Outside the Badshahi Mosque in Hazuri Bagh on the southeast of the main gateway of Badshahi Mosque stands the imposing tomb of Allama Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet. It took thirteen years to complete. It was designed by Nawab Zain Yar Jang Bahadur, the chief architect of Hyderabad Deccan.
Soon after the death of the poet in 1938, the Iqbal Tomb Committee, presided over by late Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain, approached eminent architects to design the tomb, but they were dissatisfied with the results. The president expressed a desire that the monument, like Lahore's great works of Mughal architecture, "should aim at the expression in stone of the self." The committee was of the opinion that the designer, instead of copying architectural models of the Mughal period, should derive inspiration from Afghan interpretations of Moorish architecture. Consequently, the present design, a mixture of Afghan and Moorish architecture, was approved by the committee.
Many difficulties had to be overcome before the actual construction was begun. The British government delayed approval of the project. Then, funds had to raised from contributions from the poet's friends, disciples, and admirers. Construction halted for a long time after Independence, when the import of red sandstone from Jaipur and marble from Makrana in Rajputana (India) was temporarily stopped.
The mausoleum has two gates with teak frames inlaid with marble. The taweez of the tomb, done in lapis lazuli, the most expensive architectural stone in Afghanistan, is gift from the Afghan government. On the inside walls of the mausoleum are written six couplets of a ghazal of the poet from Zabur-e-Ajam which epitomize the message of Iqbal.