By Talha Ghannam
Note: The post was written a few months before traveling for Umrah. Alhamdulillah, having now completed the journey, I cannot emphasize enough how important preparation is to the journey. To remove oneself from the dunya (worldy life)and prepare for what lies ahead is essential. What will you say to your Lord and His messenger ﷺ (peace be upon him) when you visit them in the blessed cities?
My eyes have not seen anyone more magnificent than you
No woman has borne such perfection
You were created free from all deficiencies
It is as though you were created as you wished
[Hassaan ibn Thaabit]
From jaahily (pre-Islam period in Mecca) poetry to country odes, nursery rhymes to modern day rap, poetry has long possessed a mystical hold over society. Sitting at the height of literary excellence, its subtle words and rhythmic beats engage the deepest emotions of the reader, moving them to live the words recited.
“Logic and grammar are important. But for students to truly own the English language, they need to read and write poems.”
Islam has a rich tradition of poetry, and no topic has drawn more attention than the love of the Prophet ﷺ. For centuries, scholars and lovers have written words dedicated to their beloved Messenger ﷺ. Poems such as Hasaan ibn Thabit’s verses (above) and the Burda (The Adoned Mantle) sit eternally in the hearts of Muslims as epitomes of love for the Messenger ﷺ.
I do not claim to be a poet. When compared to these greats, my words are meaningless. However, my intention to go on ‘umrah next month has inspired me to follow in their footsteps, dedicating a few words to read them to my beloved Prophet ﷺ at his tomb. Perhaps Allah will place blessing in these words and grant me the honour of a true vision of the Prophet ﷺ and his companions. Ameen.
The poem reflects the life (seerah) of the Prophet ﷺ and how it bears on our own. Many of us claim that if we were with him ﷺ, we would have been of the foremost to protect him. We say we love him ﷺ yet few of us have seen him or know what he looks like. So often the Prophet ﷺ and Islam are slandered and we do nothing to educate people about him. We profess that we would seek his ﷺ company had we been contemporaries, yet we live in ignorance of our faith and ignore its inheritors1 . We wish we were in his company yet we forego the gardens of paradise2 . As the companions (sahabah) famously said to the followers (tab`ieen – the generation which followed the companions):
“If we saw you at the time of the Prophet ﷺ, we would think you were hypocrites, and if you saw us at the time of the Prophet ﷺ, you would think we were mad men!”3
So how then does this bear on us who are so far astray from the path to Allah!
The words I write are a reflection on my own soul, my own hypocrisy and double standards. I claim to yearn for him ﷺ yet my actions speak differently. How do I greet the greatest human to walk this earth whilst I know what state my soul is in? Perhaps through these words Allah will grant me forgiveness, guidance, and sincerity to change the man I’m becoming to the man I wish to become.
What if I met the Prophet4 ,
And walked the path he walked.
I would be his shadow, follow every step,
And never let him go.
What if I heard the Prophet,
Speaking to friend and foe.
I would write and learn his every word,
And spread them across the globe.
What if I spoke to the Prophet,
And shared with him my thoughts.
I would live by every word he said,
Applying them one by one.
What if I stood with the Prophet,
Fighting against his foes.
I would protect him against every (s)word and (ar)row,
Of the tongue and of the bow.
What if I saw the Prophet,
Embracing me with his smile,
I would feel its glow shining through my life,
And forever be my guide.
So why now do I leave you, oh Prophet,
When true dreams remain for those who love.
If truly I ever loved you so,
The heart will find what it seeks.
While the sayings of yours, oh Prophet,
Like gems amongst the words,
Remain to guide us along the path,
Mina al-dhulumaati ila al-noor.5
And your legacy remains, oh Prophet,
With the scholars left on earth.
Inheritors of prophetic wisdom,
Preside to lead us forward.
We abandoned you for profit,
Chasing what the world can give,
Forgetting that joy is found with you,
In God’s everlasting bliss.
Now I return to you, oh Prophet,
In this blessed city of light,
To pledge a change forever more,
And turn my face to God.
Peace and blessings to you, oh Prophet,
For time and ever more.
To you we owe the greatest debt,
For all that you have brought.
And your family and friends, oh Prophet,
Who showed us how to live,
They sought your love in all they did
To earn the love of God
- Abu al-Darda’ (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“Scholars are the inheritors of the prophets.”
[Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa'i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others]
- Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them.” The Companions asked: “What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “The circles of dhikr (remembrance of Allah). There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely.”
[Tirmidhi narrated it (hasan gharib) and Ahmad]
- I heard this tradition orally and have sought to establish its source, although this statement is strengthened by the famous saying of the Prophet ﷺ in Bukhari “The best of generations is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them.” I sight this phrase as a point of self-reflection, not to derive any ruling from it
One saying ascribed to Al-Hasan Al-Basri is:
حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي ، قَالَ : ثنا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ الْحَسَنِ ، قَالَ : ثنا أَبُو حُمَيْدٍ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْحِمْصِيُّ ، قَالَ : ثنا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ ، قَالَ : ثنا يَزِيدُ بْنُ عَطَاءٍ ، عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنِ مَرْثَدٍ ، قَالَ :
” انْتَهَى الزُّهْدُ إِلَى ثَمَانِيَةٍ مِنَ التَّابِعِينَ ، فَمِنْهُمُ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ ، فَمَا رَأَيْنَا أَحَدًا مِنَ النَّاسِ كَانَ أَطْوَلَ حَزَنًا مِنْهُ ، مَا كُنَّا نَرَاهُ إِلا أَنَّهُ حَدِيثُ عَهْدٍ بِمُصِيبَةٍ ، ثُمَّ قَالَ :
” نَضْحَكُ وَلا نَدْرِي ، لَعَلَّ اللَّهَ قَدِ اطَّلَعَ عَلَى بَعْضِ أَعْمَالِنَا ، فَقَالَ : لا أَقْبَلُ مِنْكُمْ شَيْئًا ، وَيْحَكَ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ ، هَلْ لَكَ بِمُحَارَبَةِ اللَّهِ طَاقَةٌ ؟ إِنَّهُ مَنْ عَصَى اللَّهَ فَقَدْ حَارَبَهُ ، وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ أَدْرَكْتُ سَبْعِينَ بَدْرِيًّا أَكْثَرُ لِبَاسِهِمُ الصُّوفُ ، وَلَوْ رَأَيْتُمُوهُمْ قُلْتُمْ : مَجَانِينُ ، وَلَوْ رَأَوْا خِيَارَكُمْ لَقَالُوا : مَا لِهَؤُلاءِ مِنْ خَلاقٍ ، وَلَوْ رَأَوْا شِرَارَكُمْ لَقَالُوا : مَا يُؤْمِنُ هَؤُلاءِ بِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ ، وَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ أَقْوَامًا كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا أَهْوَنَ عَلَى أَحَدِهِمْ مِنَ التُّرَابِ تَحْتَ قَدَمَيْهِ ، وَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ أَقْوَامًا يَمْشِي أَحَدُهُمْ وَمَا يَجِدُ عِنْدَهُ إِلا قُوتًا ، فَيَقُولُ : لا أَجْعَلُ هَذَا كُلَّهُ فِي بَطْنِي ، لأَجْعَلَنَّ بَعْضَهُ لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَيتَصَدَّقُ بِبَعْضِهِ ، وَإِنْ كَانَ هُوَ أَحْوَجَ مِمَّنْ يَتَصَدَّقُ بِهِ عَلَيْهِ
- The ﷺ is omitted to keep the poetic flow [↩]
- from darknesses into the light; 33:43, 57:9, 65:11 [↩]