Expressions of Love

We are asked to increasingly love our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s). But, how can we express our love for Prophet Muhammad (s)? One of the earliest example was Hassan Ibn Thabit (ra), a close companion of Prophet Muhammad (s). He was also Islam’s first religious poet, using many phrases from the Qur’an in his poetry. The work of Hassan Ibn Thabit (ra) was instrumental in spreading the message of the Prophet (s), as the Arabs were great poets and this formed a large part of the culture. The work and words of Hassan Ibn Thabit (ra) are still regarded as the most beautiful in praise of the beloved Messenger. The Prophet was so happy with Hassan Ibn Thabit (ra) that he ordered to establish and construct for him a pulpit for him to stand upon when he delivered his poetry.

Another beautiful example is the eminent Imam Muhammad Ibn Sa’id Al-Busiri who expressed his tremendous love for the Prophet through the Qasida al-Burda (Poem of the Mantle), formally titled as “Glittering Stars in Praise of the Best of Creation”. The Burda is considered one of the greatest expression of love written in honour of Sayyidina Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasallam.

Qasida al-Burda is famous in the Muslim world. It is entirely in praise of Prophet Muhammad, who is said to have cured the poet of paralysis by appearing to him in a dream and wrapping him in a mantle or scarf.

The poem is memorized and recited in congregations all over the world, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. Its verses decorate the walls of public buildings and mosques. The poetry also decorated The Holy Mosque of Prophet Muhammad, Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina. Over 100 commentaries have been written on this poem and it has been translated into Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Berber, Punjabi, English, French, German, Sindhi, Norwegian, Malay and many other languages. The Burda 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” (Arabic: مولاي صلي و سلم دائما أبدا على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم). Each verse ends with the Arabic letter mīm, a style called mīmīya.