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Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam

Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad

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.

The transliteration of these verses is:

Hajawta Muhammad-an fa-ajabtu 'anhu
Wa 'indAllah-i fee dhaaka'l jazaau

Hajawta Muhammad-an barran taqiyyan
RasulAllah-i sheematuhu'l wafaau

Fa-inna abee wa waalidahu wa 'irdee
Li 'irdi Muhammad-in minkum wiqaau

Thakiltu bunayyatee in lam tarawhaa
Tutheeru'n naq'a min kanafay kadaau

Yubaareena'l a'innata mus'idaatin
'Alaa aktaafiha'l asalu'z zimaau

Tazallu jiyaadunaa mutamattiraatin
Tulattimuhunna bi'l khumuri'n nisaau

Fa-in a'radtumu 'annaa i'tamarnaa
Wa kaana'l Fat'hu wa'nkashafa'l ghitaau

Wa illaa fasbiru lidiraabi yawmin
Yu'izzullahu feehi man yashaau

Wa QaalAllah-u qad arsaltu 'abdan
Yaqul u'l Haqqa laysa bihi khafaau

Wa QaalAllah-u qad yassartu jundan
Hum u'l Ansaru 'urdatuha'lliqaau

Lanaa fee kulli yawmin Ma'add-in
Sibaabun aw qitaalun au hijaau

Fa-man yahju RasulAllah-i minkum
Wa yamdahuhu wa yansuruhu sawaau

Wa Jibril-un RasulAllah-i feenaa
Wa Ruh u'l Qudus-i laysa lahu kifaau

We notice that the qasida (religious poem) in this Hadith is a Hamziyya all of whose verses rhyme in the letter "Hamza". Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu composed it on the occasion of Fat'h Makkah (victorious peaceful entry into Makkah) in 8 A.H. when our beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam magnanimously forgave all his enemies in Makkah who had for years persecuted him and driven him out.

Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu composed so many poems that they have been compiled in book-form by numerous Muslim scholars who have then written a sharh (appreciative explanation) on it. Such a book of collected poems is called a Diwan. One such Diwan has been compiled by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Barquqi together with his sharh (explanation). This Diwan has 238 poems arranged in alphabetical order, beginning with those that rhyme in the letter "Hamza" and ending with those that rhyme in the letter "Yaa".

Out of all these qasaaid, the verses that are universally popular are those in praise of our beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam.

Wa ahsanu minka lam tara qattu 'ayniy
Wa ajmalu minka lam talidinnisaau

Khuliqta mubarra-an min kulli 'aybin
Ka-annaka qad khuliqta kamaa tashaau
(Sharh Diwan Hassaan bin Thabit, p. 66)

I have never seen anyone better than you
Nor did any woman give birth to anyone more beautiful than you

You were created free from all faults
As if you were created just as you desired.

It is reported in the same Diwan (p. 299-308) that in 9 A.H. a deputation of Arabs from Banu Tamim came to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam to challenge him to oratory and poetry. Their orator was 'Utarid bin Hajib. After he had his say, the Beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam asked Hadrat Thaabit bin Qays bin Shammas Rady Allahu 'Anhu to reply to him.

Then the poet of Banu Tamim, al-Zibriqan bin Badr sang in praise of his tribe. Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu was absent at the time and the Noble Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam sent a messenger to tell him to come and answer the Banu Tamim's poet. Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit came and answered him with an 'ainiyyah consisting of 22 verses all rhyming in the letter 'ain. He praised the sahaba (companions), their nobility, charity, generosity, chastity, purity, valour in battle, and faithfulness, and emphasised that all these beautiful attributes were derived from keeping company with the beloved of Allah, Muhammad u'r Rasulullah, Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam. At the end of it all, the deputation of Banu Tamim accepted Islam and RasulAllah Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam gave them many valuable gifts.

When we recite the Diwan, we find that the themes in the religious poems of Hadrat Hassaan bin Thabit Rady Allahu 'Anhu are about

  • praise and love of Allah, Sub'hanahu wa Ta'ala, Wahdahu laa sharika Lahu. Such praise, whether in verse or prose is called hamd;

  • praise and love of our noble Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam. Such religious poetry is referred to as mad'h or madeeh in Arabic (naat or maddah in Urdu);

  • praise and love of his companions, Rady Allahu 'Anhum, and elegies on them when they attained martyrdom, for example, elegies on Sayyidina Hamza Rady Allahu 'Anhu and Sayyidina 'Uthman Rady Allahu 'Anhu; and

  • the teachings of Islam in general.

Another remarkable fact that strikes us as we recite the Diwan is the unshakeable iman (faith) and yaqeen (deep conviction and certainty) that the sahaba (companions) had in Allah Ta'ala and in His Beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam. The poems urge the non-believers to accept Islam, assert with certainty that Allah was helping the Muslims as borne out by the Qur'anic verses, that Allah had blessed them with the presence of the noble Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam who had brought them the true religion of Islam, that Hadrat Jibril 'Alayhissalam was with them, that they had been persecuted and driven from their homes but that they were prepared to lay down their lives for Allah and his beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam, and there was no way any soldier could stand against their bravery and valour, so there was no use even trying. This was done to achieve a psychological victory even before the battle started. And after the jihad (battle), the martyrs were mourned with the conviction that they had attained Paradise.

It was indeed one of the greatest miracles of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wa Sallam that he changed people's hearts. He started alone, was persecuted as no one has ever been persecuted before or after, but won over people to the True Faith to such an extent that those who were his bitterest enemies became his greatest friends, adopted his faith and his life-style and were prepared to lay down their lives at his command.

Mawlaaya Salli wa Sallim daaiman abadaa
'Alaa Habibika Khayril khalqi kullihimi

Allahumma Salli wa Sallim 'alayh

O Lord! Bestow blessings and peace for and evermore
On Your Beloved, the best in all creation.

O Allah! Bestow blessings and peace on him.

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