The Story of Qaswidah al-Burdah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Qaswidah al-Burdah, the “Poem of the Mantle or the Cloak” is an ode of praise to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  The qaswidah was composed by Imam Abu ‘Abdallah Muhammad ibn Sa'id ibn Hammad ibn Muhsin ibn Abu Surur ibn Hibban ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Mallak as-Sanhaji al-Buswiri ash-Shadzili (q.s.).  The actual title of the Poem is Kawakib ad-Durriyah fi Madh Khayr al-Bariyah which means ‘Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation’.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was a Sufi in the Shadziliyyah Order.  He lived in Egypt, where he wrote under the patronage of ibn Hinna, the vizier.

Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was from the Sanhaja, a Berber tribe from North Africa.  Shaykh al-Maqrizi (r.a.) claimed that Imam al-Buswiri’s (q.s.) family was from the Hammad Citadel in Morocco and was a part of the Banu Habnun tribe.  Little is known of his childhood although it is most likely that he received the usual education of the times and most probably memorised the entire Qur’an.

Sometime during his youth, he made his way to Cairo, where he pursued his studies.  There he was exposed to the important Islamic sciences, the Arabic language and linguistics, literature, history, and the biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Even as a young man, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was known to compose poetry, although not of a religious nature.  While he is best known for the deeply religious Qaswidah al-Burdah and the Hamziyyah poems, Imam al-Buswiri’s (q.s.) complete diwan is still extant and includes all sorts of poetry.  They show his transition from an insecure youth to a man of the Path.

Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was short and skinny.  Because of this, he was ridiculed by people and a source of their jokes.  Early on in his career, he wrote satire poems that revealed his feelings about being ridiculed and his insecurities.  He did not take criticism very well, especially criticism from other poets.  He wrote a rebuttal to the poet, Zayn ad-Din ibn ar-Ra’ad, who had insulted his works.  He was known for having a harsh tongue and took pleasure in composing hija’, or satire to insult his enemies.  His later poetry consisted mainly of panegyric poems praising the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and bears little similarity to that of his earlier satirical poems.  After becoming a murid of the thariqa’, he underwent a spiritual awakening, which is seen in the Qaswidah al-Burdah and the accompanying story of its composition, and refrained from his behaviour.  Sufi hagiographies always described him as an older man with a head of white hair.  He was probably much older by the time he took initiation.

Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) lived in various locations in Cairo and in the Nile delta region, working primarily as a scribe and poet for the local government.  Once, a local ruler offered him the position of muhtasib, or market inspector, in Cairo, but he rejected it.  From this, we can ascertain that Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) must have had knowledge of fiqh as that position required a thorough knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence and law.  He lived for a long time in the Lower Egypt town of Bilbis.  He worked as a scribe and manuscript copyist.

Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was interested in religious polemics and read the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and religious history of Judaism and Christianity.  He read it primarily to defend Islam and the position of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Some of his work colleagues were Jews and Christians.  He was known to engage in fiery debates with them, being interested in proving that the Gospels did not indicate that Jesus (a.s.) was a god, that it contained signs of the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  He was also concerned with correcting the mistakes in the Bible regarding the stories of the prophets and of their alleged sins.  He was a defender of the anbiya’.

Later on in his life, at least some years before his death in 686 AH / 1287 CE, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) became a murid of Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi (q.s.) in Alexandria and joined the Shadzili Order.  At least in the beginning of his training in the Order, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) struggled to follow the principles of thariqa’.  He desired to live in isolation from people but was prevented from doing so as he had a large family and was often unable to feed them due to his poverty:

At the time, Alexandria was a center for North African taswawwuf.  The Shadzili Order then was still in its infancy.  Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi (q.s.) was the murid of Imam Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.).  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was fond of his shaykh and studied taswawwuf and the practices of the thariqa’ under him.  This had a strong influence on his later poetry.  He was faithful to his Order and wrote poems full of praise of Imam ash-Shadzili (q.s.) and Shaykh al-Mursi (q.s.), of their spiritual attributes and ranking.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) was the contemporary of Shaykh ibn al-Farid (q.s.), the great Sufi poet and mystic.  He was also a friend of Imam ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.), the Sufi scholar and jurist who wrote the famous Hikam as well as the spiritual biography of Imam ash-Shadzili (q.s.) and Shaykh al-Mursi (q.s.).

Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) is a wali who had reached the maqam of Ghawtsiyyah al-Kubra.  When he walked down the street, the young and old would come out to greet him and kiss his hand.  His body was said to have emitted a sweet scent and he wore fine clothes, had a head of snow-white hair, a humble smile, was an ascetic and had a respectable and virtuous character.  This was in contrast to his earlier life.  The maqam and qubur is located in Alexandria.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) passed away in 1294 CE / 693 AH.

The people of piety, the Sufis, have traditionally venerated the verses of Qaswidah al-Burdah.  The poem is memorised and recited in majalis adz-dzikr and Milad an-Nabi.  Its verses decorate the walls of public buildings and mosques.  This poem decorated the Masjid an-Nabawi in Madina for centuries until the accursed Wahhabis erased all but two lines under the as-Sa’ud dynasty.  Over ninety commentaries have been written on this poem and it has been translated into Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Berber, Punjabi, English, French, German, Sindhi, Malay and many other languages.  Even in Imam al-Buswiri’s (q.s.) lifetime, it was regarded as sacred.  Up to the present time, its verses are used as amulets; it is recited in the prayers for the dead; it has been frequently edited and made the basis for other poems, and new poems have been made by interpolating four or six lines after each line of the original.

Qaswidah al-Burdah was inspired by the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and was the catalyst of a miracle.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) narrated the miraculous circumstances of his inspiration to write the qaswidah: “I had composed a number of poems in praise for the Prophet (s.a.w.), including one that was suggested to me by my friend Zayn ad-Din Ya’qub ibn az-Zubayr.  Sometime after that, I was stricken by stroke that paralysed half of my body.  I thought that I would compose this poem, and so I made supplications to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to intercede for me and ask Allah (s.w.t.) to Cure me.  I repeatedly sang the poem, wept, prayed, and asked for intercession.  Then I slept and in my dream, I saw the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He wiped my face with his blessed hands and covered me in his cloak.  Then I woke up and found I was able to walk; so, I got up and left my house.  I had told no one about what had happened.

I encountered a faqir on my way and he said to me, ‘I want you to give me the poem in which you praise the Prophet.’

I asked, ‘Which one?’

So, he replied, ‘The one that you composed during your sickness.’

Then he recited the first verse and said, ‘I swear by Allah that I heard it in a dream last night being sung in the presence of the Prophet Muhammad.  I saw the Prophet was pleased with it and covered the person who sang it with his cloak.’

So, I recited the poem to him, and he memorised it and related his vision to others.”

The poet gave this poem to the faqir his secret and its barakah became known to the people.  When this poem reached Baha’ ad-Din, a governor, he regarded it so highly that he would stand while listening to it.  It is also narrated that Sa’ad ad-Din Faruqi, who was a viceroy of Baha’ ad-Din, had become blind.  In a dream he saw a pious person who told him to take the Qaswidah Burdah from Baha’ ad-Din and place it on his eyes.  In the morning, he told Baha’ ad-Din about this dream.  The Qaswidah al-Burdah was brought and with sincerity and conviction, Sa’ad ad-Din placed it on his eyes.  Through its barakah, Allah (s.w.t.) Restored his eyesight.

Qaswidah al-Burdah is divided into 10 chapters and 160 verses.  Interspersing the verses is the refrain, “My Master, Descend Peace and Blessings Continuously and Eternally on Your Beloved, the Best of All Creation.”  Each verse ends with the Arabic letter mim, a style called mimiyah.  The 10 chapters of Qaswidah al-Burdah comprise: On Lyrical Love & Yearning; On Warnings about the Caprices of the Self; On the Praise of the Prophet (s.a.w.); On His Birth; On His Miracles; On the Exalted Stature and Miraculous Merits of the Qur’an; On the Mi’raj of the Prophet (s.a.w.); On the Chivalrous Struggle of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.); On Seeking Intercession through the Prophet (s.a.w.); and On Intimate Discourse & the Petition of One’s State.

In this video, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad talks about the Qaswidah al-Burdah, the celebrated “Poem of the Cloak”.

The following is a recitation of the Qaswidah al-Burdah.

The introduction and translation has been adapted from the Khanqah of Shaykh Zakariya (r.a.), October 1995, Lenasia, South Africa.

Chapter One concerns the love of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  In this chapter, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) spoke of his love for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  He said he tried to conceal this love and who his beloved is.  For this reason, he has not mentioned Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) directly in the whole chapter.  He did mention places and things close to Madina, alluding to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Due to this excessive love and devotion for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), he became completely restless, thus exposing this love to everyone.

1.         Is it because of your remembrance of the neighbours of Dzi Salam,
2.         That tears mixed with blood are flowing (from your eyes)?
3.         Or is it because of the breeze blowing from Kazimah?
4.         Or it is the lightning struck in the darkness of the night Idam?
5.         What has happened to your eyes: (the more) you tell them to stop, the more they (tears) continue flowing?
6.         What is the matter with your heart: (the more) you tell it to come to its senses, (the more it is distracted)?
7.         Does the lover think that his love can be concealed,
8.         While his eyes are shedding tears and his heart is glowing?
9.         Had it not been for the love, you would not have shed tears at the ruins (of your beloved),
10.       Nor would you become restless at the remembrance of the cypress (tree) of the high mountain.
11.       How do you deny love after the testimony,
12.       Borne against you by (such) reliable witnesses as you and your illness?
13.       Love has ingrained two lines of fear, and withered your face,
14.       On your cheeks like yellow rose and the reddish tree.
15.       Yes!  Thoughts of the Beloved came to me at night and kept me awake.
16.       And love transforms pleasure into pain.
17.       O you who reproach me, regarding my love, excuse me;
18.       From me to you if you do justice, you would not reproach me.
19.       My state (of love) has been expressed to you, (now) my secret is no longer concealed,
20.       From those who malign (me), nor is there (something to) check my agony.
21.       You have sincerely advised me, I did not heed it.
22,       For verily a lover is deaf to those who advise him.
23.       I regarded with suspicion the advice of the elders in reproaching me.
24.       (Wisdom) in the advice of the elders is above suspicion.

Chapter Two concerns restraining lust and carnal desires.  In this chapter, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) mentioned two reasons for restraining of lust and carnal desires.  After mentioning love in the first chapter, he now mentioned restraining lust and carnal desires.  He also mentioned that his entire life has been spent in sin.  He sincerely regrets what he had done and repented to Allah (s.w.t.).  Secondly, restraining lust and carnal desires is essential for gaining love for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  The love which one has for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is a pure love and can only be attained by purifying oneself of lust and carnal desires.

1,         Verily my soul which is laden evil did not heed the advice.
2.         Due to its ignorance, from the warning by grey hair and old age,
3.         And I have not prepared, for good deeds, a feast;
4.         For a guest (that) has lodged on (my) head nor did I honour (him).
5.         Had I known that I would not be able to honour him (it),
6.         I would have concealed my secret, which is exposed, by dying.
7.         Who is there that can restrain my wayward-self from its waywardness,
8.         Just as unmanageable horses are restrained by resins?
9.         Do not try, through sinning, to subdue sensual desires,
10.       For verily food, only increases sensual desires.
11.       Your Self (desires) is like, when breastfed,
12.       Loves suckling but when you wean it, will stop.
13.       Then stop its inclinations and beware that it does not overpower you.
14.       Verily lust, whenever it overpowers, (will) kill or maim (your character).
15.       And guard it while it is grazing in (the field of) actions
16.       If it enjoys pasture, do not let it roam (graze) freely.
17.       How often has pleasure been considered good, whereas it turned out to be deadly?
18.       Because he does not know that there is poison in the fat.
19.       And fear the evil of (both) hunger and satiation.
20.       For most times hungers (poverty) is more evil that overeating.
21.       And shed tears from those eyes which have become full,
22.       Of forbidden sights and regard it as obligatory (upon yourself) to guard your eyes from forbidden things.
23.       And oppose (your) Self (nafs) and shaythan and disobey them both.
24.       And if both of them give you sincere advice, regard it as lies.
25.       And do not obey them both (nafs and shaythan), as an enemy or as a wise (person),
26.       For you know well the deception of (such) an enemy or a wise (person).
27.       I seek Forgiveness from Allah from such sayings (preachings) which I do practice upon,
28.       For verily I have attributed (claimed), through this, offspring from a barren woman.
29.       I command you to do good, but I do not command myself to do the same.
30.       And I was not steadfast (on faith) so then of what use (value) is my saying to you: “Be steadfast!” (on faith).
31.       And I made no provisions before death of voluntary (nafl) worship.  And I did not perform swalah nor did I fast except what was obligatory.

Chapter Three concerns the praises of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  After claiming his love in the first chapter, and how to attain it, in the second, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) began the praises of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  He openly declared his love and showed the great qualities and prefect character of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  While showing his love, he also showed the unrestricted and unlimited Love which Allah (s.w.t.) has for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  When Allah (s.a.w.) has Praised the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), then why should he and all of us also not try to excel in our praises and love for Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)?

1.         I transgressed the sunnah of him who passed the night (in ‘ibadah),
2.         Until his feet complained of injury due to being swollen,
3.         And he tied and folded, on account of hunger, around his stomach,
4.         A stone beneath which is his delicate skin.
5.         And high mountains of gold (tried to) tempt him,
6.         Towards it, but he was (completely) disinclined due to his high courage.
7.         His piety increased in spite of his need,
8.         For verily need never prevails (overpowers) the infallible.
9.         How can the necessities of such a noble personality incline him towards this world,
10.       For had it not been for him this world would not have come out of non-existence.

Verses 11to 18 are well known, and are always being recited, sometimes in juma’ah.

11.       Muhammad (s.a.w.) is the leader of both worlds and both creations (man and jinn),
12.       And of both groups, Arabs and non-Arabs.
13.       Our Nabi, the one who commands (good), forbids evil.  There is none (comparable to him).
14.       More truthful than him in saying "No" or "Yes."
15.       He is (Allah’s) Most Beloved, whose intercession is hoped for.
16.       For every fear (and distress) that is going to come (on the day) of agony (and fears).
17.       He called (people) towards Allah, so those who cling to him,
18.       Clinging to a rope which will never snap.
19.       He transcends the Anbiya’, physically and in (noble) character.
20.       And (the other Anbiya’) cannot come near his in knowledge and noble nature kindness.
21.       They all obtained from Rasulullah (s.a.w.),
22.       (Like a) handful (of water) from the ocean or (a few) sips from continuous rains.
23.       And they all stopped before him at their (assigned) limits,
24.       (Either) of a point of knowledge or to gain one wisdom from (his) wisdom.
25.       For he is the one with whom, ended all outward and inward perfection.
26.       And then the Creator of all creation Chose him as (His) Most Beloved.
27.       He has no equal in his magnificence.
28.       The jewel of (excellence) in him is indivisible.
29.       Discard what the Christians claim about their Nabi,
30.       Then decide and say what you wish in praise of him,
31.       And attribute towards his personality whatever you wish of excellence.
32.       And attribute to his dignified status as mush greatness as you wish.
33.       For verily excellence of the Messenger of Allah has no (limits),
34.       Bounds, that a speaker might (be able to) express with his mouth.
35.       If his miracles were proportionate (according) to his rank, in greatness,
36.       Then his name would have, when called out brought decaying bones back to life.
37.       He did not try to (test) us with that which would confound our minds,
38.       Out of keen interest (kindness) for us, neither were we suspicious about the truthfulness of his mission) nor were we confounded (by his doctrines).
39.       His perfect inner nature made people helpless from comprehending, so it was not understood,
40.       Those near and far, except according to their (helpless) imperfect understanding,
41.       Like how the sun is seen by the eyes from far.
42.       Verily small, yet hurts (dazzles) the eye (when you stare at it).
43.       And can the reality of him be comprehended in this world.
44.       A sleeping nation whose description of him are (like interpretations of) a dream.
45.       So, the extreme depth of (our) knowledge concerning him, is that he is a man.
46.       And verily he is the best of all the Creation of Allah.
47.       Every miracle which all showed,
48.       Verily they have been derived from his Nur.
49.       For verily he is the Sun of virtue (and) they (Anbiya’) are its stars,
50.       Which show their lights to people only in the dark,
51.       Until when the sun rose his light spread,
52.       Universally and gave life to all the nations.
53.       How noble are the physical qualities of Nabi (s.a.w.), adorned with good character.
54.       (Who) was vested with beauty and disguised by pleasant temperament.
55.       (He) is like a blooming flower in its freshness and the full moon in splendour,
56.       And the ocean in generosity and time its fearless courage.
57.       Even when alone, it appears sure to his grandeur,
58.       As though (he is) in the midst of a large army and its retinue.
59.       It is like pearls well preserved in oysters.
60.       From the two mines, of his speech and his smiles.
61.       No perfume equals the dust (earth) which is touching his body.
62.       Glad tidings be to the person who smells it (the dust) and kisses it.

Chapter Four concerns the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  In this chapter, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) spoke of the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  In the previous chapter, his praises were mentioned.  The blessed day on which Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was born is a praiseworthy event.  The birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) illuminated the entire universe.  Some miracles and incidents which took place at the time of birth are mentioned in this chapter.  These were signs of the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was Sent to remove all difficulties and calamities from the world.

1.         His birth distinctly showed his pure origin.
2.         O the excellence of his beginning and his end!
3.         On that day the Persians discovered that they (were going face misfortune),
4.         Were warned with the approach of misfortune and punishment.
5.         And the walls of the palace of Kisra trembled and crumbled,
6.         Like how the army of Kisra was scattered never to be untied again.
7.         And the fire (of the Persians) took a cool breath (subsided and died out), out of regret,
8.         While the rivers (of Persia) had sleepless eyes (dries up) from excessive sorrow.
9.         Sawah (a village in Persia) became grief stricken with the drying up of its lake,
10.       And the (thirsty) water bearer returned in anger with disappointment.
11.       It is as though fire became wet like water,
12.       Due to grief, while water was (affected by) the blazing fire.
13.       And the jinn were shouting at the appearance of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the Nur was glistening.
14.       And the truth (nubuwwat) appeared with these anwar, and with their voices.
15.       (The kafir) became blind and deaf, to the announcements of glad tidings.
16.       Nor did they hear, and the lighting of warning was nor seen by them,
17.       After their fortune tellers had informed the people,
18.       That their false religions would not stand.
19.       And even after they witnessed shooting stars on the horizon,
20.       Falling, just as (their) idols were (falling) on earth.
21.       So much so that they kept running from the path of wahy.
22.       The devils (shayathin), one after the other,
23.       As though in running away, the shayathin were the army of Abraha.
24.       Or like that army (put to flight) upon whom threw pebbles,
25.       Which he threw after their making tasbih in his (mubarak hands).
26.       Like how Sayyidina Yunus (a.s.) when he made tasbih (of Allah) was thrown out from the stomach of the swallowing (fish).

Chapter Five concerns the blessedness of the da’wah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).

1.         The trees answered his call, prostrating,
2.         Walking towards him on shins (truck) without feet.
3.         It is though writing lines that were written,
4.         With their branches, calligraphically writing of his perfection.
5.         Like the cloud following him wherever he went,
6.         Sheltering him from the intense heat, (as that) of an oven in the blazing summer.
7.         I take an oath (of truth) by the moon that was split, it bears,
8.         A connection with his heart (which shows) the truth of my oath.
9.         What excellence qualities and noble deeds the cave contained (in it),
10.       While every eye (of the disbelievers) was blind.
11.       The truth (sidq) and the true (swiddiq) in the cave were not seen (by the disbelievers).
12.       And they were saying, "There is no one in the cave".
13.       They thought a wild dove and a spider would not,
14.       Lay an egg, or spin a web for the Best of Creation.
15.       The Protection of Allah (s.w.t.) (made him) dispensed with double,
16.       From armours and high forts.
17.       Whenever time caused me any distress and I took refuge in him.
18.       I receive shelter from him which was not misused.
19.       I did not ask for the wealth of the two worlds from his hand.
20.       But I received a great gift the best hand that was ever kissed.
21.       Do not deny that his dreams are revelations (wahy), for verily his,
22.       Heart does not sleep, when eyes sleep.
23.       And this was at (the period of) puberty of his prophethood.
24.       At that time dreams cannot be denied.
25.       Great are the Blessings of Allah that wahy is not earned.
26.       Nor was any nabi accused (of lying when) giving knowledge of the unseen.
27.       His miracles are (completely) clear, not hidden from anyone.
28.       Without it, justice cannot be established amongst people.
29.       How often has his hand granted freedom (cure) from disease by (his) touch?
30.       And set free the insane from the chains (fetters) of insanity?
31.       He revived the starving year (of famine) through his du’a,
32.       Until it resembled a white spot on black times,
33.       By means of a cloud which rained so abundantly, you would think large rivers,
34.       Gushing forth from the sea or like the torrential flood of Arim.

Chapter Six concerns the Glory of the Qur’an.

1.         Allow me to describe the miracles of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) (performed).
2.         Like the lighting of fires on the hillside at night for guests.
3.         The beauty of a pearl is further enhanced in a necklace.
4.         But its value does not diminish in the least when not strung on a necklace.
5.         So why should the ambitions of those who praise not increase towards,
6.         That which is of noble character and good habits,
7.         Verses of truth from the Most Merciful newly heard.
8.         (As well as being) Eternal which is quality Who is described with Eternity.
9.         It is not connected with any period of time, while it informs us,
10.       About the hereafter as well as of ‘Ad and Iram.
11.       Which remains with us forever, therefore it is superior to every miracle,
12.       Of the other anbiya’ (for) when (their miracles) came but did not remain.
13.       Absolutely clear (as evidence) so it did not leave (room for any) doubts,
14.       By the enemies nor so they require any judge.
15.       No one opposed it ever except for the vehement enemy.
16.       (Due to) the enmity of the enemy towards it, (but that he) refrained from it seeking a truce.
17.       Its eloquence refuted the accusations of its objectors.
18.       Just as a respectable man keeps off the hand of a transgressor from his harem.
19.       Its meaning is like the waves of the ocean in helping (one another)
20.       And the (Qur’an) transcends the jewels of the sea in beauty and value.
21.       Its wonders cannot be counted nor comprehended.
22.       Nor would you (be) satiated by its constant repetition (recitation).
23.       It cools the eye of its reciter, so I said to him,
24.       “You have succeeded with the hope of Allah, therefore hold steadfast onto it.”
25.       If you recite it due to fear of the heat of blazing fire,
26.       Then you have doused the blazing fire with its cool water.
27.       It is at al-Kawtsar with which faces are illuminated,
28.       Of the sinners even though they came to it (with faces) black as coal.
29.       It is like the straight bridge like the scales in equilibrium.
30.       Justice, without which, amongst man cannot be established.
31.       Do not be astonished if the jealous person rejects it,
32.       (Feigning) ignorance while they are shrewd.
33.       Verily the eye rejects the ray of the sun due to dust.
34.       The mouth rejects the (sweet) taste of water due to sickness.

Chapter Seven concerns the Mi’raj of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) wrote this poem in chronological sequence concerning the life and mission of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  After praising Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and mentioning his birth, he discussed the Invitation of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) toward Allah (s.w.t.).  With the first wahy, the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is proclaimed.  In this chapter, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) spoke of the Mi'raj of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to the seventh heaven.  On this journey, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) passed the Sidrat al-Muntaha and was taken to the Divine Presence.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) showed that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) superseded every other Creation in rank.  From this, one can gauge his exalted status.

1.         You the best of those to whose court seekers of bounties resort,
2.         Running the (mounted) on the backs of fast camels.
3.         And O you who is the greatest sign for he who takes a lesson.
4.         And O you who is the greatest bounty for a person who avails himself of it.
5.         You travelled by night from one sacred place to another,
6.         As the full moon travels trough intense darkness.
7.         And you continued ascending until you attained a position,
8.         At the distance of two cubits’ length, as has never been attained nor sought.
9.         And you preferred due to your position by all the anbiya’,
10.       And mursalin, just as a servant gives preference to his Master.
11.       You passed the seven heavens with them,
12.       In a procession in which you were the standard bearer,
13.       Until you left no goal (for) any competitor to strive for.
14.       In closeness, nor any (room for ascent) for anyone to advance.
15.       You made inferior every position by (your) advance, when,
16.       You were Invited to His Majestic and Unique Position,
17.       So that you may be successful in a reaching the Most Concealed,
18.       From all eyes, and secrets Well Concealed,
19.       So, you acquired every (status) worthy of pride unrivalled,
20.       And you surpassed every position which none other passed.
21.       And extremely excellent are the ranks that were Granted to you.
22.       And incomprehensible are those Bounties which Conferred upon you.
23.       Glad tiding be to us, O people of Islam.  We have,
24.       By the Grace of Allah (s.w.t.) a pillar which is indestructible.
25.       When Allah (s.w.t.) called, the one who invited us, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) to His worship,
26.       Because of the noblest of messengers, we are the noblest of umam.

Chapter Eight concerns the jihad of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). Up to the time of Mi’raj, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the swahabah were living in Makkah.  In the thirteenth year of nubuwwat, they were Commanded by Allah (s.w.t.) to make hijrah to Madinah.  After establishing an Islamic state in Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was Given Permission to make jihad against the kuffar.  By means of jihad and tabligh, Islam became the dominant religion.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) discussed, in this chapter, the jihad of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), as well as his unflinching faith and trust in Allah (s.w.t.).  He also discussed his unparalleled bravery, heroic feats and spirit of sacrifice for the Diyn of Islam by both Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as well as the swahabah.

1.         The hearts of his enemies were struck with terror at the news of his advent.
2.         Just as a heedless goat that has strayed the heard becomes scared to a sudden alarm.
3.         He never ceased to encounter them at every battle,
4.         Until, by the effects of lances they were like meat on a chopping block.
5.         They loved fleeing that they would envy,
6.         The corpses which were carried away by vultures and eagles.
7.         Nights would pass without them knowing number.
8.         As long as it was not nights of the sacred months.
9.         It is as though the religion of Islam was a guest that visited their house,
10.       With every brave warrior, greedy for the flesh of the enemy.
11.       He used to lead an ocean of an army on galloping horses.
12.       They would strike (the enemy) with a massive wave of brave warriors.
13.       Of every volunteer, having hope of Reward from Allah,
14.       Fighting to exterminate the roots of kufr and to destroy it,
15.       Until the religion of Islam became of them,
16.       Reunited after her estrangement, with her family,
17.       Always taken care of by an affectionate father
18.       And a loving husband, so she did not suffer from orphanhood nor widowhood.
19.       They were mountains, so ask about them from him who fought them.
20.       What was his experience with them in each contest (battle)?
21.       Ask (them about the condition of) Hunayn, Badr, Uhad.
22.       The verdict death for them was more severe than an epidemic.
23.       (They made their) white (shining) swords red (with blood) after they were plunged,
24.       Into every black lock of (hair) of their enemies.
25.       And they write (with arrows) in calligraphic writing (on those of the bodies), which was left out,
26.       By their pens (lances).  Like undotted letters,
27.       Completely clad with weapons they had characteristic marks to distinguish them.
28.       Like a rose is distinguished by (characteristic) marks from a thorn tree,
29.       The winds of Help from Allah (s.w.t.) would guide you to their fragrance,
30.       So, you would think every brave man to be a flower in the bud,
31.       As though they were, when on horseback like the plants on hills.
32.       On account of the strength and bravery, not because of the tightness of their saddles,
33.       The hearts of the enemies flew into terror (due to their) prowess.
34.       So, they could not make distinction between a lamb and a mighty warrior.
35.       And the person who has the help of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) with him,
36.       Even if a lion meets him in its den, it begins to fear.
37.       And you would never see a friend not assisted,
38.       By him, nor would you find any enemy, but in pieces.
39.       He lodged his ummah in the fort of his religion.
40.       Like a lion which lodges with its cubs in a jungle.
41.       How many queries did the Words of Allah have with the defiant,
42.       Concerning him, and the clear evidence, disputed many a plaintiff?
43.       It is sufficient for you as a miracle (to have so vast) knowledge in an unlettered person,
44.       In the period of ignorance, and such noble etiquettes in an orphan.

Chapter Nine concerns seeking Forgiveness from Allah (s.w.t.) and the intercession of Rasulullah (s.a.w.).  After discussing the life of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), his perfection and exalted status, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.), in this chapter, sought Forgiveness from Allah (s.w.t.) through the intercession and wasilah of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) said that his life was wasted in sin and disobedience; he regretted his misdeeds and turned towards Allah (s.w.t.) seeking Forgiveness and Repentance.  He used this poem as a wasilah through Rasulullah (s.a.w.) to gain Acceptance in the Court of Allah (s.w.t.).

1.         I served him with praise, by means of which I ask to be pardoned,
2.         The sins of a life passed in poetry and serving (other).
3.         As these two have garlanded me with those consequences which I fear.
4.         As though I am due to it (poetry and serving others) a sacrificial animal.
5.         I obeyed the misleading passions of youth in both conditions and I did not,
6.         I achieved but sin and remorse.
7.         O the great regret of my soul in its transaction.
8.         It did not purchase Dyn with the world, nor had I negotiated for it.
9.         The person who sells his future for his present.
10.       His being defrauded in the sale and its negotiation.
11.       If I had committed any sin my covenant is not (likely to be) violated,
12.       With my Nabi Rasulullah (s.a.w.) and nor is my rope broken.
13.       For verily I have a security from him due to my name.
14.       (Being) Muhammad (s.a.w.), while he is the most faithful of mankind in fulfilling his promise.
15.       If at my resurrection, he should not take me by my hand,
16.       Out of kindness, then say: “O the slipping of my foot.
17.       I seek the Sanctuary, that he should not deprive one who is hopeful of His Graces,
18.       Or that his neighbour (follower) returned from him Dishonoured.”
19.       And since I have devoted my thoughts to his praises.
20.       I have found him to be best sanctuary for my salvation.
21.       His bounty will never escape from (my) hand which has been soiled.
22.       For verily rain causes flowers to bloom on rocks
23.       And I did seek the flowers (wealth) of the world which were plucked,
24.       By the hands of Zuhair through his praises of Haram.

Chapter Ten concerns the seeking of Salvation and the requisition of necessities.  After repenting, Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) took refuge here, in Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) as a means for his salvation.  Due to his sins, he is deserving of Allah’s (s.w.t.) Punishment but wished and hoped that through the intercession and assistance of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) he receives Salvation.  His only hope is to love Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and gain his intercession.  Imam al-Buswiri (q.s.) ended this poem by conveying swalawat and salaam upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), his family, the Khulafah ar-Rashidin and his swahabah.  He also concluded with a du’a to Allah (s.w.t.) to Forgive him, the reciter and all the people who are a means of propagating this poem.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Accept this effort and Include us all amongst His pious servants.  Amin.

1.         Most generous of mankind, I have no one to take refuge in,
2.         Except you at occurrence of widespread calamity.
3.         And O Rasulullah (s.w.t.), your exalted status will not diminish, because of me (intercession on my behalf),
4.         When the Most Bountiful will Manifest (Himself) by the Name of the Punisher.
5.         For verily amongst Your Bounties is this world, and the hereafter,
6.         And part of Your Knowledge is Knowledge of the Preserved Tablet (Lawh Mahfuzh), and the Pen.
7.         O my soul, do not become despondent due to your grievous sins.
8.         Verily major sins when pardoned are minor.
9.         Perhaps the Mercy of my Lord when distributed,
10.       Would be distributed in proportion to the sins.
11.       O my Lord (Sustainer)!  Make my hopes, not unfulfilled,
12.       By you, and make my reckoning (of deeds) not destructive.
13.       Be kind to Your Servant in both the worlds, for verily his,
14.       Patience, when called upon by hardships (calamities), runs away.
15.       So, order clouds of blessings (salutations) from you perpetually,
16.       Upon Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) abundantly and gently,
17.       And upon his family his swahabah, then upon those who follow them,
18.       The people of piety, knowledge, clemency and generosity.
19.       (Then) be pleased with Abu-Bakr (r.a.) and ‘Umar (r.a.),
20.       And ‘Ali (k.w.) and ‘Utsman (r.a.), the people of nobility,
21.       As long as the easterly breeze makes the branches of cypress rustle,
22.       And (as long as) the camel riders make their camels march with the enchanting songs.
23.       Forgive its writer and its reader.
24.       I ask of you all goodness O You the Most Generous and Most Munificent.

The virtues reciting and possessing the Qaswidah al-Burdah are innumerable.  Some of its virtues and specialties as mentioned in famous books are listed below.  Insha’Allah, if Allah (s.w.t.) Wills, the result will be as per the ‘amal.  As a means of hajat, there are many.  For blessing of long life, recite it 1,001 times.  For the removal of difficulties, recite 71 times.  To remove drought, recite 300 times.  For wealth and riches, recite 700 times.  To have male children, recite 116 times.  To make easy all difficult tasks, recite 771 times.

Continuous recitation has further benefits.  Whoever recites it daily or has someone else recite it9 and thereafter blows on on him, will be safeguarded from all hardships.  Whoever recites it once daily and blows on his children, they will be blessed with long life.  Whoever recites it 17 times on a Thursday evening for 7 weeks will become pious and wealthy.  Whoever recites it in his bedroom for any work or special purpose, that purpose will be shown to him in a dream.  Whoever recites it 41 times in an old cemetery for 40 days, his enemies will be destroyed.  Whoever is in debt should recite it 1,000 times.  If someone reads it 41 times, or has someone else read it for him on the night of Juma’ah, for a certain aim or purpose, will have his aim or purpose fulfilled.

It is also a wasilah through various practices.  Whoever reads it once daily on rosewater for 7 days and gives it to someone to drink, that person’s memory will increase tremendously.  Whoever is afflicted with a great calamity or hardship, should keep 3 fasts and daily recite it 21 times.  Whoever writes it with musk and saffron and hangs it around his neck, will be safeguarded from seventy afflictions and difficulties.  If a person has important work, he should recite it 26 times on the night of Juma’ah (Thursday evening) and give 26 things in charity.  Whoever recites it 7,000 times in his lifetime, will live up to the age of one hundred years.  Whoever reads it over rose water and sprinkles it over his clothes, will become respected and loved by the Creation of Allah (s.w.t.).  To remove the evil effect of jinn, read once daily for 40 days and blow on the affected person.

The house in which it is read 3 times daily, will be protected from most difficulties.  The house in which this qaswidah is kept, will be safeguarded from thieves.  The house in which this qaswidah is read regularly will be saved from seven things: From the evil of jinn, from plague and epidemics, from smallpox, from diseases of the eyes, from misfortune, from insanity and from sudden death.  The house in which this qaswidah is read daily, its inhabitants will also be bestowed with seven benefits: Long life, abundance in sustenance, good health, Divine Help, witnessing the nur of Rasulullah (s.a.w.), wealth as well as happiness and contentment.

Whoever wishes to know whether he will derive benefit or harm from a journey9 should read the qaswidah 3 times, and before reading it, he should recite swalawat 1,000 times.  He will thereafter be informed in a dream by Rasulullah (s.a.w.) whether it would be beneficial or harmful to travel.  On a journey, if recited once daily, one will be protected from ail hardships of travel.  Whoever wishes to know the condition of a traveller, should recite the qaswidah 3 times together with swalawat on a Thursday night.  Whoever reads it once after embarking on a ship and passes through a severe storm, will be safeguarded.  Whoever is imprisoned, should recite it continuously and he will be freed.

When a child is born, read it 9 times on sea water and bathe the child with it.  The child will be saved from all types of calamities.  For labour pains child birth), read 3 times and blow on rose water.  Mix the rose water with ordinary water and drink it.  Place a little on the loins as well and ease will be experienced immediately.

If land is infertile, read and blow on the seeds, thereafter plant them, abundant crops will grow.  If farmlands are infested or plagued with locusts, then read it 7 times on sand and sprinkle it through the lands.  Wherever the sand falls, that land will not be infested again.

In conclusion, we find that for whatever purpose Qaswidah al-Burdah is read, insha’Allah, that purpose will be fulfilled, with the precondition that one’s earnings and food is halal.  One also becomes constant in eating, sleeping, and talking less.  If this is the benefit of the qaswidah, would you imagine the benefit of the Qur’an itself should you know its secrets?


  1. Masha Allah! such devotion in your research may allah bless you!


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