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Al-Busiri’s Burda and Celebrating the Mawlid – Shaykh Muhammad Ba-Dhib

The love of the Prophet is shining on the faces of his lovers this month. Many are reciting Imam Busiri’s Burda poem. But is it a bid’ah (blameworthy innovation?) Shaykh Muhammad Ba-Dhib explains in this lecture.celebrating the mawlid

In Praise of the Prophet

The praise of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and mention of his qualities is something that the angels proclaim, and all of Allah’s creation engages in. Most of all, it is a matter than Allah himself proclaims, in the Qur’an and in the previous scriptures.

This is a reality that we need to establish in our hearts. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be swayed by those who deny the merit of gathering to praise the Prophet. Repetition of praise of the Prophet has a positive impact on deepening faith in the heart. Faith increases and decreases, and anything that helps it increases and stir its increase is praiseworthy.

Poetry is a means of conveying praise and celebration and love. In every culture, we find poetry embraced by the lovers praising their beloved. Poems have lasted the test of time, recited throughout the ages. These poems may be religious or otherwise, in Arabic English, Urdu and in all other languages.

Learning literature is a means of softening the human temperament. So let us remain within the art of sending blessings and praise of the Prophet. In the pre-Islamic times, the Arabic would memorise poetry rather than writing it down. Humans have preserved poetry because they have a natural inclination towards love and expressions of love. In fact, people would recite in the presence of the Prophet, who said, “Truly, in some poetry, there is great wisdom.”

The First Burda

In our tradition, we only reject poetry with immoral or lewd meanings. One of the poems that was recited in the mosque of the Prophet, is called “Burda,”or mantle, authored by Ka’ab ibn Zuhayr.

Ka’ab used to be one of the staunchest enemies of Islam, and used to write poetry lampooning Islam and the Prophet. However, guidance entered his heart, and he wrote a poem in praise of Islam. He entered the mosque and sought forgiveness from the Prophet for his past actions, who put his mantle over Ka’ab’s shoulders. Thus, his poem became called the “Burda,” or the mantle.

Interestingly, the first sixty lines of the poem were not religiously themed. Rather, they praised Su’ad, a lady whom Ka’ab had loved but had not been able to be with. The Prophet did not prevent his from reciting it in his mosque, nor did he criticise him. This proves that even non-religious poetry is permissible as long as it is not lewd or immoral in nature.

The Second Burda

It’s original name is “Al-Kawakib al-Duriyyah fi Madhi Khayr al-Bariyyah, ”or “The Shining Stars in Praising the Best of Creation.” However, it became famous as “the Burda,” to the point that it eclipsed Ka’ab’s original Burda.

Imam Muhammad al-Burisi is the author. He lived in Egypt but was originally from one of the Berber tribes of North Africa. He was the scribe for the local ruler, and would write the royal correspondence from the palace.

One day, as he advanced in age, he was affected by a type of paralysis. It took place suddenly, and nobody came to visit him. He stayed in his house alone, and sent a lot of blessings on the Prophet. Because he was a poet, he began composing a poem in praise of the Prophet, until he reached a line which he was unable to complete. He put his pen down and went to sleep, when he had a dream of the Prophet.  In his dream, the Prophet helped him complete the line, and then lay his mantle over al-Busiri’s body. When he woke up, his had been completely healed.  After he completed his poem, it began widely accepted and recited all over the Muslim world.

Imam al-Busiri’s Authority

It is interesting to note that Imam al-Busiri was not just a poet, but also an acclaimed scholar who studied with the best of his time. He took the Shadhili spiritual path who studies with Abu Abbas al-Mursi. His Burda became so famous that almost every major scholar wrote a commentary on it. Throughout the ages, no one contested the legitimacy of the Burda, whether they be grammarians, hadith scholars, or tafsir scholars. A few scholars would occasionally a few object to a line or two, but their questions could all be answered easily.

The problem is when people make categorical statements, such as “The Burda is shirk,”etc. This is a narrow-minded and intolerance approach. If hundreds of great scholars of the past had objected to it, they would have warned against it rather than promoting it.


 

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 9 – On Seeking Intercession

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.praiseqasida burdamiracles

Qasida Burda, Chapter 9

In this chapter, Imam al-Buṣirī expresses what he hopes to attain through the exquisite praise of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) which he has adorned this poem with: redemption. We learn of his deep remorse over the many wasted days, months, and years spent following his whims; and of the deceit experienced by those who exchange the permanent afterlife to gain the fleeting pleasures of the life of this world.intercession

Imam al-Buṣīrī is full of confidence in the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who never let anyone down. Never did someone hoping for his favour have his hopes dashed, nor did any of his neighbours leave without being honoured. How can he be let down, then, by the Messenger of Allah?

Click on the image below to scroll.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Chapter-9.pdf” title=”Chapter 9″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.nasheed hub
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


With gratitude to The Winterspring Mawlid and Dr. Asim Yusuf.


Resources for Seekers

 

Nasheed Hub: Qasida Burda Part 3–On Praise of the Prophet

The Nasheed Hub, an initiative of SeekersHub Global, aims to showcase the traditional Islamic art of nasheed, or Islamic devotional songs.praise

Qasida Burda, Chapter 3

After having his love discovered, and after having poured his heart out in expressing his deficiencies, the poet now juxtaposes his flaws with the perfections of his beloved. He starts by declaring yet another one of his flaws: not imitating the habitual practices of his beloved in matters of religion and devotion to Allah; something he – as a lover – should necessarily have done.

From this point on, the narrative changes. It is as though the slightest reference to the beloved removes himself, his flaws, and mistakes from his mind altogether. All that appears to his mind is the perfection of his beloved, and praise for the beloved flows off his tongue as water does from a waterfall: unceasing and plenteous.

It is not long before all cautious restraint is lost and he openly expresses the sweet, fragrant name of the beloved: Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Having identified him, he goes on to state that he is the Beloved in whose intercession all hopes are placed from every great, intruding calamity. The Beloved is no ordinary being: even the greatest of the great – the prophets – recognising that he has surpassed them, seek to gain from him. But, due to the supreme perfection Allah gave him, all they can aspire to is akin to a handful taken from an ocean.

Click on the image below to scroll.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://seekershub.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Chapter-3.pdf” title=”Chapter 3″]

About Nasheed Hub

Throughout the decades and civilisations of Islam, the vocal tradition, sometimes known as nasheed or devotional songs, were penned as a way of celebrating and giving thanks to Allah for the message of Islam, as well as for the Messenger himself.
These nasheeds were a way for people to turn towards their Lord in joyful celebration, rather than stringent routine. They were also tools to spread the message of Islam in a non-confrontational way. These nasheeds were able to reach out to those who were alienated or indifferent to the religion and the Muslim community, as well as to teach children who were too young for academic study.
These nasheeds originating from all corners of the Muslim world – from West Africa to Malaysia, from Turkey to Great Britian – mirror their own culture but all carry a common thread: love of Allah and His Messenger.
This series will explore the different nasheeds, penned by some of the great historical Muslim figures, poets, and scholars.


With gratitude to Al-Madina Institute


Resources for Seekers