The Great Revolutionary Shi’ite Poets: During the lifetime of the Holy Shi’ite Imams(A.S.) there were great poets who sacrificed their lives in the cause of truth by quoting revolutionary poems to awaken the masses against the tyrannical and despotic Umayyad and Abbasid ruling caliphs.They were the devoted followers of the Holy Imams(A.S.) and composed elegies in their praise.The famous among them are:
Farazdaq was the greatest poet of the Arabs. Shaykh al-Tusi numbered him as one of the companions of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.
Al-Farazdaq supported Ima`m Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, when Hisha`m b. ‘Abd al-Malik denied knowing him. He interrupted him through his wonderful poem in which he mentioned the Ima`m’s laudable deeds and outstanding merits, so Hisham burst into anger and ordered him to be imprisoned. We will mention this event in the chapters that follow.
Hisha`m b. ‘Abd al-Malik, accompanied by the police, made the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah. The mercenaries and the prominent persons from among the Syrians surrounded him. He did his best to catch the Black Stone, but he could not, because the place was full of pilgrims who pushed each other in order to kiss the Black Stone. Hence the pilgrims paid no attention to Hisha`m and made no room to him, for there were no differences in that Great House. A pulpit was installed for him and he sat on it. He looked at the people who were going around the Kaaba.
In the meantime Ima`m Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, came to perform going around the Kaaba. A pilgrim saw him and recognized him, Hence he called out at the top of his voice: “That is the remaining one of Allah in His earth! That is the remaining one of Prophethood! That is the Ima`m of the Allah-fearing and lord of the worshippers!”
The Ima`m’s solemnity, to which the faces and foreheads yielded, and which was similar to that of his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, overwhelmed the pilgrims. The pilgrims shouted loudly everywhere in the Mosque: “There is no god but Allah! Allah is Great!” Then they made room for the Ima`m. Blessed was the one who kissed his hand or touched his garments of ritual consecration.
The Mosque was full of saying: “Allah is Great!” The Syrians were astonished at that fearful sight, for they thought that there was no one worthy of honor and magnification except the Umayyads who were, according to the Umayyad mass media, the inheritors of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and close to him in lineage! Hence the Syrians hurried to Hisha`m and asked him: “Who is that person whom the people has respected with this respect?”
Hisha`m burst into anger, and his crossed eye appeared1, and he shouted at them: “I don’t recognize him!”
Hisha`m denied recognizing the Ima`m, for he feared that the Syrians would incline to him and desert the Umayyads. Al-Farazdaq, the Arab great poet, was present there. He understood the truth, shook all over, rushed toward the Syrians with enthusiasm and said to: “I know him!”
“Who is he, Abu` Fira`s?” asked the Syrians.
Hisha`m became frightened and lost his mind, for he feared that al-Farazdaq would introduce the Ima`m to the Syrians, Hence he shouted at him: “I don’t know him!”
Condemning Hisha`m, al-Farazdaq said at the top of his voice: “Yes, you know him!”
Then he turned to the Syrians and said to them: “Syrians, whoever wants to recognize this man, let him come (here)!”
Hence the Syrians and others hurried to the Arab great poet and fully listened. Al-Farazdaq was eager for supporting the truth. Hence he improvised this poem called al-‘Asma`’, which represents truthful words and beautiful style, and in which he said:
This is the descendant of Husayn and son of Fa`tim,
daughter of the Messenger through whom darkness
This is he whose ability the valley (of Mecca), recognizes,and whom the (Sacred) House recognizes (as do) the sanctuary and the area outside the sanctuary (al-hill).
This is the son of the best of all Allah’s servants.
This is the pure pious man, the pure eminent man.
When Quraysh saw him, their spokesman said: Generosity
leads to the noble qualities of this (man).
He belongs to the zenith of glory which the Arabs of Islam
When he comes to touch the corner of the wall of the
Kaaba, it almost grasps the palm of his hand.
He lowers (his eyes) because of modesty and (eyes are)
lowered due to his solemnity. Hence (none) speaks with him
but when he smiles.
In his hand there is a cane whose smell is fragrant because
of the hand of the one who is wonderful and noble.
The prophets are indebted to the outstanding merits of his
grandfather, and the nations are indebted to the
excellencies of his nation.
The light of guidance comes out of the light of his forehead
(which) is like the sun whose rising scatters the dark.
His plant (origin) is derived from the Messenger of Allah.
Its elements, nature, and qualities are good.
This is the son of Fa`tima, if you do not recognize him, the
prophets of Allah were sealed through his grandfather.
Allah had already honored him, and his excellencies
occurred through that in the tablet of the pen.
Your words ‘who is this’ do not harm, the Arabs and non-
Arabs recognize him whom you deny.
Both his hands are relief; their profit is general; they are
equal hands; deprivation does not befall them.
He is the carrier of the burdens of the peoples when they
are overburdened. His merits are pretty; ‘yes’ is pleasant
He does not break promise; blessed is his soul; his
courtyard is ample; he is brilliant when he determines.
(He is) from the people whose love is religion; whose hate
is unbelief; nearness to them is refuge and protection.
If the Allah-fearing are numbered, they are their Ima`ms, or
(if) it is said, who is the best of the world’s inhabitants?, it
is said, they are.
None of the generous can (access) their far-fetched
objectives, nor can people vie with them (in generosity)
even if they are generous.
They are rain when a crisis is intense and lions, the lions of
a forest, when war is violent.
Poverty does not decrease their munificence.
It is the same for them whether they are rich or poor.
Evil and tribulation are pushed away through love for
them, and through it kindness and blessings are regained.
Their remembrance is advanced in every affair after the
remembrance of Allah, and words are sealed through it.
(Their) noble natures and their hands full of liberality do
not allow abasement to occur in their courtyard.
Which creature is excluded from the priority and favors of
Whoever thanks Allah thanks the priority of this (Ima`m in
belief in Allah), for nations have attained religion from the
House of this (Ima`m).(Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, pp. 331).
This poem, called al-‘Asma`’, is distinguished from the rest of the Arab poetry by immortality throughout history, for it was a revolt against falsehood and support for the truth. It was mentioned in the time in which mouths were muzzled and tongues were prevented from mentioning the laudable deeds of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them.
The Umayyad tyrannical authorities executed all those who mentioned their laudable deeds or their outstanding merits. They employed all their organs to efface the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, from the map of existence.
In his poem, al-Farazdaq lauded the great Ima`m, the Ima`m of the Syrians and other than them from among all the pilgrims, Hence his praise was a painful blow against the Umayyad policy. Commenting on this poem, al-Busta`ni said: “They said: This poem is sufficient for al-Farazdaq to enter the Garden..”
This poem contains wonderful truthfulness, support of the truth, and pretty coherence of lines. Al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Madani said: “As for the coherence of this poem, it is an unattainable objective and unpossessable mind. He (al-Farazdaq) avoided (mentioning) explanatory remarks in it, and mentioned wonderful coherence in it. He who notices the poetry of al-Farazdaq and notices this poem, he will admire it, for there is no relation between this poem of al-Farazdaq and all his sayings in cause, praise, and satire.
This means that he composed it spontaneously. Without doubt Allah, the Glorified, supported him when he composed it, and pointed him the right way when he improvised it.”(Anwar al-Rabi’, vol. 4, p. 35).
Al-Farazdaq was one of Ima`m ‘Ali’s followers, Hence he praised Ima`m Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. Al-Sharif al-Murtada` said: “Al-Farazdaq was a Shi’ite inclining to the Ha`shimites. In the end of his lifetime, he gave up transgression and slander. He followed the way of the religion, but he had not neglected the religion before, nor had he neglected its affairs.”(Sarh al-‘Uyyun, p. 390).
Anyhow, the attribution of this poem called al-‘Asma`’ is among the definite affairs, for all the narrators have unanimously agreed on it.
Al-Farazdaq is arrested
When Hisha`m b. ‘Abd al-Malik heard this poem, he became excited and wished that the ground would have swallowed him. This is because the poem included all the outstanding qualities of the great Ima`m and introduced him to the Syrians who had no knowledge of him and his grandfathers. Al-Farazdaq praised the position of the Ima`m. He indicated that following the Ima`m was inseparable part of Islam, and that the Ima`m was the best person in the world at that time.
Hisha`m ordered al-Farazdaq to be arrested. Hence, he was arrested and imprisoned in the prison of ‘Asfa`n, a place between Mecca and Medina. When Ima`m Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard of this, he sent al-Farazdaq twelve thousand dirhams, but the latter refused to accept it, saying:
“I composed (these words) concerning you to show my anger for Allah and His Messenger only.” The Ima`m sent back the money to al-Farazdaq, and he accepted it. Hence al-Farazdaq began satirizing Hisha`m. Among the lines with which he satirized him is the following:
Will he imprison me between (‘Asfa`n) and Medina, to
which the hearts of the people incline?
He turns a head which is not the head of a chief, and he has
a cross eye with apparent defects.(Nihayat al-Irab, vol. 21, p. 331).
Al-Farazdaq said: “Al-Kumayt was the poet of the first and the last.
‘Ukrima al-Dabbi said: “Were it not for his poetry, there would be no translator for the language nor would there be a tongue for explanation.
( Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 6, p. 59)
He was the foremost thinker and writer of the period. He played an important role in developing Arab culture and Islamic scientific movement. The following are some bright sides of his life.
His Birth and his Early Life
He was born in the year 60 A. H. It was the year when the Moslem community was bereaved of Ima`m Husayn, the Lord of martyrs, peace be on him. (Al-Ghadir, vol. 2, p. 211)
So, that tragedy impressed him. It reacted on his feelings and sentiments. That appeared in his poetry through which elegized Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him.
As for his early life, it was in Ku`fa, the capital of the Shi’ites, and the place of revolts against the Umayyads. He was brought up on the love for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. So, the love for them was among his elements.
Al-Kumayt was among the unique in history. He was among the prominent figure in the Arab nation. He was endowed with noble talents and high qualities. A historian numbered his qualities as ten. The historian said: “Al-Kumayt had ten qualities, of which no poet had. He was the orator of Asad’s (tribe). He was the jurist of the Shi’ites. He was a memorizer of the Holy Koran. He was steadfast. He was a writer with good calligraphy. He was a genealogist. He was disputatious. He was the first to debate (with others) on Shi’ism. He was a bowman. No one from Asad’s sons was better than him in sharpshooting. He was a pious brave knight. Moreover, he was
famous for open Shi’ism.(Khazanat al-Adab, vol. 1, p. 99)
As for his poetry, it is among the masterpieces of Arab literature. It is the most wonderful of all that Arab poets have composed. In his poetry, he did not incline to joking and impudence. With that he separated himself from the poets of Umayya and the ‘Abba`sid periods. For they used their intellectual talents in amusement, futility, and corrupt manners.
As for al-Kumayt, he devoted his poetry to his masters from the Ha`shimites. Thus, proclaimed their noble deeds and their outstanding merits through wonderful Arab poetry.
The historians said : “Al-Kumayt did not announce his poetry till he was satisfied with it or sure of it. For this reason his poetry has become masterpieces showing creation, art, and thinking. As for (his poems called) al-Ha`shimiya`t, they are greater than limitation and evaluation. He has inserted in them the evidence for his doctrine, which is indisputable and undoubted. (His poems called) were among the cultural means at those times. For they are rich in thinking and literature. They were reported in the clubs and the assemblies. So, the people memorized them.
Al- Kumayt and al-Farazdaq
The historians reported that al-Kumayt composed his (poems called) al-Ha`shimiya`t. However, he concealed them. He did not announce them among the people. For he wanted to ask the advice of al-Farazad b. Ghalib, the great Arab poet, about them. So, he went to him. When he met him, he said to him:
“O Abu` Fira`s, you are the chief of (the tribe of) Madar and their poet. I am your nephew, al-Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadi.
You are truthful. You are my nephew. What is your need,”al-Farazdaq asked.
I have composed poetry. I want to submit it to you. If it is good, order me to announce it. If it is bad, order me to conceal it. And you will be the first to conceal it for me,” answered al-Kumayt.
So, al-Farazdaq admired his politeness. Then he said him:
“As for your reason, it is good. I hope that your poetry is as equal as your reason. Recite to me what you have written.
Thus, al- Kumayt recited him his wonderful (poem), saying:
I am delighted. I am not delighted for the beautiful women
Al-Farazdaq interrupted him, saying: “My nephew, for what you are delighted?”
“I am not delighted for play. Does the old man play?” replied al-Kumayt.
Yes, my nephew, play. You are at the time of play,”said Al-Farazdaq.
Neither a house nor the trace of the house divert me.
Nor does a finger dyed with henna make me delighted,” said al-Kumayt.
Al-Farazdaq admired this poetry. Then he asked: “My nephew, what has made you delighted?”
“Nor do the antelopes that pass me on the right hand in the evening (delight me).
(I am not delighted) whether a sounded-horned (antelope) or a one broken-horned (antelope) passes,” said al-Kumayt.
Yes. Do not be pessimistic,” said Al-Farazdaq.
“However, the people of outstanding merits, piety, the best of the children of Eve (has delighted me). The good are sought,” said al-Kumayt.
This high wonderful poetry moved Al-Farazdaq, so he said:
Woe unto you! Who are they?”
Al-Kumayt said: “(I am delighted at) the white group (the Ha`shimites). Through love for them I seek nearness to Allah.
Al-Kumayt controlled the feelings and sentiments of Al- Farazdaq.
“Relieve me! Woe unto you! Who are they?” shouted Al-Farazdaq.
So, al-Kumayt said: “(They are) the Ha`shimites, the family of the Prophet. I am satisfied with them. I always become angry for them. I have made my soul obedient to them out of love (for them). I receive them with pleasure.
This poetry controlled the feelings of Al-Farazdaq. So, he said:
My nephew, announce, and then announce (your poetry). By Allah, you are better in poetry than those who passed away and those who are still alive.
The Characteristics of his Poetry
The poetry of al- Kumayt is distinguished by the religious values through which he sincerely expressed his feelings towards his masters, the Ha`shimites. For he showed sincere affection and love for them. The unquestionable proofs imposed that on him.
As for the characteristics of his poetry, the following are some of them:
1. His poetry concerning the Ha`shimites is not mere sentiment. Rather, it depends on dispute and satisfaction. Shawqi Dayf said: “Thus, al- Kumayt’s poetry does not express only feelings. Rather, it also expresses thoughts. Moreover, it expresses the ability of the Arab reason to dispute and to convince. ( Al-Tatwir wa al-Tajjdid, p. 241).Perhaps, it expresses thoughts more than it expresses sentiments.
These are two lines of his wonderful poems. They represent this trend:
We have inherited it (the caliphate) from father and mother.
Neither mother nor father had given it to them by will.
They think foolishly they have obligatory right on the people.
However, the right of the Ha`shimites is more obligatory.1
With these two lines al-Kumayt condemned the persons who usurped illegally the caliphate. For they singled out a right for them and imposed the right on the people. They claimed that they belonged to Quraysh, the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. So, they seized the caliphate.
However, the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, satisfied perfectly this condition. For they were the nearest people to him.
After these two lines, al-Kumayt praised the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Then he mentioned the right of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, to the caliphate. He said:
They (the Umayyads) said:
He (the Prophet) is not inherited.
Were it for his successors, Bakil, Arhab, ‘Akk, Lakhm, al-Sikun,
Himyar, Kinda, al-Hayya`n, and Taghlub would equally take part in it (the caliphate).
With these two lines, al-Kumayt wanted to refute the Umayyads, who said that no one would inherit the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The Explainer of the poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t said: “If this was true, the above-mentioned tribes would equally take part in the caliphate.”Thus, the caliphate would not be confined to Quraysh. This is logical thinking. Through these proofs, al-Kumayt became a jurist. He composed his poetry as the knowledgeable jurist did. For he was knowledgeable in discussing and proving the problems, as Dr. Yousif Khulayf said.(Hayat al-Shi’r fi al-Kufa, p. 713)
2. Al-Kumayt quoted some verses from the Koran when he praised the Ha`shimites. Addressing the Ha`shimites, he said:
We have found a verse concerning you in the verses beginning with Ha` Mim.
The pious and the non-pious from us have explained it.
In other than the verses beginning with Ha` Mim, there are successive verses concerning you.
They are as signposts (of knowledge) for the possessor of tiring doubt.
( Al-Hamshimiyat, p. 40)
In the first line, al-Kumayt meant these Words of Allah, the Exalted: “Say I demand not, of you any reward for it (the toils of preaching), except the love of my relations.”(The Holy Qur’an, al-Shura, 23)
In the second line, he meant these Words of Allah, the Most High: “People of the House, surely, Allah intends to keep off from you every kind of uncleanliness, and to purify with a thorough purification.(The Holy Qur’an, al-Ahzab, p. 33)
“And give to the near of kin his due. (The Holy Qur’an, al-Isra’, 26)
And know that whatever thing you acquire in war, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin.(The Holy Qur’an, al-Anfal, 41)
Al-Kumayt confirmed the outstanding merits of his masters, the Ha`shimites, with verses from the Holy Koran. For “falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it.
3. Al-Kumayt’s poetry on praising the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, is truthful in language, and strong in sentiment. It is free from worldly pleasures. It is full of pure of pure faith. Al-Kumayt composed such kind of poetry to seek Allah’s pleasure and the hereafter. The following words of his prove that:
(I am delighted at) the white group (the Ha`shimites). Through the love for them I seek nearness to Allah.
Al-Kumayt’s love for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) was sincere. For he found no other means to seek nearness to Allah except the sincere love for them.
4. Al-Kumayt composed poetry on the Ha`shimites. In this poetry, he did not depend on the laudable deeds and the outstanding merits he heard. Rather, he depended on his own observations. For he was contemporary with them. So, he recognized their ideals that spread throughout the world. Thus, he adored them. He was like those who adored and admired virtue.
Al-Kumayt’s poetry was a live picture. It showed the real state of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For “Allah Kept off from them every kind of uncleanliness, and purified them with a thorough purification.”These are some characteristics of the poetry. As for its techniques, they require elaboration. However, we have preferred shortness to elaboration in most of this research.
His firm Doctrine
Al-Kumayt had firm faith in his doctrine. He based his doctrine on unquestionable ideas. So, he was the poet of the Shi’ite doctrine. He expressed the Shi’ite ideas and fundamentals. The narrators mentioned that he was the first to split open the door to the pleas for Shi’ites in his poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t. He was their tongue. He defended them. He offered pleas on behalf of them. His poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t pictured the cultural and the ideological sides of the Shi’ite doctrine. They encompassed clearly the affairs of the Ima`mate, which was regarded as among the basic elements in the Shi’ite doctrine.
Al-Kumayt and Ima`m al-Ba`qir
Al-Kumayt devoted himself to Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. So, he was his special poet. He recited to him some of his poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t, which he wrote about the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. They impressed the Ima`m, peace be on him. So, the Ima`m thanked him for that. He asked Allah to forgive al-Kumayt and to be pleased with him.
Al-Kumayt thought there was no one worth of obedience and respect except his master, Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. He came to him and said:
There passed away those in whose protection (the people) lived.
No one has remained except the gloating (over other’s misfortune) and the envious.
Only one (person) has remained in the earth. It is he who is wanted.
It is you who is that one (person).( Roudat al-Jinan, vol. 6, p. 56)
His longing for seeing the Ima`m.
Al-Kumayt lived in Ku`fa. He longed very much for seeing the Ima`m. So, he traveled to Medina (Yathrib). When he stood before the Ima`m, he recited to him his poem. In his poem, al-Kumayt described his longing for him. In it he said:
Longing for you has affected me.
So, I covered many places to see you.
O You who are the best one,
to you is my obedience and humbleness.
You are my hope.
Thus, the person strives to come to his hope.
You are the followers of Allah.
You have pictures in my eyes and in my ears.
You order (people to do good deeds) and forbid
(them from doing evil deeds).
You are not tired of asking Allah for good.
You respond to the one who asks you.
These lines show his great obedience to the Ima`m and his longing for him.
Al-Kumayt elegized al-Husayn
Al-Kumayt was born in the year when Ima`m Husayn, the father of the free, peace be on him, was killed. When he grew up and understood life, he knew that the fears of that immortal tragedy perplexed the people. Thus, they recalled in their assemblies the burdensome misfortunes of Ima`m Husayn, peace be on him. So, those disasters moved the feelings and sentiments of al-Kumayt. They filled his soul with stormy pains. His soul melted for Ima`m Husayn. Thus, he elegized him with many poems. The narrators said that he composed a poem to bewail al-Husayn. Then he went to Ima`m Abu` Ja’far to recite it before him. When he came to him, he said to him:
O Son of the Apostle of Allah, I have written some lines of poetry about you. Do you permit me to recite them?
These are the white days.1Reciting poetry during them is abominable,” replied Ima`m Abu` Ja’far.
They are especially on you,” explained al-Kumayt.
Recite what you have,”said the Ima`m.
Thus, al-Kumayt recited:
The time made me smile, and it made me weep.
The time has changes.
Nine (persons) were betrayed in Karbala`’.
When the Ima`m heard this elegizing about his grandfather, he burst into tears. His son, Ima`m Ja’far al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, and the ‘Alid women burst into tears too.
Al-Kumayt went on reciting, saying:
Six (persons) with whom no one competed.
They are the sons of Aqil, the best of knights,
and ‘Ali, their good lord.
Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, went on weeping. Then he told al-Kumayt about the abundant reward Allah had prepared for those who mentioned the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and had mercy on them.
Then al-Kumayt went on:
Who was delighted at what afflicted you?
Or who was gloating over it one day?
After that glory, you have become lowly.
Then, I cannot repel oppression when it covers me.
So, the Ima`m, peace be on him, took al-Kumayt by the hand and invoked Allah for him, saying:
O Allah, forgive al-Kumayt his past and present sins!”
Finally, al-Kumayt asked:
When will the Truth rise among you?
When will your Mahdi, the second, rise?
So, the Ima`m turned to him. He told him about Ima`m al-Mahdi, may Allah quicken his appearance. He said: “He is the awaited Ima`m. He will fill the earth with justice and fairness as it was filled with oppression and tyranny.” “When will he appear?” asked al-Kumayt. The Ima`m, peace be on him, replied: “Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, was asked about that. So, he answered: ‘He is like the Hour (of Resurrection), which will unexpectedly come to you.'( Al-Ghadir, vol. 2, p. 200)
A Poem of his Poems called al-Hashimiyat
Al-Kumayt recited one of his poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t before Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. It is the most wonderful of Arab poetry. It clearly describes his personal impressions of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For he observed their noble deeds and ideals. In this poem he said:
My heart does not yearn for youth, nor does it yearn for night dreams nor does it long for beautiful women whose cheeks are as white as the white antelope.
However, my hidden and manifest love is for the
who are the best of all people, who are near to generosity,
who are far from oppression,
who are right when the people are wrong,
who has established the rules of Islam,
who are the sufficient defenders when the war breaks out,
who are the rain when drought hits the people,
who are the shelter for the orphans’ mothers,
who are the sufficient leaders in all conditions,
who are the doctors of the doubters,
who are able to take vengeance.
They are like the camels that carry water for the people.
They are like the seas that quench thirst.
They are good, righteous, truthful , and liberal.
Their faces are bight. Their grandfathers are generous.
Their lineage is clear.
They are knowledgeable chiefs.
Their honor is shining.
They are noble chiefs.
They are clement. They are just in behavior. They skillful in the critical affairs.
They are the best of all the people in speech and bravery.
In the beginning of his poem, al-Kumayt mentioned that he loved, and that love controlled his feelings and sentiments. For whom is this strong love? Surely, it is not for the beautiful women, who charm the people with their beauty. Rather it is for those who are the best of all people in importance and the highest of them in position. It is for the Ha`shimites, in whom all the elements of honor and glory came together. They were the best of all people in talents and cleverness.
Al-Kumayt confined his obedience and love to them. He did not depend on feelings and sentiments when he loved his masters, the Ha`shimites. Rather, he found them a wonderful example, of which no one had in the history of mankind. He saw, observed, and felt the outstanding merits that promoted them to the highest height , namely the height of thinking and leadership in Islam.
Al-Kumayt adored his masters, for he observed the following outstanding merits:
1. They were the sources of generosity and liberality. They gave generously all what they had to refresh the deprived and to save the poor.
2. They were the source of justice. They did not prefer close relatives to common people. Rather, the people were equal with them. They did not know patronage and the other considerations, which people put into effect out of their sentiments and desires.
3. They were the bravest of all creatures. Fright did not pass through their souls. They took part in many battles. They showed extreme courage, of which no one saw throughout history. For example, Ima`m ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, is known for his bravery. Ima`m Husayn, peace be on him, showed unique courage at the Battle of ‘Ashu`ra’. All the members of the Prophet’s family had such an outstanding merit. They had courage, of which no one of the people had.
4. They were the shelter of the orphans and the deprived people when drought hit them. The people found no one to have mercy on them except the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
5. They were the custodians over the affairs of the people. In other words, the people consulted them when they faced with difficult affairs. They also resorted to them when crises and events struck them. There was no one who could solve such difficulties except the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. They had excellent reason and correct opinions. So, they were able to solve the difficulties and crises of the people.
6. They were wise and skillful in curing psychological diseases. Thus, they could removed the germs of deviation from the truth. They studied the essence of man. So, they knew why he inclined to greediness, caprice, and deviation from the truth. Then they gave him excellent directions to cure his psychological diseases. You find in their words wonderful maxims and preaching. They said them to reform and educate the people.
7. They were the noble chiefs, who created wisdom to enlighten people. Thus, the thirsty (for wisdom) resorted to them. Those who wanted life depended on their generosity and liberality.
8. They were the seas that quenched the thirst of those who were about to perish. They were the source of happiness and good for man.
9. They were the best of all people in goodness, truthfulness, generosity, handsomeness, noble grandfathers, importance, and lineage.
10. They were more important than the people, more just than them, and more skillful than them in the critical affairs.
11. Throughout history, they exceeded the people in truthful talk, genuine thinking, and fruitful ideas.
After these lines, al-Kumayt went on mentioning the laudable and the outstanding merits of his masters, the Ha`shimites, whom he adored. He said:
(They are) beneficiary, givers, feeders without miserliness.
(They are) helpers, very obliging, very forgiving, clement toward the army that devours all things.
They are able to take vengeance and leave it,
even if they are angered with ugly words.
They untie their garments on the day of disturbance.
They are generous Abtahis. They are as manifest as the stars.
They are Ghalibis Ha`shimites. They have knowledge from the All-Knowing (Allah).
They are honest in their positions. Thus, they raise their heads high.
When war burns, and the knight walks toward the knight,
they are the lions in war.
They are the lions of war, the rain of drought, cheerful, and eloquent.
They are not prattling in the assembly nor are they silent out of confutation.
They are chiefs. They defend the women when the battle is like the battles (of Arabs).
They have the sense of honor. They are courageous at the battle.
They are not unarmed in the battles nor are they sluggish.
They put into effect the most reliable affair out of their piety.
They were the first to respond to the message (of the Prophet).
They perform the pilgrimage (to Mecca).
In these lines, al-Kumayt presented the ideal qualities of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. They are as follows:
1. They earned money. They generously gave this money. They wanted neither reward neither thankfulness.
2. When they were wronged, they were able to take vengeance. However, they left vengeance. For they preferred what Allah has to vengeance. The ugly words of their enemies did not anger them.
3. They were full of clemency. So, they were patient toward every disturbance.
4. They were the chiefs of Quraysh. They were generous. So, they were like the stars or the signposts which the straying follow.
5. They belonged to Ghalib b. Fihr, the lord of the Arabs. So, they belonged to Ha`shim. They got knowledge, of which no one got. Allah, the Most High, endowed them with that knowledge.
6. They were honest in their positions. They were free from sins, mistakes, and defects. So, they raised their head.
7. They showed extreme courage when the battle started. So, they received death with smiling lips.
8. They were not talkative in the assemblies. They talked when there was a necessity to talk. They kept silent when silence was necessary, namely without confutation.
9. They protected their families from oppression during the most critical battles of the Arabs.
10. They were bold during the battles. They were the lions of the battles. They lighted the fire of the battles. They threw themselves into it. They were neither armless nor were they slow in the battles. Rather, they were signposts, leaders, and chiefs.
11. Finally, al-Kumayt gave a perfect picture of the character of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He mentioned that they depended on the most reliable affairs, and that they refrained from doubts. For they were very pious. Then he mentioned that they were the first to respond to the true message, which the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, announced. For Ima`m ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, was the first to believe in Islam. He was the first to defend the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his message.
After praising the ‘Alids, al-Kumayt satirized their enemies, the Umayyads. He said:
They (the ‘Alids) are leaders. However, they are not like those who treat people as they treat the animals.
They are not like ‘Abd al-Malik, al-Walid, Sulayma`n, and Hisha`m, whose opinions towards their subjects are like those of the shepherd toward their sheep in the darkness.
Thus, when they (the caliphs) die, their reputation dies, too.
When they live, they do not treat people with justice.
This is the strongest and the most truthful satire of the Umayyads. In these lines, al-Kumayt unveiled the Umayyad politicians, who regarded the people as sheep. They did not believe in the rights of the people. Rather they exposed them to painful tortures. Then al-Kumayt mentioned that the Umayyad kings would have no reputation. For they violated all the rights of the people. They did not establish justice. Thus, the people would not mention them with good.
Rather, they would mention their oppression, tyranny, and severe punishments.
Then al-Kumayt went on praising the Ha`shimites, saying:
They are near to every goodness. They far from every defect.
They are the most merciful of all the people. They are the most clement of them.
They have lent a helping hand to people. They have held back the hand of
oppression and ignorance from them.
They have put into effect moderation, and gone on it.
Noble deeds and ancient lineage belong to them.
They are the family of the one with truthful talk, Abu` al-Qa`sim, the branch of the noble chiefs.
These lines picture the high ideals of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For they were near to every goodness and far from every ugly deed. They fulfilled all promises. They had mercy on the people. They were the most clement of all the people. These outstanding qualities and others have made people incline to them, adore them, and admire them.
In his wonderful poem, al-Kumayt went on praising the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying:
He was the most perfect human being from his birth till his death.
He belonged to the noblest lineage.
He immigrated from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib), and resided there.
The delusions of the world did not deceive him.
He guided us to Paradise, so he saved us from the Fire.
Through him, Allah removed ignorance from people.
After praising the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, al-Kumayt praised the great martyr, Ja’far al-Tayya`r, the cousin of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He also praised the immortal martyr, Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying:
The one who is adorned by two wings (i. e, Ja’far), and the son of Ha`la (i. e, Hamza), the lion of Allah, the brave defender, are from them (the Hashimites).
There is no cousin like this nor is there an uncle like this, who is the lord of uncles.
Then al-Kumayt praised the lord of the trustees, the gate of the city of the knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, Ima`m ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him, saying:
Al-Tajwabi (i. e. , Abd al-Rahma`n b. Muljim) ruined the throne of the community
through (murdering) the trustee (i. e. , Ima`m ‘Ali).
He (Ima`m ‘Ali) was chaste, glorious, good, and skillful in solving the affairs.
He was the trustee (of authority), the ruler, and the knight.
He sometimes fought against the polytheists, and sometimes with the Kha`rijites.
Then al-Kumayt mentioned Ima`m Husayn, the lord of martyrs, and the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. He said:
The trustee of the trustee, the owner of the sound plan,who ruined the enemies on the day of the enmity.
Then al-Kumayt mentioned the tragedy of Ima`m Husayn, peace be on him. For that tragedy has saddened the souls. He said:
Many low people killed him at al-Taf (a place near Ku`fa).
When Ima`m Abu` Ja’far heard this line, he burst into tears. Then he said to al-Kumayt, as Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said to Hassan: “The Holy Spirit supports you as long as you defend, the members of the House (ahl-al-Bayt).(Qasas al’Arab, vol. 2, p. 296. Murujj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 195)
Then al-Kumayt mentioned Abu` al-Fadl al-‘Abba`s, the son of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. For he sacrificed his soul for his brother, Ima`m Husayn, the lord of the free, peace be on him. He said:
And Abu` al-Fadl, indeed, their pretty remembrance, is the cure of selves from illnesses.(Maqatil al-Talibiyyin, p. 84)
Finally, al-Kumayt said:
Allah has made pure my love (for the Ha`shimites).
When al-Kumayt had finished reciting his wonderful poem, Ima`m Abu` Ja’far turned to the direction of the Kaaba. He invoked Allah for al-Kumayt, saying:
O Allah, have mercy on al-Kumayt, and forgive him (his sins).
The Ima`m repeated this supplication three times. Then he said to al-Kumayt: “O Kumayt, take this one hundred thousand (dirhams). I have collected it from household.”However, al-Kumayt refused to accept the money. He said that he wanted a reward from Allah, the Exalted. Then he asked the Ima`m, peace be on him, for a shirt. So, the Ima`m gave him a shirt.(A’yan al-Shi’a, 1/4/515-516).
Al-Kumayt saw off the Ima`m. Then he went to ‘Abd Allah b. al-Hasan. He recited to him his wonderful poem. So, ‘Abd Allah admired the poem, and then he said to al-Kumayt: “O Abu` al-Mustahal, I have a country estate. I have been given four thousand dinars for it. This is the contract of it. I asked some witnesses to testify to that.
Then ‘Abd Allah gave the contract to al-Kumayt. However, the latter refused to accept it, saying: “May my father and mother be ransom for you, I had composed poetry concerning other than you. I had wanted the world for it. By Allah, what I have said regarding you is for the sake of Allah. So, I will take neither money nor rewards for what I do for Allah.
Then ‘Abd Allah insisted on that. So, al-Kumayt took the contract and went away. Some days passed. Then he came to ‘Abd Allah and said to him:
I have a need.
What is it? I will fulfill all your needs.
Accept this contract. And return the country estate.
Al-Kumayt gave ‘Abd Allah the contract. So, the latter accepted it. Then ‘Abd Allah b. Mu’a`wiya b. ‘Abd Allah b. Ja’far rose. He took a bag and gave it to four of his retainers. He entered the houses of the Ha`shimites, saying:
O Ha`shimites, this is al-Kumayt. He says poetry about you while the people have kept silent towards your outstanding merits. He has exposed his blood to the Umayyads. Then reward him for that.
Thus, the ‘Alids put dirhams and dinars into the bag. Moreover, the ‘Alid ladies took off their ornaments and put them into the bag. So, ‘Abd Allah collected one hundred thousand dirhams. Then he brought it to al-Kumayt and said to him:
O Abu` al-Mustahal, we have brought you a small reward. We are in the state of our enemy. We have collected this sum of money. The ornaments of the women are with it. Make use of it against your time.
However, al-Kumayt refused to accept the money, saying:
May my father and mother be ransom for you. When I praise you, I want nothing except Allah and His Apostle. I will take no reward from the world. Return the money to its people.
Abd Allah spared nothing to convince al-Kumayt to accept the money. However, the latter refused to accept it.( Muruj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 195)
His Poem called al-La`miya
Al-Kumayt recited before Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, his poem called al-Lamiya. This poem moved the feelings and sentiments of the Ima`m. For, in this poem, al-Kumayt mentioned the painful political events at that time. He also mentioned the persecutions from which the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, suffered. In the beginning of the poem, he said:
Does the one who commits sins, follows his caprice, pays no attention to wisdom, consider carefully the final results? Does the one whose heart evil and mistreatment control understand the truth?
Does the community wake for its own affair, rise from its lull and slumber, so it takes off the garment of laziness and cowardice, and removes the oppression and tyranny that have befallen it?
The silence (of the people) towards oppression has become long. If this oppression was changed, their silence would be better for them.
In these lines, al-Kumayt summoned the Moslems to end their silence. He warned them from lull and laziness. Then he encouraged them to revolt against the Umayyads, who persecuted the people.
In this wonderful poem, al-Kumayt said:
The (religious) precepts have been canceled.
It seams that we follow a religion other than our religion.
Our words are those of the leading prophets.
However, our deeds are those of the people
who lived before Islam.
We are satisfied with the world,
from which we do not want to separate our souls.
Yet, in it, we die and are killed.
We cling to it. It is like a shield of which we are afraid.
In the first line, al-Kumayt mentioned that the Umayyads stopped the religious precepts and the Islamic fundamentals. Thus, it seemed that the Moslems followed a religion other than the religion of Islam.
In the second line, he dispraised the Umayyad rulers. For their words were of the righteous. Still, their deeds were contrary to their words. Rather, their deeds were of the people who lived before Islam.
In the last two lines, he ascribed that state of the Moslems to their love for the world. So, they did not revolt against the Umayyad government. Then al-Kumayt said:
The people are neglected. They are like the camels that graze without a driver.
O Politicians, answer what we ask you about. By my life, there are eloquent ones among you.
Are you the people of the Book? Do you rule the people according to it?
In the first line, al-Kumayt said that the Umayyads neglected the affairs of the people. So, the people became like the neglected camels, which had no driver to take care of them. In the last two lines, he asked those politicians if they were the people of the Book, and if they ruled the people according to it. If they were so, then why did they deviate from the religion? Why did they neglect its teachings? Then al-Kumayt went on asking the Umayyads about that negligence. He ascribed oppression and tyranny to them. He numbered their bad qualities. Then he summoned the Moslems to revolt against them.
Then he mentioned Ima`m Husayn, the father of the free, peace be on him, saying:
Their swords selected al-Husayn and his companions, as the one who selected plants.
Their horses were covered with blood from the family of Mohammed.
The Prophet of Allah was absent from among them. His absence was a misfortune that befell people.
Al-Kumayt’s words and sentiments were truthful when he elegized al-Husayn, peace be on him. His lines moved Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, very much. Then al-Kumayt said:
The fighters hit him (al-Husayn) through the bow of other than them.
The first (Hisha`m) gave error to the last.
In this line, al-Kumayt said that the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, were liable to many disasters. The previous people were responsible for such disasters. For they helped the Umayyads seize the authority and rule over the Moslems. When Ima`m Abu` Ja’far heard this line, he was full of sadness. So, he raised his hands towards the sky. Then he invoked Allah for al-Kumayt, saying: “O Allah, forgive al-Kumayt.
With this, we will end our talk about al-Kumayt’s poem called Lamiya. In this poem it was mentioned that he elegized Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. In it he said:
I will die for the Truth, as Abu` Ja’far died.
Surely, al-Kumayt composed this line after the death of Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. Then the line has been added to his poem called al-Lamiya.
His Poem called al-‘Ayniya
The following is another wonderful poem of his poems called al-Hashimiyats. Al-Kumayt came to Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, to recite this poem before him. He said to him: “I have written poetry. If I reveal it, I will be killed. If conceal it, I am afraid of Allah, the Most High.” Then he recited for the Ima`m, peace be on him, this wonderful poem:
Sleeplessness has dismissed sleep from your eye.
And a care brings tears from it.
The care has controlled the heart. It moves the illness and sadness (in the heart), which has been prevented from happiness.
That is for the missing of the chiefs from Quraysh.
In these lines, al-Kumayt described his continuous cares. For they made him sleepless. They made him know nothing except sadness and sorrow. For he always thought about the disasters and misfortunes that befell his ‘Alid masters. Those disasters and misfortunes burnt his heart. They filled him with sorrow and sadness.
In his poem called al-‘Ayniya, al-Kumayt described his master, Ima`m ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. He said:
With the Most Merciful (Allah), he (the Prophet) discloses al-Matha`ni (Surat al-Fa`tiha).
Abu` Hasan (Imam ‘Ali) was a chosen one for him.
His cousin who degraded his own caprice.
He hastened to please his Creator.
The Prophet chose him, irrespective of those who refused to mention his outstanding merits.
He announced his authority on the day of Ghadir Khum.
However, the men pledged allegiance to each other.
They forgot his right and wronged him.
In these lines, al-Kumayt mentioned Ima`m ‘Ali, the commander of the faithful, peace be on him. He mentioned that the Ima`m, peace be on him, supported the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, when he announced his bright message. The Ima`m protected him from the oppressive aggressors. From that he wanted nothing except Allah’s pleasure and the hereafter. The Ima`m, peace be on him, had outstanding spiritual abilities.
So, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, chose him. He made him his helper and the successor after him. He announced that in the general meeting he held at Ghadir Khum. He announced his Ima`mate and his succession (to authority) after him. In this connection, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: “Whoever I am the master of, this man, ‘Ali is his master. O Allah, befriend whoever befriends, be hostile to whoever opposes him, support whoever supports him and desert whoever deserts him.
Thus, Allah and His Apostle pledged allegiance to Ima`m ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, and the first leader of the Islamic Message. However, the people paid no attention to this homage. They ignored their pledge of allegiance to the Ima`m and forgot his high rank. So, they held a meeting under the shelter (saqifa). History books have mentioned in detail this event.
Then al-Kumayt went on reciting his wonderful poem, saying:
Even you are afraid of the sword and the whip, say to the Umayyads wherever they are:
Fie on the time when I am cowardly and obedient to you.
May Allah make hungry him whom you have satisfied.
May He make full him whom you have made hungry through your tyranny.
( Al-Hashimiyat, pp. 81-82)
In these lines, al-Kumayt mentioned the Umayyads. He invoked Allah against their hirelings. He asked Allah to starve them and to deprive them of His mercy. For they were full of the money and gifts of the Umayyds. Meanwhile he invoked Allah for those whom the Umayyads wronged. He asked Him to enrich them and to make them lead a happy life. Then al-Kumayt mentioned the Ha`shimites. He said that they were the leaders of the community. So, they would let the community live in comfort.
The historians said: “When Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, heard this poem, he admired it. Then he said: ‘O Allah, be sufficient to al-Kumayt.
The Ima`m repeated this supplication three times. So, Allah saved al-Kumayt from the prison of the Umayyads.(Akhbar Shu’ara’ al-Shi’a, pp. 72-73)
His firm Struggle
Al-Kumayt struggled firmly for his beliefs and fundamentals. In the most critical circumstances, he proclaimed the laudable deeds and outstanding merits of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He summoned the people to support them. In the meantime he summoned them to revolt against the tyrannical Umayyads. He played an important role in shaking and overthrowing the Umayyad entity. The following is some of his efforts in this connection:
1. His praising ahl al-Bayt
Al-Kumayt praised the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, very much. He numbered their noble deeds and their outstanding qualities in his poems called al-Hashimyat, which are the most valuable masterpieces in Arab literature. Worth mentioning, his poems played an effective role in enlightening the Moslems. The made them detest the Umayyads.
Al-Kumayt praised the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. However, the Umayyds officially prevented the people from praising them.
Rather, they forced the people to curse them on the pulpits. They ordered the teachers to make their pupils detest them. They formed committees to make traditions to defame them. Moreover, they punished severely those who mentioned their laudable deeds. So, al-Kumayt endangered himself when he praised the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For he resisted the desires of the authority. Besides, he opposed its policies.
2. His dispraising the Umayyds
Al-Kumayt played a dangerous role in opposing the Umayyds. For he dispraised their kings. He numbered their bad deeds. In his poetry, he pictured them as the worst creatures. The people memorized what he composed about them. So, they turned away from the Umayyads. They were indignant with them. Thus, his dispraise was among the factors that overthrew the Umayyd government. Among his words on them are:
Even you are afraid of the sword and the whip, say to the Umayyads wherever they are:
Fie on the time when I am cowardly and obedient to you.
May Allah make hungry him whom you have satisfied.
May He make full him whom you have made hungry through your tyranny.
He recited these lines before Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. So, the Ima`m asked Allah to forgive al-Kumayt and to be pleased with him.( Mu’jam al-Shu’ara’, p. 348)
Al-Kumayt also dispraised Hisha`m b. ‘Abd al-Malik. He said:
Our words are those of the leading prophets.
However, our deeds are those of the people
who lived before Islam.( Mu’jam al-Shu’ara’, p. 348)
Al-Kumayt also dispraised the supporters and the hirelings of the Umayyads. For example, he dispraised al-Hakim b. ‘Ayya`sh al-Kalbi. He prided himself of dispraising the Umayyads.
So, his son al-Mustahal hastened to him and blamed him for boasting of the Umayyads, saying:
Father, you dispraised and defamed al-Kalbi. Then you boasted of the Umayyads. Yet you have regarded them as unbelievers. Would you boast of ‘Ali and the Ha`shimites, whom you follow?
So, al-Kumayt replied:
My little son, al-Kalbi has devoted himself to the Umayyads, the enemies of ‘Ali. If I mentioned ‘Ali, al-Kalbi would leave mentioning my name, and he would dispraise him. Thus, I would expose ‘Ali to dispraise.
Thus, al-Kalbi refrained from answering al-Kumayt. However, he let sorrow and sadness hurt him.(Al-Aghani, vol. 15, p. 129)
3. His moving Tribalism between the Yemenis and the Naza`ris
Al-Kumayt played a dangerous role in destroying the Umayyad state. He spared no effort to stir up discord between the Yemenis and the Nazaris, the most important of the Arab tribes in number and influence and supporting the Umayyad government. In his poems, al-Kumayt dispraised the Yemenis. He numbered their defects. Al-Mas’u`di reported the reason al-Kumayt dispraised the Yemenis. He said that al-Kumayt visited Abd Allah b. al-Hasan.
The latter asked the former to compose poetry to sow division among the Arabs to overthrow the Umayyad state. So, al-Kumayt accepted that. Then he composed wonderful poems. In them, he glorified the Yemenis, and mentioned their laudable deeds. Meanwhile he dispraised the Qahtanis.
His poetry had great effects on the hearts. Thus, it moved malice and hatred between the two tribes. Di’bil al-Khuza`’i, the Poet of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, supported the Qahtanis. I think that there was a secret agreement between al-Kumayt and Di’bil. For they were among the poets of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
So, each tribe mentioned its own laudable deeds. Meanwhile they defamed each other. Thus, enmity took place between them. Then the enmity included the people of the villages and the desert. Accordingly, their hearts were full of malice and hatred. Discords occurred between the two families. Marwa`n b. Mohammed al-Ju’di, the last Umayyad king, sided with the Nazaris. The Yemenis deviated from the Umayyads. Then they joined the ‘Abba`sids. With that the Umayyad state collapsed. Ahmed Amin said: “A short time after al-Kumayt, the Umayyad state was overthrown.( Duha al-Islam, vol. 3, p. 206)
Al-Kumayt satirized the Yemenis. His satire became famous. The people talked about it in their assemblies and clubs. Kha`lid b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qasri, the governor of Ku`fa heard of it. He sided with the Yemenis. He said: “By Allah, I will kill al-Kumayt.”The historians said: “Kha`lid b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qasri bought a very beautiful slave girl. He made her memorize al-Kumayt’s poems called al-Ha`shimiya`t. After she had memorized them, he gave her as a gift to Hisha`m b. ‘Abd al-Malik. He wrote to him about al-Kumayt’s stories and satire against the Umayyads. He sent him al-Kumayt’s poem, in which he said:
O Lord, victory is sought through You.
O Lord, reliance is on You.
It is a long poem. In it al-Kumayt elegized Zayd b. ‘Ali, the great martyr, and his son al-Husayn b. Zayd, the immortal martyr. In it, he also praised the Ha`shimites. When Hisha`m received the poem and read it, he became very angry. He wrote Kha`lid a letter, in which he ordered him to cut off al-Kumayt’s tongue and hand. So, Kha`lid b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qasri ordered the police to arrest al-Kumayt. The police arrested him and imprisoned him. He remained in prison for some days. During them he suffered from persecutions.(Al-Aghani, vol. 15, p. 114)
His Escape from Prison
Al-Kumayt remained in prison. He was afraid and worried. Cares and troubles controlled him. He did not know the time of his execution. The historians said: “Al-Kumayt had a close friend called Aba`n b. al-Walid al-‘Ajali. The Umayyads had appointed Aba`n governor over Wa`sit. When Aba`n heard of al-Kumayt’s news, he wrote him a letter. In the letter, he said: ‘You will be executed. Send for your wife. Put on her clothes, and order her to stay in prison.’ He gave the letter to his retainer and ordered him to go quickly to al-Kumayt. Al-Kumayt did that and escaped from prison.(Muqaddamat al-Hashimiyat, p. 17)
Al-Kumayt received Forgiveness
The authorities sought for al-Kumayt everywhere, but could not find him. For he hid himself from them. Al-Kumayt intended to praise Hisha`m and the Umayyads to save himself from them. He had sent his nephew, Ward, to Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him, to ask his permission before he did that. Thus, the Ima`m, peace be on him, permitted him. Then Ward came back to his uncle and told him about the Ima`m’s pleasures. (Muqaddamat al-Hashimiyat, p. 17)
So, al-Kumayt and a group of the Asadis headed for Damascus. When they arrived in it, they went to a group of the chiefs of Quraysh. They told them about the matter. They accepted that, and then they except al-Kumayt went to ‘Unbisa b. Sa’id b. al-‘As. They said to him:
O Abu` Kha`lid, Allah has given you this noble deed. This is al-Kumayt b. Zayd, the poet of Madar. The Commander of the Faithful (i. e. , Hisha`m) ordered him to be killed. However, he escaped. He has come to you and us.
‘Unbisa responded to them. He went to Moslima b. Hisha`m and said to him:
“O Abu` Shakir, I have brought you a noble deed through which you reach the pleiades.””What is it?”asked Moslima. They told him about the matter. So, Moslima protected al-Kumayt.1That became famous. When Hisha`m heard of it, he summoned his son Moslima and asked him: “Why have you protected al-Kumayt without an order from the Commander of the Faithful?”
I have been waiting for the calmness of his anger,” replied Moslima.
Bring him immediately,” Hisha`m commanded.
Moslima left the assembly of his father. He went to al-Kumayt and said to him: “O Abu` al-Mustahal, the Commander of the Faithful has commanded me to bring you to him.
Abu` Shakir, do you want to submit me to him?” asked al-Kumayt.
No,” replied Moslima.
Moslima paved the way to his salvation. He said to him: “Mu’a`wiya b. Hisha`m has recently died. He (Hisha`m) is very sad for him. When the night comes, sit by his grave. I will send you his children. When he summons you, ask them to tie their clothes to your clothes. Ask them to say: This man has sought protection with the grave of our father. We are worthy of protecting him.”Then Moslima left al-Kumayt and went away. When it got dark, al-Kumayt headed for the grave and sat by it. When Hisha`m entered upon morning, he came to the grave of his son
Then he asked: “Who is that over there?””Perhaps, he is a seeker of protection with the grave,”they replied. “Everyone is given protection except al-Kumayt,”Hisha`m said. It was said to him: “He is al-Kumayt.”He ordered him to be brought. He was brought. The children had tied their clothes to his clothes. When Hisha`m looked at them, he burst into tears. Then the children said: “O Commander of the Faithful, he has sought protection with the grave of our father. My father has died. Forgive al-Kumayt for him and us.”So, Hisha`m wept.
Then al-Kumayt praised Hisha`m with some lines of poetry. So Hisha`m said: “Poetry should be like these lines. I am pleased with you”
Al-Kumayt thanked him for that. He asked him to prevent Kha`lid b. ‘Abd Allah al-Qasri from pursuing him. Hisha`m accepted that. Then he ordered forty thousand dirhams and thirty garments to be given to al-Kumayt. Then he wrote to Kha`lid to release al-Kumayt’s wife and to give her twenty thousand dirhams and thirty garments. So, Kha`lid did that.(Al-Aghani, vol. 15, pp. 115-119)
Al-Kumayt could overcome the events with his cleverness, his eloquent words, and his strong character. He showed neither weakness nor fear before the tyrannical ruler, Hisha`m. Rather he showed sold will and firm determination. He was not satisfied with safety and salvation. Rather, he asked Hisha`m to prevent Kha`lid, the governor of Ku`fa, from pursuing him.
Admonition and Apology
Al-Kumayt came to Ima`m Abu` Ja’far, peace be on him. The Ima`m welcomed him, sat beside him, smiled at him, and blamed him in a friendly manner, saying:
O al-Kumayt, is it you who said:
Now I have joined the Umayyads?”
Thus, al-Kumayt apologized to the Ima`m for that. He answered as the knowledgeable jurist did:
Yes, I have said that. I do not want the world through these
words. For I have recognized your outstanding merits.
Ima`m al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, was pleased with al-Kumayt. Then he said to him: “If you said that out of precautionary dissimulation, there would be no harm on you. For precautionary dissimulation is lawful.
That occurred for he asked no permission from the Ima`m to praise the Umayyads. Al-Kumayt sincerely loved the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He was obedient to them. Many tribulations befell him for them. Namely, he was liable to the wrath and adversities of the Umayyads. He ended part of his lifetime in prison. There he was full of fright. From that he wanted nothing except Allah’s pleasure and the hereafter.
Al-Kumayt was a brave man. He defended the rights of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Thus, Allah willed to grant him martyrdom at the hand of the most wicked ones of His creatures. That was as follows: Kha`lid al-Qasri, who punished al-Kumayt severely, was removed from the office. Then Yousif b. ‘Amr was appointed ruler over Iraq. So, al-Kumayt went to him to praise him with a poem. Meanwhile he dispraised Kha`lid al-Qasri. However, Yousif’s guards sided with him. So, they stabbed al-Kumayt in the abdomen with their swords.
He went out of Yousif’s room. He fainted, and then he recovered. He was heard say: “O Allah, Mohammed’s family! O Allah, Mohammed’s family!
The great poet, Di’bil al-Khaza’i, who revolted against oppression and tyranny, expressed the sufferings of the oppressed and the deprived was the famous revolutionary poet during the lifetime of Imam Reza(A.S.).
A group of Shi’ite poets traveled to Khurasa`n to meet Imam Reza(A.S.). Di’bil had said to his friend Ibra`him: “I want to accompany you to Khurasa`n.”
“How nice a companion and accompanied one your are!” exclaimed Ibra`him, “surely we have followed the precondition of Bashsha`r.”
“What is his precondition?” asked Di’bil.
He has said his statement:
The best brother whom I fraternize is he whose baggage I carry, and who carries my baggage when I ask him to carry them.
When a time turns away from him, I have confidence in him; and when the time turns away from me, he has confidence in me.
His property belongs to me and I do not fear his miserliness; my property belongs to him, and he does not fear my miserliness throughout the time.
During their journey, they were robbed, so they were forced to ride donkeys carrying thorns, so Ibra`him composed, saying:
They have been loaded thorns instead of pottery; they are drunk not because of wine; rather because of intense weakness.
He asked Razïn to complete this (poetry line), and he said:
So if you, in spite of that, come to playing and amusement, then your state concerning it is equal and will not persist in decrease.
Then he said to Di’bil: “Complete this (poetry line), O Abu` ‘Ali.” And he said:
If that has passed, so be witty and hasten to play and amuse (our selves), for surely I am going to sell my sandals.
Then the caravan of these eminent figures began covering the desert paying no attention to anything until it arrived in Khurasa`n. Shortly after their arrival there, they hurried to meet the Ima`m Reza, peace be on him, so Di’bil recited to him his poem called al-Ta`’iya, which we will mention, and Ibra`him b. al-‘Abba`s composed before him a poem of which the historians have narrated nothing except this line:
The deaths of the children of the Prophet Mohammed(S.A.W.) have removed the pains of the heart after endurance.
As for the Ima`m Reza(A.S.), he warmly received them, honored and magnified them.
Imam Reza(A.S.) awards a Prize to Di’bil
The Imam gave to Di’bil a parcel in which there was ten thousands of the dirhams struck with his name. It is worth mentioning that the dirhams had not been placed in the hand of anyone before Di’bil, so Di’bil refused to take them and said: “No, by Allah, I have not wanted this (money); nor have I gone out for it. I have come to have the honor of him and to look at his face.”
Then he asked the servant of the Imam Reza(A.S.) to ask the Imam in order to give him one of his garments, so the Imam gave him a silk garment along with dirhams and said to him: “Take this parcel, for you will be in need of it.”
Di’bil departed until he arrived at Qum and there a talk about the Ima`m’s garment was announced, so the Qummis hurried to Di’bil and asked him to sell them the garment for thirty thousand dirhams. He refused that and left the Qummis, but a group of them followed him and said to him:
“You must take the money or you better know.”
“By Allah, surely I will not give it to you on my on accord,” retorted Di’bil, “nor will it benefit you when you take it by force, for it is wanted only for Allah, the Great and Almighty, and it is forbidden for you to wear it.”
Then he swore by Allah that he would not sell it to them unless they gave him a piece of it, that it might be placed in his shroud. So they gave him one sleeve, and it was placed in his shrouds. The narrators have mentioned: “The most beloved wife to Di’bil became ill. So he bandaged her with what he had of the garment of the Ima`m, peace be on him, and she got well. ”
As for the dirhams, Di’bil sold each one to the Qummis for ten dirhams, so his share amounted one hundred thousand dirhams.
The Immortal Poem of Di’bil
The poem which Di’bil recited to the Ima`m Reza, peace be on him, is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Arab literature and among the sources of Islamic legacy. It is the most famous of Di’bil’s poems. It had a strong impression on the Ima`m Reza(A.S.), so he wept and fainted three times.
That is because Di’bil has mentioned in it the painful tragedies which befell the members of the House (Ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Di’bil wore a garment and wrote the poem. He performed the ritual consecration wearing the garment, and then he ordered it to be placed in his own shrouds.
Di’bil’s poem widely spread in that time. Al-Ma’mu`n heard of it, admired it, asked Di’bil to recite it to him, and said to him: “It won’t do you any harm; I have given you security from all things. It had been narrated to me, but I want to hear it from your own mouth.” So he recited it, and al-Ma’mu`n wept to the extent that his beard became wet out of his tears.
A joke has been narrated about this excellent poem; the joke is as follows: When Di’bil and his companions departed Marw`, some highwaymen attacked them and took all that which they had. It happened that a highwayman robbed Di’bil and recited a line of his poem which he had recited to the Ima`m, and the line is as follows:
I see that their fayya’1 is divided among other than them, and their hands is void of their fayya’ .
So Di’bil asked the highwayman: “Whose poetry line is this?”
“It belongs to a man called Di’bil from Khaza`’a,” replied the highwayman.
“I am Di’bil!” was the answer.
Then Di’bil recited the poem, so the highwayman became astonished, called to the rest of the highwaymen, and asked them to return what they had taken from Di’bil and his companions as a sign of honor for the poet of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and they returned it to them.
As this poem is of great importance, some eminent figures have explained it.
They are as follows:
1. Al-Sayyid Ni’mat Allah al-Jaza`’iry.
2. Kamal al-Dïn Mohammed b. Mohammed al-Shïra`zi.
3. Al-Hajj Mïrza ‘Ali al-Tabrïzi.
The Text of the Poem
The late ‘Abd al-Sahib al-Dujayli has reported the text of the poem in the Divan of Di’bil from a group of handwritten and printed sources; we have reported it from him; the text of the poem is as follows:
The doves whose utterance and speeches are not understood answer each other through sounds and sighs.
They tell through breaths about the secret of souls captives
to past love and another coming.
So they will make happy or help (the lovers) until the kinds of darkness are dispersed and defeated by dawn.
Peace be on the courtyards void of wild cows; (I am) a sad adorer yearning for the courtyards.
As far as I know that their familiar places were green because of the perfumed, white (ones) and the ashamed (ones).
Nights helped friendliness against abandonment, but after me they approached one another out of estrangement.
Then they looked through their unveiled eyes and covered their cheeks with their hands.
And then everyday I have, in my eye, drunkenness for which my heart spends the night drunk.
How many a regret excited by my standing at Mahsar and ‘Arafat1 on the Day of Gathering.
Do you not see what the days have brought upon the people through nullifying (the Imamate), long separation, the states of the reckless , and those who sought light through them in the dark?
Just imagine how much more is he who has come to seek nearness to Allah through fasting, prayers, showing love for the children of the Prophet and his family, hating the Banu` of al-Zarqa`’ and al-‘Abalat, Hind , what Sumayya
had done, her son who showed unbelief and dissoluteness in Islam?
It was they who broke the covenant of the Book, religious duties and clear verses therein through falsehood and vague errors.
And that is a mere trial which has exposed them through a summons of error from among ugly things.
Legacy without nearness (to the Prophet), authority without guidance, and government without consultative council are among the rightly-guided ones.
(These) misfortunes have made us see the greenness of the horizon red and made sweet water tastes salt.
Nothing made easy those creeds among them except the homage of the random errors.
The Companions of the Shelter (saqïfa) did not attain an authority because of legacy; rather due to the affair of (their) origin.
If they had entrusted the reins of the caliphate to the testamentary trustee , then they would have been regulated by him who was protected from stumbles.
(He) was the brother of the last of the messengers,the one purified of uncleanness, and the one who killed the heroes at the battles.
If they deny (that), then to him bear witness al-Ghadïr, Badr, and Uhd whose elevations are high,
Verses of the Qur’an are recited concerning his excellence, his giving food during famines, and his outstanding qualities he attained out of his preceding laudable deeds which none before him had performed.
(These) laudable deeds were not attained by trickery; nor were they obtained by anything except by the sharp edge of the spear.
Gabriel, the trusted one, whispered to him while you devoted yourselves (to serving) both al-‘Izza` and Manat.
At ‘Arafat I wept over the traces of the house, and I shed the tears of my eyes (for them).
The traces of the deserted houses untied the handles of patience and exited my longing.
Schools of verses (of the Qur’an) are without recitation, and the place of inspiration is (like) courtyards without people.
To the family of Allah’s Messenger belong (the houses) at al-Khïf part of Mina, al-Rukn, al-Ta’rïf, and al-Jamarat
The houses belong to ‘Ali, al-Husayn, Ja’far, Hamza, and al-Sajjad the one with calluses (Dhu al-Thafanat);
The houses belong to ‘Abd Allah and al-Fadl his full brother to whom Allah’s Messenger whispered in privacy;
The houses among which the inspiration of Allah came down to Ahmed (Mohammed), who has been mentioned in the verses, belong to the people through whose guidance (men) have become rightly guided and felt secure from their slip of stumbles.
The houses were (confined to) prayer, reverential fear, fasting, purity, and good deeds.
Gabriel, the trusted one, stopped at the houses carrying from Allah greetings and mercy;
The houses (were the place) of inspiration of Allah, the place of His knowledge, and the path of guidance through clear ways.
The houses have been effaced by the tyranny of every opponent, not by days and years.
O inheritors of the knowledge of the Prophet, upon you be peace with lasting perfumes.
Stop in order to ask the house whose inhabitants hastened:
When was your knowledge of fasting and prayers? Where are those whom the loneliness of remoteness has wronged (and made them like) branches separating in the horizons?
They are the people of the legacy of the Prophet when they are ascribed; they are the best masters and protectors.
They are feeders during famine and every attitude; they have become honorable through favor and blessings.
As for people, they are either envier or liar or spiteful harboring malice or one who is unable to avenge the blood of his dead.
When they (the Qurayshi hypocrites and the people of the Book) remember their dead at (the battles of) Badr, Khaybar, and Hunayn, they shed tears.
So how could they show love for the Prophet and his family while they split open their bowels?
They were gentle to him through their statements but they had hearts containing spites. So if it (the caliphate) is not undertaken except through nearness to Mohammed, then Ha`shim is worthier (of it) than those of bad lineage.
May Allah water the grave in Medina (with) His rain, for therein has rested the Security through blessings.
The Prophet of guidance upon whom his King has called down blessings and given to him as gift His repose.
Allah calls down blessings upon him as long as the sun rises and the night stars appear.
O Fa`tima, if you imagined al-Husayn, who was thrown to the ground and died thirsty by the Euphrates, then you, O Fatima, would strike your cheeks beside him and make the tears of your eye flow on your cheeks. O Fa`tima, arise, O daughter of the good, and mourn for the stars of the heavens in a deserted land.
Graves are in Kufan (i.e. Kufa); others are in Tïba; others are in Fakh; blessings are called down upon them.
Other (graves) are in the land of al-Jawza`n; a lonely grave is at Bakhamra.
And a grave is in Baghdad; (it) belongs to a pure soul which the Merciful (Allah) has included in the Gardens.
As for the painful misfortunes which have deeply hurt me through the essence of qualities, (they are) the graves by the River Euphrates in the land of Kerbala’, where they (al-Husayn and his companions) stopped at the late night.
They died thirsty by the Euphrates, so would that I died for them before the time of my death.
During my remembering them, I complain to Allah of pain which waters me with the cup of abasement and atrocities.
I fear that if I visit them, I will be exited by their death (which took place) between the valley and the date-palms.
The events of time have divided them; just as you see that they have a district with houses covered (with dust).
Except that in Medina is a group of them, throughout the time, rawboned because of hardships.
None visits them except some visitors from among hyenas, eagles, and vultures.
They are forever asleep in graves standing in various districts of the earth.
In al-Hijaz and (among) its people were courageous ones from among them chosen as leaders.
Hard droughts kept away from neighboring them, and the pebble of the pebbles did not warm them.
(They were) hot, so comets did not visit them; and (their) faces shone by the curtains in the dark.
If they (people) brought horses running very quickly (and carrying) spears, they (the Prophet’s Household) were the pokers of the embers of death and hardships.
If they prided themselves (upon their lineage), they brought Mohammed, Gabriel, the Furqa`n (Qur’a`n), and the Suras.
And they numbered ‘Ali, possessor of laudable deeds and exaltedness, Fa`tima al-Zahra`’ the best daughter, Hamza possessor of guidance and piety, and Ja’far, who flies in the Gardens.
Those, not the product of Hind and her party Sumayya from among the foolish and the dirty.
Taym and ‘Adi will be asked about them and their homage which was the greatest sin.
It was they who prevented the forefathers from taking their own right, and it was they who left the children hostage to separation.
It was they who took it (the caliphate) from the testamentary trustee of Mohammed, so their pledge of allegiance was treacherous.
Stop your blaming me for (my showing love for) the Household of the Prophet; they are my lovers and I have confidence in them as long as they live.
I have chosen them as a guide to my own affairs, for they are, any how, the most excellent choice.
I have sincerely shown love for my masters and willingly submitted my own soul to them.
Therefore, O my Lord, increase me in the insight of my sureness and add, O my Lord, my love for them to my good deeds.
I will weep over them as long as a rider makes a pilgrimage to (the House of) Allah and as long as a dove coos in the trees.
I will sacrifice my own soul for you; (your) middle-aged and youths release captives and collect blood-money (for the people).
When death limits the steps of the horses, you release them (and use) sharp spears and swords.
I love those far because of their love for you, and for you I abandon my family and my daughters.
I conceal my love toward you out of fear of him who is hostile, stubborn to the men of the truth and disobedient to (them).
O my eye, weep over them and shed abundant tears; it is time for you to shed tears.
Certainly the days have surrounded me with their own evil, and surely I hope for security after my death.
Do you not see that I have gone and come for thirty years, and I am always in sorrows?
I see that their fayya’ is divided among other than them, and their hands are void of their fayya’.
So how can I be cured of an intense sorrow, and the intense sorrow is the Umayyads, the men of dissoluteness and (bad) results?
The family of Allah’s Messenger are thin-bodied, while the family of Ziya`d are big-necked!
Ziya`d’s daughters are protected in the palaces whereas the family of Allah’s Messenger are in the deserts!
I will weep for them as long as the sun shines on earth and the caller of good calls (men) to prayer;
(I will weep for them) as long as the sun shines and sets; and I will weep for them at night and in the early morning.
The houses of Allah’s Messenger have become a desert, and the family of Ziya`d live in palaces.
The throats of the family of Allah’s Messenger are bled, and the family of Ziya`d are at ease.
The womenfolk of Allah’s Messenger are taken as captives, and Ziya`d’s womenfolk (are respected).
When one of them is killed, they stretch out for the killers palms of the hand and prevent them from taking blood money.
Had it not for him whom I expect today or tomorrow, I would be out of breath due to the sorrows for them.
Certainly an Ima`m will appear and rise in the name of Allah and the blessings.
He will distinguish among us everything right and wrong, reward for favors and vengeance.
I will intensely withhold myself from arguing with them; enough for me is what I find of the moral lessons.
So, O my soul, renounce (the world); then O my soul, be delighted, for it is not far all that which will come;
Do not be impatient of the period of tyranny; surely I can see that my strength shows signs of separating (from the world).
So if the Most Gracious (Allah) brings near that period of mine and delays my life span for prolonging my life, then I will avenge (myself upon them), will not leave any calamity for myself, make my sword and spear quench their thirst with their blood.
For surely I hope for from the Most Gracious (Allah),
through showing love for them an uninterrupted life in Paradise.
May Allah give shelter to this creature; surely He is permanent in glances toward every people.
If I say something good, they deny it with something evil and cover the realities with vague errors.
I try to remove the sun from its place and to make solid stones hear.
So they are either a knower who does not make use of (my statement) or a stubborn one who inclines to (his) caprices and lusts.
I am negligent of them when I die of a pang frequenting in my chest and in (my) epiglottis.
Although my own ribs are wide, they have become narrow because of the intense sighs they have contained.
This ode called al-‘Assma`’ has terminated. As for the Ima`m Reza(A.S.), he was satisfied with it and supplicated for Di’bil in order to be successful on the Day of the Greatest Fear. The Ima`m Reza(A.S.) was strongly moved by the poetry lines in which Di’bil lamented for Ima`m al-Husayn, peace be on him.
Source: shiastudies Website