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Iqbal’s influence on Jinnah in taking the lead in creating Pakistan has been described as remarkable. He’s also cited as an influential force in convincing Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London and re-enter the politics of India. Initially, however, Iqbal and Jinnah were opponents, as Iqbal believed Jinnah was aloof from the crises facing the Muslim community in India.
Iqbal’s influence also brought about a deeper appreciation for Muslim identity within Jinnah. The evidence of this influence began to be revealed from 1937 onwards. Jinnah began to echo Iqbal in his speeches, he started using Islamic symbolism and speaking to the underprivileged. While Jinnah still advocated freedom of religion and protection of the minorities, the model he was now aspiring to was that of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). As such, the homeland Jinnah asked for following his “conversion” was of an “unequivocal Islamic nature.” This change has been seen to last for the rest of Jinnah’s life, who continued to frequently borrow ideas “directly from Iqbal- including his thoughts on Muslim unity, on Islamic ideals of liberty, justice and equality, on economics, and even on practices such as prayers.
In a public speech in 1940 following the death of Iqbal, Jinnah expressed his preference for implementing Iqbal’s vision even at the expense of becoming a ruler. He stated: “If I live to see the ideal of a Muslim state being achieved in India, and I was then offered to make a choice between the works of Iqbal and the rulership of the Muslim state, I would prefer the former.”