Britishmisk's Blog

Category: Poetry

The Qasida of Hassan bin Thabit

When I saw his light shining forth,
In fear I covered my eyes with my palms,
Afraid for my sight because of the beauty of his form.
So I was scarcely able to look at him at all.
The lights from his light are drowned in his light
and his face shines out like the sun and moon in one.
A spirit of light lodged in a body like the moon,
a mantle made up of brilliant shining stars.
I bore it until I could bear it no longer.
I found the taste of patience to be like bitter aloes.
I could find no remedy to bring me relief
other than delighting in the sight of the one I love.
Even if he had not brought any clear signs with him,
the sight of him would dispense with the need for them.
Muhammad is a human being but not like other human beings.
Rather he is a flawless diamond and the rest of mankind is just stones.
Blessings be on him so that perhaps Allah may have mercy on us
on that burning Day when the Fire is roaring forth its sparks.

He was the light and the brilliance we followed,
He was sight and hearing second only to Allah,
By Allah, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Messenger, the Prophet and Guide of His people.
Nor Has Allah created among His creatures,
One more faithful to His sojourner or His promise
than he who was the source of our light.
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright,
O best of mankind, It was though I were in a river,
But now, without you, I have become lonely in my thirst.

Taken from al-Miskeenah, translated by Shaykha Aisha Bewley.

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“Abu Bakr The Truthful” – Iqbal

One day the Holy Prophet said to his Companions,
‘The rich among you should give in the way of God’.
On hearing that command, an overjoyed ‘Umar stood up;
That day he had thousands of dirhams.
Today, for sure, he said in his heart,
My horse will take the lead from Abu Bakr’s.
So he brought his wealth to the Trustworthy
Prophet—
Sacrifice is needed to start a project off.
‘Umar’, asked the Prophet, the Sovereign of the world,
‘A passion for truth is the sole comfort of your
heart.
Did you keep anything back for your family?—
For a Muslim must honour the duty he bears to his relations.’
‘Half’, he said, ‘belongs to wife and children,
The rest I offer to the Community of Light.’
In the meantime that Companion of the Prophet arrived
Who gives strength to the edifice of love and devotion.
No man more loyal, he brought with him
Everything with value in the eyes of world:
Slaves, money, goods and chattels.
He brought his horses, their hooves shining like the moon,
And his camels, mules and asses.
The Prophet said, ‘It is necessary to think of one’s family too!’
That man, who knew the secrets of love, said,
‘You are the one from whom the moon and stars
Receive the brightness of their eyes;
And you are the one for whose sake
The universe was brought into being:
The lamp is enough for the moth,
The flower is enough for the nightingale—
For Abu Bakr the Prophet of God is enough’.
[Translated by Mustansir Mir]

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad singing Qasidas



Courtesy of CamISoc

Can we call ourselves the builders of the Alhambra?
Are we the worshippers of Cordoba?
Are we the conquerors of Constantinople?
We destroyed the idols of the Sanctuary,
but only to replace them with ourselves.

Iqbal

If only you could see us now,
How much further we have fallen.
If you were to write your words today,
no one could have pretended to read them.
That is because they would have set the pages aflame,
Not that would have made much difference anyway.

Who are you with your complaint?
You could converse with God as an intimate friend.
We have no such luxury,
We’re too scared to go that far.
Philosophers and thinkers discuss you,
But the farmer remains perplexed.
Who is this man they speak of,
Whose photo is this they display?
Can he help me to grow my crops?
I don’t understand a single word that they say.

Truly they never understood you then,
More so even now.
They turned you into an idol,
What a disgrace that is for you.
Here take his poetry,
Turn it into a chant.
Make it into your mantra,
Pay no heed to what it says.
He talks about Brahmins,
Maybe he wants you to become one too.

Poet of a nation he never knew,
A nation never set eyes on,
Never what he imagined.
Here we’ll do the thinking,
We’ll build this great nation for you.
You just lay there and rest,
We’ll do all the hard work,
and take all your bribes for you too.
We’ll pay you back we promise,
We’re honest men we swear.

Your ashes are left in our hearts,
I’m sure there was once a flame.
There’s still smoke from this candle,
There was a moth here too I’m sure.
Majnun’s sighs have come to an end,
But in sleep he still dreams of Layla.
The nightingale got lost in the winter,
The rose will be back in spring.

Am I just dreaming. Or did you even exist at all?

Falling

How I yearn to fall.
Surrounded by wind, with no destination in sight.
Find me a high place and let’s fly together.
Let’s be free of everything and just fall.

Adam’s wasn’t a punishment,
It was a blessing.
There’s no use in a treasure not worked for,
The sweat is what makes it sweet.

Let’s take off from Sinai,
Maybe there’s a burning bush at the bottom.

Or how does Hira sound?
Maybe there’s an angel waiting for us on the other side.

The Bride

Beauty is like a bride
Its essence exudes its inward and outward.

Perfumed and ornamented,
she is admired by all who see.

But its true beauty lies underneath
Behind the veil and adornment.

One must earn the right to go past.
To be able see her true beauty.

Nightingale & Rose

The nightingale is neither of east nor west.

From wherever the rose’s scent may come,
that is where he will fly and make his nest.

Until then, he will sit in his tree, sing his song,
and rest.

Driftwood

Be with the decree of Allah like one who has fallen in a river.

You will try to escape.
But each way you move you are forced somewhere else.
Pushing against the current is an impossible task.

It is only when you let the river take you.
Will you finally be at ease.

A discourse between a Shaykh and a Student

    The Student writes to the Shaykh

My Dearest Shaykh,

I write to you in earnest for your sincere advice. My heart is rent asunder. Not with the remembrance of the Allah, nor His beloved, that which is less than that, but something my heart desired more than anything in this world. There was a time when I knew my desire, but I dared not approach it out of fear and shyness. For many years after what I desired had left me, I regretted never approaching it in the proper manner. So that I may have taken the blessing of Allah and given thanks to Him for gracing me with a mercy which could not be counted.

Then after some years, it returned. I began to pray in earnest, that perhaps if in His Infinite Wisdom He may decree it to me, then I would be His humble and obedient slave, and give thanks to Him for the rest of my life. But out of fear of Him, I added to my prayers, that if He wished not to bestow it to me, then to give it to someone better. My Shaykh, Allah has granted the latter half of my prayer, and He has broken my heart.

Though my ruh is now free from anything but Him again, I still yearn, my nafs will not let go. My heart feels weak, and the tears run without cessation. It is as though an oft-repeated dream were coming true, one feels ecstasy when their fantasies become reality. But as I reached out to take hold, I woke up. And the dream was gone. I am still in this freshly-woken state. I still yearn to go back to sleep and return to the dream. I have realised that Allah decreed this for me as a test, but I find it hard to bear the results.

I write to you, perhaps your words will bring relief to me yet again.

    The Shaykh writes back the student

May the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah be upon you.

Know, that you should rejoice in your tribulation. Not in the way one rejoices with worldly affairs. Rejoicing in the world is displayed with smiles and laughter in the outward, the rejoicing of the spirit is a display of tears and overwhelment. The one who is put through tribulations is truly free of the world. Would a prisoner who was freed not bellow his liberty?

You say your heart is rent asunder? That it is broken? That which is soft does not break, it may become bent and moulded, but it never breaks. The remembrance of Allah is never sincere in hard hearts, that is why sometimes, He decides to break them. A wise man once said the heart is like gold, how can you know if it is pure if you do not place it in the fire? Do the tears now run when you hear His Book? Before you may have recited His words a hundred times over and never felt a thing. Now you recite an oft-repeated verse, and the heart and eyes cannot bear their beauty. It is like you have spent a lifetime in darkness and have now finally seen light. It is because your heart has been finally softened and reduced to a state in which it may properly appreciate its Lord. A king will never his grace his presence to a servant who thinks highly of himself.

You say Allah has granted your latter prayer? How many can say half their prayers have been answered? Know, that the greatest of believers are the ones who are faced with the greatest trials. Look at the life of the Habib (SAWS). Know, that a wound leaves a scar for a reason. A warrior’s scars seek to remind him of the days on the battlefield. In times of self-delusion, he looks to his scars and remembers when he was so close to death, and then as if all of a sudden, he is shook awake, he begins to appreciate the simple life he has been given again, and that his Lord saved him from the sword so that he may continue to be of service to Him. Thus it is like the scars of the heart. At times of sin we may remember when our heart was humbled and we turned back to our Lord, our sights full of tears when we felt like nothing. But the scars of the heart are not like the scars of the body. They are not so apparent as to be seen by one’s wandering gaze. One must always remember his heart’s scars so that they may hurry to admonish and rebuke him in times of abasement.

Though you may now feel like the world is on your shoulders, you will look back in time and see the beauty in what you have faced, and come to the realisation that there was only good in what He decreed for you. It is how Mawlana explains it, an ant on a magnificent rug only sees the bumpy threads he has to tread across, he does not see the beauty of the design and creation on which he is traversing. But the carpet maker looks from above and sees the intricacy of the design and he becomes well satisfied, the ant cannot fathom the carpet maker’s mind.

Be steadfast and remember Him often. Even the deepest wound heals with time…