are to be made the basis of all revolutions and movements”, Iran was “exactly following the path that was shown to us by Iqbal”. Shariati, who has been described as a core ideologue for the Iranian Revolution, described Iqbal as a figure who brought a message of “rejuvenation”, “awakening” and “power” to the Muslim world.


The West:

Iqbal’s views on the Western world have been applauded by Westerners, including United States Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas, who said that Iqbal’s beliefs had “universal appeal”. Soviet biographer N. P. Anikoy wrote:

[Iqbal is] great for his passionate condemnation of weak will and passiveness, his angry protest against inequality, discrimination and oppression in all forms, i.e., economic, social, political, national, racial, religious, etc., his preaching of optimism, an active attitude towards life and man’s high purpose in the world, in a word, he is great for his assertion of the noble ideals and principles of humanism, democracy, peace and friendship among peoples.

Others, including Wilfred Cantwell Smith, stated that with Iqbal’s anti-capitalist holdings, he was “anti-intellect”, because “capitalism fosters intellect”. Freeland Abbott objected to Iqbal’s views of the West, saying that they were based on the role of imperialism and that Iqbal was not immersed enough in Western culture to learn about the various benefits of the modern democracies, economic practices and science. Critics of Abbot’s viewpoint note that Iqbal was raised and educated in the European way of life, and spent enough time there to grasp the general concepts of Western civilisation.



Iqbal is widely commemorated in Pakistan, where he is regarded as the ideological founder of the state. His birthday is annually commemorated in Pakistan as Iqbal Day, and until 2018 it was also a public holiday. Iqbal is the namesake of many public institutions, including the Allama Iqbal Campus Punjab University in Lahore, the Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad, Allama Iqbal Open University in Pakistan, Iqbal Memorial Institute in Srinagar, Allama Iqbal Library in the University of Kashmir, the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, Iqbal Hostel in Government College University, Lahore, the Allama Iqbal Hall at Nishtar Medical College in Multan, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town in Karachi, Allama Iqbal Town in Lahore, Allama Iqbal Hall at Aligarh Muslim University, Allama Iqbal Hostel at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and Iqbal Hall at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.

In India, his song “Tarana-e-Hind” is frequently played as a patriotic song speaking of communal harmony. Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, an Indian documentary film directed by K.A. Abbas and written by Ali Sardar Jafri was released in 1978. It was produced by Government of India’s Films Division.

The Government of Madhya Pradesh in India awards the Iqbal Samman, named in honor of the poet, every year at the Bharat Bhavan to Indian writers for their contributions to Urdu literature and poetry.

The Pakistani government and public organisations have sponsored the establishment of educational institutions, colleges, and schools dedicated to Iqbal and have established the Iqbal Academy Pakistan to research, teach and preserve his works, literature and philosophy. The Allama Iqbal Stamps Society was established for the promotion of Iqbal in philately and in other hobbies. His son Javid Iqbal served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Javaid Manzil was Iqbal’s last residence. Iqbal Academy Lahore has published magazines on Iqbal in Persian, English and Urdu.



Prose book in Urdu
  • Ilm ul Iqtisad (1903)
Prose books in English
  • The Development of Metaphysics in Persia (1908)
  • The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930)
Poetic books in Persian
  • Asrar-i-Khudi (1915)
  • Rumuz-i-Bekhudi (1917)
  • Payam-i-Mashriq (1923)
  • Zabur-i-Ajam (1927)
  • Javid Nama (1932)
  • Pas Cheh Bayed Kard ai Aqwam-e-Sharq (1936)
  • Armughan-e-Hijaz (in Persian and Urdu)
Poetic books in Urdu
  • Bang-i-Dara (1924)
  • Bal-i-Jibril (1935)
  • Zarb-i Kalim (1936)


Final years and Death:

In 1933, after returning from a trip to Spain and Afghanistan, Iqbal suffered from a mysterious throat illness. He spent his final years helping Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan to establish the Dar ul Islam Trust Institute at a Jamalpur estate near Pathankot, where there were plans to subsidise studies in classical Islam and contemporary social science. He also advocated for an independent Muslim state. Iqbal ceased practising law in 1934 and was granted a pension by the Nawab of Bhopal. In his final years, he frequently visited the Dargah of famous Sufi Ali Hujwiri in Lahore for spiritual guidance. After suffering for months from his illness, Iqbal died in Lahore on 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 official guards are provided by the Government of Pakistan.