Poetry

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

XXXV. Poetry

381. There is some wisdom in poetry

856. Khalid ibn Kaysan said, "I was with Ibn 'Umar when Iyyas ibn Khaythama got up and said to him, 'Shall I recite some poetry, Ibn al-Faruq?' 'Yes,' he replied, 'but only recite good poetry to me.'" He recited until he came to something which Ibn 'Umar disliked whereupon he told him to stop.

857. Mutarrif said, "I accompanied 'Imran ibn Husayn from Kufa to Basra. Very rarely did he arrive at my house without reciting some poetry to me. He said, 'Indirect speech accords great scope in avoiding lies.'"

858. Ubayy ibn Ka'b mentioned that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is some wisdom in poetry."

859. Al-Aswad ibn Suray' said, "Messenger of Allah, I have praised my Lord, the Almighty and Exalted, in some words of praise." He said, "Your Lord loves praise," and did not say anything more.

860. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "It is better for a man to fill his belly with oozing pus than to fill it with poetry."

861. Al-Aswad ibn Suray' said, "I was a poet and went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked, 'Shall I recite some praises I have written for my Lord?' He said, 'Your Lord loves praise,' and did not say anything more."

862. 'A'isha said, "Hassan ibn Thabit asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, for permission to satirise the idolaters. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'And what about my lineage?' He said, 'I will extract you from them as a hair is taken from dough.'"

863. Hisham reported that his father said, "I began to abuse Hassan [ibn Thabit] in the presence of 'A'isha and she said, 'Do not abuse him. He used to defend the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.'"

382. The good in poetry is like the good in words while some of it is bad

864. See hadith 858.

865. 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Poetry is in the same position as speech. The good of it is like good words and its bad part is like bad words."

866. 'A'isha said, "Poetry is both good and bad. Take the good and leave the bad. I have related some of the poetry of Ka'b ibn Malik. That included an ode of forty verses and some less than that."

867. Shurayh said, "I ask 'A'isha, may Allah be pleased her with, 'Did the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, recite any poetry?' She said, 'He used to recite some of the poetry of 'Abdullah ibn Rawaha:

         'Someone to whom you have not given provision brings you news.'"

868. See hadith 859.

383. Someone who recites poetry

869. Ash-Sharid said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked me to recite the poetry of Umayya ibn Abi's-Salt and I recited it. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, began to say, 'Go on, go on!' until I had recited a hundred lines.' The Prophet said, 'If only he had become Muslim.'"

384. Someone who dislikes for someone to be dominated by poetry

870. Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "It is better for one of you to fill his belly with pus than to fill it with poetry."

871. In respect of "And as for the poets, is the misled who follow them. Do you not see how they ramble on in every style and that they say things which they do not do?" (26:223-225), Ibn 'Abbas said that it was abrogated and that an exception was made in His words, "except for those who believe and do right actions Éthe kind of reversal they will receive." (26:226)

385. Someone saying, "There is magic in eloquence"

872. Ibn 'Abbas said that a man ­ or a bedouin ­ came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and spoke some eloquent words. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is some magic eloquence and some wisdom in poetry."

873. 'Abdu'l-Malik ibn Marwan entrusted the teaching of his children to ash-Sha'bi and said, "Teach them poetry so that they will possess dignity and vigour. Feed them meet so that their hearts will be strong. Cut off their hair so that their necks will be strong. Make them sit with men of distinction who will contradict them in words."

386. Poetry which is disliked

874. 'A'isha reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The greatest of criminals is the poet who satirises the entire tribe and a man who disclaims his father."