‘Wipe away your tears and retreat O ‘Antara!’ (كفكف دموعك وانسحب يا عنترة) is a powerful poem written by the Egyptian poet Mustafa Al-Jazaar (مصطفى الجزار). In it he describes the current state and condition of the Muslim Ummah.

He portrays the Muslim, saddened by the state of the Ummah, as ‘Antarah whom his love interest, ‘Ablah (seen as the Muslim Ummah in this poem), is complaining to him about her state and condition.

This poem was recited by Shaykh Muhammad Al-‘Areefi during the Friday Khutbah of 18/01/2013, as can be seen in the coming video.


‘Antarah Ibn Shaddād al-‘Absī (عنترة بن شداد العبسي) was an Arabian hero and poet, from the Tribe of ‘Abs, who lived during the time of Jahiliya (pre-Islamic era). He is famous for both his poetry and his adventurous life. What many consider his best or chief poem is contained in the Mu’allaqat (the Hanging Poems, which refer to a set of poems that were hung on the walls of the Ka’bah because of their beauty and eloquence).

‘Antarah’s father, Shaddād, was a well-respected member of the Arabian tribe of Banu Abs. His mother was named Zabibah, an Ethiopian woman whom Shaddad had enslaved after a tribal war. His father and the tribe neglected Antara at first, and he grew up in servitude. Although it was fairly obvious that Shaddad was his father, he was considered one of the "Arab crows" because of his jet black complexion.

Antara gained attention and respect for himself by his remarkable personal qualities and courage in battle, excelling as an accomplished poet and a mighty warrior. He earned his freedom after one tribe invaded Banu Abs, so his father said to Him: "Antara fight with the warriors". He looked at his father in resentment and said: "The slave doesn’t know how to invade or how to defend, but the slave is only good for milking goats and serving his masters".

His father then uttered the famous words: (كر يا عنتر فأنت حر) “Defend your tribe O Antar and you are free". Antarah fought and expelled the invading tribes.

The way Antarah responded to his father in Arabian culture does not mean that he was afraid of fighting, rather that when Antarah’s father did not acknowledge him for all those years, Antarah was aiming to get his freedom and to be acknowledged by his society, and he earned that.

Antarah and ‘Ablah:

Antarah fell in love with his cousin Abla, daughter of Malik (عبلة بنت مالك), and sought to marry her despite his status as a slave. To secure allowance to marry her, Antarah had to face challenges including getting a special kind of camel from the northern Arabian kingdom of al-No’man Ibn al-Munthir Ibn Ma’ al-Sama’.

Antarah took part in the great war between the related tribes of Abs and Dhubyān, which began over a contest of horses and was named after them, namely the war of Dāhis and Ghabrā.

Antarah’s poetry is well preserved and often talks of chivalrous values, courage and heroism in battle, as well as his love for Abla. One of his poems, as was mentioned earlier, was included in the Hanged Poems. The poetry’s historical and cultural importance stems from its detailed descriptions of battles, armour, weapons, horses, desert and other themes from his time.


[1] The Background was edited from wikipedia