Below is a translation of the famous al-Qaṣīdah al-Rā’iyyah by the illustrious Imāmī Shī’a scholar, jurist, and poet, Sāliḥ ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhāb ibn al-‘Arandas al-Ḥillī (d. 840 AH). This famous poem is narrated by ‘Allāmah al-Amīnī in his poetic encyclopedia al-Ghadīr. Before narrating the poem, ‘Allāmah al-Amīnī states: “This poem has earned repute among our scholars in that it is not recited in a gathering except that the twelfth Imām is in attendance” (volume 7, page 14). The poetic style of ibn al-‘Arandas heavily utilizes alliteration (al-jinās), and his prowess at nonetheless creating powerful imagery speaks towards his spellbinding authority in the Arabic language. While this beautiful feature may be lost in translation, we have still endeavored to preserve the beauty of the meaning as much as possible with rhymed couplets. We have furnished our translation with several footnotes to explain Arabic features that may be difficult to understand; as ibn ‘Arandas was a highly regarded scholar of Ḥillah, we have referenced the allusions to ḥadīth which he makes in the poem as well.
طوايا نظامي في الزمان لها نشر
يعطرها من طيب ذكراكم نشر
قصائد ما خابت لهن مقاصد
بواطنها حمد ظواهرها شكر
مطالعُها تَحكي النُّجومَ طوالِعاً
فأخلاقُها زَهـرٌ وأنوارُها زُهرُ
عرائِسُ تُجلى حينَ تَجلِي قلوبَنا
أكاليلُها دُرٌّ وتيجانُها تِبرُ
حِسانٌ لها حَسّانُ بالفضلِ شاهدٌ
على وجهِها بِشرٌ يُزانُ بهِ البِشرُ
أنظمها نظم اللئالي وأسهر الليالي
ليحيى لي بها وبكم ذكر
فيا ساكني أرض الطفوف عليكم
سلام محب ما له عنكم صبر
نشرت دواوين الثنا بعد طيها
وفي كل طرس من مديحي لكم سطر
فطابق شعري فيكم دمع ناظري
فمبيض ذا نظم ومحمر ذا نثر
فلا تتهموني بالسلو فإنما
مواعيد سلواني وحقكم الحشر
فذلي بكم عز وفقري بكم غنى
وعسري بكم يسر وكسري بكم جبر
ترق بروق السحب لي من دياركم
فينهل من دمعي لبارقها القطر
فعينايَ كالخَنساءَ تجري دموعُها
وقلبي شديدٌ في محبتِكُمْ صخرُ
وقفت على الدار التي كنتم بها
فمغناكم من بعد معناكم فقر
وقد درست منها الدروس وطالما
بها درس العلم الآلهي والذكر
وسالت عليها من دموعي سحائب
إلى أن تروى البان بالدمع والسدر
فراق فراق الروح لي بعد بعدكم
ودار برسم الدار في خاطري الفكر
وقد أقلعت عنها السحاب لم تجد
ولا در من بعد الحسين لها در
إمام الهدى سبط النبوة والد ال
أئمة رب النهى مولى له الأمر
إمام أبوه المرتضى علم الهدى
وصي رسول الله والصنو والصهر
إمام بكته الإنس والجن والسما
ووحش الفلا والطير والبر والبحر
له القبة البيضاء بالطف لم تزل
تطوف بها طوعا ملائكة غر
وفيه رسول الله قال وقوله
صحيح صريح ليس في ذلكم نكر
: حبي بثلاث ما أحاط بمثلها
ولي فمن زيد هناك ومن عمرو؟
له تربة فيها الشفاء وقبة
يجاب بها الداعي إذا مسه الضر
وذرية درية منه تسعة
أئمة حق لا ثمان ولا عشر
أيقتل ظمآنا حسين بكربلا
وفي كل عضو من أنامله بحر؟
ووالده الساقي على الحوض في غد
وفاطمة ماء الفرات لها مهر
فـوالـهـف نـفـسـي لـلـحـسين ومــا جـنـى
عـلـيه غــداة الـطـف فــي حـربـه الـشمر
أهـلـة والـــخـــرصــان أنـــجـــمــه الــــزهـــر
ولـلـنـقـع رفــــع والــرمــاح لــهــا جـــر
عــصـابـة غــــدر لا يــقـوم لــهـا عـــذر
عـــراق ومـــا أغـنـتـه شــام ولا مـصـر
وشــــــد لـــهــم أزرا ســلــيـل زيـــادهــا
فــحـل بـــه مـــن شـــد أزرهـــم الــوزر
فـمـا طــال فــي الــري الـلـعين لـه عـمر
تـبـاعـد فــعـل الـخـيـر واقــتـرب الــشـر
وبـيض الـمواضي فـي الأكـف لـها شمر
هـــنــاك فـــدتــه الــصـالـحـون بــأنـفـس
يـضـاعف فـي يـوم الـحساب لـها الأجـر
فــغـادره فـــي مـــارق الــحـرب مــارق
بـسـهـم لـنـحر الـسـبط مــن وقـعـه نـحـر
سـنـان سـنـان خــارق مـنـه فــي الـحـشا
وصــارم شـمـر فــي الـوريـد لــه شـمـر
ومــن نـسـج أيــدي الـصافنات لـه طـمر
رواســي جـبـال الأرض والـتطم الـبحر
فيا لك مقتولا بكته السما دما
فمغبر وجه الأرض بالدم محمر
ملابسه في الحرب حمر من الدما
وهن غداة الحشر من سندس خضر
ولـهـفـي لــزيـن الـعـابـدين وقـــد ســرى
أســـيــرا عــلــيـلا لا يــفــك لــــه أســــر
وآل رســـــــول الله تــســبــى نــســائـهـم
ومـــن حـولـهـن الـسـتر يـهـتك والـخـدر
يـلاحـظـهن الـعـبـد فــي الـنـاس والـحـر
يــنــاط عــلـى أقـراطـهـا الـــدر والـتـبـر
فويل يزيد من عذاب جهنم
إذا أقبلت في الحشر فاطمة الطهر
مـلابـسـهـا ثــــوب مــــن الــســم أســـود
وآخــــر قـــان مـــن دم الـسـبـط مـحـمـر
تــنــادي وأبــصــار الأنـــام شــواخـص
وفـــي كـــل قــلـب مـــن مـهـابتها ذعــر
وتــشـكـو إلــــى الله الــعـلـي وصــوتـهـا
عــلــي ومــولانــا عــلــي لــهــا ظــهــر
فلا ينطق الطاغي يزيد بما جنى
وأنى له عذر ومن شأنه الغدر؟
أيقرع جهلا ثغر سبط محمد
وصاحب ذاك الثغر يحمى به الثغر؟
فليس لأخذ الثار إلا خليفة
يكون لكسر الدين من عدله جبر
تحف به الأملاك من كل جانب
ويقدمه الاقبال والعز والنصر
عوامله في الدار عين شوارع
وحاجبه عيسى وناظره الخضر
هو ابن الإمام العسكري محمد
التقي النقي الطاهر العلم الحبر
مصابكم يا آل طه! مصيبة
ورزء على الاسلام أحدثه الكفر
سأندبكم يا عدتي عند شدتي
وأبكيكم حزنا إذا أقبل العشر
وأبكيكم ما دمت حيا فإن أمت
ستبكيكم بعدي المراثي والشعر
جعلتكم يوم المعاد وسيلتي
فطوبى لمن أمسى وأنتم له ذخر
سيبلي الجديدان الجديد وحبكم
جديد بقلبي ليس يخلقه الدهر
عليكم سلام الله ما لاح بارق
وحلت عقود المزن وانتشر القطر
The scrolls of my ode are known in eternity
Graced by the fragrant musk of your memory
Ballads whose imports are never skewed
Laced with praise, decked in gratitude
Its couplets do rival the stars in their glimmer
Their ether blooms and their radiance glitters
Like lovers that ravish our hearts when broken
Their wreaths of pearl, their crowns golden
Such beauty that even Ḥassān professes
Their faces do shine like the gold in their tresses
Like jewels I design them in nights so sleepless
So I may persist in your memory’s sweetness
Hence oh martyrs on the plains of Euphrates:
Upon you be peace from a lover, crazy
I opened the folded parchments of praise
And yours is a line on my every page
My eulogy: dyed by the flow of my tears
Its prose is scarlet; its poetry clear
But please don’t think that this is my solace
For only God’s Reckoning bodes me that promise
By you my shame is turned into honor
My poverty to wealth, my anguish to succor
My heart is split by the clouds of your lightning
In tandem my tears do rain with its striking
Like al-Khansā’ my eyes’ tears spout
My heart like Ṣakhr, in your love devout
I tarry upon those terrains you resided
But now without you, they’re barren and blighted
Runes of your presence from there have vacated
Despite how long God’s words you’d dictated
Like clouds, my tears those ruins do drench
Until all its trees by my pouring are quenched
Upon your departure, by death I’m enamored
For by your relics my mind is enraptured
Stripped of their clouds, these lands never rain
For they do not yield after loss of Ḥusayn:
The Imām of guidance, the Prophet’s grandson
The Imāms’ ancestor, disputed by none
The Imām to whom ‘Alī is his father
The chosen guide, the Prophet’s successor
The Imām for whom all creation did cry:
Jinn, man, birds, beasts, Earth, and Sky
At Ṭaff, his golden dome does persist
Surrounded by angels that to him submit
Indeed, the Apostle about him did say
In words pristine, which none can fray:
“He has been given three special wonders
Which no saint will have”—so who are these others?!
“His is a clay that does cure and a dome
Where pleas are fulfilled when vexation is shown
And a luminous offspring nine in number
Imāms scored in truth, not more nor under!”
Does Ḥusayn die thirsty on Karbalā’s plain
While his every finger an ocean ordains
While at the Kawthar his father holds rein?!
While Fāṭimah’s dowry the Furāt contained?!
My grief for Husayn and what did befall
Upon him at Ṭaff by that Shimr’s gall
He struck at Ḥusayn with an army of darkness
Like a night devoid of the Moon and stars’ brightness
Their banners erected, their swords sharpened
Their dust in sway, their hoisted javelins:
Gathered therein were Umayyad wretches
Without excuse for their treacherous sketches!
To seize Iraq, Yazīd had them sent
For with Sham and Egypt he wasn’t content
And they were supported by Ziyād’s spawn
Who earned their crime by lending his brawn
And Sa’ad’s son did captain their many
But on his Rayy that wretch did not tarry
When those two armies in Karbalā clashed
Vice loomed forth and virtue was cast
On the tenth of Muḥarram, upon him they lashed
Armed to the teeth, their swords they flashed
Right there the righteous for him their souls ransomed
Reaping rewards on the Last Day, awesome!
But while he battled, an infidel pierced
His throat with an arrow, sharp and fierce
Yes Sinān’s spear did splice his innards,
While Shimr’s sword on his forelock shimmered!
His body left naked, exposed to the gale
While horses’ tramples were his only veil
Upon this, the Seven Heavens did tremble
While mountains shook and oceans rumbled
A martyr for whom the Heavens cried blood
And the face of the Earth transformed to red mud
In battle his clothes were drenched sanguine
But on Resurrection they’re silk—evergreen!
And oh my sorrow for Zayn al-‘Ābidīn
Afflicted and shackled in a way obscene
And for those Prophetic ladies enslaved
Their curtains and veils completely razed
As captives displayed among the mares
Exposed to the slaves’ and freemen’s glares
While Ramlah resided in fortressed castles
Wearing earrings of gold and pearls!
So woe to Yazīd on Hellfire’s beckoning
When Fāṭimah comes on that Day of Reckoning
Wearing a garment blackened by poison
And yet another by blood dyed crimson
Then she’ll call out while all are dumbfounded—
Every heart in her reverence confounded—
Complaining loudly to God the Most High
Strengthened by when ‘Alī testifies
On that day, Yazīd will surely stand speechless
With no alibi for his treachery, ceaseless
Does the mouth of the Prophet’s grandson he chip
While this very creed was saved by those lips?!
So none can avenge him except a Caliph
Who restores the creed to its upright status
Surrounded by angels from every direction
Heralding honor, succor, perfection
Like Sharī’ah incarnate are his gentry
His right hand is Jesus and Khiḍr his sentry
The son of Imām al-‘Askarī: Muḥammad
The purest saint, God’s choicest pureblood!
Indeed your tragedy—oh Ṭāhā’s family—
Is a travesty wrought by those of ignominy
My relief in my peril! Upon you I’ll cry
And lament for you as the ten nights draw nigh!
I’ll mourn you for as long as I live
And after my death, my odes will outlive
On that Day of Return, you’re my intercessors
For how lucky is he who finds you his treasure!
Time’s alternation lays waste to the fresh
But for me your love is always refreshed
On you salutations as long as skies flash,
As long as clouds gather, and rain does splash!
 In this line, Ibn ‘Arandas cleverly utilizes the word “al-nashr” in Arabic which can mean both “(my odes are) spread” while also meaning “fragrance.” In Arabic, this is a linguistic device known as al-jinās al-tāmm (perfect alliteration).
 This is another instance of al-jinās (alliteration): there is a linguistic congruency in structure and root derivation between the use of the words qaṣā’id (eulogies) and maqāṣid (imports).
 In this line, the poet utilizes al-jinās again between the words ḥisān (beauties) and Ḥassān ibn al-Thābit the famous and illustrious poet of the Prophet. In other words, he is stating that had the reputable poet Ḥassān witnessed his lines he would surely have attested to their superiority.
 Ibn ‘Arandas in these lines notes how painstakingly he constructed these lines to lament the Ahlulbayt, decorating them meticulously with praise and gratitude for the Ahlulbayt. As can be seen, Ibn ‘Arandas uses a string of metaphors to extol the beauty of his poetry. This is in line with the age-old Arabic poetry tradition of tashbīb (rhapsody) utilized before diving into the core theme of the poem, which comes immediately in the next line (this pivotal line in Arabic is known as a takhalluṣ).
 Literally, “a lover who does not have any more patience (in separation) from you.”
 This is a common literary device in Arabic expression known as al-tawriyah (double entendre). Poetry is commonly known as “al-naẓm” or literally “an organized composition” while prose is known as “al-nathr” or literally “a scattered composition.” The speaker here alludes to the fact that the organization of his poetry mirrors pearly teeth in their clarity while his smattering of prose mirrors the scarlet flow of his bloody tears.
 As in being a literarian engrossed in composition does not at all mitigate his grief, but rather he will only receive solace on the Day of Judgement when justice is rendered to the Ahlulbayt.
 This is perhaps one of the most oft-quoted and famous lines of the poem. It may also be rendered as “my humiliation for your sake (Ahlulbayt) is honor; my poverty for your sake is wealth; my hardship for your sake is ease; my devastation for your sake is healing.” This is of course a beautiful use of antithesis (al-ṭibāq) by the poet.
 Another Arabic trope is employed here, namely that of the abandoned home of the beloved (al-diyār). Here Ibn ‘Arandas states that when he passes by the remnants of the martyrs of Karbalā he is filled with grief. Like flashes of lightning, their memories flash and cause his tears to gush. There is a beautiful use of imagery (al-isti’ārah) here, whereby the poet draws an analogy between the rain/flashes of lightning and tears/memories of the martyrs.
 The speaker compares himself to al-Khansā’, one of the companions and poets of the Prophet, who mourned and eulogized the death of her brother al-Ṣakhr profusely until her death. Al-Ṣakhr was known to be extremely devoted to his sister. The poet therefore employs another instance of tawriyah (double entendre) here, as the word “ṣakhr” may also mean “firm.”
 The reference here is towards the fact that the remnants of the Ahlulbayt’s dwellings have been nigh erased and reduced to the ground such that they may no longer be recognized or found. Perhaps the reference in these lines is to Jannat al-Baqī’. The perfect alliteration with the multiple meanings of “dars” will not be hidden to those well-acquainted with Arabic.
 Literally, the reference here is to evergreen (al-sidr) and drumstick (al-bān) trees, however we have adopted a general translation as “trees” given these specific tree references would sound less idiomatic in English.
 This couplet has at least four forms of al-jinās (alliteration) within it, speaking to the skill of the poet in constructing complex visual imagery while maintaining the highest levels of literary eloquence.
 The speaker here personifies his grief into the land itself, stating that it echoes his sadness by its lack of fertility.
 The Arabic contains an antithetical description for Imam Husayn (as) that is hard to render into English rhymed verse. The poet also describes the Imam as “the Lord of reason” (rabb al-nuhā) and “the Master who holds the command” (mawlan lahū al-amr). There is antithesis (al-ṭibāq) between use of the roots “nahy” and “amr.”
 There are two other descriptors used for Imam ‘Alī (as) that are hard to render into English rhyme. The poet describes the Imam as “the brother” and “son-in-law” of the Prophet.
 There is an intertextual reference (al-iqtibās) here to the verse 29 of Sūrah al-Dukhān where it is said that the Pharaoh was not mourned by the Earth or the Heavens. In contrast, the Imām is one for whom the Earth and Heavens lamented, as is also attested to by the ḥadīth literature.
 In other words, who can compare Imam Ḥusayn (as) in his status of wilāyah to any other saint, while he has three special endowments that no other possesses?
 This is a reference to the famous ḥadīth from the Prophet that Imam Ḥusayn (as) possesses these three special gifts, as is also mentioned in Ziyārat al-Nāḥiyah al-Muqaddasah. There is a beautiful alliteration here between the words “dhurriyyah” (offspring) and “durriyyah” (luminous).
 This is undoubtedly one of the most tragic lines of the poem, where the unquenched thirst of al-Imām al-Ḥusayn (as) is antithetically juxtaposed with the plethora of water in his and his family’s possession. It is narrated in the famous report of the Iraqi eulogizer Abū al-Zahrā’ al-Kalbī that when he recited these lines in front of an unknown individual, purportedly the Twelfth Imām, the latter burst into tears and began to shriek “Is he really killed?”
 The poet here employs powerful imagery to describe the army that opposed the Imam (as), likening them to the blackness of a night devoid of all light and describing the deliberate nature of the atrocity they committed.
 The poet points out that the troops that murdered the Imam did not do so in isolation; rather, he clearly identifies their leaders: Shimr, Yazīd, ‘Ubaydallāh ibn Ziyād, and ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad.
 Ibn ‘Arandas again employs antithesis here in a powerful rhetorical way, juxtaposing the descent of evil and the ascent of virtue on the plains of Karbalā to set the scene for describing the details of the criminal act these villains carried out.
 Referring of course to the companions of Imam Ḥusayn (as) who were martyred with him.
 The poet doubly employs perfect alliteration in these lines which is difficult to render into English; nonetheless, as a stroke of luck in translation, the contrast between Shimr and shimmered is a rare instance of cross-linguistic alliteration.
 This is a reference to the numerous narrations that describe the fact that when Imam Husayn was martyred, the skies rained blood and the land of Karbalā turned red.
 Another powerful antithetical juxtaposition by the poet where red and green colors are contrasted. This is of course derived from the Qur’ānic verse, “Upon them are garments of green silk and rich brocade.” (Sūrah al-Insān: 21)
 This is a reference to Ramlah the daughter of Mu’āwiyah and sister of Yazīd, who enjoyed a luxurious life in the palaces of Shām while the Ahlulbayt’s women were paraded.
 The first garment is symbolic of the martyrdom of Imam Ḥasan (as) by poison while the second garment is symbolic of the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (as). This is supported by a narration on the authority of the Prophet: “On the Day of Judgement my daughter Fāṭimah will be raised with a shirt dyed in blood that is attached to one of the pillars of the Throne. She will say, “Oh Most Just! Judge between me and the killers of my son!”” (as narrated in Biḥār al-Anwār volume 43 page 220). In another narration it is mentioned that she will come on the Day of Judgement with two shirts one for each of her sons, as ibn ‘Arandas describes here (ibid, page 221).
 This is a reference to Yazīd’s striking the lips of Imam Ḥusayn’s head in Damascus with his stick, an event that created great turmoil in his courtyard due to the fact that many a companion had seen the Prophet kissing those blessed lips of the Imām.
 Referring of course to the many narrations held by both Shī’ah and Sunnah in consensus that the Mahdī will restore justice on Earth after injustice had prevailed.
 Ibn ‘Arandas again utilizes powerful imagery to describe this final Caliph of God. He states that his soldiers are so pious that it is as if they are Sharī’ah itself personified. His statement of Jesus being Imam Mahdī’s (as) right hand is well-supported by the ḥadīth, although the role of Khiḍr is not as clear from the narrations and has been deduced from some scholars given the following narration, “…God will soothe the loneliness of our Qā’im with Khiḍr during his occultation…” (Kamāl al-Dīn, volume 2 page 390).
 Literally, “wrought by disbelief.”
 The epithet of “my relief in my peril” is derived from a known supplication attributed to Imam Ḥusayn (as) where he calls upon Allāh to relieve his trials and tribulations. As is clear from this line, even in the 9th century AH when this poem was composed lamentation for the first ten nights of Muḥarram was customary.
 Indeed, as the lucky poet beautifully states, his poems continue to be recited to this day in Arabic gatherings; we hope this translation also helps English readers to appreciate the sincerity of ibn ‘Arandas in his composition inshā’allāh.
 As is customary, the poet ends his panegyric by returning to the start of his composition and recounting the intensity of his love for the Ahlulbayt. He also returns to the natural imagery he emphasized at the start of the poem: lightning, rain, and clouds. Using the literary device of ta’bīd, he prays for the continued immortalization of their remembrance as long as these physical phenomena persist.
Muhammad Jaffer is a neurologist by profession, and his field of interest is Islamic literature. He enjoys translating Arabic poetry in particular.