The Swahabah Praised the Prophet (s.a.w.) with the Recitation of Poetry

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani wrote, in the time of the Prophet (s.a.w.), it is well-known that poets came to him with all kinds of works praising him, writing about his campaigns and battles and about the swahabah.  This is proved by the numerous poems quoted in the biographies of Shaykh ibn Hisham (r.a.), Imam al-Waqidi (r.a.) and others.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was happy with good poetry since it is reported in Imam al-Bukhari’s (r.a.) al-Adab al-Mufrad and elsewhere that he said, “There is wisdom in poetry.”  Thus, the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) uncle, al-‘Abbas (r.a.) composed poetry praising the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.), in which are found the following lines:

“When you were born, the earth was shining,
And the firmament barely contained your light,
And we can pierce through,
Thanks to that radiance and light and path of guidance.”

This text is found in Imam as-Suyuthi's (r.a.) Husn al-Maqswad and in Hafizh ibn Katsir's (r.a.) Mawlid an-Nabi as well as Imam ibn Hajr’s (r.a.) Fath al-Bari.  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) mentioned that according to the swahabah, the Prophet (s.a.w.) praised his own name and recited poetry about himself in the middle of the battle of Hunayn in order to encourage the companions and scare the enemies.  That day he said, “I am the Prophet!  This is no lie. I am the son of ‘Abd al-Muththalib!”  The Prophet (s.a.w.) was, therefore, happy with those who praised him because it is Allah’s (s.w.t.) Command, and he gave them from what Allah (s.w.t.) Provided him.  If we get together and do something in order to approach the Prophet (s.a.w.), we are doing something to approach Allah (s.w.t.), and approaching the Prophet (s.a.w.) will make Allah (s.w.t.) Pleased with us.  It is established that the Prophet (s.a.w.) instructed ‘Aishah (r.a.) to allow two ladies to sing on the day of ‘Iyd.  He said to Abu Bakr (r.a.), “Let them sing, because for every nation there is a holiday, and this is our holiday.”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.), in Madarij as-Salikin, commented that the Prophet (s.a.w.) also gave permission to sing in wedding celebrations, and allowed poetry to be recited to him.  He heard Anas (r.a.) and the companions praising him and reciting poems while digging before the famous battle of the Trench, as they said, “We are the ones who gave bay’ah to Muhammad for jihad as long as we live.”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) also mentioned ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah’s (r.a.) long poem praising the Prophet (s.a.w.) as the latter entered Makkah, after which, the Prophet (s.a.w.) prayed for him.  He prayed that Allah (s.w.t.) support Hasan ibn Tsabit (r.a.), with the holy spirit as long as he would support the Prophet (s.a.w.) with his poetry.  Similarly, the Prophet (s.a.w.) rewarded Ka’b ibn Zuhayr’s (r.a.) poem of praise with a robe.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) asked Aswad ibn Sari’ (r.a.) to compose poems praising Allah (s.w.t.), and he asked someone else to recite the poem of praise of a hundred verses which Umayyah ibn Abi asw-Swalt (r.a.) had composed.  Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) continued, “‘Aishah always recited poems praising him and he was happy with her.”  This Umayyah ibn Abi asw-Swalt (r.a.) was a poet of Jahiliyyah who died in Damascus before Islam.  He was a pious man who had relinquished the use of wine and the worship of idols, as related by Imam adz-Dzahabi (r.a.) in Siyar A’alam an-Nubala’.

Part of the funeral eulogy Hasan ibn Tsabit (r.a.) recited for the Prophet (s.a.w.) stated:

“I say, and none can find fault with me
But one lost to all sense:
I shall never cease to praise him.
It may be for so doing I shall be forever in Paradise
With the Chosen One for whose support in that I hope.
And to attain to that day I devote all my efforts.”

As Imam ibn al-Qayyim (r.a.) said in his book, “Allah Gave Permission to His Prophet (s.a.w.) to recite the Qur'an in a melodious way.  Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (r.a.) was reciting the Qur’an one time in a melodious voice and the Prophet (s.a.w.) was listening to him.  After he finished, the Prophet (s.a.w.) congratulated him on reciting in a melodious way and said, ‘You have a good voice.’  And he said about Abu Musa al-Ash`ari (r.a.) that Allah (s.w.t.) had Given him a mizmar, a flute, from Dawud’s (a.s.) mizamir.

Then Abu Musa (r.a.) said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I had known that you were listening to me, I would have recited it in a much more melodious and beautiful voice such as you have never heard before.’”

Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) continued, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘Decorate the Qur'an with your voices,’ and ‘Who does not sing the Qur'an is not from us.’”  Imam ibn Qayyim (r.a.) commented, “To take pleasure in a good voice is acceptable, as is taking pleasure in a nice scenery, such as mountains or nature, or from a nice smell, or from good food, as long as it is conforming to shari’ah.  If listening to a good voice is haram, then taking pleasure in all these other things is also haram.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) allowed drum-playing for a good intention.  Imam ibn ‘Abbad (r.a.), the muhaddits, gave the following fatwa in his Letters.  He started with the hadits, “One lady came to the Prophet (s.a.w.) when he was returning from one of his battles and she said, ‘Ya Rasulullah, I have made an oath that if Allah Sends you back safe, I would play this drum near you.’

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, ‘Fulfill your oath.’”  The hadits is found in Sunan Abu Dawud, Jami’ at-Tirmidzi, and Musnad Ahmad.

Imam ibn ‘Abbad (r.a.) continued, “There is no doubt that the playing of a drum is a kind of entertainment, even though the Prophet (s.a.w.) ordered her to fulfill her oath.  He did that because her intention was to honour him for returning safely, and her intention was a good intention, not with the intention of a sin or of wasting time.  Therefore, if anyone celebrates the time of the birth of the Prophet (s.a.w.) in a good way, with a good intention, by reading sirah and praising him, it is accepted.”


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