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“I remain close to you, in spite of my distant imprisonment”

A Poem

By

Al-Allamah Al-Shaykh Muhammad Al-Hassan Al-Dedew Al-Shanqiti

(may Allah preserve him)

(Revision 1: 26 June 2017)

[We hope to proofread it again and include additional commentary in the future]

A Poem Sh. Muhammad b. Al-Hasan Al-Dedew (may Allah preserve him) wrote to his wife during his imprisonment.

 

قريبٌ على بُعدٍ أنا منكِ في الأسرى * بدوية قفر بها جيف الحسرى

1. I remain close to you, in spite of my distant imprisonment,

In an isolated wasteland, in which the bodies of the sorrowful are kept.

يذكرني حالي وحالك قولةً * بفارس حمدان الذي كابد الأسرى

2. My situation and yours reminds me of a saying,

Of the Hamdanid Knight[1] who had endured captivity:

أيَضْحَكُ مأسُورٌ، وَتَبكي طَلِيقَة ٌ * فصبرا فإن العسر يستصحب اليسرى

3. “[How is it that a] prisoner is laughing, while the free one is weeping”[2],

So remain patient, for surely hardship is always accompanied with ease.

وفيما مضى قد كنت تخشين ضرة * فكانت بدار الشرطة الضرة العسرى

4. In the past you oft feared that I would find a second wife (arabic: durrah),

Yet here I found in the Police Station the absolute hardship (arabic: darrah)!

نقيم بدار للهوان معدة * فنلبس أوساخا ونفترش الغبرا

5. We reside in an adobe, prepared for our humiliation,

Where we are dressed in filth, and made to lie on dust.

ضفادعها في العد مثل بعوضها * وداحسها في عدوه يسبق الغبرا

6. The frogs [in it] are as plenty as its mosquitos, and

Dahis[3], in its sprinting, outruns the Ghabra.

ولكننا فيها أنسنا بربنـــا * فنلنا سرورا لن تحيطوا به خبرا

7. However, we have found in it, solace with our Lord,

And gained a joy which you could never imagine!

سعادتنا بالضيم في ذات ربنا * تفوق بأضعافٍ سعادتنا الأخرى

8. Our joy for that oppression [we suffered] for the sake of our Lord,

Exceeds by many folds any other joy we had experienced!

وأسورة فيها يصفد بعضنا * تفوق التي قد كان يلبسها كسرى

9. And the shackles in which some of us are tied,

Are more beautiful in our eyes, than the bracelets of Kisra (Khosrow)[4]!

وإن لنا في الشعب والجب أسوة * زنازننا إذ ذاك نحسبها قصرا

10. We find in the Valley[5] and the Well[6], an example to be followed,

which makes our cells appear to us as [spacious] Palaces.

يثور كتاب الله من كل غرفة * إذا الليل أرخي من غدائره سترا

11. The book of Allah erupts from every room,

At a time when the night lays down its curtains of darkness.

وتسمع آناء النهار تلاوة * فتسمع ترتيلا وتسمعها حدرا

12. You also hear throughout the daytime the Quran being recited,

and you hear it recited slowly, as well as recited at a pace.

وتسمع في الأنحاء من كل سورةٍ * وتسمعه سبعا وتسمعه عشرا

13. You hear at ever spot the Chapters of the Quran [recited],

And you hear it recited by the seven [recitations], and you hear it recited by the ten.

نفوق آي الذكر في وجه من بغى * فيبصرها الباغي الردينية السمرا

14. We raise the Quranic verses in the face of the oppressors,

Which appear to their eyes as arrows of war!

ونصلتها بيضاً قواطع نورها * يرد علي الباغي بواتره بترا

15. We draw it out as white swords, whose light are sharp cutting edges

Which leaves the transgressors’ swords shattered in pieces.

فكم حجة لله فيها مبينة * وكم شبهة للناس تدحرها دحرا

16. For how plenty are Allah’s clear proofs which you find [in the Quran]

And how many doubts raised by people are dispensed of completely.

بموعوده الآتي نجدد عزمنا * ومن قصص الماضين نستلهم الصبرا

17. With Allah’s upcoming promises we renew our determination

And from the stories of the people of the past, we are inspired to be patient.

مخازي بني صهيون نقرؤها به * فنزداد بغضا للآلي دنسوا المسرى

18. We read in it about the scandals of the Zionists,

So we increase in hatred to those who have desecrated [our Aqsa Mosque].

وإخوانهم من نافقوا كل أمرهم * نراه عيانا واقعا بعد ما يقرا

19. And their brothers from among the hypocrites, who all their affairs

Are clearly seen by us unfolding, after having read about it [in the Quran].

فإن سارعوا فيهم نسارع لــ جنة * ومغفرة نرجوهما نحن في الأخرى

20. So if they rushed towards them[7], then we are rushing towards Paradise,

And a forgiveness [from our Lord], both of which we are hoping for in the Hereafter.

وليس لهم ذاك الرجاء وإنما * يؤخرهم ربي لبطشته الكبرى

21. For they do not have this determined hope that we hold, rather

My Lord is delaying for them a Grand punishment!

وما يبتغي الجهال منا فإننا * أشداء لا بطشاً نخاف ولا غدرا

22. And what do those people of ignorance wish from us, for we are

tough [in our determination], and do not fear punishment or deceit.

أسود من آساد المهيمن تبتغي * من الله في الأخرى المثوبة والأجرا

23. We are lions from the Lions of our Lord, the Protector and Overseer[8],

Hoping from Allah in the Hereafter, the reward and recompense.

بنهج قويم لا التطرف شأنه * ولا اللين للتهديد والضغط والإغرا

24. We are upon a straight path, which extremism is not from its traits,

Nor is softening in the face of threats, pressure, or temptations.

نسير على نهج النبي محمد * ببيعة إيمان نرى نكثها كفرا

25. We are walking upon the path set by Prophet Muhammad,

Having given a pledge of Faith, which we consider violating it a matter of disbelief.

ولله قد بعنا نفوسا أبية * بربح عظيم فيه أربي لنا السعرا

26. For Allah we have sold noble souls,

In a great trade, in which [our Lord] had increased our return many folds!

بأجسامنا نفدي وننصر ديننا * وننشره نورا ونقبضـه جمرا

27. We sacrifice our bodies to give support to our religion,

And spread it out as light, and grasp on to it as hot coal.

ونمنعه حتى نصرع دونه * وتنشر بالمنشار أجسامنا نشرا

28. And defend it to the point, where we perish in its defense

Even if that meant our bodies are cut up with a saw!

ولسنا نبالي خاذلينا فإنهم * ضعاف وإنا دونهم نرتجي النصرا

29. For we do not worry or care about those who let us down,

For certainly they are weak, and in spite of them we are hopeful for Victory!


[1] He is Abu Firas al-Hamdani (أبو فراس الحمداني‎‎). He served under his cousin Sayf al-Dawla, the founder of the Emirate of Aleppo, as governor of Manbij as well as court poet. He was active in his cousin’s wars against the Byzantine Empire. He was captured by the Byzantines in 962 and spent four years captive in their capital, Constantinople, where he composed his most famous work, the collection of poems titled al-Rūmiyyāt (الروميات) [wiki].

[2] Abu Firas al-Hamdani in the poem referenced [link] by Sh. Al-Dedew says:

أيَضْحَكُ مأسُورٌ، وَتَبكي طَلِيقَة ٌ، ويسكتُ محزونٌ ، ويندبُ سالِ ؟

Here he is imagining conversing with a pigeon that has nested close to his prison and was giving a sorrowful cry, and is asking it: ‘How can it be that you are crying in sorrow while you are flying with freedom, while I am here in my captivity trying to laugh and find joy in spite of this prison I am in’. The Shaykh is using that verse to console his wife by saying that in spite of the hardship he finds himself in, he is contempt and is not disheartened by what he finds himself in, and asking her why is she saddened, while he himself is in a state of peace in his prison, and reminds her to be patient for ease always follows hardship.

[3] This is in reference Dahis, a stallion owned by the tribe of Abs which was known for its great speed, and after which the ‘Dahis and Ghabra War’ is named, a war which lasted for 40 years between the tribes of Abs and Dhubiyan.

[4] Title given to Persian king

[5] The Valley or the She’eb of Abu Talib is where the members of Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib (Muslims and non-Muslims) were forced to withdraw from Makkah and live there in a painful boycott which lasted close to three years. According to tradition, the boycott was carried out in order to put pressure on Banu Hashim to withdraw its protection from Prophet Muhammad.

[6] The ‘Well’ intended is the Well of Prophet Yousef (peave be upon him), as Allah said: {So, when they took him away, they all agreed to throw him down to the bottom of the well, and We revealed to him: "Indeed, you shall (one day) inform them of this their affair, when they know (you) not.’} [Surah Yousef 15].

[7] Meaning if the hypocrites rushed towards the Zionists supporting them

[8] Arabic: Al-Muhaymin

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A poem overflowing with beauty and gentleness!

Sh. Saeed al-Kamali (may Allah preserve him) when providing commentary on the ‘Muwatta of Imam Malik’ would delve into the meanings of Arabic words and their roots, as well as the various styles of speaking in Arabic and where they have been used elsewhere in the Language.

From that was the following the story of the poet Kuthayyir and his fascination with ‘Azza.

Reference:

[1] Commentary on Muwatta Malik – Lecture 146 (34:50-40:00)

[2] Section on Kuthayyir Azza from Ibn Kathir’s “Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya” 9/278 (Link) & (Arabic Wiki):

وفيها توفي كثير عزة الشاعر المشهور

وهو كثير بن عبد الرحمن بن الأسود بن عامر، أبو صخر الخزاعي الحجازي، المعروف بابن أبي جمعة، وعزة هذه المشهور بها المنسوب إليها، لتغزله فيها، هي أم عمرو عزة بالعين المهملة، بنت جميل بن حفص، من بني حاجب بن غفار

[3] Brief article about Kuthayyir from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuthayyir):

Kuthayyir ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥman (c. 660 – c. 723), commonly known as Kuthayyir ‘Azzah (Arabic: كثيّر عزّة‎‎) was an Arab ‘Udhri poet of the Umayyad period from the tribe of Azd. He was born in Medina and resided in Hijaz and Egypt. In his poems he was occupied with his unfullfilled love to a married woman named ‘Azza. Favorite topics in his poetry are love and panegyrics. He made acquaintance of the governor ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Marwan and the caliphs Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz and Yazid II

[4] Narration reference: http://sunnah.com/urn/1319210

[5] Abdul-Qadir al-Baghdadi in “Khizanat al-Adab” 5/211 (Islamport page 2/182 & Page 2/185)

[6] Complete Poem (Adab.com)

The verses mentioned by the Shaykh in this clip:

خليليَّ هذا ربعُ عُزَّة َ فاعقلا قلوصيكُما ثمّ ابكيا حيثُ حلَّتِ
Oh my companions, that is the convoy of ‘Azza, so tie your she-camels,
then start weeping where she has camped!

ومُسّا تراباً كَانَ قَدْ مَسَّ جِلدها وبِيتاً وَظِلاَّ حَيْثُ باتتْ وظلّتِ
And [try to] touch the sand, which has touched her skin,
and spend your nights and remain, where she has spent her [nights] and remained.

ولا تيأسا أنْ يَمْحُوَ الله عنكُما ذنوباً إذا صَلَّيْتما حَيْثُ صَلّتِ
(And don’t lose hope that Allah shall wipe away from your sins,
if you managed to pray [in a spot] in which she has prayed.)

وما كنتُ أدري قبلَ عَزَّة َ ما البُكا ولا مُوجِعَاتِ القَلبِ حتَّى تَوَلَّتِ
And I never knew before I met ‘Azza what crying was,
nor what were heart aches until she departed.

* * *

يُكلّفُها الغيرانُ شَتْمِي وَمَا بِهَا هواني ولكنْ للمليكِ استزَلّتِ
The jealous one compels her to insult me, while she wishes not to humiliate me, But for the wishes of her guardian she submitted.

هنيئاً مريئاً غيرَ داءٍ مخامرٍ لعزَّة َ من أعراضنا ما استحلَّتِ
[Consume what you wish] with satisfaction and ease, [wishing you] no ill effects or harm, for ‘Azza, from our honors whatever she wishes to consume.

أَسِيئي بِنا أَو أحْسِني لا مَلُومَة ً لدينا ولا مَقْلِيّة ً إنْ تَقَلَّتِ
Wrong us or do us good, you will not be blamed by us regardless,
Nor will you be despised, even if you show hatred towards us!

* * *

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