The Allama Iqbal’s Tomb, or Mazaar-e-Iqbal (Urdu:مزار اقبال) is a pious mausoleum situated in the Iqbal Park in the city of Lahore, Pakistan.
Background of Allama Iqbal’s Tomb
Allama Iqbal was one believed to be of the key inspirations behind the Pakistan Movement, and is revered in Pakistan as Muffakir-e-Pakistan (The Thinker of Pakistan) or Shair-e-Mashriq (The Poet of the East). Allama Iqbal breathed last on the day of 21 April 1938 in the city of Lahore at the age of 60. Thousands of visitors come to the Allama Iqbal’s tomb every day to pay their respects to the poet-philosopher. It is claimed that Mustafa Kemal Atatürksent earth collected from Maulana Rumi’s shrine to be sprinkled on this grave.
Soon after Iqbal’s death in the month of April 1938, a committee was made that was presided over by Chaudhary Mohammed Hussain. The initial round of the designs submitted by distinguished architects wasn’t satisfactory. The committee recommended innovating a new combination instead of following a particular school of architecture. The ultimate design, thus, broke away from Mughal typical tradition and comprised a combination of Afghan and Moorish architecture.
A huge issue in the realization of this monument was the deficiency of adequate fund. The committee resolved not to take any donations from the local governments and state rulers, and so the mandatory funds were raised through the contributions from Iqbal’s friends, admirers and disciples.
The architecture depicts a combination of Afghan and Moorish styles. The complex is completely constructed of red sandstone, which was brought from the place of Jaipur, British India, and constructing marble from Makrana, Rajputana. After the emergence of Pakistan in the year of 1947, construction was impacted because of export restrictions of red stone from the state of India. 6 couplets of a ghazal are carved from Iqbal’s poetical work Zabur-e-Ajam (Persian Psalms) on the tomb’s interior surfaces. Outside, there is a minor garden, distributed into small plots. The tomb was designed by the Hyderabad Deccan’s then Chief Architect, Nawab Zain Yar Jang Bahadur and took 13 years to make at a cost of about one hundred thousand (Rs. 100,000) Pakistani rupees. The key reason for the delay was the stoppage of red-stone from the area of Jaipur in post-independence India.
Grave and cenotaph
The rectangular Allama Iqbal’s Tomb has 2 gates at the eastern and southern side respectively, inlaid with the beautiful marble, while the cenotaph itself is made of white marble. The tombstone was a precious gift from the individuals of Afghanistan, and is created of lapis lazuli and inscribed with Quranic verses in calligraphy inscribed in the state of Afghanistan.
The Allama Iqbal’s tomb complex is mentioned on the Protected Heritage Monuments of the Archaeology Department of Punjab province.