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Panegyrics on Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam

I'm going to write a master thesis on the panegyrics of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. I wonder if I can get some materials regarding later poems that were written as a result of al-Busayri's first qasidatul Burdah. Who are the writers and are there any major differences in the way the later poems are written? i.e. thematically and stylistically. Thank you, do reply.

Afidah Mohamed

Assalamu ‘alaykum Afidah,

We wish you all the best in your interesting topic for a masters thesis on the panegyrics of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Ahmad Shawqi wrote the Nahjul Burda which means “in the way of the Burda” in which he adopted the same rhyme and rhythm as the Burda Sharif of Imam al-Busiri Rahmatullahi ‘alayh. More recently, Shaykh Hasan Muhammad Shaddad bin ‘Umar Ba ‘Umar Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (passed away 1424 AH/ 2003 CE) of Madina also wrote a Nahjul Burda following the same rhyme and rhythm as the original Burda.

While the Burda of Imam al-Busiri is in ten parts
(www.iqra.net/qasaaid1/burda) Shaykh Hasan’s Nahjul Burda is in eleven parts as follows:

1) Love of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

2) Admonition against the desires of the lower self

3) In praise of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam

4) The lineage of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his attributive names

5) His blessed and noble birth

6) His miracles

7) His noble and beautiful character

8) His mercy and humility

9) His heavenly ascension

10) Love and praise for him

11) Supplication to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala

Another famous qasida (religious poem) of Imam al-Busiri is the Mudariyya. A Mudariyya is a qasida that includes the name ‘Mudar’ in one of its opening verses. Mudar was one of the ancestors of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Imam ‘Abdallah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad did a “takhmis” of this Mudariyya. A “takhmis” is the augmentation of a couplet to a quintet. Following the tradition of Imam al-Busiri, many other mashayikh wrote a Mudariyya, among them being Shaykh Uways bin Muhammad al-Qadiri of Somalia. His Mudariyya is in praise of Prophet Muhammad while the Mudariyya by Imam al-Busiri is essentially “salawaat” in verse, invoking the blessings of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala on Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The third most well-known qasida of Imam al-Busiri is the Hamziyya. A Hamziyya is a poem all of whose verses rhyme in the letter “hamza”. Imam al-Busiri wrote a Hamziyya with more than 400 verses which contains the biography and history of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The hamziyya is an ancient poetic form. It is well known that Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu ‘Anhu, a companion of Prophet Muhammad wrote a Hamziyya in his honour. Since then, various ‘ulama have written a hamziyya including Imam ‘Abdallah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad and Imam ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi. Imam Yusuf ibn Isma’il an-Nabhani wrote a Hamziyya Alfiyya with about 1000 verses, hence it is called “alfiyya”.

The Hamziyya Alfiyya is a poetic biography in 30 parts as follows:

1) Introduction in praise of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam

2) An explanation about the Nur-i-Muhammadi that Allah created, and the birth of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam

3) His nursing and upbringing

4) How angels cut open his heart when he was four years old to clean and purify it

5) How he was born an orphan

6) He was foretold in previous divine scriptures

7) The irreligious conditions of Makkans before he proclaimed Islam

8) The beginning of Islam with revelation of verses of the Qur’an

9) The first to accept Islam

10) The enmity of the Makkans against him and his companions when he proclaimed Islam

11) The polytheists of Makka boycott the Muslims

12) The passing away of his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadija Rady Allahu ‘Anha

13) His persecution in Taif where he prayed for the forgiveness of his persecutors

14) He preached pure Islamic monotheism

15) His heavenly ascension, body and soul

16) People of Madina accept Islam

17) His migration to Madina

18) Allah gives him permission to fight his enemies so that oppression is no more

19) The battles of Badr, Uhud and other battles

20) The Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyya

21) The conquest of Makka without bloodshed

22) The battles of Hunayn, Taif and Tabuk

23) Whole tribes accept Islam

24) His farewell pilgrimage

25) His passing away

26) His eminent position on the Day of Judgment as an accepted intercessor before Allah

27) His miracles

28) His noble qualities

29) Supplicating to Allah with the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam as intercessor

30) Conclusion

Another popular qasida of Imam al-Busiri is the Muhammadiyya in praise of the Prophet which has the name “Muhammad” in each of its verses. Shaykh Hasan Muhammad Shaddad bin ‘Umar Ba ‘Umar composed a Muhammadiyya in similar fashion. Shaykh ‘AbdurRahman bin Shaykh ‘Umar ‘Ali al-Qadiri went a step further. He composed a qasida Muhammadiyya of 40 verses, each of which begins and ends with the name Muhammad.

So far, I have explained about the ways in which the qasaid (plural of qasida) are similar. Now we come to an explanation of poetic forms that are different.

The first one is the “salaams” (salutations) on the Prophet, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in standing ovation which has been explained at www.iqra.net/Salaams/salaams1.htm

The second one is the Mawlid un-Nabi in verse which gives the biography of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam with his birth as its theme. The most famous of these is the Mawlid un-Nabi Nazm of Imam al-Barzanji. It is a “nuniya” consisting of 205 verses all rhyming in the letter “nun”. This has been translated into Swahili poetry by al-Khatib Kheri bin Shahib of Comoro Islands. Other such “mawlid” in poetic meter have been composed by Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abdallah Shaddad bin ‘Umar Ba ‘Umar, al-Imam ibn al-Jawzi, and Sulayman Chelebi Effendi (in Turkish).

The third one is the “salawaat” on the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whose opening verse is:
Ya Rabbi Salli ‘alaa Muhammad
Ya Rabbi Salli ‘alayhi wa Sallim.

Many mashayikh have composed such poetic salawaat including Imam ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad, Imam ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi, al-Habib Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Muhdaar; al-Habib as-Sayyid ‘Aydarus al-’Adni, as-Sayyid Ja’far as-Sadiq al-Mirghani, al-Imam ‘AbdurRahman ad-Dayba’i, as-Sayyid Muhammad ‘Uthman ar-Mirghani, Imam Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin Rashid al-Baghdadi, Shaykh al-’Arusi al-Maghribi, Imam Muhammad al-’Attar al-Jazairi, Shaykh ‘AbdurRahman bin Ahmad az-Zayla’i and Shaykh Haaj Sufi.

Various mashaayikh and ‘ulama have composed the “mi’rajiyya” which takes the mi’raj or the heavenly ascension of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for its theme. The most famous of these are the ones by Imam Ahmad Raza Khan in Urdu and by Alauddin Sabit of Bosnia.

Shaykh Mustafa Rushdi ad-Dimashqi has composed “Asma un Nabi Manzuma” with 53 verses all rhyming in the letter “raa”, hence it is a “raaiyya” It includes the 201 attributive names of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the order in which they appear in Dalaail ul Khayraat of Imam al-Jazuli.

Some ‘ulama have written such voluminous poetry that they cover all aspects of Islam, including the history of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his noble character, his beautiful manners and conduct, his miracles, his heavenly ascesion, his battles to eradicate oppression and establish Islamic justice and the rule of law, and about how Islam spread. The most well-known of these is the Mathnawi of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi in Farsi with more than 25, 000 verses. The Mathnawi is a poetic form in which the two hemistich of a verse rhyme and the rhyme changes from one verse to the next.

Other ‘ulama have written so many religious poems on all aspects of Islam that they have been compiled into books called “Diwan”, for example, the “Diwan” of Imam ‘Abdallah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad with more than 100 qasaaid and the “Diwan” of Imam ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi with more than 240 qasaaid, all arranged in alphabetical order, beginning with qasaaid rhyming in the letter ‘hamza’ and ending with qasaaid rhyming in the letter ‘yaa’.

Another genre of qasida in honour of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the “hurufiyya” where the verses sequentially begin with letters (huruf) of the Arabic alphabet, in alphabetical order. One such “hurufiyya” has been composed by Shaykh Uways bin Muhammad al-Qadiri.

It should be noted that panegyrics on Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have not only been written in Arabic but indeed in all the major languages.

Some of the mashaayikh and shu’ara (poets) who have composed religious poetry in honour of Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam are:

Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim and Ibn al-Farid (in Arabic);

al-’Allama ‘AbdulRahman Jami, Shaykh Sa’di Shirazi, Shaykh Fariduddin Attar, Hadrat Bulleh Shah and Amir Khusrau (in Farsi);

Yunus Emre (in Turkish);

Hamzah Fansuri (in Indonesian);

Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Ma’awi, al-’Allama as-Sayyid Muhammad bin Sharif Sa’id al-Biedh and Shaykh Saidi Musa (in Swahili);

Aliyu Na-Mangi (in Hausa);

Shaykh Uways bin Muhammad al-Qadiri (in Somali);

Mulla ‘Abdul Hamid (in Pushto);

Khwaja Mir Dard, ‘Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and ‘Abdul Sattar Niyazi (in Urdu);

Sultan ul ‘Arifin Sultan Bahu, Baba Fariduddin Ganj Shakar and Hadrat Miyan Muhammad Bakhsh (in Punjabi);

Rahim ‘Ali Mari and Mulla Ibrahim (in Baloch); and

Shah ‘Abdullatif Bhitai and Bedil Rohriwaro (in Sindhi);

may Allah make us walk in the footsteps of all the great and noble Muslims mentioned in this letter, Amin.

It should be also noted that even if the poem is not specifically on the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, it inevitably ends with a couplet invoking salawaat (blessings) and salaams (salutations) on him.

The themes and the poetic content in Muslim religious poetry have of course been inherited from the days of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Please refer to the article at: www.iqra.net/qasaaid1/themes

So you can see that there is plenty of material you can draw upon for your thesis. If you are interested in copies of the qasaaid of Imam al-Busiri as well as of some other qasaaid mentioned here, we shall be happy to supply these to you. Please specify what you need and send us your postal address so that we can post them to you.

With salaams and du’a,
Siddiq

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