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Iqbal, Muhammad (1877–1938)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H037-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 19, 2024, from

Article Summary

Muhammad Iqbal was an outstanding poet-philosopher, perhaps the most influential Muslim thinker of the twentieth century. His philosophy, though eclectic and showing the influence of Muslims thinkers such as al-Ghazali and Rumi as well as Western thinkers such as Nietzsche and Bergson, was rooted fundamentally in the Qur’an, which Iqbal read with the sensitivity of a poet and the insight of a mystic. Iqbal’s philosophy is known as the philosophy of khudi or Selfhood. Rejecting the idea of a ‘Fall’ from Eden or original sin, Iqbal regards the advent of human beings on earth as a glorious event, since Adam was designated by God to be God’s viceregent on earth. Human beings are not mere accidents in the process of evolution. The cosmos exists in order to make possible the emergence and perfection of the Self. The purpose of life is the development of the Self, which occurs as human beings gain greater knowledge of what lies within them as well as of the external world. Iqbal’s philosophy is essentially a philosophy of action, and it is concerned primarily with motivating human beings to strive to actualize their God-given potential to the fullest degree.

Citing this article:
Hassan, Riffat. Iqbal, Muhammad (1877–1938), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H037-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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