Published on 15th August,
Great Poets of the Ahlul Bayt ('a)
Throughout the history of Islam, poetry has been one of the
greatest, most effective forms of truth telling, admonition of
falsehood and the passionate defence of the descendents of the
holy Prophet ('s) of Islam.
There have been many great Poets of the Ahlul Bayt
('a) who died
as Martyrs in defence of the ultimate truth of Islam in the way of
Allah, His Apostle ('s) and the Ahlul Bayt ('a). These Poets were
the Shi'ah of Imam Ali ('a) who were courageous in the face of
oppression and cruelty, were truthful in the face of falsehood and
were faithful in the face of treachery.
They campaigned against the oppressive regimes and defended
truth without expectation of worldly gains in wealth, honour or
position. Their aim was to support the holy 14 Masoomeen ('a),
uproot injustice and the unjust sovereigns.
A poet during the time of Imam Ali Zayn Al-Abidin
name was Farazdaq, was renowned for his poetry which was filled
with love and admiration for the holy Ahlul Bayt ('a). It has been
recorded that he was witness to the presence of Imam Ali Zayn Al-Abidin ('a) at the pilgrimage in Mecca when many people quietly asked who
was the holy man in their presence and Farazdaq answered as
'This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca) recognises
(as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary
This is the son of the best of God's servants. This is the
pure pious man, the pure eminent man.
When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the Ka'ba,
it almost grasps the palm of his hand.
He takes care to be modest and he is protected from his
None of mankind has within their souls such primacy as he
does nor such grace as he does.
Whoever knows God, knows his friend (wali). Religion is
from the House of this man.
When Quraysh saw him, their spokesmen told of the
outstanding qualities of this man which indicate (his)
Farazdaq had a nephew who was also a Poet, named Kumayt bin
Zayd Abasi. Kumayt approached his Uncle for approval on his first
poetic verses that were filled with praise of the Almighty Allah (swt)
and the holy Masoomeen ('a). It was said to Kumayt by his uncle:
"Make your verses public and disgrace the enemies of
Islam, because by Allah, you are the greatest of the past and
Kumayt recited verses from his
Qasida Maymiyyah before
Imam Mohammad al-Baqir ('a), one of which was
'One of Bani Hashim was killed unjustly in the Battle of
Karbala amidst the uproar of the people and the ruffians.'
This caused the Imam
('a) to weep and say to Kumayt:
"If I had wealth I would have given it to you. However,
I pray for you just as the holy Prophet prayed for the poet Hassan
bin Thabit. May Allah help you so long as you support and defend
Kumayt frequently recited his verses to the people in open
'The descendents of Imam Ali (a) are the guides of faith
and the path of deliverance. The welfare of the world is
dependent upon obedience to them, and success on the Day of
Judgement is meant for those who are their friends in this world
and who seek assistance from them.'
The poetic revolution of the Shi'ah against the oppressive rule
of the cruel despots is said to have been initiated by Kumayt. His
poems have been collected and recorded in al-Hashmiyat
which was first published in Europe and later in Egypt.
Other great poets have passionately spoken against falsehood
and admonished the criminal behaviour of the unjust rulers. Abu
Faras Hamdani was a poet who campaigned against Bani Abbas.
'Truth has been broken up and religion has been torn to
pieces and the legacy of the holy Prophet has been tarnished.
O People of the world! Does Allah not help the people
against the mischief of the oppressors and does the religion of
Allah not have a revenger?
How much patent breach of trust you have committed with
the religion and how much blood of the descendents of the holy
Prophet have you shed?
The holy Qur'an is recited constantly in the house of the
descendents of Imam Ali whereas in your houses there are musical
instruments and songs.'
In another poetic works,
Qasidah Jimiyah by Ibn Rumi, he
has stated about Bani Abbas:
'It is possible that there be a revolutionary leader
behind the curtain of occultation and at the end of the dark
night there may be the bright day.
Is it proper that they should remain hungry at night
whereas the bellies of your associates should be about to burst
owing to too much eating?'
Of the great Shi'ah Poets, the bravest of them is said to have
been Di'bil Khuza'i. In his works Qasida Ta'iya he depicts
the dreadful killings by Bani Umayyah and expresses the sorrow and
grief at the continuous murders of the descendents of Imam Ali
(a). He was a Poet of the Ahlul Bayt (a) during the time of Imam
Ali al-Riza (a), who for his continuous efforts to support the
descendents of the holy Prophet ('s), bestowed on him a personal
gift of a fur cloak, that was later stolen twice due to its
In his verses regarding the holy Ahlul Bayt
'They are my life, my hope, my ambition, my love and my
I shall place my head on the dust of their street and
shall not raise my head from their threshold.
For that is the abode of kindness and piety and that is
the place of love, hope and ambition.
From there the sun of faith and morality throws its rays
on the horizon.
From there blows the zephyr of justice and kindness which
makes the garden of the soul beautiful and fresh.
O Lord! Increase my fervour and fill my heart with love
The rights of the holy family were destroyed and they were
subjected to much oppression.
So long as the sun rises and the moon appears my task is
to weep for this grief.'
These faithful Shi'ah of the Ahlul Bayt
('a) chose their eternal
life over the life of this world. They achieved martyrdom while
fighting their own campaigns in the name of Allah (swt), His
Apostle ('s) and the Ahlul Bayt ('a) against the evil wrongdoers and
May Allah (swt) shower His blessings and generous rewards on
all of the Great Poets of the Ahlul Bayt (a).
Shaykh al-Mufid (1981)
Kitab al-Irshad, Muhammadi
Trust, London, England.
Shaykh Muhammad Jawad Mughniyyah [Lebanon] (1985)
Ash Shi'ah Wal
Hakimun (The Despotic Rulers) Islamic Seminary