Iqbal was an heir to a very rich literary, mystic, philosophical and religious tradition. He imbibed and assimilated all that was best in the past and present Islamic and Oriental thought and culture. His range of interests covered Religion, Philosophy, Art, Politics, and Economics, the revival of Muslim life and universal brotherhood of man. His prose, not only in his national language but also in English, was powerful. His two books in English demonstrate his mastery of English. But poetry was his medium par excellence of expression. Everything he thought and felt, almost involuntarily shaped it self into verse.
Iqbal was born in the Punjab on February 22, 1873. His ancestors, who were Kashmiri Brahmins, had embraced Islam two hundred years earlier. Iqbal’s own father was a devout Muslim with Sufistic bent of mind.
He received his early education in Sialkot. After passing the entrance examination, he joined Intermediary College. Mir Hassan, a great oriental scholar, had a special aptitude for imparting his own literary taste and to his students. Under his influence, Iqbal was drawn towards Islamic studies, which he regarded to be an outstanding favor that he could not forget it all his life.
Passing on to the Government College of Lahore, Iqbal did his graduation with English Literature, Philosophy and Arabic as his subjects. At the college he met Prof. Arnold and Sir Abdul Qadir. Iqbal’s poem, Chand (moon) and other early poems appeared in the journal (which belonged to Sir Abdul Qadir) in 1901 and were acclaimed by critics as cutting a new path in Urdu poetry.
It did not take him long to win recognition as a rising star on the firmament of Urdu literature.
In the mean time he had done his MA in Philosophy and was appointed as a Lecturer in History, Philosophy and Political science at Oriental College, Lahore. He then moved to Government College to teach Philosophy and English Literature.