In the world of literature, the genre of poetry (Shaaeri) holds an important status. There are different forms of poetry that include ‘Nazm’, ‘Qat-a’, ‘Rubaai’, ‘Qaseedah’, ‘Marsiya’, ‘Masnavi’, and so on. Each form of poetry is deep and impressive. A person who delves deep into it is known as ‘Ustaad-us-Shoaraa’ (an expert in poetry), regardless of whether the person is an Arabic poet, or a Persian poet or a poet of any other language or he belongs to any land. The praised one is reflected from various aspects that can be sensed only through the bottom of a heart.
The system of poetries existed even before the advent of Islam. But in that era, while the forms of poetry existed, they were insignificant from the aspect of their meanings. With the passage of time, reflections of poets of different languages influenced the minds and hearts of the people. Their words felt good on ears and hence gained importance. If we reflect upon history, our attention is drawn towards an interesting fact that the works of all poets were confined to the era in which they lived. However, those who penned down their writings for the chosen ones of Allah, it is beyond the realm of imagination to ascertain the status that Allah has given them both – in this world and hereafter.
History has recorded great works in the field of poetry like the “Qaseeda-e-Laamiya” of Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.) which talks about the recognition of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). At other places, we see poets like Farazdaq, Debel, Sayyed Himyeri, and so on, who are viewed as the shining stars in the sky. Every word penned by them is glorifying the pure progeny (a.s.). Their poems reflect the bravery of Ahle Bait (a.s.) or echoes their (a.s.) esteemed morals, or praises their elegance of worship. It is as if every aspect of the merits of Ahle Bait (a.s.) have been scribed on paper in the form of poetry.
When the series of praising reached the last of the successors, which in itself is a discussion in the Islamic community, it was presented from various aspects covering the topics of occultation, longevity, bravery and characteristics of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.). His (a.s.) immaculate existence was enlightened from several aspects.
Poems by Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)
Hazrat Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is Wali-e-Asr (Master of the time) and the caliph appointed by Allah. The ground of his recognition is expansive. His being and his characteristics are so exalted that it is difficult for even the wise and intellectuals to comprehend him completely. On this basis, when a poet uses only few words to describe about the characteristics associated with Imam such as reasons behind his occultation, bravery, about him being the inheritor of Zulfiqar, his position as the successor of all prophets (a.s.), his being the authority to avenge the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.), and so on, then the truth is clear.
In this article, we have not included all the poems from the Holy Imams (a.s.) on Imam Mahdi (a.s.). It is clear though that every infallible (a.s.) strongly desired his reappearance and expressed grief at his separation. We realize that the subject is vast and difficult to elaborate completely. We therefore begin with the poems from Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). We acknowledge that none other than Ahle Bait (a.s.) can understand the personality of Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.). Therefore, their (a.s.) words excel over words of all other poets, in the same way as an Imam holds excellence over the nation.
Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) narrated the following couplets to Imam Husain (a.s.) regarding his last successor (a.t.f.s.):
Allah will bestow success to our Qaem, the one who will arise
While people would have remained steadfast to their habits and their cravings
He will avenge my martyrdom
He will even avenge your martyrdom, O Husain
Therefore, be patient on your sufferings, O Husain
For every drop of blood, he will avenge thousand times
He will not be hesitant for a moment to kill those people.
No excuse would benefit the tyrants at that moment.
Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) said these couplets, as well
When the Turks become fiery, wait for the kingdom of Mahdi, who will rise and will establish justice.
And the rulers of the earth will be annihilated in front of Bani Hashim
Those people will rule who would live in bliss and happiness
Those rulers would be like children who lack the ability to think
They could neither decide profoundly nor could they talk intelligently.
Then that time, from amongst you, Qaem-bil-Haq will rise
He will come with truth to you and will act with truth.
My life be sacrificed on the namesake of Allah’s prophet
O my son! don’t leave him alone; proceed to him fast.
In the first couplet, Imam Ali (a.s.) says that Allah will bestow victory when people would be engrossed in their customs and continue with their bad practices. Then Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) says that Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) would avenge his killing and the killing of Imam Husain (a.s.).
In addition, Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has advised patience to his son Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will avenge his blood. And for every drop of blood, he will extract revenge a thousand times and in this revenge, there would be no mercy.
The kingdom of Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) would be based on equity and justice. Therefore, a person must be mindful that no excuse would benefit the oppressors. When Turks become fiery, you must be patient and must wait for the kingdom of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). Because, all the rulers of the world would be annihilated in front of Bani Hashim. The example of this kingdom is like that of children who think deeply while they do not have an ability to take decisions. That time, our Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will reappear. My life be sacrificed on the namesake of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The final advice is heart-rending; apparently addressed to Imam Husain (a.s.), while the message is for us: ‘O those who claim our love and mastership, never leave my son Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) Always be ready for his service and in the state of preparedness for his reappearance.
Poems by Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.)
Everyone will get a chance to rule, while our rule will appear in the last age.
In the above couplet, Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) explains that today, everyone wants to establish their rulership, while the rulership of the Allah’s chosen is not yet established. But our rulership will be established with the reappearance of our Qaem (a.t.f.s.). Allah has assigned this responsibility to our Qaem (a.t.f.s.) such that he will establish our rulership with all our rights in place.
Poems by Hazrat Imam Ali Reza (a.s.)
Once Janab Debel bin Ali al-Khuzai came in the esteemed presence of Imam Reza (a.s.) and said, “O son of the prophet! I have written a poem in your honour and have vowed that I will recite it only in your presence and not before anyone else”
Imam (a.s.) asked him to recite and so Debel recited:
“The arena of Quran is isolated from recitation. The house of revelation is turned into desolate lands.”
Perhaps, in these couplets, Debel is referring to the loneliness of Imam Reza (a.s.) when Imam (a.s.) was brought to Marv, a place in Iran from Medina on the orders of the ruler. Debel recited these couplets on seeing the loneliness of Imam (a.s.) that the circle, where people would gather for listening to the recitation of Quran, is empty. And people have forsaken the centre of revelation.
And when he reached these sentences:
“And the wealth which Allah has declared for you is being distributed to others, while your hands are empty.”
In these couplets, Debel says that he is seeing the way Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to recite the Holy Quran and a huge gathering would encircle him. However, after Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) passed away, people forsook his Holy Progeny (a.s.). And the people who would then gather, now disappeared. The reason was that the rights and position of Imam (a.s.) was usurped thereby leaving them empty handed.
Imam Reza (a.s.) cried and said, “You have said the truth, O Khuzai.”
And when he recited this couplet:
“When people were oppressed, they took up weapons for revenge, but your hands were tied.”
In this couplet, Debel narrates that he has seen the people of those times that whenever they were oppressed, they used weapons to defend themselves. But, it was painful that when Ahle Bait (a.s.) were oppressed, they submitted to Allah’s will and silently waited for His decree.
At that time, Imam Reza (a.s.) looked at his hands and said, “By Allah, you’ve said the truth, these hands have been tied.”
When Debel reached this couplet:
Every day of my life in this world is passed in this fear
I must die on your love so people say I am enamoured
In this couplet, Debel narrates that every day he is becoming sorrowful and when he sees that people are turning away from Imam’s rights, he becomes frightened. He prays every moment that death must be on your (a.s.) Wilayat and he must leave this world with the recognition of Imam (a.s.).
Imam Reza (a.s.) said, “May Allah keep you in His protection on the day of judgement.”
When Debel reached this couplet:
That pure soul has to rest in Baghdad; its soil has received glad tidings of paradise by Allah.
At that time, Imam Reza (a.s.) said: “Shall I add two couplets and complete your poem?”
Debel said, “Surely, O son of Holy Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.)!”
Imam (a.s.) said, “It is an affliction that there is a grave in Tus, and everyone has grief in their hearts. The world will witness how our Qaem will reclaim our rights which were snatched from us.”
Debel said, “O son of the Holy Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.a.)! Whose grave would be in Tus?”
Imam (a.s.) replied, “This would be my grave. Time would have not passed when my Shias and my visitors would frequent it. Know that whoever would, in my alienation, visit me in Tus, will be with me on the day of judgement at my level and would be in a condition that he would be cleansed from all his sins.”
Points to ponder upon
The eulogies recited by the Holy Imams (a.s.) regarding Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) clearly indicates that the poets and lauders of Ahle Bait (a.s.) hold a special status. The Imams (a.s.) have themselves participated in the form of poetic praise.
It is noteworthy that when the praised one and the one who praises, both are infallibles, then the status of such poems elevate so much so they feel to be the words of the Lord. Such poems by Holy Imams (a.s.) for Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) also prove how grand it is to praise Imam-e-Asr (a.s.). Then why shouldn’t all our gatherings and celebrations include the praise on Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.)?
May Allah hasten the reappearance of His last luminary and include us amongst his servants. We wish to see Imam-e-Zamana (a.t.f.s.) on the pulpit, reciting eulogies on other Imams (a.s.), in the same way as other Imams (a.s.) recited eulogies on him (a.t.f.s.). Aameen!