Jalandhari was born in Jalandhar, Punjab, British India on 14 January 1900. His father, Shams-ud-Din, was a Hafiz-e-Qur'an. Jullundhri initially studied in a mosque school and later joined a local school. He only received formal education until the seventh grade.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Jalandhari migrated to Lahore in the new state of Pakistan.
From 1922 to 1929, Jalandhari remained the editor of a few monthly magazines namely, Nonehal, Hazar Dastaan, Teehzeeb-e-Niswan, and Makhzin. His first collection of poems Nagma-e-Zar was published in 1935. After World War II, he worked as the director of the Song Publicity Department. During this same time he wrote songs that were much liked by the public.
Jalandhari actively participated in Pakistan Movement and used his writings to inspire people for the cause of Pakistan. In early 1948, he joined the forces for the freedom of Kashmir and got wounded. Jalandhari wrote the Kashmiri Anthem, "Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir". He wrote many patriotic songs during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
Jalandhari served as Director General of morals in Pakistan Armed Forces, and then in a very prominent position as an adviser to the President, Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan and also a Director of Writers Guild of Pakistan.
Jalandhari's work of poetry, Shahnam-e-Islam, gave him incredible fame which, in the manner of Firdowsi's Shahnameh, is a record of the glorious history of Islam in verse. Jalandhari wrote the national anthem of Pakistan composed by Ahmed Ghulamali Chagla also known as Ahmed G Chagla. He is unique in Urdu poetry for the enchanting melody of his voice and lilting rhythms of his songs and lyrics. His poetry generally deals with romantic, religious, patriotic and natural themes. He chose his themes, images and tunes from the subcontinent and his language was a fine blend of Hindi and Urdu diction, reflecting the composite culture of South Asia. One of his most famous poem 'Abhi Toh Mein Jawan Hoon' was sung by Malika Pukhraj in the 1950s with music by the renowned Pakistani music director Master Inayat Hussain which is still popular among the public in 2016.
Jalandhari married his cousin, Zeenat Begum, in 1917 at the age of 17. They had seven children, all girls. In 1939, he took a young English woman of Lithuanian descent, Anela, as his second wife. They had a daughter; the marriage ended in divorce. His first wife, Zeenat Begum, died in 1954. In 1955, Jalandhari married Khurshid Begum, with whom he had a daughter.
Jalandhari died in Lahore, Pakistan, on 21 December 1982 at the age of 82. Buried in Model Town, Lahore, his remains were later shifted to a tomb built by the Government of Pakistan near the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, the site of the Pakistan Resolution.For his literary and patriotic services to Pakistan, Jalandhari was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz Award by the President of Pakistan.
Pride of Performance Award in 1958 by the Government of Pakistan.
Jalandhari is most famous for writing the lyrics for the Qaumi Tarana, the national anthem of Pakistan, which he wrote in 1952.
Jalandhari's monumental work of poetry, Shahnama-e-Islam, which gave him fame, is, in the manner of Firdowsi's Shahnama, a narration of Islamic history in verse.