Spiritual Poetry


Poetry is in general an expression of feelings written in a form recalling imaginative descriptions opening a view beyond present reality. While ancient poetry was written in a specific format producing an exclusive recitation today modern poetry is mostly without format. Since imagination is one of the qualities necessary to be a successful disciple of a spiritual order in general and Islamic tasawwu8f particularly it is quite obvious that poetry has developed in the Islamic world mostly as a compendium or a support of spiritual life. As a compendium religious spiritual poetry is used to stimulate feelings and meditation projected to “see beyond the words” thus transcending emotions. As a support of spiritual life certain forms of poetry are a mean of channeling specific spiritual influences with the clear purpose to support the spiritual elevation of the seeker of the path (mutasawwffin) so that he may increase his spiritual station, this is the case, for example, of certain Qassidah. Obviously all the real poetry supporting the spiritual elevation of the reciter do not act if they are recited as they are presented written on a paper; there is at least one, or more than one sometime, secret way of recitation. Even knowing this secret form of recitation is not sufficient to derive benefits from the recitation. Infact it is only an explicit authorization of a spiritual master (Pir, Shaikh) who has the power to vender alive the words and therefore enable the recitation to carry all its beneficent effects. Those who recite the same text without explicit authorization of Pir not only they will never and ever derive a benefit, rather on the contrary they will and somehow like cursed persons. Returning on the issue of poetry let us read what Allah SWT says to us regarding the poets in Sura Ash-Shu’ara (XXVI) verses 220 ÷ 227 (translation from the English edition of Jamal ul Qur’an Zia ul Qur’an publications):

<< 220. 
  1. Surely He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
  2. Shall I inform you ( O people!) Upon whom the devils descend?
  3. They descend upon every lying evil-doer.
  4. These people give ear (to the devils) and most of them are liars.
  5. And as for the poets! It is only the misguided about distracted in every valley?
  6. do you not see that they keep wondering about distracted in every valley?
  7. And they say that which they practice not.
  8. Except those (poets) who believe and do good deeds and remember Allah in abundance and average themselves only after they are wronged. And soon will those who do wrong come to know what (a miserable) place they will return to. >>

From the above noble verses we learn that there are two types of poets, those who remember Allah SWT and be followed because they are source of misguidance since their words do not produce any spiritual effect and therefore their (the poets) waste the precious time of their followers thus completing with this their misguidance.

Conversely the poets who have the purpose of remembering Allah SWT in their poetry are those who believe and do good deeds and are inclined to pardon rather than revenge. As a result of their good disposition those poets remember Allah in abundance through their ibadat (prayers) and their poetry. Their acceptance from Allah SWT makes justice of the bad poets above described. Therefore Allah SWT in the above verses of the Holy and Glorious Qur’an encourage those poets who love Him, remembering Him to write poetry about Him and His friends, Prophet Muhammad, SAWS, the other Prophets, AS, and awlya-Allah, RA. We can well image that Allah SWT returns His love also in the form of inspiring in His beloved the words, feelings and verses which from the various types of poetry.

Although it is not written in the verse 227 those who read the poetries of those who remember the Name of Allah will be the opposite of the misguided who follow the poets who do not remember Allah SWT. It is by logic induction that we can conclude that those who practice and read the poetry of those who remember Allah SWT are rightly guided. 

While we remand to our section “why poetry” we introduce here below one of the most beautiful Naat written in the world and originated in the Asiatic Subcontinent by HHH Imam Raza Khan Baraelvi, RA. This Naat is known as “Pe Lakhon Salaam”’ which translates in English as Millions of Salutations (of Peace). It should be remembered here that “Salutations of Peace” on the Holy Prophet, SAWS, is also known as Darood-Sharif, which is the elected and selected recitation among all the award. Allah SWT in the Holy and Glarious Qur’an has made next to fare to send salutations on the Holy Prophet Muhammad, SAWS. As a matter of fact it is compulsory on every Muslim to say sallallaho Alahihi Wa Sallam whenever he writes or pronounces the blessed name Muhammad, SAWS, referred to the Holy Prophet, SAWS. As a matter of fact Allah SWT in the Holy and Glorious Qur’an says:

<< Surely Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Holy Prophet: O you who believe! (you too) send upon him blessings, and salute him with a goodly salutation (in all reverence and love) in abundance. >> [the Holy and Glorious Qur’an, Surah Al-Azhab, the confederates, 33-56. English translation from the original Urdu translation of HHH Zia-ul-Ummat, RA, entitled Jamal-ul-Qur’an (the Beauteous Qur’an) available for sale in this website, published by Zia ul Qur’an Publications, Lahore-Pakistan].

We can see from the above verse 56 of Sural Al Azhab (33, the confederates) that Allah SWT uses the imperative form, thwo  making the act of sending blessing to HHH Muhammad, SAWS, compulsory to those who are real believers. From this verse we learn that Allah SWT and His Angels send blessings on Muhammad, SAWS, and condition of belief is to send blessings and salutations to Muhammad, SAWS, in abundance. Therefore those poets who are believers naturally and logically devote their poetry exclusively to Allah SWT, His Angels, His Beloved Prophet Muhammad, SAWS, along with his family members, RA-hun, companions, RA-hun, blood and spiritual descendants (Pirs), RA-hun, saints (awlya-Allah), RA-hun, and pious learned Muslims, RA-hun. The use of the imperative by Allah SWT is in harmony with the first fundamental “Pillar of Islam” the recitation of the profession of faith “Kalimah talbyza”, which is the essence of Islamic faith. Since HHH Muhammad, SAWS, is the first of the manifestation and the Essential light of Allah SWT it is all but natural to send blessings on him, SAWS, for those who really have comprehended the Kalimah.

Indeed HHH Imam Raza Khan Baraelvi, RA, has confirmed in writing this beautiful Naat to be a real believer and a man of Divine nature, may Allah Almighty bless him for ever and ever!


Naat is a word of Persian origin and it means religious poetry, frequently is found as Naat-Shareef (http:/eu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naat) which means Exalted Poetry because it is exclusively dedicated in praise of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Muhammad, SAWS. While a Qassida is rigorously in Arabic Naat is usually in a local language or even dialect but the elective languages are Urdu, Persian, Arabic. In the Arabic language Naat is referred as Nasheed (poetry) or Anasheed (plural). Naat is an expression of love for His Holiness the Holy Prophet of Islam Hadzrat Muhammad, SAWS. We briefly examin the origins of Naat and its structure remembering some legendary figure of Nath singer known in the Asiatic Subcontinent as “Naat-Khani” where Khan is an honorific title meaning king of religious poetry and not a tribe or caste name. Basically a Naat is a poetic composition exclusively expressing the love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad, SAWS, without music, sometime the Nath singer acts as a leader and those who are  present and listen repeat certain verses periodically like a refrain. We note here that a Nath is in obedience to the Divine order in the Holy and Glorious Quran: Sura Al Azhab, the Confederates, 33-56 “Surely Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Holy Prophet. O you who believe! (you too) send upon him blessings and salute him with a goodly salutation (in all reverence and love) in abundance”. This is the essence of every Naat. It is custom in the Asiatic Subcontinent the ahle sunnat wal jamat masjids offer Qassidah Burda Ghoussia and Nath after Jummah Prayer and then the faithful make dua requesting the “wasilat” (intercession) of His Holiness Hadzrat Muhammad, SAWS.

We report here following the version in transliterated Urdu and English of the famous Naat written by His Holiness Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Baraelwi. We are indebted to the  editorial board of the magazine “Maarif-e-Raza (Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmad, Sahibzada Wajahat Rasool Qadri, Manzoor Hussain Jilani) for their work. We refer to the Words of Allah SWT in the above quoted verse (ayat, 56) of the Holy and Glorious Quran, which are very clear and they are rather orders not a simple suggestion, and it is a command for every believer (Mủmineen) not for selected Muslims. The above Qur’anic verses show two orders, namely: 1) to send blessings (salawaat or Darood) on the Holy Prophet, SAWS, 2) to send salutation (salaam) on the Holy Prophet, SAWS. And on this regard Hazrat Ibn-e-Masud, RA, (one of the companions – sahaba-e-karam of the Holy Prophet, SAWS, reports that HHH the Holy Prophet, SAWS, said “the person who asks blessings upon me abundantly will be nearest to me on the Day of Judgement” (Tirmizi). The most well known salaam in Arabic is by Imam Barjanj, RA. In Turkish by Sulayman Catabi, RA and in Urdu by Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (1856AC-1921AC), RA. As already stated here following we report the Salaam of His Holiness Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Baraelwi, RA. This salam is always recited in standing ovation to the Holy Prophet, SAWS, by his beloved disciples (muhibbeen). All stand in circle and the first verse is chanted as a refrain by everyone. If the leader of the salaam knows the salaam of HHH Imam Barzanji, RA, in Arabic he will alternate also these verses and end with a few urdu verses from Allama Akbar Warithi, RA, which can be followed by the verses from HHH Sulayman Catabi, RA, in Turkish. Because the love for HHH Muhammad, SAWS, is beyond barriers of nationalities and language. We quote here the commentary of Siddiq Osman Noor Muhammad appeared in Vol XIV (1994) of Maarif-e-Raza (Idara-:- Tahqeeqat-e-Imam Ahmed Raza, Karachi). << The salaam by Imam Raza Khan, RA runs into 169 verses. It is spontaneous and overflowing as if inspired, and brings out the best of both the aalim and the murshid-e-Kaamil (total spiritual personality) in the great Imam. He has composed all types of Muslim religious poetry in Urdu (and some in Persian and Arabic) like hamd, munajaat, naat, ghazal, qasaid, rubaiyyat, munqabat, madah, shajarah, nazam, salawaat and mathnawi, all contained in his compilation Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish. But Ala Hazrat, as he is affectionately called, will forever be remembered for his most memorable “salaam” on the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam).>>

The Darood-salaam composed by HHH Imam Raza Khan Baraelvi, RA is so spiritually elevated that it ends yes the whole being so that one can see tears run down the cheeks of muhabbeen (beloved disciples) as they render it in their melodious voices. The Naat is a complete integrated but for the  purpose of a better understanding, it can be considered to be composed of five parts, composition notably:

  1. The (praise) of the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) in general (verses 1 to 32).

  1. The praise (sifat) of the physical appearance of the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) (verses 33-80).

  1. His life and times (verses 81 to 107).
  2. Sifat (praise) of the Ahle ul Bayt and the sahaba (Radiallah-e-Anho) (namely his family and companions) verses 108 to 147).

  1. Sifat (praise) of the awlya-Allah and saleheen (the saints and the pious) (verses 148 to 169).

In order to provide an appreciation of this rare treasure, I have given a transliteration of only 40 of the (selected) verses (in the order in which they appear in the salaam) and a translation (in straight prose) Professor G.D. Qureshi has of course rendered the most memorable service of providing a versified translation of the whole salaam. May Allah Almighty amply reward him and enroll all of us among those who write on the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) and utter his praises in sweet sonorous voice with reverence.  Ameen!

This salaam is unique in that the Imam has sung the praises of the miraculous powers of Muhammad-e-Arabi, sallallahu alaihi Wasallam, as well as the miraculous powers of each of his physical features, for example, his ears, his vision, his blessed mouth, his blessed tongue, his speech and khutbah (sermons), his smile, the mohr-i-Nubuwwat (seal of Prophethood), his arms and his fingers.
The miraculous powers of his fingers is borne out in the following hadith:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah (RADIALLAH-O-ANHO): I was with the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) and the time for the Asr prayer became due. We had no water with us except a little which was put in a verssel and was brought  to the  Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam). He put his hand into it and spread out his fingers and then said, “Come along! Hurry up! All those who want to perform ablution. The Blessing is from Allah”, I saw the water gushing out from his fingers. So the people performed the ablution and drank and I tried to drink more of that water (beyond my thirst and capacity) for I knew that it was blessing. The sub-narrator said. I asked Jabir (RADIALLAH-O-ANHO). “How many persons were you then?” He replied. “We were one thousand four hundred men” (Bukhari).

The Imam captures this incident in his own inimitable style

Nour ke chashme lehraen darya bahen
Unglion ki karamat pe lakhon salam
Fountains of spiritual light like seas overflowing
A million salutations on the miracle of his fingers

Along with the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) the Imam gives a standing ovation to his family and companions (RADIALLAH-O-ANHO) AS WELL AS THE Muslim saints and the pious. Each of his verses elucidates one hadith or two. For example this verse on Sayyiduna Uthman (RADIALLAH-O-ANHO) encompasses two ahadith (plural of hadith). One of which informs us that he founded the whole of the extension of Masjid-i-Nabawi and the other that he purchased with all the necessary appurtenances and offered them to the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) as his contribution to the war effort.

Zahiday Masjid-i-Ahmadee pe durood
Dawlate jaishe usrat pe lakhon salaam
Blessings on the one who extended the Prophet’s mosque
A million salutations on his wealth which armed the Muslims

As we go through the salaam, trying each time to understand a bit more of it we find that Imam Ahmed Raza Khan is truly rooted in Sharia (sacred law), has trodden the Spiritual Path (Tariqa) leading to Allah (Subhanaho Wa Taalla) and is full of marifa (spiritual sciences). We are also then able to understand why Dr. Muhammad Iqbal considered him to be the second Imam Abu Hanifa May Muslims continue to gain thawab (merit) by singing his “salaam” to the Holy Prophet (Sal-lal-laho-alaihe Wasallam) and achieve mangfira (for giveness salvation).

(Acknowledgment I am grateful to Dr. Muhammad Anwar Qureshi for going though the accompayhing transliterator and translation and for giving many helpful suggestions. The errors that remain are my own).

Transliteration of Selected Verses
(Verse numbering following the original)


1. Mustafa jaane rahmat pe lakhon salaam
 Sham-aye bazme hidayat pe lakhon salaam.

  1. Shabe asraa ke dulha pe daaim durood.
Nausha-e-bazme Jannat pe lakhon salaam.

  1.  Fathe babe nubuwwat pe bayhad durood 
 Khatme dauray risalat pay lakhon salaam.

His Sifat of Appearance:

34. Jis kea age saresarwara nkham rahen
 Us saretaaji rif-at pe lakhon salaam

38. Door-o-nazdheek ke sun-ne waale wo kaan
 Kaane lale karamat pe lakhon salaam.

40. Jis ke maathe shafaat ka sehra raha 
 Us Jabheene saadat pe lakhon salaam

45. Jis taraf uth gaee dham  may dham aagaya
 Us nigaaahe inayat pe lakhon salaam.

55. Who dahan jis ki har baat wahiye Khuda
 Chashmae ilmo hikmat pe lakhon salaam.

58. Wo zaban jis ko sab kun ki kunjee kahen
 Us ki naafazhukumat pe lakon salaam.

60. Us ki baton ki lazzat pe lakhon durood
 Us ke khutbe ki haybat pe lakhon salaam

63. Jiski taskeen say rote huwe hans paren
 Us tabassum ki adat pe lakhon salaam

66. Hajre Aswad-o-kaba-e-Jano Dil
 Yanee Mohre Nubuwwat pe lakhon salaam

68. Haath jis simt utha ganes ker dhiya 
 Mauje bahre samaahat pe lakhon salaam

69. Jis ko bare dho aalam ki parwa naheen
 Ayse baazu ki quwwat pe lakhon salaam.
72. Nur ke chashme lehraen darya bahen
 Ungliyon ke karamat pe lakhon salaam

76. Kul jahan milk our jaun ki roti gizaa
 Us shikan ki gana at pe lakhon salaam

His Life and Times

81. Jis suhanee agree chamka Tayba ka chaandh
 Us dhil afroze sa at pe lakhon salaam

82. Pehle saje pe roze azal say durood
 Yaadhgaarae ummat pe lakhon salaam

  1.  Bhaiyon ke liye tarke pastan karen
Dhoodh peeton ki nishfat pe lakhon salaam

107. Unke har naam –o-nisbat pe name durood
 Unke har waqt-o-haalat pe lakhon salaam

The Ahle Bayt and the Sahaba (RADIALLAH-O-ANHO)

108. Unke Maula ke unpar karoron durood
 Unke as haab-o-itrat pe lakhon salaam

114. Sayyidha, Zahera, Tayyiba, Tahira
 Jaane Ahmed ke raahat pe lakhon salaam

115. Wo Hasan Mujtaba Sayyid-ul-Askhiya
 Rakib-e-dowshe izzat pe lakhon salaam

118. Us shaheeda bala Shahe gulgun quba
 Bekase dashte ghurnbat pe lakhon salaam

120. Ahle Islam ki maadraane shafeeq
 Baanowanae tahaarat pe lakhon salaam

122. Siyyena pehli maa kahf-e amn-o-amaan
 Haq guzaare rifaaqat pe lakhon salaam

126. Yanee hai surah-e Nur jinki gawah
 Ynki purnur surat pe lakhon salaam

129. Jaan nisarane Badr-o-Uhud par durood
 Haq guzaaraane bayat pe lakhon salaam

133. Yanee us afdalul khalq bad-ar-Rasul
 Thaniyathnayn Hijrat pe lakhon salaam

135. Wo Umar jis ki aada pe shayda saqar
 Us khuda dost hazrat pe lakhon salaam

138. Zaahiday Masjid Ahmadee pe durood
 Dawlate jaishe usrat p pe lakhon salaam

141. Murtaza shere Haqq Ashja-ul-Ashjaeen
 Saqee sheer-o-sharbat pe lakhon salaam

147. Jis musalman ne dhekha unhe ik nazar
 Us nazar ki basaarat pe lakhon salaam

The Awliya and Saleheen

150. Aur jitney hain shehzaade us Shah ke
 Un sab ahle makanat pe lakhon salaam.

152. Shafial, Malik, Ahmad, Imam-e-Haneef
 Chaar baaghe Imamat pe lakhon salaam

153. Kaamilaane Tariqat pe kaamil durood
 Hamilaane Shariat pe lakhon salaam

154. Gouthe Azam Imam-ut-Tuqa wa-n-Nuqa
 Jalwae shane Qudrat pe lakhon salaam.

164. Bay azaab-o-etaab-o-hisaab-o-kitaab
 Taa abad ehle sunnat pe lakhon salaam

167. Ek mera hee Rahmat pe dawa naheen
 Shah ki saari ummat pe lakhon salaam

169. Muj say khidmat ke qudsee kahen haan Raza
 Mustafa jaane Rehmat pe lakhon salaam

Translation of Selected Verses

His Prophetic Qualities

A million salutations on Mustafa, essence of mercy
A million salutations on the light of guidance
Perpetual blessings on the bridegroom of Nighty Ascension 
A million salutations on the guest of paradise.
Unlimited blessing on the Seal of Prophet hood
A million salutations on the end of the era of messengers

His Sifat of Appearance

A million salutations on one crowned with success
Before whom the kings silently stood to attention.

The ears which heard from far and near
A million salutations on their miraculous powers 
The bridegroom garlanded with powers of intercession
A million salutations on his immensely good nature.

A million salutations on the enriching glance
Which brought life in whichever direction it turned.
The blessed mouth whose each word was a revelation from Allah
A million salutations on the fountain of knowledge and wisdom.

The tongue which was the key to all the orders of Allah
A million salutations on its governance
A million blessings on his tasty talk
A million salutations on his sermons.

His consolation turned crises into laughter
A million salutations on that smiling nature.

A million salutations on the seal of Prophethood
Which abides like the Black Stone of the Ka’aba in the heart.
He enriched all places towards which he waved
A million salutations on that enriching wave of the sea

A million salutations on the power of his arms
Which didn’t care for the powers of this world

Fountains of spiritual light like seas overflowing 
A million salutations on the miracle of his fingers.
He owned the whole world yet fed on bread alone 
A million salutations on that contented appetite.

His Life and Times

The beautiful moment when Tayba’s moon shone bright 
A million salutations on that joy-filling moment of his birth.
Blessings from his first prostration
A million salutations on he who remembers his followers.

He left a share for his brothers
A million salutations on the half share of the breast feeders.
A million salutations on every moment of his life.

His family and Companions (Radiallah-o-Anho)

A billion blessings on him from his Lord
A million salutations on his companions and relations.

Fatima-tuz-Zahra, RA. Leader of women in paradise, pleasing. Pure 
A million salutations on her who pleased the prophet’s heart
Imam Hassan a leader of generosity
A million salutations on him who rode on the Prophet’s shoulders.
A million salutations on the Prince of Martyrs
Who passed through many trials and tribulations.
The loving mothers of faithful believers
A million salutations on maintainers of Purity.

The first mother, a shelter of peace and security
A million salutations on her who fulfilled the rights of betrothal.
Surah Nur (Light) is witness to her purity
A million salutations on her, full of spiritual light.

Blessings on the martyrs of Badr and Uhud
A million salutations on those who fulfilled the Pledge. Bay’ah.

The best in rank after the Prophet
A million salutations on the second to the two in Hijra

Sayyiduna Umar, endeared with his endearing habits
A million salutations on this friend of Allah

Blessings on the one who extended the Prophets mosque 
A million salutations on his wealth which armed the Muslims

Murtaza, the lion of Allah, the bravery of the brave
A million salutations on his who drank deep of spirituality

The Muslims who saw the Holy prophet just once
A million salutations on the vision of those eyes.

The Saints and the Pious

And all those who are spiritual heirs of that king
A million salutations on all his descendants

Imam Shafi’i, Malik, Ahmad and abu Hanifa
A million salutations on the four gardens of the Imamat

Complete blessings on those who tread the spiritual path
A million salutations on those who live by the Sacred Law.

Gauthul A’zam, Imam of saints and the pious
A million salutations on his who was divine by nature

May they escape the Account and the punishment on Judgment Day
A million salutations on the Ahle-s-Sunnah till eternity
I am not the only one with a claim on his mercy
A million salutations on all the followers of that king

The angels sing in agreement: “Yes, O Raza
A million salutations on Mustafa essence of mercy”