All my life, praise of the Prophet remained on my lips

Commentary of poetic couplets

All my life, praise of the Prophet remained on my lips

Kashif Shahzad Attari

A’la Hazrat, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was a multidimensional personality. Simultaneously, he was the reviver of the 14th Century AH, a Mujtahid[1], an exceptional Islamic scholar, a Mufti, a commentator of the Quran, a Hafiz of the Quran, a translator of the Quran, a scholar of Hadees, an author of many works, a reformer, a sincere devotee of the Prophet and a poet. Upon reading the biography of the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, one ascertains many praiseworthy traits that can be termed as his specialities. One of those specialities was his ability to answer a question in the same language and style presented by the questioner. A question asked in Urdu would be answered in Urdu, a question asked in Farsi (i.e. Persian) would be answered in Farsi, and a question asked in Arabic would be answered in Arabic. Moreover, a question asked in prose form would be answered in prose form, and a question asked in poetic form would be answered in poetic form. Any intelligent person can understand how difficult it is to present a specific ruling of Fiqh by arranging it into poetic form that not only conveys the ruling of Shari’ah correctly, but also complies with the principles and rules of the art of poetry.

The following poetic question was presented to the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, which he also answered in poetic form. Read it and learn of the expertise that he had in the subjects of Fiqh and poetry:

Poetic question

عالمانِ شَرْع سے ہے اس طرح میراسوال

دیں جواب اس کا برائے حق مجھے وہ خوشخِصال

I present my question to the scholars of the sacred law,

Those good-natured folk should answer for the sake of God for sure,

گرکسی نے ترجمہ سجدے کی  آیت کا پڑھا

تب بھی سجدہ کرنا کیا اُس شخص پر واجب ہوا؟

If one reads a verse of sajdah, but in the translated word

Is necessity of performing the prostration still inferred?

اور ہوں سجدے تلاوت کے ادا کرنے جسے

پھر ادا کرنے سے ان سجدوں کے پہلے وہ مرے

As for one who had some Sajdahs of recital he’d amassed

But before fulfilling them, death came to him, he breathed his last

پس سَبُک دوشی کی اس کے شکل کیا ہوگی جناب

چاہئے ہے آپ کو دینا جواب باصواب

From his shoulders such a burden how can one ever alight?

I request you to provide the answer that is true and right

Poetic answer

ترجمہ بھی اصل سا  ہے وجہِ سجدہ بِالیقیں

فرق یہ ہے فَہم معنی اِس میں شرط، اُس میں نہیں

Translation, like the Arabic, necessitates Sajdah in fact

Understanding meaning is conditional in this, not that

آیتِ سجدہ سنی جاناکہ ہے سجدہ کی جا

اب زباں سمجھے نہ سمجھے سجدہ واجب ہوگیا

If he hears a verse of Sajdah, knowing that’s a place for it

Then understanding it or not, prostration is now requisite

ترجمہ میں اُس زباں کا جاننا بھی چاہئے

نظم ومعنی دوہیں ان میں ایک تو باقی رہے

For the translation, to know the language is compulsory

Word and meaning are two aspects; one at least still there must be

تاکہ مِنْ وَجْہٍ تو صادِق ہو سنا قرآن کو

ورنہ اک موجِ ہوا تھی چُھو گئی جو کان کو

So that from at least one aspect, hearing the Qur`an applies

Else it’s just a gust of wind that’s touched the ears whilst going by

ہے یہی مذہب بِهٖٖ يُفْتٰی  عَلَيْهِ الْاَ عْتِماَد

شامی از فیض ونہر   وَاللهُ اَعْلَم بِالرَّشَاد

This is the verdict of our school, on which scholars have relied

Shami from Faiz and Nahr – Allah knows truly what will guide

سجدہ کا فِدیہ نہیں اَشباہ میں تصریح کی

صَیْرَفِیّٰه میں اسی انکار کی تصحیح کی

Sajdah has no compensation, as Ashbah has clarified

In the Fiqh work Sayrafiyyah, this negation’s verified

کہتے ہیں واجب نہیں اس پر وصیت وقتِ موت

فدیہ گرہوتا تو کیوں واجب نہ ہوتا جَبْرِ فوت

To make a will for this when dying is not something obligatory

If atonement was an option, why would this not be necessary?

یعنی اس کا شَرْع میں کوئی بدل ٹھہر انہیں

جُز  ادایا توبہ وقتِ عِجز کچھ چارہ نہیں

The sacred law has no replacement at all for it nonetheless,

There’s no way out without performance, or to repent when powerless

یہ نہیں معنی کہ ناجائز ہے یا بیکار ہے

آخراک نیکی ہے نیکی ماحِیِ اَوزار ہے

This does not mean it’s unlawful, or there is no use therein

After all, it is a good deed; goodness wipes out filth of sin

قُلْتُهٗ اَخْذًا مِّنَ التَّعْلَیْلِ فِیْ اَمْرِالصَّلٰوۃ

وَھُوَ بَحْثٌ ظَاھِرٌ  وَالْعِلْمُ حَقاًّ لِلْاِلٰه

I say this taking from the reasoning in the matter of Salah

Which is a clear-cut discussion, and true knowledge is with Allah

(Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 8, p. 238; Jahan-e-Imam Ahmad Raza, vol. 13, p. 220)

Whose Poetical Work is Deewan-e-Ali?

In the famous work of Hanafi Fiqh, Al-Durr-ul-Mukhtar, there is poetry on the merits of knowledge and scholars that has been ascribed to Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtada رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. In the commentary of Al-Durr-ul-Mukhtar, namely Radd-ul-Muhtar, this poetry ascribed to him is said to be found in his poetic work, i.e. Deewan-e-Ali. In his distinguished marginal notes of Radd-ul-Muhtar, namely Jadd-ul-Mumtar, the summary that the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah wrote in relation to this is as follows: ‘The ascription of Deewan-e-Ali to Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtada رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is incorrect; only a few couplets are narrated from him. Shaykh e Akbar Muhyuddin Ibn-e-Arabi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه said in a book called Muhadara-tul-Abrar that the aforementioned verses belong to someone called Ali bin Abu Taalib Qayrwani.’ (Jadd-ul-Mumtar, vol. 1, p. 112)

Guidance on Poetry

In addition to various subjects and sciences, A’la Hazrat, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, would also be asked to provide Islamic guidance in relation to certain poetry, its commentary and the subject of poetry in general. His answers to such questions, found on pages 47-57 and 67-68 in volume 29 of Fatawa Razawiyyah, demonstrate well his expertise in this regard.

Correcting Poetry that was Incongruent with Shari’ah

Just as the Imam of Ahl-us-Sunnah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه would immediately point out and correct words and actions that were incongruent with Shari’ah, he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه would also point out the ruling on any couplets of poetry that were recited in his presence if they were contrary to Shari’ah. If possible, he would also replace the incorrect wordings of the couplets. Let us have a look at two examples:

1.   Once, an individual read the following line of poetry before him:

‘Shaan e Yusuf jo ghati hai, to issi dar se ghati’

‘The greatness of Yusuf that is reduced

is reduced because of him [the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم].’

A’la Hazrat رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه stopped the individual before he continued any further and said, ‘The Noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم came to enhance the greatness of the Prophets, not to reduce it.’ Thereafter, he changed the aforementioned line as follows:

‘Shaan e Yusuf jo barhi hai, to issi dar se barhi

‘The greatness of Yusuf that is enhanced

is enhanced because of him [the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم].

(Jahan-e-Imam Ahmad Raza, vol. 13, p. 642)

2.   Once, the following lines of poetry belonging to a famous poet were read in his presence:

‘Kab hayn darakht Hazrat-e-wala kay samnay,

Majnoon kharay hayn Khaymah-e-Layla kay samnay’

These aren’t mere trees standing in front of His Eminence (i.e. the Holy Prophet)

Rather, they are like Majnoon standing in front of the tent of Layla

A’la Hazrat immediately pointed out that it is disrespectful to draw a resemblance between the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and Layla (a woman in whose love Majnoon was famously infatuated) , and between the green dome [of Masjid Nabawi] and the tent of Layla. Thereafter, he changed the second line so that it read as follows:

‘Kab hayn darakht Hazrat-e-wala kay samnay,

Qudsi kharay hayn Arsh-e-Mu’lla kay samnay’

These aren’t mere trees standing in front of His Eminence

Rather, they are like angels standing in front of the Majestic Throne

(Jahan-e-Imam Ahmad Raza, vol. 13, p. 641)

Dear devotees of the Prophet, the Imam of the Ahl-us-Sunnah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه spent his whole life in guarding the honour of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and spreading the message of his love. If a summary of Imam Ahmad Raza’s رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه life was to be presented with brevity, the following couplet illustrates the essence of his life:

‘As the flame of Prophetic love manifested from my heart,

All my life, praise of the Prophet remained on my lips.’

(Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish, vol. 3, p. 5)



[1] A scholar who has the ability to independently derive Islamic rulings 

Share

Articles

Comments


Security Code