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Qasida Burdah

Qasida al-Burda (Arabic: قصيدة البردة‎), known in English as the ‘Poem of the Cloak’ or the ‘Mantle-Ode’ is the most famous work of Imam Sharaf ad-Din al-Busiri V, an eminent Sufi poet. It also known as al-Kawakib al-duriyah fi madḥ Khayr al-Bariyah (Arabic: الكواكب الدرية في مدح خير البرية ), meaning ‘Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation’ or ‘Glittering Stars in Praise of the Best of Creation’. Despite the difficulty of the poem’s exalted Arabic, it has been said that it is the most widely-memorised poem in the Muslim world.

Imam al-Busiri

Imam al-Busiri‘s full name was Abu Abd-Allah Sharaf al-Din Muhammad ibn Sa’id al-Busiri al-Sanhaji. He was from the Banu Habnum clan, a major branch of the North African Berber Sanhaji tribe. It is reported that he was born in 608 AH / 1211 CE in Dellys (Arabic: دلّس‎, Berber: Delles), a small Mediterranean town in modern-day northern Algeria. He reportedly passed away in 691 AH / 1294 CE and is buried in Alexandria, Egypt.

Contents

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ مُنْشِي الْخَلْقِ مِنْ عَدَمِ
ثُمَ الصَّلَاةُ عَلى الْمُخْتَارِ فِي الْقِدَمِ

 

Al-ḥamdu li Llāhi munshī l-khalqi min ʿadami
Thumma ṣ-ṣalātu ʿala l-mukhtāri fi l-qidami

Praise be to Allah, Originator of Creation from non-existence 
Then prayers be upon the one chosen since pre-eternity

Chorus

مَولَايَ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ دَائِمًا أَبَدًا
عَلَى حَبِيبِكَ خَيْرِ الْخَلْقِ كُلِّهِمِ

Mawlāya ṣalli wa sallim dā'iman abadan
ʿAlā ḥabībika khayri l-khalqi kullihimi

O my Lord, bless and grant peace always and forever 
Upon Your beloved one, the Best of all Creatio

الْفَصْلُ الْاَوَّلُ فِي الْغَزْلِ وَشَكْوَى الْغَرَامِ

 

Al-faṣlu l-awwalu fi l-ghazli wa shakwa l-gharāmi

Chapter One

On Words of Love and the Intense Suffering of Passion


مَزَجْتَ دَمْعًا جَرَى مِنْ مُقْلَةٍ بِدَمِ

Amin tadhakkuri jīrānin bi dhī salami
Mazajta damʿan jarā min muqlatin bi dami

1. Is it the memory of neighbours in Dhu Salam
That has left your eyes so red with tears?

أَمْ هَبَّتِ الرِّيحُ مِنْ تِلْقَاءِ كَاظِمَةٍ
وَأَوْمَضَ الْبَرْقُ فِي الظَّلْمَاءِ مِنْ إِضَمِ

Am habbati r-rīḥu min tilqā'i kāẓimatin
Wa awmaḍa l-barqu fi ẓ-ẓalmā'i min iḍami

2. Or is it the wind blowing from the direction of Kazima 
And the lightning flashing in the black night from Mount Idam?

فَمَا لِعَيْنَيْكَ إِنْ قُلْتَ اكْفُفَا هَمَتَا
وَمَا لِقَلْبِكَ إِنْ قُلْتَ اسْتَفِقْ يَهِمِ

Fa mā li ʿaynayka in qulta k-fufā hamatā
Wa mā li qalbika in qulta s-tafiq yahimi

3. What is the matter with your eyes, that when you tell them to refrain, they only weep more?  
And your heart - when you try to rouse it, it only becomes more bewildered

أَيَحْسَبُ الصَّبُّ أَنَّ الْحُبَّ مُنْكَتِمٌ
مَا بَيْنَ مُنْسَجِمٍ مِنْهُ وَمُضْطَرِمِ

Ayaḥsabu ṣ-ṣabbu anna l-ḥubba munkatimun
Mā bayna munsajimin minhu wa muḍṭarimi

4. Does the one in love suppose his love can be concealed
Between pouring tears and a blazing heart?

لَوْلَا الْهَوَى لَمْ تُرِقْ دَمْعًا عَلَى طَلَلٍ
وَلَا أَرِقْتَ لِذِكْرِ الْبَانِ وَالْعَلَمِ

Lawla l-hawā lam turiq damʿan ʿalā ṭalalin
Wa lā ariqta li dhikri l-bāni wa l-ʿalami

5. If not for love, your tears would not pour forth over traces left by your beloved, 
Nor would you be sleepless remembering the willow tree and the mountain

فَكَيْفَ تُنْكِرُ حُبًّا بَعْدَ مَا شَهِدَتْ
بِهِ عَلَيْكَ عُدُولُ الدَّمْعِ وَالسَّقَمِ

Fa kayfa tunkiru ḥubban baʿda mā shahidat
Bihi ʿalayka ʿudūlu d-damʿi wa s-saqami

6. So how can you deny this love when such honest witnesses, 
as weeping and looking gaunt have testified to it against you?

وَأَثْبَتَ الْوَجْدُ خَطَّيْ عَبْرَةٍ وَضَنىً
مِثْلَ الْبَهَارِ عَلَى خَدَّيْكَ وَالْعَنَمِ

Wa athbata l-wajdu khaṭṭay ʿabratin wa ḍanan
Mithla l-bahāri ʿalā khaddayka wa l-ʿanami

7. The agony of love has inscribed two lines of tears and grief
Upon your cheeks, pale as bahar and red as anam

نَعَمْ سَرَى طَيْفُ مَنْ أَهْوَى فَأَرَّقَنِي
وَالْحُبُّ يَعْتَرِضُ اللَّذَّاتِ بِالْأَلَمِ

Naʿam sarā ṭayfu man ahwā fa arraqanī
Wa l-ḥubbu yaʿtariḍu l-ladhdhati bi l-alami

8. Yes, a vision of the one I love came to me by night, and I could not sleep, 
Oh, how love hinders the tasting of delight with its suffering!

يَا لَائِمِي فِي الْهَوَى الْعُذْرِيِّ مَعْذِرَةً
مِنِّي إِلَيْكَ وَلَوْ أَنْصَفْتَ لَمْ تَلُمِ

Yā lā'imī fi l-hawa l-ʿudhriyyi maʿdhiratan
Minnī ilayka wa law anṣafta lam talumi

9. O you who would rebuke me for this pure love, accept my excuse 
If you were truly fair, you would not reproach me at all

عَدَتْكَ حَالِيَ لَا سِرِّي بِمُسْتَتِرٍ
عَنِ الْوُشَاةِ وَلَا دَائِي بِمُنْحَسِمِ

ʿAdatka ḥāliya lā sirrī bi mustatirin
ʿAni l-wushāti wa lā dā'ī bi munḥasimi

10. May you be spared a state such as mine! My secret cannot be concealed
From my detractors, nor will there ever be an end to my malady

مَحَّضْتَنِي النُّصْحَ لَكِنْ لَسْتُ أَسْمَعُهُ
إِنَّ الْمُحِبَّ عَنِ الْعُذَّالِ فِي صَمَمِ

Maḥḥaḍtanī n-nuṣḥa lākin lastu asmaʿuhu
Inna l-muḥibba ʿani l-ʿudh-dhāli fī ṣamami

11. You gave me sincere good counsel, but I did not hear it,
The lover is quite deaf to those who blame him

إِنِّي اتَّهَمْتُ نَصِيحَ الشَّيْبِ فِي عَذَلٍ
وَالشَّيْبُ أَبْعَدُ فِي نُصْحٍ عَنِ التُّهَمِ

Innī t-tahamtu naṣīḥa sh-shaybi fī ʿadhalin
Wa sh-shaybu abʿadu fī nuṣ-ḥin ʿani t-tuhami

12. I even suspected the counsel of my own grey hairs rebuking me,
When I knew the counsel of old age and grey hair to be above suspicion

 

اَلْفَصْلُ الثَّانِي فِي الْحَذِيرِ مِنْ هَوَى النَّفْسِ

 

Al-faṣlu th-thānī fi l-ḥadhīri min hawa n-nafsi

Chapter Two

A Caution About the Whims of the Self

فَإِنَّ أَمَّارَتيِ بِالسُّوءِ مَا اتَّعَظَتْ
مِنْ جَهْلِهَا بِنَذِيرِ الشَّيْبِ وَالْهَرَمِ

Fa inna ammāratī bi s-sū'i ma t-taʿaẓat
Min jahlihā bi nadhīri sh-shaybi wa l-harami

13. My foolish reckless self refused to heed the warning 
Heralded by the onset of grey hair and old age

وَلَا أَعَدَّتْ مِنَ الْفِعْلِ الْجَمِيلِ قِرَى
ضَيْفٍ أَلَمَّ بِرَأْسِي غَيْرَ مُحْتَشِمِ

Wa lā aʿaddat mina l-fiʿli l-jamīli qirā
Ḍayfin alamma bi ra'sī ghayra muḥtashimi

14. And it had not prepared any good deeds to properly welcome 
This guest who had turned up on my head unannounced

لَوْ كُنْتُ أَعْلَمُ أَنِّي مَا أُوَقِّرُهُ
كَتَمْتُ سِرًّا بَدَا ليِ مِنْهُ بِالْكَتَمِ

Law kuntu aʿlamu annī mā uwaqqiruhu
Katamtu sirran badā lī minhu bi l-katami

15. If I had known that I could not receive him with honour, 
I would have hidden my secret from him with dye

مَنْ لِي بِرَدِّ جِمَاحٍ مِنْ غَوَايَتِهَا
كَمَا يُرَدُّ جِمَاحُ الْخَيْلِ بِاللُّجُمِ

Man lī bi raddi jimāḥin min ghawāyatihā
Kamā yuraddu jimāḥu l-khayli bi l-lujumi

16. Who can hold back my headstrong soul from the error of its ways, 
Just as wild horses are restrained with bridles and reins?

فَلَا تَرُمْ بِالْمَعَاصِي كَسْرَ شَهْوَتِهَا
إِنَّ الطَّعَامَ يُقَوِّي شَهْوَةَ النَّهِمِ

Fa lā tarum bi l-maʿāṣī kasra shahwatihā
Inna ṭ-ṭaʿāma yuqawwī shahwata n-nahimi

17. Do not aim to break the desires by plunging further into sin, 
The glutton’s greed is only increased by [the sight of] food

وَالنَّفْسُ كَالطِّفْلِ إِنْ تُهْمِلْهُ شَبَّ عَلَى
حُبِّ الرَّضَاعِ وَإِنْ تَفْطِمْهُ يَنْفَطِمِ

Wa n-nafsu ka-ṭ-ṭifli in tuhmilhu shabba ʿalā
Ḥubbi r-raḍāʿi wa in tafṭimhu yanfaṭimi

18. The self is like an infant, if you neglect its proper care, 
It will grow up still loving to suckle; but once you wean it, it will be weaned

فَاصْرِفْ هَوَاهَا وَحَاذِرْ أَنْ تُوَلِّيَهُ
إِنَّ الْهَوَى مَا تَوَلَّى يُصْمِ أَوْ يَصِمِ

Faṣrif hawāhā wa ḥādhir an tuwalliyahu
Inna l-hawā mā tawallā yuṣmi aw yaṣimi

19. So dismiss its passions, beware of letting them take over, 
For when passion gets the upper hand, it will either kill or bring dishonour

وَرَاعِهَا وَهْيَ فِي الْأَعْمَالِ سَائِمَةٌ
وَإِنْ هِيَ اسْتَحْلَتِ الْمَرْعَى فَلَا تُسِمِ

Wa rāʿihā wahya fi l-aʿmāli sā'imatun
Wa in hiya s-taḥlati l-marʿā fa lā tusimi

20. Keep a watchful eye on it as it grazes in the field of actions, 
And if it finds the pasture too delightful, do not let it graze unchecked

كَمْ حَسَّنَتْ لَذَّةً لِلْمَرْءِ قَاتِلَةً
مِنْ حَيْثُ لَمْ يَدْرِ أَنَّ السُّمَّ فِي الدَّسَمِ

Kam ḥassanat ladh-dhatan li l-mar'i qātilatan
Min ḥaythu lam yadri anna s-summa fi d-dasami

21. How often a pleasure that is in fact deadly has seemed good, 
To one who does not know there may be poison in the fat

وَاخْشَ الدَّسَائِسَ مِنْ جُوعٍ وَمِنْ شِبَعٍ
فَرُبَّ مَخْمَصَةٍ شَرٌّ مِنَ التُّخَمِ

Wa kh-sha d-dasā'isa min jūʿin wa min shibaʿin
Fa rubba makhmaṣatin sharrun mina t-tukhami

22. Beware the snares of hunger and satiety, 
For an empty stomach may be worse than over-eating

وَاسْتَفْرِغِ الدَّمْعَ مِنْ عَيْنٍ قَدِ امْتَلَأَتْ
مِنَ الْمَحَارِمِ وَالْزَمْ حِمْيَةَ النَّدَمِ

Wa s-tafrighi d-damʿa min ʿaynin qadi m-tala'at
Mina l-maḥārimi wa l-zam ḥimyata n-nadami

23. Dry the tears from eyes that have had their fill of forbidden things, 
And henceforth let your only diet be regret

وَخَالِفِ النَّفْسَ وَالشَّيْطَانَ وَاعْصِهِمَا
وَإِنْ هُمَا مَحَضَاكَ النُّصْحَ فَاتَّهِمِ

Wa khālifi n-nafsa wa sh-shayṭāna wa ʿṣihimā
Wa in humā maḥaḍāka n-nuṣḥa fa t-tahimi

24. Oppose the self and shaytan - and defy them, 
If they try to offer you advice, treat it with suspicion

وَلَا تُطِعْ مِنْهُمَا خَصْمًا وَلَا حَكَمًا
فَأَنْتَ تَعْرِفُ كَيْدَ الْخَصْمِ وَالْحَكَمِ

Wa lā tuṭiʿ minhumā khaṣman wa lā ḥakaman
Fa anta taʿrifu kayda l-khaṣmi wa l-ḥakami

25. Never obey them, whether they oppose or come to arbitrate, 
For you know by now the tricks of both opponents and arbitrators

أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ مِنْ قَوْلٍ بِلَا عَمَلٍ
لَقَدْ نَسَبْتُ بِهِ نَسْلًا لِذِي عُقُمِ

Astaghfiru Llāha min qawlin bilā ʿamalin
Laqad nasabtu bihi naslan li dhī ʿuqumi

26. I beg Allah’s forgiveness for saying things I do not do, 
As though I were ascribing progeny to one who was barren

أَمَرْتُكَ الْخَيْرَ لَكِنْ مَا ائْتَمَرْتُ بِهِ
وَمَا اسْتَقَمْتُ فَمَا قَوْليِ لَكَ اسْتَقِمِ

Amartuka l-khayra lākin mā' tamartu bihi
Wa ma s-taqamtu fa mā qawlī laka s-taqimi

27. I ordered you to be good, but then didn’t heed my own advice, 
I was not myself upright, so what of my telling you, ‘Be upright!’

وَلَا تَزَوَّدْتُ قَبْلَ الْمَوْتِ نَافِلَةً
وَلَمْ أُصَلِّ سِوَى فَرْضٍ وَلَمْ أَصُمِ

Wa lā tazawwadtu qabla l-mawti nāfīlatan
Wa lam uṣalli siwā farḍin wa lam aṣumi

28. I have not made much provision of voluntary prayer before death comes to take me, 
Neither have I prayed nor fasted more than was obligatory

 

الْفَصْلُ الثَّالِثُ فِي مَدْحِ النَّبِيِّ

Al-faṣlu th-thālithu fī madḥi n-Nabiyyi (ṣalla Llāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)

Chapter Three

Praise of the Prophet

 

ظَلَمْتُ سُنَّةَ مَنْ أَحْيَا الظَّلَامَ إِلَى
أَنِ اشْتَكَتْ قَدَمَاهُ الضُّرَّ مِنْ وَرَمِ

Ẓalamtu sunnata man aḥyā ẓ-ẓalāma ilā
Ani sh-takat qadamāhu ḍ-ḍurra min warami

29. I have done injustice to the path of the one who prayed at night 
Until his feet complained of pain and swelling

وَشَدَّ مِنْ سَغَبٍ أَحْشَاءَهُ وَطَوَى
تَحْتَ الْحِجَارَةِ كَشْحًا مُتْرَفَ الْأَدَمِ

Wa shadda min saghabin aḥshā'ahu wa ṭawā
Taḥta l-ḥijārati kash-ḥan mutrafa l-adami

30. While he bound up his insides against the extremity of his hunger,
Hiding his delicate skin beneath the stone tied round his waist

وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الْجِبَالُ الشُّمُّ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ
عَنْ نَفْسِهِ فَأَرَاهَا أَيَّمَا شَمَمِ

Wa rāwadat-hu l-jibālu sh-shummu min dhahabin
ʿAn nafsihi fa'arāhā ayyamā shamami

31. The high mountains of gold sought to entice him,

But he showed them in return the true meaning of elevation

وَ أَكَّدَتْ زُهْدَهُ فِيهَا ضَرُورَتُهُ
إِنَّ الضَّرُورَةَ لَا تَعْدُو عَلَى الْعِصَمِ

Wa akkadat zuhdahu fīhā ḍarūratuhu
Inna ḍ-ḍarūrata lā taʿdū ʿala l-ʿiṣami

32. His situation of austerity and need only confirmed his indifference to worldly concerns, 
For even dire need cannot assail such impeccable virtue

وَكَيْفَ تَدْعُو إِلَى الدُّنْيَا ضَرُورَةُ مَنْ
لَولَاهُ لَمْ تُخْرَجِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْعَدَمِ

Wa kayfa tadʿū ila d-dunyā ḍarūratu man
Lawlāhu lam tukhraji d-dunyā mina l-ʿadami

33. How could the dire need of such a person draw him towards the world, 
When were it not for him, the world would never have emerged from non-existence?

مُحَمَّدٌ سَيِّدُ الْكَوْنَيْنِ وَالثَّقَلَيْـ
ـنِ وَالْفَرِيقَيْنِ مِنْ عُرْبٍ وَمِنْ عَجَمِ

Muḥammadun sayyidu l-kawnayni wa th-thaqalay-
-ni wa-l farīqayni min ʿurbin wa min ʿajami

34. Muhammad ﷺ is the master of the two worlds, master of the jinn and [men,] 
And master of the two groups, Arabs and non-Arabs

نَبِيُّنَا الْآمِرُ النَّاهِي فَلَا أَحَدٌ
أَبَرَّ فِي قَوْلِ لَا مِنْهُ وَلَا نَعَمِ

Nabiyyuna l-āmiru n-nāhī falā aḥadun
Abarra fī qawli lā minhu wa lā naʿami

35. Our Prophet, who commands the good and forbids the wrong, 
There is no one truer to his word, whether it be ‘yes’ or ‘no’

هُوَ الْحَبِيبُ الَّذِي تُرْجَى شَفَاعَتُهُ
لِكُلِّ هَوْلٍ مِنَ الْأَهْوَالِ مُقْتَحَمِ

Huwa l-ḥabību l-ladhī turjā shafāʿatuhu
Li kulli hawlin mina l-ahwāli muqtaḥami

36. He is the beloved one, whose intercession is hoped for 
Against all the terrifying things that take us by storm

دَعَا إِلَى اللهِ فَالْمُسْتَمْسِكُونَ بِهِ
مُسْتَمْسِكُونَ بِحَبْلٍ غَيْرِ مُنْفَصِمِ

Daʿā ila Llāhi fa l-mustamsikūna bihi
Mustamsikūna bi ḥablin ghayri munfaṣimi

37. He has called people to Allah, so those who cling to him 
Are clinging to a rope which will never break

فَاقَ النَّبِيِّينَ فِي خَلْقٍ وَفِي خُلُقٍ
وَلَمْ يُدَانُوهُ فِي عِلْمٍ وَلَا كَرَمِ

Fāqa n-nabiyyīna fī khalqin wa fī khuluqin
Wa lam yudānūhu fī ʿilmin wa lā karami

38. He surpassed the other prophets both in form and noble character, 
And none has come close to him in knowledge or in pure generosity

وَكُلُّهُمْ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ مُلْتَمِسٌ
غَرْفًا مِنَ الْبَحْرِ أَوْ رَشْفًا مِنَ الدِّيَمِ

Wa kulluhum min rasūli Llāhi multamisun
Gharfan mina l-baḥri aw rashfan mina d-diyami

39. They all petition the Messenger of Allah for just a handful of water 
From his ocean, or a draught from his never-ending rain

وَوَاقِفُونَ لَدَيْهِ عِنْدَ حَدِّهِمِ
مِنْ نُقْطَةِ الْعِلْمِ أَوْ مِنْ شَكْلَةِ الْحِكَمِ

Wa wāqifūna ladayhi ʿinda ḥaddihimi
Min nuqṭati l-ʿilmi aw min shaklati l-ḥikami

40. They all come to a halt before him according to their measure, 
As diacritical points upon his knowledge, or vowel marks upon his wisdom

فَهْوَ الَّذِي تَمَّ مَعْنَاهُ وَصُورَتُهُ
ثُمَّ اصْطَفَاهُ حَبِيبًا بَارِئُ النَّسَمِ

Fahwa l-ladhī tamma maʿnāhu wa ṣūratuhu
Thumma ṣ-ṭafāhu ḥabīban bāri'u n-nasami

41. He is the one in whom meaning and form were perfected, 
And then the One who created all mankind chose him as His beloved

مُنَزَّهٌ عَنْ شَرِيكٍ فِي مَحَاسِنِهِ
فَجَوْهَرُ الْحُسْنِ فِيهِ غَيْرُ مُنْقَسِمِ

Munazzahun ʿan sharīkin fī maḥāsinihi
Fa jawharu l-ḥusni fīhi ghayru munqasimi

42. He is far from having any equal in his virtues, 
For in him, the essence of perfection is indivisible

دَعْ مَا ادَّعَتْهُ النَّصَارَى فِي نَبِيِّهِمِ
وَاحْكُمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ مَدْحًا فِيهِ وَاحْتَكِمِ

Daʿ ma d-daʿathu n-naṣārā fī nabiyyihimi
Wa ḥ-kum bimā shi'ta mad-ḥan fīhi wa ḥ-takimi

43. Abandon what the Christians have claimed about their Prophet, 
Beyond that you may say whatever you wish in praise of him

وَانْسُبْ إِلَى ذَاتِهِ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ شَرَفٍ
وَانْسُبْ إِلَى قَدْرِهِ مَا شِئْتَ مِنْ عِظَمِ

Wa n-sub ilā dhātihi mā shi'ta min sharafin
Wa n-sub ilā qadrihi mā shi'ta min ʿiẓami

44. You may ascribe whatever you wish of nobility to his essence, 
And to his rank, whatever you wish of greatness

فَإِنَّ فَضْلَ رَسُولِ اللهِ لَيْسَ لَهُ
حَدٌّ فَيُعْرِبَ عَنْهُ نَاطِقٌ بِفَمِ

Fa inna faḍla rasūli Llāhi laysa lahu
Ḥaddun fa yuʿriba ʿanhu nāṭiqun bi fami

45. Indeed, the high merit of the Messenger of Allah has no furthest limit 
Which could be expressed by the tongue of a human being

لَوْ نَاسَبَتْ قَدْرَهُ آيَاتُهُ عِظَمًا
أَحْيَا اسْمُهُ حِينَ يُدْعَى دَارِسَ الرِّمَمِ

Law nāsabat qadrahu āyātuhu ʿiẓaman
Aḥya s-muhu ḥīna yudʿā dārisa r-rimami

46. Were his miracles to be as mighty as his rank, 
Just the sound of his name would bring dead bones to life

لَمْ يَمْتَحِنَّا بِمَا تَعْيَا الْعُقُولُ بِهِ
حِرْصًا عَلَيْنَا فَلَمْ نَرْتَبْ وَلَمْ نَهِمِ

Lam yamtaḥinnā bimā taʿya l-ʿuqūlu bihi
Ḥirṣan ʿalaynā fa lam nartab wa lam nahimi

47. He did not test us with things that would exhaust our intellects, 
Out of concern for us, so we did not fall into doubt or bewilderment

أَعْيَا الْوَرَى فَهْمُ مَعْنَاهُ فَلَيْسَ يُرَى
فِي الْقُرْبِ وَالْبُعْدِ فِيهِ غَيْرُ مُنْفَحِمِ

Aʿya l-warā fahmu maʿnāhu falaysa yurā
Fi l-qurbi wa l-buʿdi fīhi ghayru munfaḥimi

48. Mankind is unable to comprehend his true essence, 
Near and far, they are dumbfounded

كَالشَّمْسِ تَظْهَرُ لِلْعَيْنَيْنِ مِنْ بُعُدٍ
صَغِيرَةً وَتُكِلُّ الطَّرْفَ مِنْ أَمَمِ

Ka sh-shamsi taẓ-haru li l-ʿaynayni min buʿudin
Ṣaghīratan wa tukillu ṭ-ṭarfa min amami

49. Like the sun, which from afar appears small to the naked eye, 
Whereas up close, it would dim and dazzle the vision

وَكَيْفَ يُدْرِكُ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَقِيقَتَهُ
قَوْمٌ نِيَامٌ تَسَلَّوْا عَنْهُ بِالْحُلُمِ

Wa kayfa yudriku fi d-dunyā ḥaqīqatahu
Qawmun niyāmun tasallaw ʿanhu bi l-ḥulumi

50. How can people who are asleep perceive his true reality 
In this world, while they are distracted from him by their dreams?

فَمَبْلَغُ الْعِلْمِ فِيهِ أَنَّهُ بَشَرٌ
وَأَنَّهُ خَيْرُ خَلْقِ اللهِ كُلِّهِمِ

Fa mablaghu l-ʿilmi fīhi annahu basharun
Wa annahu khayru khalqi Llāhi kullihimi

51. The extent of the knowledge we have of him is that he is a man, 
And that he is the best of all Allah’s creation

وَكُلُّ آيٍ أَتَى الرُّسْلُ الْكِرَامُ بِهَا
فَإِنَّمَا اتَّصَلَتْ مِنْ نُورِهِ بِهِمِ

Wa kullu āyin ata r-ruslu l-kirāmu bihā
Fa innama t-taṣalat min nūrihi bihimi

52. Every miracle brought by the Noble Messengers 
Was only connected to them through his light

فَإِنَّهُ شَمْسُ فَضْلٍ هُمْ كَوَاكِبُهَا
يُظْهِرْنَ أَنْوَارَهَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي الظُّلَمِ

Fa innahu shamsu faḍlin hum kawākibuhā
Yuẓ-hirna anwārahā li n-nāsi fi ẓ-ẓulami

53. Surely he is a sun of bounty and they are its planets, 
Manifesting their lights for people in the darkness

أَكْرِمْ بِخَلْقِ نَبِيٍّ زَانَهُ خُلُقٌ
بِالْحُسْنِ مُشْتَمِلٍ بِالْبِشْرِ مُتَّسِمِ

Akrim bi khalqi nabiyyin zānahu khuluqun
Bi l-ḥusni mushtamilin bi l-bishri muttasimi

54. How generous the creation of a Prophet adorned with excellent character! 
So graced with beauty, and radiant of face

كَالزَّهْرِ فِي تَرَفٍ وَالْبَدْرِ فِي شَرَفٍ
وَالْبَحْرِ فِي كَرَمٍ وَالدَّهْرِ فِي هِمَمِ

Ka z-zahri fī tarafin wa l-badri fī sharafin
Wa l-baḥri fī karamin wa d-dahri fī himami

55. Like a flower in freshness and a full moon in eminence, 
Like an ocean in pure generosity and like time itself in strength of resolution

كَأَنَّهُ وَهْوَ فَرْدٌ مِنْ جَلَالَتِهِ
فِي عَسْكَرٍ حِينَ تَلْقَاهُ وَفِي حَشَمِ

Ka annahu wahwa fardun min jalālatihi
Fī ʿaskarin ḥīna talqāhu wa fī ḥashami

56. Just from his majestic bearing, even when he was alone, 
He seemed as if amongst a great army and entourage

كَأَنَّمَا اللُّؤْلُؤُ الْمَكْنُونُ فِي صَدَفٍ
مِنْ مَعْدِنَيْ مَنْطِقٍ مِنْهُ وَمُبْتَسَمِ

Ka annama l-lu'lu'u l-maknūnu fī ṣadafin
Min maʿdinay manṭiqin minhu wa mubtasami

57. It was as if shining pearls, protected in their shells, 
Emerged from both his speech and his radiant smile

لَا طِيبَ يَعْدِلُ تُرْبًا ضَمَّ أَعْظُمَهُ
طُوبَى لِمُنْتَشِقٍ مِنْهُ وَمُلْتَثِمِ

Lā ṭība yaʿdilu turban ḍamma aʿẓumahu
Ṭūbā li muntashiqin minhu wa multathimi

58. No perfume could ever match that of the earth that holds his noble form, 
What bliss for the one who smells that blessed earth or kisses it!

 

الْفَصْلُ الرَّابِعُ فِي مَوْلِدِهِ

Al-faṣlu r-rābiʿu fī mawlidihi (ṣalla Llāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)

Chapter Four

On his Birth

أَبَانَ مَوْلِدُهُ عَنْ طِيبِ عُنْصُرِهِ
يَا طِيبَ مُبْتَدَإٍ مِنْهُ وَمُخْتَتَمِ

Abāna mawliduhu ʿan ṭībi ʿunṣurihi
Yā ṭība mubtada'in minhu wa mukhtatami

59. His birth made clear the purity of his origin,
O how pure his beginning and his end!

يَوْمٌ تَفَرَّسَ فِيهِ الْفُرْسُ أَنَّهُمُ
قَدْ أُنْذِرُوا بِحُلُولِ الْبُؤْسِ وَالنِّقَمِ

Yawmun tafarrasa fīhi l-fursu annahumu
Qad undhirū bi ḥulūli l-bu'si wa n-niqami

60. On that day, the Persians realised they had been warned 
Of the onset of misery and disasters

وَبَاتَ إِيوَانُ كِسْرَى وَهْوَ مُنْصَدِعٌ
كَشَمْلِ أَصْحَابِ كِسْرَى غَيْرَ مُلْتَئِمِ

Wa bāta īwānu kisrā wahwa munṣadiʿun
Ka shamli aṣ-ḥābi kisrā ghayra multa'imi

61. That very night a crack appeared in the Arch of Chosroes, 
Just as the unity and cohesion of his people was forever lost

وَالنَّارُ خَامِدَةُ الْأَنْفَاسِ مِنْ أَسَفٍ
عَلَيْهِ وَالنَّهْرُ سَاهِي الْعَيْنِ مِنْ سَدَمِ

Wa n-nāru khāmidatu l-anfāsi min asafin
ʿAlayhi wa n-nahru sāhī l-ʿayni min sadami

62. The fire, out of grief for the loss, breathed its last, 
And the river was distracted from its course by sorrow

وَسَاءَ سَاوَةَ أَنْ غَاضَتْ بُحَيْرَتُهَا
وَرُدَّ وَارِدُهَا بِالْغَيْظِ حِينَ ظَمِي

Wa sā'a sāwata an ghāḍat buḥayratuhā
Wa rudda wāriduhā bi l-ghayẓi ḥīna ẓamī

63. Sawa was troubled as the waters of its lake receded, 
And the one who came to drink from it returned raging with thirst

كَأَنَّ بِالنَّارِ مَا بِالْمَاءِ مِنْ بَلَلٍ
حُزْنًا وَبِالْمَاءِ مَا بِالنَّارِ مِنْ ضَرَمِ

Ka anna bi n-nāri mā bi l-mā'i min balalin
Ḥuznan wa bi l-mā'i mā bi n-nāri min ḍarami

64. It was as though, from grief, the fire took on water’s wetness, 
And water took on the blazing dryness of the fire

وَالْجِنُّ تَهْتِفُ وَالْأَنْوَارُ سَاطِعَةٌ
وَالْحَقُّ يَظْهَرُ مِنْ مَعْنًى وَمِنْ كَلِمِ

Wa l-jinnu tahtifu wa l-anwāru sāṭiʿatun
Wa l-ḥaqqu yaẓ-haru min maʿnan wa min kalimi

65. The jinn were shrieking, and the lights were flashing out, 
As the truth was made manifest in both meaning and word

عَمُوا وَصَمُّوا فَإِعْلَانُ الْبَشَائِرِ لَمْ
تُسْمَعْ وَبَارِقَةُ الْإِنْذَارِ لَمْ تُشَمِ

ʿAmū wa ṣammū fa iʿlānu l-bashā'iri lam
Tusmaʿ wa bāriqatu l-indhāri lam tushami

66. But blind and deaf, the Persians did not hear the happy tidings, 
Neither did they see the flash of warning signs

مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا أَخْبَرَ الْأَقْوَامَ كَاهِنُهُمْ
بِأَنَّ دِينَهُمُ الْمُعْوَجَّ لَمْ يَقُمِ

Min baʿdi mā akhbara l-aqwāma kāhinuhum
Bi anna dīnahumu l-muʿwajja lam yaqumi

67. Even after the people’s own soothsayers had told them 
That their crooked old religion could not last

وَبَعْدَ مَا عَايَنُوا فِي الْأُفْقِ مِنْ شُهُبٍ
مُنْقَضَّةٍ وَفْقَ مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ صَنَمِ

 

Wa baʿda mā ʿāyanū fi l-ufqi min shuhubin
Munqaḍḍatin wafqa mā fi l-arḍi min ṣanami

68. And after they had seen shooting stars away on the horizon, 
Falling from the heavens, just as the idols were falling on earth

حَتَّى غَدَا عَنْ طَرِيقِ الْوَحْيِ مُنْهَزِمٌ
مِنَ الشَّيَاطِينِ يَقْفُوا إِثْرَ مُنْهَزِمِ

Ḥattā ghadā ʿan ṭarīqi l-waḥyī munhazimun
Mina sh-shayāṭīni yaqfū ithra munhazimi

69. Until even the devils were routed, fleeing from the path of revelation, 
Following after others as they fled

كَأَنَّهُمْ هَرَبًا أَبْطَالُ أَبْرَهَةٍ
أَوْ عَسْكَرٌ بِالْحَصَى مِنْ رَاحَتَيْهِ رُمِي

Ka annahum haraban abṭālu abrahatin
Aw ʿaskarun bi l-ḥaṣā min rāḥatayhi rumī

70. They were fleeing just like Abraha’s warriors, 
Or like the army scattered by pebbles thrown from the Prophet’s own hand

نَبْذًا بِهِ بَعْدَ تَسْبِيحٍ بِبَطْنِهِمَا
نَبْذَ الْمُسَبِّحِ مِنْ أَحْشَاءِ مُلْتَقِمِ

Nabdhan bihi baʿda tasbīḥin bi baṭnihimā
Nabdha l-musabbiḥi min aḥshā'i multaqimi

71. Thrown by him after glorifying God in the palm of his hand, 
As the one who glorified his Lord was thrown out from the belly of the whale

 

الْفَصْلُ الْخَامِسُ فِي مُعْجِزَاتِهِ

Al-faṣlu l-khāmisu fī muʿjizātihi (ṣalla Llāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)

 

Chapter Five

On the Miracles that came at his Hand

جَاءَتْ لِدَعْوَتِهِ الْأَشْجَارُ سَاجِدَةً
تَمْشِي إِلَيْهِ عَلَى سَاقٍ بِلَا قَدَمِ

Jā'at li daʿwatihi l-ashjāru sājidatan
Tamshī ilayhi ʿalā sāqin bilā qadami

72. Trees came to him when he called, prostrating, 
Walking towards him on trunks that had no feet

كَأَنَّمَا سَطَرَتْ سَطْرًا لِمَا كَتَبَتْ
فُرُوعُهَا مِنْ بَدِيعِ الْخَطِّ بِاللَّقَمِ

Ka annamā saṭarat saṭran limā katabat
Furūʿuhā min badīʿi l-khaṭṭi bi l-laqami

73. As though they had written lines of beautiful calligraphy 
With their branches all along the path

مِثْلَ الْغَمَامَةِ أَنَّى سَارَ سَائِرَةً
تَقِيهِ حَرَّ وَطِيسٍ لِلْهَجِيرِ حَمِي

Mithla l-ghamāmati annā sāra sā'iratan
Taqīhi ḥarra waṭīsin li l-hajīri ḥamī

74. Like the cloud that moved with him wherever he went, 
Protecting him from the fierce oven of the midday heat

أَقْسَمْتُ بِالْقَمَرِ الْمُنْشَقِّ إِنَّ لَهُ
مِنْ قَلْبِهِ نِسْبَةً مَبْرُورَةَ الْقَسَمِ

Aqsamtu bi l-qamari l-munshaqqi inna lahu
Min qalbihi nisbatan mabrūrata l-qasami

75. I swear by the [Lord of the] moon that was split in two, 
Surely it has a connection with his heart, a true and blessed oath

وَمَا حَوَى الْغَارُ مِنْ خَيْرٍ وَمِنْ كَرَمٍ
وَكُلُّ طَرْفٍ مِنَ الْكُفَّارِ عَنْهُ عَمِي

Wa mā ḥawa l-ghāru min khayrin wa min karamin
Wa kullu ṭarfin mina l-kuffāri ʿanhu ʿamī

76. And by the excellence and nobility encompassed in the cave,
While every glance of the unbelievers was quite blind to it

فَالصِّدْقُ فِي الْغَارِ وَالصِّدِّيقُ لَمْ يَرِمَا
وَهُمْ يَقُولُونَ مَا بِالْغَارِ مِنْ أَرِمِ

Fa ṣ-ṣidqu fi l-ghāri wa ṣ-ṣiddīqu lam yarimā
Wa hum yaqūlūna mā bi l-ghāri min arimi

77. The true one and the truthful one remained in the cave, 
As those outside said to one another, ‘There is no one in this cave.’

ظَنُّوا الْحَمَامَ وَظَنُّوا الْعَنْكَبُوتَ عَلَى
خَيْرِ الْبَرِيَّةِ لَمْ تَنْسُجْ وَلَمْ تَحُمِ

Ẓannu l-ḥamāma wa ẓannu l-ʿankabūta ʿalā
Khayri l-bariyyati lam tansuj wa lam taḥumi

78. They did not suspect that a dove would hover giving protection, 
Or that a spider would spin its web to help the Best of Creation

وِقَايَةُ اللهِ أَغْنَتْ عَنْ مُضَاعَفَةٍ
مِنَ الدُّرُوعِ وَعَنْ عَالٍ مِنَ الْأُطُمِ

Wiqāyatu Llāhi aghnat ʿan muḍāʿafatin
Mina d-durūʿi wa ʿan ʿālin mina l-uṭumi

79. Allah’s solicitude and shelter freed him from the need to resort 
To coats of armour and fortresses for his protection

مَا سَامَنِي الدَّهْرُ ضَيْمًا وَاسْتَجَرْتُ بِهِ
إِلَّا وَنِلْتُ جِوَارًا مِنْهُ لَمْ يُضَمِ

Mā sāmani d-dahru ḍayman wa s-tajartu bihi
Illā wa niltu jiwāran minhu lam yuḍami

80. Whenever the times have treated me unjustly, and I have turned to him 
For refuge, I always found security with him, unharmed

وَلَا الْتَمَسْتُ غِنَى الدَّارَيْنِ مِنْ يَدِهِ
إِلَّا اسْتَلَمْتُ النَّدَى مِنْ خَيْرِ مُسْتَلَمِ

Wa la l-tamastu ghina d-dārayni min yadihi
Illa s-talamtu n-nadā min khayri mustalami

81. And never have I sought the wealth of the two worlds from his hand, 
Without receiving open-handed generosity from the best of givers

لَا تُنْكِرِ الْوَحْيَ مِنْ رُؤْيَاهُ إِنَّ لَهُ
قَلَبًا إِذَا نَامَتِ الْعَيْنَانِ لَمْ يَنَمِ

Lā tunkiri l-waḥya min ru'yāhu inna lahu
Qalban idhā nāmati l-ʿaynāni lam yanami

82. Do not deny the revelations he received in his dreams, 
For surely, though his eyes would sleep, he had a heart that never slept

وَذَاكَ حِينَ بُلُوغٍ مِنْ نُبُوَّتِهِ
فَلَيْسَ يُنْكَرُ فِيهِ حَالُ مُحْتَلِمِ

Wa dhāka ḥīna bulūghin min nubuwwatihi
Fa laysa yunkaru fīhi ḥālu muḥtalimi

83. That was from the time when he attained to prophethood, 
For the dreams of the one who has come of age cannot be denied

تَبَارَكَ اللهُ مَا وَحْيٌ بِمُكْتَسَبٍ
وَلَا نَبيٌّ عَلَى غَيْبٍ بِمُتَّهَمِ

Tabāraka Llāhu mā waḥyun bi muktasabin
Wa lā nabiyyun ʿalā ghaybin bi muttahami

84. God be praised! Revelation is not something acquired, 
Nor is a prophet’s knowledge of the unseen to be suspected

كَمْ أَبْرَأَتْ وَصِبًا بِاللَّمْسِ رَاحَتُهُ
وَأَطْلَقَتْ أَرِبًا مِنْ رِبْقَةِ اللَّمَمِ

Kam abra'at waṣiban bi l-lamsi rāḥatuhu
Wa aṭlaqat ariban min ribqati l-lamami

85. How many sick people have been healed at the touch of his hand, 
And how many, driven almost mad by the noose of their sins, have been set free

وَأَحْيَتِ السَّنَةَ الشَّهْبَاءَ دَعْوَتُهُ
حَتَّى حَكَتْ غُرَّةً فِي الْأَعْصُرِ الدُّهُمِ

Wa aḥyati s-sanata sh-shahbā'a daʿwatuhu
Ḥattā ḥakat ghurratan fi l-aʿṣuri d-duhumi

86. His supplication brought new life in the year of barren dryness, 
So that it stood out among the dark years like the beautiful white blaze on a horses forehead

بِعَارِضٍ جَادَ أَوْ خِلْتَ الْبِطَاحَ بِهَا
سَيْبٌ مِنَ الْيَمِّ أَوْ سَيْلٌ مِنَ الْعَرِمِ

Bi ʿāriḍin jāda aw khilta l-biṭāḥa bihā
Saybun mina l-yammi aw saylun mina l-ʿarimi

87. The clouds poured down rain, until you would have thought 
The valley was flowing with water from the open sea, or from the burst dam of Arim

 

الْفَصْلُ السَّادِسُ فِي شَرَفِ الْقُرآنِ وَمَدْحِهِ 

 

Al-faṣlu s-sādisu fī sharafi l-Qur'āni wa madḥihi

 

Chapter Six

On the Nobility of the Qur’an and its Praise

دَعْنِي وَوَصْفِيَ آيَاتٍ لَهُ ظَهَرَتْ
ظُهُورَ نَارِ الْقِرَى لَيْلًا عَلَى عَلَمِ

Daʿnī wa waṣfiya āyātin lahu ẓaharat
Ẓuhūra nāri l-qirā laylan ʿalā ʿalami

88. Allow me to describe to you the signs that appeared to him 
Clearly visible like beacons lit at night on the high hills to welcome guests

فَالدُّرُّ يَزْدَادُ حُسْنًا وَهْوَ مُنْتَظِمٌ
وَلَيْسَ يَنْقُصُ قَدْرًا غَيْرَ مُنْتَظِمِ

Fa d-durru yazdādu ḥusnan wahwa muntaẓimun
Wa laysa yanquṣu qadran ghayra muntaẓimi

89. Although a pearl’s beauty is increased when strung among others 
Its value is not lessened when alone, unstrung

فَمَا تَطَاوُلُ آمَالِ الْمَدِيحِ إِلَى
مَا فِيهِ مِنْ كَرَمِ الْأَخْلَاقِ وَ الشِّيَمِ

Fa mā taṭāwulu āmāli l-madīḥi ilā
Mā fīhi min karami l-akhlāqi wa sh-shiyami

90. What hope can the one who tries to praise it have 
Of doing justice to its noble traits and qualities?

آيَاتُ حَقٍّ مِنَ الرَّحْمٰنِ مُحْدَثَةٌ
قَدِيمَةٌ صِفَةُ الْمَوْصُوفِ بِالْقِدَمِ

Āyātu ḥaqqin mina r-Raḥmāni muḥdathatun
Qadīmatun ṣifatu l-mawṣūfi bi l-qidami

91. Verses of truth from the Merciful - revealed in time, 
Yet Eternal - the attribute of the Pre-eternal One

لَمْ تَقْتَرِنْ بِزَمَانٍ وَهْيَ تُخْبِرُنَا
عَنِ الْمَعَادِ وَعَنْ عَادٍ وَعَنْ إِرَمِ

Lam taqtarin bi zamānin wahya tukhbirunā
ʿAni l-maʿādi wa ʿan ʿādin wa ʿan irami

92. They are not bound by time, and bring us tidings of 
The Last Day, and also of ‘Ad and Iram

دَامَتْ لَدَيْنَا فَفَاقَتْ كُلَّ مُعْجِزَةٍ
مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ إِذْ جَاءَتْ وَلَمْ تَدُمِ

Dāmat ladaynā fa fāqat kulla muʿjizatin
Mina n-nabiyyīna idh jā'at wa lam tadumi

93. They have lasted to our time, and outstripped every miracle 
Brought by other prophets, which came, but did not last

مُحَكَّمَاتٌ فَمَا تُبْقِينَ مِنْ شُبَهٍ
لِذِي شِقَاقٍ وَمَا يَبْغِينَ مِنْ حَكَمِ

Muḥkamātun fa mā tubqīna min shubahin
Li dhī shiqāqin wa mā yabghīna min ḥakami

94. Verses so clear that no obscurity can remain 
For the wrangler, nor do they require any judge

مَا حُورِبَتْ قَطُّ إِلَّا عَادَ مِنْ حَرَبٍ
أَعْدَى الْأَعَادِي إِلَيْهَا مُلْقِيَ السَّلَمِ

Mā ḥūribat qaṭṭu illā ʿāda min ḥarabin
Aʿda l-aʿādī ilayhā mulqiya s-salami

95. No implacable enemy has ever attacked them 
Without retreating at last from the battle, begging for peace

رَدَّتْ بَلَاغَتُهَا دَعْوَى مُعَارِضِهَا
رَدَّ الْغَيُورِ يَدَ الْجَانِي عَنِ الْحُرَمِ

Raddat balāghatuhā daʿwā muʿāriḍihā
Radda l-ghayūri yada-l jānī ʿani l-ḥurami

96. Their very eloquence refutes the claim of one opposing them, 
As an honourable man wards off the assailants hand from what is sacred

لَهَا مَعَانٍ كَمَوْجِ الْبَحْرِ فِي مَدَدٍ
وَ فَوْقَ جَوْهَرِهِ فِي الْحُسْنِ وَالْقِيَمِ

Lahā maʿānin ka mawji l-baḥri fī madadin
Wa fawqa jawharihi fi l-ḥusni wa l-qiyami

97. They contain meanings like the sea’s never-ending waves, 
And go far beyond its jewels in their beauty and value

فَمَا تُعَدُّ وَلَا تُحْصَى عَجَائِبُهَا
وَلَا تُسَامُ عَلَى الْإِكْثَارِ بِالسَّأَمِ