Book Review
Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish : Streams of Perpetual Blessings
By Dr. Ahmed S. Khan

 

“The personality of Muhammad is indeed, besides Koran, the center of the Muslim’s life; the Prophet is the one who forever remains the ‘beautiful model’ …for the life of all those who acknowledge in the profession of faith that he is truly the messenger of God.”

--- Dr. Annemarie Schimmel

 

Indeed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) holds a unique position in the lives of Muslims all over the globe. In five daily prayers Muslims praise Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by reciting the supplication “O’ God bless Muhammad, and his family as You have blessed Abraham and his family.” Dr. Annemarie Schimmel, in her book “And Muhammad is his Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety,” observed that “in an unforgettable image (Allama) Iqbal sums up what millions and millions of pious Muslims have felt over the centuries and still feel about the prophet: Love of the Prophet runs like blood in the veins of his community.”

Prominent writer and diplomat Quttubuddin Aziz, son of well-known social worker Begam Hafeez, in his book on the life of the Prophet (pbuh) eloquently observed that “ in the galaxy of God’s Messengers and Prophets who showed mankind the righteous path, the resplendent glory of the achievement of the Prophet of Islam has remained undimmed over the past fourteen hundred years.” Indeed, for the past fourteen hundred years Muslims and non-Muslim scholars, poets, have been expressing their love for the Prophet (pbuh) in form of odes and praise poems (Na’ats) in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and other languages. The great scholar and the Sufi master, Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, who called himself dust in the path of Muhammad (pbuh), had observed:

A hundred thousand books full of poetry

Became ashamed before the ummi’s word

Famous philosopher and scientist Ibn Khuldun had asked for prophet’s intercession:

Grant me by your intercession, for which I hope

A beautiful page instead of my ugly sins!

Over the centuries numerous poets have come up with novel ways to express their praise and love for the Prophet (pbuh). Dr. Annemarie Schimmel has pointed out that the great Persian poet Sadi devised new words in the praise of the Prophet (pbuh). In the beginning of the famous Boostan, Sadi wrote:

Wasimun, qasimun, jasimun nasim

Elegant, well shaped, noble and graceful

The great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib wrote a qasida of 101 verses on the Prophet(pbuh). Maulana Shibli Nu’mani, the prominent Urdu poet, expressed his love for the prophet (pbuh) in the form of a prayer:

Bless, O, Lord, the best Prophet and messenger!

Bless O' Lord, the noblest among djinn and men!

The poet of the East, Allama Iqbal, observed in Jawab-e-Shikwa:

Light the world, too long in darkness,

With Muhammad’s radiant name.

Be faithful to Muhammad, and then We too belong to you,

Not only this world but Tablet and Pen belong to you!

Over the past 1400 years a large number of non-Muslim scholars and poets have also admired prophet’s qualities and traits in both prose and poetic forms. Sir Kishan Prasad Shad, Hindu prime minister of Hyderabad State expressed his love for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a couplet:

Be I infidel or true believer---

God alone knows, what I am!

But I know: I am Prophet’s servant,

Who is the ruler of Medina.

Mohinder Singh Bedi, another prominent Urdu poet, expresses his love for the prophet in a poetic expression:

One may fall in love with someone, one has no control

Muslims are not the only one who have monopoly over Muhammad (pbuh).

Today in the 21 st century, the tradition of Na’tiya poetry continues to flourish despite various challenges faced by the Urdu language. The number of speakers of Urdu around the globe is on the rise, but the language itself is facing some very real challenges for its progression and co-existence with other modern languages in today’s Internet era. One key challenge is that technology is not being used appropriately to keep the Urdu language at par with the growth and propagation of other modern languages viz a viz the Internet. Another challenge is that young speakers of Urdu are lacking appropriate reading and writing skills. The problem is especially serious in North America and Europe where a large number of immigrants from Pakistan and India have arrived in the new lands of opportunities in the West.

The speakers of the Urdu language face a serious dilemma: the second and third generations of immigrants from India and Pakistan do not know Urdu language well; most of them have verbal command of Urdu to some degree but few are familiar with the written form. Keeping this shortcoming in mind, prominent Urdu poet, Hamid Amrohavi, in Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish, has transliterated his Na’ats using Roman Urdu script, and thus enabled readers deficient in reading Urdu script to read and understand the praise and odes for the Prophet (pbuh), and to experience the beauty of Na’ats.

Mr. Hamid Amrohavi hails from Amroha, UP, the intellectual capital of Urdu scholars, writers and poets. Mr. Hamid Amrohavi is keeping his father Hafiz Mirza Abid al-Ra’uf aka Rauf Amrohavi‘s tradition of Na’tiya poetry alive. Mr. Rauf Amrohavi, a college lecturer, dedicated his entire life composing eulogies of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Three volumes of his Na’tiya poetry titled Lakhlakh-e-Mahamid, Gulrang-e-Takkhayyul, and Kauser-e-Rahmat have been published. All of his sons have kept his tradition of writing Na’tiya poetry alive.

Commenting on the author’s father and the family tradition of Na'tiya poetry, Professor Nisar Ahmed Faruqui, in the foreword of Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish, writes, “ Ra’uf Ahmed was a man of rare qualities of heart and soul… All his sons are also poets and prefer to compose Na’tiya poetry. They have got the anthologies of their verses published. Hamid Amrohavi has kept the holy tradition and conviction of his family thriving and blooming even in the USA. During the last two years two collections of his Na’tiya poetry have seen light of the day. Now he is a well-know figure and a popular personality in the States because of his immaculate and pristine Na’tiya poetry. Even his residential house is known as Na’tkadah (i.e. House of Na’tiya poetry) in Chicago.”

Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish starts with a Hamd, praising the master synchronizer of time and space:

Allah Ka ehsan ke insane banaya

Aur is pe karam yeh ke musalman banyaa

It is a great blessing of Allah that He created me a human being

And on top of that blessing He made me a Mussalaman

Powerful vocabulary coupled with exquisite compositions illustrates the mastery of Hamid Amrohavi’s Na’ats. He is a master of his craft. He used his gift of poetic expression very eloquently in composing odes praising the prophet (pbuh):

Aaye hein zamane mein nabi aur bhi lekin

Hamid mere aaqa ka maqam apni jagah hai

Many messengers have come in the passing times

But the rank of my lord is unique

Tamanna hai Hamid ki ek roz ya Rab

Parhe jake rause pe phir na’at un ki

This is a desire of Hamid, O’Lord

That I recite a Na’at at his (pbuh) doorsteps

Ham ko Hamid Khuda mil gaya

Jab Habibe-Khuda mil gaye

Hamid, I have found God

When, I found the beloved of God

Jis qadar naz bhi ho us ko baja hai Hamid

Nat-e-hazrat mein hai masroof qalam aaj ki raat

I feel the highest degrees of pride and honor, Hamid

Tonight, my pen is busy writing the eulogy of the respected one (pbuh)

Name-e-amal per Hamid bharosa mat karo

Maghfirat ke wastey un ki shafaat chahiye

Do not count on your portfolio of deeds, Hamid

For ultimate success you need his (pbuh) intercession

Un ki sirat aur surat ka taswwur jab kiya

Aagae Hamid wahan Quran ke pare samne

When I imagined his (pbuh) character and life

Hamid, parts of Quran came to mind.

Hamid bas is pe khul gaya bab-e-qubuliyat

Ham ne darud parh ke jo harf-e dua kaha

The gateway of the acceptance opened, Hamid

When I uttered the words of prayer after reciting his (pbuh) eulogy

In Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish , Hamid Amrohavi has also transliterated some of his selected Hamds, Salams, and in conjunction with Na'ats in Roman Urdu so that people deficient in reading Urdu script can benefit from the blessings of reciting eulogies of the Prophet (pbuh), Rahmatan lil-alamin, the mercy to the mankind. The book cover displays a sketch of the Masjid-e-Nabawai (the prophet’s mosque) in Madina during the prophet’s time.

Hamid Amrohavi’s Joo-e-Bar-e-Bakhshish (Streams of Perpetual Blessings) is a collection of exquisite expressions of love for the Prophet (pbuh). His poetry enriches the mind and uplifts the spirit. (*The writer (askhan@devry.edu), a professor at DeVry University, Addison, Illinois, is the author of The Telecommunication Fact Book, and co-author of Technology and Society: Issues for the 21 st century and Beyond)

 

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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