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Nuniyyah al-Qahtani

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

While little is known about the author, this poem which he wrote around about the 5th century has emerged as one of the most powerful, beautiful and well-celebrated works throughout time. It's a piece that scholars from all areas of the Muslim World are familiar with, and parts of it are taught to students as part of their Islamic studies to this day. The poem itself has almost 700 lines (well over 6,000 words) covering many aspects of Islam: Qur'an, 'Aqidah, hadith, fiqh, history, seerah etc. It also goes into clarifying much of the theological and social problems that arose in the Ummah during that time (e.g. the view of the Mu'tazilah as well as issues brought by other heretical groups) and it continuously gives beautiful advice on how the Muslim should live - e.g. how to deal with your brothers, how to perfect your character, how to achieve in life etc.


يا منزل الآيات والفرقان *** بيني وبينك حرمة القرآن
إشرح به صدري لمعرفة الهدى *** واعصم به قلبي من الشيطان
“O Revealer of the Verses and the Criterion,
Between You and I is the sanctity of the Qur’aan
With it open up my heart to acknowledge the guidance,
And with it protect my heart from the Shaytan

يسر به أمري وأقض مآربي *** وأجر به جسدي من النيران
واحطط به وزري وأخلص نيتي *** واشدد به أزري وأصلح شاني
With it ease my affairs and settle my needs
And with it save my body from the Fire
With it lighten my load and purify my intention
And with it increase my strength and rectify my state

واكشف به ضري وحقق توبتي *** واربح به بيعي بلا خسراني
طهر به قلبي وصف سريرتي *** أجمل به ذكري واعل مكاني
With it remove my harm and confirm my repentance
And with it make me profit from my pledge without any loss
With it cleanse my heart and purify my character,
And with it beautify my reputation and raise my rank

واقطع به طمعي وشرف همتي *** كثر به ورعي واحي جناني
أسهر به ليلي وأظم جوارحي *** أسبل بفيض دموعها أجفاني
With it cut of my greed, and honour my ambitions
And with it increase my piety and give life to my heart
With it pass my night and make thirsty my limbs,
And soak my eyelashes with the abundance of tears

أمزجه يا رب بلحمي مع دمي *** واغسل به قلبي من الأضغاني
أنت الذي صورتني وخلقتني *** وهديتني لشرائع الإيمان
Mix it with my flesh O my Lord along with my blood,
And with it wash my heart from malice
You are the One who fashioned me and created me
And guided me to the fountains of Iman

أنت الذي علمتني ورحمتني *** وجعلت صدري واعي القرآن
أنت الذي أطعمتني وسقيتني *** من غير كسب يد ولا دكان
You are the One who taught me and had mercy on me
And made my heart heedful to the Qur’aan
You are the One who fed me and made me to drink
Without my earning it by hand or via trade

وجبرتني وسترتني ونصرتني *** وغمرتني بالفضل والإحسان
أنت الذي آويتني وحبوتني *** وهديتني من حيرة الخذلان
And You restored me, covered me and aided me
And enveloped me in Grace and Goodness
You are the One who gave me refuge and awarded me
And guided me from the confusion of disappointment and loss

وزرعت لي بين القلوب مودة *** والعطف منك برحمة وحنان
ونشرت لي في العالمين محاسنا *** وسترت عن أبصارهم عصياني
And You have planted love for me between hearts,
And the inclination from You is by way of mercy and affection
And You have spread goodness out for me amongst the people
And You have hid my sin from their eyes

وجعلت ذكري في البرية شائعا *** حتى جعلت جميعهم إخواني
والله لو علموا قبيح سريرتي *** لأبى السلام علي من يلقاني
And You have made my reputation amongst the people widespread
Until You made them all my brothers
By Allaah, had they known the ugliness of my inner self,
Whoever met me would have refused to greet me

ولأعرضوا عني وملوا صحبتي *** ولبؤت بعد كرامة بهوان
لكن سترت معايبي ومثالبي *** وحلمت عن سقطي وعن طغياني
And they would have shunned me and be disgusted with my friendship
And I would have drawn on myself disgrace after honour
But You covered my faults and defects,
And You bore my sin and my tyranny

فلك المحامد والمدائح كلها *** بخواطري وجوارحي ولساني
So all Praise is to You, and all commendations
With my thoughts, my limbs and my tongue

ولقد مننت علي رب بأنعم *** مالي بشكر أقلهن يدان
“O Lord, You have indeed bestowed upon me blessings
The smallest of which I cannot fully give thanks for

فوحق حكمتك التي آتيتني *** حتى شددت بنورها برهاني
It is truly by Your Wisdom that You have given me such
Until You strengthened my faith by its light

لئن اجتبتني من رضاك معونة *** حتى تقوي أيدها إيماني
If, from Your Pleasure, I were to be selected by Your Aid
Such that its authority strengthened my faith

لأسبحنك بكرة وعشية *** ولتخدمنك في الدجى أركاني
Then surely, I will praise You day and night
And in the darkness, my limbs will be at Your service

ولأذكرنك قائما أو قاعدا *** ولأشكرنك سائر الأحيان
I will indeed remember You whether I’m standing or sitting
And the rest of the time, I will be thanking You

ولأكتمن عن البرية خلتي *** ولاشكون إليك جهد زماني
I shall hide my dire needs from the people
And I shall complain only to You of my troubled times

ولأقصدنك في جميع حوائجي *** من دون قصد فلانة وفلان
I shall seek You in all of my needs
Without seeking the aid of anyone in specific

ولأحسمن عن الأنام مطامعي *** بحسام يأس لم تشبه بناني
And I will surely sever my hopes in mortals
With a decisive dismemberment not seen before

ولأجعلن رضاك أكبر همتي *** ولاضربن من الهوى شيطاني
I will make Your Pleasure to be my greatest concern
And I will indeed cast the devil out from my desires

ولأكسون عيوب نفسي بالتقى *** ولأقبضن عن الفجور عناني
I will surely clothe the defects of my soul with the garments of Taqwa (piety)
And I will indeed seize my stubbornness in committing evil

ولأمنعن النفس عن شهواتها *** ولأجعلن الزهد من أعواني
And I will prevent my soul from its desires
And I will make Zuhd (asceticism) to be my supporter

ولأتلون حروف وحيك في الدجى *** ولأحرقن بنوره شيطاني
I shall indeed recite the letters of Your Revelation in the depths of the dark
And I will burn the Shaytan (devil) with its manifest light

أنت الذي يا رب قلت حروفه *** ووصفته بالوعظ والتبيان
O my Lord, it is You Who has uttered its letters
And You have expressed therein much admonition and clarity

ونظمته ببلاغة أزلية *** تكييفها يخفى على الأذهان
You have constructed it with eternal eloquence
The manner of which cannot be understood by the mind

وكتبت في اللوح الحفيظ حروفه *** من قبل خلق الخلق في أزمان
And You have written its letters in the Preserved Tablet
Before the creation of all things aforetime

فالله ربي لم يزل متكلما *** حقا إذا ما شاء ذو إحسان
Allah, my Lord, has not ceased to speak
The truth if He Wills; Owner of Great Generosity

نادى بصوت حين كلم عبده *** موسى فأسمعه بلا كتمان
He called out in His Voice when He called His slave
Musa; and so He caused him to hear without any obscurity

وكذا ينادي في القيامة ربنا *** جهرا فيسمع صوته الثقلان
And likewise our Lord shall call on the Day of Resurrection
In an audible voice, and every Man and Jinn shall hear Him:

أن يا عبادي أنصتوا لي واسمعوا *** قول الإله المالك الديان
That ‘O my slaves, pay attention to Me and listen
To the Word of God, the King and Judge!’

هذا حديث نبينا عن ربه *** صدقا بلا كذب ولا بهتان
This is the narration of our Prophet from His Lord
In truth, without any lie or falsehood

لسنا نشبه صوته بكلامنا *** إذ ليس يدرك وصفه بعيان
We do not liken His voice to our speech
For its exact description is not known

لا تحصر الأوهام مبلغ ذاته *** أبدا ولا يحويه قطر مكان
Minds can never encompass the extent of His Being
And place can never contain Him

وهو المحيط بكل شيء علمه *** من غير إغفال ولا نسيان
He is the One Whose knowledge encompasses all things
Without heedlessness or any forgetfulness

من ذا يكيف ذاته وصفاته *** وهو القديم مكون الأكوان
And who can attempt to describe or shape Him and His Attributes
When He is the All-Present, Creator of all existence?

سبحانه ملكا على العرش استوى *** وحوى جميع الملك والسلطان
Glory be to Him, a King Who rose over His Throne
And Who has gathered all the Dominion and Authority

وكلامه القرآن أنزل آيه *** وحيا على المبعوث من عدنان
His Speech is the Qur’an whose verses He has revealed
A revelation to the sent one from ‘Adnan (the Arabs)

صلى عليه الله خير صلاته *** ما لاح في فلكيهما القمران
May God’s best blessings be upon him
So long as the sun and the moon shimmer in their orbits

هو جاء بالقرآن من عند الذي *** لا تعتريه نوائب الحدثان
He came with the Qur’an from the One Who
Cannot be stopped by the misfortunes of time

تنزيل رب العالمين ووحيه *** بشهادة الأحبار والرهبان
It is the Revelation of the Lord of the Worlds
Witnessed by the scholars and the righteous ones

وكلام ربي لا يجيء بمثله *** أحد ولو جمعت له الثقلان
And none can bring the like of the Speech of my Lord
Even if Man and Jinn were to come together to achieve that

وهو المصون من الأباطل كلها *** ومن الزيادة فيه والنقصان
And it is protected from every single falsehood
And it is protected from any excess or deficiency

من كان يزعم أن يباري نظمه *** ويراه مثل الشعر والهذيان
Whoever claims that its construction is useless
And sees it to be like poetry or senseless chatter

فليأت منه بسورة أو آية *** فإذا رأى النظمين يشتبهان
Then let him bring a single chapter or verse from it!
And if he sees the two texts to be just like each other,

فلينفرد باسم الألوهية وليكن *** رب البرية وليقل سبحاني
Then let him single himself out for worship and let him become
The Lord of people, and let him say: ‘Glory to me!’

فإذا تناقض نظمه فليلبسن *** ثوب النقيصة صاغرا بهوان
But if his text is contradictive, then let him wear
The garments of failure, belittled by humiliation

أو فليقر بأنه تنزيل من *** سماه في نص الكتاب مثاني
Otherwise, let him admit that it is a Divine Revelation
From the One Who named it ‘Mathani’ (Oft-repeated) in His Book

لا ريب فيه بأنه تنزيله *** وبداية التنزيل في رمضان
There is no doubt that it is His True Revelation
And the start of this Revelation began in Ramadan

الله فصله وأحكم آيه *** وتلاه تنزيلا بلا ألحان
Allah explained it in detail and clarified its verses
And recited it as a Revelation without any mistakes

هو قوله وكلامه وخطابه *** بفصاحة وبلاغة وبيان
It is His Saying, it is His Speech, it is His Dialogue
With absolute articulacy, eloquence, and clarity

هو حكمه هو علمه هو نوره *** وصراطه الهادي إلى الرضوان
It is His Judgement, it is His Knowledge, it is His Light
And it is His Path which guides to ultimate Pleasure

جمع العلوم دقيقها وجليلها *** فيه يصول العالم الرباني
In it He gathered all Sciences; the subtle and the great
And hence the righteous scholar delves into them

قصص على خير البرية قصه *** ربي فأحسن أيما إحسان
Within it are stories unfolded to the best of creation (the Prophet)
My Lord narrated them and in perfection did He do so!

وأبان فيه حلاله وحرامه *** ونهى عن الآثام والعصيان
And He made clear its halal and haram
And forbade in it all sin and disobedience…”

To be continued…

Courtesy of Fajr

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