Sahabah of the Month: Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabit
As with the stations of all of the Exalted Sahabah, Hadrat Hassaan ibn Thaabit has his own special place in the heart of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) and station with Allah (سبحانه و تعالي). Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabit was known as the official poet of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم). He would recite verses of poetry out of pure love for him, and the companions would increase in their love for Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) by hearing his beautiful words.
During this time of Islamic history, and even before during the Jahiliyah (Era of Ignorance), the Arabs were well known for their expertise in oral memory and poetry. Reciting verses and couplets in everyday conversation was normal for them. However, when the Prophet of Allah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) started preaching Truth, he was verbally abused by their satirical poetry. In fact, it is said that one of the leaders of the Quraysh met Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) so he could try and find something wrong with him or his message; however, he came back only reciting praise for him and how the Qur’an was much different that anything he had ever heard before. But, nevertheless, they still created verses to try and demoralize Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) and his companions. Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) did not approve of poetry for this reason.
Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabt (رضي الله عنه), before he reverted to Islam, was a renown poet and master of language. He was hired by the Quraish to write poetry slandering Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم). So he stood near a path that Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) used to walk and waited for him to come by so he could find something about him to make fun of. When Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) finally walked by, Hadrat Hasaan was rendered speechless. He saw only light, good character, and compassion walk by him. With only one glance at Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم), Allah (سبحانه و تعالي) opened his heart and filled it with wisdom, light, and faith.
Hadrat Hasaan went back to the people who had paid him to write the slanderous poetry and gave their money back to them. He said, “As for this money, I have no need for it. And as for the one you wanted me to ridicule, I call upon You, Oh Allah, to bear witness that I bear witness that he is the messenger of Allah.”
The Kuffar were confused and asked, “What has gotten into you? It was not for this reason that we sent you.”
It was at this point Hadrat Hasaan responded, from his enlightened heart, verses so beautiful that Muslims around the world remember them to this day.
“When I saw his light shining forth,
In fear I covered my eyes with my palm.
Afraid for my sight, because of the beauty of his appearance.
So I was barely able to look at him at all
A spirit of light lodged in a body like the moon
A mantle made up of brilliant shining stars”
This is Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم)! Light upon light, he captures hearts and transforms souls. Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabit was the first person to defend Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) against hateful verses with beautiful, elegant, and sophisticated verses of his own.
Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) developed much love for Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabt and ordered that a mimbar (pulpit) be placed for him in the masjid so that he could stand on this when reciting his poetry. Although he was one of the older Sahabah, he still beautifully and energetically praised Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم). But he was also so humble that Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabt would say that, “I could not praise RasulAllah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) with my words; rather, my words were made praiseworthy by RasulAllah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم).”
Reported in Saheeh Bukhaari, Hadrat Hasaan was of such a rank that he was able to reply to Jibrael (A) on behalf of Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم). His level of mastery of poetry was renowned even in the courts of the Kings of Syria and Iraq; however, Allah (سبحانه و تعالي) reserved his talents for Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) to praise him, defend him, and increase the companions’ love for him.
May our hearts also be opened to light, faith, and love just like Hadrat Hasaan inshAllah! Ameen.
The following are some of the poetry Hadrat Hasaan ibn Thaabit wrote out of love for Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم).
When I saw his light shinning forth,
In fear I covered my eyes with my palms,
Afraid for my sight because of the beauty of his form.
So I was scarcely able to look at him at all.
The lights from his light are drowned in his light
And his faces shines out like the sun and moon in one.
A spirit of light lodged in a body like the moon,
A mantle made up of brilliant shinning stars.
I bore it until I could bear it no longer.
I found the taste of patience to be like better aloes.
I could find no remedy to bring me relief
Other than delighting in the sigh of the one I love.
Even if he had not brought any clear signs with him,
The sight of him would dispense with the need for them.
Muhammad is a human being but not like other human beings.
Rather he is a flawless diamond and the rest of mankind is just stones.
Blessings be on him so that perhaps Allah may have mercy on us
On that burning Day when the Fire is roaring forth its sparks.
Beautiful as you, my eyes have never seen,
with grace like yours, one has never been born
Born free from all fault,
Born as though you had yourself wished to be,
As though the Lord of Muhammad and the Soul of Muhammad
had come face to face,
The Lord of Muhammad asks the Soul of Muhammad
‘Tell me My beloved, how shall I create you’.
The above poem is often viewed as his best poem.
Before this you were pleasantly in the shade of Paradise in a place where leaves clustered above.
Then you came down to this land; no human you, no embyro, no clot.
Purified riding the vessel, the deep flood having bridled an eagle and his family,
You were carried from loin to womb; whenever one surface passed, another appeared
When you were born the earth glowed, the horizon shining with your light.
So we are in that illumination and that light, making our way upon the paths of righteousness’.
When the above poem was recited, Rasulullah(صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) said ‘May Allah have mercy on Hasaan’. Hasrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) said ‘Hasaan deserves Paradise by the lord of the Kaaba’.
(Some Narrations state this particular poem came from Abbas (رضي الله عنه) )
He was the light and the brilliance we followed,
He was sight and hearing second only to Allah,
By Allah, no woman has conceived and given birth
To one like the Messenger, the Prophet and Guide of
Nor Has Allah created among His creatures,
One more faithful to His sojourner or His promise
than he who was the source of our light.
Blessed in his deeds, just and upright,
O best of mankind, It was though I were in a river,
But now, without you, I have become lonely in my thirst.
The above poem was recited when Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه واله و سلم) left this world.