Translated by Br. Muhammed Jaffer. Regarding the life of Di’bil, click here.
|تجاوبن بالأرنان والزفرات||They echo in sighs and exasperations|
|نوائح عجم اللفظ والنطقات||Mourners in tongues, odd articulations75|
|يخبرن بالأنفاس عن سر أنفس||Of spirits’ secrets, their breaths are informing|
|أسارى هوى ماض وآخر آت||Of a past love captives and another approaching74|
|فأصعدن أو أسففن حتى تقوضت||Like birds they do flutter in their plight|
|صفوف الدجى بالفجر منهزمات||Until the dawn quashes armies of night73|
|على العرصات الخاليات من المهى||Upon plains bereft those gazelles of grace72|
|سلام شج صب على العرصات||Be the praise of a lover, fierce in their chase|
|فعهدي بها خضر المعاهد مالفا||For my mind does yearn for when they were green|
|من العطرات البيض والخفرات||Adorned by aromas, so pure and pristine71|
|ليالي يعدين الوصال على القلى||And for nights that give our longing succor|
|ويعدى تدانينا على الغربات||Against separation and pangs of a lover70|
|واذهن يلحظن العيون سوافرا||When they did exchange with me stealthy glances|
|ويسترن بالأيدي على الوجنات||And covered their cheeks to ward my advances69|
|وإذ كل يوم لي بلحظي نشوة||And when each glance instilled such fervor|
|يبيت لها قلبي على نشوات||And filled my heart with passion yet further68|
|فكم حسرات هاجها بمحسر||So what anguish does strike it in Muhasser|
|وقوفي يوم الجمع من عرفات||When it mires in Arafat without its lover?67|
|ألم تر للأيام ما جر جورها||Don’t you see fate’s crimes and afflictions|
|على الناس من نقض وطول شتات||Upon the people in their many derelictions?66|
|ومن دول المستهزئين ومن غدا||And in the reigns of the Truth’s lampooners|
|بهم طالبا للنور في الظلمات||Who are sought in darkness as Light’s pursuers65|
|فكيف ومن انى يطالب زلفة||But how and from where is sought vicinity|
|إلى الله بعد الصوم والصلوات||To God after all the fasting and liturgy|
|سوى حب أبناء النبي ورهطه||Except in the love for Prophetic progeny|
|وبغض بني الزرقاء والعبلات||And hatred of Marwan and Umayyah, the enemy|
|وهند وما أدت سمية وابنها||And of Hind the liver-eater, Sumayyah and son64|
|أولوا الكفر في الاسلام والفجرات||Whose debauchery by none can be outdone63|
|هم نقضوا عهد الكتاب وفرضه||They negate the Book: its every duty|
|ومحكمه بالزور والشبهات||And fling its truth with doubts unduly|
|ولم تك الا محنة كشفتهم||Except as a trial to expose their scandal|
|بدعوى ضلال من هن وهنات||Their reign was not; yes, what a shamble!62|
|تراث بلا قربى وملك بلا هدى||Heritage plundered and a reign misguided,|
|وحكم بلا شورى بغير هداة||Rule with no counsel or guidance provided!|
|رزايا أرتنا خضرة الأفق حمرة||Affliction that turns to red aqua horizons|
|وردت أجاجا طعم كل فرات||And from every fresh stream sweetness siphons61|
|وما سهلت تلك المذاهب فيهم||A discord not sown except by facility|
|على الناس الا بيعة الفلتات||From that allegiance of “serendipity”60|
|وما قيل أصحاب السقيفة جهرة||By Saqifah’s folk in clear words brazenly|
|بدعوى تراث في الضلال بتات||To spurious claims of Prophetic legatee|
|ولو قلدوا الموصى إليه أمورها||Nay! Had they handed affairs to its heir|
|لزمت بمأمون على العثرات||Preserved it would be with no chance to err:|
|أخا خاتم الرسل المصفى من القذى||Brother of the Seal, purified of corruption|
|ومفترس الابطال في الغمرات||The paladin hunter in war’s eruption|
|فان جحدوا كان الغدير شهيده||And if they belie, then Ghadeer is his witness|
|وبدر واحد شامخ الهضبات||And Badr; and Uhud: of mountains pernicious|
|وآي من القرآن تتلى بفضله||Indeed the Qur’an does speak of his merit|
|وايثاره بالقوت في اللزبات||Through disaster charity hymns to his credit59|
|وغر خلال أدركته بسبقها||Merits that in his cast are cemented|
|مناقب كانت فيه مؤتنفات||Unique in their form, unprecedented58|
|مناقب لم تدرك بكيد ولم تنل||Merits that fly above all procurement|
|بشئ سوى حد القنا الذربات||And only yield to cold steel’s allurement57|
|نجي لجبريل الأمين وأنتم||Behold! He was Gabriel’s close confidant|
|عكوف على العزى معا ومناة||While to ‘Uzza and Manaat you did vaunt!56|
|بكيت لرسم الدار من عرفات||I weep at Arafat on that House’s remnants|
|وأذريت دمع العين بالعبرات||And rain down tears, as though in torrents|
|وفك عرى صبري وهاجت صبابتي||My patience disbanded, my passions alighted|
|رسوم ديار قد عفت وعرات||At the signs of abodes left unrequited:|
|مدارس آيات خلت من تلاوة||Academies of Signs, of rehearsers detained|
|ومنزل وحي مقفر العرصات||Revelation’s home, in barren terrains|
|لآل رسول الله بالخيف من منى||Of the Prophet’s kin, in Khayf at Mina|
|وبالبيت والتعريف والجمرات||And in ‘Arafaat, Jamaraat, and the Kaaba55|
|ديار لعبد الله بالخيف من منى||Abodes of ‘Abdullah, in Khayf at Mina|
|وللسيد الداعي إلى الصلوات||And of the Chief Caller to the path of Allah54|
|ديار علي والحسين وجعفر||Abodes of ‘Ali, Al-Husayn, and Ja’far|
|وحمزة والسجاد ذي الثفنات||And Hamza and Sajjad: of callus in prayer53|
|ديار لعبد الله والفضل صنوه||Of the son of Abbas and his brother Fadl:|
|نجي رسول الله في الخلوات||The Prophet’s confidant in secret huddle52|
|وسبطي رسول الله وابني وصيه||Of the Prophet’s grandsons and sons of his heir:|
|ووارث علم الله والحسنات||Successor of God’s knowledge and all that is fair51|
|منازل وحي الله ينزل بينها||Yes amidst these dwellings descends His revelation|
|على احمد المذكور في السورات||On the Ahmad declared in Divine incantation|
|منازل قوم يهتدى بهداهم||Dwellings of a people in whose emulation|
|فتؤمن منهم زلة العثرات||One is sheltered from all aberration|
|منازل جبريل الأمين يحلها||Dwellings upon which Gabriel descends|
|من الله بالتسليم والبركات||With God’s salutations and godsends|
|منازل وحي الله معدن علمه||Dwellings in which the Divine takes effect50|
|سبيل رشاد واضح الطرقات||The path of the right, in all roads direct|
|منازل كانت للصلاة وللتقى||Dwellings of prayers and all things pious|
|وللصوم والتطهير والحسنات||Of fasting, purity, and everything righteous|
|منازل لا تيم يحل بربعها||Dwellings that Taim will never inhabit|
|ولا ابن صحاك هاتك الحرمات||Nor Ibn Sahhak, that wreaker of havoc49|
|ديار عفاها جور كل منابذ||Abodes that the tyrants will only eschew|
|ولم تعف للأيام والسنوات||But time’s vicissitudes will always renew48|
|فيا وارثي علم النبي وآله||Oh inheritors of the Prophetic knowledge|
|عليكم سلام دائم النفحات||Upon you be breezes of peace without stoppage|
|لقد امنت نفسي بكم في حياتها||My soul in its life was made by you tranquil|
|واني لأرجو الأمن بعد مماتي||Thus after death safety steady fulfill!|
|قفا نسأل الدار التي خف أهلها||Pray ask this edifice in which few tarry47|
|متى عهدها بالصوم والصلوات||When were those days of devotion, merry?46|
|وأين الأولى شطت بهم غربة النوى||Where are their owners, forced into exile|
|أفانين في الأقطار مفترقات||Like a tree’s many branches, stretched a mile?!45|
|هم أهل ميراث النبي إذا اعتزوا||The Prophet’s bequeathers they are when esteemed|
|وهم خير سادات وخير حماة||The best of leaders, the defenders of creed!|
|إذا لم نناج الله في صلواتنا||The ones whose names if not mentioned in prayers|
|بأسمائهم لم يقبل الصلوات||Then God rejects as unworthy of favors!|
|مطاعيم في الاعسار في كل مشهد||Magnanimous in hardship in every setting|
|لقد شرفوا بالفضل والبركات||Covered with favor and His Divine treading|
|وما الناس الا غاصب ومكذب||Their enemies are but usurpers, beliers|
|ومضطغن ذو أحنة وترات||Jealous wretches, and vengeful contrivers44|
|إذا ذكروا قتلى ببدر وخيبر||On the fallen of Badr and Khaybar they weep|
|ويوم حنين أسبلوا العبرات||And on those of Hunayn, such tears they heap!43|
|فكيف يحبون النبي ورهطه||So how may they claim love of Prophet and family|
|وهم تركوا أحشاءهم وغرات||When their hearts still bear tribal animosity?!42|
|لقد لا ينوه في المقال وأضمروا||They flattered in speech while they concealed|
|قلوبا على الأحقاد منطويات||Hearts borne of rancor, with hatred sealed|
|فان لم تكن الا بقربى محمد||For if status is wrought but by pedigree|
|فهاشم أولى من هن وهنات||Then it behooves Hashim more than “he-or-she”41|
|سقى الله قبرا بالمدينة غيثه||May God quench a Medinite grave of His rain|
|فقد حل فيه الأمن بالبركات||Indeed what a haven for otherworldly gain|
|نبي الهدى صلى عليه مليكه||The Prophet of guidance, may angels adore40|
|وبلغ عنا روحه التحفات||And to his spirit from us gifts galore|
|وصلى عليه الله ما ذر شارق||May God deliver to him salutation|
|ولاحت نجوم الليل مبتدرات||As much as the stars’ and the Sun’s lumination39|
|أفاطم لو خلت الحسين مجدلا||If you beheld—Fatimah—while fallen, Husayn|
|وقد مات عطشانا بشط فرات||At Euphrates’ bank, while thirsty and slain|
|إذا للطمت الخد فاطم عنده||Your cheeks you would surely slap at his sight|
|وأجريت دمع العين في الوجنات||Indeed burning tears would your holy face smite38|
|أفاطم قومي يا ابنة الخير واندبي||Oh daughter of virtue, do rise and tears rain:|
|نجوم سماوات بأرض فلاة||For heavenly bodies spread cross desert plain|
|قبور بكوفان وأخرى بطيبة||For Kufic graves and of Medinite more37|
|وأخرى بفخ نالها صلواتي||And yet others in Fakh, blessings on it pour36|
|وأخرى بأرض الجوزجان محلها||On graves that do lie in Khorasan’s ground35|
|وقبر بباخمرى لدى الغربات||And others that are in Baakhamraa found34|
|وقبر ببغداد لنفس زكية||And a grave in Baghdad, of a purified soul|
|تضمنها الرحمن في الغرفات||May the Merciful in Heaven’s palaces enroll33|
|وقبر بطوس يا لها من مصيبة||And a grave in Tus, oh what a great folly|
|الحت على الأحشاء بالزفرات||Imposing on viscerae such melancholy|
|إلى الحشر حتى يبعث الله قائما||Till Judgment, when God sends his liberator|
|يفرج عنا الهم والكربات||Of woes and calamities our exterminator:32|
|علي بن موسى أرشد الله امره||The grave of ‘Ali son of Musa, the guided|
|وصلى عليه أفضل الصلوات||Salutations be on him, forever abided31|
|فاما الممضات التي لست بالغا||And for those pangs I cannot contain|
|مبالغها مني بكنه صفات||For whom all descriptors fall in vain:|
|قبور ببطن النهر من جنب كربلا||Of graves in Karbala in that river’s flank|
|معرسهم فيها بشط فرات||As though in siesta at Euphrates’ bank|
|توفوا عطاشى بالفرات فليتني||Indeed they died thirsty, oh what irony--|
|توفيت فيهم قبل حين وفاتي||Would that I died while in their company!30|
|إلى الله أشكو لوعة عند ذكرهم||To God in their wake I do cast my agony|
|سقتني بكأس الثكل والفظعات||And quench my thirst with the goblet of tragedy|
|أخاف بان ازدراهم فتشوقني||I fear lest my visitations many|
|مصارعهم بالجزع فالنخلات||Should break my heart twixt their relics plenty29|
|تقسمهم ريب المنون فما ترى||Lo fortunes of fate have scattered their ranks!|
|لهم عقوة مغشية الحجرات||Behold their abodes, of chambers blank!28|
|خلا ان منهم بالمدينة عصبة||Excepting from them a Medinite camp|
|مدينين انضاء من اللزبات||Toiling in trials, in hardship’s firm clamp27|
|قليلة زوار سوى ان زورا||Of pilgrims few among the peoples|
|من الضبع والعقبان والرخمات||Their guests vultures, hyenas, eagles26|
|لهم كل يوم تربة بمضاجع||Each day in their caskets lies dust anew|
|ثوت في نواحي الأرض مفترقات||From lands disparate, of many a hue25|
|تنكب لاواء السنين جوارهم||Their courtyard years’ torments does repel|
|ولا تصطليهم جمرة الجمرات||Not touched are they by the fires of Hell|
|وقد كان منهم في الحجاز وأرضها||Among them are those of renown in Hejaz|
|مغاوير نحارون في الأزمات||As heroes fearless, but selfless in cause24|
|حمى لم تزره المذنبات وأوجه||Purified are their loins of women unchaste23|
|تضئ لدى الأستار في الظلمات||And gloom by their faces of light is effaced|
|إذا وردوا خيلا بسمر من القنا||When lancers in battle’s midst they receive|
|مساعير حرب اقحموا الغمرات||As embers of war through torrents they cleave22|
|وان فخروا يوما اتوا بمحمد||If they flaunt a moment, of Muhammad they tout|
|وجبريل والفرقان ذي السورات||And of both Angel Gabriel and Qur’an they spout21|
|وعدوا عليا ذا المناقب والعلى||Of Ali’s elevation they do call out|
|وفاطمة الزهراء خير بنات||And over all women of Fatimah’s clout|
|وحمزة والعباس ذا الهدى والتقى||To ‘Abbas and Hamza in their piety, stout|
|وجعفرا الطيار في الحجبات||And to high-flying Ja’far, over all doubt!20|
|أولئك لا منتوج هند وحزبها||To these! Not to Hind and her evil brood|
|سمية من نوكى ومن قذرات||Nor to Sumayyah, the foolish and lewd|
|ستسأل تيم عنهم وعديها||Yes! Taim and ‘Adiyy are for them responsible|
|وبيعتهم من أفجر الفجرات||Allegiance to them beyond diabolical!19|
|هم منعوا الآباء عن اخذ حقهم||Prohibiting fathers from seizing their rights|
|وهم تركوا الأبناء رهن شتات||Displacing their sons to toil in their plight18|
|وهم عدلوها عن وصي محمد||For they did divert from Muhammad’s heir|
|فبيعتهم جاءت على الغدرات||While their allegiance was only a snare!17|
|وليهم صنو النبي محمد||His son-in-law surely was their true master|
|أبو الحسن الفراج للغمرات||Father of Hasan, relief in disaster!|
|ملامك في آل النبي فإنهم||For this family Prophetic blame me not:|
|أحباي ما داموا وأهل ثقاتي||Beloveds forever, my pact with them taut|
|تخيرتهم رشدا لنفسي انهم||I choose them as mine in the fullest conviction|
|على كل حال خيرة الخيرات||For they are the best in my every condition|
|نبذت إليهم بالمودة صادقا||I do cast upon them my truest affection|
|وسلمت نفسي طائعا لولاتي||And yield myself to them in utter submission|
|فيا رب زدني في هواي بصيرة||So increase oh my Lord the insight of my ardor|
|وزد حبهم يا رب في حسناتي||And of my good deeds my love for them charter|
|سأبكيهم ما حج لله راكب||For them I do cry, as long as a pilgrim|
|وما ناح قمري على الشجرات||To God’s house does visit, or does croak a pigeon|
|وإني لمولاهم وقال عدوهم||With them I align, while shunning their foe|
|وإني لمحزون بطول حياتي||And all through my life I live with their woe|
|بنفسي أنتم من كهول وفتية||May I be your ransom, for in youth and age|
|لفك عناة أو لحمل ديات||You freed the captives and bore others’ blood-wage16|
|وللخيل لما قيد الموت خطوها||And horses when death encircled their hooves|
|فأطلقتم منهن بالذربات||You did release with your blades’ swift moves15|
|أحب قصي الرحم من اجل حبكم||For your sake I love those distant of relation|
|وأهجر فيكم زوجتي وبناتي||While of wife and daughters in renunciation14|
|واكتم حبيكم مخافة كاشح||For you do I hide my love fearing villains|
|عنيد لأهل الحق غير مواتي||Firm against truth, of vile dispositions13|
|فيا عين بكيهم وجودي بعبرة||Oh my eye for them cry and do shed a tear|
|فقد آن للتسكاب والهملات||As surely the time for mourning draws near!12|
|لقد خفت في الدنيا وأيام سعيها||Through this world and its days I toil in fright|
|واني لأرجو الامن بعد وفاتي||Hence after my death may my safety alight11|
|ألم ترني مذ ثلاثين حجة||Do you not see me for the past thirty years|
|أروح وأغدو دائم الحسرات||Day and night roaming, constantly drear?!|
|أرى فيأهم في غيرهم متقسما||I see their estate to others acquired|
|وأيديهم من فيئهم صفرات||While left are their hands of it as ciphers10|
|فكيف أداوى من جوى لي والجوى||Pray how may I heal these wounds of agony|
|أمية أهل الفسق والنبعات||The agony of a cursed Umayyad family|
|وآل زياد في القصور مصونة||And Ziyad’s family, in their palaces guarded|
|وآل رسول الله في الفلوات||While the Prophet’s family in ruins bombarded?!9|
|سأبكيهم ما ذر في الأرض شارق||I weep them as long as the Sun does rise|
|ونادى منادي الخير بالصلوات||Or to prayer virtue’s summoner cries|
|وما طلعت شمس وحان غروبها||From daybreak till the Sun does dwindle|
|وبالليل أبكيهم وبالغدوات||Mourning mornings and night-vigil—|
|ديار رسول الله أصبحن بلقعا||Homes of God’s messenger, desolated|
|وآل زياد تسكن الحجرات||But Ziyad’s folk in lodges, elevated!|
|وآل رسول الله تدمى نحورهم||Kin of God’s messenger, liquidated|
|وآل زياد ربة الحجلات||But Ziyad’s folk in alcoves, venerated!|
|وآل رسول الله تسبى حريمهم||Kin of God’s messenger, incarcerated|
|وآل زياد آمنو السربات||But Ziyad’s folk to safety, relegated!|
|إذا وتروا مدوا إلى واتريهم||If for their murder they seek retribution|
|أكفا عن الأوتار منقبضات||Their hands are constrained, in destitution8|
|فلو لا الذي أرجوه في اليوم أو غد||Thus had it not been for my hope of the morrow|
|تقطع نفسي أثرهم حسراتي||My soul would be cleft for them out of sorrow|
|خروج امام لا محالة خارج||A leader whose advent is no doubt inevitable|
|يقوم على اسم الله والبركات||By God’s name and blessings, rising veritable|
|يميز فينا كل حق وباطل||Between truth and falsehood, our supreme divider|
|ويجزي على النعماء والنقمات||Of graces and vengeances, the requiter7|
|فيا نفس طيبي ثم يا نفس أبشري||Oh my soul thus rejoice and do take solace|
|فغير بعيد كلما هو آتي||For not far is that which you hold a promise!|
|ولا تجزعي من مدة الجور انني||And at reigns of terror don’t you despair|
|أرى قوتي قد آذنت بثبات||For I spy my might at the brink of repair|
|فان قرب الرحمن من تلك مدتي||For if the Most-Merciful grants me longevity|
|واخر من عمري ووقت وفاتي||And unto my lifespan bestows His clemency|
|شفيت ولم اترك لنفسي غصة||I will heal and relieve myself of discretion|
|ورويت منهم منصلي وقناتي||Through my sword and lance against them I'll freshen6|
|فاني من الرحمن أرجو بحبهم||And from the Rahman I hope through their love|
|حياة لدى الفردوس غير تبات||To garner a place in Firdaus up above|
|عسى الله ان يرتاح للخلق انه||Perchance that Allah will relieve his creation|
|إلى كل قوم دائم اللحظات||Forbearing He is to His every nation5|
|فإن قلت عرفا أنكروه بمنكر||But should I be kind, they retort with evil|
|وغطوا على التحقيق بالشبهات||And hide the truth with queries feeble!4|
|تقاصر نفسي دائما عن جدالهم||My soul does fall short of their disputation|
|كفاني ما ألقى من العبرات||Nay! Sufficient for me is my lacrimation.|
|أحاول نقل الصم عن مستقرها||Should I try to uproot these boulders, grounded|
|وإسماع أحجار من الصلدات||Or make hearken hearts of stone, compounded?|
|فحسبي منهم أن أبوء بغصة||Nay! Enough for me is to bear what does stifle|
|تردد في صدري وفي لهواتي||My chest and my throat, to echo and cycle3|
|فمن عارف لم يقتنع ومعاند||Amidst them are those who know, still unsure|
|تميل به الأهواء للشهوات||And those who are stubborn, inclined to allure2|
|كأنك بالأضلاع قد ضاق ذرعها||How narrow your ribs have become in your breast|
|لما حملت من شدة الزفرات||From your pangs of anguish, dispossessed!1|
Muhammad Jaffer is a neurologist by profession, and his field of interest is Islamic literature. He enjoys translating Arabic poetry in particular.
- The final line of poetry in Arabic, being the most important, ends with a powerful flourish where the beginning of the eulogy started: recounting the wails of the heart’s birds and how their intensity has straitened the confines of the ribcage.
- In this line, the speaker separates the masses into two groups, equally unworthy of admonishment: 1) those who are aware of the status of the Ahlulbayt and their calamities, but continue to roam in the affliction of skepticism and 2) those who are recalcitrant who are diverted by their whims towards vain desires.
- The speaker here notes that he is forced to suppress his grief and sorrow, again reflecting the realities of dissimulation imposed on the Shi’a of that time.
- Returning back to the lamentable realities of his time, the speaker notes how his contemporaries shun him and try to obscure the truth.
- The speaker expresses his wish that God hasten the salvation of mankind through the advent of the Twelfth Imam, being as how He always looks at His creation with His Providence.
- Literally, “I will quench my sword and my spear with them [their blood].”
- Referring to the savior of mankind, Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) who will exact vengeance on the behalf of the Ahlulbayt on all their enemies. It is reported that when Di’bil reached these lines, the Imam stood up in reverence while bowing and placed his right palm on his forelock, exclaiming, “Oh Allah hasten his advent, and facilitate his uprising, and help him with a mighty succor!” Some scholars note that this is the origin of this Shi’i custom of reverence upon mention of the 12th Imam’s name. It is also narrated that the Imam wept profusely at these lines and stated, “Oh Khuzaa’i! The Holy Spirit has spoken on your tongue with these two couplets!” He then narrated some details about our twelfth Imam’s advent that can be found in books of hadith.
- In Arabic, there is a play on the various meanings of the root word w-t-r that is unfortunately impossible to preserve in English. Literally, the speaker states that when the Ahlulbayt are killed or oppressed (wutiroo), they can only extend empty hands to their oppressors, constrained and devoid of all tools (awtaar) to exact any semblance of vengeance. Indeed, this can be seen in how each Imam had to face the tyrant of his time who clandestinely poisoned his late father, unable to publicize the crime or seek revenge.
It is said that when Di’bil reached this line of the poem, the Imam began to wring his hands together and said, “Yes! By God [our hands are] constrained! By God constrained!”
- The speaker reflects here on the cruel realities of this world, where the people of righteousness are left in shambles while those of falsehood are relegated comfort and abundance.
- The word fay’, which we have rendered as “estate,” in Arabic refers to the spoils of war which per Qur’anic injunction belong to the family of the Prophet; in this couplet, the speaker laments the Ahlulbay’s right to this wealth. It is said when Di’bil reached this line, Imam Ridhaa cried aloud and exclaimed, “You have spoken the truth oh Khuzaa’i!”Al-Majlisi notes here that the crying of the Imam was not due to the fact of deprived wealth, as they had always loathed this mundane world. Rather, it is due to the fact that God’s laws and injunctions have been thwarted by the masses.
- It is narrated that when Di’bil reached this line in his eulogy, Imam Ridhaa prayed, “Oh Di’bil may Allah grant you protection on that Day of the Great Fright (Resurrection)!”
- The speaker personifies his own eye as a form of hyperbole to his mourning. We have used the word mourning in translation while the Arabic utilizes two separate near-synonymous words: “at-taskaab” (lit. effusion) and “al-hamalaat” (lit. outpouring).
- In this couplet lies an endorsement of the doctrine of dissimulation, in which the Shi’a of the time were forced to hide their love for the Ahlulbayt due to the presence of adversaries.
- Per Al-Majlisi, the implication here is that the speaker renounces his own womenfolk, over whom Arabs are particularly avaricious in protecting, as long as they do not revere the Ahlulbayt.
- This is a form of synecdoche for the purposes of hyperbole. The speaker implies by these words that death loomed so close to the cavalrymen, that it was as if it had tied the hooves of their horses together so they couldn’t flee from it. The parallelism in meaning with the previous couplet is particularly poignant, all reflecting how the Ahlulbayt used to relieve others of woe and suffering.
- The “you” here is addressed in the plural, referring to all of the Ahlulbayt, who used to make it their custom to free oppressed slaves and relieve the debts of the impoverished in paying back blood-money to others.
- Literally, “for their allegiance issued forth on the basis of treacheries.”
- By seizing the inheritance of Imam ‘Ali, they plundered him of his property as a father and left his children displaced from their heritage. As it is said, “Imam Husayn had been martyred since the allegiance of Saqifa.”
- Taim was the tribe of Abu Bakr while ‘Adiyy was the tribe of ‘Umar, alluding to the intended individuals. The speaker clarifies the important reality that had it not been for their usurpation of Imam ‘Ali’s position, the Umayyads and ‘Abbasids would not have had the precedent needed to substantiate their caliphates.
- Referring to Ja’far at-Tayyaar, the uncle of the Prophet who was martyred in the Battle of Mu’tah.
- If they would ever boast, they don’t indulge In self-adulation, but rather they recount the status and rank that Allah has bestowed upon them through their kinship to the Prophet and their relationship with the Divine revelation.
- The beauty of the Arabic imagery is difficult to render in English, but there are several antitheses at play here: there is the juxtaposition of the wooden lancets of the lancers to the flaming embers that the Ahlulbayt were in the battlefield. Then, there is the juxtaposition of torrents to blazing embers, implying the power contained in their combat to extinguish the deluge of enemy troops.
- Literally, “sanctuaries that sinful women do not visit.” As Arabic is a euphemistic language, we have chosen to translate the word “sanctuaries” (himan) as loins in this line, as this is the actual connotation of the word.
- The Arabic is maghaaweer plural of mighwaar, meaning “conquerors in the battlefield” but at the same time meaning “harbinger of rain and goodness.” The second word used is nahhaaroon plura of nahhaar, meaning “those who sacrifice the necks of their most-prized camels in times of famine.”
- Meaning that they are always martyred in places that are far-off from each other, such that they cannot rest in peace within each other’s vicinity.
- Asyndeton is used here for the purposes of meter. The timelessness of this line persists, as the Shi’a of Ahlulbayt are time-and-again prohibited from visitation and assembly at Jannatul Baqee’ until the modern-day.
- Referring to those among the Ahlulbayt who reside in Jannatul Baqee’. The Arabic literally meaning, “humiliated and made scarce due to tribulation.”
- In other words, their places of residence and chambers are not together in one place, but rather disjointed and spread out making it difficult for people to assemble in them.
- Literally, “I fear my visitation of them lest the places of their martyrdom among valleys and trees make me overflow [in passion].”
- Al-Majlisi states that the river of Karbala known as al-‘Alqamah is actually merely a tiny stream relative to the Euphrates, which is approximately 20 miles’ distance from Karbala. The purpose of the poet here is to point out that the adversaries of Imam Husayn did not even allow him to drink from even a small stream let alone a river.
- These lines mark the identification of the grave of Tus by the speaker yet again.
- These lines were added by Imam Ridhaa himself as he heard the poem of Di’bil. It is narrated that when Di’bil reached this part of his eulogy, the Imam stated: “May I add to your poem two couplets through which your poem may be completed?” Di’bil of course replied in the affirmative, upon which the Imam recited these lines. Di’bil then asked, “Oh son of God’s messenger: that grave of Tus, whose is it?” The Imam answered, “This is my grave Oh Di’bil, and it will never cease that the city of Tus will be a place of gathering and visitation for my Shi’a. Indeed, whoever visits me in Tus in my loneliness, he will be with me in my rank on the Day of Resurrection, his sins forgiven.
- A reference to the martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, who was poisoned by the ‘Abbasids and whose body was hurled onto the bridge of Baghdad.
- Baakhamraa is a place within approximately sixty miles of Kufa, where the leader of the ‘Alid revolt against the ‘Abbasids, Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdillah ibn al-Hasan, was killed.
- The literal Arabic is “Jozajaan,” another name for Khorasan, the city where Yahya ibn Zayd ibn ‘Ali ibn Husayn staged an uprising at the time of Al-Walid ibn ‘Abd al-Malik and was crucified.
- Fakh is a valley in proximity of Makkah, in which the Hasani sayyids Husayn ibn ‘Ali and Sulayman ibn ‘Abdillah along with their families were martyred in an ‘Alid revolt during the reign of Musa “al-Haadi,” the fourth ‘Abbasid caliph and contemporaneous to Imam Musa al-Kadhim. It is said that in Shi’a history, after Karbala, this is one of the biggest tragedies in scale that befell the Shi’a. The ‘Abbasid caliph had appointed a corrupt and evil governor over Medina, who used to harm the Ahlulbayt greatly. Approximately 26 Hasani sayyids staged an uprising with their followers and were brutally martyred.
- “Kufic graves” is an allusion to the grave of Imam ‘Ali, Imam Husayn, and the martyrs of Karbala, who are all buried in the vicinity of Kufa. Those of “Medinite” refer to the graves of the Holy Prophet, Lady Fatimah, and the Imams buried in Baqee’.
- Literally, “and you would make flow the tear of the eye onto the cheeks.” In this couplet two words are used to denote cheeks: khadd (in the 1st line) and wajanaat (in the literal translation of the 2nd line). The former refers to the cheek itself, while the latter refers to the part of the cheek directly underneath the lower eyelid.
- This is a popular literary device in Arabic, known as ta’beed, in which the extent of something is linked to a fixed affair in order to emphasize the desire for its persistence. It exists in the Qur’an as well, where Allah says, “Eternally they abide therein, for as long as the heavens and the earth endure” (11:108)
- Or alternatively, “The Prophet of The Guide [referring to Allah], may His angels send blessings upon him.”
- At Saqifah, the usurpers used the argument against the Ansaar that we are closer to the Prophet Muhammad in familial relation and thus more worthy of the caliphate. Here, the speaker notes that if that is their argument, then Banu Hashim is more worthy than they, as they were the blood-kin of the Prophet.
- Literally, “when they [the Ahlulbayt] leave their insides burning [in hatred]” due to their having conquered their tribes and kinsfolk.
- These enemies recount the slain of Badr and Hunayn, where Imam ‘Ali decimated the ranks of their disbelieving ancestors and relatives. Per al-Majlisi, Khaibar is mentioned here as well, because Imam ‘Ali put them all to shame in his conquest while they returned in failure; thus they cry out of jealous angst.
- The literal being, “And people are not except…” although as al-Majlisi states the meaning of people here is the enemies of Ahlulbayt (generalized only for emphasis) and thus in the translation this was substituted. The usurpers and beliers are those who stole their rights or attribute falsities to them in order to disparage them. The speaker then notes that they are full of vengeful hate for the Ahlulbayt due to the blood that Imam ‘Ali and the Holy Prophet spilled in the wars against their ancestors.
- Literally, “where are those who have been splintered by lonely distance, as though branches of trees disparate?” referring to the fact that the Ahlulbayt were forced to migrate from their homes time and again due to the pressures of unjust rulers.
- Literally, “when was its memory of prayer and fasting?” Now the tyrants of the time have replaced these Prophetic relics of piety with mundane entertainment, merry-making, murder, and plunder.
- The Arabic is addressed in the dual form, meaning literally “Stop [you two] let’s ask this home…” The use of the dual in Arabic like this in general commands is a widespread and well-known phenomenon within Arabic poetry. Opinions vary on its linguistic utility, but some believe that it is for emphasis while others maintain that an appeal to one’s companions in Arab custom is typically done most comfortably in groups of three. The edifice here refers to the home of the Ahlulbayt, which are abandoned and which now only a minority pay heed to.
- In other words, these are homes that every tyrant seeks to eradicate through negligence, however they are never forgotten; rather, their furnishings are replenished in each epoch.
- Taim here is a reference to the tribe of Abu Bakr, and Ibn Sahhak is the appellation of ‘Umar, meaning that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar can never fill these vacancies. Al-Majlisi notes that the reference to dwellings in this line is likely symbolic, meaning that these two can never inhabit the elevated stations of Imaamah and Khilaafah.
- Literally, “abodes of God’s revelation and the treasure-mine of his knowledge.”
- Referring to the grandsons of the Prophet Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn, the sons of the rightful successor to the Prophet.
- The homes of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and his brother Fadl, who were the ancestors of Ma’moon the ‘Abbasid Caliph. Al-Majlisi holds that these lines may have been said out of dissimulation on the part of the speaker.
- Referring to the abodes of the Prophet’s close family; mentioned here is the fact that they used to pray so much that they would develop calluses on their foreheads and would need to peel them off yearly.
- The ‘Abdullah referenced here is the father of the Holy Prophet, who used to reside in Khayf at Mina. The chief-caller is of course a reference to our Holy Messenger, Muhammad (pbuhahf).
- The speaker now laments the tragedy of the homelands of the Ahlulbayt, which he sees stripped away from their presence. Due to the oppression of the unjust, the original habitats of revelation are left devoid of their original owners’ commentary, recitation, and guidance.
- Meanwhile Imam ‘Ali was hearing the words of revelation straight from Gabriel himself, his future adversaries were worshipping ‘Uzza and Manaat, two of the grand idols of Quraysh.
- In other words, these merits that Imam ‘Ali has reached are not obtained by wealth or stratagem, but only by unmatched bravery in wielding sword and spear
- Literally meaning “[His witness is also] the glittering ranks that his merits reached through precedence, in which he was the pioneer.”
- The reference here is to the celebrated Surah Insaan, where the altruism of Imam ‘Ali in preferring to feed the destitute while himself hungry in a season of drought, as well as the countless other examples of Imam ‘Ali’s preferring others over his own self.
- Now the speaker makes it clear who the real culprits of this tragedy are, identifying the allegiance of Saqifah is the original travesty that opened the door for turmoil. He identifies it as the allegiance of “serendipity,” or in Arabic “faltah,” meaning “an act done haphazardly without any planning.” This is also a reference to ‘Umar’s famous statement that the allegiance to Abu Bakr was a “faltah from whose evil Allah protected the Muslims.”
- The reference here is to the well-known opinion among Arabs and Persians that when affliction strikes an individual, his/her world becomes dark and what was formerly delicious becomes bitter. Al-Majlisi notes that this may also be a reference to the hadiths that report that after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, the skies became dark red; there is also a hadith that when the right of Imam ‘Ali to the caliphate was usurped, the rain became brackish and lost its sweetness.
- The Arabic also mentions that they only did this “min hanin wa hanaati,” a euphemism for ugliness, thus meaning that their usurpation was only due to rancor, hate, and disbelief.
- The literal translation here is, “the disbelievers in Islam and [the sons of] wicked women.” Al-Majlisi provides ample commentary here substantiating the fact that many of Banu Umayyah were hypocrites that did not believe in the message of Islam, although they pretended to publically in order to secure their positions of leadership.
- In other words, how is proximity to God sought after liturgy (salawaat) and fasting (sawm) except through love of the Prophetic household and hatred for its enemies? The enemies mentioned in this line are literally translated as “sons of the blue-eyed woman and [the sons of] ‘Abalaat.” Given the cryptic nature of these references, we have substituted them as Marwaan and Umayyah, who are the referred individuals. Marwaan is called the son of the blue-eyed woman, a reference to his grandmother who was known as an adulteress in the marketplaces of early Arabia. Meanwhile, ‘Abalaat is a reference to the great grandmother of Umayyah, ‘Ablah bint ‘Ubayd. Hind refers to the wife of Abu Sufyaan, who ate the liver of Hamza bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib after the Battle of Badr due to her hatred. Finally, Sumayyah is the mother of Ziyaad and bore him out of adultery with Abu Sufyaan. Ziyaad’s son was the vile ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad, the governor of Kufa who killed Imam Husayn.
- The “Truth” here is a reference to religion, creed, and the rightful Imams of the Muslims. In some versions of the poem, the word mustahtireen is used instead, which means “the vainglorious.”
- The crime and affliction is of course an allusion to the deprivation of the Imams of Ahlulbayt from being rendered their true status and rank. The derelictions refers to the people’s neglect of these rightful owners of leadership and their never-ceasing schisms.
- Some liberality has been taken in the translation to render a sense of the original import by the speaker. He laments here that his passion is coupled by anguish in the valley of Muhasser (a valley at Hajj situated between Mina and Muzdalifah) when he stands there and cannot find the Imam of his time in his midst. The literal translation is “when I stand on the day of gathering at Arafat,” with the subject of whom is being referred to implied. However, as al-Majlisi translates, the reference is to the rightful leader and caliphs of the people: the Imams of Ahlulbayt. At this point, the poem completes its rhapsodic flourish and segues its focus to discussing their calamities.
- The speaker describes how the mere glimpse of his beautiful beloved filled him with such enthusiasm and made him spend the night in the consequent exhilaration.
- The literal translation here is “and when they would glimpse at the eyes [gazing at them], while their faces were uncovered, and hide their cheeks with their hands [out of chastity].” The implication being that the beloved would try to hide the splendor of her beauty from her lover out of her modesty.
- The speaker now recalls those nights and times of proximity spent with the beloved and how these memories assist him against the imposed separation.
- It is difficult to capture the nuance of the Arabic, however the speaker notes that he still remembers when the pastures of his beloved were rendered green and lush by her exquisitely beautiful features and scents. Notwithstanding these traits, her virtuous chastity did not escape her.
- The “gazelles [of grace]” is an allusion to the beloved roaming in her natural habitat. The speaker is sending his sorrowful salutations upon those now-empty pastures that once were inhabited by his beloved
- Literally meaning that these birds continue to take flight and alight in restlessness on account of their mourning the lovers’ pangs, until the secretive covering of the night is vanquished.
- The mourning birds with each breath they take are telling the secrets of these lovers, who have fallen captives to a love that has already passed and another that is still yet to materialize. In the Arabic, there is a play on words in the use of anfaas (breaths) and anfus (souls) both of which come from the same Arabic root n-f-s.
- Al-Majlisi notes that it was customary among the Arabs to start their poetry with stanzas commemorating love, burning passion, grievances against time, or description of the craved beloved as far-off and isolated. This was a unique literary device known as tashbeeb (rhapsody) to capture the attention of the listener and pique his/her interest in the lines to come. In this case, the eulogy begins with a description of mourners, nawaa’ih, classically taken to mean birds, that in their inscrutable echoes of sorrow are mourning the pangs of the lover for his beloved.