Al-Burda

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A verse from the Qaṣīdat al-Burda, displayed on the wall of al-Busiri's shrine in Alexandria

Qasīdat al-Burda (Arabic: قصيدة البردة‎, "Ode of the Mantle"), or al-Burda for short, is an ode of praise for the Islamic prophet Muhammad composed by the eminent Sufi mystic Imam al-Busiri of Egypt. The poem whose actual title is al-Kawākib ad-Durrīya fī Madḥ Khayr al-Barīya (الكواكب الدرية في مدح خير البرية, "The Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation"), is famous mainly in the Sunni Muslim world. It is entirely in praise of Muhammad, who is said to have been praised ceaselessly by the afflicted poet, to the point that the Prophet appeared in a dream and wrapped him in a mantle or cloak; in the morning the poet discovers that God has cured him.[1][2] Bānat Suʿād, a poem composed by Ka'b bin Zuhayr was originally called as Al-Burdah. He recited this poem in front of Muhammad after embracing Islam. Muhammad was so moved that he removed his mantle and wrapped it over him. The original Burdah is not as famous as the one composed by Imam al-Busiri even though Muhammad had physically wrapped his mantle over Ka'b not in a dream like in case of Imam al-Busiri.

Composition

Al-Busiri narrated the circumstances of his inspiration to write the Burdah:

I had composed a number of praise poems for the Prophet, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace, including one that was suggested to me by my friend Zayn al-Dīn Yʿaqūb b. al-Zubayr. Some time after that, I was stricken by fālij (stroke), an illness that paralyzed half of my body. I thought that I would compose this poem, and so I made supplications to the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace, to intercede for me and (ask God 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, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace. He wiped my face with His blessed hands and covered me in His Mantle (Burdah). 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 Sufi (faqīr) on my way and he said to me: "I want you to give me the poem in which you praise the Prophet, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace."

I said: "Which one?"

So he said: "The one that you composed during your sickness."

Then he recited the first verse and said: "I swear by God that I heard it in a dream last night being sung in the presence of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace. I saw the Prophet, Allah bless Him and salute Him with peace, was pleased with it and covered the person who sang it with His Mantle."

So I recited the poem to him and he memorized it and related his vision to others.

— Imam al-Busiri

The Burda is divided into 10 chapters and 160 verses all rhyming with each other. Interspersing the verses is the refrain, "My Patron Deity, confer blessings and peace continuously and eternally on Your Beloved, the Best of All Creation" (Arabic: مولاي صلي و سلم دائما أبدا على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم). Each verse ends with the Arabic letter mīm, a style called mīmīya. The 10 chapters of the Burda comprise:

Popularity

Sunni Muslims have traditionally venerated the poem. It is memorized and recited in congregations, and its verses decorate the walls of public buildings and mosques. This poem decorated Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the mosque of Muhammad) in Medina for centuries but was erased but for two lines under the Saudi dynasty.[3] Over 90 commentaries have been written on this poem and it has been translated into Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Berber, Punjabi, English, French, German, Sindhi, Saraiki, Norwegian, Chinese(called Tianfangshijing), and other languages. It is known and recited by a large number of Sunni Muslims, ordinarily and on special occasions, such as Mawlid, making it one of the most recited poems in the world.

Translations

The poem has seen several different translations, into a variety of languages.[4] Arguably the most important translation of recent times is that by Timothy Winter into English.[5]

Audio

The full rendition of this famous poem has been produced by The Adel Brothers. They have sung the full poem in over 20 different styles. 'The Mantle of Praise' please see 'External links' below.

Legacy

The Burda was accepted within Sunni Islam and was the subject of numerous commentaries by mainstream Sunni scholars[6] such as Ibn Hajar al-Haytami,[7] Nazifi[7] and Qastallani[8] It was also studied by the Shafi'i hadith master Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 A.H.) both by reading the text out loud to his teacher and by receiving it in writing from a transmitter who heard it directly from Busiri himself.[9]

The founder of the Wahhabi sect, Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab Najdi in contradiction to mainstream Sunni Islam considered the poem to be idolatory (shirk).[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Anthology of Arabic Poems about the Prophet and the Faith of Islam Containing the Famous Poem of Al-Busaree
  2. ^ The poem of the scarf by Shaikh Faizullah Bhai B. A. - University of Bombay - Published by Taj Company Ltd.
  3. ^ "BBC - Religions - Islam: al-Burda". Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  4. ^ See section, "Popularity"
  5. ^ "Imam al-Busiri, The Mantle Adorned", Timothy Winter (Abdal Hakim Murad), (London: Quilliam Press, 2009)
  6. ^ Meri, Josef W. (2005-10-31). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 166. ISBN 9781135455965. 
  7. ^ a b Krätli, Graziano; Lydon, Ghislaine (2011-01-01). The Trans-Saharan Book Trade: Manuscript Culture, Arabic Literacy and Intellectual History in Muslim Africa. BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 9004187421. 
  8. ^ Lewis, B.; Menage, V.L.; Pellat, Ch.; Schacht, J. (1997) [1st. pub. 1978]. Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition). Volume IV (Iran-Kha). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 737. ISBN 9004078193. 
  9. ^ Sobieroj, Florian (2016-05-24). Variance in Arabic Manuscripts: Arabic Didactic Poems from the Eleventh to the Seventeenth Centuries - Analysis of Textual Variance and Its Control in the Manuscripts. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 65. ISBN 9783110460001. 
  10. ^ Commins, David (2006-02-20). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 59. ISBN 9781845110802. 

External links

  • Qasida Burda - Qasida Burda (the nasheed)
  • Al-Burda on the BBC
  • Iqra.net: The Prophet's Mantle
  • Translation of al-Burda and other resources
  • Recitation of Qasida Al Burda
  • MA Thesis: Understanding the Poem of the Burdah in Sufi Commentaries
  • The Mantle Adorned a translation by Timothy Winter
  • 'The Mantle of Praise' Full rendition of the Qasida Burda by The Adel Brothers

Further reading

  • Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014. ISBN 1610691776
  • La Burda du désert, Touria Ikbal, Faiza Tidjani & Muhammad Vâlsan, Edited by Science sacrée, 2015. ISBN 9782915059106
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