«The Historical Evidence All praise is for Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, and may He shower His choicest peace and blessings in perpetuity on ...»
The Historical Evidence
All praise is for Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted, and may He shower His choicest peace and
blessings in perpetuity on His most beloved of all creations, Sayyidina wa Nabiyyina wa Habibina
wa Mawlana Muhammad ibn 'Abdillah, Nurin min Nurillah, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa 'alaa aalihi wa
sahbihi wa Sallim.
When we study the Ahaadith Shareef (noble sayings) of our beloved Prophet Sayyidina wa
Mawlana Muhammad Mustafa, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam and his seerah (blessed biography) to research the subject of religious poetry, we are blessed with obtaining the following historical
1. The Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam said that there is wisdom in poetry.
2. He was greeted with madeeh (eulogy) when he entered Madina.
3. He recited some verses as he carried stones together with his sahaba (blessed companions), Rady Allahu 'Anhum to build Masjid an-Nabawi in Madina.
4. He encouraged the recitation of the Holy Qur'an al-Karim, the inimitable, uncomparable and uncreated Word of Allah, in a melodious voice.
5. He encouraged wedding songs and allowed songs with musical instruments on the day of 'Eid.
6. He had a pulpit erected in the mosque for Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu to stand upon and reply to the enemies of Islam in poetry.
7. He recited some verses at Ghazwa-i-Khandaq (the battle of the Trench) while digging the trench together with his sahaba, Rady Allahu 'Anhum.
8. He supplicated for Hadrat 'Amir bin al-Akwa' Rady Allahu 'Anhu who recited a qasida (religious poem) while they were marching to Khaybar to fight the Jews.
9. He appointed Sayyidina 'Ali Rady Allahu 'Anhu to lead in the battle of Khaybar and Sayyidina 'Ali Rady Allahu 'Anhu replied to his opponent in verse.
10. He gave his personal mantle (burda) to Hadrat Ka'b ibn Zuhair Rady Allahu 'Anhu after he had versified on him and on the Muhajireen (the Emigrants from Makkah) and expressed the wish that he would versify on the Ansar (the Helpers in Madina) too.
11. He praised Labid, the pre-Islamic poet, for praising Allah in his poetry.
12. He requested 'Amr bin Sharid's father to recite the poetry of Umayya bin Abu as-Salt.
'Amr bin Sharid's father obliged by reciting a couplet whereupon the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam continued to request him to recite more and more until he had recited 100 couplets!
To study each of these universally historic events in a little more detail, the main sources
(a) kutub (books) of Hadith, especially
• Sahih al-Bukhari (translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan),
• Sahih al-Muslim (translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi),
• Mishkat u'l Masabih (Niche For Lamps) of Imam al-Baghawi (translated by Al-Hajj Mawlana Fazlul Karim);
(b) classics of Muslim spirituality, such as
• Ihya 'Ulum al-Deen (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) by Hujjatul Islam Imam Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (translated by Al-Hajj Mawlana Fazlul Karim),
• It'haaf-is-Saail (Gifts For The Seeker) by Qutb u'l Irshad Sayyidunal Imam al-Habib Abdallah bin 'Alawi al-Haddad (translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi), and
• Miftah u'l Jannah (Key To The Garden) by Sayyidunal Imam al-Habib Ahmad Mash'hur bin Taha al-Haddad (translated by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi); and (c) books of history such as the biography of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam by Martin Lings.
[Rady Allahu 'Anhu / Naf'anAllahu Bih / Rahmatullahi 'alayh is recited after the name of the sahaba (companions) and the mashaayikh (spiritual masters) as appropriate].
The word qasida means a poem, the plural is qasaaid. This paper deals only with religious poetry, the non-Muslims obviously wrote on various other matters as well.
When we study the Hadith Shareef, we find that the qasaaid (religious poems) recited in the time of the noble Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam contain
• hamd or praise of Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted;
• madeeh or praise of our beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him;
• praise of his companions, may Allah be pleased with them;
• du'a (supplication to Allah);
• nasiha (sound advice); and
• the teachings of the religion of Islam in general.
There is Wisdom in Poetry The noble Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam is reported to have said that there is wisdom in poetry, according to a Hadith agreed upon by both Imam Bukhari (194-256 A.H) and Imam Muslim (206-261 A.H). Such a Hadith is said to be Muttafaqun 'alayh (agreed upon). It is reported in Miskhkat u'l Masabih, Book 2, Chapter 12, p. 187. (The numbering of the Hadith, chapter and so on will be as in the translation).
(2). 'Ubai bin Ka'b reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: "There is wisdom in poetry". (Agreed) Imam al-Ghazali (450-505 A.H/1058-1111 C.E) has also reported this in his Ihya'.
"When poems were recited before the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam), he used to say:
There is surely wisdom in poetry". (Vol. 2, p. 207) For this reason, many kutub (books) of Muslim poetry print this Hadith of the blessed Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam on the very first page.
Inna min-ash-shi'ri lahikmatun Surely, there is wisdom in poetry A Qasida Greets The Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam As reported by Imam u'l Bayhaqi in Dalaail u'n Nubuwwa (Proofs of Prophethood), when our blessed Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam entered Madina, he was greeted with the following memorable eulogy which since then has been engraved in the hearts and minds of Muslims and is recited with love and devotion all over the world, especially in majalis (spiritual gatherings) of mawlid to celebrate his birth.
Tala'al Badru 'alaynaa Min Thaniyyaati'l Wadaa'i Wajaba-sh-shukru 'alaynaa Maa da'a Lillahi Daa'i The full moon rises on us From Thaniyyatil Wadaa' And it is compulsory on us to express thanks Whenever called upon by a summoner for the sake of Allah Imam al-Ghazali has reported it in the Ihya' 'Ulum al-Deen (The Revival of the Religious Sciences, Vol. 2, Book 8, p. 302), and Imam Yusuf ibn Ismail an-Nabahaani has expounded on it in Anwaaru'l Muhammadiyyah (The Muhammadan Lights, p. 60).
While Building Masjid an-Nabawi Al-Habib Ahmad Mash'hur bin Taha al-Haddad (1325-1416 A.H) narrates in Miftah u'l Jannah (Key To The Garden, p. 121) that the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam himself carried stones together with his companions to build the mosque in Madina, and as he did that,
Haadha'l himaal laa himaalu Khaybar Haadha'l abarr Rabbunaa wa at'har This is the loading not that of Khaybar this is more faithful, Lord, and purer Melodious Recitation of Qur'an Encouraged The Glorious Qur'an Kareem is the eternal uncreated Word of Allah. It is mu'jiz (inimitable), meaning it cannot be imitated. It is to be recited in a melodious voice according to the following Ahaadith (sayings) of RasulAllah Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam.
(60). Abu Hurairah reported that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: Allah does not listen attentively to anything more than what he listens to the Prophet chanting the Qur'an with a melodious and loud voice. (Bukhari and Muslim) (From Mishkat u'l Masabih, Book 3, Chapter 36, p. 696) (66) Bara' bin 'Aazib reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: Adorn the Qur'an with your voice. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud, and Darimi).
(From Mishkat u'l Masabih, Book 3, Chapter 37, p. 69).
Chapter (31): To recite the Qur'an in a charming voice.
Narrated Abu Musa that the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said to him: "O Abu Musa!
You have been given one of the musical instruments of the family of David". (1) (Sayyidina Dawud 'alayhissalam) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p. 514) Footnote (1): The musical instrument stands here for the nice voice.
(Wherever footnotes appear in the translation, they have been quoted for completeness).
Sayyidi wa Murshidi al-Habib Ahmad Mash-hur bin Taha al-Haddad has expounded on this in his
own pure and precise style:
"Means are to be judged according to their purposes. When a proper melodiousness is used, the recitation of the Qur'an becomes a delight, and we have been ordered to recite it thus. The Prophet (upon whom be blessings and peace) said, "Embellish the Qur'an with your voices!" meaning that one should recite it melodiously. And he once said, after listening to the recitation of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, "He has been given one of the flutes of the House of David". When this was reported to Abu Musa, he said, "O Messenger of God! Had I known that you were listening, I would really have embellished it!" (p. 120) Songs Encouraged at Weddings and Allowed on 'Eid Days The following two narrations from Mishkat u'l Masabih, Book 2, Chapter 27, p. 654 show that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam encouraged songs at wedding ceremonies.
(49). Mother of faithful believers, 'Aisha reported: I had a girl of the Ansar who I gave away in marriage. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: O 'Aisha! Why did you not sing, because this tribe of the Ansar loves songs. (Ibn Hibban) (50) Ibn 'Abbas reported that (Sayyidatina) 'Aisha gave away a female relation of her from the Ansar in marriage. Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) came and said, "Have you escorted the girl to her husband?" "Yes", was the reply. He asked, "Have you sent with her those who can sing?" "No", she replied. Then the Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: "Verily, the Ansar are a people among whom there are songs. (It would have been better) if you had sent
with her those who could have sung:
To you we have come, to you we have come!
So to us welcome and to you welcome!" (Ibn Majah) We also learn that the beloved Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) allowed two small Ansari girls to sing with musical instruments on the day of 'Eid as narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 2, Hadith number 72, p. 38. This Hadith has been received from Sayyidatina 'Aisha Rady Allahu 'Anha who said Sayyidina AbuBakr as-Siddiq Rady Allahu 'Anhu was also present at that time.
Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Replies in Poetry
As reported in Mishkat u'l Masabih (Book 2, Chapter 12, p. 187), the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam used to ask Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu to answer his enemies on his behalf. Indeed, he had a pulpit erected within the mosque for him to stand upon and recite poetry deprecating the unbelievers and praising the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam.
(7) Bara' reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) said to Hassaan bin Thabit at the battle of Quraizah: "Satirize the polytheists for Gabriel is with you". Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) was saying to Hassaan: "Respond on my behalf. O Allah! Help him with the Holy Spirit". (Bukhari and Muslim) (8) (Sayyidatina) 'Aisha reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) kept a pulpit within the mosque for Hassaan that he might take his stand thereon to praise Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) or to meet opposition. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) used to say: "Allah helps Hassaan with the Holy Spirit as long as he meets opposition or contends on behalf of Allah's Messenger". (Bukhari) A similar Hadith has been narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol 1, p. 264, Chapter (68) titled "(What is said about) to recite poetry in the mosque".
Sayyidi wa Murshidi al-Habib Ahmad Mash'hur bin Taha al-Haddad talks about this in his
classical masterpiece Miftah u'l Jannah (Key To The Garden) and sums it up as follows:
"This was done through poetry, and in the mosque, so see what rank a poet may reach who rises to defend religion and make known the good qualities of the Master of the Messengers - his degree is not less than that of a preacher who summons and guides, for they both stand on the pulpit of summoning to God, defending religion and subduing its enemies". (p. 120) In fact, the whole of Chapter 1026 in Sahih al-Muslim is about "The Merits Of Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu". And in the following (part of a longer) Hadith from that chapter (Vol. 4, Book 29, p. 1328), we get a glimpse of how Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu actually replied.
(6081) (Sayyidatina) 'Aisha said: I heard Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) as saying to Hassaan: "Verily Ruh ul Quds would continue to help you as long as you put up a defense on behalf of Allah and His Messenger". And she said: I heard Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam) as saying: "Hassaan satirized against them and gave satisfaction to the Muslims and disquieted the non-Muslims".
You satirized Muhammad, but I replied on his behalf, And there is reward with Allah for this.
You satirized Muhammad, virtuous, righteous, The Apostle of Allah, whose nature is truthfulness.
So verily, my father and his father and my honour Are a protection to the honour of Muhammad;
May I lose my dear daughter, if you don't see her Wiping the dust from the two sides of Kada, (2792) They pull at the reins, (2793) going upwards;
On their shoulders are spears thirsting (for the blood of the enemy);
Our steeds are sweating Our women wipe them with their mantles.
If you had not interfered with us, We would have performed the 'Umra.
And (then) there was the Victory; and the darkness cleared away;
Otherwise wait for the fighting on the day in which Allah will honour whom He pleases.
And Allah said: I have sent a servant who says The Truth in which there is no ambiguity;
And Allah said: I have prepared an army They are the Ansar whose object is fighting (the enemy).
There reaches everyday from Ma'add abuse, Or fighting, or satire;
Whoever satirizes the Apostle from amongst you, Or praises and helps, it is all the same, (2794) And Gabriel, the Angel of Allah is among us, And the Holy Spirit who has no match". (Muslim)
2792. A hill near Makkah
2793. i.e. the horses
2794. It does not matter much to him.