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Faqr-e-Iqbal (فقرِ اقبال) is an Urdu book written by the contemporary Sufi author Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman,[1] published in 2014. It is a detailed study upon the poetry, teachings and life of Sir Muhammad Iqbal (9 November 1877 – 21 April 1938) in the religious and as well as spiritual/Tasawwuf(mysticism) perspective. Faqr (فقر)(literally means poverty) [2] is a term widely used in Iqbal’s poetry as well as in the works of famous saints referring to the ‘way which removes all the veils between man and God’. Hence, Faqr-e-Iqbal means the path adopted by Iqbal to reach God. Iqbal is best known as a classical poet by international scholars of literature [3][4] in Pakistan, India, Iran and other countries. He was given the status of the "national poet".[4] of Pakistan by the government and his birthday is a public holiday in Pakistan. He was also a politician[5] having inspired the Pakistan Movement and articulated the Two-nation theory as well as a philosopher who was a Muslim thinker of modern times.[6] However, the spiritual way chosen by Iqbal was what actually made Iqbal who he is.[7]


For the first time, Iqbal’s poetry is being explained in the light of Quran and Hadith as well as spirituality and mysticism. Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman[8] has compiled both Persian and Urdu poetry of Iqbal and has explained the inner meaning categorically. By translating and explaining in such a manner, he has added life and meaning to Iqbal’s work. The work serves well for those influenced by Iqbal to understand his thoughts and ideas better and also for the seekers of Allah serving as a guide. Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman is the Shaikh of Sarwari Qadiri Order. He is a well-acclaimed author having written a large collection of books on Islam, Faqr, Tasawwuf.

Iqbal and Faqr

In the world of Muslim poetry, Muhammad Iqbal is the only personality who is considered and acknowledged as a scholar which is why in much of the Southern Asia, he is also known as Hakeem-ul-Ummat(حکیم الامت “The Sage of Ummah”). He is the most important figure in the Urdu literature though most of his work is in Urdu, Persian as well as English. His poetry and couplets have been translated into at least 20 different languages. His work is studied in various universities as part of their curriculum. The reality behind the significance and uniqueness of Iqbal’s poetry is that he wrote poetry while he delved in conversation with God. Over and over again, he explains through his poetry that these words are valuable neither due to their subject or his knowledge but because they were revealed upon him by the Creator. This is the reason that makes people from various professions and field (political, social, religious, etc.) are able to extract their own meaning from the poetry although it is still full of spirituality, mysticism and Faqr. Faqr is the Love for Allah with such intensity that it makes one reach out for Him in each breath one takes.[9]

“Himat Ho Agar Tou Dhoond Wo ‘Faqr’ Jis ‘Faqr’ Ki Asal Hai Hijazi Us ‘Faqr’ Se Admi Mein Paida Allah Ki Shan Beyniazi” Meaning: If you have strength and faith, then seek that ‘Faqr’ whose essence is tranquility. That ‘Faqr’ inculcates the grandeur of Allah within one’self’.

It is indeed a matter of shame and misfortune for the readers of Iqbal’s poetry who have only focused on the outward and apparent meaning but have disregarded the spiritual and esoteric message that his words have conveyed. However, no one in particular can be blamed for this misinterpretation because to understand the deep meaning of the words which poured out of Iqbal’s pure heart require somebody of equally pure heart to understand them which is something very rare in this age.

Iqbal and Momin(Seeker of Allah)

Iqbal’s views regarding Islamic Sufism [10] activates the searching soul to a superior perception of life: prayer, meaning of life, Muslim culture, soul and religion itself. Iqbal’s work clarifies his desire to see Muslims in the form of MominTemplate:Disambiguation needed and seeker of Allah and he suggests adopting the way of Faqr to gain the Vision of Allah. Iqbal directly addresses the seekers of Allah in his poetry. Iqbal’s work encourages reaching out for Allah.

Nigah-e-Faqr Mein Shan-e-Sikandari Kya Hai Kharaj Ki Jo Gada Ho, Wo Qaisri Kya Hai Meaning: The splendor of a monarch is meaningless for the people of Faqr, what kind of grandeur is one whose riches are dependent upon borrowed gold?

Iqbal’s Concept of Khudi

His collection of poetry published in 1915 called Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of the Self)[11] contains his Persian poetry also translated into English by R. A. Nicholson. Allah explains His concept to create man in this Hadith-e-Qudsi “I was a hidden Treasure, I desired to be known so I created mankind.” [12] This clarifies that the reason for the creation of man is to gain the gnosis of Allah also known as Marifat and to recognize his Creator. How man can recognize Allah is explained in the following Hadith: “He who recognizes his self, recognizes Allah.” This ‘self’ is often termed by saints as spiritual existence, esoteric self, inner being. However, Iqbal calls this “Khudi” or “Irfan-e-Nafs”. It is a grave mistake for most readers/writers who consider this ‘Khudi’ as ‘ego’ instead of understanding its true meaning as the ‘Ruh ‘(soul) itself. This is because ‘ego’ clearly distances man from Allah whereas ‘Ruh’ can never be a barrier and is in fact the only medium which connects man to Allah. When a person dies, the dead body exists but the self vanishes. This self belongs to Allah and is the essence of Allah. In common terminology, ‘khudi’ simply means ‘conscience’. Identifying what the soul seeks is in fact what Iqbal terms as ‘Irfan-e-Nafs’ (self-realization and self-knowledge).[13]

Iqbal and His Spiritual Guide

Iqbal believed that oath from a living Murshid(Spiritual Guide)is necessary to enter the spiritual world even if one spends one’s entire life in prayer and worship. Hadith: “He who doesn’t have a Shaikh(Murshid), his Shaikh(Murshid) is satan.” In one of Iqbal’s letters dated, 9 March 1916, he writes to Maulana Shah Suleman Phulwari: “How can I be against the Real Islam and Tasawwuf when I myself belong to the Qadria Order.” Iqbals’ nephew Dr. Nazeer Sufi reveals that Iqbal and Iqbals’ father Shaikh Noor Mohammad (R.A.) were the disciples of Saeen Abdullah Shah Qadri, Sialkot. However, Iqbal got his spiritual beneficence from Maulana Rumi (R.A.) and called himself “Mureed-e-Rumi(Disicple of Rumi)”.Researchers conclude that this was so because Iqbal was greatly influenced by the Mathnawi of Rumi (R.A.) whose essence exuded in Iqbal’s poetry as well. In view of the Perfect Spiritual Guide, Iqbal says: “Agar Koi Shuaib Aye Mysser Shabani Se Kaleemi Dou Qadam Hai.” Hazrat Shuaib was the spiritual guide of Hazrat Musa/Moses. Iqbal says that if one has the perfect spiritual mentor like Hazrat Shuaib then even a shepherd like Hazrat Musa can converse with Allah.

See also


Digital Links

Further reading

The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal

External links


  1. "Khadim Sultan ul Faqr Website". http://www.khadimsultanulfaqr.com/biography-khadim-sultan-ul-faqr.html. 
  2. "Faqr". http://www.sultan-bahoo.com/en/faqr-al-faqr-faqr-e-ikhtiyari-faqr-e-iztarari.html#Faqr. 
  3. "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 28 May 2003. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_28-5-2003_pg3_6. Retrieved 2011-01-07. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Iqbal Academy Pakistan
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  6. "Iqbal Academy Pakistan"
  7. "Faqr in Iqbal’s Poetry". http://www.allamaiqbal.com/works/poetry/persian/pas/translation/07_exp.htm. 
  8. "Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman". http://www.sultan-ul-faqr.com/eng/sultan-mohammad-najib-ur-rehman.html. 
  9. Book Name:Malfuzaat-e-Iqbal, Author:Yousaf Saleem Chishti, Publisher: Bazm-e-Iqbal, Lahore, Pakistan, First Edition, Date: 1999
  10. Book Iqbal Aur Tasawwuf, Author:Prof. Mohammad Farhan, Publisher:Bazm-e-Iqbal, Lahore, Pakistan, First Edition, Date: 1984
  11. Official website, Allama Iqbal Academy. "Asrar-e-Khudi". http://www.allamaiqbal.com. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  12. Book Name:Risala Roohi Sharif, Author:Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman, Publisher: Sultan ul Faqr Publications Reg. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan ISBN 978-969-9795-03-9 , First Edition, Date: August 2012
  13. Book Name:Iqbal Sahib-e-Haal, Author:Dr Mohammad Jahangir Tamimi, Publisher: Tarteeb Publishers, Faisalabad, Pakistan, First Edition, Date: 2010