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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
with him.
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
this (Ima`m)?
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).

Kumayt al-Asadi
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.

His Talents
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)

His Poetry
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:
They said:
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.

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