This article examines the Indian poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal's appropriation by three Nadwat al-‘Ulama scholars: Sayyid Sulayman Nadwi (d. 1953), Abu'l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (d. 1999), and ‘Abd al-Salam Nadwi (d. 1956). It argues that the particular depictions of Iqbal by the Nadwa ‘ulama can be mapped onto larger evolutions within the institute. The early Nadwa ‘alim Sulayman Nadwi imagines Iqbal as a Muslim leader par excellence. A more conservative understanding of Islam emerged with the later Nadwa ‘ulama. They emphasize traditional theological ideas, particular modes of piety, and ritualistic actions. The article suggests that the later Nadwa ‘ulama’s writings on Iqbal are reflective of this particular understanding of Islam and morality, although there are two distinct responses to the poet. The above examination of the Nadwa is placed within its broader historical context. In so doing, the article contends that the impact of the political milieu in India must be taken into account to understand shifts in the Nadwa and South Asian Islam more broadly. It also asserts that the political environment in South Asia influenced Iqbal's reception by the Nadwa ‘ulama as well as by Muslims in South Asia and beyond. Additionally, this article argues that all three works by the Nadwa ‘ulama are subjective portrayals informed by the social imaginaries of their authors. In fact, in a broader sense, all works of narrative historiography are subjective accounts. This realization problematizes the boundaries between the categories of historiography and hagiography, and this research calls for a rethinking of these tensions.