Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
I came across a hadith within the Shamail Muhammadiyya in the section of Poetry. There’s a narration mentioned about the battle of Hunayn where the Prophet ﷺ recites the lines:
انا النبي لا كذب
انا ابن عبد المطلب.
It’s a clear fact that the Prophet ﷺ never composed poetry, nor was he able to, but here I’m slightly confused with this narration. Is this something the Prophet ﷺ composed, or did someone else compose it for him? As someone who wishes to maintain love for him, I’d appreciate an explanation of this verse recited.
I pray you are well.
You’re correct in saying the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) never composed poetry, nor was he able to. This is something we can understand from the Quran (Quran, 36:69), as well as the fact that this was beneath his tremendous rank (Biqa‘i, Nazm al-Durar).
The words can, however, be placed on one of the meters of Arabic poetry. This is not far-fetched, as those meters can easily express ordinary speech without one even intending his words to fit on the meter. That is the main point here: he did not go out of his way to compose lines of poetry; rather, these words he used to affirm his Prophethood and descent from one of the most famous of the Arabs just happened to be on that meter.
A few years ago, I was reading a versified translation of Rumi’s Masnavi, capably rendered into iambic pentameter by Jawid Mojaddedi. I found that after a few minutes of reading out loud, I was able to easily say things in a way that fit the ten beat meter used in the translation.
This shows that it is not difficult to say something that can fit on a poetic meter. It’s also not called poetry in the Arabic language unless one intends it.
Therefore, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not compose poetry, and it’s not surprising that a couple of his many documented statements should fit on such a poetic scale.
May Allah fill our hearts and souls with certainty, and deep love of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History, he moved to Damascus in 2007, where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital, and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.